Newsletter: Today: Trump Goes Pedal to the Metal
President Trump adds NAFTA to the mix in his threats about steel and aluminum tariffs.
Trump Goes Pedal to the Metal
Negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Donald Trump repeatedly vowed to rip up on the campaign trail, haven’t been going smoothly. Now the president is trying to put the pressure on Canada and Mexico by saying the countries can avoid his planned new tariffs on aluminum and steel if they agree to make concessions. While some question that gambit, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan joined some of Trump’s economic advisors and a long list of fellow Republicans in trying to get him to drop the tariff plan. Trump’s response to a reporter’s question on the matter: “No, we’re not backing down.”
-- What was Sam Nunberg doing? In a string of interviews, the former Trump aide vowed not to cooperate with the special counsel, suggested that the president “may have done something” improper during the campaign, then began to back down from his threats to ignore a subpoena.
-- Some Democrats are ready to go along with a Republican push to significantly loosen the landmark bank regulations put in place after the financial crisis a decade ago.
-- Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi says he will resign effective April 1 because of health issues.
California’s Congress Members, for Richer and Poorer
How much is your representative in Washington worth? Based on data analysis, the 55 members of California’s congressional delegation have a net worth at least $439 million. But given the way financial disclosures work, it could be a lot more. The state also happens to be home to the richest and the poorest members of Congress. Explore our database here.
An Oregon Reservation Stirs the Pot
At the Warm Springs reservation outside Portland, Ore., the tribe once made money with a now-closed lumber mill and has tried its hand at casinos without much luck. Could growing and selling legalized marijuana provide the economic boost it’s looking for? Many tribes have cast a wary eye on the cannabis business, and not everyone in Warm Springs is on board, but it’s well on the way to becoming the first vertically integrated Native American pot operation.
When the Lawyers Need a Lawyer
Onetime rap impresario Marion “Suge” Knight’s murder trial over a 2015 truck-ramming incident on the set of “Straight Outta Compton” is scheduled to begin next month, but the years leading up to it have been filled with legal drama. The latest: Two attorneys who have represented him at various stages of the murder trial have been indicted on charges tied to alleged witness tampering. Both have previously denied wrongdoing.
The Case of the Missing Oscar (Audience)
It was like a scene in a caper movie: At a party full of Hollywood power players, best actress winner Frances McDormand’s freshly engraved Oscar went missing. Then came a Facebook video: “Lookit baby, my team got this tonight,” said a man. “This is mine.” But before long, he was in custody, accused of taking the statuette. Though McDormand’s Oscar would be found, the same couldn’t be said of the roughly 20% drop in viewership compared with last year. It hit an all-time low of 26.5 million.
More About the Oscars
-- Onstage and in the ladies’ room, transgender moments signaled a cultural shift.
-- Guillermo del Toro’s victories for director and picture for “The Shape of Water” have set off an outpouring of national pride in Mexico.
-- Film critic Justin Chang is now recovering from Oscar fatigue, and you may be too.
-- OK, if you’re not too fatigued: The Oscars red carpet in 99 seconds.
-- What’s the best and worst about awards season? The shoes definitely fall into one of those categories.
-- Hospital officials say Community Medical Center Long Beach will close within four months after a report revealed the facility sits on an active earthquake fault.
-- A Los Angeles police officer won’t be criminally charged in the shooting of 14-year-old Jesse Romero in 2016.
-- Could Los Angeles start a public pot bank? A city study says the costs could be “exorbitant.”
-- Take that! Of six crash reports involving robot cars filed so far this year, two involved a human approaching the car and attacking it.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Advocates of the “inclusion rider” that McDormand mentioned in her Oscars speech say the contract clause could make Hollywood more diverse.
-- Actor Lior Ashkenazi is a legend in Israel, and the film “Foxtrot” shows why.
-- In this dumpster-fire of a year, Merriam-Webster has embiggened its dictionary.
Russ Solomon may not have been a household name, but his business was. Tower Records won the loyalty of rank-and-file music fans as well as celebrities such as Elton John, who would arrive early at the Sunset Strip location to browse and buy. On Sunday, Solomon died at age 92 while watching the Oscars, drinking whiskey and “giving his opinion of what someone was wearing that he thought was ugly.”
-- North Korea has agreed to suspend nuclear and missile tests for as long as the country holds talks with the United States, a senior South Korean official said Tuesday.
-- Florida‘s Senate narrowly passed a sweeping bill to increase school safety and restrict gun purchases, but some are calling it an insult.
-- Oklahoma is coming closer to joining West Virginia in a major teacher strike.
-- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under siege from corruption investigations and other scandals back home, found a warm respite at the White House.
-- China has decided to endow its president, Xi Jinping, with the power to rule for life. And over the next two weeks, its parliament will almost certainly enshrine that power into law.
-- Westside Pavilion, a longtime landmark Los Angeles shopping center, will be converted to mostly office space. Call it a sign of the times.
-- California is bracing for a battle over student loans. Consumer columnist David Lazarus wonders why the Trump administration doesn’t consider this a states-rights issue too.
-- How Orel Hershiser helped the Dodgers’ Justin Turner tie the knot.
-- USC‘s biggest goal for spring football may be finding out who replaces Sam Darnold at quarterback.
-- We already ask too much of teachers. Don’t ask them to take on kids with guns.
-- Congress’ pursuit of Backpage is risky; heavy-handed proposals could make it harder to detect sex traffickers while also chilling start-ups.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- “Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier.” (The New Yorker)
-- Astronauts explain how looking at the Earth from space changes one’s perspective. (National Geographic)
-- Why does Facebook keep censoring art by accident? (ArtNet)
ONLY IN L.A.
Leonard Bernstein’s parents opened Caravan Book Store in downtown Los Angeles on May 15, 1954. Times columnist Jack Smith once described it as “an anachronism, stuffed with musty antiquities” — and that was in 1971. For people from all walks, it was a place to browse and explore. Now, Bernstein has moved on to a quieter chapter in life, but his books still have many stories to tell beyond their printed pages.