Sacramento’s MLS bid is very much alive. Nashville is expected to get one of two expansion franchises. Sacramento Republic FC is up against Cincinnati and Detroit; the decision is key for the downtown railyard.
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Andrew Malcolm, McClatchy: Quietly with little notice beyond the region, the militant regime in Iran has established a major land force in Syria effectively threatening the existence of Israel.
Dan Walters, CALMatters: As we weigh the impact of the federal tax overhaul, now being wrought by President Trump and the Republican Congress, on California, we should keep in mind the first and foremost axiom about taxation. What and who are taxed and the levels of those levies are purely arbitrary decisions that are completely divorced from logic, consistency or even rudimentary fairness.
Jack Ohman catches a glimpse of the latest UFO. Have a close encounter here.
Linda Halderman: The last time he approached me was in a Capitol hallway. I told him: “Don’t touch me.” He responded by grabbing me, pinning my arms by my side and thrusting his groin against my pelvis. He restricted me from moving away, forcing prolonged torso-to-torso contact despite my shouting at him to let me go.
Malinda Markowitz: The powerless Assembly Select Committee, set up to provide cover for blocking Senate Bill 562, tried to outline incremental steps to get to universal coverage. But incremental steps aren’t enough. A single-payer bill is still the best fix for health care.
Take a number: 12
When the House passed its tax bill last month, 13 Republicans voted no. Tuesday, only 12 Republicans bucked the GOP leadership to vote against the compromise worked out with the Senate. Only two dissenters represent California: Reps. Darrell Issa of San Diego County and Dana Rohrabacher of Orange County.
Rep. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove voted against the House version, but voted for the final version Tuesday. He said that the final bill has “important improvements for Californians,” including allowing some local and state income tax deductions, and that the “final product exceeds my expectations, and on behalf of California taxpayers I can now offer my enthusiastic support.”
All three Republicans are up for re-election in November 2018, and all are squarely in the sights of Democrats, who hope to flip the seats in their quest to take control of the House.
All House members from California, of course, voted against the bill. While the final tax bill added a few more benefits for families, it also adds more goodies for the wealthy and repeals the Obamacare requirement for individual coverage. And it will still mean higher taxes for many of the 6 million Californians who itemize their deductions. – Foon Rhee, @foonrhee
Miami Herald: Do we commend Sen. Marco Rubio for pushing back? Absolutely. But it was a safe bet that he would get at least some of what he was demanding and look heroic while not standing in the way of a tax plan poised to bring immeasurable harm to working- and middle-class Americans anyway. And it’s a shame that so many Republicans went along. We saw little of the revolt, however meager, seen during the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Seattle Times: Safety equipment that could have intervened in both incidents – an automatic braking system – was installed on Cascades Train 501 but not yet operational. Sound Transit, which owns the track segment and upgraded it with federal money passed through the state Department of Transportation, said the automatic braking system, known as positive train control (PTC), was scheduled to be operational in the second quarter of 2018. It’s beyond disappointing that PTC wasn’t working before service began on this segment. Multiple parties share blame on this front.
East Bay Times: There’s a new trend in the Bay Area’s Afghan community: sending children to classes in the language of Afghan Pashtuns. Parents who come here from China and Mexico want their kids to learn Mandarin or Spanish to stay rooted in their culture, but this is different. The Pashto classes are motivated by fear. Refugee families among the thousands of Afghan immigrants here are afraid that the Trump administration will send them back – and that their kids, becoming more American every day, won’t know the Afghan language.
Los Angeles Times: Judge Alex Kozinski was stating the obvious Monday when he said that he couldn’t contest more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct and “be an effective judge.” As a consequence, the Pasadena-based jurist announced, he was retiring after three decades on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. His announcement brings an abrupt and embarrassing – but also appropriate – end to a distinguished career.
Frank Bruni, New York Times: The GOP lost the mantle of family values by embracing Donald Trump and then Roy Moore. Neither won the support of all Republicans, but both won the backing or complicity of enough of them to confirm just how hollow and hypocritical the party’s attachment to conservative morality always was.
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: Vladimir Putin may have spent less than $500,000 to hack our last election and help Donald Trump become president. And Putin’s payoff is Trump’s first year: a president who is simultaneously eroding some of our most basic norms, undermining some of our most cherished institutions and enacting a mammoth tax bill that will not make America great again.
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times: As this hideous, discombobulating year comes to an end, the Resistance offers one reason for optimism. The Women’s March helped turn the tide.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: President Trump could benefit enormously from restricting the use of the many words, names and phrases that threaten him: Robert Mueller. Good taste. Facts. Spelling. The Geneva Conventions. Suit-jacket buttons. The Constitution.
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post: PBS indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley’s eponymous nightly show amid allegations of sexual impropriety. Based on what has been reported so far, it sounds like Smiley was dating subordinates. That’s not smart, but nor is it unheard of in the American workplace.
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: The Washington Post reported Friday that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been forbidden from using seven words as they prepared their 2019 budget documents. This didn’t actually happen, at least not as originally described, but everybody went bonkers on cue.
“How about we return to the worthwhile 1973 goal and run a nice little traditional jazz jubilee, confined to Old Sacramento, save Dixieland for a few more years, and let the rest of the music world do its thing elsewhere?” – Ralph Hanson, Davis
The Pentagon has spent $22 million on funding a UFO study. If there are aliens, let’s hope President Trump doesn’t go with “Little Rocket Man” as his greeting.