Newsletter: Today: Trump Lays the Wall’s Cornerstone. Oscar’s Familiar Yet Changing Face.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump moved to revive the Dakota Access pipeline.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

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 Lays the Wall’s Cornerstone

Donald Trump talked about it all campaign long: a “big, beautiful” wall along the Mexican border. Today, he plans to take the first step toward making it a reality. As for the fate of roughly 750,000 immigrants who have already come to the U.S. illegally as children? For now, it’s still unclear — a situation that worries some immigration hawks but gives the young people affected a ray of hope.


Pipeline Dreams

With the stroke of a pen, President Trump has revived the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects, though it still doesn’t guarantee a drop of crude will ever flow through either one. What matters more is the message: Big Oil is back in favor. And that’s sure to energize both Trump’s base of supporters and the environmental opposition.

More Politics

-- A conservative Colorado judge has emerged as a top contender to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.


-- Steve Lopez talks with three members of California’s Democratic delegation as they strategize.

-- Badlands National Park tweeted, then deleted, climate facts hours after news broke of a gag order on the EPA.

The Familiar Yet Changing Face of Oscar

In some ways, this year’s Oscar nominations are the same they ever were: “La La Land,” a musical love letter to L.A. and the movies, took a record-tying 14 nominations; Meryl Streep earned her 20th; and even onetime Hollywood pariah Mel Gibson was back in the picture. But there were significant changes too: Seven actors and actresses of color got the nod, and the digital age’s blurring boundaries were reflected in the recognition of Amazon Studios’ “Manchester by the Sea” and the documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” which was shown on ESPN.

More About the Oscar Nominations

-- Amy Adams, “Finding Dory” and Streep: the big snubs and surprises.

-- The complete list of nominees.

-- This graphic looks at diversity among this year’s nominees.



Gov. Brown Leads the Resistance

Immigration. Healthcare. Climate change. Gov. Jerry Brown emphasized those three issues in his State of the State address, saying that “California is not turning back. Not now, not ever.” Though Brown never mentioned Trump by name (shades of Meryl Streep?), it was obvious whose policies he was pushing against. More from Brown’s unusually fiery speech.

After Much Protest, No Charges in an LAPD Shooting

In 2014, the death of Ezell Ford in South L.A. thrust the LAPD into the national debate about police shootings and African Americans. Since then, the incident has been revisited by the department, the Police Commission, the officers’ union, the district attorney’s office and protesters. Here’s why L.A. County prosecutors won’t bring criminal charges against the two officers who shot and killed Ford.


-- University of California regents today will start debating the first tuition increase in six years.

-- California’s stormy winter has set a snowfall record for Mammoth resorts: more than 20 feet in one month.


-- The artist responsible for the “HOLLYWeeD” prank has struck again, this time hanging a sign against Trump on the Golden Gate Bridge.

-- Robin Abcarian on those pink hats and that vulgar word that are now a rallying cry against President Trump.


-- Meet Allison Schroeder, the NASA-loving writer of “Hidden Figures” who was nominated for an Oscar.

-- A movie about man’s best friend discovering the meaning of life would seem like a no-brainer for a studio looking to appeal to pet lovers. So what could go wrong? A lot.

-- The R&B group New Edition’s rise and offstage drama are the focus of a three-part BET biopic.

-- Lee O’Denat, known as Q, the founder of the influential website, has died at age 43.


Jeff Bridges earned his seventh Oscar nomination for “Hell or High Water” on Tuesday. His first? Forty-five years ago for “The Last Picture Show.” Here’s why this Dude abides.


-- Despite having come under fire, FBI Director James B. Comey is staying in his job.

-- The mortality rate due to cancer is falling across the U.S., but worrisome pockets of deadly malignancy persist.

-- A study says the U.S. abortion rate has dropped to a new low, but there’s a fight over why.

-- In Asia, China looks like the winner after Trump scuttled the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

-- South Korea is coping with a terrible outbreak of avian flu, and U.S. egg farmers are benefiting.


-- A petition filed by Consumers Union says scores of California hospitals with high rates of patient infections have not been inspected within the last five years.

-- One key to American Apparel’s demise: when it rapidly grew its retail footprint.


-- Bill Plaschke: Here’s betting that when the time comes for the Lakers to shake things up, Jeanie Buss will be up for it.

-- Bill Shaikin on the calculus of why the Dodgers traded away pitcher José De León.


-- The death of facts has been greatly exaggerated.

-- The Patt Morrison podcast: the tweets that Trump and other politicians don’t want you to read.


-- Some very wealthy people are preparing for doomsday scenarios. (The New Yorker)

-- The makeover myth and its dangers. (Aeon)

-- Why cornbread was once mistakenly blamed as the cause of a killer disease. (Atlas Obscura)


Mexican-born actor Anthony Quinn grew up in East L.A., but for more than three decades he’s been associated with the mural in downtown known as the “Pope of Broadway,” not far from the Million Dollar Theatre where he once performed. Over the years, the painting of the two-time Oscar winner chipped and faded. Now, the mural’s creator has brought it back to life. Time for a Zorba-like dance?

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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