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Today: Democrats Now Say, ‘Thanks, Obamacare’

The hot-button topic of healthcare has often hurt Democratic candidates since Obamacare was passed, but this week, that changed in two key states.

TOP STORIES

Democrats Now Say, ‘Thanks, Obamacare’

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 has reduced the number of uninsured in the U.S., but many of its provisions, such as the mandate requiring Americans to have health insurance, have been been unpopular. For years, that’s helped Republicans at the ballot box. The results of this week’s elections in Maine and Virginia show Obamacare can now put Democrats in the win column. Voters in Maine resoundingly backed a ballot measure to expand Medicaid through the program, and worries about healthcare helped a Democrat become governor of Virginia.

More Politics

-- President Trump stood next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and said the Chinese had taken advantage of America to build a trade imbalance that is not sustainable, but “I don’t blame China.”

-- The Trump administration has announced rules to make it tougher for U.S. businesses to work in Cuba and for Americans to travel to the island.

-- Analysis: Republicans may have a rough time in the 2018 elections, if this week’s Democratic surge in the suburbs is any indication.

Life in Tax Hell

When House Republicans released their tax overhaul plan last week, we mentioned that a grueling legislative process lay ahead. Welcome to the grind. Today, GOP senators plan to introduce their version, one that is likely seek a full repeal of all state and local tax deductions, including property taxes, and a delay in implementing a 20% corporate tax rate. The changes come amid worries that the GOP proposal will exceed its target of adding no more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit — and increase taxes for some middle-class Americans. Here are the details.

A Potential Body Slam to the AT&T-Time Warner Deal

It could be one of the biggest media deals ever: AT&T’s proposed $85-billion purchase of Time Warner Inc. But now there’s a hitch: The Department of Justice is pressing for a sale of either AT&T’s DirecTV or Time Warner’s broadcasting unit that includes CNN before letting the deal go through. Is it a coincidence that one of Trump’s favorite targets is CNN? “This has become political,” said one person close to the situation who was not authorized to comment. “It’s all about CNN.”

Cleaning Up the House of Saud (Maybe)

The uppermost echelons in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia have long known that there’s a corruption problem among many members of its huge royal family. Is the country’s latest crackdown, which resulted in a wave of arrests over the weekend, truly aimed at cleaning up the House of Saud? Or is it more like sweeping things under the rug, as a young crown prince tries to consolidate power? Experts say true reform would have to go much further than the arrests so far.

Rebuilding Fire-Hit Santa Rosa, but for Whom?

After wildfires tore through Santa Rosa neighborhoods a month ago, residents grieved their losses and vowed to rebuild. But with rental properties now going for as much as $13,000 a month and the cost of construction expected to be high, working-class people are wondering if there will still be a place for them to call home — or if they may need to move along. How it plays out could reshape this part of wine country.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Winners and losers in this week’s elections.

-- This LAPD officer is on the lookout for you if you have a disabled placard that belongs to someone else.

-- High school basketball standout Brandon Williams shows off his moves after coming back from an injury.

CALIFORNIA

-- Los Angeles is preparing to legalize street vendors, but they could still be banned near hot spots such as Dodger Stadium, Staples Center or Hollywood Boulevard.

-- Two state commissions and the Southern California Gas Co. are bickering over the role of the Aliso Canyon facility, site of the largest methane leak from a natural gas storage facility in U.S. history.

-- An L.A. County Superior Court judge has ruled that Southern California’s air quality board broke the law and “abused its discretion” when it adopted oil industry-backed changes to smog rules.

-- Uber says it will bring its flying taxis to Los Angeles in 2020, but do not hold your breath.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Kevin Spacey’s role as tycoon J. Paul Getty in “All the Money in the World” is being recast with Christopher Plummer and scenes of the movie will be refilmed. Its premiere next week has been delayed, but the idea is to still get the film into theaters on Dec. 22.

-- Harvey Weinstein’s publicists and lawyers said they do not expect an indictment soon and that they believe they will show he does not deserve to face criminal charges.

-- Garth Brooks was named entertainer of the year at the CMA Awards; the show opened with a gentle jab at Trump.

-- Michael Nesmith will revisit the critically acclaimed solo albums he made after his exit from the Monkees in 1969 with a pair of Southern California shows in January.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

On this date in 1913, Hedwig Kiesler was born in Vienna. Little did she know that her name would be changed to Hedy Lamarr; that she’d go on to star in films such as “Tortilla Flat” and “Samson and Delilah”; and that she’d share a patent issued in 1942 that would be used in military communications. In 1966, the actress known as “the most beautiful woman in the world” wrote: “My face has been my misfortune. It has attracted six unsuccessful marriage partners. It has attracted all the wrong people into my boudoir and brought me tragedy and heartache for five decades.” She died in 2000 at age 86.

NATION-WORLD

-- Vice President Mike Pence says the Air Force is “moving aggressively” to find out how the conviction of the Texas church gunman slipped through the cracks.

-- Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier wants his execution to go forward next Tuesday with no delays, but he still opposes the state’s plan to use a drug protocol that has never been used before.

-- The ousted vice president of Zimbabwe has fled into exile, claiming people have threatened to kill him. The president has accused him of witchcraft.

-- An unusually long-lasting supernova may force astronomers to rethink how stars die.

BUSINESS

-- A historic site in El Segundo where secret aerospace work was done is getting a $100-million makeover as creative office space.

-- Major internet companies have stopped fighting a push in Congress to combat online sex trafficking by holding them more accountable for the content on their sites.

SPORTS

-- Two days in late August are at the heart of the case against USC men’s basketball associate head coach Tony Bland, one of 10 men charged in a wide-ranging college basketball bribery and corruption investigation.

-- The three UCLA basketball players questioned over shoplifting allegations in Hangzhou, China, could face a lengthy legal limbo depending on the actions of authorities handling their case.

OPINION

-- Anti-vaxxers have found a way around California's strict new immunization law. They need to be stopped.

-- The T-word: When is an attack terrorism?

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Are you worried about being doxxed (or wondering what being “doxxed” is)? Here are some tips to avoid it. (ProPublica)

-- Tijuana still holds bullfights, but their days appear to be numbered. (Roads and Kingdoms)

-- This Japanese actor reveals what it’s like to play someone’s father or boyfriend for hire in Tokyo. (The Atlantic)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

San Diego native David Byers was a model known for his “edgy, hard, bad-boy” look as he graced the covers of romance novels. But instead of breaking hearts, he pleaded guilty this week in federal court in Connecticut to breaking the law. The charge: robbery. Taking him into custody in California provided quite a few plot twists. Now he’s facing up to 20 years in the pen.

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