FROM Richard Minnich
Governor Brown, the Drought, and His Prospects for Re-Election Other Governors have filled annual State of the State speeches with new ideas, with delivery timed for the evening broadcasts of local TV news. Jerry Brown is different. At 9 o’clock this morning, he addressed the state legislature for 17 minutes, reinforcing familiar themes. To emphasize prudent spending and the need for a rainy-day fund, he used a quote from the Bible. While he didn't specifically define the "state of the state," he did say that California is making a "comeback," with a million new jobs since 2010, a budgetary surplus and a rise in the minimum wage. Still, he reminded, one uncertainty we can’t control is the weather, exemplified by the current drought. He also referred to the order of federal courts, backed by the US Supreme Court, that overcrowding of state prisons must come to an end.
Fire Season Opens with Plume of Smoke over Downtown The National Weather Service says high temperatures, low humidity and bone-dry vegetation have created conditions for “explosive fire growth.” Sure enough, a 750-acre blaze in the mountains above Azusa is creating unhealthy air quality in much of LA County. Firefighters and water-dropping helicopters are on the scene, but fire ecologist Richard Minnich of UC Riverside says, instead of fighting it, they should be watching it burn.
The Griffith Park Fire The Griffith Park fire in the Hollywood Hills burned 817 acres, the largest fire in Los Angeles since 1961. Fire officials say it may have been started by a 23-year old homeless man who fell asleep while smoking a cigarette, and is now is being treated for second and third-degree burns. Fire officials say that the fire is now 50% contained and that full control could take another 24 hours.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.