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.
Trump, the GOP and the rule of law Conservatives — and some Republicans — are criticizing the President for "the mess he made" in firing FBI Director James Comey. We hear about a potential successor, the possibility of "obstruction of justice" and the constitutional separation of powers.
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.
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.