I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Syria's complex rebel alliances; a new phase in the Democratic presidential race; and USC's football coach is placed on leave. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.
Syria's Chaotic Kaleidoscope
The Gathering of Dignity. Knights of Righteousness. These are just two of the hundreds of groups fighting under the green-striped tricolor of the Free Syrian Army. The groups' ideologies are diverse, and their cooperation with Al Qaeda-style fighters varies, but they have two common enemies: Syrian President Bashar Assad and Islamic State. We take a closer look at what one professor calls the "kaleidoscopic" mix of Syrian rebel alliances.
What Exxon Knew About the Arctic
Long before global warming became a household phrase, a shareholder petitioned Exxon to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Exxon said it was too murky to warrant action. Yet researchers and engineers at Exxon and Imperial Oil were quietly incorporating climate change projections into the company's planning. Read our special report, a collaboration between Columbia University and the Los Angeles Times.
No Waltz to the White House
No one ever said it's a cakewalk. But who could have predicted that Hillary Rodham Clinton's main challenger for the Democratic nomination would be Bernie Sanders? Even the self-described socialist is surprised at how strongly his message is resonating. Clinton, Sanders and the rest of the field are set to debate on Tuesday in Las Vegas, as a new phase of the race begins.
Scrutiny on Sarkisian
One USC football player said his coach "just didn’t seem right" Sunday morning. Now, Steve Sarkisian is on indefinite leave after failing to show up for a midday practice. A Times inquiry into his days at the University of Washington found that some regarded Sarkisian's behavior, specifically the use of alcohol, as an issue. Columnist Bill Plaschke wants to know why the university didn’t act sooner.
Helping Autism's Forgotten: Young Adults
"It's almost as if we forgot that these kids grow up." That's why Elizabeth Laugeson, a UCLA faculty member, works with autistic young adults to teach them the fine art of social interaction. In today's Great Read, we pay a visit to her 16-week program. On the lesson plan: the rules of dating.
Brown's Next Act
In a final sweep of bill actions for the year, Gov. Jerry Brown banned public schools from using the term "Redskins" as school mascots, declined new access to experimental drugs for the gravely ill and made electric skateboards legal. But more tellingly, Brown made it clear he was setting his priorities for the next session. Among them: funding for public healthcare and reexamining the criminal justice system.
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- Using Google Maps and a drone, a drought posse is searching for Bel-Air's biggest water waster.
-- The massive El Niño is now "too big to fail," a JPL scientist says.
-- Cutting ozone will require a radical transformation of California's trucking industry.
-- A lawyer who loves boxing meets a 7-foot-tall Chinese tourist who loves fighting; is it a match made in heaven?
-- "Steve Jobs" is a new kind of biopic, and not entirely true.
-- Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance talk about the Cold War and "Bridge of Spies."
-- Millennials, you literally cannot call yourselves adults until you take this pledge.
-- The state's bullet train project is attracting interest, but not funding.
-- Fifty years on, Cal State Dominguez Hills renews efforts to transform an underserved community.
-- The Orca dispute between SeaWorld and the Coastal Commission could go to court.
-- George Skelton: Americans won't tolerate firearm deaths forever.
-- President Obama defends Hillary Rodham Clinton's use of a private email server.
-- Protests and skepticism in Turkey follow bombings at a peace rally.
-- Iran reaches a verdict in the case of U.S. reporter Jason Rezaian.
-- Israelis call up more police officers amid continued violence.
-- Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko easily wins a fifth term.
-- Southwest Airlines warns fliers to print boarding passes as technical issues delay flights.
-- Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion on Halloween, and social media's rise plays a role.
-- Craft brews are in great demand, and so are the breweries. Plus: Take our craft versus conglomerate beer quiz.
-- The Dodgers' Chase Utley is suspended for two games after sliding hard into the Mets' Ruben Tejada.
-- The NFL's Week 5 has been anything but typical.
-- TV reviews: Last night's "The Walking Dead" and tonight's "Fargo."
-- Clive Owen and Sam Rockwell hit Broadway with different results.
-- What happened to Chowhound?
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- The story of the white Australian sprinter in the 1968 Olympics "black power salute" photo. (Griot)
-- An architect makes the case for symmetrical cities. (CityLab)
-- "The more you think you know, the less you do": North Korea in 3D photos. (The Guardian)
ONLY IN L.A.
Santa Catalina, the island of … holograms? The Catalina Island Co., which owns most of the land in Avalon, plans to turn the 1929 Art Deco casino there into an "immersive attraction" with holographic projection systems and more. Fancy a drink with a virtual Marilyn Monroe at the ballroom bar?
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.