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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 15,246

Journal Archives

Protect it? President Trumps travel ban threatens America

It was obvious that Donald Trump would do dramatic things early on as president to shake up an existing order that he and many of his supporters believe is bad for America. But the stunning cruelty and ineptitude with which Trump abruptly imposed a temporary ban on all refugees and on immigration from seven majority Muslim nations — causing commotions at airports from San Diego to New York and nightmares around the world — should give even his admirers pause. Presidencies are often haunted by early missteps, and this one was gargantuan.

Before announcing the new rule Friday, Trump and his inner circle didn’t consult any of the high-powered national-security officials in his Cabinet, including, as reported by The New York Times, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Chief John Kelly. Had they been involved, there is a far better chance that the new policy would have been crafted with more care and might not have accepted the paranoid fiction that all refugees are a security threat with none deserving of kindness. It probably would have pinned down such crucial details as how those with green cards from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen would be treated by customs authorities.

Instead, these legal residents of the U.S. faced 48 hours of intense confusion and fear.

There will be many Trump supporters who rally to his aides’ insistence that the media exaggerated problems and that the turmoil at airports was at least as much due to protests and problems Delta had with its computers. But it says something that the American Civil Liberties Union, which raises $4 million online in a typical year, raised six times that this weekend.


Trump's first week: For many in Arizona, it doesn't get any better than this

Across the massive mall parking lot from the Red Lobster, Rush Limbaugh’s radio show blared from the speakers of a silver sedan, idling near Party City with its windows down.

The nominal topic Monday was the alleged liberal assault on NFL quarterback Tom Brady, but Limbaugh had long since moved on: to a border wall, suspicions of nationwide protests and President Trump’s response to the threat posed by foreigners.

Nodding approvingly in the driver’s seat was Doyle MacCree, 84, of Goodyear, a conservative suburb west of Phoenix.

Here, more than 120 miles from the border, Arizona voters outraged with President Obama’s executive orders that welcomed the foreign-born to America are delighted with Trump’s first week in office, when his actions seemed to have done the opposite.


As mentioned in another article, Trump's actions are increasing his approval ratings with registered Republicans.

GOP-led Congress starting to worry about its role in the Trump era

It’s what congressional Republicans had long dreamed about: a majority in both chambers to advance conservative policies and a president from the same party to sign them into law.

But the Trump White House isn’t turning out exactly the way they envisioned.

The GOP establishment is experiencing whiplash after a week of President Trump bulldozing through the norms of policy and protocol — dashing off executive orders without warning, escalating a diplomatic crisis with the country’s closest southern neighbor, triggering global confusion with a new refugee policy and generally hijacking party leaders’ agenda and replacing it with his own.

Rather than the hoped-for collaborative new relationship between the White House and Congress, GOP officials complain that Trump is brushing aside their advice, failing to fully engage on drafting tough legislative packages like tax reform and Obamacare, and bypassing Congress by relying on executive actions, something they frequently complained about under President Obama.


California's new pot economy valued at $7 billion

The future of California's legal marijuana industry is being shaped in a warren of cubicles tucked inside a retired basketball arena, where a garden of paper cannabis leaves sprouts on file cabinets and a burlap sack advertising "USA Home Grown" dangles from a wall.

Here, in the outskirts of Sacramento, a handful of government workers face a daunting task: By Jan. 1, craft regulations and rules that will govern the state's emerging legal pot market, from where and how plants can be grown to setting guidelines to track the buds from fields to stores.

Getting it wrong could mean the robust cannabis black market stays that way - outside the law - undercutting the attempt to create the nation's largest legal marijuana economy. The new industry has a projected value of $7 billion, and state and local governments could eventually collect $1 billion a year in taxes.

California is "building the airplane while it's being flown," lamented state Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat whose sprawling Northern California district includes some of the world's most prized pot fields.


Trump did great this week (according to his supporters)

By most mainstream accounts, President Trump’s first week in office was chaotic, dominated by needless arguments over inauguration crowds, mythical millions of illegal voters and a Twitter fight with the president of Mexico. That’s how it looked to many of us, anyway.

But there’s a counter-narrative out there, too, among Trump supporters and on conservative media outlets such as Fox News and Breitbart. To the Trump faithful, the real news is that the president is doing what they wanted: He’s keeping his campaign promises.

Consider this a list of “alternative facts,” if you want — except in this case, the facts are real.

Trump jawboned U.S. companies to stop exporting jobs and persuaded some to promise new jobs at home. He formally withdrew from President Obama’s 12-country trade deal with Asia, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He reaffirmed his intention to build a wall on the border with Mexico, banned refugee admissions from Syria and ordered “extreme vetting” for would-be refugees from other countries. He instructed federal agencies to minimize any effort to make Obamacare work. He removed obstacles to the Keystone XL and Dakota access pipelines, and ordered that they be built with American steel. And next week, he plans to nominate a new Supreme Court justice whose name, he’s said, will thrill conservatives.


Why California's governor may emerge as top defender of liberal values

As California gears up for four years under a Republican White House and Congress, Gov. Jerry Brown is emerging as uniquely suited to playing a key role for blue states inclined toward political rebellion.

Since the tea party wave of 2010, the picture has been reversed: Red states barraging the Obama administration with lawsuit after lawsuit. The question now is whether blue states will respond in kind.

Governor Brown, who has a history of political independence and no elections left to campaign for, may be the Democrat most likely to chart a path that not only defends liberal values but also finds some practical middle ground with Washington, when possible.

The four-term governor of the country’s biggest state brings a mixture of experience, personal prudence, and pragmatism. And at a time when California is holding itself up as a big blue target for the new administration’s deeply conservative agenda, experts say, Brown may provide what the state – and the Democratic Party – needs to see.


Rep. Hunter mixed personal and campaign expenses, trips

Among tens of thousands of dollars that Rep. Duncan Hunter paid back to his campaign treasury in November were two unexplained charges to Feis Productions, totaling $230.

The charges had originally been reported as event entertainment. It turns out Feis Productions services registrations for Irish dance festivals where Hunter’s daughters compete.

“Any charges processed by Feis Productions would not and could not be be for anything related to a political campaign,” said Jim Gilmartin of Feis.

Hunter, R-Alpine, also spent campaign funds at hotels during dance competitions — one in Los Angeles, one in Orange County and one at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix.


Another asshole Republican living large off campaign donations. Small wonder they wanted to torpedo the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Emmy winner Barbara Hale, who played Perry Mason's secretary, has died at 94

Source: LA Times

Barbara Hale, best known for her Emmy Award-winning role as Perry Mason’s loyal secretary Della Street on the long-running 1950s and ’60s TV series starring Raymond Burr, has died. She was 94.

Hale died Thursday, according to her son, actor William Katt, who posted the news on his Facebook page. Katt’s agent, Jacqueline Sander, said Hale died at home, at peace with her family and friends.

“We’ve all been so lucky to have her for so long. She was gracious and kind and silly and always fun to be with …,” Katt wrote on Facebook. “We’re all a little lost without her but we have extraordinary stories and memories to take with us for the rest of our lives.”

Based on characters in author Erle Stanley Gardner’s popular mystery series, the hourlong “Perry Mason,” about a crime-solving defense attorney, ran for nine seasons on CBS, from 1957 to 1966.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-barbara-hale-snap-story.html

Californians compete for a rare prize: a blue-collar union job paying up to $200,000

If Cynthia Byington wins her version of the lottery, she will probably have to wait a decade to claim her prize. But Byington doesn’t mind, because the reward is a shot at one of the rarest lifelines left for working-class Americans: a unionized blue-collar job.

In February, for the first time in over a decade, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union will raffle off thousands of part-time gigs working at Los Angeles-area ports. The slots don’t come with benefits or steady hours. But eventually, after putting in years at the docks, some of those part-timers may earn the chance to become unionized longshoremen, who can make as much as $200,000 per year.

“You get full benefits your entire life. Even if it’s not ‘til I turn 90, it’s worth it,” Byington, 53, said.

The 2,400 names drawn in the raffle will become “casual” longshoremen.


With California's 'sanctuary cities,' Trump might be starting a fight he can't win

President Trump wasted no time inviting a showdown with California and other liberal states with his threat this week against so-called sanctuary cities, setting off a frenzy of resistance that will test the president’s power to carry out his vision to deport millions of people here illegally.

The executive order Trump issued Wednesday putting cities and counties on notice that they would lose federal funding if they didn’t start cooperating with immigration agents has broad implications for California, a state that aggressively protects its undocumented population from deportation.

But while the order allowed Trump to boast that he is fulfilling a campaign pledge, it also commits him to a fight that he is not necessarily poised to win.

The cities and counties Trump is targeting have many tools to strike back. Among the most potent are high court decisions that have interpreted financial threats like the one Trump is now making as an unlawful intrusion on state’s rights.

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