The Republican push to repeal Obamacare has been a bust so far; will the GOP's plan for tax reform stand a better chance? Here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:
The Tax Plan Cometh
In August, President Trump gave a speech about overhauling the tax code that was long on populism and short on details. Today, he'll unveil what the Republican Party is calling its "unified tax reform framework." This time we have some figures. A couple of them: According to people familiar with the plan, it calls for slashing the 35% corporate tax rate to 20%; for individuals, it would reduce seven tax brackets down to three — 12%, 25% and 35%. Californians could take a big hit by losing deductions for state and local taxes. What these and other changes do to the government's bottom line is a point of contention: GOP leaders say it would initially increase the budget deficit before economic growth offsets it, but Democrats say the latter part of that equation is a fantasy.
The Obamacare Fight Is Far From Over
The latest GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is off the table, but that doesn't mean the fight over Obamacare has ended. Top Republicans say they'll be back at it, likely next year. More immediately, Congress needs to decide on funding so that insurers can finalize Obamacare premiums this week and so a program that provides health coverage for about 9 million children can continue. Even more uncertain is the fate of a separate bipartisan effort to stabilize health insurance markets.
-- Roy Moore won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, as voters brushed aside Luther Strange, the incumbent backed by Trump and the GOP establishment. Some of Trump's tweets backing Strange disappeared.
-- Trump defended his administration's aid to Puerto Rico and denied he was distracted by his fight with NFL players.
-- Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions says free speech rights are "under attack" on college campsus, but he sides with Trump in condeming NFL players' protests.
Saudi Women Will Get to Take the Wheel
By royal decree, Saudi Arabia has announced that women will be able to legally drive, with licenses starting to be issued in June. It's the latest of a number of measures backed by the kingdom's reform-minded young crown prince, though some observers already fear a backlash from conservative critics. That didn't lessen the joy for 64-year-old Sahar Nasief: "All I want to do is get in my car and drive to the grocery store with the music blasting!"
The Coach and the Cash-Filled Envelope
The "dark underbelly of college basketball." That's how an acting U.S. attorney described the allegations surrounding 10 men charged in a wide-ranging and ongoing FBI investigation into fraud and corruption. Among those arrested was Tony Bland, the men's associate head basketball coach at USC, who is accused of conspiracy to commit bribery and wire fraud, among other crimes. One meeting recorded by the FBI involved Bland, former sports agent Christian Dawkins, an undercover agent and envelope containing $13,000.
Lifestyle Center of the Rich and Famous
When was the last time you were at a mall, and what did you do? As online shopping proliferates, developers are refocusing the mall experience not just on buying but also on lifestyle features such as restaurants, health clubs and hangout areas. On L.A.'s Westside, that also means luxury — to the tune of a $1-billion makeover of the Westfield Century City mall, where soon you can even reserve a parking spot in your name. For true VIPs, there are secret elevators, lounges and special hours to shop and play without the paparazzi.
-- Black Lives Matter and other activists protested in downtown L.A. to oppose jail expansion.
-- After 27 years, Florida cops say they've unmasked a killer clown.
-- Cindy Crawford and her husband, businessman Rande Gerber, have purchased a stylish Beverly Hills flipped house for $11.625 million.
-- Crews broke ground on eight border wall prototypes in a fenced-off area near San Diego.
-- Is California preparing for nuclear war? Not really, but a bulletin that got some attention online is a reminder of the threat.
-- A Los Angeles pension board voted to scale back its long-range investment projections, creating yet another budget problem for the city's elected officials.
-- A huge Southern California wildfire was 15% contained on Tuesday night, as anxious residents waited for word.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Forget a knee. President Trump took it on the chin from late-night TV over his NFL comments.
-- Hip-hop artist Young Dolph was wounded in a shooting that sent police and paramedics flooding into Hollywood Boulevard's tourist center.
-- MGM is partnering with husband-and-wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's company for a series of inspirational videos online.
-- Attending the Hollywood Bowl will get a bit more expensive next year.
With his baritone voice, Don Cornelius wished "love, peace and soul" when he signed off each installment of "Soul Train," the show he founded as an African American answer to "American Bandstand." Born in Chicago on this date in 1936, Cornelius would create the longest-running first-run nationally syndicated show in television history. He died in 2012 of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
-- Amid power outages in Puerto Rico, hospitals are being pushed to their limits.
-- At Cuba's urgent request, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with his counterpart over sonic attacks at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
-- Mexican officials didn't wait long after the earthquake to raze a building that housed low-wage textile workers. Neighbors want to know why.
-- Angola has a new president after 38 years, but its outgoing leader and his family still cling to power.
-- Meeting with economists and blue-collar workers in Ohio, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said the economic outlook is highly uncertain.
-- Equifax's chief executive is stepping down after the massive data breach, but he'll still get his $18-million pension.
-- Twitter is testing 280-character tweets. Hey, what could go wrong?
-- After this weekend in the NFL, columnist Bill Plaschke writes, the country's sports fans have never seemed more divided.
-- The Dodgers clinched home-field advantage through the National League playoffs with their third consecutive victory, but there were a couple of hitches.
-- The so-called Graham-Cassidy bill is dead. Now stop treating Obamacare like the enemy and help get Americans health coverage.
-- The gun lobby's latest scheme: Make it easier to commit crimes quietly with a silencer.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Business or pleasure? Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price took government-funded private jets on trips that combined both. (Politico)
-- An excerpt from the book "The Economics of American Art" shows how the State Department helped American artists establish dominance after World War II. (Artsy)
-- "Dotard" had its day last week, but some academics would like to see words such as "snout-fair," "sillytonian" and "slug-a-bed" come back into widespread use. (BBC)
ONLY IN L.A.
Holy literary happenings, Batman! Rather than meet at a bar or bookstore, a group of authors read from their works this weekend at the Bronson Caves — the man-made tunnel in Griffith Park that served as the Batcave whence Adam West's Batmobile in the 1960s TV series emerged. If only the Bookworm, the villain whose misdeeds were inspired by literary plots, had known.