Newsletter: Today: ‘A 20th Century Founding Father’


A final tribute to the 41st president of the United States brings Washington together for at least one moment.


‘A 20th Century Founding Father’


For 2½ hours Wednesday, America’s five living presidents, hundreds of dignitaries and elected leaders were able to set aside their differences, if sometimes a bit awkwardly, and gathered in Washington’s National Cathedral to honor the late President George Herbert Walker Bush. The state funeral, which combined pomp with moments of deep-felt emotion and humor, featured eulogies focusing on Bush’s compassion and foreign policy prowess, including one from his son George W. Bush. “To us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light,” the 43rd president said of his father. Today, the patriarch of one of America’s most successful political dynasties will be buried in his adopted home state of Texas.

Something Rotten in the State of Tar Heels

A month after the midterm election, it’s still unclear who will represent North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, and it might not be for quite some time. The reason: an investigation into allegations of election fraud – specifically, that a team led by a conservative operative illegally went door to door collecting mail-in absentee ballots from voters – and other irregularities.

Did the Caravan Idea Backfire?

The nonprofit group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, says it started organizing caravans headed to the U.S. to protect migrants from rape and kidnapping while drawing attention to their plight. But after one in spring caught Trump’s eye, some conservatives have accused it of human trafficking, while some on the left say it’s backfired. “They are helping Donald Trump say there is an invasion,” says one migrant activist.


A Future Reshaped by Fire

Two forces — one creative, one destructive — are reshaping the income demographics of the San Francisco Bay Area. Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau found that while Silicon Valley enjoys some of the nation’s highest incomes thanks to the tech industry, parts of wine country that were devastated by wildfire now have some of the lowest poverty rates in the U.S. Some experts say the loss of homes in the 2015 Napa wildfire forced the poorest to leave the area entirely, rather than try to rebuild. It’s a scenario we could see repeated across the state, as California contends with ever more destructive wildfires.

More Than a Drop in the Bucket

For some L.A. city firefighters and police officers who hit retirement age at 50, it’s a no-brainer: collecting a paycheck and a pension, even if they’re sick or out on disability. For budget watchdogs, though, it’s something entirely different: A study has found the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, a.k.a. DROP, has not been “cost-neutral,” as was promised to voters when they approved it in 2001. That determination opens the door for elected leaders to end or negotiate changes to the program, but so far most city leaders, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, appear to be in no rush to do so.

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-- Los Angeles County prosecutors have convened a grand jury to hear evidence about Dr. George Tyndall, the USC gynecologist accused of sexually abusing hundreds of patients during three decades at a campus health clinic, according to two sources familiar with the case.

-- Some residents of Paradise were allowed to visit their homes for the first time since the Camp fire; a day earlier, neighbors in nearby Concow returned to the ruins of theirs.

-- The state Supreme Court court wrangled over whether California may eliminate a pension benefit for state workers without running afoul of decades of protective precedents.

-- The L.A. City Council has reappointed Fred Pickel as a watchdog overseeing the Department of Water and Power, despite the protests of some who say he isn’t looking out for customers.


-- The Golden Globe nominations are coming out this morning. Here are five things to watch for. Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg will co-host the ceremony on Jan. 6.


-- Esa-Pekka Salonen, the former music director of the L.A. Philharmonic, will become the next music director of the San Francisco Symphony in 2020. He wants to recruit a “brain trust” of young talent and use tech to push musical boundaries.

-- Hollywood talent manager Marv Dauer is losing clients and defending his role in dealings with former CBS President Leslie Moonves after a New York Times report.

-- Radio stations are starting to ban the 1944 song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” because its lyrics now seem “rape-y.”


-- Wisconsin Republicans passed far-reaching legislation that would shift power to the GOP-controlled Legislature and weaken the incoming Democratic governor’s authority.

-- A U.S. Border Patrol agent who confessed to shooting four women in the head and leaving their bodies on rural Texas roadsides has been indicted on a capital murder charge.


-- Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the United States that if it walks out of a key arms treaty and starts developing the type of missiles banned by it, Russia will do the same.

-- Scientists have projected that global emissions of carbon dioxide have reached the highest levels on record.


-- China promised swift action on trade, but mystery still surrounds the agreement between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The arrest of Huawei Technologies Co.’s chief financial officer in Canada at the request of U.S. officials could complicate matters.

-- A new UCLA forecast says the United States is “playing with fire” in launching a trade war with China and its economic growth will drop over the next two years.

-- Google offshoot Waymo One, the first commercial robotaxi service, is now picking up passengers in Arizona.



-- Did Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, a potential free agent next summer, just talk his way out of ever getting a spot on the Lakers? Columnist Bill Plaschke thinks so.

-- Paul Goldschmidt, one of the most fearsome hitters in the National League West, has left the division in a trade to St. Louis. It’s a move that could help the Dodgers next season.


-- Another day, another pay-to-play allegation in Los Angeles City Hall.

-- The story of 2018, in two words: “Toxic” and “misinformation.”



-- In Syria, the ruined city of Raqqa is looking to rebuild a year after being wrested from Islamic State’s control. (The New Yorker)

-- “Dawson’s Creek,” “Buffy,” “Frasier” and “Seinfeld”: What happened to those lone black actors on TV shows from the 1990s? They have some stories to tell. (The Undefeated)

-- The story of those red kettles you see outside stores around Christmas. (The Conversation)


Why did the chicken cross the road? Perhaps to get away from Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Koreatown. At this intersection and its surroundings, you’ll find innumerable Korean fried chicken joints, the Peruvian chicken specialist Pollo a la Brasa, as well as Dino’s, Pollo Campero, Crawford’s and Gus’s. The latest addition: Pollo L.A., which serves whole marinated chicken roasted two hours on a rotisserie. What’s in the marinade? The owner admits to some citrus, but “my grandmother would probably kill me if I told you anything else.”


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