Numb. That’s the only word for it. California awoke this morning to reports of another mass shooting, this time in Thousand Oaks, a suburban community that prides itself on being among the safest cities in America. More than 100 people, many of them college kids, were in the Borderline Bar & Grill country dance bar when a man dressed in black walked in with some sort of smoke-generating device and opened fire with a .45-caliber Glock handgun, killing 11 people inside and Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, one of the first law-enforcement officers to arrive, before dying of a gunshot himself.
Pundits labeled 2018 the second “Year of the Woman,” a nod to the historic number of women that ran for office Tuesday. The first “Year of the Woman,” of course, was 1992, when Anita Hill was humiliated and ignored and five whole women were elected to the 100-person Senate. Twenty-six years later, the headlines are similarly rapturous. We elected more than 115 women, breaking a zillion records!
We owe these female candidates — and those who organized on their behalf — a debt of gratitude for expanding our vision, often at great personal risk.
But I’m not exactly running down the streets singing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Since I simply cannot resist ruining a happy moment, dozens of women dotted across the country does not a revolution make. At press time, women had won 22% of the House seats, 12% of the Senate seats and 9% of the gubernatorial seats. We continue to make up 51% of the population.
For all the recent talk about the demographic and political shifts underway in Orange County, Tuesday was a snap back to reality. Yes, Democrats have made strides, but Republicans still dominated election day.
While it looks like Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) may have lost his seat after three decades and a Democrat will replace Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) in a district that spans Orange and San Diego counties, Republicans either held onto or won open seats that Democrats had hoped to take, including Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Beach) winning reelection and Young Kim taking the open seat currently held by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton).
In the end Tuesday’s election results went about as expected, though not nearly as well for the Democrats as they had hoped. The took back control of the House, yes, but by a slim margin, and lost a couple more seats in the Senate. As waves go, well, it wasn’t exactly good for surfing.
So what now? The Democrats are in a position to effect change, but not necessarily in the manner they had hoped. With a split Congress, voters can expect little to get accomplished on significant issues. Immigration reform? Stalled. Repealing or adding tax cuts? Nothing doing. Changes to the Affordable Care Act? No prescriptions available.
Local soda taxes have been bubbling up all over the country as studies trickle in from places like Berkeley indicating that soda taxes really do decrease soda consumption. That’s good for public health advocates hoping to curb the rising rates of obesity and diabetes.
I spend a lot of time urging people to vote. But it occurred to me (on Monday) that I had never delivered that message to my niece, Elise Hall, who turned 18 in July. Was she even registered to vote?
Elise graduated from high school this past spring and now juggles a job and classes at a local college. I knew she was civic-minded; in high school, she volunteered her time and expertise doing hair and makeup for women in homeless shelters. But I had a feeling that voter registration might not have been on her to-do list.
Turns out that she had registered online — good for her! — or at least she tried to. She got back a form saying she still had to sign something. I looked her up on lavote.net and she wasn’t listed as registered. That didn’t surprise me. Maybe her name hadn’t made it into the system yet.
You have to give credit to the Trump administration when it’s due. The increased pace of arrests of people living in the country illegally, combined with the order to reopen suspended cases, has pushed the backlog of pending immigration court cases to nearly 1.1 million, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
That’s more than double the backlog when Trump took office, and comes despite a 30% increase in the number of immigration judges.
In Wasteland Express, players buy and sell goods at various outposts to generate the profits they need to win. But once they sell something to any given outpost, they can’t go back with their next truckload of goods — the transaction was so acrimonious, the buyers won’t do business with them.
In recent weeks, the president has said things about individual Democrats and the Democratic Party in general that suggest he won’t be doing business with them next year. Take, for instance, these three tweets he made Saturday, then retweeted Tuesday morning:
If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi gain the majority, they will try to raise your taxes, restore job-killing regulations, shut down your coal mines and timber mills, take away your healthcare, impose socialism, and ERASE your borders. VOTE for @MattForMontana and @GregForMontana! pic.twitter.com/aDnCQKY7QD
With Washington, D.C., unlikely to act on climate change any time soon, voters in Washington state Tuesday are deciding whether to impose the nation’s first carbon tax.
Initiative 1631 would charge a “fee” (basically a tax) on large emitters of greenhouse gases, such as oil companies and electric utilities. The money raised from the fee would be used to develop renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, energy efficiency programs and other projects designed to reduce carbon emissions. The state could eventually raise $1 billion a year by 2025 — money that could help transform the state’s infrastructure and economy.
This is the second time voters in Washington have considered a carbon tax. Voter rejected a 2016 initiative that would have levied a higher carbon tax on fossil fuels but refunded all the revenue through tax cuts and rebates.