Newsletter: Today: The Scoop on the Sell-Off
After going on a tear, why did the stock market take a dive?
The Scoop on the Sell-Off
Easy come, easy go: Since reaching a record high Jan. 26, the Dow Jones industrial average has dropped 8.5%, wiping out the gains made so far this year. What gives? The leading theory is that Wall Street is increasingly concerned about rising interest rates in a stronger economy with higher wages. That in turn has fueled stock market declines last week and led to Monday’s record drop of 1,175 points — the worst percentage decline, 4.6%, since August 2011. (For perspective, the biggest percentage drop in a day was nearly 23% in 1987.) Some investors are chalking it up to the market being overdue for a correction. Nevertheless, it made for some odd split-TV-screen optics as President Trump touted the soaring economy while the market tanked — and created a turbulent first day for Jerome H. Powell as chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Memo Showdown, Round 2
Another week, another memo. This time, the House Intelligence Committee has unanimously approved the release of the Democrats’ 10-page rebuttal to the much-debated Republican memo on FBI surveillance. Will President Trump decide to declassify it, as he did with the GOP version? Though the answer was unclear Monday, Trump did blast ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, calling him “one of the biggest liars and leakers” and saying he “must be stopped!” Meanwhile, Republicans vowed to keep investigating what they see as anti-Trump bias in the government.
-- Trump called Democrats who failed to clap for his State of the Union address “un-American,” then added, somewhat flippantly: “Someone said ‘treasonous.’ I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not?”
-- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left open the possibility of face-to-face talks between U.S. and North Korean officials on the sidelines of the Olympic Games.
-- The U.S. Supreme Court let a court-ordered redrawing of congressional districts in Pennsylvania proceed, denying a plea from Republicans to block it.
The Death of an Ivory Trade Expert
In his efforts to uncover wildlife trafficking, Esmond Bradley Martin fearlessly met face to face with ivory and rhino horn traders in places like Yemen, Sudan and Laos, posing as a buyer to learn their secrets. This weekend, the American conservation investigator was found stabbed to death at his home in Kenya. The police say it appears to have been a home invasion robbery. But as our recent series on environmental warriors shows, his death comes amid an increase in killings of wildlife activists, rangers and conservationists.
A Case Where the Lawyers Have Lawyers
The murder trial for former hip-hop mogul Marion “Suge” Knight won’t begin until April, but already the case has taken a number of dramatic turns in court. Two attorneys who have represented Knight at various times were arrested, then released. His fiancee ended up in jail. Even two documentary makers have come under scrutiny. As prosecutors and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigate allegations of wrongdoing by Knight and his legal team, some observers question whether they are going too far.
Gotta Scoot? Not So Fast!
If you’ve been to Santa Monica or Venice lately, you’ve probably seen the flock of black electric scooters provided by a start-up called Bird Rides. The concept: Riders, using a smartphone app, can grab a Bird anywhere, ride it anywhere, then ditch it anywhere. Santa Monica, however, is not amused and has filed a criminal complaint against the company. Columnist Robin Abcarian hopped on one in her quest to find out what this is all about.
-- SpaceX plans to launch the Falcon Heavy today in its first demonstration mission. It will be the most powerful U.S. rocket since the Saturn V that took astronauts to the moon.
-- Actress Natasha Leggero’s favorite room in her Silver Lake home is her woodland-themed living room.
-- Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Orange and the County of Orange must appear in court next week to prove that their anti-camping ordinances are not being used to criminalize the homeless.
-- L.A. County sheriff’s investigators say they’re closer to understanding how actress Natalie Wood died in 1981, but they would still like to hear again from her husband, Robert Wagner.
-- A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed during a foot chase with L.A. County sheriff’s deputies, who say he had a handgun but that someone may have run off with it in the aftermath.
-- The state Legislature has approved whistleblower protections for its own staff after years of delays.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Milo Ventimiglia has joined the roster of TV’s most beloved dads by playing Jack Pearson on NBC’s megahit “This Is Us.” (Did we say there are spoilers ahead? Yes, there are spoilers ahead.)
-- Uma Thurman clarified her remarks about a car accident that took place on the set of “Kill Bill,” saying she doesn’t hold a grudge against Quentin Tarantino. Meanwhile, Tarantino gave his side of the story to Deadline Hollywood.
-- Kobe Bryant was the standout at this year’s Oscar nominees luncheon. He produced and wrote an animated short, “Dear Basketball,” that’s up for an award.
-- Film critic Justin Chang says it was a good thing Netflix’s “The Cloverfield Paradox” was released the same night as the Super Bowl, while people were still boozing it up.
John Mahoney, who died this week at age 77, was a familiar presence as Kelsey Grammer’s cranky father on “Frasier” and in numerous films, TV shows and theater productions. But his career didn’t take off until his 40s, and he said he got used to people remembering his face but not his name. “I’ve got a sturdy ego, and it doesn’t bother me,” he told The Times in 1996. “As long as writers, directors and the people who can employ me know who I am, I’m fine.”
-- Two priests returning home from a religious celebration in southern Mexico were gunned down on a highway. The incident underscored the threat clergy members face in the country.
-- Five conservative women have called on the Time’s Up movement to replace Anita Hill as head of a commission in Hollywood because of comments she once made about Bill Clinton.
-- Meanwhile, in Little Rock, Ark., a radio station’s “Babe Bracket” rating female TV journalists has created a furor.
-- Trump’s trashing of Britain’s National Health Service on Twitter hit a raw nerve among Britons, who came to its defense.
-- Moscow hasn’t called a snow day for as long as anyone can remember, but it snowed so much this week, it canceled classes.
-- Amid the Dow drop, Wells Fargo & Co.’s shares fell 9.2% on Monday, a reflection of how much investors have lost faith in the financial giant since the Federal Reserve punished it last week for its accounts scandal and other wrongdoing.
-- Newsweek has fired its editor in chief, his deputy and at least one of the reporters who had been working on stories critical of the newsmagazine’s parent company.
-- The Super Bowl drew 103.4 million TV viewers, a drop of 7% from last year and the smallest audience since 2009 for television’s most-watched event. Meanwhile, three Philadelphia Eagles players say they don’t plan on visiting the White House.
-- Baseball’s spring training starts next week, but all is not well among the players. As in so many industries, technology is making the business tougher for them.
-- Why is L.A. still backing this wasteful retirement program that lets police and firefighters double-dip?
-- The cult of Trump: Columnist Jonah Goldberg gives three reasons for its existence, and some of them say more about us than Trump.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- The making and unmaking of Paul Manafort. (The Atlantic)
-- The Las Vegas Review-Journal says it killed a story about sexual harassment allegations against casino developer Steve Wynn in 1998. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
-- If you think Lady Doritos is an interesting concept, check out these other “lady” products. (Washington Post)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
As they get older, most people go downhill. Glenn Quillin goes down mountains — on a pulley suspended by a cable. The Carlsbad retiree celebrated his 102nd birthday by setting the Guinness World Record for oldest person to ride a zip-line. Two years ago, to mark his centennial year, he did a tandem skydive. Either one sure beats the time he had to bail out of an airplane with a dead engine in 1931.