FROM Evan Halper
Democrats and the lessons of a losing campaign If Jon Ossoff had won yesterday in the Atlanta suburbs, his campaign would have provided a blueprint for other Democrats to challenge the GOP, but he lost — after the most expensive Congressional race in history. The political novice, surprised a lot of contributors by taking a moderate tone. His opponent, veteran Republican Sharon Handel's message was tough as nails. So, was his typically centrist campaign a blueprint for failure? It's the fourth special-election defeat for Democrats with an unpopular Republican in the White House; many anti-Trump activists around the country are angry. They're tired of waiting for the National Party to do “something right” — and they're organizing on their own at the state and local level.
How Trump's budget affects housing and the environment in California President Donald Trump released his budget blueprint today. Proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, and public education could deal a painful blow to California. Trump’s blueprint is so extreme that some top Republicans are pushing back against parts of it.
Political Campaigns and Big Data Well, the presidential candidates are in hyper mode this week, making their last pitches to the voters of Iowa. And those pitches have become highly specialized in the era of big data. The L.A. Times has a story on the candidates’ use of data mining with this example: People who buy Chevy trucks and who also like Starbucks are likely to be in favor of cracking down on immigration. And it turns out, political campaigns are not subject to the same laws as companies are when it comes to using this data. What are they doing with it?
Will California Republican Kevin McCarthy Replace John Boehner? John Boehner resigned from Congress this morning. Now, a California Republican, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, is considered the leading candidate to replace Boehner as Speaker of the House. That’s despite the fact that he’s only been a member of Congress for nine years.
The Bitter Battle over Added Sugar in Your Food Obesity is a major health problem in the United States, and sugar is one of the causes. Even foods that already contain natural sugar have more sugar added as they're prepared for the market. Food labels already tell you the total amount of sugar. Now the FDA wants to break that down , so you know how much has been added. That's led to a lobbying frenzy, with 287,889 public comments. If Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Kellogg cereals, the Dairy Industry and two state governors are against you, you must be doing something right. That's what the food-and-nutrition police say about industry opposition to the FDA proposal. One health-advocacy group analyzed 80,000 food products, found 58% contained more sugar than they have naturally and insists that consumers ought to know. We hear about the lobbying frenzy over an idea first introduced by Michelle Obama.
Is Marijuana Prohibition Going Up in Smoke? Bans on marijuana may follow alcohol prohibition into the dustbin of American history. In November election, four states and Washington, DC have now approved recreational use. California and other states are on the agenda for 2016. But medical use in 23 states has proven it won’t be easy. Problems with finance, quality control and protection of children have not been resolved, and pot is still in the same category as heroin under federal law. Will politicians be swayed by public opinion? (This segment originally aired on November 7.)
Is Marijuana Prohibition Going Up in Smoke? Bans on marijuana may follow alcohol prohibition into the dustbin of American history. Twenty-three states have legalized medical marijuana. On Tuesday, Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia joined Colorado and Washington State in approving recreational use. California and other states are on the agenda for 2016. But medical use in 23 states has proven it won’t be easy. Problems with finance, quality control and protection of children have not been resolved, and pot is still in the same category as heroin under federal law. Will politicians be swayed by public opinion?
California's McCarthy is Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield has been elected Majority Leader of Congress to replace Eric Cantor, who lost his primary in Virginia to another Republican. With Speaker Nancy Pelosi now Democratic minority leader, California has unprecedented clout… or does it? Evan Halper reports from Washington for the LA Times .
Are US Power Grids Ready for an Increase in Green Energy? As the development of renewable power sources increases by leaps and bounds, is America's fragile power grid prepared for new energy from millions of windmills and solar panels? In Golden, Colorado, the Department of Energy has just turned on a supercomputer named Peregrine, which does a quadrillion calculations per second. "Its job is to figure out how to cope with a risk from something the public thinks is benign: renewable energy." That's from a story by Evan Halper in today's Los Angeles Times .
Paying for Roads in the Future We've heard how cars are evolving into mobile communications devices. They still need roads to drive on, at a time when highway conditions are worse than ever and money for repair and construction is running short on the local, state and federal levels. California voters may soon face the option of doubling the car tax, chopped in half by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Federal Shutdown and Southern California Early this afternoon, Pacific Time, President Obama outlined the furloughs and other actions he'll implement if the House and the Senate can't agree to fund the government before the money runs out at midnight tonight. Southern California is a major population center that depends on the nation's capital in many ways. How will it be affected if the government shuts down?
Prop 39 Poised to Change the Tax Code Proposition 39 was put on the ballot by San Francisco hedge fund manager Tom Steyer. He's bankrolled the campaign with $22 million. It would repeal a law passed in a late-night session of the state legislature that lets multi-state companies choose how they'll be taxed in California. Getting rid of that law would raise about one billion dollars in new revenue. Evan Halper is Bureau Chief in Sacramento for the LA Times .
Public Education and Next Month's Election Two measures on next month's statewide ballot would provide new money for public schools. Proposition 38 is sponsored by LA attorney Molly Munger and backed by the State PTA . It would increase income taxes on all but the poorest Californians to raise $10 billion a year for K through 12 education. It would also impact higher education in California. Governor Brown's Proposition 30 would raise everybody's sales taxes and income taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year. This year's budget is balanced on the assumption that Prop 30 will pass. What could happen there if Prop 30 failed to pass?
Governor Brown Says, 'Thanks, but No Thanks' Governor Brown today vetoed the budget passed yesterday by the Democratic majority in Sacramento, issuing an explanation on YouTube. Last year, voters passed Proposition 25 , providing that legislators would not get paid if they failed to meet the constitutional budget deadline of midnight last night. For the first time in 25 years, they made it. But what happens now that Brown has cast his veto? State Controller John Chiang, a Democrat, signs the checks.
Jerry Brown Presents a Gloomy Budget With a $25 billion budget gap between spending and income, Governor Jerry Brown proposes $12 billion in cuts and will ask voters for $12.5 billion in extended tax hikes. He says there's no other choice. If the budget passes, the state won't be funding local redevelopment agencies. What will be left of the "safety net" for the aged, the disabled and the poor?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?