Newsletter: Today’s Headlines: Biden makes plans; Trump digs in

President-elect Joe Biden prepares for a transition to the White House, as President Trump refuses to concede.


Biden Makes Plans; Trump Digs In

Once again, President-elect Joe Biden and President Trump are presenting a study in contrasts.


On Sunday, Trump unleashed a series of grievance-laden tweets before heading to his Virginia golf property, while Biden attended church, then turned with his team to the business of transition.

Biden is appointing an advisory board of public-health experts to guide his transition team’s COVID-19 planning, as the pandemic worsens in the U.S. The country reported more than 126,000 positive cases and more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It marked the fourth day in a row that new cases topped more than 100,000.

But Trump has refused to concede the election and continued to make unfounded claims of voter fraud. Though former President George W. Bush offered Biden his congratulations, and a few moderate Republicans have pressed the case for “cooler heads” to prevail, most GOP leaders have been silent. Some have defended Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations and prepared a flurry of lawsuits.

Experts say such legal challenges are highly unlikely to yield any game-changing rulings. Campaign aides and allies who spoke to the Associated Press said the lawsuits are more about providing the president with an offramp for a loss he can’t quite grasp than about changing the outcome of the election.

Meanwhile, the list of heads of state and government offering congratulations to Biden has grown. Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, did so Sunday, as did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump’s relations with those two are among his friendliest personal ties in the ranks of global leaders. Conspicuously absent from the list of those congratulating Biden: the presidents of Brazil and Mexico.

A Grand Unified Theory

First came the hard-fought election. Now comes the really hard part: governing. Can Biden pull the nation together and, as he put it Saturday night, end “this grim era of demonization in America”?

Biden’s many years in the U.S. Senate — and his eight years of working with it as vice president — offer a glimpse of how he will go about the task.

On climate change, Biden prefers to frame the policy debate around the jobs that can be generated by new investments in areas such as solar power. On healthcare, he has pushed for a public option that would give Americans an additional choice and has resisted “Medicare for all” proposals that would eliminate employer-provided insurance.

Biden calls his approach the “Delaware way” — a brand of consensus-oriented politics that has guided lawmakers from a tiny state where moderation dominates. It is the path he will pursue as he tries to push the nation in a new direction, despite likely opposition from Republicans.

Pride, Joy and Wariness

Black Americans have reasons to feel pride, joy and hope over the election of Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris as the next president and vice president.

About 87% of Black voters chose Biden over Trump, preliminary exit polling shows. Biden acknowledged the debt he owes to Black voters, and their foundational importance to the Democratic Party, in his victory speech Saturday night. He thanked them for having his back and promised them, “I’ll always have yours.”

But many say they have reasons to feel wary, because many hopeful moments for Black people wind up feeling like false promises.

More About the Election

— Dejected Trump supporters have struggled to accept that their candidate lost his bid for reelection. “I don’t think any of us are going to acknowledge Biden as our president,” said one.

— A Biden win, yes, but some women are even prouder to see Kamala Harris make history in so many ways.

— Five things Biden can do to fight climate changewithout Congress’ help.

Victory speeches: Read the full transcripts for Biden and Harris.

— See our electoral college map with state-by-state tallies, the results across California and how Southern California neighborhoods voted.

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Trying to Hold Back a ‘Third Wave’

As coronavirus cases rise dramatically in the U.S., California is seeing an increase too, but far milder than that in the rest of the country. Experts say there is still time to prevent a “third wave” here.

Though there are clear warning signs, including a troubling increase in daily cases in Los Angeles County, the statewide uptick is at a pace considered relatively slow.

State health officials credit California’s slow reopening process, which has come under fire from businesses, with keeping hospitals from being overwhelmed in the surge of new cases.

The Consummate Host

Nineteen months after making public his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Alex Trebek, the host of “Jeopardy!” for more than 35 years, has died at age 80.

Trebek worked as a reporter for Canadian Broadcasting Corp. before tumbling into the world of television game shows and ending up, thanks to Merv Griffin and Lucille Ball, as the host of a show that Hollywood had long given up on.

With wit, intelligence and warmth, Trebek became an institution. “Other hosts may come and go, but Trebek found his place and stayed,” as TV critic Robert Lloyd writes. “He put down roots, built a hall. People came, and a community was born.”


Eighty-two years ago, Helen Hulick had to fight for her right to wear slacks in a downtown L.A. court.

When Hulick showed up as a witness in a burglary case on Nov. 9, 1938, the judge rescheduled her testimony and ordered her to wear a dress. Five days later, she arrived — in slacks. Again, the judge told her to return in a dress or be held in contempt.

“I’ll come back in slacks, and if he puts me in jail, I hope it will help to free women forever of anti-slackism,” she said.

Hulick indeed returned wearing slacks and was thrown in jail. But she didn’t stay there for long.

Two photos of Helen Hulick from 1938
Helen Hulick, a burglary witness, caused a stir in a downtown L.A. courtroom in 1938 by wearing slacks. At right, Hulick, wearing a jail-issued dress, her attorney William Katz and notary Jeanette Dennis work on getting her released.
(Andrew H. Arnott / George Wallace / L.A. Times Archive / UCLA )

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— A newly constituted L.A. City Council could change the city’s approach to homelessness.

— San Diego’s new mayor, Todd Gloria, represents many firsts for the city, reflecting its changing demographics and its increasingly liberal electorate.

— An L.A. megachurch pastor has mocked pandemic health orders, even as church members fall ill.

— A storm brought scattered rain showers to the Los Angeles area and dumped snow on the mountains and the Grapevine.

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— Pfizer says early data on its coronavirus vaccine suggest the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, though further steps are needed before the vaccine can become available to the public.

— Britain and the United States will work together to support democracy and combat climate change, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, while denying that his close ties to Trump would hurt U.K.-U.S. relations once Biden takes office.

Iran’s president called on Biden to “compensate for past mistakes” and return the U.S. to Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, a state-run news agency reported.

— Voters in Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, turned up in large numbers to vote in nationwide elections that are expected to return to power the party of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.


Dave Chappelle returned to “Saturday Night Live,” skewering Trump and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in his monologue.

— Blasting from cars and street corners, YG and Nipsey Hussle’s “FDT” played amid celebrations of Biden’s victory.

Anne Hathaway has apologized for negatively portraying those with limb differences while playing the Grand High Witch in Robert Zemeckis’ recent adaptation of “The Witches.”

Gillian Anderson‘s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Crown” adds some dimensions of humanity that not everyone will appreciate.


— What happens to Big Tech as the Trump era comes to an end? It’s not entirely clear, but here are some scenarios.

— There’s a new PlayStation 5 coming out. Is it worth it? Our video game critic gives his verdict.


Justin Herbert is a franchise quarterback for the Chargers, but amid a season of constant struggle, the team isn’t doing enough to protect the rookie, Dylan Hernández writes.

UCLA football’s imperiled home opener against Utah appears back on track after the game was pushed back one day and the Utes received encouraging results in their latest round of testing for COVID-19.

USC football pulled off a thrilling comeback to stun Arizona State in its season opener.

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— We may be a divided nation, but we’re united in not trusting the news media, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes. We need journalists who rigorously check facts and sources to weed out propaganda, and we need stories presented with neutral language.

— Rep. Adam Schiff writes that Biden has his work cut out for him.


Women of color who’ve cracked through ceilings have some advice for Harris: Buckle up. (Politico)

— More about Four Seasons Total Landscaping, site of a Rudy Giuliani news conference on voter fraud allegations, which is next to an adult store and a cremation center. (Philadelphia Inquirer)


On Santa Catalina Island, the descendants of 14 bison left there in 1924 by a movie crew are a symbol of the island’s heritage and a powerful attraction for tourists. But there’s concern over the effects the shaggy, imported beasts have on the environment. A recent announcement that the nonprofit that owns nine-tenths of the island plans to add bison to existing herds has recharged the debate.

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