Ben Shapiro: In Sacramento ‘Race and IQ’ science project uproar, school and teachers failed: Pernicious views don’t disappear through censorship. They disappear when those who hold them are taught actual facts. In Sacramento ‘Race and IQ’ science project uproar, school and teachers failed. Read more.
Erwin Chemerinsky: The conservative justices on the Supreme Court are poised to deliver a serious blow to public employees’ unions in California and many other states. Later in February, the court will hear oral arguments in Janus v. American Federation, and no one – liberal or conservative – has any doubt about the outcome or that the ideologically motivated decision will hurt public workers in this state and elsewhere. Read more.
Karin Klein: Gov. Jerry Brown fixed the state’s school funding formula, except for this one critical thing. Jerry Brown is such a genius sometimes. Unfortunately, he’s also frequently a stubborn man who sticks to a notion – I’d be happy never to hear the word “subsidiarity” again – even when it’s more ideology than solid policy. Here’s the genius part: With a single stroke, he fixed the state’s abominable school-funding formula. Read more.
Columns & op-eds
Foon Rhee: Can California do elections better? Sacramento is the first big test. Sacramento is one of five counties that will be testing a new voting system, starting with the June 5 primary. Everyone will get a ballot in the mail, and there will be far fewer, but larger, voting centers. If it works, voting will be easier and the count will go faster. Read more.
Andrew Malcolm, McClatchy D.C.: Remember Republicans’ enduring commitment over most of our lifetimes to eliminate the federal budget deficit and trim the national debt? Well, forget it. In fact, with the GOP controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, the government this year will likely inflict nearly an additional trillion dollars on the existing $20 trillion national debt. Read more.
Dan Walters, CALmatters: Four years ago, the state Senate was thrown into turmoil by the simultaneous prosecution of three senators on unrelated felony charges. The Senate compelled all three to step aside from their Senate duties, but could not legally strip them of their salaries and fringe benefits while they awaited disposition of their cases, which eventually resulted in convictions. In effect, therefore, they received long paid vacations, which didn’t sit well with the voting public, so legislative leaders decided, quite understandably, that they needed some formal procedures for future scandals. The result was Proposition 50. Read more.
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: I am a child of domestic violence. So forgive me if I take the latest White House scandal personally. I don’t know any other way to take it. Read more.
F. Noel Perry and Adam Fowler: Could electric vehicles become as common as smart phones? Electric vehicle sales appear headed to a tipping point, where they grow exponentially. Smart phones followed this pattern. Read more.
Jack Ohman surveys our nation’s infrastructure. Try not to drive on it here.
Kansas City Star: Predictably, the Kansas Senate has been ridiculed for its recent resolution proclaiming porn a public health hazard. “Kansas Uses Fake Science” said a Huffington Post headline, to suggest that pornography “promotes violence against women and sexually deviant children, among other societal harms.” Ha, how crazy is that? Not very. There’s nothing sex-positive about porn, which does glorify violence against women. Read more.
East Bay Times: A 3-year-old girl dies in foster care after overdosing on methamphetamine for the second time in 13 days. Mariah Sultana Mustafa died in San Joaquin County, where she was sent by Alameda County child protective services workers. To ensure this never happens again, Alameda County supervisors or the county grand jury should launch an independent investigation to determine for the public why so many warning signs were missed. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Proposition 57 was a deeply flawed measure that Gov. Jerry Brown trumpeted as a big step forward for criminal justice reform. The measure was originally supposed to target juvenile justice, but was revamped to say that anyone convicted of a nonviolent felony offense would be eligible for early parole consideration. Now we know how flawed this measure truly was. Read more.
San Jose Mercury News: Congress does have a doctor in the House. Fifteen of them, to be exact. And another physician in the Senate. So there’s no excuse for the appalling attack on health care in the budget deal passed by Congress on Friday and signed by President Trump. Congress did fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for 10 years, but by grabbing $1.35 billion from the Centers for Disease Control’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. Read more.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Petaluma was among the first cities in California to allow police officers and firefighters to retire at age 50 with pensions up to 90 percent of their salaries. Petaluma now finds itself at the front end of another potential trend. Faced with projected budget deficits attributed to rising payments to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, officials in Sonoma County’s second-largest city are considering two tax measures – a hotel tax and a sales tax – to cover its pension obligations. Read more.
Bloomberg View: Ignore the flim-flam, and President Donald Trump is offering some good ideas with his infrastructure proposal. The question is whether it’s too little, too late. Some aspects are indeed promising. Giving states and cities an incentive to spend more on their own public works makes sense, especially when borrowing costs are moderate. Encouraging them to impose user fees, such as tolls, might help control costs and leave them less reliant on Washington. Read more.
Los Angeles Times: President Trump’s infrastructure plan isn’t a plan. It’s fantasy. The outline the administration put forth Monday is essentially this: The federal government will offer a diminished amount of money – $200 billion over 10 years – for building or repairing roads, bridges, airports, seaports, energy projects and water systems and somehow, magically, $1.5 trillion to $1.8 trillion in infrastructure spending will materialize. Read more.
David Brooks, New York Times: Today, after the financial crisis, the shrinking of the middle class, the partisan warfare, a scarcity mindset is dominant: Resources are limited. The world is dangerous. Group conflict is inevitable. It’s us versus them. Read more.
Frank Bruni, New York Times: North Korea is a rogue state run by a homicidal fanatic who gleefully threatens to nuke other countries. At the start of the Winter Olympics, there was too little coverage that gasped at the audacity of the North Koreans’ attempts to pawn themselves off as the good-natured emissaries of a normal place. Read more.
Paul Krugman, New York Times: The president’s infrastructure plan is a scam. The $1.5 trillion number is just made up; he’s only proposing federal spending of $200 billion, which is somehow supposed to magically induce a vastly bigger overall increase in infrastructure investment. Read more.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: President Trump released a comic-book budget – but not a terribly good one. If the president is going to promise the stars and pay with peanuts, couldn’t he at least make it more interesting? Read more.
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post: Without immigrants, who will win Olympic medals? Are these the people we’re supposed to be afraid of – legal immigrants like the parents of Olympians Chloe Kim and Mirai Nagasu? Read more.
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: Russian “bots” helped President Trump once again by creating momentum for the Feb. 2 release of the Nunes memo, the four-page brief from the House Intelligence Committee chairman alleging surveillance abuses by FBI investigators. Read more.
Paul Waldman, Washington Post: President Trump and Republicans are preparing an assault on the safety net. Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps – it’s all in their crosshairs. And since those programs are quite popular, they’ve settled on a two-prong strategy to chop away at them while hopefully minimizing the backlash. Read more.