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World & Nation

Newsletter: Today: Trump’s familiar gun control retreat

Donald Trump,Wayne LaPierre
Feb. 2017 photo of National Rifle Associations (NRA) Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre listening at as President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

President Trump appeared open to gun sales restrictions following three mass shootings. After hearing from pro-gun groups about it, he’s reversed course.

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Trump’s Familiar Gun-Control Retreat

It’s been just three weeks since three mass shootings left the country reeling. Already, powerful pro-gun groups have sent President Trump a clear signal, and already he has made clear he’s heard their warning. On Tuesday, he reversed course and backed away from potential new gun control measures that he had embraced days after the massacres, and he argued that any efforts to restrict gun sales would mean taking guns from law-abiding citizens. (No one has proposed that drastic step on Capitol Hill.) The about-face followed a familiar pattern for Trump, who supported restrictions before he ran for president but now fears upsetting hardcore supporters — especially in the face of a difficult reelection race. Meanwhile in Sacramento, two dozen state lawmakers, alarmed that the gun used in a mass shooting in Gilroy was bought legally in Nevada, have asked their counterparts in Carson City to meet this fall to discuss strengthening gun restrictions.

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More Politics

— Instead of railing at the Fed and flirting with more tax cuts, Trump should do the things he can to ward off a recession — like lifting tariffs and getting a major infrastructure bill done, the L.A. Times editorial board writes.

— Democrats are in a panic about Joe Biden’s gaffes. They shouldn’t be — not yet, anyway, columnist Doyle McManus writes. Biden should charge straight into danger and own it.

What Leads to an Earthquake? Lots of Little Ones

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The vast majority of earthquakes we feel come soon after smaller ones, according to new research that provides unprecedented insights into how seismology works. Sometimes, days before temblors of at least magnitude 4.0, smaller ones start rippling — activity that can be detected thanks to an advanced computing technique. Knowing that even moderate quakes probably occur after a series of less-powerful ones gives added weight to the idea that earthquake sequences can grow, not unlike a disease epidemic. Understanding how they get bigger can only help improve aftershock forecasting and earthquake early-warning systems. And an infusion of federal funding will help strengthen the U.S. Geological Survey’s warning system in high-risk areas around Lake Tahoe, Death Valley, Mammoth and Bishop.

‘I’m Not Even 30, and I’m Flying My Own Jet’

Jessica Mah breezed past the check-in desk and out onto the tarmac with the confidence of an air marshal, a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses perched on her nose. Twenty minutes later, the 29-year-old tech entrepreneur gunned the engine and radioed the tower to clear her for takeoff. “When you’re in the cockpit flying a plane all by yourself, it’s like, I made this happen,” she said. “I’m not even 30, and I’m flying my own jet.” Planes have long been a passion of the rich, particularly in Los Angeles. But among Silicon Beach elites, a pilot’s license is seen less as leisure than a program of self-improvement. It’s intellectual exercise in the guise of a sport. Of course, there’s also the visceral thrill of it, as Mah notes: “On the golf course I’m still thinking about work, whereas in the cockpit I’m thinking about how to not kill myself.”

‘This Is Who I Am, and I’m Part of This Place’

“We owe them,” says Andy Garcia, a 25-year-old LGBTQ activist, of gay men like Gil Ramirez of the Central Valley town of Mendota. In a small town, far from the subcultures of a big city, it can be hard to be gay or any kind of different. But a small town is also where one person can be so much a part of the fabric of life that he sets his own rules on acceptance and visibility. Garcia himself grew up in the Fresno County town of Clovis. “All along in these little farm towns, there was always one or two people who stood their ground and said: ‘This is who I am, and I’m part of this place.’ Where would we be without them?

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

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On this day in 1988, a haggard Cesar Chavez ended his 36-day water-only fast to protest the use of agricultural pesticides on table grapes by accepting a piece of semita bread from Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. As The Times reported the next day:

“The event was witnessed by more than 7,000 farm laborers who converged at a United Farm Workers compound here to celebrate an outdoor Mass of thanksgiving held beneath an immense white tent festooned with UFW flags and posters. ... At one point, Chavez handed a small cross fashioned from twigs to former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson. The tendering of the cross symbolized the start of Jackson’s own three-day fast to ‘share the burden.’”

A few years ago, The Times commemorated what would have been the union organizer’s 90th birthday with a series of archival photos.

Aug. 21, 1988: Cesar Chavez, left, passes a wooden cross to Jesse Jackson during a Mass to end his 36-day fast protesting use of pesticides on table grapes. This photo was published in the Aug. 22, 1988, LA Times.
Aug. 21, 1988: Cesar Chavez, left, passes a wooden cross to Jesse Jackson during a Mass to end his 36-day fast protesting use of pesticides on table grapes. This photo was published in the Aug. 22, 1988, LA Times.
(Larry Davis)

CALIFORNIA

— The man suspected of fatally stabbing a Cal State Fullerton employee in a campus parking lot may have been trying to kidnap him, authorities said Tuesday. That’s because the backpack left at the scene contained zip ties, wigs, a knife, materials that could help a person disguise himself and an incendiary device.

— As nearly half a million L.A. kids returned to school Tuesday, district leaders were intent on targeting aid to help meet the basic needs of students struggling with burdens from beyond the schoolyard gates, from homelessness to malnutrition to difficulties at home.

— For the first time in its nearly 100-year history, the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners picked women to lead the oversight panel of one of the nation’s largest police forces.

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— The former boyfriend of a young mother who disappeared 27 years ago in Northern California has been arrested in connection with the cold case, authorities said.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— The Los Angeles Opera has hired Debra Wong Yang of the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to investigate sexual harassment allegations against director Plácido Domingo. It was Yang whom USC tapped to probe its former medical school dean, in a hiring that prompted questions about the lawyer’s impartiality.

— The 25th installment of the James Bond franchise will be called “No Time to Die.”

— The first look at Johnny Flynn as David Bowie in the biopic “Stardust” is finally here.

Dr. Dre has sold his longtime 16,200-square-foot French country-style manor in Woodland Hills — with its two kitchens, eight bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and movie theater — for $4.5 million.

— The fierceness of Club Scum, the Latinx queer punk club in Montebello, is brought to life with an exhibition of photographs, video and ephemera at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena.

NATION-WORLD

Syrian pro-government forces surrounded a key town in rebel-held Idlib province Tuesday, after rebels withdrew. Khan Sheikhoun had been in rebel hands since 2014, and the government’s advance is a major blow to the opposition.

— Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his resignation in a blistering speech in Parliament, railing against deputy premier Matteo Salvini — the leader of the ascendant far-right League party — for seeking a no-confidence vote to trigger new elections. The League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement have nominally governed since last year in an increasingly fractious populist coalition.

— An armed man took commuters hostage on a bus outside Rio de Janeiro, threatening to set it on fire, before police shot him dead in a four-hour standoff broadcast live on television.

— The Chinese government said Wednesday a staffer at the British consulate in Hong Kong has been given 15 days of administrative detention for violating a law on public order.

BUSINESS

— To satisfy regulators, YouTube will end targeted ads on videos kids are likely to watch, according to three people familiar with the discussion. That could immediately dent its ad sales — though not nearly as much as other proposals.

Trickle-down economics is magical thinking, columnist David Lazarus writes. For proof, just look at Kansas.

— The 157-acre Mountain of Beverly Hills, touted as the city’s finest undeveloped piece of land, sold Tuesday for just $100,000 at a foreclosure auction — just 0.01% of the $1 billion it was once asking. The buyer? The previous owner’s estate.

SPORTS

— The Lakers will host workouts with Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah and Marreese Speights this week as they explore options to fill the void DeMarcus Cousins left with his knee injury.

— It looks like the Angels’ Justin Upton might be putting his slump behind him.

Daishen Nix, widely considered the country’s top point-guard prospect, became the first player to verbally commit to play for UCLA’s new basketball coach.

OPINION

Jeffrey Epstein‘s so-called charisma was a fairytale we tell ourselves about powerful men, Virginia Heffernan writes. Those who fell for it should question “why they are so eager for a messiah figure that they fall for easy con games and end up smoothing the way for brutal tyrants.”

— A California bill could limit the local damage caused by Trump’s decision to gut protections for endangered species. The Legislature should hurry up and send it to the governor’s desk.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— A woman suing San Francisco police says its backlog of untested rape kits reflects who and what police prioritize. (The Appeal)

— The New York Times analyzed the contents of 10 Democratic presidential candidates’ playlists to see how their songs aligned with their campaign messages. (N.Y. Times)

ONLY IN L.A.

The Manhattan Beach emoji house is on the market, weeks after it launched a neighborhood brouhaha. The beach-adjacent property was listed Monday for $1.749 million, two weeks after its El Porto neighbors objected to its ostentatious paint job at a City Council meeting. Back in May, they’d reported owner Kathryn Kidd to the city for illegally using the home for short-term rentals like Airbnb. Then, after she was fined $4,000, the once-beige building was painted hot pink, with two giant yellow emoji faces.

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