Newsletter: Today: A Raindrop in the Bucket

Scattered showers are likely in Los Angeles through Wednesday, but the light rains won’t do much to alleviate a dry start to the year, forecasters say. The last big rain in L.A. occurred in November, as seen here at Griffith Observatory.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. is getting some rain showers this week, but climatologists say they’re not nearly enough.


A Raindrop in the Bucket


A storm system is passing through Southern California, but it’s expected to barely make a dent in the area’s long dry spell. At this rate, by next Monday, L.A. is on track to have gone a full year with only one day of significant rain: when deadly mudslides hit Montecito. The lack of major winter storms is being felt across California, with the Sierra Nevada snowpack running low and fears of drought running high. Even the wildflower bloom in the deserts is in doubt.

Senators Try the Old Normal

Now that Congress isn’t dealing with shutdown deadlines every few weeks, the Senate is trying to do something rarely seen these days: legislate, in an open and collaborative way. Senators have begun a freewheeling and open-ended debate on immigration this week, with the fate of nearly 700,000 young “Dreamers” at stake. Already, some are worried the collaborative spirit won’t last.

More Politics

-- The Trump administration proposed a spending plan that projects deficits for a decade, with a huge increase in military spending. On Capitol Hill, the Republicans and Democrats who will make the budget decisions didn’t see much to like.


-- Vanessa Trump, the wife of Donald Trump Jr., was taken to a hospital after opening a letter that contained a white powdery substance believed not to be dangerous.

-- A Russian lawmaker has proposed a new address for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow: 1 North American Dead-end.

Halfpipe Heaven

Chloe Kim was expected to star at the Winter Games, and the 17-year-old snowboarder from Southern California has done just that. She clinched a gold medal with her first run at the Olympics, then decided, “I can one-up myself.” So she became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s (that’s two triple-spins in quick succession) at the Games, just to prove to herself she could do it. The secret? Hard work, talent and — judging from her tweets — a churro or two.

More From the Olympics

-- John Daly says he owes his return to the skeleton track to a question he was asked on a first date.


-- Four years ago, figure skaters Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu were commiserating by eating In-N-Out in Arcadia, “and four years later, we’re sharing an Olympic podium together.”

-- Some U.S. men’s hockey players with ties to Southern California are finding some unexpected opportunities at the Games.

A Killer at Large in Las Vegas

The killer strikes when people are at their most defenseless: alone and asleep. Three of the victims have been among society’s most vulnerable, the homeless. Who is shooting them in an area north of downtown Las Vegas? Police are looking for a 6-foot-tall man with a revolver, and while they aren’t calling him a serial killer yet, “he’s on his way to being one,” said one official. Nor is it the first time someone has targeted homeless people in Las Vegas.

Should a Judge Be Subject to Recall?

Last month, columnist Robin Abcarian wrote that it was “hogwash” to worry about hurting judicial independence when it comes to the upcoming recall vote on the Santa Clara County judge who gave a six-month sentence to a Stanford student convicted of sexual assault. That didn’t sit too well with many attorneys, law professors and retired judges. Legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky argues the recall campaign has already had an effect on judges.



-- The water runs milky and can feel like fire. In this impoverished county, Trump’s $1.5-trillion infrastructure plan may not help.

-- Actor Sam Daly takes us into his house’s favorite room — the nursery — and explains some things dear to his heart.


-- For the second year in a row, officials are concerned that fewer undocumented students are applying for state college aid because of the Trump administration’s stance on immigration.

-- More than 150 deputy public defenders gathered in downtown Los Angeles to protest what they say is an existential threat to the office: their new boss.


-- An 84-year-old woman in rural Northern California has a date with the county judge next month after authorities said she fired a gun at her neighbors’ children for being too noisy.

-- Finding L.A.’s next police chief will be no easy task. Here’s an overview of how the process works.


-- It took the filmmakers behind the Netflix documentary “Seeing Allred” three years to persuade lawyer Gloria Allred to tell her own story.

-- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and filmmaker Ava DuVernay have started a diversity program to fund entertainment internships for young people from underserved communities.

-- The makers of the new “Peter Rabbit” film have apologized for a scene that makes light of food allergies.


-- A judge awarded $6.7 million to graffiti artists who sued after dozens of spray-paintings were destroyed on the walls of dilapidated New York warehouse buildings that were torn down.


The Monkees began as a fictional rock band created for a sitcom, but it wasn’t long before they found success in the real-life charts and were fighting to write and produce their own music. As Peter Tork put it during a 50th anniversary show two years ago: They suffered from “Pinocchio complex — we wanted to be real live boys.” Tork turns 76 today.


-- A West Virginia police officer lost his job and filed a wrongful-termination suit after talking to but not shooting a distraught gunman. The officer who fatally shot the man kept his job.

-- As the Olympics continue, the Korea question on many minds is: Are they setting the stage for true diplomacy between North and South?


-- Environmentalists in Iran are demanding answers from authorities after several colleagues were arrested on espionage charges and one, a prominent professor, died in prison.

-- In South Africa, the presidency of Jacob Zuma is on the line as leaders of the African National Congress meet.

-- A study has found that drivers who get stoned on 4/20 are just as dangerous as drivers who get drunk on Super Bowl Sunday.


-- Remember Faraday Future’s plan to build fast and expensive electric cars in the California town of Hanford? The financial woes of its key backer have put the company’s future in doubt.

-- Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, is threatening to pull its ads from sites such as Facebook and YouTube if the companies don’t do more to stop a “toxic” online environment.



-- Injured Lonzo Ball has taken another step toward returning to the Lakers lineup.

-- The Chargers might be content to recharge this offseason instead of revamping the roster.


-- Trump’s infrastructure plan isn’t a plan. It’s a fantasy.

-- Downtown L.A. is the best model we have to fix the housing crisis, not a poster child for overdevelopment, writes Urbanize.LA co-founder and editor Steven Sharp.



-- Colbie Holderness, the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, writes about being abused in her marriage. (Washington Post)

-- In the mid-1930s, some former slaves recounted stories of President Lincoln having come to their plantations in secret, telling them they’d soon be free. (The Atlantic)

-- Those Obama portraits: Here’s what some art critics have to say about them. (Observer)


It’s not every day you see a bald eagle born in the wild. This week, viewers of the livestream from a nest near Big Bear Lake saw two hatch. If all goes well for the chicks, both will live in their nest for the next 2½ to three months. Watch the replay and check in on the live action here. (Last time we looked, it was lightly snowing.)


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