Newsletter: Biden’s super comeback

At the Baldwin Hills Recreation Center, Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden reacts to Super Tuesday voting results.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Bernie Sanders may have won in California, but Joe Biden has seized control of the Democratic presidential contest.


Biden’s Super Comeback

With a string of Super Tuesday victories, former Vice President Joe Biden has returned as the front-runner in the Democratic presidential contest — even as Sen. Bernie Sanders captured the day’s grand prize, California, according to Associated Press projections.

Biden, who had been all but written off after a stumbling start, emphatically marked his comeback with victories — some by double digits — in Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and, perhaps in the night’s biggest surprise, Texas. In addition to California, Sanders won Colorado and Utah as well as his home state of Vermont. Maine remained too close to call.


But the big question now for Biden and Sanders could be whether either candidate can extend his coalition and unify factions of the Democratic Party against President Trump.

Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars, didn’t get it done: He managed only a win in American Samoa. And for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the race looks increasingly hopeless. Here are some takeaways from the night.

More From Super Tuesday

Los Angeles voters who showed up to cast ballots in person reported long wait times and operational errors at a number of the county’s newly designed vote centers, experiences that suggested an inauspicious beginning for L.A.'s first fully redesigned election system in more than half a century.


— In early returns for the L.A. County district attorney race, incumbent Jackie Lacey jumped out to a lead against former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon and public defender Rachel Rossi.

— The outcome of a bond measure called Proposition 13 (not the famous Prop. 13), which would raise $15 billion for new construction and renovation at schools and colleges across California, remained uncertain.

— The race to replace Rep. Katie Hill in the 25th Congressional District, which featured a wide array of candidates, appears headed to a runoff.

— The latest results from the primary across California and in L.A. County.


A Critical Juncture

More deaths, tied to a nursing home in Washington state. A new case in Los Angeles, and two presumptive cases in Orange County. A new quarantine in the suburbs of New York City. The battle against the coronavirus is reaching a crucial moment in the United States, as public health leaders say there’s a limited window to contain the virus — and World Health Organization officials say the virus could be far more dangerous than the flu.

“I want [the public] to be prepared for the reality that they, there are going to be more cases in the community,” said Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “But I want them to continue their daily lives. I want them to be mindful of the opportunity again to prepare themselves and their families.”

Uncertainty over the virus continued to roil the financial markets, with the Dow down 786 points Tuesday, despite an emergency interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. Beyond short-term economic disruptions and increased recession worries, the crisis appears to be sowing the seeds of a broad transformation of global supply chains, with companies looking to shift away from their reliance on China.


More About the Coronavirus

— California announced that it is going to start distributing to healthcare providers millions of N95 face masks that had been stockpiled in emergency reserves.

School officials in Southern California are trying to educate students and families about the epidemic and slow the spread of germs, while also preparing contingency plans if they are forced to shut their doors. Several schools in Washington, Oregon and Northern California have already done so.

— Public officials are trying to push back against bias against Asian Americans and misinformation surrounding the outbreak.


Panic buying isn’t necessary. In fact, experts say it can make things worse.

— Have questions about coronavirus? Tell us what you want to know.

Remembrance of Iraq’s Past

Just as Proust had his madeleine, Iraqis have a dish that triggers nostalgia: masgouf, or roasted carp. The delicacy goes so far back that an archaeological mission once found a plate in southern Iraq with what experts said were the remains of a masgouf meal from 4,500 years ago. More recently, Saddam Hussein’s craving for it provided the vital clue needed for the U.S. Army to track down the dictator-in-hiding.



On this day in 1966, tensions between a group of male students and staff at Palisades High School over haircuts reached a breaking point. William J. Seminario, dean of boys, said their hair was too long, and must be cut before they could return to school. About 50 boys were sent home.

Then the protests began. Dozens of “longhairs” picketed outside the school. As The Times reported, a protest on March 7 was broken up by the school’s football team. At the time the story ran, about 25 “longhairs” were still barred from school.

March 7, 1966: About 50 longhaired Palisades High School boys protested against school's demand that they get haircuts. After about 30 minutes of protesting, members of the school's football squad proceeded to rip up the signs.
(R.L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times)



— A spate of recent homeless shelter openings across Los Angeles culminated Tuesday with one in Venice that had drawn fierce local opposition, showing momentum is finally building to address the city’s street homelessness.

— A judge has ordered USC to turn over sensitive internal documents to a Miami investor charged with getting his daughter admitted through fraud and bribery. For him and other parents charged in the college admissions scandal, the documents could play a key role in their argument that the practice they engaged in was precisely the one endorsed by the school’s administration.

— The mother of the man who with his wife carried out the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack will plead guilty to shredding evidence in her home that connected her son and his wife to the massacre.

— Lawyers for the accused Golden State Killer say he’ll plead guilty if prosecutors don’t seek the death penalty.


February ranked among the driest on record across California. Forecasters hope a “miracle March” will bring relief.

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— The Writers Guild of America has made a key change to its list of demands: It will no longer push to require studios to work exclusively with talent agencies that have agreed to its terms.

Supporting actors are TV’s secret weapon. That’s why TV critic Robert Lloyd says the side characters are the ones to watch in shows like “Game of Thrones,” “High Fidelity” and “Barry.”


— A decade after “The Walking Dead” debuted, AMC is defending itself from claims it shortchanged the creators and producers, and Hollywood is watching.

— Costumes do a lot of work in setting a scene. From “Little Women” to the new adaptation of “Emma,” a dress can be worth a thousand words.

— Since 1979, only three women have won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. Two more joined their ranks on Tuesday: Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, founders of the Irish studio Grafton Architects.


— More than two dozen people are dead and hundreds of buildings flattened after tornadoes ripped across neighborhoods near downtown Nashville and through a wide swath of Tennessee east of the city early Tuesday. The chaos, and damage to polling places, also scrambled Super Tuesday voting.


— The U.S. military says it has conducted an airstrike against Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan to counter a Taliban assault, only days after American and Taliban officials signed an ambitious peace deal. Trump had earlier confirmed that he spoke on the phone to a Taliban leader, making him the first U.S. president believed to have ever spoken directly with the militant group.

— The White House has withdrawn Trump’s nomination for the post of Defense Department comptroller, which was to have gone to Elaine McCusker, an official who had questioned the suspension of military assistance to Ukraine — the issue that was at the center of Trump’s impeachment trial.

— The Supreme Court appears uncertain about whether to give Trump and future presidents more power to fire the heads of semi-independent agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

— With the ballot count from Israel’s latest election near complete, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears again to have fallen short of the parliamentary majority he needs to govern.



— California is already a world leader in the electric vehicle industry — especially Southern California — but the state needs more government help to flourish, according to a new report.

— Eating at the Costco food court will soon require a membership. Savor the cheap hot dogs while they last.


— Olympic leaders say they’re confident the coronavirus outbreak won’t force them to cancel the Tokyo Games, but a Japanese official just suggested the city has a contractual right to postpone them.

— Former UCLA basketball greats are in awe of the current Bruins’ late-season run.


— The new documentary “Women of Troy” explores how the Cheryl Miller-led USC women’s basketball team helped ignite the sport. It’s a must-see, writes Eduardo Gonzalez in a review.


— The lesson the U.S. should take from its futile war in Afghanistan is that the proper mission of its military “is to deter and to defend,” writes Andrew Bacevich, the president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. “Never again should it be the purpose of American forces to overthrow regimes in distant lands with vague expectations of being able to install a political order more to our liking.”

— We compost everything else in California, The Times’ editorial board writes — so why not dead bodies?


— What is it like to be famous online? Billy Chasen decided to find out and came up with Botnet, the social media platform where everyone can be an influencer. (Wired)


— The Girl Scouts are shrinking, but their cookies are still going strong. (The Lily)


Without much rain to speak of this year, the odds of a superbloom of wildflowers are low. Even so, flower watchers should be able to see spring colors in patches around Southern California this month. If you’re looking to venture out, here are our guides to some of the most prevalent blooming plants and eight places to see them. But, please, don’t pick, trample or eat the wildflowers.

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