Newsletter: Today: Clinton Surges, GOP Waits

I’m Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don’t want you to miss today.


Florida and Ohio: Outcomes and Implications

The presidential campaign is like nothing we’ve even seen. Fights break out at rallies. Name-calling is the norm, and pragmatism seems doomed. No wonder pundits and politicos have been waiting for Florida and Ohio to calm the roiling waters. Tuesday their wishes were answered — up to a point. Hillary Clinton wins big over Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump crushes Marco Rubio in Florida, and John Kasich takes his home state. Rubio suspends his campaign.


More About the Primaries

John Kasich

Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich gestures at his primary election rally in Berea, Ohio.

(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

— California looms large with Kasich’s big win in Ohio. Can he keep the momentum until June when the Golden State weighs in with its 172 GOP delegates? It’s all about the math.

— Trump varies his campaign slogan. “We’re going to make our country rich again,“ he said. “We need the rich in order to make the great, I’m sorry to tell you.”


— Locked in a tight battle with Trump in the Missouri primary, Ted Cruz argues that he is the only viable candidate to beat the GOP front-runner.

— Missouri is too close to call in either contest. The night drew to a close with Trump and Clinton holding razor-thin leads over Cruz and Sanders.

— “Do not give into fear,” said Rubio in a moving concession speech. America, he declared, is in the middle of a real political storm, “a real tsunami.”

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Physicians, Heal Thyselves

In no uncertain terms, federal health officials lay blame for the nation’s ongoing prescription drug crisis on physicians who for the last 15 years have recommended opiates for routine ailments such as back pain and arthritis. Calling the drug epidemic a “doctor driven” crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would like to see less potent medications used.

Visitation Rights for Children

Legendary DJ Casey Kasem was dying, and his daughter, Kerri, wanted to get him to the hospital. Actor Peter Falk was confused by his dementia, and his daughter, Catherine, wanted to visit. But both women were pushed away by their stepmothers, and legal challenges got them nowhere. In the course of working to reform visitation laws, Kasem and Falk have learned they are not alone in their heartache.


We’re No. 1!

Step aside Washington, San Francisco and New York. Of all metropolitan areas in the U.S., Southern California has claimed the honor of having the worst traffic. Drivers last year spent 81 hours poking along at speeds — among its slowest, 8 a.m. Wednesday on the eastbound 101 — of less than 17 mph. Take heart, though: London has the world’s worst traffic.

News Junkie

Matthew Hay-Chapman may be homeless, but he still has time to follow the news. He is also $100,000 richer after receiving his reward for recognizing the van that belonged to the escaped Orange County jail inmates in January. Hay-Chapman led a police officer to the stolen vehicle where one of the prisoners was hiding.


— The Los Angeles Police Commission will revamp the LAPD’s use-of-deadly-force policy with provisions to evaluate whether officers could have defused the tense encounters. Critics call it a no-win situation for officers. “They’re going to get reamed,” said one.

— A Facebook message proved to be the undoing for Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati, who had claimed that he wanted to get his family out of Syria. Arrested in April, Kodaimati was sentenced for lying to federal authorities about his connections to the Islamic State.

— Relentlessness, gumption and dumb luck have been attributed to the success of “Ktown Cowboys,” a Web series about Korean Americans coming of age. With more than 2 million views, it also shows how the industry has underestimated the appeal of Asian American projects.



— President Obama will announce his choice for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court at 8 a.m. PDT Wednesday.

Turkey’s months-long offensive against the Kurds has left tens of thousands displaced from their homes in country’s southeast. Ignored by the West, it has fueled a fiercer resistance among fighters.

— The democratic reforms in Myanmar led first to parliamentary elections in November and now a new president. Htin Kyaw is a childhood friend of Aung San Suu Kyi and the first civilian to hold the post.

— This year’s Iditarod dog sled race brought tragedy to mushers and served as a vivid reminder that the winters in Alaska are getting warmer.


— Objecting to “the targeting of Asians” and the “perpetuation of racist stereotypes” during last month’s Oscars, 25 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences posted their complaints to academy president Cheryl Boone.

— The film academy named African American director Reginald Hudlin, Latino writer Gregory Nava and Asian American animator Jennifer Yuh Nelson as governors.

— “Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history,” so claims the chairman of Walt Disney Studios in announcing a fifth movie, this one reuniting Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg.

— CBS launched its radio network in 1928. Today, it is one of the largest networks in the country with 70 million weekly listeners. But with advertisers moving to digital platforms, the broadcasting company will sell the brand.


— The U.S. economy “continues to lack momentum,” say top executives around the country as they try to scale back expectations for 2016. Don’t expect hiring and economic growth to take off soon.

— The ride-hailing service Lyft has called General Motors Co. to help launch a short-term rental program for prospective drivers who don’t have qualifying cars. First city for the San Francisco-based company? Chicago.


— In a significant concession, the NFL’s top health and safety executive acknowledged a link between football head injuries and degenerative brain disease.

— The long arm of the law is reaching back to retest hundreds of samples from athletes who participated in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in order to ferret out cheaters.


— For most of human history, parents have relied on tradition and ancestral wisdom for help raising children. Now we have classes. Can they help? (The Atlantic)

— “They’re just normal people,” says one long-time observer of the Supreme Court. “Never mind they help chart the course of the country, they too enjoy baseball games, theater, even NASCAR races.” (Washington Post)

— Novelist Marilynne Robinson (“Housekeeping”) looks at the Trump candidacy and finds that “nativism and resentment have a dangerous momentum of their own.” (The Guardian)


When USC’s basketball team reached the NCAA tournament this year — after a dismal season last year — coaches and player tried to answer why. Success, it turns out, comes from beets. The Trojans have been chugging juice from the root vegetable before workouts and games. The taste is not popular (“You ever have some spicy food, and it kind of comes back up?” asked one player), but the results speak for themselves.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.