Newsletter: Today: In, and Out, Like Flynn. Oroville Fights a Nightmare Scenario.

President Trump's national security advisor, Michael Flynn, center, resigned Monday.
(Andrew Harnik / 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.


In, and Out, Like Flynn


After just 24 days, Michael Flynn is out as President Trump’s national security advisor, amid scrutiny over Flynn’s conflicting accounts of contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. and reports that they were part of a federal investigation. (Read Flynn’s resignation letter here.) Beyond being a black eye, the departure is unlikely to take the focus off the president’s own relationship with Russia.

More Politics

-- For Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s newly confirmed Treasury secretary, the agenda is full: dealing with the nation’s debt limit, plans to cut corporate taxes and to tinker with the Dodd-Frank financial rules, and whether to label China a currency manipulator.

-- Elizabeth Warren zeroed in on Labor nominee Andy Puzder, saying he has “sneering contempt” for workers.

-- People on social media freaked out about a photo of the man who holds the nuclear football, but the Pentagon didn’t.

Oroville Fights a Nightmare Scenario


At the Oroville Dam, 100,000 cubic feet of water per second gushed down a spillway, while more than 100,000 people who had been forced to evacuate wondered what’s next. With more storms expected to bring more water this week, officials in Northern California are working to lower Lake Oroville, fix a battered emergency spillway and head off a nightmare scenario: a 30-foot-tall wall of water being unleashed on the surrounding land. Here’s the latest.

More About Oroville

-- Erosion near an Oroville reservoir emergency spillway was first predicted in court documents filed by environmentalists more than a decade ago.

-- Watch: L.A. Times reporter Chris Megerian’s broadcast atop the Oroville Dam.

Helicopters and large dump trucks placed rocks on the damaged emergency spillway at Oroville Dam on Monday evening.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

It’s a Good Time to Own a Prison


Homeland Security has called the immigration raids of the past week “routine” and says that more than 75% of the 680 people arrested had criminal convictions. Trump alluded to them as a “crackdown on illegal criminals.” However the arrests are being presented, Trump’s executive order on immigration enforcement has stirred fear in many communities. At the same time, it’s boosted the stocks of companies that run private prisons, even as concerns remain about the conditions in such facilities.

Congress Goes From ‘Do Nothing’ to Frenzy

President Trump has been getting the limelight by signing executive orders and meeting world leaders (yesterday was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s turn), but at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the GOP-led Congress has been working quietly. The goal: to undo Obama-era regulations on Wall Street, the environment and guns. The surprise: how quickly the measures are going through. Read on to see how the Koch brothers are helping to move things along.

For Love and Money

Valentine’s Day is about love, but it’s also about money. This year, Americans are expected to spend $18.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation — down a bit from last year’s record $19.7 billion. So how did we go from ancient Roman fertility festival to today’s roses, cards and candy? Columnist David Lazarus takes a look at how “be mine” turned into a gold mine.



-- Bullying remains a serious problem in Los Angeles schools.

-- L.A. County voters will decide on a quarter-cent sales tax for homelessness programs in March.

-- Compton Community College is regaining local control after years of oversight by a state-appointed trustee.

-- A fire in a Disneyland parking structure burned at least eight cars and injured more than half a dozen employees.


-- President Trump is making “Saturday Night Live’s” ratings great again. Well, Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy have something to do with it too.


-- Theater review: A revival of “Zoot Suit” at the Mark Taper Forum speaks directly to our current political moment.

-- Al Jarreau may have been known for his smooth vocals, but there was more to his sound than that.

-- Why Adele’s flub at the Grammys was actually a pop-star power play.


As Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch,” Florence Henderson created an idealized mother figure for an entire generation. She said she got the job, in part, because of a “terrible makeup man.” Henderson was born on Valentine’s Day 1934, and died last November — a sweetheart performer to the end.



-- A United Nations report says a U.S. airstrike may have killed 18 civilians, nearly all women and children.

-- A report from Human Rights Watch says Syrian military forces dropped chlorine gas on civilians in rebel-held residential areas of Aleppo last year.

-- The wife and stepson of a Ku Klux Klan leader found fatally shot next to a river in eastern Missouri were charged in his death.

-- The fallout from a Chinese billionaire’s apparent abduction in Hong Kong has ensnared a Beijing newspaper, deepening the mystery over his disappearance.

-- Romania is engulfed by protest in a political awakening of the young.



-- Some say it was inevitable while others say it was overdue. Either way, YouTube is launching its own slate of original TV shows aimed at children and families.

-- Homeboy Industries makes salsa, bakes cakes and operates a cafe. Now the L.A. institution, which helps the formerly incarcerated find jobs, is adding a recycling center to its portfolio.


-- Bill Plaschke visits some Dodgers-loving couples who find paradise by the scoreboard light.

-- Lakers advisor Magic Johnson believes it will take three to five years for the team to get “back rolling.”



-- Editorial: A disaster at the Oroville Dam could easily become a crisis for Los Angeles too.

-- Don’t call the Israeli-Palestinian dispute the “Middle East conflict.”

-- Trump and his immigration politics are redefining Canada and helping its tech sector.


-- Welcome to the United States of America. Hand over your passport and your passwords? (The Atlantic)

-- The hidden human costs of “cheap eats.” (NPR)


-- Is the clock ticking on Spotify? (BBC)


Kobee Factory & Syrian Kitchen is “probably as unassuming a restaurant as exists in Van Nuys, a barely renovated storefront on a strip of auto-body shops, with four or five tables, a soda cooler in the corner and a takeout business that dwarfs the sleepy pace of the café,” writes Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold. Here’s how its owner, an immigrant from Homs 40 years ago, became a “surrogate Syrian mother for half of the San Fernando Valley.”

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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