Opinion

Facebook weathers questions, as its earnings rise + Bump stocks return + #MeToo persists

Our take

Editorials

It’s tempting, but regulation isn’t the answer to get rid of fake news: Attorneys for Facebook, Twitter and Google say the California companies are working hard to block internet trolls and bots from spreading misinformation on their websites. But congressional leaders are considering regulations that could harm the First Amendment anyway.

Columns

Foon Rhee: Some say California is getting soaked on flood insurance. Should we go it alone? The National Flood Insurance Program is inundated with debt. California residents pay far more into the program than they are getting back. As we move into the rainy season, a growing number of voices are urging the state to explore its own flood insurance program.

Dan Walters, CalMatters: California motorists who filled their gas tanks Wednesday paid an extra 12 cents a gallon, thanks to a multibillion-dollar package of improvements to highways, streets and other transportation facilities enacted by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown this year. But it will do little, if anything, to relieve traffic jams.

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Even if Indictment Day comes a dozen times more, even if the man himself is felled, none of it changes what needs changing. Trump is a product of fear, intolerance, incoherence and ignorance. And those things would survive him.

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Take a number: 35906

Though he swears he doesn’t inhale, intrepid Yolo County Supe Matt Rexroad has been focusing a lot on marijuana lately. Rexroad spent several hours at a dispensary, watching seemingly healthy people come in, show their 4-20 cards, and leave with their medicine. On Wednesday, Rexroad decided to see how easy it would be to get a cannabis card. He turned to Google, found a website and filled out a form, honestly disclosing he had occasional muscle pain, this because he lifts weights at a gym a few times a week. After paying a $49 fee, he got his card in 15 minutes, issued by Dr. Hector Rene Fernandez, California medical license No. A 35906, with an address in Henderson, Nev. Rexroad and Feelgood Fernandez had never met or spoken. A check of Hernandez’s license at the California Medical Board reveals the following: “License status: Delinquent-License renewal fee has not been paid. No practice is permitted.” Rexroad wasn’t planning to use the card, not that any dispensary clerk would think to check Feelgood Fernandez’s license status.

Op-eds

Michael Feinstein: A primary in March instead of June moves up the enormous cost of reaching the state’s 25 million eligible voters, while candidates lose the exposure of campaigning in other states first. That will increase the need for early big money, and potentially eliminate candidates prematurely. Is that really in the interest of most Californians?

Miya Yoshitani: Building a sustainable world must not come at the expense of workers struggling to make ends meet. And that’s why the company’s recent round of firings, with no warning and no explanation, are troubling.

California Forum

Lisa Fujie Parks and David S. Lee: How to prevent sexual harassment and violence before it happens.

Greg Sazima: Why we gladly tackle other big social problems, but recoil from homelessness.

David Cehrs: Water is a finite resource. Sustainability will elude us until we balance supply and demand.

David L. Ulin: An urgent, terrifying, important, maybe even life-and-death appeal to Trump opponents for a political pitch besides fear itself.

Their take

USA Today: For a few days after the deadliest mass killing in modern U.S. history, Republican leaders in Congress sounded as if they might be open to banning devices, known as "bump stocks," that enabled the Las Vegas shooter to turn his semiautomatics into even more effective killing machines. “This is definitely an area where we’re going to look and be able to act on,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Sanity did not prevail for long. After a signal from the National Rifle Association, spineless lawmakers have done exactly what the gun lobby wants. Absolutely nothing.

LA Daily News: Last week, the details of a 2009 sexual assault by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Pacoima, were made public by his victim, Elise Flynn Gyore. In light of this revelation, Bocanegra cannot be taken seriously as a representative of the people who elected him without this knowledge, and we ask that he step down immediately.

Los Angeles Times: The tremors set off by the allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein nearly a month ago continue to reverberate across the country. Every day, it seems, women and men come forward to tell new stories of mistreatment, harassment or abuse at the hands of powerful men in Hollywood, in tech, in politics and media. But can Americans trust their political leaders now to help navigate through these complicated issues given how badly they seem to have handled the issue on their own local turf?

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: The celebration was postponed, but today remains a red letter day for Roseland and Santa Rosa. After decades as next-door neighbors, they’re finally combined in a single city. With the long-overdue annexation of Roseland completed, Santa Rosa – already the fifth largest city in the Bay Area – now has a population of about 184,000.

Bloomberg View: Having burned through almost 14,000 square miles of western forest, killed dozens of people, and cost federal agencies almost $3 billion, this year’s extensive wildfires have had one positive effect: They’ve gotten Democrats and Republicans in Congress finally to act. Senators from Washington, Oregon and Idaho have introduced legislation that would let timber companies clear brush and harvest trees from federal lands in parts of the so-called wildlife-urban interface, rendering it less vulnerable to uncontrollable fires.

Kansas City Star: What has happened to President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity? The president – convinced he actually won the popular vote in 2016 over Hillary Clinton – established the commission in May. Vice President Mike Pence is the chairman, but Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is widely considered the real leader of the group. The commission has all but disappeared publicly, and there are growing indications it will set a new standard for uselessness.

Syndicates’ take

Gail Collins: For a president, every day is a new challenge to rise to the occasion. If, for instance, a terrorist assault hits an American city, he will want to quickly bring the people together by attacking the city’s U.S. senator and claiming the nation’s system of justice is “a joke.”

E.J. Dionne Jr.: President Trump is trying to undermine a lawful inquiry that endangers his hold on power. He’s inventing stories about dark coverups by his enemies to sow confusion about the proven facts of his own team’s skullduggery. And now he is blaming his foes for violence and disorder, including the New York terrorist attack.

Nicholas Kristof: Both houses of Congress are controlled by the same party as the president, and if President Trump fires Robert Mueller the result may be less a bellow than a squeak. Some Republicans earlier backed bills providing Mueller extra job security, but they now seem to have lost interest.

Dana Milbank: Tom Steyer is turning one of the Democrats’ most unifying themes (the singular disaster that is President Trump) into a source of discord. He launched a petition drive pressuring Democratic candidates to go on record supporting the impeachment of Trump. That pledge just might prevent Democrats from winning in Trump-friendly districts they need to retake the House.

Bret Stephens: Disasters at close range have a way of making ideological pronouncements seem remote, feckless and wretched. Determined fanatics will usually outwit the Department of Homeland Security’s games of whack-a-mole. A heavy-handed immigration policy will never be an effective counterterrorism strategy.

Mailbag

“The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board comedians love to tease. They tell us that the 12 cent a gallon gas tax will be a ‘blip’ for most, maybe the cost of a beer a month if you fill up 20 gallons.”– Leslie McNeill, Roseville

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