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 plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
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?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?