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.
Today's Drama on the Hill
Capitol Hill will be busy with two high-profile hearings today. In the House of Representatives, FBI Director James B. Comey will testify before the Intelligence Committee on Russian interference in the U.S. presidential race, and he's sure to be pressed on President Trump's unproven claim he was targeted for surveillance by the Obama administration. Over in the Senate, the Judiciary Committee will begin four days of hearings on Neil M. Gorsuch, Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court. So far the fight over Gorsuch has been relatively mild, but expect that to change quickly.
The Jobs American Workers Aren't Doing
One of the stated goals of President Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration is to free up jobs for American-born workers. So far, California's farmers aren't encouraged by what they've seen. Even after offering higher pay and perks, they're having trouble finding enough farmhands, and that's forcing some hard choices — like giving up certain crops or replacing workers with machines. Meanwhile, some former immigration officials say that focusing on a border wall is fruitless if there are still jobs to be had. Their solution: Sanction the businesses that hire undocumented workers.
-- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson capped his trip to Asia on a note of collaboration as the relationship between China and the new Trump administration appeared to get a reset and tensions with North Korea flared.
-- Speaker Paul Ryan said he felt "very good" about the chances of the GOP healthcare bill passing in the House of Representatives, even as changes are being worked on.
-- The judge in Hawaii who brought a national halt to Trump's new travel ban last week has rejected a government request to revise his ruling.
What Happened to Ivanka?
Ivanka Trump has no formal job description, yet we've seen her seated next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House and posing on the steps of the Supreme Court with her daughter. A group of New York artists who considered her part of the "liberal bubble of New York" thought she'd play a moderating role, but now they feel she's complicit in her father's policies.
Roll Over, Beethoven
The lyrics. The duck walk. The sound. Chuck Berry was one of the founding fathers of rock 'n' roll. "If you tried to give rock 'n' roll another name," John Lennon once said, "you might call it 'Chuck Berry.' " For all Berry's influence on musicians to come, he was often regarded as difficult, rarely gave interviews and had his run-ins with the law. Here's an in-depth look at Berry, who died at age 90 over the weekend.
With a Shovel in Hand, a Mother Finds Her Son
Last week, a mass grave in Mexico made headlines when the Veracruz district attorney said 250 skulls had been unearthed in a field. But activists say the discovery was made with no thanks to the authorities; instead, it was found through the efforts of volunteer diggers, who are mostly the widows and mothers of those missing in the drug wars. Griselda Barradas' son was one of the first two positively identified victims from the gravesite.
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- Steve Lopez visits with a doctor who has devoted his life to caring for L.A.'s neediest patients and is nervous about Trumpcare.
-- Columnist Robin Abcarian checks in on Big Sur, which is once again coping with natural disaster and looming economic catastrophe.
-- The story of two sheriffs, elected as reformers, who ended up destroyed by corruption scandals.
-- A tiny town in Oregon puts its hope in pot shops to revive its flailing economy.
-- Here's what Trump supporters mean when they talk about the "deep state."
-- The Showtime docu-series "The Circus" is back, this time to follow Washington and the Trump administration.
-- Derek Walcott, who died at age 87, wrote poetry that had grandeur and an exuberance of language.
-- A powerful symbol of resistance, the Underground Railroad has inspired a wave of books, plays, TV and more.
-- Gov. Jerry Brown is headed to Washington today amid increasing worry from state lawmakers that sweeping GOP proposals will hit Californians hard.
-- An upscale eatery in Huntington Beach has fired a waiter after a group of Latina diners said he asked them, "Can I see your proof of residency?"
-- Malibu has declared itself a "sanctuary city." Of course the idea started with a celebrity endorsement.
-- Auntie Fee, a South L.A. homemaker who became an Internet sensation for her foul mouth and fried-food recipes, has died at age 59.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Disney's live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast" had a big opening at the box office.
-- TV queen Shonda Rhimes is expanding her empire to include live theater in L.A.
-- What does the NEA's $148-million budget buy? 7,789,473 taco bowls but not even one mile of the 405 Freeway.
-- "Sesame Street" will introduce Julia, a Muppet with autism, in April.
"I like you just the way you are." That's how a lot of people felt about Fred Rogers too. The star of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" was born on this date in 1928. He died in 2003 at age 74. Want to know where he got the character Mr. McFeely? Read on.
-- Israeli aircraft reportedly launched a strike into Syria that left one person dead, in what appeared to be the second cross-border attack in three days.
-- Trump's proposed budget cuts to the United Nations come at a time when famine is reaching a crisis point in parts of Africa.
-- A sharp increase last year in migrant deaths underscores the perilous journeys undertaken by those fleeing poverty and violence around the world.
-- In Arkansas, a joint holiday for Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King Jr. is coming to an end.
-- On Aug. 21, the so-called Great American Total Solar Eclipse will take place. Here are the best places to see it.
-- Haim Saban didn't give up on the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" franchise, and he's made a fortune off it.
-- Amid California's housing crisis, several state lawmakers want to give cities the ability to dramatically expand rent control, but would it exacerbate the problem?
-- It was another record day for Roger Federer as he beat Stan Wawrinka to win the title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
-- At the Los Angeles Marathon, Elisha Barno of Kenya topped the men's division while fellow countrywoman Hellen Jepkurgat was the fastest female.
-- It's time for the U.S. to take responsibility for having rounded up innocent men, women and children of Japanese descent from across Latin America in World War II.
-- Metro is spending billions of your tax dollars to build L.A. a world-class transit system. Don't let them blow it.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- A "recovering Republican" says the "socialism for white people" of tax deductions and credits blocks things like universal health coverage. (Forbes)
-- "Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole." A Nobel lecture by the late Derek Walcott. (Nobel Prizes)
-- Two of Jimmy Breslin's classic columns after the assassination of President Kennedy. (The Daily Beast)
ONLY IN L.A.
Legend has it that in 490 BCE a messenger ran 26 miles, arriving in Athens naked and exhausted to tell of a Greek battlefield victory. Historians may debate the story's veracity, but suffice it to say, the first marathon runner could not have imagined going the distance dressed as a hot dog or wearing lederhosen, as some did at Sunday's Los Angeles Marathon. Where else would you expect to see the record set for fastest marathon by someone dressed as a car?
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.