The border wall has some purse strings attached. 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.
And Who’s Gonna Pay for the Wall?
President Trump may have the bully pulpit, but Congress has the power of the purse. So when push comes to shove this week on money for Trump’s “big, beautiful” border wall, it’s likely that cooler heads will prevail. Here’s why many of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress aren’t keen on paying for a huge physical border barrier at this point — and no one needs the drama of a government shutdown at midnight Friday.
Is Big Sky Country Big Enough for Refugees?
The Flathead Valley in northwestern Montana welcomes visitors for a variety of outdoors activities. Welcoming refugees is up for argument. Trump easily won the county in the presidential election, but it’s not without its liberal-minded transplants too. Meanwhile, a trickle of refugees from the Democratic Republican of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq and Syria has come, as a national debate over whether to bring in more people like them plays out on a small-town stage.
-- The State Department has deleted a blog post that promoted Trump’s Mar-a-Lago.
-- The Trump administration announced new “sweeping” sanctions on the Syrian government agency it blames for producing chemicals used in a deadly attack on civilians.
-- “What’s been going on since I’ve been gone?” In his first public event since leaving office, Barack Obama called on students to listen to those with whom they disagree.
The NRA Wants to Pry Gun Control Laws From California’s Hands
The National Rifle Assn. has set its sights on California. On Monday, the state affiliate of the group filed the first of a series of legal challenges to several gun control laws that came about after the San Bernardino terrorist attack. The NRA’s hope is that, with Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and Trump appointing judges to the federal bench, the courts will be more amenable to 2nd Amendment arguments.
The Face That Launched a Thousand Debates
If art is what you make of it, look no further than Monterey Park in the San Gabriel Valley. A nonprofit group had an idea: Place a statue of Eve with a Chinese face near a sculpture of Athena at the city’s landmark fountain. The hillside water feature was once the centerpiece of a whites-only housing development, in a city that’s now 63% Asian and 30% Latino. Would it be a thought-provoking commentary, or just “some cockamamie idea from people from West L.A.”?
A Very Hungry Caterpillar Versus a Mountain of Plastic
What to do about all that plastic garbage being tossed into landfills? A very hungry caterpillar may be part of the solution one day. Scientists have discovered that the larvae of the wax moth will easily munch through polyethylene, a plastic commonly used for packaging. Like many scientific discoveries, it was partly by accident. More study will be needed to find out exactly how it works and how to come up with a process that doesn’t involve a whole lot of wax worms.
-- “You are not forgotten”: A gathering at Florence and Normandie avenues remembers Rodney King, Latasha Harlins and the 54 people who died in the 1992 L.A. riots.
-- A Republican student group filed a lawsuit demanding that UC Berkeley allow conservative pundit Ann Coulter to speak on campus Thursday as originally planned.
-- Prosecutors say a man who pleaded no contest to one count of arson in the Da Vinci apartment complex fire was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
-- Gone in 30 seconds: Authorities say a throng of up to 60 young people mobbed a Bay Area Rapid Transit train in Oakland and mugged passengers.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Kim Kardashian hopes to bring attention to “The Promise,” the first big-budget feature film to document the atrocities of the Armenian genocide.
-- Elton John is recovering from a rare and potentially deadly infection he contracted in South America.
-- Faye Dunaway says she feels guilty about the Oscars mishap and thought Warren Beatty was joking.
-- Classical music critic Mark Swed looks at Beethoven, politics and a Ninth Symphony for all.
-- Robert Pirsig, who wrote the counterculture classic “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” has died at age 88.
“When I talk to people, no matter where I go, they want to talk about things I’ve done,” Al Pacino told The Times in 2015. “That’s so interesting to me. People ask me about the ’70s — sometimes I just say, ‘I don’t remember the ’70s!’ ” The Oscar, Tony and Emmy winner turns 77 today, and trust us, he remembers the ’70s.
-- Two inmates received lethal injections on the same gurney Monday night about three hours apart as Arkansas completed the nation’s first double execution since 2000.
-- The Chicago aviation officers who removed a passenger from a United Airlines flight filed reports saying the traveler was “aggressive” when responding to requests to give up his seat.
-- In Valencia, Venezuela, thousands of workers who once made middle-class wages at a GM plant are caught in the middle of a fight between the government and the automaker.
-- Afghanistan’s defense minister and army chief stepped down amid outrage over the deaths of more than 100 soldiers in one of the deadliest Taliban attacks of the 16-year war.
-- French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is stepping down as head of the far-right National Front party. The move is seen as a way for her to embrace a wider range of voters.
-- Columnist Michael Hiltzik says one unbelievably expensive Iowa patient makes the case for single-payer healthcare. The patient’s care costs $1 million a month.
-- Members of the Writers Guild of America voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike just a week before the union’s contract is set to expire May 1. Negotiations with studios are set to resume today.
-- The L.A. Clippers are facing a pivotal moment in Game 5 of their NBA playoff series against the Utah Jazz tonight.
-- The NFL draft is Thursday. Here are the Southern California football players who will be most coveted.
-- African Americans don’t sleep as well as whites, an inequality stretching back to slavery.
-- With anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on the rise, we should remember the enlightened example of the young Moroccan Sultan Mohammed V, who protected the Jews of Casablanca.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Inside Steven Bannon’s Hollywood days. What did he really do? (The New Yorker)
-- All this and a bag of Axe products: Actor Matt McGorry speaks about toxic masculinity at a program sponsored by a brand trying to change its image. (Fusion)
-- Is on-demand flying car service in our future? (Vox)
ONLY IN L.A.
Look, up in the sky, it’s … dancers suspended from ropes and performing on the side of City Hall? This morning, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti will declare it “La La Land” Day in honor of the movie that didn’t quite win the best picture Oscar. Watch these videos for a sneak preview.
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.
If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends.