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.
Dear Trump Voters, Your Healthcare Is Now on the Line
The Republican plan to overhaul healthcare will get its first official test of the numbers this week when the Congressional Budget Office unveils its assessment. GOP leadership has already intimated the office’s report can’t be trusted, and President Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services says, “Nobody will be worse off financially.” An L.A. Times analysis shows otherwise: The proposal would most hurt lower-income, older voters in conservative, rural parts of the country — that is, a good portion of Trump’s backers.
Imagine Being Latino and Muslim
Trump’s changes to immigration policy are sending shock waves near and far. For some undocumented immigrant parents, such as those at a Mormon church in Utah, the fear of deportation has led them to sign power of attorney papers to ensure their U.S.-born children prosper. For those at Houston’s Centro Islámico, the nation’s only Spanish-speaking mosque, new fears — and new kindnesses — are coming to the fore. In California, talk of making it a “sanctuary state” has divided law enforcement. And outside the U.S., travelers are starting to think twice about visiting for business or pleasure.
-- Congressional pressure, including from some Republicans, is mounting over Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that he was wiretapped on President Obama’s orders.
-- Outspoken Manhattan federal prosecutor Preet Bharara said he was fired after refusing Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ request to resign along with other U.S. attorneys.
-- Arnold Schwarzenegger won’t be back. He’s not interested in running for the U.S. Senate.
-- Tensions are high as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson takes his first trip in office to Asia, a six-day sweep through Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing.
Nukes on the Highway
The unmarked 18-wheelers on the nation’s interstates and two-lane highways have defenses that could kill an intruder. Their cargo is even more deadly: nuclear bombs. An L.A. Times investigation has found that the agency that oversees the transportation of warheads from missile silos, bomber bases and submarine docks to nuclear weapons labs across the country is struggling with problems of forced overtime, high driver turnover, old trucks and poor worker morale. Experts say the danger is not a traffic accident, but a terrorist hijacking.
Hollywood Conservatives in the Closet
You wouldn’t know it from watching award shows, but Hollywood does have its conservatives. Some, like Clint Eastwood and Jon Voight, are upfront about it. Others say they can’t afford to come out of the political closet, even if they’re traditional Republicans who aren’t exactly enamored with Trump. There’s even a club, Friends of Abe, that keeps the identities of its members secret.
The Desert in Super-Bloom
It’s a scene right out of tourism board ad, or maybe an antihistamine commercial: a once-in-a-decade wildflower “super bloom” in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, made possible by the heavy winter rains we’ve had. Thousands are making the trek. As to how long it lasts, that’s up to the weather and some very hungry caterpillars.
At 94, She’s Standing Her Ground
Marjorie Romer was born in 1923 and grew up in Los Feliz. She can tell you about roller skating to the Carthay Circle Theater to see Dorothy Lamour on screen in 1937. And she can tell you about all the memories she’s had in her historic Westlake house over the last 50 years. Some of her most recent stories, though, aren’t so pleasant: She told columnist Steve Lopez about being burglarized three times in five days. The fourth time, she shooed the burglar away.
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- The life-and-death stakes of an Affordable Care Act repeal in one of L.A. County’s poorest, sickest regions.
-- The streets have ears: A California bill could expand the use of gunshot detection sensors in communities.
-- Bone by bone, Iraqis unearth a mass grave: “We will be out there digging until no one is left.”
-- Membership in the Democratic Socialists of America has tripled over the last year to more than 19,000.
-- Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf tells his story of addiction to painkillers, a suicide attempt, imprisonment and a dramatic change that probably saved his life.
-- From blockbusters to art-house muse, is Kristen Stewart the best actress of her generation?
-- Decoding truth in documentaries, in the age of alternative facts.
-- That Asian mom in the viral video of a professor speaking with the BBC is not the nanny. Why do so many people assume she is?
-- The coming retirement of moderate state Supreme Court Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar will produce a majority of Democratic appointees on the court for the first time in decades.
-- Jurors are expected to begin deliberations today in the retrial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.
-- Congressmen Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter were confronted by rowdy protesters over the weekend at separate back-to-back town hall meetings.
-- The California School Dashboard is a new color-coded way from the state to look at how your child’s school is doing and to compare it with others.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- What happens when you put “Beauty and the Beast” stars at a piano with composer Alan Menken? Disney magic. Watch them sing in this video.
-- We’re at South by Southwest, where reclusive filmmaker Terrence Malick showed up to premiere his latest and Ridley Scott unveiled “Alien: Covenant” footage.
-- With the series “Nashville” and “Sun Records,” CMT hopes to reshape its image for an evolving country audience.
-- The verdict from TV critic Robert Lloyd is in: NBC’s “Trial & Error” is solid, funny and fanciful.
Joni Sledge was the second eldest of four sisters who formed the group Sister Sledge, which reached the height of its popularity during the disco era with hits such as “We Are Family” and “He’s the Greatest Dancer.” She died at age 60 on Friday.
-- The Northeast U.S. is bracing for a blizzard that could dump up to 18 inches of snow on Central Park.
-- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that “Nazism is alive in the West” after two of his ministers were prevented from campaigning in the Netherlands.
-- A mountain of trash gave way in a massive garbage dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, killing dozens of people.
-- Utah is on the verge of the toughest drunk-driving standard in the U.S. by lowering the legal blood-alcohol concentration for driving from 0.08% to 0.05%.
-- Photos: Celebrating Holi, the Hindu spring festival of colors, in India.
-- Once the queen of the skies, the 747 will soon be just a flying truck.
-- The highly publicized $1-billion deal to sell Dick Clark Productions to China’s Dalian Wanda Group has collapsed, apparently over the price tag.
-- Columnist Dylan Hernandez visits with Yasiel Puig, whom the Dodgers once saw as a savior. Now he’s an afterthought.
-- Here’s an idea: Make Neil Gorsuch actually answer questions in his Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
-- Marry at 16, get drafted at 18, drink at 21.… Who counts as an adult?
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Is the U.S. Navy putting too much emphasis on aircraft carriers? (Reuters)
-- The pain of loneliness could be a gift too. (Aeon)
-- Something you may have never considered before: the artworks in “The Brady Bunch” house. (We Are the Mutants)
ONLY IN L.A.
Frank Romero is as L.A. an artist as you can find: He grew up in Boyle Heights, worked in graphic design for Charles and Ray Eames and did a stint at A&M Records. He and three other artists formed the collective Los Four back when “the whole idea of being Chicano was very radical.” But you probably know him from his mural “Going to the Olympics” on the 101 Freeway. At 75, he just keeps painting because “I don’t know how to do anything else.”
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