FROM Jim Mayer
The Justice Department: Too Much Change, or Not Enough? Barack Obama’s nominee for Attorney General faced a Senate confirmation hearing today. He was introduced to the Judiciary Committee by Virginia’s newly-retired Republican Senator John Warner as a man whose “misjudgments will not be repeated.” In response to Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, Holder answered one question that his Republican predecessors have avoided…
$40 Billion Hole in State Budget Stays Empty California faces a $40 billion deficit over the next two years, but in a few weeks it will run out of money to pay for operating expenses. Governor Schwarzenegger says new taxes are needed, but Republicans in the legislature won't go along. Democrats have a majority, but not enough to provide the two-thirds vote required for new taxes. They have been negotiating with Schwarzenegger on an $18 billion stop-gap, but today talks broke down. We get an update and learn more about the "dysfunctionality" of California government.
Government Reform Begins with the Lines on a Map By gerrymandering their own district boundaries, Democrats and Republicans in the Assembly and Senate have guaranteed that legislative seats almost never change from parties. Proposition 11 would give the job to a bi-partisan citizens' commission. This is the first step toward real reform of state government, but it's still not clear if it passed. Jim Mayer is executive director of California Forward, a bipartisan group promoting reform.
California Facing Continuing Fiscal Crisis Governor Schwarzenegger and the state legislature may have to re-open the budget, passed grudgingly after Republicans and Democrats deadlocked for 85 days past the date it was due. In the meantime, California schools, law enforcement and local governments may be at risk unless the state gets a $7 billion loan from Washington soon.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
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?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.