I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. As the race debate heats up again, conservative Republicans are feeling pressure over displays of the Confederate flag; and Kurds are scoring victories against Islamic State militants, but not everyone's happy about it. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.
Few divisive symbols have endured like the Confederate flag. Then it was learned that the suspect in nine killings at a black church in South Carolina, where the flag flies on the Statehouse grounds, embraced it in his racist ideology. Take it down! screamed Democrats and black leaders. Er, uh, well, was the best some GOP candidates could do. Republican Gov. Nikki Haley finally said it should go. That doesn't mean it will, but it gives welcome cover to those who care to take it.
Kurdish fighters seem to be the only ones defeating Islamic State forces these days, having recently taken back a key Syrian border town. Everyone should be happy, right? Well, not Turkey. As much as Turkish leaders dislike Islamic State, a big swath of Kurdish domain on its doorstep may be even more unnerving. More puzzles wrapped in more enigmas as bullets fly.
Raisin' the Bar
There's a new wrinkle in the raisin world, courtesy of the Supreme Court. Fresno-area grower Marvin Horn won a long battle against a New Deal-era law allowing the feds to make farmers set aside raisin crops to support prices. He was fined $680,000 for refusing. No way, justices said, sending what may be a significant signal about private property rights in other areas as well.
That Was Swift
As Kanye West learned at a 2009 video awards show, it's not smart to mess with Taylor Swift. Now, Apple is digesting a similar lesson. Plans to skip paying royalties during a three-month trial of Apple Music prompted a "To Apple, Love Taylor" letter on social media. The pop superstar vowed to withhold her latest album, prompting one of Apple's quicker course changes.
Methods Rafe Esquith uses in a Koreatown elementary classroom brought him global recognition. He wasn't in class during the last two months of the school year, though. A remark about nudity seems to have worried somebody, and he is sidelined pending an investigation. Overreaction to recent sexual misconduct scandals? Get ready for another LAUSD lawsuit.
-- The Supreme Court strikes down an L.A. law that allowed police to examine hotel registries at any time.
-- A split among African American leaders emerges over a bill that would eliminate the "personal beliefs" exemption for child vaccinations.
-- Officers feared a towel on a man's arm might conceal a gun. Now he is critically wounded and LAPD use of force is back in the spotlight.
-- A Ronald Reagan statue is unveiled in the state Capitol.
-- President Obama's use of the N-word in a podcast discussion on race relations surprises some, but not everyone.
-- Two Albuquerque police officers face murder charges in the death of a homeless man.
-- Both Israel and Hamas may have committed war crimes in Gaza, a U.N. report says.
-- Taliban militants attack the Afghan parliament, killing at least two and injuring dozens.
-- Health insurer Anthem, despite being spurned, presses on with its pursuit of a $54-billion merger with Cigna Corp.
-- General Foods, the maker of Trix and Lucky Charms, says it will remove artificial colors and flavors from its cereals.
-- Martha Stewart sells her company to the parent of Linen 'n Things.
-- David Lazarus: When it comes to robocalls, EBay and PayPal should know better.
-- Women's World Cup: The U.S. defeats Colombia 2-0 to advance. Up next: China.
-- The Kings' Jarret Stoll is charged with felony cocaine possession.
-- The latest scores and stats.
-- Rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs is arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on the UCLA campus.
-- The door of opportunity swings wide for Lester Holt, a former Sacramento police-siren chaser who is succeeding Brian Williams at NBC's "Nightly News."
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- VICE News reports on a "silent epidemic" of the killings of women in Mexico.
-- "Birth of a Nation": Politico looks back a century at a film that revived the Confederacy.
ONLY IN L.A.
Jumping cars across chasms. Riding motorcycles through walls of flame. Falling from 12th-story windows. In his 40-year career in film and TV, Jack Gill has pulled off all manner of perilous feats and has a plate in his back to prove it. He's failed, however, in perhaps his most daunting quest. Why does filmdom refuse to create an Oscar category for stunts?
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.