Newsletter: Today: First You Attack the Judges. Can L.A. Lower Its Temperature?

President Trump
President Trump speaks Wednesday in Washington.
(J. Scott Applewhite / 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.


First You Attack the Judges

Some call it the bully pulpit. Others just say it’s bullying. Either way, President Trump has repeatedly accused federal judges of playing politics by suspending his travel ban and attacked the independence of the judiciary. Even his own Supreme Court nominee called the president’s remarks disheartening and demoralizing in a private meeting, according to Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal. A ruling from a three-judge panel from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could come as early as today.


More Politics

-- Jeff Sessions was confirmed as attorney general, but Trump isn’t making his job any easier.

-- The Department of Defense is planning to lease space in Trump Tower, and ethics experts are not happy about it.

-- Here are five times when presidents besides Trump weighed in on pending court rulings.


Pecking at California’s Nest Egg Plan

Washington, D.C., has set its sights on how things are done in California. Earlier this week it was Trump’s threat to “defund.” (Take a look at the numbers here.) Now it’s the GOP-controlled Congress leading the charge. At issue: a 2016 state law that requires employers with no retirement plans to automatically invest a small percentage of each worker’s pay in a state-sponsored retirement account. Despite all the back and forth, state officials pressed pause to submit a $100-billion wish list of infrastructure projects for federal funding.

Can L.A. Lower Its Temperature?

The weather this week may be stormy, but you don’t have to think too far back to remember how hot it’s been in Southern California over the last few years. It’s expected to only get hotter. Yet in 2015, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti called for lowering the average temperature in the city by 3 degrees over the next 20 years. Sound impossible? Meet the scientists who are trying to do just that. And no, it doesn’t involve a giant dome.


A Homeless Conundrum Outside LAX

Manchester Square was once a model post-World War II housing tract. But being under the flight path of LAX took its toll, and in the 1990s, the airport’s operator began buying up and razing houses in the area. Then, it sat empty — until the area’s homeless moved in. Now officials are hoping to build a rental car facility and more, while facing the massive task of relocating those who call it home.

The Smoke Before the Ghost Ship Fire


A key question about the Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36 people in Oakland has been: What did the city know? Newly released documents show officials visited the site numerous times and investigated at least 10 code enforcement complaints, yet never moved to shut it down. The city received an explicit complaint that the warehouse had been converted into an illegal residence in February 2015, police records show.

Nordstrom Isn’t Racked by a Presidential Tweet

It was another market-moving tweet: “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” The company’s stock immediately dropped … before closing up 4% on the day. Why pick on Nordstrom, when other retailers have dropped her line too? Columnist Michael Hiltzik breaks it down.


-- Has Mayor Eric Garcetti been leading the way in L.A.’s revival? Or is he just the beneficiary of good timing? He’s looking to be reelected next month.

-- Despite epic rain and snow, the state is keeping its emergency drought restrictions in place.

-- Southern California Gas Co. will pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by air quality regulators over the Aliso Canyon gas leak.

-- Robin Abcarian: California is, like, totally out of control. Just the way we like it.



-- Gordon Ramsay wants to get kids ready for life while coaching them on “MasterChef Junior.”

-- L.A.’s Pan African Film Festival will celebrate its 25th year in style.

-- Inside the play that started without a single written word.

-- Nice thought, but … the idea of Jack Nicholson in a remake of the German-language film “Toni Erdmann” strikes some as a bit off.


Those damn, dirty apes. The original “Planet of the Apes,” starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans, opened in New York this week in 1968. It would hit L.A. and the rest of the country a bit later.


-- A Phoenix woman in the country illegally, and who was considered a low priority for deportation by the Obama administration, has been taken into custody by ICE officials.

-- Two psychologists are facing a lawsuit for developing interrogation techniques the CIA used on Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Here’s why a judge let the case move forward.

-- A Russian opposition leader who planned to challenge President Vladimir Putin in next year’s election was found guilty in the retrial of a 2013 fraud case.

-- Somalia has taken a step toward stability by electing a new president, a 55-year-old former prime minister who lived in the U.S. for many years and is a U.S. citizen.

-- A plain-spoken German populist may have a shot at ousting Angela Merkel.


-- Should drivers get auto insurance discounts based on occupation? The Consumer Watchdog organization wants California officials to intervene.

-- Burbank is now home to the largest Ikea in the United States. Save yourself a couple of thousand of steps and watch this video walk-through of the place.


-- Fifteen-year-old LaMelo Ball of Chino Hills scored 92 points in a high school basketball game. It made national news. But not everyone’s happy about how it played out.

-- Want to own a share of the Dodgers? This could be your chance.


-- Lawmakers should be careful to not fulfill Trump’s false depiction of California as a “sanctuary state.”

-- Trump is stocking his Cabinet with the ethically challenged. Case in point: Tom Price.


-- Five years ago in Bowling Green, Ohio, authorities feared a hate-fueled massacre was coming … from a white supremacist. (ProPublica)

-- Is it time to think of computer programming as a blue-collar job? (Wired)

-- Wait, what is the “word of the year”? A look behind the WOTY phenomenon. (Slate)


Free Harambe? How about the $99,900 Harambe, in the form of a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto? Chris Astoyani of Burbank put a Cheeto that resembles the late gorilla up for auction on eBay, and little did he know the bidding would get out of control. After it made headlines, Astoyani says the buyer with the winning bid had second thoughts and backed out of the deal. Now what? Read on.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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