FROM Scott Stephens
First the inferno, Now the clean-up. What then? The blazes in Northern California are being called "firestorms," "hurricanes" and "blizzards of flame." They've been compared to a "blowtorch." In a state where wildfires are hardly uncommon, experts say civilian casualties and property loss are "historic" — like "nothing [they've] ever seen." The death toll is at least 42; some 3000 homes were destroyed; 213,000 acres have been turned into charred wastelands. Survivors are warned that debris is too toxic to allow digging for beloved possessions; smoke and ashes are causing health problems for miles around. What caused the fires? Why did they spread? Can the next ones be prevented?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.