Republican leaders have agreed on a deal to overhaul taxes, according to GOP senators and others briefed on the matter. Here’s what that might look like:
What’s the Deal on Tax Reform?
For a tax plan that wasn’t officially released, we have quite a few details. Corporate tax rate: 21%, instead of 35%. Top individual rate for the richest Americans: 37%, instead of 39.6%. Cap on deductions for state and local income or property taxes: $10,000. Plus, provisions to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and to drop the Obamacare requirement to buy health insurance. Among the questions: Will Republicans get enough votes to pass it next week? If so, will President Trump’s promise of an “economic miracle” come to pass? And will it really help “ordinary Americans”? Here’s where the bill stands.
-- “The special counsel’s investigation is not a witch hunt:” Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein pushed back strongly against Republican accusations that the probe into Russian election meddling is infected with partisan bias.
-- Omarosa Manigault Newman is leaving the Trump administration “to pursue other opportunities,” as the White House says.
Fox, Meet the Mouse
Walt Disney Co. has finalized a $52.4-billion stock deal to buy much of 21st Century Fox, a purchase that would transform Hollywood. Though Disney has made big acquisitions before (think Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm), getting Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV studio and a number of other media assets would be its boldest move yet. An agreement is sure to face a long regulatory review, meaning it might not be final for a year, but already the prospect of “synergies” — yes, job cuts — has had Fox employees looking over their shoulders.
More Women Speak Out Against Simmons
Three and a half weeks ago, the L.A. Times detailed model Keri Claussen Khalighi’s allegation that Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons sexually assaulted her in 1991 — an accusation he strongly disputed. Since then, five more women have come forward to The Times to accuse him of sexual misconduct, including an alleged rape — and some have questioned his self-proclaimed transformation through yoga. Simmons has denied the women’s claims in this story as well as the allegations in a New York Times article that includes three women’s accusations of rape.
If Net Neutrality Is Neutralized …
The Federal Communications Commission is expected today to repeal net neutrality rules that prohibit broadband companies from blocking websites, slowing connection speeds and charging for faster delivery of content. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, whom Trump appointed to the position, says such rules stem from “hysterical prophecies of doom.” Consumer advocates say there’s good reason to worry. Take a look at who could win or lose.
The Blessed and the Burdened of Bel-Air
To many, the news seemed like a parable: A cooking fire at a homeless encampment ignites a home-destroying blaze in one of L.A.’s most affluent neighborhoods. Columnist Steve Lopez is looking for the Bel-Air fire’s lessons: “Was it a warning, a reckoning, a call to action? What does it say about Los Angeles and how should we respond?”
-- Actresses Hong Chau, Holly Hunter, Allison Janney, Nicole Kidman, Laurie Metcalf and Michelle Pfeiffer share their thoughts on sexual misconduct, controversial films and the female gaze in the Envelope Roundtable series.
-- “Star Wars” fans are camping out ahead of “The Last Jedi” opening in theaters tonight.
-- “This fire is a beast”: Firefighters are trying to protect the Santa Barbara County’s coastal communities from the Thomas fire before powerful winds shift this weekend.
-- Jurors voted for a death sentence for a man convicted of fatally torturing his girlfriend’s son, 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez. The case led to sweeping reform within Los Angeles County’s child-welfare system.
-- The L.A. City Council voted to impose a new fee on development to raise millions of dollars a year for affordable housing.
-- Research from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows the Sierra Nevada grew nearly an inch taller during the recent drought and shrank by half an inch when water returned.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- The nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Awards are out. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” topped the film categories. Check out the complete list.
-- So who was snubbed at the SAGs? Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Daniel Day-Lewis, for starters.
-- PBS says it has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley’s talk show after an independent investigation uncovered “multiple, credible allegations” of misconduct by its host.
-- What to make of Cirque du Soleil’s Mexico-themed “Luzia,” now playing L.A.? It’s part circus, part technology trade show.
Over her career, Lee Remick played an alcoholic in “The Days of Wine and Roses,” a tough piano coach in “The Competition,” a nymphomaniac in “The Detective” and Winston Churchill’s mother in “Jenny, Lady Randolph Churchill” as she moved between movies and TV. “I just look for the stuff that interests me. And I don’t like to repeat,” said the actress, who was born on this date in 1935 and died in 1991.
-- A Kentucky state lawmaker accused of molesting a teenager reportedly killed himself after denying the allegation and refusing calls by leaders of both parties to resign.
-- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says he doesn’t want the United States to act as a peacemaker in the region after Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
-- Why is the the Trump administration so quiet about Honduras’ contested elections? It appears to be prioritizing concerns about illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
-- In southern Madagascar, a local custom presses girls into sex at a young age. Some are trying to put a halt to the practice.
-- The 100-million-year itch: Scientists have found ancient ticks that once fed on dinosaur blood.
-- Outgoing Fed Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen threw some cold water on Trump’s promise of an “economic miracle” via the tax overhaul but says the economy is strong enough for another interest rate hike.
-- Peter Guber has made his mark in music, television, motion pictures and sports — applying what he’s learned with the Warriors and Dodgers to the new Los Angeles Football Club.
-- Some baseball teams are signing elite relief pitchers now, but the Dodgers are sticking to their strategy.
-- Five years later, we're still waiting for Sandy Hook to change the gun debate.
-- Keeping California’s dirty oil in the ground would be Gov. Jerry Brown’s most powerful legacy.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- “For years, he was my monster”: Salma Hayek on Harvey Weinstein. (New York Times)
-- The war on drugs in Florida: Crime, punishment and racial disparity. (Herald-Tribune)
-- Roger Stone says he’s writing a book on Trump’s downfall, just to be on the safe side. (Vanity Fair)
ONLY IN L.A.
Too many tamales? That may be the title of a children’s book, but for restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, there is no such thing. Every year before Christmas, he goes on a tamale crawl through L.A. to highlight the best. This time, the closure of one restaurant has left “a gaping, tamal-shaped hole in the heart of the city’s tamale scene.” But never fear, he still has wrapped up the best tamales for you to take home.