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Today: A Double-Barreled Defense of Saudi Arabia

Today: A Double-Barreled Defense of Saudi Arabia
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Oct. 16. (U.S. State Department)

The president and secretary of State say they believe the Saudis can investigate themselves.

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A Double-Barreled Defense of Saudi Arabia

Can the Saudi government be trusted to investigate the disappearance and suspected murder of Virginia-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, despite the likelihood that senior Saudi officials were involved? President Trump and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo have expressed confidence that it can be, while emphasizing the extensive ties between Riyadh and Washington. But Saudi Arabia is far less popular in Congress than in the White House, and reports of more gruesome details about Khashoggi’s fate continue to create an international outcry.

Politics Indeed Makes Strange Bedfellows

A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll finds that Senate candidate Kevin de León, the architect of California’s “sanctuary state” policy who has campaigned as a more liberal alternative to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is getting his strongest support from (wait for it…) Republicans. The reason: They’re responding to Trump’s anger at Feinstein for her role in the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett M. Kavanaugh. Overall with voters, though, Feinstein still holds a sizable lead over De León. When the two candidates met for a non-debate debate on Wednesday, though, the two disagreed on little.

More Politics

-- A senior Treasury Department employee has been charged with leaking documents related to the special counsel's Russia investigation.

-- As Trump has been slamming the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates, the central bank's officials appear to be tuning him out.

-- Since the arrival in June of former Fox News executive Bill Shine as the president’s communications director, Trump has been increasingly brazen about indulging his craving for media attention and using the White House as his personal, taxpayer-funded sound stage.

An Ounce of Quake-Related Prevention …

When the ground starts shaking, will you be ready? Experts say one of the most cost-effective things you can do is to retrofit a single-family home. Average price tag: $7,000. In some areas, the government will give you $3,000 to do it. Compare that with having the house potentially fall off its foundation and becoming uninhabitable. Don’t own a house? Here’s how anyone can prepare.

The Real-Life Halloweentown

When the makers of the 1978 horror film “Halloween” were doing location shoots, they needed a place that could pass for a fictional Illinois town called Haddonfield. They found it in South Pasadena. Forty years later, fans can still find the 130-year-old clapboard house used to portray masked killer Michael Myers’ childhood home. But not everyone in South Pas fully embraces this cinematic legacy.

Daniel Patton, left, of San Francisco and friend Mat Dedoussis of New Jersey visit the "Myers house" in South Pasadena.
Daniel Patton, left, of San Francisco and friend Mat Dedoussis of New Jersey visit the "Myers house" in South Pasadena. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Dodgers organist Dieter Ruehle talks about the return of the stadium’s organ and why it’s special.

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CALIFORNIA

-- Escalating his criticism of California’s fire management strategy, Trump threatened to withhold unspecified funding from the state.

-- A ballot initiative to repeal the gas tax increase has spurred debate over how transportation funds are spent.

-- Nearly five years after L.A. politicians called for the legalization of street vending, the City Council is hustling to pass rules before a state law kicks in.

-- A Newport Beach surgeon has been charged with drugging and raping five more women.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Jennifer Love Hewitt on her three-year retreat from acting and why she's back in the TV show “9-1-1.”

-- A show being billed as the first museum exhibition about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and work is opening Friday at the Skirball Cultural Center.

-- In advance of the midterm election, artist Barbara Kruger is reprising her MOCA mural that asks, “Who is beyond the law?”

-- Kiese Laymon’s book “Heavy” may be the most important memoir you read this year.

NATION-WORLD

-- A document shows that a New York detective in the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault case told one accuser to delete information from her cellphone.

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-- Mexico sent federal forces to its southern border after Trump called on several Latin American nations to stop a large caravan of Honduran immigrants heading toward the U.S.

-- Taiwan is set to become the first Asian government to recognize same-sex marriage, but voters could put the brakes on that next month.

-- What is acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM? Here’s what you should know about the polio-like virus affecting children across the U.S.

BUSINESS

-- Facebook‘s inflated numbers for videos are at the center of a lawsuit by advertisers. It suggests media companies’ “pivot to video” was based on false pretenses.

-- An expert dismantled a Tesla Model 3 and found the technology was good, but poor design and manufacturing are hurting the company’s bottom line.

SPORTS

-- Pitcher Clayton Kershaw rebounded to deliver a solid performance in the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory over the Brewers. The National League Championship Series heads back to Milwaukee, with the Dodgers one win away from returning to the World Series.

-- The Lakers’ LeBron James era starts tonight. Can he become the best scorer to wear the Forum blue and gold? This graphic takes a look. Plus, in our new sports podcast, we go one-on-one with LeBron, among other things.

OPINION

-- Saudi Arabia doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, least of all from the president of the United States.

-- The Times Editorial Board endorses Sen. Dianne Feinstein: Her seniority and experience are too valuable to give up.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Jamal Khashoggi’s final op-ed: “What the Arab world needs most is free expression.” (Washington Post)

-- Why white supremacists are chugging milk and what geneticists have to say about that. (New York Times)

-- The art of echolocation: Yes, you can teach yourself how to navigate with sound. (Atlas Obscura)

ONLY IN L.A.

“Stellabrate.” Almost everywhere you go in L.A. these days, it seems there’s a billboard for Stella Rosa. It is, after all, the best-selling wine brand in California, even though it’s from Italy. And the company is based not in Napa or Sonoma, but in Lincoln Heights, not far from Dodger Stadium. So how does it taste? We’ll leave that to our expert.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.

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