Newsletter: Today: Three Super Bowl Takeaways
Super Bowl LII: The hero. The ads. The halftime show.
Three Super Bowl Takeaways
The Philadelphia Eagles have finally landed. After five decades of frustration, the team defeated the New England Patriots, 41-33, to claim its first Super Bowl victory. Three things to know: 1. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who began the season as a backup, is now being likened to another Philly icon — Rocky Balboa. 2. The ads mostly avoided the political and went for emotion and humor, but a Ram truck spot using audio of a Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sermon did not go over well. 3. Our critic panned Justin Timberlake’s halftime show; it avoided another “wardrobe malfunction” a la 2004, at least. But U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who was not a fan of last week’s Grammys, gave it a rave review.
Did You Get the Memo? Get This
President Trump tweeted that a disputed GOP memo on FBI surveillance “totally vindicates” him in “the Russian Witch Hunt.” But several Republican lawmakers, including the only one on the House Intelligence Committee who’s read the classified documents that form the memo’s basis, say it has no effect on the Russia investigation. Still, Democrats and some Republicans are concerned Trump may try to use the memo in an attempt to oust Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein, the Trump appointee who oversees special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. If you haven’t already, take a look at the memo for yourself, along with annotations from our Washington staff.
Protecting Consumers — and the Banks?
Fewer lawsuits. Fewer investigations. New rules for debt collectors. With Trump White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney now running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, those are just some of the changes industry lawyers and consumer advocates expect to see in an agency that has developed an aggressive reputation. The key to Mulvaney’s vision, as outlined in a memo: to serve not only consumers but also the financial-services companies it was created to regulate.
-- An intensifying clash between California and Washington over getting cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road has put auto companies in a bind.
-- The California Legislature publicly disclosed 18 alleged cases of sexual harassment, detailed through investigation records that had been shielded in some cases for more than a decade.
-- There’s a big problem for California Republicans, and it’s this year’s race for the U.S. Senate.
Take a Leave, Double Your Pay
For some L.A. city firefighters and police officers who hit retirement age at 50, it’s a no-brainer: The Deferred Retirement Option Plan lets them collect a paycheck and a pension for up to five years, even if they’re out on disability or sick. A Times investigation has found hundreds have turned the program into an extended leave at nearly twice the pay. Since it began in 2002, the plan has made more than $1.6 billion in extra pension payments. Asked about it last year, former Mayor Richard Riordan said: “Oh, yeah, that was a mistake.”
The High Cost of Sleeping on the Street
L.A. officials have denounced “criminalizing” homelessness, but a Times analysis of LAPD data shows that arrests of homeless people have gone up significantly. In 2016, officers made 14,000 arrests of those listed as having a “transient” address, a 31% increase over 2011. The most common reason: failure to appear in court. Read the latest in our “Without a Home” series to see how a $35 citation for sleeping or lying on the sidewalk can quickly spiral in costs and legal troubles that the homeless can’t afford to get into.
When Reporting the News Turns Deadly
Behind only Syria, Mexico was the second-most dangerous country in the world for journalists last year, with one reporter or photographer turning up dead nearly every month. An even larger number, about two dozen, have given up their work, their homes and their families to save their lives. Some hide in safe houses; others flee to other countries, including the U.S. Though a few won asylum during the Obama administration, denials or prolonged detention have been the norm under President Trump.
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- There’s only one fix for L.A.’s traffic nightmare, columnist Steve Lopez says: We all have to pay up.
-- Faced with a string of lawsuits over bike crashes, the city of Los Angeles paid out more than $19 million last year to cyclists and their families for injuries and deaths on the streets.
-- Along the would-be California bullet train route, vacant lots, empty homes and dying orchards are attracting squatters, vandals and thieves.
-- The death of a chain of six bilingual newspapers on L.A.’s Eastside has residents wondering whether anyone else will step in to provide the news.
-- A father of three victims of Larry Nassar tried to attack the disgraced former sports doctor during a sentencing hearing in Michigan.
-- Film critic Kenneth Turan reviews “On Body and Soul,” which is Oscar-nominated for foreign-language film.
-- Immigrant advocates say federal agents are taking an “arrest everyone first, ask questions later” approach to raids and argue that violates immigrants’ rights and constitutes racial profiling.
-- Police investigating the shooting of students at Sal Castro Middle School said the small-caliber handgun involved appears to have fired a single round from inside a backpack.
-- During a clash at a “Patriot Picnic” in San Diego’s Chicano Park, a police officer was punched in the face and three people were arrested.
-- Is it hot enough for you? Unseasonably warm and dry conditions are expected to stay through next weekend.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Guillermo del Toro won the Directors Guild of America’s top honor for his fantastical fable “The Shape of Water,” while Jordan Peele picked up a prize for best first-time director.
-- Netflix pulled a Beyoncé with “The Cloverfield Paradox” by announcing the film would be released worldwide after the Super Bowl.
-- Disney revealed a first look at “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” It was another surprise during the big game.
-- At the Girlschool LA festival, singer Fiona Apple had something to say about the lack of female winners at the Grammy Awards.
In 1992, the Super Bowl was in Minneapolis and the halftime show was a salute to “Winter Magic” featuring Gloria Estefan and figure skaters Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill. Over on Fox, a special halftime counterprogramming episode of “In Living Color” drew so many millions of viewers away that, the next year in Pasadena, the NFL brought in Michael Jackson to sing and dance. The Super Bowl ratings soared, and a new bar was set for halftime talent.
-- Two people were killed and more than 110 injured when an Amtrak train hit a freight train in South Carolina. It was the third deadly wreck involving Amtrak in less than two months.
-- Voters in Ecuador decided to limit presidents to two terms, ending the chances of a return to office by the once popular Rafael Correa.
-- The Koreas’ unified women’s hockey team has exposed a key difference between South and North: their language.
-- A look at how forces combined again in Washington state to reject yet another oil terminal.
-- Chinese automakers want to enter the U.S. market in a big way, but if previous attempts are any indication, it won’t be an easy road ahead.
-- Airport terminals can have even higher germ counts than surfaces in the planes, a new study has found.
-- Lauren Gibbs of L.A. has put the brakes on a corporate career to chase bobsled glory in the Winter Olympics. Four years ago, she didn’t know anything about the sport.
-- For three Olympic figure skaters, the road to Pyeongchang goes through Rafael Arutunian’s workshop on ice in Lakewood.
-- Who is Hope Hicks, anyway? The “third generation in a family of special-forces flacks,” columnist Virginia Heffernan writes.
-- The next time ICE rounds up workers in an immigration sweep, remember that we didn’t do the same with Nazi-era war criminals, says a UCLA lecturer in history.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- The search for Jackie Wallace, who went from playing in Super Bowls to living on the streets in New Orleans, then disappeared. (The Times-Picayune)
-- Uma Thurman calls out Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino. (New York Times)
-- Remember the man who was deported last month from Michigan after living in the U.S. for 30 years? Here’s a glimpse at his life in Mexico. (Detroit Free Press)
ONLY IN L.A.
To bah or not to bah? That is not the question of “Doggie Hamlet,” as theater critic Charles McNulty found out. The site-specific performance work at Will Rogers State Historic Park did feature “a flock of sheep, three herding dogs, six human performers, a few scattered pelts, plenty of green grass and very little (if any) Shakespeare.” Aye, there’s the rub.