Newsletter: Today: Playing With ‘Fire and Fury’

Donald Trump
President Trump speaks to reporters before a security briefing at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on Thursday.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump doubles down, this time on his threat of “fire and fury.” 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.


Playing With ‘Fire and Fury’

We’ve seen this before: a provocative statement from President Trump; a tamping down from the White House; and then a doubling down from the president. Not long after Defense Secretary James N. Mattis emphasized diplomacy in the increasingly tense standoff with North Korea, Trump said his initial threat to unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang “maybe … wasn’t tough enough.” As Washington bureau chief David Lauter writes, “the disconnect between Trump’s words and actual policy has been increasingly visible for months” on a number of major issues like healthcare, trade and taxes; this time, though, the context and risk are different.


More Politics

-- Trump said he had no intention of firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, denied collusion with Russia and thanked Vladimir Putin for ordering the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic staff “because we’re trying to cut down our payroll.”

-- Trump is officially declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency.

-- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could hardly have teed up a more fraught, emotional and divisive issue to launch her tenure: campus sexual assault.


When Cities Are Tempted by the Gold of Pot

The city of Maywood is just over one square mile and has a long history of mismanagement and questionable financial dealings. Now, Maywood and several of its neighbors are hoping to cash in on California’s relaxed marijuana laws by approving licenses for pot-related businesses. But some residents aren’t happy about the prospect and feel their voices are being ignored. This could be a preview of the challenges facing cities big and small, even as California and other states wonder what the U.S. Department of Justice will do under Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions.

The Sprint Before L.A.’s Olympic Marathon

Despite the big announcement last month, L.A. doesn’t have the 2028 Summer Olympics sewn up just yet. Though the Games would be 11 years away, the International Olympic Committee wants L.A. officials to sign off on who’s responsible for picking up the tab, just as they had for the 2024 plan. The deadline now: Aug. 18. But with no time for a revised budget or an independent evaluation, some are upset the City Council is planning on making its decision today.

Can Wham-O Bounce Back Like a Super Ball?

If your childhood included the Frisbee, Slip ’N Slide, Boogie Board or any number of such retro toys, you know the name Wham-O. The company was founded in a South Pasadena garage shortly after World War II. But over the decades, Wham-O’s fortunes dropped like a missed Hacky Sack. Now, it’s trying to come back with a mix of new analog toys and some digital twists. The Frisbee app, anyone?


Have you heard of Apple Annie? She was one of the most storied snack stand operators in downtown L.A. history. The Times chronicled a decade of her trials and tribulations in no fewer than 18 articles. When she died in 1943, her obituary made the top of the front page: “A figure familiar to thousands of residents, Annie — her real name was Rose Lavender — led a storybook existence, hobnobbing with some of the State’s outstanding figures, from Governors on down to newspapermen.”



-- Behind the scenes of “Hamilton’s” arrival at the Hollywood Pantages on move-in day.

-- Breaking down the Rams and Chargers joint practice and the fights.

-- Comedian Wanda Sykes discusses her Emmy-nominated role on “black-ish” and that Trump episode.


-- An immigration appeals court has thrown out the final deportation order for a man who was detained minutes after he dropped his daughter off at school in Lincoln Heights.

-- Prosecutors say former rap impresario Marion “Suge” Knight and his defense attorney appear to have discussed bribing witnesses to fabricate testimony in Knight’s murder trial.

-- Authorities say Sacramento Kings player Zach Randolph was one of two men arrested during a clash between police and a crowd at Watts’ Nickerson Gardens housing project.


-- Wash those fruits and vegetables: Officials say patients in L.A. County have been infected with a parasite that causes a severe stomach illness.


-- The Perseid meteor shower will peak in the early hours Saturday. There are some good viewing spots within an hour’s drive of downtown L.A.

-- Granola, brownies and more: Favorite bar recipes from The Times’ test kitchen.

-- Kitchen islands are getting bigger, better and more colorful than ever.

-- Wine-tasting lures but art sustains on a weekend escape to the mellow village of Murphys in California Gold Country.


-- Hello, dolly! Film critic Justin Chang reviews the horror movie “Annabelle: Creation,” about the origins of a demon doll.

-- Michael Moore has a new Broadway solo show going after Trump. Times theater critic Charles McNulty says it misfires.

-- It’s not just your @#%& imagination: American books have gotten a lot more profane over the last six decades, according to a study.


-- Louisiana’s governor declared a state of emergency in New Orleans as the city’s malfunctioning water-pumping system and the threat of more rain left some neighborhoods at greater risk of flooding.

-- Did covert spy gear cause U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Cuba to lose their hearing?

-- L.A. and New York top the list of U.S. cities with the most poor people laboring under heavy rent burdens, living in substandard housing, or both, according to a study.

-- An American working for Kenya’s opposition party describes his abduction and deportation: “I thought, ‘This is it. They’re going to shoot me and dump my body.’ ”

-- The FDA is investigating whether there is a link between gastric balloons and the deaths of five patients.


-- An ill-advised tweet has led to the removal of another CNN personality; this time contributor and Trump advocate Jeffrey Lord got the pink slip.

-- What Trump effect? Airlines are adding routes to handle growing cross-border travel demand from Mexicans and Americans.

-- The money flowing into the natural hair industry is a blessing and curse for those who built it up.


-- Take a look at how cozy StubHub Center is racing to transform itself into an NFL-worthy home for the Chargers.

-- Lonzo Ball’s regular-season debut with the Lakers will be Oct. 19 against the Clippers.


-- Trump’s even more mixed message on North Korea is precisely the opposite of what’s needed at this tense time.

-- A UCLA law professor explains why a petulant, erratic Trump may actually succeed with North Korea.


-- A hazing death in a fraternity and the search for Asian American identity. (New York Times Magazine)

-- Something to think about for a long time: What are the ethics of immortality? (Aeon)

-- “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and it was lit AF”: a millennial retelling of Genesis. (McSweeney’s)


California’s drought may be officially over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to go crazy on watering the yard. In the Valley Glen neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley, Giovanna Melton’s lawn was already dead when she bought the house in 2013. So she decided to turn it into a self-sustaining, self-sufficient garden that’s always in bloom. See how it became “an evolving art piece.”

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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