Newsletter: Today: Census and Sensibilities

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced last year that he had decided to add a citizenship question on the census for all households for the first time since 1950.
(Cheriss May / TNS)

How the Supreme Court views a potential citizenship question on the next census appears to come down to the justices’ political sensibilities.


Census and Sensibilities

Debates over the census are usually reserved for demographers and statisticians — politicians and the Supreme Court, not so much. But when the Trump administration said it would add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, California and other states with large numbers of immigrants fought back. After hearing arguments Tuesday, the Supreme Court appears divided along ideological lines — its five conservatives expressed support for the Trump administration plan, while its four liberals called it a scheme to cut funding and political power for places not friendly to Trump.


A Virtual Wall for Visa Holders?

Though Trump has long focused on building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to stem the flow of migrants, experts have said that people overstaying their U.S. visas have far outpaced the number of unauthorized border crossings in recent years. Now, the White House says it plans to crack down on the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors who overstay. Homeland Security data show the largest number of visa overstays are from Canada and Mexico, but a handful of African countries have had among the highest proportion of visa overstays.

More Politics

-- Just days after claiming exoneration by the redacted special counsel report into Russian intervention in the 2016 election, Trump is back to playing the victim on Twitter (50 tweets or re-tweets in a 24-hour span) with his usual vitriol.


-- Meanwhile, White House senior advisor and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner says the investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election “had a much harder impact on our democracy” than what Russia actually did.

-- Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke of Texas will launch his 2020 California primary campaign Saturday with a four-day driving tour of the state.

-- What do young voters in L.A. want? Columnist Steve Lopez found many who are looking to dump Trump and really want a president committed to leveling the playing field.

Measles and the ‘Wakefield Generation’

L.A. health officials warned this week that students and staff at UCLA and Cal State L.A. may be at risk of catching measles. The announcement has raised questions about universities’ susceptibility to disease outbreaks, given that young adults in California are less likely to be vaccinated than other age groups. Experts say people in their early 20s are part of what’s known as the “Wakefield generation,” because they were infants in 1998 when British scientist Andrew Wakefield published a now-discredited paper claiming that vaccines cause autism.

Strange Brew, Indeed

What beer “has a bouquet that tastes pleasingly of apple juice and Corn Nuts, light and sweet with just a hint of toffee” and what is “one of the strangest, most nauseous beverages” around? After taking on french fries and breakfast cereal, Times food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson is back with the L.A. Times Domestic Beer Power Rankings, rated on taste and chuggability.

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On this date in 1984, the German heavy-metal band Scorpions rocked fans like a hurricane — it kept them on their feet the whole concert, the first of two nights at the Forum in Inglewood. Well, most of them. “Except in the far upper reaches, so distant from the stage that the people may have thought the band was the Lakers,” The Times reported, “the capacity crowd stood through the entire two-hour set, including two encores.”

April 24, 1984: The Scorpions kept their fans on their feet during a two-hour concert at the Forum.
(Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)


-- L.A. students want to lower the voting age in Los Angeles Unified School District elections to 16. A resolution will direct the superintendent to explore the matter.

-- A city of L.A. analysis says more than 40% of the developable land in Los Angeles could be eligible for homebuilding at a greater density under state Senate Bill 50, which is working its way through the Capitol.

-- Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to know why gasoline prices are higher than elsewhere, blaming potential “inappropriate industry practices” rather than the state’s higher taxes and tougher environmental regulations.

-- The Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant Bavel is the L.A. Times’ restaurant of the year. Find out why.



-- Film critic Justin Chang says “Avengers: Endgame” brings the Marvel series — or at least this current phase of it — to “a stirring, satisfying finish.”

-- Mueller, the musical? Columnist Mary McNamara has re-envisioned the special counsel’s report as a show ready for Broadway.

-- And on the real Great White Way, “Tootsie” is the funniest musical since “The Book of Mormon,” writes critic Charles McNulty.

-- Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg defends his millennial music taste, from his love of Dave Matthews jams to his preference for the difficult Radiohead albums.


-- The Florida Supreme Court has ruled against a sheriff who fought his removal from office after the governor claimed he failed to prevent last year’s Parkland school shooting.

-- Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the coordinated blasts against churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter. The death toll rose Tuesday to 321, including at least 38 foreigners.

-- Saudi Arabia beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shiites, in a mass execution across the country over what it said was terrorism-related crimes. It publicly pinned one man’s body and severed head to a pole as a warning to others.

-- Heidi Hetzer, a German businesswoman whose late-in-life decision to drive around the world in an American vintage car won her fans around the world, has died at her home in Berlin at 81.


-- Snapchat‘s user base grew 2% to 190 million — a number that Snap said includes 90% of 13- to 24-year-olds in the U.S.

-- Trump’s tariffs are one of the last big obstacles in U.S.-China trade talks.


-- The TV sports reporter suing former Lakers coach Luke Walton over an alleged sexual assault said she waited five years to come forward with the allegations because she was scared she might lose her job.

-- With the birth of his son, boxer Gennady Golovkin feels he’s in a good place before his next bout, which is against a 35-year-old fitness coach from Toronto.


-- On the census citizenship question, the Supreme Court shouldn’t reward government lies.

-- Columnist Doyle McManus on why Democrats shouldn’t impeach Trump — yet.


-- Did you know that if you make less than $66,000 a year, you can prepare and file your taxes for free? If you didn’t know, you’re not alone. (ProPublica)

-- Samsung hoped its Galaxy Fold phone would generate a stir with reviewers. It did, but not as intended. (CNET)

-- Poet and essayist Elisa Gabbert helped start “Stupid Classics Book Club.” “It began as a joke, and then struck us as a genuinely good idea.” (The Paris Review)


Evett’s Model Shop has received some unusual requests over its 71 years of operation, but few have been as weird as the one in January from YouTube car comedy channel Donut Media: Help a Bugatti built from Lego bricks go really fast, maybe even set a speed record. The Santa Monica store, one of Southern California’s few remaining model and hobby shops, took on the job. But today, it will close its doors. The reason is not so unusual: a steep rent increase. Fans of the store hope it will live to race another day someplace else.

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