Newsletter: Today: Trump, His Interlocutors and Fancy Footwork. The Mosquito Bite That Changed a Life.

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.


Trump, His Interlocutors and Fancy Footwork

Where does Donald Trump stand on climate change, torturing enemies, prosecuting Hillary Clinton and his own potential conflicts of interest? The answers keep getting muddier. In an interview with the New York Times, Trump appeared to shift his stance on at least three major issues. As for giving control of his businesses to his children, he said he is working on it but doesn’t have to: “The law’s totally on my side; the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”


The President-Elect’s Twitter Pulpit

A new Quinnipiac University poll says 59% of voters think Trump should shut down his personal Twitter account. Don’t hold your breath. As Cathleen Decker writes, Trump’s tweeting may be erratic, but it also has a strategic effect — deflecting controversy, avoiding the “crooked media” and using Twitter silence on certain topics to speak volumes.

More Politics

-- How Trump could use the presidency to help his own business interests.


-- Trump has chosen South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

-- Trump has asked Ben Carson to consider serving as secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

-- Here’s why the electoral college (probably) won’t stop Trump from becoming president.

Heading Into OT? Not So Fast

Conservatives called it a job-killer. Liberals hailed it as a middle-class victory. Businesses were looking for legal ways to get around it. But President Obama’s plan to give overtime pay protections to anyone making up to $47,476 a year is now on hold, after a federal judge in Texas ruled the Labor Department overstepped its bounds. The rule was set to start next week.

The Mosquito Bite That Changed a Life

“The virus rode inside the salivary glands of the mosquito as the insect flew crosswind over northeast Los Angeles in search of a blood meal. It was looking for a bird — a finch, sparrow or robin, the preferred targets — and it found Missy Morris.” So begins reporter Thomas Curwen’s grippingly detailed tale of the war that would rage inside a kindergarten teacher’s body after she was infected with the West Nile virus. Last year, 53 people in California were reported to have died from the disease.

If the IRS Calls You (and Asks for Rupees), Don’t Pay


India’s thriving call center business has a dark side: phone fraud. Callers have posed as computer technicians, debt collectors and immigration officials with the goal of separating you from your money. One of the biggest scams involves those posing as IRS agents. Last month, raids in a suburb of Mumbai rounded up more than 700 people for questioning. Here’s how the fraudsters work — and what authorities are doing to stop them.

A note to our readers: Now that the election is history, we are redoubling our efforts to report on the Trump administration and California’s unique role in our nation. We are committed to covering the administration with rigor, accuracy and fairness. Please consider subscribing now by clicking here.


-- The state Supreme Court has decided to review a ruling that would give state and local governments new authority to cut public employee pensions.

-- Bilingual education is making a comeback, but some educators say the fight is just beginning.

-- The L.A. City Council approved a $1.2-billion residential, hotel and retail skyscraper project in Historic South-Central. Community activists have argued against it.

-- The little town of Avenal, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, stays afloat thanks to the unusual combination of pistachios and a prison.



-- Amy Adams, Annette Bening, Ruth Negga, Natalie Portman and Emma Stone sat down with The Times to share their thoughts about the personal and professional sides of acting.

-- Movie reviews: Disney’s gorgeous “Moana” offers an escape from reality, while Warren Beatty’s long-awaited Howard Hughes picture “Rules Don’t Apply” never takes off.

-- Lin-Manuel Miranda discusses his artistic origins, high school productions of “Hamilton” and polka.

-- “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris grapples with how to address the election in the show.

-- Don Waller, a proto-punk singer who also wrote about music for The Times, has died at age 65.

-- The FBI has closed its inquiry into Brad Pitt over an airplane incident, with no charges filed.


-- New York City has seen a surge of swastika vandalism since the election.

-- Watch: President Obama gives the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vin Scully and a host of other stars from the worlds of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, sports and rock.

-- South Korea has 14 months until its scandal-plagued president is scheduled to leave office. For many people, that now seems like an eternity.

-- Britain’s sweeping surveillance powers act is raising concerns among human-rights activists.

-- You may hate daylight saving time, but it could be lifesaving for wild koalas in the southeast portion of Australia’s Queensland.


-- Inside a Long Beach Web operation that makes up stories about Trump and Clinton for clicks and cash.

-- Michael Hiltzik: Trump is paying $25 million to put the Trump University fiasco behind him. Here’s why we shouldn’t let him.

-- Hot holiday toys: From Hatchimals to Pokémon Sun and Moon.


-- Las Vegas’ first major professional sports team, an NHL franchise, will be called the Vegas Golden Knights. Does its logo look more like Boba Fett or Magneto?

-- The NFL is getting a post-election bump in the TV ratings.


-- The Patt Morrison podcast: Why death row doesn’t work and how Charles Manson changed the death penalty.

-- The showdown at Standing Rock mirrors our troubled democracy.

-- In praise of bus travel, the least glamorous but most lovable way to travel.


-- Jared Kushner talks about his “Moneyball” approach to Trump’s campaign. (Forbes)

-- How time travel became an accepted convention in storytelling. (New York Review of Books)

-- Want to really go wild at Thanksgiving? Behold the Salvador Dalí cookbook. (Saveur)


Pop quiz: What’s the connection between Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln and Northridge? Time’s up! The answer is a wax cylinder recording of actor Edwin Booth (brother of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth) reciting lines from Shakespeare’s “Othello.” The recording was donated to Cal State Northridge, and now it’s part of the exhibition “America’s Shakespeare: The Bard Goes West” at the L.A. Central Library. Listen to it here.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends.