Karin Klein: If charities want us to give, stop selling our names to others. Donate to one nonprofit, and it will sell or share our information with others; each donation leads to five or 10 appeals for more.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Contrary to what you may have read in Fox News and other U.S. media, the State Department, to some extent, has softened its travel advisory to Mexico, putting the country at the same level of dangerousness as Spain, France and the United Kingdom.
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Melinda Henneberger, Kansas City Star: No, there is no bottom, and we’ve got to stop diving for it. Dog whistles seem so ambivalent now that they’ve been replaced by bullhorns.
Jack Ohman experiences presidential dreamland. Fall asleep here.
Take a number: 61
A new Gallup Poll shows 61 percent of Republicans are pleased with the country’s direction, far more than 38 percent who approved a few months ago, and 31 percent of independents are pleased, also an uptick from 20 percent in October. Democrats remain in a state of despair; only 7 percent believe approve of the direction. In total, 29 percent of Americans are satisfied with the direction of the U.S., and 69 percent are dissatisfied, Gallup writes. President Donald Trump’s approval rating is mired at 38 percent, Gallup reports.
San Francisco Chronicle: A recently completed review of last year’s Oroville Dam crisis does not inspire confidence in California’s vast water infrastructure or those managing it. The experts who conducted the postmortem detail a near-tragedy of errors, starting more than a half-century ago with flaws in the dam’s design, continuing through potentially counterproductive repairs, and culminating with the mismanaged emergency that forced the evacuation of nearly 200,000 downstream residents.
Miami Herald: Sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual abuse are reprehensible acts — no matter the income, skin color or notoriety of the victim. But when low-skilled workers are victimized, their economic status too often holds them hostage.
Denver Post: Brushing aside the toxic politics that fester in our nation, Gov. John Hickenlooper sought to tackle pervasive Colorado problems with pragmatic policy suggestions. It was one of the governor’s more specific and detailed stands at the dais over the years, but now the question is whether Hickenlooper can deliver on his unique vision for our uncertain future as a lame duck.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Gov. Eric Greitens has spent the past few days apologizing privately to legislators over his 2015 sexual affair. But the governor still won’t stand before the people of Missouri to explain himself and to offer a heartfelt, full-throated apology. Just as he won election by hiding the truth from Missouri voters, Greitens continues to avoid public accountability for his actions.
Audrey Cooper, San Francisco Chronicle: Hi Mark. We met last year, but you probably don’t remember. Let me remind you about what we discussed: You told me how important The Chronicle’s work is in the Bay Area and how invested Facebook was in helping us to do it. I believed you. I really wanted to, and, frankly, I didn’t have much of a choice.
Albert R. Hunt, Bloomberg: Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows are the public face of the Freedom Caucus. If their aversion to compromise helps provoke a government shutdown, there's a good chance that they'll emerge as the face of all House Republicans. With the GOP facing a tough struggle to retain control of the House in the November midterm elections, that would be good news for Democrats.
Josh Rogin, Washington Post: As part of a broad effort to interfere in U.S. institutions, China tries to shape the discussion at American universities, stifle criticism and influence academic activity by offering funding, often through front organizations closely linked to Beijing. Then Sen. Ted Cruz stepped in.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Sometimes it is necessary to begin with the obvious. The claim that America needs more Norwegian migrants and fewer Africans from “sh-thole countries” is racist. It is not the same as arguing for a higher-skilled immigrant pool. That argument might go something like: “We need a higher-skilled immigrant pool.”
Eugene Robinson: We now have a president who rejects American ideals of diversity and inclusion in favor of racial purity. Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Reps. Kevin McCarthy, and Robert Goodlatte, do you want a race-based immigration system, too? Please don’t pretend you didn’t hear the question.
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others. Understanding this, it is not a stretch to understand that Donald Trump’s words and deeds over the course of his life have demonstrated a pattern of expressing racial prejudices that demean people who are black and brown and that play to the racial hostilities of other white people.
Sacramento denizens recall House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for his ability to get along and smile as he battled Democrats in the Legislature. The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey and Robert Costa write that the Bakersfield Republican has honed his abilities to ingratiate himself to President Donald Trump, going to far as to notice the president favors cherry and strawberry Starbursts. So he directed his staff to pick through the bags of the candy to find the flavors favored by Trump, and present them to the president. “He remembers everything,” McCarthy told the reporters. “Of course I put my name on the jar.” McCarthy remembers everything, too.