Newsletter: Today: The Nation’s Unpopularity Contest. Baton Rouge Matters.

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.


The Nation’s Unpopularity Contest

Recent polls have shown that a majority of people don’t trust and have a negative view of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. This week, as Cathleen Decker writes, the two just keep giving the electorate more reasons not to vote for them. Read on to see how that portends more negative campaigning and troubles ahead when it comes time to govern.


More Politics

-- Trump’s campaign said he raised $51 million for it and the RNC in June.

-- The Justice Department formally closed its Clinton email investigation with no charges.

-- Marco Rubio joined the list of Republicans skipping the GOP convention.


Baton Rouge Matters

The video is shocking but familiar: The fatal shooting of an African American man by white police officers, this time in Baton Rouge, La. It sent protesters into the streets and spurred the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate what happened. It also revived the debate about race, police and the appropriate use of force. Here’s more about the life and death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling.

In Afghanistan, a War With No End

The war in Afghanistan began in 2001 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. When it will end is anyone’s guess. Despite President Obama’s campaign-era promise to pull the U.S. from ground wars overseas, he has finally acknowledged that won’t happen, given the “precarious” situation. Will that decision fall to the next president — or the one after that?

Oakland’s Complicated Fight Against Sex Trafficking

Oakland has long struggled to combat sex trafficking, but a recent scandal in the police department has added a layer of unwanted complexity. A teen sex worker has alleged that more than a dozen Oakland officers had sex with her, some while she was underage. Sylvia Vigil, who helps run a ministry in the area, remains undaunted. Head out with her as she tries to protect her “twilight treasures.”

Sylvia Vigil drives down International Boulevard in Oakland, looking to help women she thinks are prostitutes.
Sylvia Vigil drives down International Boulevard in Oakland, looking to help women she thinks are prostitutes.
(David Butow / For The Times )

A ‘Housing Machine’ for the Homeless


If L.A. voters support a $1.2-billion bond for homeless initiatives this November, the city will need to up its real estate game. Given current laws, it must put that money toward “bricks and mortar” facilities and own the land they’re on. That means a lot of buying and building — or, as the city’s chief bureaucrat puts it, creating “a housing machine” that will need to answer many complex questions.


-- UCLA and UC Berkeley have boosted admissions of Californians, including blacks and Latinos.

-- A sailor’s death during Navy SEAL training in Coronado has been ruled a homicide.

-- Downtown L.A.’s five-year rain total is the lowest ever recorded: 38.79 inches.

-- Bluefin tuna gathering off the Southern California coast could be off-limits to fishermen soon.


-- A Minnesota police officer fatally shot a man in a car with a woman and child; authorities are investigating whether the aftermath of the shooting was streamed on Facebook.


-- A report finds Britain’s decision to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based on flawed intelligence and inadequate planning.

-- Facing historically low levels, Lake Mead officials are fending off a water war.

-- Remarried Catholics must avoid sex and live like “brother and sister,” according to Philadelphia’s archbishop.

-- A rare strike in Zimbabwe shakes the government of Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980.

-- Of the top-rated sunscreens on Amazon, 40% don’t meet dermatologists’ standards, a study says.


-- Ousted Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson hits Roger Ailes with a sexual harassment lawsuit.

-- Marvel’s new Iron Man will be a 15-year-old Iron Woman of color.

-- The tragedy of the Ramones gets rewritten for the theater.

-- Outfest Los Angeles, a home for LGBT film for three decades, embraces the mainstream with “Ghostbusters” and more.

-- This comics heroine doesn’t have spandex or superhero cleavage, but does have a Justin Bieber problem.


-- A cancer drug discovered at UCLA has set off a takeover fight among biotech companies.

-- Big arenas and other venues are catering to e-sports fans with beanbag chairs, energy drinks and food on sticks.


-- Calling horse races at Santa Anita was his dream job, until the death threats came.

-- Olympic champ Aries Merritt, a kidney transplant recipient, defies risk in seeking a berth at the Rio Games.


-- It may be a long shot, but trying to cooperate with Russia in Syria is Obama’s best option.

-- Vermont’s newest export is bad GMO policy.


-- NASA’s longest-serving female employee is hourly. (Popular Science)

-- Madison Keys doesn’t identify as black or white, even if people want to call her the next great black tennis star. (The Undefeated)

-- What makes a good conductor? Take a peek inside Finland’s Sibelius Academy. (The Economist)


Meet P-48 through P-52. They’re the five mountain lion kittens found recently in the eastern Santa Susana Mountains. Researchers say the kittens were born to two mothers but are believed to have been sired by the same father. A paternity test will come next. Get a look at them in all their fluffiness here.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.