What to worry about: North Korea or transgender people in the military?

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016.
Entrepreneur Peter Thiel speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. AP

Good morning, and welcome to Take Two, our weekly sampler of opinion, drawn from The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s opinion-politics newsletter, The Take. Please go to sacbee.com/site-services/newsletters/ to sign up.

Professors’ pay

UC Davis ex-Chancellor Linda Katehi was getting pummeled over her pay, $318,200 a year for teaching one engineering class. That’s a sweet gig. But we were more annoyed that Cal State students (and parents) will be paying $270 more in tuition this year to cover the 10.5 percent pay hikes for CSU teachers. We don’t begrudge professors their pay, though no one we know outside of government gets 10.5 percent raises. The board of trustees, which includes Speaker Anthony Rendon, granted the raise knowing there was no money for it. The Legislature, led by Rendon, didn’t cough up money to cover the cost. So it falls to the students (and parents).

Trump’s worldview

McClatchy contributor Andrew Malcolm wrote a provocative column about President Donald Trump’s choices on North Korea, none of them good, noting that it “seems counter-intuitive and dangerous to combat one nation’s nuclear weapons development by encouraging others to get their own. It is. But all reasonable alternatives are foreclosed now. And the countdown is underway.” Other publications are becoming alarmed by Trump foreign policy, whatever it is. The Miami Herald noted Trump “has yet to execute a solid, grounded foreign policy, as opposed to the kind he favors based on personal contact, deal making, and tweeting on a whim.” But our president did take time to pick on transgender people.

Trump acts

Political reporting 101: Watch what they do, not what they say. Candidate Trump made a point of having billionaire Peter Thiel, who is gay, give a speech at the Republican National Convention a year ago, and promised to fight for LGBT rights. President Trump is doing the opposite, tweeting that transgender people were no longer welcome in the military. On that same day, the U.S. Justice Department under “beleaguered” Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a brief urging that the federal appeals court in New York reject the argument that discrimination based on sexual orientation violates the federal law against sex discrimination in employment. Yes, Trump is playing to conservatives. But as UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky writes on these pages, Trump also is toying with “the rights and dignity of millions of Americans.” Our guess is that Trump doesn’t care. The Take does wonder if Thiel is feeling used.

Anthem jumps

In Illinois, Affordable Care Act premiums will rise by as much as 43 percent in 2018. In South Carolina, they’ll be up by 33 percent. In Ohio, premiums will rise by 20 percent. California’s anticipated 12.5 percent hike is modest by comparison. Still, Anthem Blue Cross’ decision to pull out of much of the California market is a blemish, though Anthem never supported Obamacare. Not enough profit to be made, we guess. And uncertainty remains, thanks to Trump, who irresponsibly and heartlessly advocates letting Obamacare implode. Inna Tysoe of Sacramento, one of our wise letter writers, wondered: “How can we explain to Trump that health care is not about winning at all costs? It’s about helping people.”

Nurses persist

California Nurses Association leader Deborah Burger took the opportunity of Covered California’s announcement of the premiums increase to offer up an op-ed that once again criticizes Speaker Rendon for blocking half-baked legislation to create a single-payer system. Burger urged lawmakers to take up the bill when they return in August. The union’s tactics are questionable, but its persistence is something to behold.