FROM David McCuan
California's Budget Madness Comes to a Close...Sorta Twelve billion dollars in tax increases, $15 billion in spending cuts, $11 billion in borrowing? In the wee hours of this morning, despite the knowledge that as a Republican he would face “dire political ramifications,” State Senator Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria finally said, yes, acknowledging that “the ramifications for the people of California are far much greater.” So, you might think it’s all over. After all the wrangling, it’s still possible the state could run out of money. Crucial parts of the $42 billion deal will have to be approved by the voters.
Gay Rights, Voters' Will The state constitution promises equal protection to all Californians. Last summer, the State Supreme Court ruled that means same-sex couples can legally marry . On Tuesday, the voters passed Proposition 8 , which banned same-sex marriage by amending the constitution—or did it? Yesterday, three separate lawsuits were filed, contending that Prop 8 was not an amendment at all but an illegal revision.
What Does Prop 8 Mean for School Curriculum? The State Supreme Court has declared that the Constitution gives same sex couples the right to be married. Proposition 8 would nullify that decision and limit marriage to one man and one woman. Early polls suggested it was likely to lose, but the "yes" side has been gaining, with big money and advertising that is not overtly based on religious doctrine.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
"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."
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?