President Trump’s tariffs on imported metals are poised for a bumpy start.
Trump’s Tariffs Are Already Taxing Patience
The Trump administration’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are set to take effect Friday, but the rollout is being criticized as confusing, rushed and potentially crisis-inducing. Overseas, officials aren’t sure how to negotiate to avoid paying the duties, because the White House hasn’t given specifics. At home, U.S.-based car producers, appliance makers and others seeking an exemption for their products will have to pay first and hope they get reimbursed later. An online form for them went up only Monday, and applications take 90 days to process.
-- Joseph DiGenova, a former U.S. attorney and occasional commentator on Fox News, will join Trump’s legal team on the Russia case.
-- Trump has vowed to end the “scourge of drug addiction in America,” even as his administration continues to push significant cuts to healthcare assistance used to combat addiction.
-- Can this Colorado Republican in a diverse district survive despite Trump’s racial politics?
-- Nixon’s the one? Actress Cynthia Nixon has confirmed she’ll run for governor of New York.
Oh, What a Tangled Web ...
Can you separate fact from fiction online? Most people would probably say yes. But what if someone made sure you kept seeing the same false stories over and over again? That’s one of the questions raised after a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, the firm that worked for Trump’s presidential campaign, accused the company of using ill-gotten Facebook data and “creating a web of disinformation” both on and off the social network. The controversy drove Facebook’s stock down 7% on Monday, and Britain’s Channel 4 promises more revelations today. One thing that shouldn’t surprise you: Facebook has the rights to the data it says you “own,” as columnist David Lazarus discusses.
Fears of a Serial Bomber
Austin, Texas, is on edge after four bombings that have killed two people and injured four over less than three weeks. (In addition, a package believed to be bound for Austin exploded at a Texas FedEx facility overnight.) The first three blasts were package bombs placed on doorsteps in an area whose large minority population suggested a possible racial motivation. The fourth involved a tripwire targeting the general public in a predominantly white suburb. Officials believe the bombings are connected but have yet to identify a motive. Here is the latest.
A Robot Car’s Fatal Crash
Uber has stopped its driverless operations in four U.S. cities after one of its self-driving cars hit and killed a woman in Arizona — probably the first pedestrian fatality of its kind. The death could slow down further testing of robot cars, which are touted as a way to eliminate some of the risks of human error. Experts say it’s too soon to know whether they’re safer than human drivers. Traffic fatalities in the U.S. are approaching 40,000 a year, with driver error assigned in more than 90% of them.
Resistance to the ‘Resistance’
The small city of Los Alamitos in Orange County is known for its quiet charms, but now it is making headlines as a pocket of resistance to “sanctuary state” policies adopted by California’s leaders in Sacramento. On Monday night, at a packed meeting, the City Council voted 4 to 1 to exempt the city from Senate Bill 54, which restricts local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
-- Former Laker Derek Fisher’s favorite room is his office, a place for thought, work or some peace and quiet.
-- The Ford GT: American supercar splendor for only(!) $450,000.
-- A storm is expected to drench Southern California beginning tonight, bringing the potential for mud flows and widespread flooding. Forecasters are calling it the biggest of the season.
-- Gov. Jerry Brown has a response to critics of the escalating costs of the state’s high-speed rail program: That’s bs! (Only he said it slightly more forcefully.)
-- University of California President Janet Napolitano says she will work to guarantee admission for all qualified state community college students to the UC system.
-- SpaceX has entered into preliminary negotiations with the Port of Los Angeles for a lease that would expand the company’s port facilities to manufacture “large commercial transportation vehicles.”
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- After the Trump “severed head” stunt, is Kathy Griffin’s comeback upon us? She just sold out Carnegie Hall.
-- Fifth Harmony is going its separate ways, but the R&B group’s members say they worked together to launch their solo careers.
-- “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” was the most unexpected blockbuster of the holiday season and is still making money. Why did our two big film critics not review it when it came out?
-- It’s still not known why the chief curator at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art was fired, but art critic Christopher Knight says it represents larger stresses in the museum community.
For Fred Rogers, it was always “a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor.” For decades, the ordained Presbyterian minister preached many messages on his show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” but the overriding one had to do with self-worth. It was a lesson he learned from his grandfather. Rogers was born on this date in 1928 and died at age 74 in 2003.
-- An increase in violent incidents in the West Bank and Jerusalem led to harsh words between the United States and the Palestinian Authority, culminating in a rare and undiplomatic vulgarity aimed at the U.S. ambassador to Israel.
-- Mississippi’s governor signed a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, the tightest restrictions in the nation.
-- In Pakistan, several child sexual abuse cases have forced Pakistanis to explore ways of broaching a topic that has long been thought too sensitive to discuss.
-- After his not-at-all-surprising landslide win in Russia’s presidential election, Vladimir Putin is ready for more muscle-flexing, especially on the international stage.
-- The Weinstein Co. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will pursue a sale. Meanwhile, a handful of criminal cases involving co-founder Harvey Weinstein are now in the hands of two veteran but cautious prosecutors.
-- Michael Ferro retired from the board of Tronc, ahead of the newspaper chain’s sale of the Los Angeles Times and hours before sexual misconduct allegations against him were made public.
-- The Dodgers will open the season without third baseman Justin Turner, one of their most valuable players, after his wrist was broken in an exhibition game.
-- The UCLA women’s basketball team is heading to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year.
-- The Times’ Editorial Board says we should keep gang injunctions in L.A.’s crime-fighting toolbox.
-- If it weren’t related to abortion, California’s FACT Act would easily be upheld by the Supreme Court, argues Erwin Chemerinksy, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- A profile of Hope Hicks as the Trump whisperer. (New York)
-- What teachers make, state by state, adjusted for cost of living. (NPR)
-- A reading of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” and why it’s often misread. (The Atlantic)
ONLY IN L.A.
A news chopper overhead. A police cruiser in pursuit. Just another car chase? No, this time it was a hot-pink flamingo float drifting down the L.A. River. After stopping on the riverbank and being questioned by officers, the crew of three men let the air out of the float and left, perhaps a bit deflated.