Newsletter: Today: The Battle for the GOP’s Soul

Steve Bannon, Leon Panetta And David Petraeus Attend Conf. On Violent Extremism
Former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon has been scouring the country for insurgent candidates to run against the GOP establishment.
(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

As the GOP’s Trumpist wing takes on the establishment, what will happen to the Republican Party and its control on Capitol Hill?


The Battle for the GOP’s Soul

What does it mean to be a Republican these days? As former White House strategist Steven K. Bannon wages a “season of war” against President Trump’s critics in the GOP establishment, the answer to that question could determine whether party retains control of the Senate next year. Some observers see parallels with the tea party movement that cost Republicans seats in 2010 and 2012. Those leading the revolt envision their “economic nationalist” candidates going on to victory and overthrowing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Either way, Sen. Jeff Flake’s surprise decision against seeking reelection this week has shown how the game is changing.


More Politics

-- What rift? Republicans in Congress are trying to push forward on their priorities despite the daily acrimony.

-- A federal judge in San Francisco refused to block Trump’s order to end government subsidies required by the Affordable Care Act.

-- Two Democrats on Trump’s voter fraud commission say its proceedings lack transparency.


-- Former President George H.W. Bush has apologized in a statement in which his representatives said “he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.”

China’s ‘Chairman of Everything’

President Trump will be traveling to Asia next month, with a key stop in China as the situation with North Korea simmers. In Beijing, he’ll find a newly empowered counterpart in Xi Jinping, who was elevated this week to the level of Mao Tse-tung by having “Xi Jinping Thought” enshrined in the Communist Party constitution. President Xi’s new leadership team, all in their 60s, has no apparent successor, further adding to the speculation that Xi plans to stay in power beyond the end of his second term five years from now.

She Wants Her Toddler Back From Islamic State

In April 2015, Dr. Indira Karakayeva says, her estranged husband kidnapped their infant son and left Russia with him to join Islamic State in Syria. Now, she’s on a desperate quest to bring the child back home. Karakayeva is not alone. Hundreds of Russians, many from the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, are looking for as many as 1,000 children who have been orphaned or abandoned. Relatively few have been found.

Home Run Demolition Derby

When retired Dodgers announcer Vin Scully threw out the first ball in a pregame ceremony with former pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, some fans wondered if the game could match that moment. It did and then some in many respects, with eight home runs in 11 innings, and the aroma of two fires near Dodger Stadium for dramatic effect. But when the proverbial smoke had cleared, the Houston Astros tied the World Series with a 7-6 victory and with it, columnist Bill Plaschke writes, the momentum has changed. Game 3 will be Friday in Houston.

George Springer
Astros center fielder George Springer celebrates his two-run home run against the Dodgers in the 11th inning of Game 2.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times )

The Domino Effect on Rock ’n’ Roll

In the 1950s, music fans found their thrill in “Blueberry Hill” … and in “Ain’t That a Shame,” “I’m Walkin’ ” and “Blue Monday,” to name just a few songs. Fats Domino, who has died at age 89, would influence the Beatles, Elton John, Billy Joel and many others. But unlike some of the other rock ’n’ roll pioneers of his era, the pianist-singer wasn’t a renegade and led a relatively unassuming life in Louisiana, happy to crack a bottle of beer and spend time with his family. Stated simply: Fats Domino put the joy in rock ’n’ roll.


— We asked some die-hard Dodger fans to describe what it would mean if the team won it all.

— Columnist David Lazarus reviews the latest Apple Watch, which he says shows potential as a very sweet medical device.

— Villa Paradiso, named by Cary Grant when it was a vacation spot for him, is for sale in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs at $13 million.


— Authorities say Bruce Paddock, a brother of Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock, was arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of possessing hundreds of images of child pornography.


— The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office released new details in the mysterious case of Sherri Papini, saying that the DNA of two other people was found on her when she was discovered shackled alongside Interstate 5 on Thanksgiving.

— An audit has found that two-thirds of the streets in Los Angeles can go a year or more without being cleaned.

— The University of California plans to start a national center to study 1st Amendment issues and step up education about them.


— Actress Natassia Malthe is the latest woman to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. Meanwhile, Colony Capital is no longer providing a cash infusion for Weinstein Co.

— “I’ve always been outspoken and I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble,” says Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo, the subject of the new Netflix docu-series “The Day I Met El Chapo.”

— Beulah Koale, who has his first major Hollywood role in the drama “Thank You for Your Service,” wants to be “the Polynesian version of Denzel Washington or Tom Hanks.”

— Actor Paul Walker’s daughter has settled a wrongful-death suit she filed against Porsche that was related to the fatal crash that killed her father in 2013.


Thirty-nine years ago this week, the original “Halloween” introduced moviegoers to the knife-wielding masked maniac Michael Myers. It was the creation of John Carpenter, who not only wrote and directed the low-budget slasher film but also wrote the score for piano and analogue synth that became a legend in its own right.


— Witnesses say Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was evacuated from a U.N. camp for displaced people in South Sudan because of a demonstration against President Salva Kiir.

— The first legal battle over abortion in the Trump administration ended Wednesday when a 17-year-old migrant from Central America had an abortion in South Texas.

— Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi sat down to answer some questions about the big challenges of rebuilding his war-torn nation.

— Kenya is facing its deepest democratic crisis in nearly a decade, with a rerun election due to proceed today. It may trigger violence.

— Harvard University researchers have announced the development of a new gene-editing technique that allows single letters in DNA coding to be switched. It may open the door to new treatments.


— A top House Republican says that he expects to strike a deal soon to keep an apparently limited version of the state and local tax deduction for individual Americans.

— The NAACP is warning African Americans that flying on American Airlines could subject them to “disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”


— Columnist Helene Elliott says Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has a knack for figuring things out mid-game and an ability to withstand pressure, including the duress caused by his father, LaVar.

— Forget a sticker on a helmet after a game. Blinged-out sideline swag has become all the rage in college football as coaches reward the players.


— Protesters need safe spaces to demonstrate, not the right to carry tiki torches and glass bottles.

— Angelenos are dying while angry motorists are torching L.A.’s street safety plans. Where is Mayor Eric Garcetti?


— First person: “China refuses to admit it has a rape problem. I would know.” (Foreign Policy)

— A closer look at art therapy, which Second Lady Karen Pence plans to promote during her time in Washington. (Artsy)

— Where are the happiest people in the United States? Would you believe Boulder, Colo.? (National Geographic)


Buck’s of Woodside has got some wacky decor on its walls and ceiling: vintage Cracker Jack toys, space suits, and model cities built of Gummy Bears. It’s also a big destination for the the Bay Area’s digerati to have their power breakfasts and lunches. See why this restaurant has been called the Cheers of the Silicon Valley.

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