Today’s Headlines: Biden’s ‘Goldilocks’ cabinet

President-elect Joe Biden onstage
President-elect Joe Biden removes his face mask as he arrives to introduce his nominees and appointees to key national security and foreign policy posts in Wilmington, Del.
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President-elect Joe Biden is putting together a team that, so far, has felt just right for a range of constituents.


Biden’s ‘Goldilocks’ Cabinet

President-elect Joe Biden has begun unveiling his nominees and appointees for key positions in his administration, starting with his national security team. Saying “America is back,” he introduced a number of Washington veterans from the Democratic establishment, showing how his emphasis on experience will differ markedly from President Trump‘s approach.


Biden’s initial Cabinet selections and other senior appointments have managed to appeal to the diverse coalition of support that is putting him in the Oval Office. So far, the progressive left is feeling heard; the Democrats’ center-left is feeling reassured; and anti-Trump Republicans don’t seem to be suffering buyer’s remorse.

Biden faces a delicate task in building a Cabinet that is noncontroversial enough to survive confirmation scrutiny if Republicans maintain control the Senate, pending the outcome of two runoff elections in Georgia, while also satisfying Democratic activists demanding major change after four years of Trump.

In other words, not too left and not too right.

More Politics

— Here’s how Biden plans to take government in a new direction, including on the coronavirus, the environment and immigration.

— For Trump, it’s all over but the tweeting.

The New Rules of Lockdown

With coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths growing at an alarming rate, Los Angeles County officials have begun to outline a new limited “Safer at Home” order aimed at slowing the virus’ spread.

New restrictions are looking increasingly likely, but it appears they would fall far short of the ones imposed in March. Officials suggested they would allow many businesses to remain open but with limited customer capacity. The county director of public health said a sweeping shutdown is not necessary because the county has more tools to handle COVID-19 compared with the spring, when less was known about the disease.

Meanwhile, county officials rejected an effort to reverse the suspension of outdoor restaurant dining amid a growing outcry, and a judge refused the restaurant industry’s request to block the ban.

Flaws in the System

State and federal prosecutors who have been investigating fraud in the pandemic relief system administered by the California’s Employment Development Department say death row inmates are among those who’ve been sent state unemployment benefits in recent months.

In making the allegations, the prosecutors called for Gov. Gavin Newsom to intervene to stop such unemployment swindling in California jails and prisons — which may involve tens of thousands of questionable claims totaling hundreds of millions of dollars — though they said they were uncertain if the high-profile claimants were victims of a scam or participants.

The prosecutors contend that the fraud is preventable with systems such as those used by other states that check inmate data against unemployment claims.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— How should people try to manage a safer Thanksgiving amid the world’s worst pandemic in more than a century?

— Despite the public health warnings to avoid Thanksgiving plane travel, some people are taking the risk, as a trip to L.A.-area airports shows.

— Even with the expected arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines in just a few weeks, it could take several months — probably well into 2021 — before things get back to something close to normal in the U.S.

British authorities have given the green light to limited holiday reunions, relaxing restrictions over Christmas and offering arriving international travelers a way to cut short quarantine if they test negative for the coronavirus. Scientists warned the plan would lead to a rise in infections.


November 1928: Chef Mabelle Wyman stuffing a turkey for her Thanksgiving column.
(Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA)

In the Nov. 27, 1928, paper, Times cooking columnist Mabelle Wyman offered several recipes for a successful Thanksgiving — along with a prodigious suggested menu.

Like our current cooking columnist Ben Mims’ more 2020-friendly meal plan, Wyman’s version included standbys such as turkey, cranberry sauce and a pumpkin dessert — but it also featured lobster cocktail, stuffed celery and plum pudding with hard sauce. (If you’re curious about hard sauce and want to try your hand at making it, it was traditionally made with liquor but can also be made Prohibition- and kid-friendly with grape jelly.)

Such dishes may seem quaint to modern palates, but they made frequent appearances on Thanksgiving menus in the 1920s, judging by this page of advertisements for where to dine on Thanksgiving that appeared in The Times 95 years ago today. Prices for a multicourse feast ranged from $1.50 to $3.


Things to do: Lend a hand, join a turkey trot or get back to nature. Or check out the Dodgers holiday festival or a marionette display on the Santa Monica pier.

— Here’s what’s open and closed in Southern California this weekend.

— Go for a hike. Here are some ideas, from a short jaunt to a waterfall to a full-day trek up a nearly 9,000-foot peak.

— Cut down your own Christmas tree at one of these Southern California farms.

Editor’s note: Due to the holiday, there will be no Today’s Headlines newsletter on Thursday or Friday. Expect the next edition in your inbox on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving!


— Despite growing concern over a ballooning budget shortfall that could usher in sweeping cuts to city services in coming weeks, the Los Angeles Police Department put forward a proposal that would increase its operating budget next year by more than $100 million.

— The L.A. County district attorney’s office has filed charges against a protester for allegedly attempting to wreck a train at the scene of a demonstration against the sheriff’s department — a case in which the defendant’s attorneys have accused officials of gross exaggeration in retaliation for protest activity.

Santa Ana winds are expected to sweep over the Southland from Santa Barbara to Orange counties from Thursday through Sunday, a sign that the state’s worst wildfire season on record may still have some fuel left in the tank.

— Columnist Gustavo Arellano looks at how Huntington Beach became Angrytown, USA.

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— The U.S. government has agreed temporarily not to deport detained immigrant women who have alleged being abused by a rural Georgia gynecologist, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

Bruce Carver Boynton, a civil rights pioneer from Alabama who inspired the landmark Freedom Rides of 1961 when he defied segregation laws, has died at 83.

— Lawyers for a Libyan militant convicted in the Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans have asked for a new trial, citing what they say is “recently disclosed exculpatory evidence.”

— Increased migration from Central America appears likely after hurricanes have added to the region’s woes.


— At the Grammy nominations, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift led the pack. But the Weeknd, who was shut out, called the Grammys “corrupt.” Here’s the full list of nominees.

— Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan has a lot to say about Spotify, Courtney Love and our “dystopia.”

— Netflix has done one of its marquee attractions, Dave Chappelle, a solid: It has stopped streaming “Chappelle’s Show.”

Kristen Stewart makes spirits bright in the holiday romantic comedy “Happiest Season,” film critic Justin Chang writes. It stars Stewart and Mackenzie Davis as a lesbian couple keeping their relationship under wraps.


Stocks surged Tuesday, and the Dow closed above 30,000 for the first time ever, buoyed by progress toward coronavirus vaccines, the belated start of the Biden transition and his anticipated selection of former Fed chair Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary.

— The pandemic has put retailers in a tough spot ahead of Black Friday, and that’s led them to send shoppers some mixed messages: Come out on Black Friday, but not all at once.


— How active will the Dodgers be when hot stove season heats up? Because teams have lost so much money this year, the consensus is that an unprecedented number of players won’t be offered contracts — which could saturate the free-agent landscape with a flood of major league talent and let teams plug holes at discounted rates.

— This could be a dream season for UCLA’s men’s basketball team — if, that is, the Bruins get to complete it. And could USC, with its rebuilt roster, now have a real chance at a Pac-12 title?

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— If Biden calls L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and offers him a big job in the new administration, should the mayor go east? To columnist Steve Lopez, the answer is fairly obvious.

— This isn’t the first time Rudy Giuliani has tried to subvert the will of the voters, columnist Nicholas Goldberg writes. He did it as mayor of New York, too, even though he faced term limits — trying to use the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to get the mayoral election canceled and his term extended.


— In Los Angeles and cities across the U.S., people who live in neighborhoods once subject to the racist lending practice known as redlining today have far lower life expectancies, researchers have found. They’ve published interactive city-by-city maps to let you explore your own community. (NPR)

David Dinkins, who died this week at 93, doesn’t get much credit for starting New York City’s recovery a generation ago. There’s a case to be made that he should. He and some of his protégés spoke about his legacy in 2017. (New York Times)

— Jeffrey Epstein is hardly the only infamous financier with whom Prince Andrew has had dealings. The British royal also helped a secretive Luxembourg bank woo potential clients from the ranks of the world’s dictators and kleptocrats. (Bloomberg Businessweek)


Remote learning has strained educators across the country, but for two who taught in classrooms one room apart at Bushnell Way Elementary School in Highland Park, there is a special strength: They’re a mother-daughter duo. “I’ve been an early educator for 35 years and it’s really hard for young children to learn on Zoom,” said Mrs. Carter, who re-created her kindergarten classroom around her dining table. Her daughter, Ms. Tai agreed: “They want to talk, they want to share, but there’s never enough time.”

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