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.
Question Time for Team Trump
Questions about Russian election meddling. Confirmation hearings on Cabinet picks. A long-delayed news conference. This week, Donald Trump and his team will be pressed for answers as they gear up for Jan. 20. But what about those in Trump’s circle of informal advisors? While the Senate won’t grill them, they’ll have influence too. Case in point: Thomas J. Barrack Jr., the Californian who is in charge of planning the inauguration. He’s the founder of an investment giant and has a long business history in the Mideast. You might remember him for bailing out Michael Jackson when the singer’s Neverland Ranch was on the brink of foreclosure.
-- Make California red again? Pro-Trump Californians hope his victory can fuel a GOP revival in the Golden State.
-- President Obama says he didn’t underestimate Vladimir Putin but did misjudge the potency of misinformation.
A Winter War in Northern California
Flooding. Mudslides. High winds. “Extreme” avalanche warnings. Forecasters are calling it the most powerful storm in a decade to hit California, and the first wave hit the north over the weekend. It wasn’t just the rain that swelled rivers, but also melting snow, a byproduct of the Pineapple Express’ warm precipitation. The storm even toppled the famed Pioneer Cabin Tree in Calaveras County. There’s more to come this week, including rain for Southern California. Here’s the latest.
The Golden Globes: Song, Dance and Streep
A movie musical set in L.A. and celebrating Hollywood? No wonder “La La Land” was a slam-dunk at the Golden Globes, picking up a record seven awards. With two weeks to go before the Oscar nominations come out, we have a front-runner already, and the coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” is its closest challenger. But beyond the honorees and the red carpet fashion, the night’s biggest buzz probably belonged to Meryl Streep’s speech about Trump and press freedom.
The Hollywood Elite vs. Main Street
Speaking of culture clashes … Are Hollywood values truly out of sync with American values? The easy answer is yes. But what exactly are Hollywood values? Sex and violence or political correctness? The liberal elite or a reality-show host who becomes president? The Times’ entertainment staff looks at how the movies, TV, music, art and video games reflect, shape and sometimes derail our culture and our politics. And we want to hear from you: Send us an email with your thoughts.
In Tibetan Lands, a Living Buddha Speaks
With its long history of unrest, the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture is one of China’s most tightly controlled regions. But this year, the Chinese government cracked open the door just a little, by taking a journalist delegation on an eight-day, 1,000-mile road trip, all under the watchful eyes of a mysterious group of smoking men. So what does a living Buddha there think of the Dalai Lama?
Our Jonathan Gold Has a Throw-Down for the New York Times’ Food Critic
The New York Times’ Pete Wells wasn’t too keen on the food at the Oakland location of Locol, the restaurant that high-profile chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson started in Watts’ so-called food desert. Wells gave it a zero-star review. But L.A. Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold wonders if there are certain restaurants that are unreviewable. And he has an offer for Mr. Wells.
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- There were 62 slayings in San Bernardino last year. Police have at times struggled to find the killers, leaving families to grapple with unanswered questions.
-- Downtown Los Angeles is undergoing its largest construction boom since the Roaring ’20s, thanks in part to foreign investment.
-- Steve Lopez: Seniors, including some Holocaust survivors, are fighting their ouster from a Westwood retirement home. Their cri de coeur: “Old Lives Matter!”
-- To cross the front lines in the battle for Mosul between Iraqi forces and Islamic State, you just hail a cab.
-- For men in northern Nigeria, taking many wives and having large families signify status and success. But what happens when they cannot feed their families?
-- When the minimum wage rose to $10.50 an hour Jan. 1, more than a million people got a raise. But for an untold number of families across the state, that pay bump could price them out of child care.
-- In the rural town of Weed, where Donald Trump won, members of the Latino minority say goodwill prevails, as always.
-- A series of fights staged by dozens of teenagers outside the Westfield Culver City mall Saturday evening sparked panic among patrons at the shopping center and prompted a social media frenzy.
-- Police pulled 80 people off a party bus in Huntington Beach because they suspected some of them may have been involved in a robbery at a 7-Eleven. Found on board: seven loaded handguns.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- “Hidden Figures,” about a trio of women who defied expectations to help the U.S. space program, is a surprise hit at the box office. It nearly tied “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” for No. 1.
-- “It’s tough for us to watch, to be honest with you”: The makers of the HBO documentary about Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher discuss the late mother-daughter duo.
-- Nat Hentoff, a venerable political and cultural columnist, has died at age 91.
-- There are ever-more-troubling questions about why suspect Esteban Santiago was allowed to have and keep a gun, and then check it on a flight, before Friday’s massacre at the Fort Lauderdale airport.
-- The death of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani may be a blow to moderates in Iran.
-- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that a Palestinian truck driver’s deadly attack on Israeli soldiers had been motivated by Islamic State.
-- Police reports show that crime rates at Southern California theme parks are extremely low, but each park wrestles with distinct crime problems: shoplifting at Universal Studios Hollywood, car burglary at Knott’s Berry Farm and counterfeit money at Disneyland.
-- SpaceX was ready to get back to flying after an explosion in September, but bad weather postponed a launch of its Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
-- Charlie Culberson hit the walk-off home run that helped give a fairy-tale ending to Vin Scully’s career. Someone, somewhere, has that ball. “They can have the ball, I’ll always have the story,” Culberson says.
-- Ever get that feeling of déjà vu? After this weekend’s play, all four NFL divisional games are rematches.
-- Trump has the habits of a showman, not a manager. Get ready for chaos.
-- Forget charter schools and vouchers. Here are five business ideas that school reformers should adopt.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has had a key role in foreign policy during the transition and has pursued a real estate deal with a company that has close ties to the Chinese government. (New York Times)
-- Records show millennial comedian Dan Nainan is 55 years old. So why does he keep appearing in news stories as a 35-year-old? (The Daily Beast)
-- The role of the dandy in today’s society. (Aeon)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
There aren’t too many jobs where you get to fire a World War II-era howitzer at a mountain. Being on the Mammoth Mountain ski patrol during whiteout conditions is one of them. See what it’s like when a crew heads into a bunker to prevent avalanches by making things go boom.
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.
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