Well, that was sure ugly. Last week’s Republican conclave in Cleveland came across less as a nominating convention than as a four-day nervous breakdown, a moment of fracture and bipolarity from a party that no longer has any clear idea what it stands for or what it is. Everywhere you turned there was something that made you embarrassed for them, something so disconnected from fact, logic or decency as to suggest those things no longer have much meaning for the party faithful. Did the convention really earn rave reviews from white supremacists, with one tweeting approvingly that the GOP “is becoming the de facto white party?” Did Florida Gov. …

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Justice Department is right to try to block Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergersPressure to match provider consolidation is high, but upside for consumers is unprovenIn California, Anthem merger alone would let one insurer control market in nearly half the state … »

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One-percenters pay half of state income taxesTemporary tax hikes didn’t spur mass exodusWould extending them have different effect? … Click to Continue »

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Next up, we have the Democratic National Convention — unless the delegates are all home hiding under the bed, expecting the apocalyptic collapse of civilization any minute.Which is to say, unless they watched the Republican National Convention.Hope and change was the theme of Barack Obama’s nominating convention eight years ago. Fear and loathing was the theme of Donald Trump’s the past week. The challenge for Hillary Clinton is to address the frustration and anger that drive people to Trump but tackle those problems with strategies and ideas that are more humane, inclusive and — here’s the main thing — at least remotely doable.That’s the hard part. Trump skipped it.The early days of the GOP convention were a sequence of gaffes and oddities: A high-profile rally led by longtime Trump adviser and online wing-nut conspiracy theorist Roger Stone; Ben Carson’s tortured logic linking Hillary Clinton to Lucifer. And of course the plagiarism: Melania Trump copying Michelle Obama; Rudy Giuliani copying that guy who screams "Fire!" in a crowded theater.But Trump’s acceptance speech Thursday night was his most presidential to date — carefully scripted and powerfully delivered. …

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In the aftermath of the heinous terror attack in Nice, France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls made a jarring comment: “The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism.

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Delegates gathering in Philadelphia on Monday for the Democratic National Convention have a lot to be thankful for. President Obama has seen a rise in his job approval ratings. That’s good news for Hillary Clinton, who served as his secretary of State and is promising in her campaign that she will build…

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The “First Amendment Defense Act” is one of those proposals that will sound good to almost everybody – until you read beyond the title. This Editorial Board applauds any effort to defend the First Amendment to the Constitution and its…

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The principles of local control and decentralization are generally virtues when it comes to governing, enhancing accountability and preventing government from getting too big and too powerful – but not always. One of the more dictatorial powers of…

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The principles of local control and decentralization are generally virtues when it comes to governing, enhancing accountability and preventing government from getting too big and too powerful – but not always. One of the more dictatorial powers of…

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At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party will rally behind a platform that calls for seven days of paid sick leave for all employees. The party is responding to the actions of a handful of cities and states…

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CLEVELAND – “It’s the uncertainty,” explained Moe Slyman with a shrug of his shoulders. Slyman is the friendly owner of an eponymous, 52-year-old Cleveland restaurant known for corned beef stacked so high it rivals anything even New York City…

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In last Sunday’s Conversation, Dan Morain wrote how the Republican Party in California in the 1980s was “strong, and, most important, smart.” But that began to change in the 1990s with Gov. Pete Wilson endorsing Proposition 187, which would make undocumented immigrants ineligible for public benefits. (“Ghost of Prop…

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Now that Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has completed its $175 million purchase of four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, totaling almost 20,000 acres in size, it is time to engage in a discussion of how Met can be a good Delta neighbor.Delta interests are rightly concerned about the presence of Met in our midst. The overpumping of the Delta by water contractors, led by Met, has had a negative impact on Delta water quality for farms and wildlife. The proposed twin tunnels, largely advocated by Met, will have monumental negative impacts on Delta communities and farms near the construction sites, and will create a massively expensive infrastructure that could only be paid for by the continuation, and perhaps even the acceleration, of the overpumping from the Delta. This is contrary to state law, which requires a reduced reliance on water from the Delta.It’s also worth noting that the proposed twin tunnel alignment passes through two of the four islands that Met has just purchased. This serves to facilitate the disastrous twin tunnel project, part of the Delta plan that a Sacramento judge recently ruled invalid.Met gets the benefit of the doubt that it has not yet decided the use of the four islands, as claimed in court proceedings. …

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The Pacific Crest Trail, that gateway to the West Coast’s rugged natural beauty, is enjoyed almost exclusively by the gentry, the upper-middle class, the doctors and lawyers, the professors – and their sons and daughters.Dressed in fashionable khaki, they look as though they’ve stepped out of an L.L. Bean catalog. Their faces shine with that healthy, well-scrubbed look that I associate with advanced degrees and six-figure salaries.Where, I wonder, are the construction workers and the truck drivers? The black and brown people? What exclusionary force keeps them from hiking the PCT? …

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My first political convention was with the Democrats in New York in 1980, and it was the last classic political convention, replete with Peter Duchin’s orchestra, and the appearance of the last of the old bulls clinging to the rapidly changing political landscape that was about to usher in the Reagan era.Before 1980, political conventions were covered continuously all day by the three major television networks, no matter how tedious the speaker (“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the lieutenant governor of the Big Sky State of Montana!”). CNN had gone on the air weeks before, but media éminences grises such as Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid, David Brinkley, John Chancellor and Sander Vanocur ruled the convention floor.Security was virtually nonexistent, and reporters sailed through the one or two New York cops and a metal detector at Madison Square Garden. …

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The horror of the system known as Child Protective Services is never far from my mind. But it came to the fore when news reports detailed how the Department of Social Services tried to quietly insert language into a budget bill to protect the “system” at the cost of the children it claims to serve. …

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The horror of the system known as Child Protective Services is never far from my mind. But it came to the fore when news reports detailed how the Department of Social Services tried to quietly insert language into a budget bill to protect the “system” at the cost of the children it claims to serve. I have worked in the Capitol for 27 years. I understand how laws get made and how the system works. But nothing prepared me for what I saw when my grandson, Dustin, a little boy loved by everyone, was found dead. …

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As the Republican and Democratic conventions dominate the political news, there is a sense of unease and dissatisfaction on the part of the electorate about the condition of American politics. The system is rigged, and it serves the cronies and the corrupt. The support for some presidential candidates has been based on this frustration.In California, the state isn’t doing nearly as well as politicians would have us believe…

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Stockton farmer Dean Cortopassi’s measure lacks clarity, making it difficult, if not impossible, to determine which projects would need voter approval and which would not

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Donald Trump was a man in full Thursday night as he accepted the Republican nomination: Full-throated, full of fury and full of himself: “I am your voice”; “I alone can fix it (the system)”; “I am the law-and-order candidate.” And the teeming throng of red-, white- and blue-bedecked patriots loved all 75 minutes of an acceptance speech in which the candidate promised to – stop me if you’ve heard this – make America great again. Personally, I’d settle for a smile, an expression that rarely bothered Trump’s facial features, and a national day of no-yelling. All week, there was so much shouting and pointing. So much posturing and clenching of fists…

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Donald Trump’s acceptance speech painted a grim, dystopian visionTrump connects with disaffected Americans, but plays fast and loose with factsHillary Clinton leads with reason, but Democrats must not discount Trump’s charisma … »

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Pension problems stem from 1999 benefit boostUnemployment insurance ills rooted in 2003 benefit boostStockton violates austerity budget to reopen library … Click to Continue »

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So far this year, wildfires have burned about 2.7 million acres across the United States. That’s below the average for the past decade, but well above the historical norm. In the past month, about 27,000 acres have burned in California, mostly in…

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To keep a comedy plot moving, things have to go terribly wrong, somebody has to hide the truth, and it all has to come crashing down at the end in something like a spectacular pie fight. The whipped cream is about to hit the Affordable Care Act….

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SACRAMENTO – Earlier this year, I watched in horror as my 401(k) earnings started a freefall right before I planned on shifting some assets into a lower-risk fund. Things corrected, but my investment mistakes are my problem. If I do something…

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled Turkey for more than a decade. He should be enjoying his time of triumph. Yet his country almost crashed and burned last week. Elements of the Turkish army and air force attempted a coup, leading to street battles and…

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It’s been nearly three years since the U.S. Supreme Court stuck its gavel in where it didn’t belong and gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Predictably, states with histories of vote-suppression quickly adopted fresh laws that have made it harder for the poor and for minorities…

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I saw a glimpse of that man when he said in his acceptance speech at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, “America is a nation of believers, dreamers and strivers that is being led by a group of censors, critics and cynics.” With a poised delivery, she spoke of the businessman whose style is “color blind and gender neutral” and whose spirit “will be unafraid to set lofty goals and relentless in his determination to achieve them.” At the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., nominee Mitt Romney invited members of his Mormon church to attest to the former Massachusetts governor’s goodness and accessibility. On the biggest night of Trump’s political life, Los Angeles real estate investor Tom Barrack lauded Trump’s business acumen. Another of Trump’s billionaire buddies, Silicon Valley’s Peter Thiel, revealed a glimpse of a new Republicanism, shorn of GOP “family values.” To the contrary, Trump talked about huge tax cuts and more government spending on infrastructure. …

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