BREAKING: There’s too much bad news today. Here are some short takes.
California’s on fire and the rest of the world isn’t looking too good, either. In no particular order… I’ll update these stories as needed throughout the day.
Photos coming out of Los Angeles and nearby environs look more and more like a hellscape. As I write this the Getty Museum is in danger, the major freeways headed north out of Los Angeles have been closed and reopened, and 27,000 people in Ventura County have been forced to evacuate.
The Santa Ana winds are pushing wildfires so intense firefighters can’t get close enough to extinguish flames, and are predicted to last through Friday, with San Diego expected to experience hurricane force gales in the mountains and foothills.
From the Orange County Register:
But even before the start of this week’s fires, this year was going down as the most destructive wildfire season in California history, state officials said.
From Jan. 1 to Dec. 3, there were 6,762 fires that destroyed 505,391 acres. That’s 43 percent more events for the same time period last year, when 244,297 acres were destroyed, according to Cal Fire.
“Fuel. Ignition. Meteorology. Each component of the formula are off the charts this year,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “When all three elements in the equation are supersized, you’re set up for apocalyptic conditions.”
In Washington DC and around the country the push for a clean DREAM Act is in full force. Ten thousand people are expected to rally outside the US Capitol today.
California ACLU affiliates have launched a new online ad campaign starring actress Rosario Dawson, aimed at vulnerable California Republican House members, including Rep. Darell Issa, calling on them to support a clean bill.
Members of both chambers of Congress on both sides of the aisle have expressed support for such legislation. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the 2017 Dream Act, halting removal proceedings and granting lawful permanent residency for immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.
On Tuesday, 34 House GOP members penned a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) urging a 2017 vote on legislation to protect DACA recipients, as reported by The Hill.
The Republican leadership is in no hurry to act on this matter, with both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan making statements about how this legislation can wait until March.
Democrats have threatened to withhold support for an extension of government funding if it does not include a path to citizenship for dreamers. Republican members of the Freedom Caucus have said they will oppose any spending bill including a revisiting of the DREAM act.
Asked about the possibility of a government shutdown on Wednesday, the President took the low road, telling an Associated Press reporter:
“It could happen. The Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous to our country. They are looking at shutting down … they want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country.”
On the same morning as Time Magazine announced its Person of the Year would be the women who’ve stepped forward to denounce sexual harassment, the Senate’s Democratic women took leadership in calling for Minnesota’s Al Franken to resign.
A sixth accuser came forward overnight. Word is that Franken will resign on Thursday.
`The credible charges continued to keep coming,” Sen. Dick Durbin said of Al Franken. “I thought it was an isolated incident or two, but it was a pattern of conduct.”
President Donald Trump, who earlier this month said he was turning down the Time Magazine honor, is mentioned a half-dozen times in the current issue: as a sexual harasser.
In related news, a new Quinnipiac University poll founds 70% of respondents think Congress should investigate the allegations of sexual harassment surrounding the President.
Lest anybody doubt the fact of women waking up politically, consider this: there are now 354 women running for the House in 2018 (291 Democrats & 63 Republicans, for 435 seats). In the 33 Senate races at stake next year, there are 38 women running (25 Democrats & 13 Republicans).
The GOP tax plan is putting California House members in a bind since it clearly represents a tax increase for many of their constituents. The Mercury News rundown of (mostly) bad news for Californians coming out of this legislation also includes such items as the elimination of a tax credit for electric vehicles, removal of deductions for professional education courses, a hit for shorter-term homeowners with changes in the rules on capital gains. That’s in addition to the changes in the SALT (State and Local Taxes) deductions.
There is one bit of good news though for some Californians; kombucha, a fermented tea, will be exempted from alcoholic beverage excise taxes and regulations,
Finally, the President announcing the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not getting good reviews around the world, mostly because of the passions it will stoke. And I can’t help but wonder about the timing, given the drip, drip, drip of news coming out of the Special Counsel and Congressional investigations.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) December 6, 2017
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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