VIDEO: Dan Walters discusses the funding crunch in California's courts and the emerging coalition to reverse them.
HO HO HO: 2012 has not been the easiest year for the Lockyer family, what with state Treasurer Bill Lockyer and his wife Nadia separating after her drug abuse and extramarital affair became public. But that hasn't stopped the Lockyers from sending out a festive family holiday card (right) featuring a picture of their son Diego standing in a colorful game arcade. The boy is holding long strips of skee ball tickets that are piling up at his feet. "May you win the big ticket to happiness jackpot this holiday season and throughout the new year," says the card, signed by "Bill, Nadia & Diego."
Meanwhile, Rep. Loretta Sanchez's holiday card - think high heels and fiscal cliff - is featured in this Washington Post blog, along with images of some of her wacky cards from years past.
All of which got us thinking a slide show of political holiday cards may be in order. Please scan and send the best ones from the political world to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FISCAL CLIFF: Rep. George Miller and California small business owners are holding a telephone press conference today to discuss the "fiscal cliff, its impact on consumer spending and how employers feel about tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year," according to a statement from the Small Business Majority advocacy group.
The group says small businesses "want tax cuts for the middle class extended to help boost spending power, but believe allowing tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent to expire is the right thing to do in light of our current budget crisis."
UTILITY BILL: The Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission are gathering for a joint meeting today in Sacramento. And just as the meeting will be getting under way at 10 a.m., state Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo will hold a press conference in San Francisco announcing legislation aimed at prohibiting the PUC from "giving away millions of dollars in ratepayer money to third parties," according to a statement from Hill's office. Advocates from The Utility Reform Network and the Consumer Federation of California are also expected at the presser. They want PUC President Michael Peevey to recuse himself from a decision on awarding a $150 million grant to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, claiming that he's biased because of his involvement in the project.
CLIMATE CHANGENATOR: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is giving former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger an award tonight at the UN Correspondents Association's event in New York City. Schwarzenegger is receiving the "Global Advocate of the Year" award for creating the nonprofit group R20: Regions of Climate Action, which encourages subnational governments to create clean energy projects.