Around The Capitol

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THE Nooner for February 2, 2017


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Well, you're one day away from the end of the week. Of course, this biz is now seven days a week (as if it were ever only five). However, you just never know what Tweetstorm will occur. This morning, President Trump responded to last night's protests at UC Berkeley by threatening federal funding to the nation's most prestigious public university. I would guess that very few of the 40,000 students on the campus were the ones committing criminal behavior, and threatening their education is simply unpresidential.

The mayor of Berkeley has a response to the protest.

Speaking of unpresidential, the President opened his comments at the National Prayer Breakfast by criticizing the low ratings for "The New Celebrity Apprentice," blaming it on Arnold Schwarzenegger, the new host. Schwarzenegger, appropriately, responded via Twitter. "The National Prayer Breakfast?," which included a video response. At the breakfast, the President was introduced by reality producer superstar and Apprentice producer Mark Burnett. The President is still listed as an executive producer of the show, and the chatter out there is whether or not this is a made-up fight to elivate ratings that would provide the President a pecuniary benefit.

Despite the hype (can't resist--ask me about my Flavor Flav story if you're interested), President has been very successful with his appointments.



  • Rex Tillerson, who was easily confirmed by the U.S. Senate yesterday as Secretary of State, addressed State Department employees this morning. His comments certainly were aimed at relieving tension in the Department and through consulates around the world, given the Memo of Dissent signed by between 900-1000 employees over the last month. The process of Memo of Dissent, prohibiting anonymity, was created during the Vietnam war, also prohibits employment retribution for dissenters withing the department.
  • There is a tiff between the President and Australia over a deal crafted by the Obama Administration about the resettlement of refugees--mostly Muslim--currently in housed in essentially prison camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea into the United States. The refugees are from many of the countries covered in the executive order on travel. As part of an international effort to diffuse the plight of those refugees the Obama Administration agreed to a deal of accepting between around 1,250 refugees that tried to arrive by boat, but were denied. The President calls it a "dumb deal." While neither party wants to say a call over the weekend ended early, the scheduled hour-long first call between the U.S. and Australian heads of state ended after only 20 minutes. Some off-the-records say "hung up on," others say there was "mutual agreement to end the call early." 
  • On the refugee camp issue, many Americans of Southeast Asian dissent either remember their parents' experience or their own experience of being in detention camps awaiting resettlement. The citation of non-resettled detainees as "prisoners" is very offensive to those--who worked for the US government in the Southeast Asian wars--waited in Thailand for resettlement elsewhere.
  • Nominee Betsy DeVos's nomination to be Secretary of the Department of Education proceeded through a procedural vote yesterday with 52 votes. However, it still looks like senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will not be voting for DeVos, forcing VP Mike Pence to make a trip to the Hill to take his first official action as the President of the Senate to cast a tie vote. However, opponents of DeVos are working are to peel off one more. These include California's biggest charter school proponent--billionaire Eli Broad--and President Trump's Administration itself, which doesn't want to expose more of its vulnerabilities so early. (On that, any political historians know the last presidential nominee who needed a Veep vote for confirmation? My research squirrels are searching for their buried acorns today.)



Admittedly, after speaking with many of you through email, social media, and in person, must of us our looking over our right shoulder right now. Oh, stop it. I'm just assuming you are all sitting/standing facing north. 

Last night was another great Cordial Caucus. No, I don't have any great videos of members doing karaoke, because I am old and left early. But it was great to see retired members and meet new members who I don't always see from the Nooner Global Headquarters. 

Clearly, the news right now originates in the 202, but, it is also driving the agenda in the big Cali.

I mentioned it in the opener abover, but the Bee's Christopher Cadelago dives more deeply into the emerging fight between UC and the threats of the new President. Meanwhile, on yesterday's commencement of Black History Month, advocates for charter schools took advantage of the opportunity to argue for expansion of such schools, writes Alexei Koseff in the SacBee.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla is hosting a public meeting tomorrow on a replacement for the state's Cal-ACCESS campaign finance data system. It is from 10am until 12pm at the Ronald Reagan Administration at 300 S Spring Street in Los Angeles.

I'll likely be doing another distribution today. I've been reading/watching/writing since 5am and I feel like I have only covered 1/3 of what is going on! 

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Dave Broker, Don Nielsen, and Cindy Wilkerson!




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UC Berkeley cancels right-wing provocateurâ
A protest at UC Berkeley over a scheduled speech by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos turned fiery and violent Wednesday night, prompting police to cancel the event and hustle the Breitbart News editor off campus. Hundreds of protesters began throwing fireworks and pulling down metal barricades police set up to keep people from rushing into the student union building where Yiannopoulos had been scheduled to speak. Windows were smashed and fires were set outside the building on Sproul Plaza as masked protesters stormed it, and at 6 p.m., two hours before his speech was to begin, police decided to evacuate Yiannopoulos for his own safety. University police locked down all buildings and told people inside them to shelter in place, and later fired rubber pellets into the crowd of protesters who defied orders to leave the area. Police called in support from other law enforcement agencies and warned protesters that they might use tear gas. “This is what tolerance looks like at UC Berkeley,” Mike Wright of Berkeley College Republicans, the group that invited Yiannopoulos to the campus, said as smoke bombs went off around him. In a letter to the campus community last week, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said, “The U.S. Constitution prohibits UC Berkeley, as a public institution, from banning expression based on its content or viewpoints, even when those viewpoints are hateful or discriminatory.” Yiannopoulos, a gay conservative, has been making the rounds at college campuses across the country with his “Dangerous Faggot” talks, specializing in remarks meant to insult, offend and disgust liberals who disagree with his ideas. Yiannopoulos was expected to use the event to kick off a campaign against “sanctuary campuses” that have vowed to protect students in the country illegally as President Trump cracks down on illegal immigration. In an interview with Fox News after Wednesday’s cancellation, the 32-year-old Yiannopoulos — a self-described “libertarian, gay, Trump-supporting provocateur” — said college campuses are places where “you should be able to engage with different ideas.” Three lines of zip-tied metal fencing separated the crowd of protesters from campus police officers who had secured the building where Yiannopoulos was supposed to speak. The protest turned violent around 6 p.m. when dozens of masked anarchists, dressed in black and wearing backpacks, emerged from the otherwise peaceful crowd. [...] they came in droves, as the dozens of university police officers quickly retreated to an inner ring of fencing. Carrying a thick black shield and wearing a milk-soaked kerchief over his face to protect against potential tear gas, Zombie said, “We’re anarchists.” Police soon declared an unlawful assembly and ordered everyone to leave, but hundreds of protesters stayed, filling the entire upper and lower plaza.

John Chiang Blasts Trump Over Immigration Order | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Education Is A Universal Right That Extends To Immigrants, Cal State Chancellor Declares
Rosanna Xia @
CSU chancellor, in annual speech, vows to protect immigrants and the right to an education

Trump Update: Calif. Lawmakers To Confer With Planned Parenthood - San Francisco Chronicle
SACRAMENTO — California Democratic senators will meet with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. next week during an annual policy retreat in Sacramento as lawmakers map out strategies to resist policies pushed by President Trump and his administration.

California Reaches Record Spending For Ballot Initiatives | The Sacramento Bee
Angela Hart and Jim Miller @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Trump update: President trashes Schwarzeneggerâ
President Trump kicked off the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning by asking everyone to pray for former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying “The Celebrity Apprentice” host has suffered lower ratings since replacing him on the reality TV show. The “Terminator” star quickly shot back by suggesting that he and Trump switch jobs “so people can finally sleep comfortably again.” Trump began his speech at the annual Washington D.C. religious event by prioritizing prayer for Schwarzenegger, who took over the NBC reality competition show after Trump, who is still an executive producer on the program, did 186 episodes. When Schwarzenegger was first named the new Celebrity Apprentice host in September 2015, Trump, a presidential candidate at the time, tweeted, Congrats to my friend @Schwarzenegger who is doing next season’s Celebrity Apprentice. [...] he has criticized the ratings drop, most notably on Jan. 6, when he tweeted Schwarzenegger got “swamped” but that he, “DJT” was a “ratings machine.”

Chapman University Students Walk Out Against Trump - The Orange County Register
ORANGE – Chapman University’s Attallah Piazza swiftly filled up Tuesday as students walked out near the end of their 11 a.m. classes to protest the immigration policies of President Donald Trump.

Here's What Would It Take To Give California Students A Debt-free College Education
Teresa Watanabe @
For students who attend Los Angeles schools and live off campus, the report calculates annual college costs of $19,845 for community college, $25,060 for Cal State and $30,345 for UC. 

Mostly True: Odds Of Fatal Terror Attack In U.S. By A Refugee? 3.6 Billion To 1 | Politifact California
subject @
President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration halts the admission of all refugees into the United States for four months as the federal government develops stronger vetting systems.

New Legal Challenge To California Bullet Train Is Filed In Superior Court
Ralph Vartabedian @
Opponents of the California bullet train alleged in legal papers filed Tuesday that the California legislature violated the state constitution when it passed a law last year amending and modifying the $9-billion high speed rail bond act that voters approved in 2008. 

Trump update: Protest at UC Berkeley prompts funding threat
President Trump threatened to eliminate federal funds from UC Berkeley the morning after police shut down an event featuring the right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos when violent and fiery demonstrations erupted at the campus. “If UC Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” the president tweeted early Thursday morning. The event, organized by the Berkeley College Republicans, wasn’t cancelled until two hours before the event when 150 masked protestors came on campus and interrupted an “otherwise non-violent protest,” according to a statement from the university. Chancellor Nicholas Dirks made it clear that while Yiannopoulos’ views, tactics and rhetoric are profoundly contrary to those of the campus, UC Berkeley is bound by the Constitution, the law and the university’s values and Principles of Community, which include the enabling of free expression across the full spectrum of opinion and perspective, said the statement from UC Berkeley.

Los Angeles Judge Sides With Immigrants In Case Challenging Trump's Executive Order | The Sacramento Bee
Andy Furillo @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Senate Confirms Tillerson As Secretary Of State - Politico
Four Democrats crossed party lines to join every Republican in approving Rex Tillerson as President Donald Trump's top diplomat. | Getty

Senator Janet Nguyen Appointed to State Allocation Board
As a member of the SAB, Senator Nguyen will work to appropriate $7 billion in bond money to K-12 schools, funds which were approved by voters in November 2016 with the passage of Proposition 51.

Sheriff's Department Won't Try To Recoup $129,194 From Oc Fair For Services At Trump's Costa Mesa Campaign Rally - The Orange County Register
COSTA MESA – The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said it won’t pursue a nearly $130,000 payment from the OC Fair & Event Center for costs related to President Donald Trump’s campaign rally at the fairgrounds last year and a subsequent melee.

Villaraigosa Says Trump Could Hurt Olympics Effort | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

UC Berkeley Protest Spills Into City Streets, Buildings Vandalized - San Francisco Chronicle
Berkeley police were investigating a hit-and-run on Wednesday night involving a white BMW and protesters in Berkeley after a protest at UC Berkeley spread off campus.

Rex Tillerson Is Confirmed as Secretary of State
The former Exxon Mobil chief was confirmed by the Senate in a 56 to 43 vote. He takes his post at a time many traditional American allies are questioning the policies of President Trump.

Senate Panel Approves Mnuchin For Treasury Secretary After Republicans Change The Rules
Jim Puzzanghera @
Committee rules require at least one member from each party to be present for a meeting. But the committee's Republicans changed the rules Wednesday to allow for confirmation votes, Hatch said.