Today’s Headlines: All types of drought, all at once

Cracked earth surrounded by brown grass stretches away.
An irrigation ditch sits unused after a rice farmer fallowed a field due to a lack of water in Knights Landing, Calif., last year.
(Max Whittaker / For The Times)

By Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Friday, May 6, and nearly Mother’s Day. If you’re looking to spend time with a parent or offspring Sunday, we have 20 good ideas. We asked list contributor Brittany Levine Beckman, Times features editor, for insider tips: She and her mom will be going for a stroll around Silver Lake Reservoir (see No. 18 on the list).

“My mom had some specific requests,” she said. “The day will start with a backyard brunch featuring lox and white fish, followed by a screening in my living room of ‘The Biggest Little Farm: The Return,’ about Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark [on Hulu]. We’ll cap off Mother’s Day at the Silver Lake Reservoir. When I told my mother it was a roughly two-mile loop, she said, ‘That’s OK, we can do it twice.’” Scroll down to “Your Weekend” for more.


Now on to the stories you shouldn’t miss today.


A closer look at a ‘creeping disaster’

The megadrought in the West — where humans, vegetation and soil are competing with a sky that’s pulling water from the land at a more forceful rate — is a “creeping disaster,” says a researcher. This year will probably join 2002 and 2021 as the three driest years in the last century, and most likely the driest since the 1700s.

Drought manifests in different forms, including decreased rainfall, low stream and groundwater levels, thirsty crops, insufficient community supplies or struggling ecosystems: “When it starts to feel really bad is when all of those types of drought are essentially happening at the same time. And that’s kind of where we’re at right now,” says one scientist.

Abortion pills could be the next battleground

Medication abortion, in which a woman takes two drugs to terminate an early pregnancy at home, became the most commonly used method in the U.S. during the pandemic, particularly after the FDA stopped requiring the prescription be dispensed at a healthcare facility rather than delivered directly to a user. International online pharmacies ship them without a prescription at all.


As the Supreme Court prepares to give states the power to ban abortion, medication abortion could be a game changer — the last option for women in conservative states who are unable to travel elsewhere to end their pregnancy. But that’s also what makes the pills a target: Just as abortion rights supporters look to shore up access to medication abortion, antiabortion groups are focusing on enacting additional state restrictions on pills.

More politics

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

An American official said U.S. intelligence helped Ukraine sink a Russian warship

As Russian troops struck across eastern Ukraine on Thursday and mounted a new push to kill or capture the last remaining Ukrainian fighters defending the besieged port city of Mariupol, new evidence emerged that the U.S. provided intelligence that helped Ukraine sink a formidable Russian warship last month.

An American official said the U.S. had provided “a range of intelligence” to Ukraine, including the location of Russian ships on the Black Sea. The official said Ukraine decided on its own to use that information to target the Moskva. The Biden administration has increased intelligence-sharing with Ukraine and has ratcheted up its shipments of arms to the war-torn nation.


More from Ukraine

Four people sit aboard a train, including a man in fatigues.
Francis Dion, left, came from Canada to fight with Ukrainian forces: “I didn’t tell my parents. Not until I got to Ukraine. They were devastated. ... I saw more action in six weeks on the front than I did in 12 years in the Canadian military.”
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The FDA restricted Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine

U.S. regulators strictly limited who can receive Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine due to the ongoing risk of rare but serious blood clots. The Food and Drug Administration said the shot should be given only to adults who cannot receive a different vaccine or specifically request J&J’s vaccine. U.S. authorities for months have recommended that Americans starting their COVID-19 vaccinations use the Pfizer or Moderna shots instead.

More coronavirus headlines

  • Cases are on the rise at Los Angeles County workplaces and schools, underscoring the need to take additional precautions to prevent outbreaks, officials said.
  • Nearly 15 million people were killed either by COVID-19 or by the coronavirus’ effect on overwhelmed health systems in the last two years — more than double the official death toll, the World Health Organization said.
  • Even as cases rise, much of the country is stopping short of bringing back restrictions amid deep pandemic fatigue.
  • A California measure that would allow children ages 12 and up to be vaccinated without their parents’ consent, including against the coronavirus, cleared its first legislative hurdle. If the proposal becomes law, California would allow the youngest age group of any state to be vaccinated without parental permission.

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

Our daily news podcast

If you’re a fan of this newsletter, you’ll love our daily podcast “The Times,” hosted every weekday by columnist Gustavo Arellano, along with reporters from across our newsroom. Go beyond the headlines. Download and listen on our App, subscribe on Apple Podcasts and follow on Spotify.



We looked at how SoCal water restrictions will roll out. More than a week after the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California announced its harshest-ever water restrictions for millions of residents across the region, several of the affected water agencies are offering a preview of how life will change throughout the Southland, with fines as well as water use patrols.

The suspect in the attack on Dave Chappelle won’t be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Although police said the man who tackled the comedian at the Hollywood Bowl had a replica gun with a knife, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s office declined to file felony charges. Hours later, City Atty. Mike Feuer announced that his office had filed four misdemeanor counts against the suspect.

Hidden Hills socialite Rebecca Grossman will face a murder trial. Grossman must stand trial on murder charges in the deaths of two boys, a judge decided after hearing testimony that she struck the pair in a crosswalk while going more than 70 mph and continued driving.

Why did federal police square off with abortion rights protesters in L.A. streets? Video showed protesters banging on the officers’ cars, and the officers shoving protesters and screaming at them to “back up.” Some witnesses have accused the officers on social media of instigating the confrontation. Activists, however, were asking why the agents were even there. The LAPD said their assistance was not requested. Now the incident is under review.

Column: A Texas woman needed an abortion. Here’s how far California went to help her. This mom knew having another child wasn’t the right decision for her. Facing Texas’ new restrictive abortion law, she saw California as her best hope. It was the way she was made to feel that she remembers most. She was at the lowest point in her life and she found “love from strangers,” she said.

Support our journalism

Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.



The U.S. refused to invite Cuba to the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. The major global meeting typically welcomes all governments in the Western Hemisphere. The summit, which is held every three or four years, is being convened in the United States for the first time since its 1994 inaugural session, and the Biden administration’s decision is likely to anger several other countries.

Biden declared New Mexico wildfire areas a disaster zone. Firefighters slowed the advance of the largest wildfire in the U.S. as heavy winds relented Wednesday, while President Biden approved a disaster declaration to bring new financial resources to remote stretches of New Mexico devastated by fire since early April.

A dictator’s son used TikTok to lead in the Philippine election and rewrite his family’s past. Ferdinand Marcos Sr. ordered the killings of thousands and plundered billions of dollars. His son has become the presidential front-runner with slick videos portraying the Marcos family as a Kennedy-esque political dynasty to a generation too young to have lived under the period’s martial law.


River Butcher hasn’t found a ‘final form.’ He doesn’t believe that kind of thing exists. Known for his casual approach to incisive personal observations, the comedian’s stand-up special and more recent live shows are a sort of reintroduction for Butcher, who has always incorporated jokes about all aspects of his identity into his sets — as a lens through which his jokes are told, rather than the topic of the comedy per se. He’ll appear in the Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival on Saturday as part of “Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration.”

The tense French abortion drama ‘Happening’ is the movie you need to see right now. The film, which follows a young woman as she seeks to terminate a pregnancy in 1963, deserves praise for its urgency, not just because of its timing but also because of the gut-clutching suspense and the wrenching intimacy that the director brings to the telling, writes film critic Justin Chang.

A Directors Guild TV study shows diversity gains but not for Latino and Asian filmmakers. Even as the number of shows fell 36% in the 2020-2021 season from the year before, the number of TV episodes led by directors of color increased by to 34%, up from 29% the previous season, according to the union’s report.


Netflix’s longest-running show just ended. You wouldn’t know from the sendoff it got, writes columnist Mary McNamara. “Grace and Frankie,” which stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, deserved something better, something special.

Inside a new TV show’s extraordinary effort to re-create a secret Mormon ceremony. “Under the Banner of Heaven,” Hulu’s new true crime mystery, uses a gruesome 1984 murder to explore the dark side of religious belief and the sometimes bloody history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Based on Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction bestseller, the series sheds light on aspects of the faith that are rarely glimpsed by outsiders. Creator and showrunner Dustin Lance Black, a former member of the church, spent years conducting his own research.


Buying your first home? See if you qualify for a 0% interest down payment loan. Low-income Californians have a new tool at their disposal: an interest-free loan to use toward their down payment that, if certain criteria are met, doesn’t have to be paid back.

Elon Musk has secured about $7.1 billion in new financing commitments. Helping to fund his proposed $44-billion takeover of Twitter are billionaire Larry Ellison, a Saudi Prince, and Sequoia Capital.


The six Ricks of Rick Caruso’s campaign for L.A. mayor. Columnist Gustavo Arellano watched all 23 Caruso television and web promos on file with the L.A. City Ethics Commission, so you don’t have to. What emerges is a rich man trying on different personas to see which ones stick and which ones are as irrelevant as Joe Buscaino’s campaign.

Op-Ed: I’ve had an illegal abortion and a legal abortion. The experiences couldn’t have been more different. The writer says the clandestine experience included a doctor who clamped a hand over her mouth when she moaned in pain, telling her, “Shut up.” The procedure ultimately landed her in a hospital, where another doctor told her, “Your pain is God’s punishment. And you will never have children!” She did.


Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at


The Kings still hold some advantages over the Oilers as the series pivots to L.A. With the teams splitting the first two games in Canada, the series is now a best-of-five playoff. And with three of the next four games in Los Angeles, the Kings now have the home-ice advantage. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2014, however, the Kings have lost five straight home playoff games. But they get a shot to end that streak tonight.

Liz Cambage is the star the Sparks got — and a voice the WNBA needs more than ever. Cambage is perhaps known as much for her pugnacious streak as she is for her size and her shooting range. The league has encouraged strong voices more than any other pro league. Will it ever warm to Cambrage’s bracing candor?


A woman in a green dress strikes a pose on stage as other actors watch behind her.
Kimberly Marable and company in the “Hadestown” North American tour.
(T Charles Erickson)

Hang out with Mom or the family, or those who are like family. Look through our 20 fun things to do on Mother’s Day. They include a self-driving architecture tour, a hike and picnic in Amir’s Garden at Griffith Park, or a swim in a pool you’ve rented. List author Lisa Boone said that if her mom were alive today, she’d take her to Descanso Gardens (No. 10 on the list), a destination for them when Lisa was young: “She used to take me and my brothers and dress us in red so that we could run around and she could keep an eye on us!” She also recommends No. 13: “I saw ‘Hadestown’ and it was awesome.”

Watch the blood moon eclipse. Over at the Wild, Mary Forgione has tips for seeing Sunday’s total lunar eclipse. The good news is, if it’s a clear night, you won’t need anything but your peepers. And don’t hesitate to stare straight at it. It won’t cause eye damage. “If you want to watch with the pros, the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park will livestream all phases of the eclipse from 7:35 to 11:50 p.m. May 15,” Mary notes. By 2 a.m. Monday, there will be a time-lapse version available on the observatory’s YouTube channel. Info here.



Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

Parsing the differences among lol, lololololol and LOLOLOLOL. The text lingo has moved beyond “laugh out loud.” Flexible and adaptable, it’s a way of making texts feel a little more human. The meaning changes, however, the more “ol’s” you add, or whether you use capital letters. As for “the classic, often all-lowercase lol,” it’s become “a tonal punctuation mark with the ability to begin or end a sentence in a way that lends a warm sense of wry, empathetic bonhomie.” Who knew?! Lol. The Atlantic

‘Buy now, pay later’ is sending the TikTok generation spiraling into debt. Influencers and brands on TikTok and Instagram are increasingly advertising services like Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm, which promise young users they can receive all the coolest consumer goods with just a few clicks and a small down payment — whether they have the cash on hand or not. But coupling nearly instantaneous loans with an influencer-addled social media culture that prioritizes exorbitant spending and normalizes debt could be further jeopardizing the financial futures of young people through just four easy payments. SFGATE


A man waves a fedora while atop a jet engine with a waving woman. Several people stand below with a baby elephant.
Dec. 16, 1964: Before departing for Seoul, Bob Hope and Jill St. John perch atop an engine with, from left, Pat Shelly (with elephant); Anita Bryant; Jerry Colonna; Janis Paige; Ann Sidney, Miss World of 1964; and Anna Maria Alberghetti.
(Los Angeles Times)

Eighty-one years ago today, on May 6, 1941, Bob Hope performed his first USO show with an accompanying group of celebrities at March Field in Riverside. He went on to entertain the troops for nearly 50 years, according to the USO website, “through World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Lebanon Civil War, the Iran-Iraq War and the Persian Gulf War.”

A 1964 report in The Times on one of Hope’s Christmas shows for the military said the comedy legend “braved freezing temperatures and a snowstorm ... to bring laughter to American soldiers in Korea. GIs jammed an athletic field house in Seoul to see the Hope show, which was transmitted by television across the border to Communist North Korea.”

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at