Dan Morain: Cop killers or Dreamers? Two California-based ads sum up the war for the GOP soul: Donald Trump’s attacks on immigrants, which are far beyond anything Wilson ever would have contemplated, may offer short-term political gain, but at a steep cost to Republicans for years to come. Read more.
Marcos Breton: If you have never heard of Jose Luis Ramirez, it’s because the Sacramento of his heyday is only a memory, one that grew fainter with his passing at 85 on Jan. 10. Read more.
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Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: What if Donald Trump were smart? His presidency has forced us to see our vulnerability to new media manipulation and disinformation. What if there arose some future demagogue who combined Trump’s new media savvy with a toxic ideology? Read more.
Dan Walters: During his second governorship, Jerry Brown has frequently touted big public-works projects as the mark of a great society – a marked change from his first stint four decades ago, when “small is beautiful” and “lower your expectations” were his oft-voiced themes. He did it again last week, effusively plugging two major public works, twin water tunnels and a high-speed rail network, during his final State of the State address. But these two big projects are foundering. Striking out on them would be a bitter pill to swallow. Read more.
Jack Ohman gets inside the chamber for the State of the State. Get the ground floor view here.
Lexington Herald Leader: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has stayed front and center since the tragedy, offering prayers and sympathy while dismissing questions about gun control, choosing instead to lay the dead at the feet of evil, social media and Hollywood. It’s the personification of political ambition and the opposite of true leadership. Read more.
Kansas City Star: Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer is in a heckuva fix. As lieutenant governor, Colyer served almost two, four-year terms without a single public disagreement with his mentor. Did anyone hear the lieutenant governor raise one word of objection as Sam Brownback signed those budget-busting tax cuts of 2012 and 2013? Did Colyer raise a word in protest as basic state services slid into disrepair? So Colyer owns the state he’s inherited, and what a mess it’s in. Read more.
Los Angeles Times: President Donald Trump has finally pinned himself down on what he wants from Congress on immigration reform, and it’s as bad as one might expect from someone who, despite his own immigrant roots, expresses antagonism toward immigrants – African, Mexican and Central American especially. But the biggest problem with the proposal is that it is not the comprehensive reform it needs to be. Read more.
Orange County Register: Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion plan for two massive tunnels to move water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta could be on the rocks. The Governor’s Office is reportedly holding talks with water contractors around the state to gauge support for downsizing the project to one tunnel at a cost of about $10 billion. But whether the smaller project would accomplish its goals or justify its cost remains unclear. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Gov. Jerry Brown gave his 16th and final State of the State speech Thursday at the state Capitol after receiving effusive praise from other California leaders in introductory comments and on social media. Brown was typically blunt, thoughtful and funny as he reflected on a generally – but not entirely – successful second turn as governor of the largest state. Read more.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: One by one, over the course of a week, more than 150 women and girls stood up in a Michigan courtroom and confronted Larry Nassar, the disgraced physician who sexually abused them. Nassar’s victims were athletes from elite programs, including USA Gymnastics. Their stories were painful, their courage was inspiring, their numbers a testament to serial failures by adults who were supposed to protect them. Read more.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Which hate group currently poses the biggest domestic threat to America? To hear President Donald Trump talk, it’s radical Islamists. The numbers, however, suggest that the deadliest threat comes from groups that regularly cheer the president and count themselves among his staunchest supporters. Violence, threats and homicides by white supremacist groups have skyrocketed in the year since Trump became president. Read more.
Maureen Dowd: Barack Obama was always calling to our better angels. Donald Trump is paying off porn stars and denigrating struggling countries that send minorities to the U.S. as “shitholes.” How did we drop so far and so fast from class to crass? Read more.
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times: It is not surprising that the contemporary leaders of the religious right are blasé about reports that President Trump cheated on his third wife with a porn star then paid her to be quiet. Trump doesn’t threaten the religious right’s traditional values. He embodies them. Read more.
Frank Bruni: When Judge Rosemarie Aquilina handed down her sentence on Larry Nassar last week, she spoke to and of him as a kind of monster we rarely see. She was wrong. Read more.
Paul Krugman, New York Times: President Trump’s tariff on solar panels will put a crimp in one of the U.S. economy’s big success stories, the rapid growth of renewable energy. Everything we know about the Trump administration suggests that hurting renewables is actually a good thing from its point of view. Read more.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: Hawaii Gov. David Ige forgot his Twitter password on the day his state was shaken by a false warning of an imminent missile attack, delaying his tweet that there was no real threat. Read more.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: New evidence suggests the damage he is doing to the culture is bigger than the man. In a new poll, two-thirds of Americans say Trump is not a good role model for children. Read more.
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post: It’s time to make clear that there is a big difference between the nearly 700,000 DACA recipients and the estimated 2.9 million Dreamers who don’t have DACA protection – because they did not apply, or applied but didn’t qualify. Read more.
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: It is neither conjecture nor conspiracy to observe that the president strikes a defensive pose every time a well-sourced story reveals something that could seem incriminating. Read more.
Ed Rogers, Washington Post: Democrats are flustered and can’t deal with Trump’s economic success. When is the last time Democrats had a plan for anybody to get a $1,000 raise from the private sector without compelling an employer to just hand it over? Read more.
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: President Trump eagerly proclaimed the virtues of America First at the World Economic Summit. Yet the outlook of early anti-globalists and Trump’s America First message – while superficially similar – could not be more different. Read more.
Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg: President Trump tried to fire Robert Mueller. He will try again. As the temperature of his investigation rises, expect the president to act out in increasingly volatile ways, and to stretch the boundaries of the law to counter Mueller’s probe. Read more.
Daniel Moss, Bloomberg: Trendy topics of the moment, or hour, at events like the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, tend to overshadow the deeper, broader themes and interests that last longer than a week and are often years or decades in the making. Read more.
Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg View: President Trump’s failure to fire Robert Mueller doesn’t excuse his attempt, which pushes the needle a little further toward impeachment. It’s also yet another example of Trump’s incredible weakness as a president: He gave an order, then got rolled by a White House staffer. Read more.