Please, state Supreme Court. Save us from this ridiculous ‘Three Californias’ plan. Billionaire Tim Draper’s plan to split California into three states has little chance of becoming reality, but will cause years of confusion and upheaval. The state Supreme Court should kick it off the Nov. 6 ballot. Read more.
Jack Ohman attends the latest Russian soccer match. See who dropped the ball here.
Mike Dunbar, Modesto Bee: Who is using our rivers, draining our aquifers? Everyone who waters a lawn, takes a shower and drinks from the tap deserves blame. Everyone whose pantry and refrigerator are filled with cheese, wine, steaks, cherries, apples, peaches, chicken and yes, salmon fillets, deserves blame, too. Read more.
Dan Walters, CALMatters: Over the last half-decade, California has spent many billions of dollars to close the “achievement gap” that separates poor and “English learner” K-12 students from their more privileged classmates. Read more.
Stephen Lockhart and Caryl Hart: In 2015, a commission recommended difficult changes for the hidebound and underfunded California Department of Parks and Recreation. Department leaders embraced the challenge and state parks are on the right track. Read more.
Erwin Chemerinsky: Should Democrats even bother to fight Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination? Read more.
Takes on Trump-Putin summit
Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg: Donald Trump capped off his disastrous three-stop foreign trip by joining Vladimir Putin for an embarrassing and craven news conference. Yes, it’s very tempting to just say that a fiasco-filled foreign trip won’t matter when it comes to domestic politics. I’m not so sure. Read more.
Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg: Given the weeks of apocalyptic speculation that preceded the Helsinki summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the news conference that followed the meeting Monday should have been anticlimactic: Nothing was agreed, nothing gained or conceded. Read more.
David Brooks, New York Times: We are witnessing the death of America’s relationship with Europe, and Donald Trump’s betrayal Monday of the democratic values that were the basis for that relationship. Read more.
James Fallows, The Atlantic: There are exactly two possible explanations for the shameful performance the world witnessed on Monday. Either Donald Trump is flat-out an agent of Russian interest, or he is so profoundly ignorant, insecure, and narcissistic that he did not realize that, at every step, he was advancing the line that Putin hoped he would advance. Read more.
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: President Donald Trump has responded to every new bit of evidence from the CIA, FBI and NSA that Russia intervened in our last election on his behalf by either attacking Barack Obama or the Democrats for being too lax – never President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Such behavior is so contrary to American interests and values, that it leads to only one conclusion: Trump is either an asset of Russian intelligence or really enjoys playing one on TV. Read more.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Defining a foreign policy theory that might merit the title of “doctrine” is difficult in the Trump administration, which is dismissive of reflection, consistency and precedent. But in practice, it is the replacement of national pride with personal vanity. Read more.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: President Trump’s summit in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin went a long way toward achieving Putin’s most cherished goal, which is to return his vast and complicated nation to the exalted geopolitical status it long enjoyed as part of the Soviet Union. Read more.
Karen Tumulty, Washington Post: President Donald Trump has turned the Republican Party into what Jeane J. Kirkpatrick once contemptuously branded the Democrats: “the blame America first crowd.” The sight of a U.S. president standing alongside a Russian one and attacking an investigation by this country’s Justice Department was disgraceful. Read more.
Los Angeles Times editorial board: In an appalling spectacle that dismayed even some of his own supporters, President Donald Trump stood next to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday and called into question the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community and his own senior advisers that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It’s obvious that no amount of evidence will budge the president from his reluctance to acknowledge the past and present threat posed by Russia to American democracy. Read more.
San Francisco Chronicle editorial board: President Trump’s performance at his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin was an unmitigated disaster. He cowered when he should have confronted, he deflected when he should have been definitive, he whiffed when he should have been taking to task the leader of a hostile nation whose military attacked American democracy. Read more.
Los Angeles Times: In the statute books, California has changed sentencing policies to make them more rational and just, and to ensure that costly prison beds are used for only the most serious criminals. On the ground, though, police and prosecutors have been slow to update their practices, and that has gotten in the way of their ability to fight crime. Read more.
Orange County Register: The Trump administration revived calls for privatizing air traffic control services last month. The report renews the White House’s commitment to seeing America join the rest of industrialized world by moving towards a non-profit system funded by user fees. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: UC branches offered admission to a record number of transfer students this fall – about 28,750 applicants. More than 85 percent of these accepted applicants are from California, with nearly all from community colleges, university officials said. Read more.
San Jose Mercury News: Democrats are playing into President Trump’s hands by their calls to abolish ICE. Demanding the elimination of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency may feel good. But it misses this key point: ICE is merely enforcing Trump policies that regard every immigrant as a security threat. Read more.
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Put aside whatever suspicions you may have about whether Donald Trump will be directly implicated in the Russian investigation. Trump is right now, before our eyes and those of the world, committing an unbelievable and unforgivable crime against this country. It is his failure to defend. Read more.
Ross Douthat, New York Times: Democracy is in peril. The majority no longer rules; a determined minority has the whip hand. The least accountable branch of government, the Supreme Court, has fallen into the hands of an aggressively counter-majoritarian faction, which intends to traduce self-government for ideological ends. Read more.
Paul Krugman, New York Times: Last week, Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers issued a new report on poverty asserting that it is no longer a problem. It calls for the widespread imposition of work requirements for Medicaid, food stamps and other programs. Read more.
David Leonhardt, New York Times: After Katrina’s devastation, New Orleans embarked on the most ambitious education overhaul in modern America. The state took over the system in 2005, abolished the old bureaucracy and closed nearly every school. Read more.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: At long last, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has spoken out about the killing of at least 264 people in Nicaragua’s anti-government protests over the past three months. But his statement, in addition to being long overdue, is pitiful. Read more.
Tweets of the day
As I said today and many times before, “I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.” However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past – as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along! #HELSINKI2018— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2018
Today is a good day for Putin and the oligarchs in Russia. It is a bad day for people in the United States and all over the world who believe in democracy and who are trying to understand what world our idiot president lives in.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 16, 2018
And you thought the dudes kneeling during the national anthem were disrespecting the flag...— jelani cobb (@jelani9) July 16, 2018