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Today: See America on a 'Hard Power' Budget. 'Groundhog Day' for the NEA.

Today: See America on a 'Hard Power' Budget. 'Groundhog Day' for the NEA.
Copies of President Trump's "America First" budget sit in stacks. (Shawn Thew / EPA)

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, including our weekend recommendations and weekly look back into the archives.

TOP STORIES

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See America on a 'Hard Power' Budget

Under President Trump's "America First" budget proposal, the military, veterans' health and the "big, beautiful wall" are among the winners, while diplomatic efforts, job training and research aimed at fighting diseases and climate change are among the losers. EPA funding would be cut nearly one-third, and at least 19 independent agencies would be gone. "We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good," is how Trump's budget honcho explained it. But remember, Congress holds the purse strings, and that's where the war will be fought before the fiscal year starts Oct. 1. This graphic explains the big picture. Or read all 62 pages of the "skinny budget" here.

(Los Angeles Times)

Trump's Slap Against 'Sanctuary Cities'

During the campaign, Trump promised to "cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities." Deep within the budget proposal is a first step: cutting $210 million in reimbursements to state and local jails that hold immigrants convicted of crimes while in the country illegally. But this isn't the first time a president has tried to cut these funds for different reasons.

More Politics

-- California's chief justice asked the Trump administration to stop immigration agents from "stalking" courthouses to make arrests. Meanwhile, the L.A. County sheriff has come out against a "sanctuary state" bill.

-- Sean Spicer said Trump stands by his accusation that President Obama wiretapped him, despite Republican and Democratic leaders saying there's no evidence.

-- Paul Ryan's make-or-break moment on Obamacare will test his power, legacy and relationship with Trump.

'Groundhog Day' for the NEA

Defunding the National Endowment for the Arts is one of the oldest fights in modern-day Washington. But why? Times art critic Christopher Knight breaks down the history of the battle and how the outcome could be different this time as the Trump administration looks to ax the NEA, the Corp. for Public Broadcasting and more. The thought is sending shock waves through California arts organizations and public broadcasters.

The Travails of the Travel Ban

One week after Trump took office, the president set off a fight in the court of opinion — and then in the federal judiciary — by signing his first travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries. Now, after the second attempt has been blocked by two judges, the question is: Should his administration keep trying? Trump has vowed to fight on. But the ticking of time and Trump's own words are among the obstacles.

Hungry? These Apps Open a Door to Possibilities

When it comes to restaurant delivery, there are several apps for that. DoorDash, UberEats, Caviar, GrubHub and Yelp's Eat24 are opening the door to a new world of dining options for Southern Californians. And for many L.A.-area restaurants, they're proving to be quite tasty too, by increasing their customer bases without a drop-off in dine-in customers. Read on to see how they're also giving rise to the "ghost kitchen."

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY

Eighty-nine years ago this week, the St. Francis Dam about 50 miles north of Los Angeles collapsed. It was the second-deadliest disaster in California history after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. A massive wall of water killed between 400 and more than 600 people and destroyed 1,200 houses. Times photographer George Watson would later describe how he captured the aftermath.

The remaining section of St. Francis Dam, with crumbled sections at base.
The remaining section of St. Francis Dam, with crumbled sections at base. (Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

-- Three state lawmakers have proposed that it no longer be a felony for someone who is HIV-positive to have unprotected sex without telling his or her partner about the infection.

-- A new state system to rank schools says nearly 80% of those serving grades 3 through 8 are medium- to high-performing. That's a far rosier picture than past measurements.

-- A former actor who once played one of TV's Power Rangers has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for stabbing his roommate to death with a sword.

-- A former attorney with a Harvard education was sentenced to 40 years in prison for kidnapping a woman. Vallejo police once portrayed the case as a hoax.

YOUR WEEKEND

-- A weekend escape to Tucson, that Arizona outpost with a culinary heart and an artsy soul.

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-- Celebrate St. Patrick's Day today with 24 beer-infused recipes, or just a spot of corned beef.

-- Even if you're not running in this weekend's L.A. Marathon, here are nine ways to give your running gear a spring makeover.

-- A guide to our favorite spring garden tours in Southern California.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- How the new "Beauty and the Beast" empowers Belle's inner feminist with books, not boys.

-- "Saturday Night Live" is trying to capitalize on its recent popularity by going live across the country for this season's final four episodes.

-- TV critic Robert Lloyd says Julie Andrews' kids show on Netflix, "Julie's Greenroom," will lift away your troubles.

-- The schedule and lineup for the 22nd annual L.A. Times Festival of Books is out.

NATION-WORLD

-- Strained U.S.-German ties and Russia will be in the spotlight today as Trump has his first meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

-- Mexico-based Cemex, one of the world's largest suppliers of building materials, says it will not participate in construction of President Trump's border wall.

-- On his trip to Asia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is calling for a "different approach" to confront North Korea but offering no details. Japan also is weighing a more aggressive role in the matter.

-- Far-right populism in Europe faltered with this week's vote in the Netherlands, but it remains a powerful force.

-- A study of fossils has found that as the Earth got hotter, some mammals got smaller.

BUSINESS

-- The Trump budget includes a plan to privatize the air traffic control system and raise passenger security fees.

-- The U.S. hit its debt limit again. Now the Treasury Department is maneuvering to avoid a default until Congress acts.

SPORTS

-- The latest on March Madness, as UCLA and USC get set to play today.

-- Venus Williams couldn't catch a break late and lost at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

OPINION

-- Author John Scalzi on living in two Americas.

-- A transgender child's dilemma: when to go, and where.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Inside the elaborate plans for when Queen Elizabeth II dies. (The Guardian)

-- How can Silicon Valley improve its bad track record with women? (The Atlantic)

-- Houses with two master bedrooms are all the rage in the high end of the real estate market. (Wall Street Journal)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Comic-Con started in the basement of San Diego's U.S. Grant Hotel in 1970. Little did they know then that it would become a showcase for Hollywood film and TV projects trying to gain buzz, with more than 100,000 attendees. Soon Comic-Con will have its own museum of pop culture in Balboa Park too. Revenge of the nerds, indeed.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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