Understanding the political landscape after Sen. John McCain’s passing.
The Death of a Maverick and Its Aftermath
When Sen. John McCain died Saturday at age 81, tributes poured in from across much of the political spectrum for the man described as “a charmer, a wise guy, an underachiever, a warrior, a hero, a coward, a straight-talker, a shape-shifter and, perhaps more than any label, a maverick.” Amid the accolades at home and abroad, though, his passing has raised the question of whether others will stand up to President Trump, who had a particularly venomous relationship with McCain. The retirement of other GOP critics of Trump, such as Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, gives more power to senators friendly with the president. In Arizona, the Tuesday primary vote for Flake’s open seat has become a Trumpian hugfest among the Republican candidates.
-- Trump has been stepping up his attacks against Atty Gen. Jeff Sessions and appears to be laying the groundwork to fire the nation’s top law enforcement official.
-- U.S. and Mexican negotiators are closing in on an agreement for revamped terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to officials in both countries.
-- China lashed out at Trump’s accusations that it’s not helping efforts to denuclearize North Korea, while South Korea termed the U.S. decision to call off a trip to the North by Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo “unfortunate.”
‘Jacksonville Is Mourning’
Witnesses say a 24-year-old contestant from Baltimore who had been eliminated at a video game tournament at a Jacksonville, Fla., pizzeria fatally shot two of his competitors, including a 21-year-old man from West Hills, Calif., before killing himself. Authorities say 12 victims had gunshot wounds, and two others suffered injuries while escaping. “Jacksonville is mourning,” Mayor Lenny Curry said. “We have faced an occurrence that is all too common.”
The Church in Crisis
An 11-page broadside from the Vatican’s former ambassador to Washington is rocking the Catholic Church. It alleges that Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, hid sexual abuse allegations involving an American cardinal. Is it a bombshell expose, or a “hit job” by a political enemy of Francis? The pope has declined to comment, saying he would trust journalists to judge the veracity of the claims. However this turns out, for the faithful, it’s a trying time.
A Showdown Over Slowdowns
Two proposals by California legislators would establish the strongest net neutrality rules in the country, preventing internet service providers from blocking or slowing down websites and video streams, or charging websites for faster speeds. Advocates say they would be stronger than the federal rules rejected by the Trump administration. But the big companies involved are fighting back, saying the bills go too far.
Not So Simple Simon
“The Odd Couple.” “Barefoot in the Park.” “The Sunshine Boys.” With these and many other hits on stage and screen, Neil Simon was the most commercially successful playwright of our time. Simon, who died at age 91, often said he wrote primarily as an emotional release after a tumultuous childhood. But for all the laughter he brought to audiences, he didn’t get much respect from the critics — at least until the second act of his career, as The Times’ Charles McNulty writes.
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- The California bullet train project has cost state taxpayers an average of $3.1 million a day over the last year, but to hit its deadline and budget, spending would need to grow by up to nine times over the next four years.
-- Is Los Angeles getting better or worse? Columnist Steve Lopez wants to hear from you.
-- A Palmdale charter school borrowed nearly $30 million to build a new campus. Then it got shut down.
-- Leonard Bernstein at 100: a look at the exasperating genius of the brilliant composer, who “smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish.”
-- Looking for the best Chicago blues? Try these Windy City clubs where guitars howl and harmonicas growl.
-- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed reforms to the city’s retirement program that pays veteran police officers and firefighters their salaries and pensions simultaneously for the last five years of their careers.
-- Gov. Jerry Brown has waited more than a year to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court, and speculation abounds as to why he’s taking so long.
-- Campaign corruption allegations against Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife have dismayed some wounded warriors, while others are reserving judgment.
-- Family, friends and fans of Jonathan Gold gathered in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the life of the late restaurant critic.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- The rom-com “Crazy Rich Asians” dominated the box office for the second weekend in a row, with only a 6% drop in revenue from its opening weekend.
-- The new musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” at the Ahmanson has terrific showmanship. The story? Eh.
-- David Byrne brought his American Utopia tour to the Shrine. Same as he ever was? Yes and no.
Marilyn Monroe became a legend, but a large part of her remained Norma Jeane. “What’s interesting is when you read one of Marilyn’s scripts, Marilyn talked about herself in the third person,” says Joe Maddalena, chief executive of the Profiles in History auction house. “She would say, ‘Marilyn would do this. Play it as Marilyn would walk in the room, not Norma Jeane.’ ”
-- Iran’s parliament voted to fire the country’s finance minister amid an economic free fall spurred on by America’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal.
-- At the Institute for Food Safety and Health in Illinois, researchers work with the FDA and food companies to prevent outbreaks of food poisoning.
-- A blunt warning from pediatricians: Marijuana and pregnancy don’t mix.
-- Tesla is not going private. Now the public company’s board of directors can turn to another serious matter: what to do about Elon Musk.
-- How do you ensure that assets end up with an heir and not that person’s spouse. (Asking for a friend.)
-- Mike Trout and the Angels organization are reeling from the death of Aaron Cox, Trout’s 24-year-old brother-in-law and a minor-league player.
-- What has motherhood done for Serena Williams in her pursuit of more tennis records at the U.S. Open? “If anything, I have more fire in my belly.”
-- The message from McCain that his colleagues should heed now: “Let’s trust each other. Let’s return to regular order.”
-- A rabbi writes: “My daughter loves the miracle of Israel. It was time for her to see the other side.”
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Michael Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis has backed away from the confident assertions he made that Cohen has information about Trump’s knowledge on Russian efforts. (Washington Post)
-- “America soured on my multiracial family”: A white evangelical Christian encounters ugliness over adopting a child from Ethiopia. (The Atlantic)
-- The mystery of the disappearing Attwater prairie chickens has been solved. (National Geographic)
ONLY IN L.A.
It’s been that kind of season for the Dodgers: starting with 30 players coming down with the flu in spring training, then a plague of injuries. Even Dodger Stadium has been ailing. For the second time in the last two months, the power went out during Saturday’s game. Perhaps a “sewage incident” in March was a sign of things to come? At least the team swept the San Diego Padres this weekend, even if the lights went out.