Newsletter: 10 Candidates, 7 Takeaways

Ten Democratic presidential candidates debated for three hours in Houston. Did you sit through it all? We did.


10 Candidates, 7 Takeaways

The third Democratic debate, at Texas Southern University in Houston last night, marked a new phase for the crowded presidential primary: Only the 10 candidates who met the Democratic Party’s new stricter eligibility rules were invited. The desperation of several not to get sidelined made for a spirited three hours, with front-runners Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders fending off attacks from them and tearing into each other’s plans. What does it all mean? Politics writer Mark Z. Barabak has these seven takeaways.


More Politics

— After months of public hand-wringing over whether to begin a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump, Democrats appear to have decided simply not to decide, sidestepping an issue that deeply divides the party.

— Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of Trump’s wrath, faces the prospect of an indictment after his attorneys were unable to persuade senior Justice Department officials not to pursue charges.

— The Trump administration is revoking an Obama-era regulation that shielded many U.S. wetlands and streams from pollution but was opposed by developers and farmers.

The Latest on the Boat Fire

Federal safety officials have put forth a major revelation in their preliminary report on modern California history’s worst maritime disaster: They say that when the Conception caught fire early on Labor Day, all its crew members were sleeping, even though federal law required the dive boat to have a night watchman. The revelation comes amid questions over how much passengers knew about a safety plan, why no one sleeping below deck could escape, and what sparked the blaze. More clues could come now that the vessel has been raised from the sea, to be examined at a naval facility.

Serious Plan or Stunt?

The Trump administration’s trip to Los Angeles this week to explore ways to remove homeless street camps has left city officials confused — with reactions ranging from cautious optimism to fear about forced mass relocations. Some also suspect the whole thing was just a political stunt. Many will be looking for more hints as President Trump makes an expected visit to San Francisco on Tuesday, with a swing to Los Angeles and San Diego on Wednesday.

The History of ‘Going to Trinidad’

A colorful country surgeon named Dr. Stanley Biber made “going to Trinidad” a euphemism for gender confirmation surgery and made the heavily Catholic town in Colorado a site of pilgrimage for generations of transgender Americans starting in the ‘60s. There’s scant mention of his pioneering work in the former mining community, and there’s no commemoration at the hospital where he and his protege performed thousands of surgeries. But today, as hard-fought advances for transgender Americans’ rights are rolled back, his story offers a remarkable tale of insight and compassion.

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Martin De Young was 100 years old when Los Angeles Times staff writer Charles Hillinger snapped this photograph of him enjoying one of his three daily cigars (he’d cut down) at the 40th annual Veterans of Foreign Wars Picnic in 1988 in Yountville. Young lived there in the Veterans Home of California, which was even older than he, having opened to Civil War vets in 1884. A World War I veteran, he was a member of the home’s Century Club, as was his fellow centenarian Homer Holmes. Hillinger wrote in a column:

“How come you live so long?” Holmes asked his younger friend.

“It’s the cigars,” De Young laughed, puffing away and revealing a toothless smile. “Cigars are the greatest pleasure of my life now. I smoke three White Owls a day, one after each meal.”

Asked if smoking isn’t dangerous to his health, De Young laughed and replied: “You must be kidding. I’ve been smoking cigars 85 years.”

Read the full column here.

Sept. 13, 1988: Martin De Young, 100, said his greatest pleasure in life was smoking a cigar.
(Charles Hillinger / Los Angeles Times)


— A Los Angeles deputy city attorney killed his wife and son in their Northridge home Wednesday — and tried to kill his daughter, who escaped — before he took his own life, authorities say.

— A new survey finds nearly two-thirds of college students in the state say their biggest obstacle to succeeding is costs — including food and shelter — and juggling jobs with school.

— Former Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who was recalled last year after sentencing Stanford student Brock Turner to only six months in jail for sexual assault, has lost another job — as a high school girls tennis coach.

— Does L.A. have too many food halls? They can’t all be Grand Central Market.


— Some of your options for this weekend: Tarfest at the La Brea Tar Pits, a Gertrude Stein-inspired musical and a dance work that reimagines the story of British code breaker Alan Turing through the lens of Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

— Nothing says a party like a sheet cake. These are the only four you’ll ever need.

— Rent a cabin in the Santa Cruz Mountains for a weekend of wine, pie and redwoods.

— Here are six stops you must make on your literary tour of the California desert. One of them involves dinosaurs.


Fall preview: the 20 TV shows we’re most excited about; the 11 best art exhibitions to see in L.A.; the best theater and dance; and the must-see concerts.

— Nearly a half-century since it was founded, Earth, Wind & Fire is receiving many an accolade these days, but the band is far from a museum piece. It plays the Hollywood Bowl this weekend.

— In “The Reel” podcast, “Hustlers” writer-director Lorene Scafaria discusses the struggle to make the film, now in theaters, and its exploration of what she calls “a broken value system.”


— For a lesson in American exceptionalism, look no further than out-of-pocket medical costs. Few things set the U.S. so starkly apart as how much patients pay for care — even when they’re insured.

Canada has begun sprinting toward a fall election that could upend its politics. Expect the campaign to get nasty.

— Many Americans appear better positioned financially for a recession than they were for the last one. That could make the next one less damaging.


— Thousands of unionized grocery store workers from Ralphs, Vons, Pavilions and Albertsons have voted in favor of a new employment contract with major supermarket chains, preventing a strike that could have affected a large swath of the state.

— When a shoulder sling at a hospital costs 900% more than Amazon’s price, something is very wrong, consumer columnist David Lazarus writes.


Justify, who dominated the equine world last year when he became the 13th winner of the Triple Crown, failed a drug test after his victory in the Santa Anita Derby. But the California Horse Racing Board dropped the cases against Justify and six other horses after determining that the positive tests were caused by simple feed contamination.

— Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley is the nation’s preeminent quarterback guru.


“Impeachment lite” (and late) is unlikely to end Trump’s presidency, writes The Times Editorial Board.

Vince Gill writes about how country music’s roots grew in hard times.


— A TV ad that aired during the Democratic presidential debate shows a photo of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bursting into flames as it warns about socialism and genocide. It features Elizabeth Heng of Fresno, who lost a race to become a congresswoman last year. (The Guardian)

— Deciphering maps of methane emissions isn’t as straightforward as one might think. (Medium)

— Today is Friday the 13th, and many Americans will see a full moon. What can possibly go wrong? (Time)


Actress turned Instagram wellness guru Rainbeau Mars swapped out her lawn for an edible garden, and she and the expert she hired have tips for anybody who wants to do the same. They replaced a ficus hedge with passion fruit vines and planted raspberries, lemongrass and thyme. Then there were the stinging nettles. They’re the bane of wintertime hikers, thanks to their, well, stinging. But Mars likes to strike them gently against her thighs, as a precaution against cellulite, or around her face to erase fine lines. “It feels like a little sting, but so do Botox shots.

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