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 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."
East Asia: President Trump's first foreign policy test Starting with North Korea's latest test of nuclear missiles, a chain of events is causing instability in Asia. Could it turn into the first real foreign policy crisis of the Trump Administration?
Trump's opening offer: Making some of America 'great again?' A massive increase for the Pentagon at the expense of domestic programs. We hear about winners and losers in the President's first proposed budget.