Happy Thanksgiving! 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.
Your Thanksgiving Food for Thought
In 1863, as the Civil War raged on, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the entire nation was to celebrate "a day of Thanksgiving and Praise" on a single date, rather than individual states observing it according to their wishes. The idea was one of reconciliation. As Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold writes, it is one that serves us well today: "Nothing has quite as much power to bring us together as an hour or two at the table — an hour or two devoted to family and friends, grace and gratitude for the blessings of America. We eat together and talk together as people with a single purpose. We are happy together at least until the bowl of cranberry sauce runs low."
In Some Homes, a Bitter Harvest
For more than a decade, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez has argued that the U.S. immigration system is broken. For him, it's always been personal, having grown up in Mexico and crossed the border into Texas to visit his mother's family — a scary trip, he says, even with a passport and tourist visa. Now, his frustration and worries are even greater for the immigrant families who fear being divided under Donald Trump's plans for more deportations.
Trump Widens the Tent Just a Little
Trump will spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family at his Mar-a-Lago resort, a small respite from the task of picking more top advisors. On Wednesday, he stepped out of his circle of loyalists by selecting two women who had been less than enthusiastic supporters — Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina for United Nations ambassador and Betsy DeVos, a billionaire advocate of school vouchers, for secretary of Education. Haley had criticized Trump's rhetoric during the campaign, while DeVos had contributed to at least two of Trump's rivals.
To One Homeless Man, It's Treasure. To the City, It's Trash.
Ceola Waddell Jr.'s handiwork has countless fans on Facebook. The city of L.A. is not one of them. Waddell, who has lived on and off the streets for decades, built a compound underneath the Harbor Freeway complete with a living room sofa and love seat, porcelain toilet and zebra-skin slipcovers. A video tour of it went viral. But sanitation crews have twice removed his makeshift abode. Last week, workers took a refrigerator with an "abundance of rotting food," "explosive materials" and other unhealthy items, according to the city. "I refuse to let the city beat me down to what they think a homeless person's profile is, living on cardboard," said Waddell.
The Few. The Proud. The Retail Workers on Black Friday.
In the chill of the morning air, they train. What if a customer wants more than one doorbuster item? What are the benefits of that extended warranty? How do you keep crazed shoppers safe? Here's a look at the intense planning that retailers and their employees do for Black Friday.
-- The feast: A beginner's guide to cooking turkey, last-minute recipe inspiration and ideas for dining out.
-- "Moana," "Allied" and other new films to see in theaters.
-- The best college football games to watch.
-- Skip the mall, go to a museum: 16 ways to gobble up SoCal culture.
-- Your Black Friday cheat sheet: how to find the deals and duds.
-- Meet the children of L.A.'s skid row, some of the estimated 63,000 homeless kids in L.A. County.
-- A new report on the state's seismic vulnerabilities says that up to 3.5 million homes could be damaged if an 8.0 earthquake ruptured on the San Andreas fault.
-- L.A. city officials are looking to decriminalize sidewalk vending. It's been in the works for some time but gained urgency with Trump's vow to deport people in the country illegally and convicted of a crime.
-- L.A. also took the first step toward a major overhaul of the Police Department's disciplinary process — a move long sought by the union that represents rank-and-file officers.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- TV review: "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" is a welcome slice of smart holiday escapism.
-- Robot roll call: "Mystery Science Theater 3000" creator Joel Hodgson talks about the revived series with new host Jonah Ray.
-- The craziest opera yet: Gerald Barry's "Alice's Adventures Under Ground."
-- The Salk Institute in La Jolla, designed by Modernist architect Louis Kahn, is aging gracefully.
-- The Gold Star father who brandished the Constitution at the Democratic convention will write a memoir about his life and the death of his son.
-- Jeff Bridges says he has "high hopes" and "a lot of concerns" about a Trump presidency.
-- Aaron Schock was once a rising star in the GOP. Then he decorated his congressional office like "Downton Abbey."
-- Why the Justice Department operates free of White House influence.
-- A man who ambushed and fatally shot one of the few U.S. doctors performing late-term abortions was given a more lenient sentence in Kansas.
-- Colombian government officials and leftist rebels are expected to sign a revised peace deal.
-- Don't mess with a coconut crab. The largest land-dwelling crab on Earth can lift about 66 pounds with its pincers and can pinch with about 750 pounds of force.
-- Drug costs have skyrocketed for many older Americans, despite Medicare coverage.
-- T-Day trivia: The cost of a basic Thanksgiving meal for 10 people dropped 24 cents, to $49.87.
-- Ralph Branca, the Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who gave up "the shot heard round the world," has died at age 90.
-- Mike Pereira has the coolest job in the NFL: Fox Sports' rules analyst.
-- Pheasant under glass? Why Thanksgiving is the meal that must not change.
-- There is no better occasion for a conversation about the ethics of what we eat than Thanksgiving.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- We're going from "no drama Obama" to Trump's "truthful hyperbole." (Washington Post)
-- Photographers share eight moments "they are thankful for having witnessed." (National Geographic)
-- Do you know the name Sarah Josepha Hale? She campaigned for 15 years to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in the U.S. (Atlas Obscura)
ONLY IN L.A.
Do you have something to get off your chest before your Thanksgiving meal? A phone line art project, born out of an L.A. art space, is here to help. Just dial (386) 951-3320 and you can leave a message "to that person in your life whose views and opinions you really don't agree with" — or listen to others vent — in the "Not at the Dinner Table" project. Why the 386 area code? It's in a Florida county that is "a home of the hanging chad."
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.