With big issues and a trip to Europe looming, President Trump keeps the anti-media tweets coming. 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.
The Wrestlemania Presidency
President Trump’s effort to get the Senate healthcare bill passed is facing bipartisan pushback, including from governors. His commission on voter fraud has been slammed by red and blue states over a request for voters’ personal information. His personal attack on two MSNBC hosts has drawn condemnation from both sides of the aisle, along with an allegation that his White House tried to threaten the hosts. So in usual Trump fashion, he’s doubled and tripled down in his attacks on media that question him. On Saturday, Trump tweeted that his “use of social media is not Presidential - it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL,” then followed up Sunday with a doctored video clip from his WWE days that showed him physically attacking a crudely rendered stand-in for CNN. Many called it an incitement to violence. Trump’s supporters insist it’s harmless. What is the endgame here?
-- Several thousand protesters marched through downtown L.A. urging Congress to impeach the president, while his supporters held their own rally.
-- The GOP’s Plan B for Obamacare — repeal first, replace later — began with a quiet push from the Koch network.
-- Two House Democrats want Congress to look into possible conflicts of interest in the Trump administration’s handling of investigations into Pasadena’s OneWest Bank.
As a Rout of Islamic State Nears, What’s the Plan?
American-backed ground forces are poised to recapture Mosul in Iraq and Raqqah in Syria. After three years of fighting, U.S. commanders are confident they will soon vanquish Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate. Then what? The White House has yet to define a strategy for the next step in the struggle to restore stability in the region. With Iranian, Russian and Syrian forces involved, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis says, “You’ve got to really play this thing very carefully, and the closer we get, the more complex it gets.”
A Helping Hand for Deportees in Mexico
Three times a week, the deportees arrive on U.S. government-chartered planes. At the airport in Mexico City, they emerge from a special exit with little more than their personal effects, the clear plastic lunch bags they’re given — and, for many, confusion about what to do next. Other than six months of $100 unemployment checks, the government doesn’t do much. That’s why grass-roots groups have formed to lend a helping hand. Here’s a closer look at how one, Deportees United in the Fight, operates.
The Nuclear Waste With a Million-Dollar View
If you drive along the 5 Freeway south of San Clemente, you’ll see it: the San Onofre nuclear power plant, nestled on the edge of the Pacific. Though it permanently closed in 2013, 1,800 tons of lethal radioactive waste remain stored there. And like the other 79,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel spread across the U.S., San Onofre’s waste has nowhere to go. Now, the Trump administration and Congress are proposing a fast-track fix to a decades-old problem, but there’s not much optimism things will be any different this time.
A Pirate’s Life, Without the Human Trafficking
The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction is said to be the last ride Walt Disney helped design before he died in 1966, but that doesn’t mean it’s untouchable. It’s been updated to tone down a scene of pirates chasing women throughout the pillaged town and to add characters from the Johnny Depp movies. Next year, the ride gets another change — removing the auction of women. Disneyland fans are debating it, but one thing we can probably all agree on is “don’t change the smell of the water.”
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- Roberta Stone watched her ex-husband, diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, end his life under California’s new right-to-die law. “Bob had time to come to terms with it,” she said. “And I felt proud of Bob that … he knew what he wanted to do.”
-- Steve Lopez: We can’t prevent the Big One, but we can give our homes a fighting chance against earthquakes.
-- How a tiny L.A. cybersecurity firm pulled the plug on a global ransomware attack.
-- A trial by imaginary fire for women who want to fight real flames in the wild.
-- Alcohol, sex and consent: Add TV cameras, and the “Bachelor in Paradise” party gets complicated.
-- “We got a mayday!” A small plane crashes on the 405 Freeway.
-- How do you link weapons seized at crime scenes to unsolved shootings? A task force test-fires them.
-- Film critic Kenneth Turan reviews “In Pursuit of Silence,” about our relationship with silence and the effect of noise on our lives.
-- The Kern River has been called the “Killer Kern.” The death of Michael Ramirez, the Orange County rapper whose body was found over the weekend, is the eighth along the river since March.
-- Schools are boosting graduation rates by offering “credit recovery.” But what are students learning?
-- It’s the end of an era: Channel 18 has dropped the international programming format that served generations of L.A. immigrants.
-- Young Californians increasingly are forsaking their right to vote. Columnist George Skelton wonders if they could be bored by the races in the state.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Times film critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang discuss the best films of 2017 so far. See what made the cut.
-- The affair, the twins, his mother’s coming out: Jay-Z’s “4:44” album makes news as it reveals beautiful truths, according to pop music critic Mikael Wood.
-- How did Ansel Elgort land the lead role in the musical film “Baby Driver”? It might be because he can sing the Commodores’ “Easy” by heart.
-- As the reboot of “Twin Peaks” unfolds, TV critic Robert Lloyd offers this reminder: The show is meant to be experienced, not necessarily understood.
You might not know the name Loren Janes, but you’ve seen his work. He stood in for Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra, Charles Bronson, John Wayne, Debbie Reynolds, Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and many more, leaping from trains, jumping from cliffs and roaring through streets in car chases. The longtime stuntman has died at age 85.
-- A Pennsylvania man turned himself in after a recent high school graduate was shot in the head during a road-rage confrontation as the two tried to merge in a single lane.
-- For years, African women scarred by female genital mutilation had no hope. A California doctor is changing that.
-- New York’s subway has long been a chamber of horrors. But when did things get so bad that the governor declared a “state of emergency”?
-- Las Vegas has added a new lure to its repertoire, as Nevada legalizes pot. Here come the tourists.
-- As workers celebrate L.A.’s new $12 minimum wage, businesses are bracing for how it will affect them.
-- For the anime industry, the streaming revolution is both a blessing and a curse.
-- The Dodgers, the best team in the National League, have four All-Stars, but no starters. Outfielder Mike Trout was the Angels’ lone selection, and he might be unable to play because of injury.
-- The USC men’s basketball program completed its best recruiting week in years with another major commitment.
-- We celebrate Independence Day on the wrong date for the right reasons.
-- Horrific videos aren’t solving police shootings, but better training might.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Inside the National Enquirer and its cozy relationship with Trump. (The New Yorker)
-- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his family were spotted on the beach at a park that was closed because of a state government shutdown. (NJ.com)
-- NASA says there is no “colony on Mars that is populated by children who were kidnapped and sent into space on a 20-year ride,” as a guest on Alex Jones’ “Infowars” claimed. (The Daily Beast)
-- Giving birth in a car isn’t for the faint of heart, especially when it comes to the paperwork. (New York Times)
ONLY IN L.A.
Most racehorses in the United States make a lifetime of left turns, but at Santa Anita, they make the only right-hand turn in American racing. That’s not the sole thing unique about a course that is about 6½ furlongs and features a challenging crossing from turf to dirt to turf. How to navigate it? We got it straight from the horse’s mouth — well, actually, from former jockey Eddie Delahoussaye.
FOR THE RECORD
An item in the June 28 newsletter stated that the governor of Utah blamed a wildfire on environmental groups. It was Utah state Rep. Mike Noel, not the governor, who did so.
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