Today’s Headlines: Senate Democrats plan to vote on bill establishing federal right to abortion
By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard
Hello, it’s Wednesday, May 11, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
Senate to vote on abortion rights; Democrats hope to send message
Senate Democrats plan to vote today on a bill to establish a federal right to abortion in hopes of drawing a sharp political contrast with Republicans who support the Supreme Court’s expected ruling to undo the Roe vs. Wade decision.
Democrats know their effort will fail. But they hope to send a political message, particularly in states with Senate races this November that could determine party control of the chamber. The vote comes as both parties try to navigate the expected ruling, which, if a draft published by Politico last week stands, would allow states to set their own abortion policies.
Democrats are hoping to corral abortion rights supporters’ anger to the ballot box this fall. Republicans are trying to avoid appearing as though they’re spiking the football before a decision is final, and some of them are distancing themselves from talk by some conservatives of pushing for a follow-on national abortion ban.
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Garcetti ‘likely knew or should have known’ about his aide’s alleged sexual misconduct, a report says
An investigation by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) into allegations surrounding Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and his former top aide found it “extremely unlikely” that Garcetti was unaware of the aide’s alleged inappropriate behavior.
The 23-page report concluded that Garcetti “likely knew or should have known that Rick Jacobs was sexually harassing multiple individuals and making racist comments towards others.” Grassley, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, ordered the report earlier this year after whistleblowers approached his office with accusations about Garcetti and Jacobs. Garcetti was nominated in July by President Biden to become ambassador to India.
Grassley said he would allow Garcetti’s nomination to move forward but intends to vote “no” on the mayor’s nomination if it goes to the full Senate. The White House issued a statement Tuesday afternoon dismissing the investigation as biased and incomplete.
Odesa pounded by multiple missiles
Moscow’s ambitions to overtake southern Ukraine appeared to grow with reports that Russia had fired hypersonic missiles on the Black Sea city of Odesa, and the Ukrainian leadership warned of a global food crisis if Russia does not lift a naval blockade that has decreased grain shipments leaving the nation’s ports.
Ukraine said firefighters were battling blazes in Odesa after seven missiles struck targets, including a shopping center and a warehouse, killing at least one person and injuring five. Video posted on Facebook by the Ukrainian army showed rescue groups surrounded by smoking rubble.
Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odesa regional military, said in an update that a separate strike by three Kinzhal hypersonic missiles had also hit “tourism” locations in Odesa.
‘Significant uptick’ in California coronavirus outbreaks brings new warnings
Coronavirus conditions are likely to worsen, with case rates continuing to rise and hospitalizations starting to increase, according to the top health official in the San Francisco Bay Area’s most populous county. Caution is especially needed as it’s becoming clear that the latest Omicron subvariants that are circulating can reinfect people who survived the first strains of the Omicron variant back in December or January.
Experts had said that the first Omicron subvariant, BA.1, likely conferred immunity against a newer subvariant, BA.2. But some experts say that surviving BA.1 may not confer a high likelihood of avoiding infection with an even newer subvariant, BA.2.12.1, which is more infectious than BA.2.
The Bay Area has the highest coronavirus case rate in California, nearly twice as high as Southern California. The trends here could offer an early warning to other parts of the state, as has been the case earlier in the pandemic.
More top coronavirus headlines
- Sameday Health, a start-up offering coronavirus testing, was accused by authorities of steering insured patients to Jeff Toll MD Inc. for “medically unnecessary consults” in exchange for a hefty cut of its profits.
- In many African countries, the pandemic has created larger populations of widows as men are more likely to die of COVID-19.
- In Shanghai, teams in white protective suits are going into the homes of infected people to spray disinfectant as the city tries to root out an Omicron outbreak.
Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.
Where does student loan forgiveness stand?
A federal student loan payments pause and the accompanying zero-interest rate have given borrowers a chance to breathe and regroup. But now tens of millions of borrowers are bracing as the payment pause’s expiration date approaches — it is now set for Aug. 31.
Ahead of the midterm elections, the Biden administration must come up with a student debt relief plan that doesn’t contribute to concerns over inflation while being generous enough to satisfy borrowers who’ve had a preview of what debt cancellation might look like.
After months of delays, President Biden is expected to announce in the coming weeks that the government will forgive at least $10,000 in debt for people making less than $125,000, according to news reports. If the move survives a likely legal challenge, it would eliminate a significant chunk of debt for millions of borrowers.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
Once again, LAPD upholds zero biased policing complaints against its officers. Of 1,073 such complaints received by the LAPD last year, 869 were ruled “unfounded,” 51 were found to be “demonstrably false,” and 40 were dismissed for “insufficient evidence,” according to the Professional Standards Bureau’s 2021 annual report.
Cal State L.A. president gets a no-confidence vote after a professor was removed from a mayoral debate. The vote — a symbolic stance that does not carry official repercussions on his job — did not total all eligible senators and did not include faculty and students outside the senate.
Why can’t smoggy SoCal improve the air quality? Local regulators blame the federal government. With the region poised to miss a critical clean air goal next year, local regulators are now threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency unless it agrees to curtail pollution from federal sources, saying the federal government has made their job “impossible.”
A woman whose sex assault case tested Gascón’s policies has been charged with murder. Hannah Tubbs is accused of the 2019 killing of a man in Kern County. A sexual assault case from 2014, when Tubbs was 17, sparked fierce debate earlier this year when she was allowed to plead guilty in juvenile court and sentenced to two years in custody under L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s policy that barred juveniles from being tried as adults.
DWP customers in L.A. are facing two-day-a-week water restrictions. Under drought rules released by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, nearly 4 million Angelenos will be assigned two watering days a week based on their addresses with watering capped at only eight minutes.
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Immigration officials created a network that can spy on the majority of Americans, report says. ICE has turned to third-party outfits — utility companies, private databases and even the DMV — to target people for deportation, according to the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology investigation.
Mexican president threatens to skip Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he would not attend if the Biden administration excluded Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua — adding his voice to increasing warnings of a boycott by some leaders across the region.
Parents hunt for baby formula amid a shortage across the U.S. The FDA said it was working with U.S. manufacturers to increase their output and streamlining paperwork to allow more imports. For now, pediatricians and health workers are urging parents who can’t find formula to contact food banks or doctor’s offices. They warn against watering down formula to stretch supplies or using online recipes.
South Korea’s new president is offering aid to the North if it denuclearizes. Yoon Suk-yeol, a conservative political neophyte, took office as South Korea’s new president with a vow to pursue a negotiated settlement of North Korea’s nuclear program and an offer of an “audacious plan” to improve its archrival’s economy if Pyongyang gives up on atomic weapons.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has won the Philippine presidential election. The son of the former Philippine dictator appears to have been elected president by a landslide in an astonishing reversal of the 1986 “People Power” pro-democracy revolt that ousted his father. Marcos, 64, had more than 30.8 million votes in the unofficial results, with more than 97% of the votes tabulated.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
How TikTok’s king of poses teaches his 4 million followers to take better photos. David Suh, who boasts 4 million followers on TikTok, is a photographer and evangelist of the idea that there’s no such thing as not being photogenic. He insists that anyone can take a good picture if they just learn how to work their angles correctly.
At 93, beloved actor James Hong finally gets his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Hong accepted the 2,723rd star on the Walk of Fame, located between Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and the TCL Chinese Theater. And Hong just made history as the oldest person ever to receive a star on the Walk of Fame.
‘Rust’ producers contest agency citation as actor Alec Baldwin launches a production company. In a new filing, the Rust production disputed allegations that it breached industry safety violations and contested the proposed $136,793 penalty. It also challenged other findings, noting that a fire extinguisher that the agency said should have been inspected was in fact a special effects device.
Raven Chacon’s ‘Voiceless Mass’ magnifies unsung voices into the realm of the sacred. Written for the large organ in Milwaukee’s Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, where the instrumental ensemble can be spread over a grand space, the concerto gives individuality to instrumental voices surrounding the audience while in dialogue with the resonant, spiritually uplifting organ.
A Facebook whistleblower is working to pass new internet laws. The transition to public figure was an unlikely one for former product manager Frances Haugen after she leaked thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents. But now — her profile boosted by a presidential shout-out in the State of the Union speech — Haugen is making the most of her new soapbox.
The Angels’ Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter in a 12-0 win over the Rays. The 22-year-old left-hander completed the 12th no-hitter in franchise history.
Adrian Kempe’s goal in overtime lifted the L.A. Kings to a 3-2 series lead over the Oilers. “This was the Kings’ season in one game: exhilarating, infuriating and exhausting all within a matter of minutes,” columnist Helene Elliott writes.
Speedgolf is an actual L.A. sport, part fitness craze, part just crazy. Speedgolf is like regular golf. You have to wait until the ball stops rolling and putt everything out and rake the bunkers. But it’s not like regular golf, Rick Reilly writes. You wear workout gear.
Exclusive: Jeanie Buss says she isn’t happy, vows ‘I’ve got to make it better.’ In the winter of 2017, with the Lakers stuck in a seemingly bottomless morass, she canned sibling Jim from his job as executive vice president of player personnel and fired longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak. Five years later, just two seasons after winning a 17th title, those Lakers are in the muck again, writes columnist Bill Plaschke.
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The Senate could save a woman’s right to control her own body. But it probably won’t. With the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe vs. Wade and allowing states to outlaw abortion, Senate Democrats will try to pass a national bill to protect a woman’s right to control her own body.
Musk is the one who’s ‘flat-out stupid’ about Trump on Twitter. If he succeeds in becoming Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk can opt to stop policing content on his awesomely powerful new platform. He can populate Twitter with QAnoners and antisemites and shady Russian apologists and liars of all stripes.
ONLY IN L.A.
We look at the most interesting stories behind the Valley’s street names. A Los Angeles history website declares with substantial truth that “if you want to know the history of the San Fernando Valley, read the street signs.”
Balboa was the first European to lay peepers on the Pacific Ocean. Van Nuys and Sherman were owners of acres of Southern California land so vast they could be measured not just in acres but also square miles. Mostly, they are the names of the Yankee Californians who claimed these horizons of land, sold it and bought it and bartered it, cultivated citrus, wheat, barley, peaches, sugar beets, walnuts and that one-time-yield crop, suburbs. From Sepulveda to Tarzana, columnist Patt Morrison digs into the names you’ve heard before, but may not have thought much about.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Ninety-five years ago today, on May 11, 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held its first official meeting. According to the academy, the idea for “an organized group to benefit the film industry” was first batted around over a dinner party at the home of MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer.
Douglas Fairbanks became the first president of the academy, which quickly got busy, judging by mentions in The Times that year. Among them: In June, the group went to bat for industry workers facing a cut in pay; in August, the paper reported on the academy’s role in creating “the first and only organized course of technical training for the motion-picture industry” at USC. The campus founded its film school two years later.
In 2012, The Times ran the photo above with an investigation into the makeup of the academy, noting in the caption that — like in the photo — the group remained “largely white and male.” A 2020 report looked at progress made in the academy’s efforts to diversify.
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