A bipartisan plan in the Senate would extend federal funding for some key Obamacare payments and ease up on some of the law’s requirements. That could stabilize health insurance markets, but it’s far from a done deal.
‘Repeal and Replace’? It May Be ‘Re-Up and Relax’ Now
Reports of Obamacare’s demise may be premature, as the Senate moved closer to a bipartisan fix for parts of the Affordable Care Act — and President Trump blessed the deal. The compromise worked out by Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would re-up $7 billion a year in federal payments to insurers that Trump cut off last week. In exchange, it would relax the law by allowing states to offer cheaper, less generous health plans. Does it have a chance? Not necessarily, especially as conservatives want nothing less than total repeal.
-- Trump invoked the fallen son of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as he faced blowback over a delay in calling the families of four soldiers. Then, after the president made the calls, a Democratic congresswoman quoted Trump as telling one widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens it hurts anyway.”
-- Trump’s selection for the nation’s next drug czar withdrew from consideration after reports brought up his role in weakening the government’s power to combat the opioid epidemic.
-- A federal judge in Hawaii issued an order blocking major parts of Trump’s newest travel ban, suggesting it violated immigration law.
Wildfires Give a Wake-Up Call
The deadly wildfires that ravaged Northern California have tested not only the resources of firefighting agencies but also the healthcare system — and officials say what happened should serve as a wake-up call for future disasters like earthquakes and floods. Among the cascade of problems: Hospitals were evacuated; pharmacies struggled to fill prescriptions; nursing home patients waited on cots in shelters; and communicating the medical needs of some patients was difficult. Trying to find all the people reported missing has been a drawn-out, emotionally draining experience too.
The Caliphate’s Capital Falls. What’s Next?
In its onetime Syrian stronghold of Raqqah, Islamic State used medieval methods to punish seemingly minor infractions like smoking and forced residents to watch beheadings and crucifixions. Now, after four months of intense street fighting, U.S.-backed Syrian forces say they have taken control of what was Islamic State’s de facto capital since 2014. Despite the collapse of its self-styled caliphate, American officials warn that combating ISIS’ ideology is the far more difficult fight ahead.
North Korean Nukes: It Is Rocket Science
Can North Korea’s missiles deliver an atomic weapon to the U.S. mainland? “The bottom line is we don’t know,” says one expert. “I believe it’s unlikely they can deliver an atomic bomb to the United States at this time, but we can’t rule it out.” So what do we know? This graphic breaks down Pyongyang’s capabilities and where it got help making rocket engines.
Don’t Jinx It, But …
The Dodgers are one victory away from their first World Series since 1988 after defeating the Chicago Cubs by a score of 6 to 1. This time, there was no dramatic walk-off homer, of course, but it did feature an improbable at-bat by pitcher Yu Darvish. The Boys in Blue now hold a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series, which resumes tonight. As columnist Bill Plaschke puts it: “The Dodgers are so close to the World Series, you can hear it coming.”
-- Northern California firefighters are battling a fire that sprang up in the mountains around Santa Cruz.
-- The wildfires that have devastated communities in Northern California are more typically seen in the Southland.
-- A Studio City estate, once used to portray the exterior of the Kardashian-Jenner family home among other TV credits, is back on the market for $7.895 million.
-- What do LAUSD board member Ref Rodriguez’s latest legal problems mean for the charter school movement?
-- A wildfire prompted the evacuation of Mt. Wilson Observatory and threatened communication towers.
-- A civilian oversight panel has signed off on a yearlong test of drones by the Los Angeles Police Department.
-- L.A. lawmakers may impose new restrictions on what people can bring to public demonstrations and meetings, including pepper spray, gas masks and tiki torches.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Roy Price has resigned as the head of Amazon Studios after an allegation that he had sexually harassed a television producer working on one of his shows.
-- Film critic Justin Chang offers his perspective on the fall of Harvey Weinstein and an industry that secretly loves its bullies.
-- How did Carrie Fisher handle a studio head who sexually assaulted her friend? She sent him a cow’s tongue.
-- Beck is back with an album that might be his most surprising shift yet.
It didn’t matter whether it was the French dip sandwiches at Philippe’s, the gold-leaf entrance of the Eastern Columbia Building or a massive swarm of flies buzzing around Mono Lake: TV host Huell Howser found them all “amazing!” as he helped Southern California viewers discover their own backyard. Howser, who died in 2013, was born on this date in 1945 near Nashville. Did you know his given name was a combination of his father and mother’s first names? Amazing!
-- The mystery is over: Las Vegas security guard Jesus Campos has been found … on the set of “Ellen.”
-- Officials say Taliban militants launched a series of bombings across Afghanistan, targeting police and government facilities in attacks that killed 74 people.
-- Iraqi Kurds’ dream of independence now seems more elusive than ever after Iraqi troops took over two major oilfields.
-- China once welcomed refugees, but its policies now make Trump look lenient by comparison.
-- Did volcanoes in Russia, Greenland and Alaska affect the lives of ancient Egyptians? It may sound improbable, but according to a new study, the answer is yes.
-- The latest round of talks about the North American Free Trade Agreement have ended, but such sharp differences have surfaced among negotiators that the U.S., Canada and Mexico agreed to a kind of timeout.
-- Columnist Michael Hiltzik says a lawsuit alleging General Electric ripped off its workers shows the pitfalls of 401(k) plans.
-- NFL players and owners have begun discussing protests during the national anthem and other issues, knowing they won’t change overnight.
-- Trump’s “I alone” approach jeopardizes U.S. security and prosperity.
-- Corporate America’s latest trick: The reverse Public Records Act.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- A White House press secretary for President George W. Bush remembers the president’s visit to a wounded soldier and his family. (Chicago Tribune)
-- Nearly a quarter of the world’s nuclear weapons testing took place in a remote area of Kazakhstan, and the effects on its residents are devastating. (National Geographic)
-- Current and former basketball players discuss what it’s like being a Muslim in the NBA. (The Undefeated)
ONLY IN L.A.
What happens when you take horchata and blast it with liquid nitrogen? You get frozen pebbles, as seen in a dessert at Ink.well, a new restaurant from modernist chef Michael Voltaggio. When you take a bite, as restaurant critic Jonathan Gold discovered, “You experience what can only be described as an automobile airbag exploding in the back of your mouth. Cheeks puff, cold gas blasts down your throat, and you may emit what sounds like a small seal’s bark.”