I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.
Grand Old Parting
We're used to candidates of the same party tearing each other apart in debates. Case in point: last night in Detroit, where the insults flew yet again. But the Republican Party establishment is taking things to another level in the effort to stop Donald Trump. Mitt Romney, the 2012 nominee, called Trump "a phony, a fraud" in a speech. John McCain, the 2008 nominee, echoed that in a statement. But will the GOP's risky strategy work or just manage to make voters even angrier?
Rodney King, the Man and the Myth
Lora King was 7 years old on March 3, 1991, when her dad, on parole and drunk, was beaten in Lakeview Terrace. When he came home and she saw his battered body, "I was terrified," she recalled. And though he became a public figure both celebrated and vilified, he was still very much human. Here is a look at the private life of Rodney King, as told by his daughter, and his legacy. How has the discussion of police brutality changed? Join the conversation.
Why the D.A.'s Office Dropped This Case
Between 2001 and 2005, Irwindale officials went to New York to get better bond ratings. They also saw the musicals "Wicked" and "Phantom of the Opera," stayed at the Ritz-Carlton and treated themselves to steak dinners — ultimately on the city's dime. Outrage and a corruption case against three of them ensued. But last week, the L.A. County district attorney's office said it could no longer proceed. This is how the D.A.'s Public Integrity Division suffered its latest setback.
Fight On! for Financial Aid
How much will it cost to attend USC next year? $51,442 for tuition and an additional $841 in fees, which is sure to put it in the running for most expensive in the U.S. Add books and living expenses, and the total cost is nearly $70,000 a year. Before you rename it the University of Scary Costs, though, the school says almost two-thirds of undergraduates receive financial aid. Here's more about the high cost of being a Trojan Family member.
Serbia's Theater of Occupation
They stormed the Star Cinema in Belgrade with crowbars, walkie-talkies and flashlights. Their logo: a clenched fist, clutching a length of film. A small band of cinéastes has occupied the dilapidated theater for 15 months now, screening up to three films a day. Read on for more about a protest that's drawn the attention of a French director and the Greek prime minister.
-- After a Times report on a sharp rise in mental competency cases, L.A. County supervisors are calling for an analysis.
-- San Bernardino families ask a judge to force Apple to unlock an iPhone.
-- Facebook comments about killing Donald Trump could mean deportation for an Egyptian student.
-- Rain and snow are headed our way again this weekend, forecasters say.
-- Are Canadians worried about an influx of Trump-hating U.S. refugees? Eh.
-- Secretary of State John F. Kerry cancels a trip to Cuba amid haggling on human rights.
-- London's mayor reacts to French threats over a possible "Brexit": "Donnez-moi un break."
-- Barack Obama says he plans to stay in Washington after his presidency so his daughter can finish school.
-- To help quadriplegics, monkeys navigate a wheelchair with their minds.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Christian Bale talks about working without a traditional script for "Knight of Cups."
-- Review: "Zootopia" is a beastly good time at the movies.
-- Los Angeles is the guest of honor at Jonathan Gold's table in the documentary "City of Gold."
-- Graffiti artist Shamsia Hassani is giving Afghan women a voice despite the danger.
-- How Robert Mapplethorpe went from America's pariah to America's sweetheart.
-- AMC Entertainment plans to buy Carmike Cinemas, to create North America's largest movie theater chain.
-- Michael Hiltzik: How severe is the retirement crisis? These six charts spell it out.
-- Disney chief Robert Iger defends ESPN's performance.
-- David Lazarus: Scam victims aren't dumb; they're only human.
-- Though the Inglewood football stadium isn't built yet, it could host the Super Bowl in 2020 or 2021.
-- Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson will have back surgery and be out three to five months.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- The mysterious letters of a doll dealer suspected of being a World War II spy. (Smithsonian)
-- Russian debt collectors resort to ugly tactics such as Molotov cocktails. (Bloomberg)
-- A writer recounts her journey to the onetime French home of author James Baldwin. (BuzzFeed)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
This is the stuff hoop dreams are made of. As Eric Sondheimer told us about in November, the Chino Hills High School basketball team loves to run and gun — and they are led by three brothers with the last name of Ball. The 30-0 Huskies are now ranked No. 1 in the U.S., and on Saturday night they'll hit the Honda Center. Here's why Sondheimer calls the team "the best basketball entertainment in Southern California."