Newsletter: Today: Death Row and Dissent. A Caribbean Greece?

I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. A Supreme Court ruling on executions has more implications than expected. Debt-laden Puerto Rico could unsettle the U.S. municipal bond market. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.


Death Row and Dissent

The Supreme Court cleared the way for Oklahoma, and perhaps other states, to use a lethal drug cocktail for executions. The legal nugget everyone's talking about, though, is Justice Stephen G. Breyer's passionate dissent. He says the death penalty is "unfair, cruel and unusual" and seems to invite a constitutional assault. Death penalty foes are more than ready to oblige.

The California 750

California has about 750 inmates on death row. It hasn't executed anyone since 2006, largely because of legal fights over lethal injection. Monday's Supreme Court ruling puts things back in motion. Under a settlement, the state agreed to propose a new injection method within 120 days of the court's decision. Still, don't look for the state to start killing death row convicts any time soon. 

Puerto Pobre

Poor Puerto Rico. Might it become the Greece of the Caribbean? The governor says the U.S.-controlled territory's $72-billion debt is "unpayable." It has more per capita debt than any U.S. state. Technically, the commonwealth cannot default, but it could make life miserable for its creditors and send tremors through the huge U.S. municipal bond market.

Greece's Fragile Democracy

With Greece on the brink of default and a messy exit from the European zone that uses the euro, the economic perils are unclear. Outside of Greece, it might not be horrible. Just as worrisome to many scholars is the political fallout -- the possibility of a radical dictatorship in a NATO country that has been edging closer to Moscow. Will democracy survive in Athens?

A Trickle Runs Through It

The "Killer Kern," as some rafters call it, is a trickle of its usual self. The Kern River's flush water levels made headlines just a few years ago, but a pathetic snowpack has put an end to that. The Kern River Festival has been canceled for the first time in 51 years. Rafting companies are hurting, but they're a tough lot. Here's how they're surviving while praying for the next El Niño


-- What water shortage? "Water independent" Riverside wants out of state mandates to slash usage. 

-- It was an Arizona case, but backers of independent redistricting in California also dodged a bullet in a Supreme Court ruling.

-- "My name is Dylan and I'm homeless." Sandy Banks catches up with a man who rattled a community meeting in Chatsworth. 

-- Three California schools lost experiments in Sunday's SpaceX rocket explosion.

-- Bugged by a buckled L.A. sidewalk? Submit your photos to The Times.


-- Here's a roundup of all the Supreme Court's recent major rulings. 

-- At least two black churches in the South were damaged by arson fires, investigators suspect.

-- Iran and the U.S. accuse each other of backtracking in nuclear talks.

-- A bomb blast kills Egypt's state prosecutor, possibly sparking a violent new phase in the battle between Cairo and Islamist extremists.


-- The explosion of a cargo-carrying rocket was not only a blow to SpaceX's ambitions; supplies are running low on the International Space Station.

-- Two Uber executives are taken into custody in France after protests against the ride-sharing service.

-- The Supreme Court blocks Obama administration air pollution rules for power plants.

-- David Lazarus: What's not fair about the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act 


-- Wimbledon tennis: Novak Djokovic wins with feathery touch; Lleyton Hewitt grinds to the end.

-- Women's World Cup: The U.S.-Germany semifinal shapes up as a study in contrasts.

-- D'Angelo Russell holds up his Lakers jersey in L.A. The team hopes to add another prize this week.

-- The latest scores and stats.


-- You're fired: NBC joins Univision in dumping Donald Trump over his remarks about Mexican immigrants.

-- Steven Koblik's fund-raising skills paid big dividends at the Huntington. He's retiring today after 14 years as president.

Passings: Jack Carter, 93, stand-up comedian who was a familiar face on variety shows in the 1950s and '60s.


-- The Atlantic asks: Why can't all of America have a four-day work week? Many reasons, not all good.

-- What I learned while leading tours about slavery at a plantation (Vox).

-- The Drinks Business looks at the great Bordeaux wine caper.

-- What happens when baby boomer museum docents go rogue in the galleries (Wall Street Journal).


Brett McBay of Modesto thought his privacy was being invaded. So he expertly brought down a "hexacopter" with a load of birdshot. Turns out neighbor Eric Joe, who was testing the homemade drone over his almond orchard, had spent 40 hours and $1,800 on it. A judge praised McBay's marksmanship but not his judgment. It turned out to be a pricey bit of target shooting. 

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.