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Newsletter: Today: For Trump, It’s All About That Base

US President Donald J. Trump at Make America Great Again rally in Youngstown, Ohio
President Trump and Ohio voter Geno DiFabio at a “Make America Great Again” rally in Youngstown, Ohio.
(David Maxwell / European Pressphoto Agency)

When all else fails, President Trump plays to his base. 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.

TOP STORIES

For Trump, It’s All About That Base

Another ICBM test by North Korea. A diplomatic spat with Russia, in response to the latest sanctions passed by Congress. A continuing battle over Obamacare, now centered on whether the White House will try to block critical funding. President Trump has a new chief of staff in John Kelly, but for a West Wing that’s been in turmoil, the business of the country marches on. Increasingly, Trump has been playing to his base, even as he faces more open signs of pushback from Republican lawmakers. Here’s a breakdown of the White House’s revolving door.

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More Politics

-- Sen. Lisa Murkowski walked a tightrope in Alaska when she voted “no” on the Obamacare repeal.

-- “It’s not what policing is about today”: LAPD officials react to Trump’s comments about police being “rough” with people they arrest.

-- No joke: Kid Rock is a competitive candidate for the U.S. Senate in Michigan.

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-- What do booty shorts, classical music and whiskey have in common? President Trump’s “great again” slogan.

At USC Med School, the Red Flags Were There

Five years ago, USC President C.L. Max Nikias kept Dr. Carmen Puliafito on as medical school dean at a salary of more than $1 million a year. Puliafito had a track record of bringing in star researchers, raising hundreds of millions of dollars and increasing the school’s national ranking. But faculty and staff had complained about Puliafito, saying he had a bad temper, humiliated colleagues in public and had a perceived drinking problem. Still, he was rehired. And as The Times has reported, he partied with a circle of addicts, prostitutes and other criminals who said he used drugs with them, including on campus.

Why Saudi Women Sometimes Run and Hide

In Saudi Arabia, women must get permission from a male guardian to get a job, receive medical care, travel abroad or marry — the list goes on. That means they’re beholden to a father, husband or in some cases even a son, even if they’re abused by them. As Times foreign correspondent Molly Hennessy-Fiske reports from Riyadh, for some that means fleeing home, which puts them at risk of being jailed. For one woman, it means keeping a secret apartment for her cats.

Meet the Refugees Who Pack Your Chicken

The work is not for the faint of heart: gutting birds on the “killing line” at a poultry plant or picking up big boxes and feeding them into a cleaning machine. For the many refugees who have turned to the meatpacking industry in places like California’s Central Valley, though, it’s a chance to build a better life — away from the bloodshed in the Middle East and elsewhere. “It’s the biggest opportunity all the foreign people have here,” says one man from Iran who left recently Foster Farms to study for his electrician’s license.

Video: There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills!

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It’s not exactly a repeat of the Gold Rush, but the record-setting rain and snowfall during winter did more than bring us a super-bloom of wildflowers and skiing in July. All that water rushing through the mountains has carried rock and gravel down streams that were once dry along California’s Mother Lode. And that’s put a new kick in the step of prospectors panning for gold.

Gold hunter Robert Guardiola pours into a pan gravel deposits that he collected from under a waterfa
Gold hunter Robert Guardiola pours into a pan gravel deposits that he collected from under a waterfall on his claim near Moccasin, Calif.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

No-Drama … Chiang

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa may be two of the most charismatic politicians running for California governor next year, but state Treasurer and fellow Democrat John Chiang is working on his own brand: engaged but reserved, a bit defiant and “Torrance stylish.” He’s hoping that with all the political drama in the White House, Californians will be ready for a no-drama approach. This is the latest in our series about the candidates running to succeed Jerry Brown.

OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

-- UC Irvine is under fire for rescinding 499 admission offers only two months before the fall term begins.

-- Columnist Steve Lopez on the mystery homeless woman of Pacific Palisades and the village that helped her home.

-- Netflix is carrying $20 billion in debt. Can it keep borrowing its way to success?

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-- Fame has come quickly for USC quarterback Sam Darnold, and he is puzzling over how to embrace it without losing his identity. Hanging out at the beach in his hometown helps.

-- The five words you never want to say when you’re paying by credit card in a foreign country.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- The father of a Long Island teen killed in gang violence speaks about her death.

-- A discussion of the strict controls and abuse facing Saudi women.

-- The cast and writers of director Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” talk about the film.

CALIFORNIA

-- Police say at least eight people were injured when a car smashed into a group of people dining at a restaurant in the mid-Wilshire neighborhood of Los Angeles.

-- A state appeals court judge has ruled the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, the source of the biggest methane leak in U.S. history, can resume operations.

-- Another California imam has drawn criticism after delivering a sermon laced with inflammatory remarks about Jews, calling them “unjust tyrants.”

-- L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar has spoken out against the vandalism and race-based tactics being used against art galleries and a coffee shop in Boyle Heights.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- “The Emoji Movie” got terrible reviews, but it still managed second place at the box office behind “Dunkirk.”

-- Here’s why people tweeted #NoConfederate during Sunday’s “Game of Thrones.”

-- The president of PBS says “there is no Plan B” for public broadcasting without federal funding.

-- President Trump got a fan letter from a young boy, so Stephen Colbert introduced another young “fan” on his show.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

“This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun.” Thus spoke Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) in “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” which opened this week in 1983.

NATION-WORLD

-- A candidate for Venezuela’s constitutional assembly was one of nine people reported killed amid widespread violence as voters went to the polls.

-- All she wanted to do was touch her son: the heartbreaking aftermath of another fatal shooting in Chicago.

-- A lawsuit against two civilian psychologists brought by former detainees held at CIA black-site prisons overseas is headed for trial. It’s a first in the post-Sept. 11 era.

-- India’s first LGBTQ radio show is looking to broaden the country’s concept of love.

BUSINESS

-- Brick-and-mortar stores are struggling, but for back-to-school shopping they’re still making the grade.

-- Elon Musk has handed over the first 30 Tesla Model 3s — all to Tesla employees, by the way — and warned of “six months of manufacturing hell” ahead.

SPORTS

-- Columnist Bill Plaschke says UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen’s new low-key approach is a turn for the better.

-- The Chargers opened training camp in Costa Mesa to — surprise! — much fanfare, columnist Dylan Hernandez notes.

OPINION

-- How Mitch McConnell is helping the Trump presidency fail.

-- It’s expensive to be Jewish, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Anthony Scaramucci made the cut for the “Wall Street” movie sequel. Donald Trump did not. Here’s why. (The Daily Beast)

-- For some families of Vietnam vets, John McCain’s brain cancer raises the question: Is there a link to Agent Orange? (Houston Chronicle)

-- Reince Priebus’ long, strange trip from Wisconsin. (The Atlantic)

ONLY IN L.A.

Some called Marty Sklar the Sorcerer’s Apprentice; others said he was more like Jiminy Cricket. Either way, over a half-century career, Sklar went from fledging writer just out of UCLA to principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering. Along the way Sklar, who died last week at age 83, took notes. The result? A set of principles called “Mickey’s Ten Commandments.”

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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