FROM Sam Blakeslee
More Budget Cuts and a Bid to Raise Taxes Governor Brown delivered his State of the State speech today to a joint session of the Assembly and Senate. He proposed more cuts he said nobody likes in the budget, but also asked voters to approve a tax increase or face still more reductions. While pushing for reductions in spending, he called for major investments, including a California High-Speed Rail project that's been called unaffordable by a task force created by voters at the same time they approved the project four years ago. The Governor named education as the biggest item in the state budget, and proposed giving local school boards more authority.
Freshman Legislators Meet Gridlock in Sacramento In Sacramento yesterday, California's top four finance officials — appointed and elected — addressed a special session of the Assembly and Senate. They were unanimous: act now or the state will run out of money. Legislators listened, but did they get the message? We hear from Sacramento Bee syndicated columnist Dan Walters and ask freshman legislators from both parties what they'll do to end the gridlock.
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.
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.
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.