Newsletter: Today: The State of the Union Is …

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks to reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday.
(Erik S. Lesser / EPA/Shutterstock)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells President Trump his speech cannot go on, unless the shutdown ends.


The State of the Union Is …


Not in her House. That was the message Speaker Nancy Pelosi effectively delivered to President Trump about his State of the Union address, citing security concerns amid the nearly month-old partial government shutdown. In a letter to Trump, Pelosi said the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security have been “hamstrung” by furloughs, which Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen contested. Still, Pelosi suggested Trump delay his speech; deliver it in writing, as had been the custom before the early 20th century; or, as she told reporters, make it from the Oval Office. The postponement or cancellation of the president’s address is also a potent symbol of the partisanship that has gripped Washington.

More Politics

-- The Pentagon says an apparent suicide bombing in Syria killed two U.S. service members, a Defense Department contractor and a civilian Defense worker. The bombing occurred about the same time Vice President Mike Pence was repeating Trump’s claim that Islamic State was defeated.

-- Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, told a Senate panel that he does not believe climate change is the “greatest crisis” and vowed to continue the administration’s agenda of rolling back environmental regulations.

The Shutdown Doesn’t Just Bug These Scientists

The shutdown has put a range of government functions on hold and delayed paychecks for hundreds of thousands of workers. Try telling that to a hungry stink bug or microbe. For them, as well as the plants, animals and other living things being studied by government scientists on furlough, life goes on — or does not, unless someone takes care of them. That’s just part of the disruption to scientific research caused by the shutdown.

Back to the Bargaining Table

The acrimonious L.A. teachers’ strike is entering its fourth day, but there are glimmers of a resolution: Mayor Eric Garcetti says that the teachers union and the school district will return to the bargaining table at noon today at City Hall. Even before the meeting was announced, the outlines of a potential deal had begun to emerge, albeit with several sticking points. Meanwhile, student attendance dropped to its lowest level yet on Wednesday, and for those who did go to school, watching movies has become a staple, much to many parents’ dismay.

A Warning From 1994

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Northridge earthquake that killed 60 people and left more than 80,000 structures damaged or destroyed in Southern California. Are you prepared for the next big quake? There are a number of things you can do (see this list). One of the biggest factors: the readiness of the building you’re in. Right now, there’s a patchwork of city and county rules regarding earthquake retrofitting. And though the most vulnerable kinds of buildings are well known, many cities do little to require them to be strengthened.

Sign up to get Today’s Headlines delivered to your inbox. »


At 4:31 a.m. on Jan. 17, 1994, a deadly 6.7-magnitude earthquake centered under Northridge awakened Southern California “with a violent convulsion that flattened freeways, sandwiched buildings, ruptured pipelines and left emergency crews searching desperately for bodies trapped under the rubble,” as a front-page Times story reported. Here are some first-hand accounts of what it was like.


-- The latest in a series of back-to-back winter storms triggered rock slides in Malibu and a 19-car pileup in the Cajon Pass, and caused a tree to fall and kill a homeless man in Oakland.

-- A law to abolish the state’s money bail system has been put on hold. Voters will now get to decide its fate in November 2020 via a statewide referendum backed by a coalition of bail industry associations.

-- Former Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas probably made an unwanted sexual advance toward a female Capitol staffer two years ago, according to an Assembly investigation.

-- Meet Roxana Dueñas, the face of the Los Angeles teachers’ strike. Her image is on billboards, classroom walls and the United Teachers Los Angeles website.


-- M. Night Shyamalan has a new eccentric thriller, “Glass.” Film critic Justin Chang says it doesn’t break new ground.

-- HBO has a movie called “Brexit” that plays right into today’s headlines. Star Benedict Cumberbatch, director Toby Haynes and writer James Graham share their thoughts on it.

-- The South by Southwest Film Festival will feature new films with Matthew McConaughey, Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron plus the feature directing debut of Olivia Wilde.

-- The Museum of Contemporary Art will close its Pacific Design Center location next month after exhibiting architecture and design at the West Hollywood satellite for more than 20 years.


-- Earth’s oceans had their warmest year on record in 2018, a stark indication of the enormous amount of heat being absorbed by the sea as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

-- British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a parliamentary vote of no confidence. But where Brexit goes from here is anybody’s guess.

-- Police in Zimbabwe armed with AK-47 rifles arrested a prominent activist and pastor clutching a Bible, along with scores of others, in a crackdown over protests against the dramatic fuel price increases.

-- J. Herman Sitrick, a World War II veteran credited with single-handedly capturing 21 Nazis, has died at 93.


-- In a blow to L.A., SpaceX will no longer be developing and building its Mars spaceship and rocket booster system at the Port of Los Angeles. Instead, the work will be done in south Texas.

-- A U.S. Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for drivers to sue trucking companies could have a major effect on the labor battle at Southern California’s ports.

-- John Bogle, who popularized the low-cost index-based mutual fund as founder of Vanguard Group Inc, has died at 89.


-- Bob Costas’ 40-year career with NBC Sports is over, though it’s unclear how the two sides settled the remaining years on his mutimillion-dollar contract, which ran through 2021.

-- Rams cornerback Marcus Peters is annoyed with columnist Bill Plaschke. Here’s why.


-- For L.A.’s new sheriff, rehiring a deputy accused of stalking and domestic abuse could not be a worse look.

-- A third political party in California? Sorry, it’s not going to happen.


-- Rudy Giuliani: “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign.” (CNN)

-- Is the interstellar object Oumuamua from an alien civilization? A Harvard astronomer explains why we need to keep an open mind. (The New Yorker)

-- Need to be creative on demand? Eat, walk or take a nap. (Harvard Business Review)


This time of year, studios try to get Oscar voters behind their movies by spending untold sums on “For Your Consideration” campaigns. Miranda Maynard has been doing roughly the same with a stack of homemade posters, a staple gun and tape — even though it’s for somebody else’s movie. This year, the digital arts instructor is getting behind Boots Riley’s sci-fi satire “Sorry to Bother You” by plastering posters around Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Silver Lake. Why? “God, it’s so good. … How is this not winning all of the awards? Are you kidding? What are we doing?!!”

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