In 2018, you can have a say in the nation’s gridlocked gun debate. Don’t waste it. States in much of the rest of the nation have a “shall-issue” standard. As the name implies, police in states where the gun lobby is strong must issue concealed weapons permits to anyone who seems to be law-abiding. That may be fine for Arizona or Utah, but not California.
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Dan Walters: From a public policy standpoint, there is – or should be – no reason to shield Commission on Judicial Performance from scrutiny, especially since Elaine Howle’s authority to examine confidential records includes a caveat that none will be revealed to the public. She and the Legislature are legitimately interested in whether the CJP is doing its job, not in airing judges’ dirty linen.
John Cox: We need to recognize the present reality that under the federal tax reform, California’s highest in the nation income taxes are a dinosaur that need to be reformed. California needs to stop being Washington D.C.’s cash cow.
Jack Ohman looks at the magnolias on the White House lawn. One survived, one didn’t. See which one lived here.
Take a number: 159
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders spends a lot of time lambasting the “top 1 percent” for sucking up the world’s wealth. But it’s easy to see why his message resonates with the 99 percent after looking at a new report from Bloomberg News. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the 500 richest people on the planet became nearly $1 trillion richer in 2017, giving them a collective net worth of $5.3 trillion, up from $4.4 trillion in 2016. The United States had the largest presence on the index with 159 billionaires, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who added $22.6 billion to his fortune. Collectively, the American billionaires are worth about $2 trillion. These people clearly need a massive tax cut. – Erika D. Smith, @erika_d_smith
East Bay Times: It was bad enough that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, engineered the repeal of President Obama’s landmark rules prohibiting Internet Service Providers from blocking or slowing down the internet or giving preference for certain online content. Now Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee wants to lock the vast majority of Pai’s rules into law through her proposed legislation with the Orwellian title: the Open Internet Preservation Act. The Verizon, AT&T and Comcast Dream Act would be more appropriate.
LA Times: What is the right public health message to send to adults who can now legally buy and use marijuana? Voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 64 last year and polls continue to show broad support for legalization. But just because marijuana is legal doesn’t mean it is risk-free. With just days to go, public health agencies are scrambling to put together education campaigns before Jan. 1. But experts in the field say they face a big problem: There simply isn’t enough research into the impact of adult marijuana use to offer a lot of proven and practical health guidance.
Miami Herald: And the hits just keep on coming. And by hits we mean the insults, negative stereotypes and willful ignorance in which the Trump administration continues to traffic. Last week, the New York Times reported that, in June, President Trump said that thousands of Haitians, apparently bound for the United States, “all have AIDS.” Given the decline of the disease that was unfairly tied to the people of Haiti three decades ago, Trump is wrong, as he has been before.
Seattle Times: Despite the best efforts of the president and the Republican-controlled Congress, the Affordable Care Act is proving extremely difficult to kill. A record number of people have signed up for health insurance through the Washington state exchange during this fall’s ACA enrollment period. About 230,000 people have signed up so far – an incredible 35 percent increase over the same time period. Numbers were also pretty strong nationally, despite the fake-news message from the White House that Obamacare is dying.
Chicago Tribune: Gang violence on the South and Southwest sides is more vicious, and lethal, because some members of Hispanic gangs possess assault-style rifles. The Tribune’s Peter Nickeas reports that since mid-2016, more than 140 people have been shot – 50 fatally – by gang members wielding rifles. This is a foreboding development.
E.J. Dionne Jr.: Democracy imposes a discipline. It demands that no fortunate group should ever claim, by virtue of its position or its educational attainments, the unchallenged right to impose its will on others. To invoke the late Benjamin Barber’s lovely phrase, the only aristocracy democracy fully sanctions is “an aristocracy of everyone.” It is the one sort of aristocracy worth praying for.
Dana Milbank: I write this on Boxing Day, a holiday for many of the Commonwealth nations of the former British empire, with a twinge of envy. I don’t wish that the queen would take us back. But I regret that our head of state, with his jingoistic talk of greatness, squanders American goodness.
“Equipment failure, operator error and terrorist skullduggery make high speed trains vulnerable. Post-accident investigations are informative, but they don’t help the injured and don’t seem to result in more safety.” – Robert Reark, Granite Bay