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Newsletter: Trump’s White House rally

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President Trump accepted the Republican nomination Thursday night before a large crowd on the White House South Lawn, casting himself as an insurgent rather than an incumbent and his first-term record as a resounding success.

In a 70-minute-plus speech aimed at reframing the election, President Trump closed out the Republican National Convention at the White House.

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Trump’s White House Rally

President Trump accepted the Republican nomination before a packed crowd on the White House South Lawn, delivering a storm of angry broadsides and false charges against Democratic nominee Joe Biden as he sought to redefine the November election as a choice rather than a referendum on his first term.

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With the country gripped by a deadly pandemic, deep recession and racial unrest, Trump offered an opaque agenda for a second term, focusing instead on savaging Biden by name 41 separate times. Accusing his opponent of “catastrophic betrayals and blunders,” Trump warned of “left-wing anarchy and mayhem” if the Democrats retake the White House even as he stoked fears of the widespread protests this summer over systemic racism and police abuses.

Leveraging all the trappings of the presidency, Trump addressed a crowd of more than 1,500 people on the South Lawn, ignoring ethics rules about using the White House for partisan events and public health guidelines about social distancing and avoiding large gatherings during the coronavirus crisis. The crowd sat close together in narrow rows of chairs, mostly unmasked. The number of people in attendance was only slightly larger than the number of Americans who died of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

But in many ways, the convention’s final night played out the way the first three had: focusing mostly on Trump and his family while cutting connections with the Republican Party’s past.

President Trump and family members on the final day of the Republican National Convention at the White House.
Donald Trump Jr., left, Tiffany Trump, President Trump, Melania Trump and Barron Trump watch fireworks at the conclusion of the final day of the Republican National Convention from the South Lawn of the White House.
(Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)
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Police Reform Sputters

Three months after the police killing of George Floyd ignited national outrage and filled California streets with protesters and as a police shooting in Kenosha, Wis., has sparked fresh demonstrations, the California Legislature is in the final hours of a session that is poised to deliver a much more modest law enforcement reform agenda than many expected.

More than a dozen bills regarding police accountability and oversight were introduced in the weeks after Floyd’s death in May. Now, legislators are lukewarm on passing some of those reforms. Backers blame several factors, from external sources — a shortened session due to the coronavirus and the urgency of focusing on wildfires — to fierce opposition from law enforcement unions, which have long been major power players in Sacramento and have asked for a special session of the Legislature on policing.

Some of the measures that failed to advance include a proposed law to require fellow officers to intervene if they witnessed excessive force, a plan to streamline oversight boards of sheriff’s departments and an attempt to further constrict how police use deadly force.

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Bracing for the ‘Third Wave’

Even as California finally begins to see declines in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations, health officials and experts are beginning to prepare for a potential third surge of coronavirus cases fueled by two groups that already have been hit hard: low-wage essential workers and young people.

The summer spike in COVID-19 has started to ease, and governments soon will need to consider how they might begin to reopen the economy further. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to outline his plans Friday.

California’s first effort at reopening was disastrous, with the spring’s worst weekly death counts doubling to nearly 1,000 during the summer. Last week’s total fell to about 900. But there already are warning signs about what the fall may bring, and expert say that robust coronavirus testing that achieves results much faster than we see now must be at the centerpiece of a broad reopening of society.

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More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— Officials say millions of Californians who are out of work during the pandemic will soon receive a $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit retroactive to Aug. 1.

— The site of one of California’s worst coronavirus outbreaks has been a Foster Farms poultry plant in the Central Valley. Now, officials want the processing plant shut down.

— The Orange County Board of Education’s legal battle to reopen school campuses for in-person learning gained steam this week when the state Supreme Court ordered Newsom to defend his executive authority to keep students at home during the pandemic.

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For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

Trying to Clear the Air

Diesel trucks emit nearly one-third of smog-forming nitrogen oxides and more than one-quarter of diesel particulate matter California. Oceangoing ships are projected to surpass trucks to become Southern California’s largest source of nitrogen oxides by 2023.

That’s why state air quality officials are focusing their biggest pollution-cutting regulations in more than a decade on heavy-duty diesel trucks and ships docked at ports.

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The two rules approved by the state Air Resources Board will be crucial in reducing smog and cancer risk to millions of Californians who, despite years of gradual improvement, still breathe the nation’s worst-polluted air. They are part of a multiyear push to clean up freight-moving industries that are a lifeblood of California’s economy and its dominant source of harmful pollution. But they also face opposition.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

In the summer of 1940, with reports of war in Europe, Congress passed the Alien Registration Act, also known as the Smith Act. It required all adults without U.S. citizenship to report to a post office and register themselves with the government. On Aug. 28, 1940, The Times covered the first day of the registration effort in Los Angeles, where an estimated 125,000 people were immigrants from countries including Mexico, Japan, Germany and Canada. Tens of thousands of city residents were ultimately recorded and fingerprinted.

The law also included another provision that would have lasting repercussions: It set criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government, relying on a national security loophole in the 1st Amendment created by the Supreme Court. For decades, the law was one of several high-profile tactics federal authorities used to crack down on American communists, their sympathizers and other perceived threats.

In 1957, the Supreme Court reversed a California Smith Act conviction on technical grounds, effectively halting enforcement of the act.

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Toyosaku Komai, publisher of Rafu Shimpo, a Los Angeles Japanese-English newspaper, is fingerprinted
Aug. 28, 1940: Toyosaku Komai, publisher of Rafu Shimpo, a Los Angeles Japanese-English newspaper, is fingerprinted during the first day under the Alien Registration Act.
(Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA)

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YOUR WEEKEND

— Therapeutic pork belly tacos and other takeout awesomeness that restaurant critic Bill Addison has found.

Cook your way to Hawaii, Italy or India with transportive recipes.

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— Yes, your houseplants can thrive. An expert shares how in her new book.

— No, you can’t travel, but you can do something out of the ordinary: Volunteer at an organic farm.

CALIFORNIA

— For 10 years, downtown L.A. was a boom town, bustling with offices, apartments and restaurants. It took only a few months of a pandemic to turn it into a ghost town. Will it recover?

— An officer in the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Metropolitan Division has alleged in a new lawsuit that commanders have for years enforced a de facto quota system that rewarded officers who identified and arrested a lot of alleged gang members and punished those who didn’t.

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— After wearing an “I can’t breathe” T-shirt to a ninth-grade online class, an L.A. teacher has fled her home amid a deluge of threats.

Beverly Hills will prosecute protesters for curfew violations, even though L.A. County and city prosecutors won’t.

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NATION-WORLD

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, said Friday that he intends to step down because a chronic health problem has resurfaced.

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Kenosha, Wis., a former industrial town of 100,000, is — like much of America — facing a political and moral crossroads.

— As it cut a deadly and destructive path through Louisiana and surrounding states, Hurricane Laura was also testing an already-stretched Federal Emergency Management Agency in what is shaping up to be an unprecedentedly disastrous year.

— The United States and most of the rest of the U.N. Security Council dug in their heels on diametrically opposed positions over the restoration of international sanctions on Iran.

— As millions of students in India prepare to take the country’s medical and engineering exams, the coronavirus pandemic has made the notoriously challenging tests even more stressful.

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— At least 14 dead dolphins have washed up on the coast of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, where a Japanese ship ran aground last month and spilled more than 1,000 tons of fuel.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” has gone from being jokes about the news to, more and more, the news with some jokes. Noah calls it an “unnatural” evolution.

Commercial shoots are driving Hollywood’s reopening. But while crews are grateful for new income, they worry over set conditions and the continuing spread of COVID-19.

“Supermarket Sweep” is getting a 2020 reboot. Its creators hope it will be a nostalgia trip to life before COVID-19 for viewers.

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Kingsley Ben-Adir is working through the pandemic, but these aren’t typical roles. The British actor shares how he learned to play two American icons, President Obama and Malcolm X.

BUSINESS

— Workers and customers are catching COVID-19 at restaurants, warehouses and grocery stores. Should businesses escape blame? That’s up to lawmakers and the courts.

— Los Angeles’ Broadway Federal Bank and Washington, D.C.'s City First Bank are merging to form the largest Black-led bank in the U.S., underscoring the challenges such banks have faced in generating enough capital to effectively serve their communities.

Instacart shoppers say they face high demand and unforgiving metrics: “It’s a very easy job to lose.”

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SPORTS

— Could an MLB playoff bubble come to L.A.? League commissioner Rob Manfred says it’s a possibility.

— After a wave of team strikes in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, NBA players agreed to resume the season, though the details remain under negotiation.

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OPINION

— Slogans and T-shirts aren’t working. The NBA players’ strike was the most powerful message they could send, The Times’ editorial board writes.

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— The Justice Department accused Yale University of discriminating against Asian and white applicants. But the real bias is how elite schools have favored wealthy, white students for decades, writes Katherine Hu.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

Being pregnant in a pandemic is a “perfect storm for a crisis,” worsening not just physical dangers but psychological ones. (19th News)

Melissa Blake was born with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, a genetic bone and muscular disorder. She has a message for parents on TikTok using her picture to make children cry. (Refinery 29)

ONLY IN L.A.

At the Los Angeles Zoo, the days of giraffe feedings or crowding along the fence to watch flamingos stretch their wings are gone. But at least the zoo has reopened for up to 1,200 visitors daily, with 200 people per hour within the facility, which covers about 100 acres. Face masks are required for visitors and children age 2 and older, and signs remind them to stay 6 feet — or, if you will, one zebra — apart.

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