Newsletter: Today: Which Version of America Comes First? ‘I Was Just Begging God to Take My Soul’

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


Which Version of America Comes First?

The election is five months away, but the campaign is at a fever pitch over what it is to be American in the wake of the Orlando attack. President Obama and Hillary Clinton called out Donald Trump, saying he’s out to destroy American values. The president accused Trump’s rhetoric of “doing the terrorists’ work for them,” while Clinton said, “We don’t need conspiracy theories and pathological self-congratulations. We need leadership.” Trump responded by mocking them both and saying Obama “continues to prioritize our enemy over our allies, and for that matter, the American people.” He added: “When I am president, it will always be America first.”


‘I Was Just Begging God to Take My Soul’

Patience Carter had just arrived in Orlando for her first night of vacation when the 20-year-old went to the Pulse nightclub with friends. She ended up being held hostage in a bathroom with more than a dozen people, one of whom shielded her as the gunman continued shooting. It was so awful that, at one point, she prayed to die. But she lived to tell what she saw and heard that night.

The Clues Behind the Hate

Islamic State videos. Trips to Disney properties. Gay clubs and a dating app. With every twist and turn, authorities are trying to retrace the final days and weeks of the Orlando shooter. The investigation is extending as far as Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, and as close to home as what his wife, Noor Zahi Salman, knew. Survivors said the New York-born son of Afghan immigrants told them he “wanted America to stop bombing his country.”


More About the Orlando Shooting

-- At an Orlando hospital, the victims kept coming, but so did an army of nurses.

-- The worst mass shooting? A look back at massacres in U.S. history.

Will the Bern Help Clinton?

Bernie Sanders met with Clinton after losing the final primary in D.C. on Tuesday, and he plans to address his supporters on Thursday night. In short, he’s calling for “a fundamental transformation of the Democratic Party.” Meanwhile, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times post-election survey found that more than 6 in 10 Sanders voters in California already have decided to side with Clinton in the fall. What, if anything, would persuade more to her side? Read on.

Sex Scandal in the Oakland P.D.

Three Oakland police officers have resigned. Five others have been placed on administrative leave. The Oakland Police Department is in the midst of a sexual misconduct scandal, in which a woman says she had encounters with more than a dozen officers, some while she was underage. Now, the police chief has resigned and Oakland officials are trying to figure out how to restore public trust.

Net Neutrality: The ‘Tubes’ Are Still Open


It’s been a decade since the late Sen. Ted Stevens famously described the Internet as “a series of tubes” in a debate over net neutrality. Although a court ruling Tuesday supported the FCC’s position in overseeing the Internet to ensure that content flows freely to consumers, the legal fight is sure to continue, possibly in the Supreme Court. Here’s why the November election could affect it too.


-- Tempers flare as lawmakers move forward with a dozen gun-control bills in the wake of the Orlando shooting.

-- L.A. County supervisors called for a state declaration of emergency on homelessness.

-- Prosecutors have removed the judge in the Stanford swimmer sex assault case from a new sex crimes case.

-- A lone California restaurant is named to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (and it isn’t the French Laundry).


-- Newly released CIA documents detail the torture tactics used after Sept. 11; President Bush voiced unease about the treatment of detainees.


-- Police kill an armed man who took two hostages at a Texas Walmart.

-- Papua New Guinea feels the strain amid bloody protests and calls for its prime minister to resign.

-- At the Oscar Pistorius sentencing hearing, Reeva Steenkamp’s father tells of the lasting pain from losing his daughter.

-- Five things pediatricians want dads to know about parenting.


-- The (sort-of) regrets of Gil Garcetti: “O.J.: Made in America’s” reluctant star witness.

-- The creators of “The Good Wife” try to get to the bottom of D.C.’s political dysfunction in their new series “BrainDead.”

-- An appreciation: Janet Waldo, the voice of Judy Jetson on “The Jetsons,” provided the sound of sweetness, spiked with attitude.

-- Video: Michael McKean talks about the duplicity and pain of the character he plays in “Better Call Saul.”


-- FCC chief Tom Wheeler, a former cable TV lobbyist, is making his old industry sweat.

-- Is there enough Chinese demand for a double dose of Mickey Mouse?

-- What to expect from the Federal Reserve meeting.


-- The Warriors need a big adjustment in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

-- Pressure is nothing new for the U.S. soccer team in the Copa America.


-- The LGBT community isn’t condemning Muslims after Orlando, and neither should you.

-- Actor-producer Omar Epps talks about when fathers fight to keep families together.


-- A gay man imagines being “outed in the worst possible way.” (The Atlantic)

-- What’s hidden inside that old book (or ancient mummy mask)? X-ray technology is helping researchers find out without tearing it apart. (The Daily Beast)

-- House parties aren’t popular in Japan, but a group is offering certification in how to throw them. (Wall Street Journal)


Gargoyles? Soldiers? Angels? What were those winged creatures that sat atop the Richfield Building, an Art Deco masterpiece that once dominated the downtown L.A. skyline, before the Arco towers were built? “I don’t know what the heck they’re called,” a wrecking employee told The Times in 1969. “I know we’re selling ’em for a hundred bucks each. It cost us that to tear ’em down.” Read on for more about a long-lost “army.”

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.