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 '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.
Should we 'hack the climate' to fight global warming? The Paris Agreements won't be enough to reverse global warming, whether President Trump pulls the US out or not. Is it time to try altering the atmosphere by what's called "geoengineering?" We hear about unintended consequences, international relations… and ethics.
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.
The free-flowing leaks in the Trump White House President Obama tried to clamp down on leakers, but the Trump Administration is besieged almost as never before. Are the "anonymous sources" partisans or worried professionals? Are they endangering the republic or performing a public service?