DeMarcus Cousins joins the Warriors, drives a stake through Kings fans’ hearts. Former Kings All-Star DeMarcus Cousins will play for the champion Golden State Warriors – the team that the Kings can only envy. LeBron James took his talents to the L.A. Lakers. Soon, the Kings and Sacramento will be an afterthought on the NBA stage, overshadowed yet again by its California rivals. Read more.
Jack Ohman: Representatives of Sensible America, this is your Declaration of Independence. Read more.
Andrew Malcolm, McClatchy, D.C.: One of the more serious problems with America’s current fixation on instant gratification is its indulgence in instant outrage fueled by a general cultural coarsening and enabled by social media. Read more.
Dan Walters, CALMatters: California Penal Code Section 518 defines extortion as “the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right.” It can land you in prison for quite a few years, which raises interesting questions about what happened in the state Capitol last week. Read more.
Beth Smoker and Brenda Ruiz: Federal policies have made it possible for the Central Valley to become the leading producer of specialty crops and for everyone, regardless of race or class, to eat healthy food. The five-year farm bill now being negotiated in Congress could change that. Read more.
Liz Helms: Health insurance is supposed to make medications for chronic conditions more affordable, but this is not always the case due to common practices by the largely unregulated pharmacy benefit manager industry. Fortunately, there are steps California legislators can take right now to address two specific unfair practices. Read more.
Peggy Broussard Wheeler: It is a major challenge to ensure that homeless patients stay on a path toward healing once they no longer need the services of a hospital. Senate Bill 1152 won’t help resolve it. Read more.
Takes on Cousins and NBA
Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated: DeMarcus Cousins isn’t for everyone: The polarizing center’s size, skill and reliable 25/10 production come gift-wrapped in a deep pile of red flags that have repeatedly sabotaged and sidetracked his NBA career. While Cousins isn’t for everyone, he’s perfect for the Warriors. Read more.
Marc J. Spears, The Undefeated: DeMarcus Cousins was sleepless and confused in Las Vegas. The four-time NBA All-Star was an unrestricted free agent who was supposed to be as coveted as anyone available other than LeBron James and Paul George. Read more.
Los Angeles Times editorial board: LeBron James joins the Los Angeles Lakers at a not-so-storied moment in the team’s history – not exactly a low point, given the wealth of young talent but still far removed from its championship seasons of yore. Adding the world’s greatest basketball player is the best thing imaginable for this promising but overmatched group, potentially lifting it from the dregs of the NBA to, well, at least the first round of the playoffs. Read more.
Takes on abortion and Supreme Court
Frank Bruni, New York Times: There’s little that President Donald Trump loves more than cementing his supporters’ adoration of him while making his foes squirm. Nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court would do both. Read more.
Megan McArdle, Washington Post: The extent to which Roe v. Wade has come to dominate American politics can be found in the anguished cries that followed the announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the Supreme Court. How can someone who calls herself pro-choice oppose Roe v. Wade? Let me count the ways. Read more.
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: Some analysis predict that if a conservative fills the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the departing Justice Anthony Kennedy, abortion is dead. The effect has been an unloosing of hysteria upon the land. Read more.
Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg: Abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, but it is the main topic in the debate over replacing retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. We are certainly going to hear a lot of polarized rhetoric about abortion over the next few months. But we should keep in mind three middle-of-the-road truths. Read more.
Chicago Tribune editorial board: In an age of political and moral polarization, health care is treacherous ground. It’s a hard question that may require reassessment because of a Supreme Court decision on a California law. California required licensed crisis pregnancy centers – which offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and counseling – to post notices telling patients that the state ensures free or low-priced access to contraception and abortion. Read more.
Orange County Register: California adopted the statewide initiative process in 1911, one of a series of reforms intended to get government out of smoke-filled rooms and into the sunlight. The reformers of that era would not be happy to see what has happened to the initiative process in the Golden State. It has become the means for backroom deals more twisting and secretive than anything the corrupt government dominated by the Southern Pacific Railroad could have imagined. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: In 2014, then-state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, helped pass a law that lets initiative sponsors who have gathered enough signatures to place measures on the ballot pull them subsequently if state lawmakers offer compromise legislation that the sponsors find acceptable. Supporters argued that it would both lessen the risks of unintended consequences from poorly drafted initiatives and promote a problem-solving attitude in the Legislature. Last week the law came into play in a major way on several big issues, leading to calls of “extortion.” Read more.
San Jose Mercury News: Ghost Ship defendants Derick Almena and Max Harris are getting a sweet plea deal. It’s an injustice to the families of the 36 who perished in the Oakland warehouse fire 19 months ago. Almena faces up to nine years in county jail. Harris is expected to receive a six-year sentence. It doesn’t feel right. Thirty-six deaths and these two will be free in just a few years. We share the frustration of the relatives, although we cannot begin to feel their pain. Read more.
(San Luis Obispo) Tribune: Is a life worth $8,000 per year? Of course! So we’re having a hard time figuring out why every local fire department hasn’t already enrolled in PulsePoint, a mobile app that “matches” people who go into cardiac arrest in public places – such as stores, restaurants and offices – with volunteer “citizen responders” who have been trained in CPR. Read more.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: In this Independence Day week, many North Coast residents are understandably worried about fireworks and the possibility of another catastrophe. Despite last year’s firestorm, which destroyed 5,300 homes in Sonoma County alone, spinners, sparklers and other personal fireworks can be purchased this week in four of nine local cities. We hope this is the last year for those sales. Read more.
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: On this Fourth of July, if you want to be an optimist about America, stand on your head. The country looks so much better from the bottom up. Read more.
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times: It’s too soon to tell whether America will survive Trump in any recognizable form. But if it does, it will be because women have realized that no one is coming to save democracy for us, and they have set out to rescue it themselves. Read more.
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: This one feels different. And what does it say about this country when one has seen enough mass shootings to become a connoisseur of them? But yes, what happened last week in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis does feel different. It feels too close for comfort. Read more.
Tweets of the day
I am joining the Golden State Warriors.— God (@TheTweetOfGod) July 3, 2018
BREAKING: The LA Lakers have now signed with the Golden State Warriors.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 3, 2018
"I'm the one who's going to be criticized for daring to say, I miss an NBA where there was some actual suspense about what the end of the movie is going to be."@getnickwright reacts to Boogie signing with @warriors pic.twitter.com/byjHGJHGRv— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 3, 2018