Tom Hayden: It’s possible that Brown will take to blaming Washington’s priorities for California’s ills, but not any time soon. For now, he wants Californians to see themselves in the mirror.
Tina Dupuy: 40% of Americans actually make New Year’s resolutions. Sure, I did it once – five years ago this week I reluctantly quit smoking. How did I quit? Arctic turkey. I simply didn’t smoke. People who have never smoked think this is the moment of triumph. I went from heavy smoking to heavy sobbing.
Robert Reich: Next week starts the new Congress, and with it the Tea Party conservatives. What are they going to do about government spending? Knowing they don’t stand a chance of getting a direct repeal of the healthcare mandate, they’ll try to strip the federal budget appropriation of money needed to put the healthcare mandate into effect. This could lead to a standoff with the White House over government funding in general, and a possible government shutdown.
Wendy McElroy: A new slate of drugs now addresses a wide range of so-called disorders, or dysfunctions, that former generations considered environmental problems or lifestyle choices: from obesity to attention deficit, from erectile dysfunction to social anxiety (shyness), from menopause to alcoholism.
Diane Lefer: In South LA, the pressures of gentrification and loss of income now have two and three families sharing apartments that would be a tight squeeze for one. Even so-called “affordable housing,” is beyond the reach of most when you consider that Los Angeles considers a living wage to be $12/hour.
Randy Shaw: Brown’s history shows that he likes to shake things up soon after taking office, and he now has the perfect opportunity. The public desperately wants a solution to California’s longstanding budget crisis, and Brown’s political capital is as high as it will ever be following an election where Democrats won every statewide race and maintained all their Congressional seats.
Bob Letcher: In any case, people were screaming slogans at each other, as though volume alone would determine who was right. No nuance. Little listening, little worthy of being listened to.
Norman Solomon: Deficit commission co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles are pushing scenarios that would undermine Social Security, while all sorts of contorted rationales are in the air for continuing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
TEd Vaill: The Republicans should remember that the vote in the 2010 elections, especially in Middle America, was not a vote of support for them, as their approval rating is worse than the Democrats, but it is a sign of huge discontent: a house that is underwater, with no relief from their crushing mortgage debt in sight, a job that has vanished or is in danger of being shipped overseas, diminishing hope that they will be able to afford to send their kids to college, and a feeling that their government has turned a blind eye to their problems.