Newsletter: Today: Inside the Oakland Fire Investigation. Trump’s EPA Pick — a Climate Change Skeptic.

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.


Inside the Oakland Fire Investigation

For four days, investigators searched in 12-hour shifts around the clock. What they found tested their strength. In the end, there were 36 victims — each with a story. And now, as officials try to find the cause of the Oakland warehouse tragedy, there are more questions about oversight: It’s unclear when the last time a fire inspector entered the building, and authorities say no building code enforcement inspector has been inside in at least 30 years.


Trump’s EPA Pick: A Climate Change Skeptic

Donald Trump’s meeting earlier this week with Al Gore gave environmentalists a glimmer of hope. They’re feeling a lot less hopeful now that Trump has selected Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt disputes the scientific consensus on climate change, is an ally of the oil industry and has tried to block President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. If Pruitt is confirmed, here’s how it could play out in the states.

More on the Trump Transition

-- Trump promised to “work something out” for the so-called Dreamer immigrants.


-- Trump’s selection for Homeland Security: another retired general.

-- Trump chose former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration.

Hollywood Gets a Trump Wake-up Call

Liberals in entertainment and the arts have made no secret of how they feel about Trump’s election. He’s made no secret of how he feels about them. But what will the Trump effect be on the films, TV shows, music, cultural events and books that will be produced in the coming years? It may not be all defiance, but rather include a greater focus on working-class lives a la “Roseanne” of the 1990s. And then there’s how to deal with an international market roiled by a variety of nationalist movements.

Sen. Boxer Exits the Political Ring

After 34 years in the U.S. Senate, Barbara Boxer is saying her goodbyes and making one last stand — for the “noble” work of politicians, in a year when voter anger against them is high. Boxer delivered her farewell speech (watch it here), and as Cathleen Decker writes in an analysis, it marks the end of an era and the start of some big changes among California’s political leadership over the next two years.

The White Supremacist and the Ethnic Studies Class

Nathan Damigo did two tours of duty in Iraq, then came home and used a gun to rob a La Mesa cab driver he thought was Iraqi. In prison, he read a book by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. And when Damigo got out, he founded a white nationalist organization. So what was Damigo doing in an ethnic studies class at Cal State Stanislaus? Describing his fantasy for a utopian homeland for whites to a room filled with black and Latino students.


Addicted to Your Phone? The Kids Have Noticed

The device on which you’re reading this can exert a hypnotic pull. Just look at your closest tween or teen for proof. Yet as doctors say it’s important to limit screen time for kids, a new survey shows parents aren’t helping the cause by spending nine hours a day plugged into tech, with much of that being non-work-related. A child psychologist and a pediatrician have some tips for parents looking to practice what they preach. Have some ideas of your own? Let us know here for a future story.


-- Members of Congress assailed the California National Guard commander for ordering thousands of soldiers and veterans to repay enlistment bonuses. Several lawmakers acknowledged that they had only learned of the long-running bonus problem from recent stories in The Times.

-- L.A. is planning a crackdown on unsafe warehouses after the Oakland tragedy.

-- The Los Angeles City Council wants to seek new restrictions on “mansionization.”

-- George Skelton: When a door opened unexpectedly for Rep. Xavier Becerra, he walked in and impressed.



-- Movie review: Michael Keaton is terrific in “The Founder,” a “sharp and satisfyingly fat-free” tale of American enterprise run amok.

-- A new art museum at UC Davis hints at fresh directions for American architecture.

-- Gary Busey on Gary Busey: a conversation about his first role on the stage.

-- Amazon’s cancellation of the feminist drama “Good Girls Revolt” feels timely, but not in a good way.

-- Beyoncé vs. Adele at the Grammys will be a battle of style: the new versus the tried-and-true.


-- Seventy-five years after the Pearl Harbor attack, there are ceremonies and a push to capture survivors’ stories.

-- South Korean lawmakers have introduced an impeachment motion that could remove the country’s president from office as early as Friday.

-- Federal prosecutors started laying out their case in the trial of Dylann Roof, the self-avowed white supremacist charged with killing nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church.

-- Pro-government troops in Syria are swiftly moving toward a complete takeover of Aleppo from rebels.

-- Migrating snow geese, perhaps several thousand, have died after landing in a former open-pit copper mine in Montana that is filled with highly acidic water.

-- Ancient eclipse records show that days on Earth are getting just a little longer.


-- The smartwatch maker Pebble calls it quits, proving that being first doesn’t guarantee success.

-- State Farm is fighting back against a ruling by the California Insurance Commissioner that would reduce its home insurance rates and require it to issue refunds.

-- Michael Hiltzik: Trump’s Carrier jobs triumph looks more like a sham every day.


-- Sam Farmer: If the Raiders depart, it won’t be the first time fans in Oakland have been left behind.

-- The NCAA is penalizing Cal State Northridge after finding that a former director of basketball operations committed academic fraud involving 10 men’s team players.


-- Can Trump cut off funds for sanctuary cities? The Constitution says yes.

-- A UCLA law professor and onetime chair of the school’s Islamic Studies Interdepartmental Program wants to know: What message was the U.S. government trying to send when it detained me at border?


-- The isolated country of Eritrea and the soccer team that escaped from it. (The New Yorker)

-- A Muslim reporter from Indiana writes about what it was like covering the presidential campaign. (NPR)

-- A mysterious patron and a $700 bottle of Bordeaux meet in a Toronto watering hole. (Roads and Kingdoms)


When L.A. outlawed pinball back in 1939, officials took sledgehammers to the machines. In 1974, the California Supreme Court ruled the pinball ordinance invalid, and the onetime public nuisance became the king of the arcade. By the early 2000s, though, pinball’s popularity had pretty much gone tilt. Now, it’s on the rebound again, and a Glendale company is scoring big by renting and repairing machines to hipster arcades. Pinball wizardry, indeed.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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