Newsletter: Trump swings through (and at) California
President Trump’s visit to California is bringing in campaign money and bringing out more conflict.
Trump Swings Through (and at) California
President Trump is scheduled to go to San Diego for the finale of his two-day fundraising swing through California — a state where Trump received more than 4 million votes in 2016 while being trounced by Hillary Clinton’s nearly 9 million. But bringing in campaign money isn’t the only thing on his mind: Today, he is expected to set off a bitter court fight by revoking a rule in place since the 1960s that empowers California to set tougher car emissions standards than those required by the federal government. Meanwhile, Trump has continued to bash Los Angeles and San Francisco, especially on the issue of homelessness, just as he has done to many cities in a bid to appeal to rural voters. On Air Force One, the president said he is considering the creation of an “individual task force” as a possible solution to homelessness, without providing details. He also suggested homeless people were disturbing more affluent residents: “All of a sudden they have tents. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance to their office building. And they want to leave.”
— The first House Judiciary Committee hearing that Democrats say will help them determine whether to present articles of impeachment against Trump got off to a rocky start: Trump’s first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, stonewalled and traded insults with Democrats.
— Trump immigration officials are defending tent courts on the border, saying they’ll speed up the asylum process. Critics call them secret courts.
— The Trump administration is urging the Supreme Court to give the president more control over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency that regulates mortgages and credit cards.
Are They Truly Native American?
Federal, state and local authorities are intensifying scrutiny of minority contracting programs across the country after a Times investigation that found that companies received more than $300 million in government contracts based on unsubstantiated claims by the firms’ owners to be Native American. As two House committees prepare to examine the matter, the U.S. Department of Transportation has called for a review. At the same time, officials in California and five other states have begun stripping minority status from a number of companies.
A Search for Justice in the Opioid Crisis
For the families of the roughly 400,000 Americans who have died of opioid drug overdoses since 1999, a legal drama scheduled to unfold in an Ohio courtroom next month may feel like a true shot at justice. After downplaying the risks of dangerous and highly addictive prescription narcotics, and profiting from their spiraling misuse, drug companies could be forced to reckon with the consequences of their actions. The judge in the case has leaned hard on all sides to settle and avert a trial. Would that deliver justice?
The Baseball Trivia That’s More Masochism Than Fun
The world’s toughest baseball quiz can crush the spirits of even the fiercest fans. “I got buried,” recalls one. “I got slaughtered,” remembers another, adding, “I’ve never been back.” And yet more than 50 subjected themselves — again, in many cases — to the likelihood of ignominious defeat by taking the annual trivia test on the final night of the Society for American Baseball Research convention in San Diego. Though the quiz is hard (Don’t believe us? See how you’d measure up), the biggest test facing the organization, as well as baseball itself, may be a demographic one: The attendees were mostly white, male and old.
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— Officials say Democratic donor and LGBTQ political activist Ed Buck is due in court today after being arrested and charged with operating a drug house and providing methamphetamine to a 37-year-old man who overdosed last week, officials said.
— A Chinese woman was arrested in Spain and charged with paying the mastermind of the college admissions scandal $400,000 to ensure her son was admitted to UCLA as a phony soccer player, federal authorities say.
— Lillian Solomon is 100 years old, drives a convertible and bowls. Columnist Steve Lopez wants to know the secret of her longevity.
— Snow in summer? The Lake Tahoe area got an early blast of winter.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— The production studio behind ABC’s “The Rookie” says an investigation has cleared the people actress Afton Williamson says sexually harassed her and subjected her to racial discrimination on set.
— The law firm hired by the Los Angeles Opera to investigate sexual harassment accusations against director Plácido Domingo has invited employees and contractors to speak up. Its email suggests the inquiry may take a while, and suggests its scope will exceed the 20 women in two Associated Press articles.
— “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek must undergo another round of chemotherapy after an unexpected setback in his pancreatic cancer treatment.
— Sarah Silverman talks about growing up Jewish among gentiles, why comedy means having to “overstep” and why she’s playing so much basketball lately.
— Two new series about female cops and the girls who need them — Netflix’s “Unbelievable” and ABC’s “Emergence” — depend on down-to-earth leads to tell a story about what it means to care.
— The abortion rate in the United States hit a 46-year low in 2017, a drop experienced in both conservative-led states that have restricted the procedure and liberal-led states that have expanded access, according to a report released by a research group that supports abortion rights.
— The U.S. government is suing former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, alleging he violated nondisclosure agreements by publishing a memoir.
— An election deadlock has left Israel convulsed by a new wave of political turmoil. At best for Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, he will return to office weakened; at worst, he’ll be forced from power and rendered more vulnerable to prosecution.
— Los Angeles’s own Halo Top is being sold to one of America’s biggest ice cream companies.
— Airbnb says it will invest $25 million toward affordable housing in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, in an effort to mitigate a housing crisis it and other tech companies have helped exacerbate. But given the crisis’ scale, that money probably won’t go far. By one estimate, it would be enough to build 76 new homes.
— A nascent TV network for esports called Venn has raised $17 million and plans to open two studios, in Los Angeles and New York, next year.
— Less than two weeks before the start of perhaps the most important meeting in Santa Anita history, another horse died there Monday. That makes 31 deaths since Dec. 26.
— Colin Kaepernick reportedly wants back into the NFL, and his agent is reaching out to teams that need quarterback help.
— The New York Giants might be one of them, but their solution is benching Eli Manning and tapping rookie Daniel Jones for starting QB.
— Before it hosts its first Rams or Chargers game, SoFi Stadium will host Taylor Swift. She’ll play back-to-back concerts the first two nights the $5-billion Inglewood venue is open.
— The Koch-backed federal “right-to-try” law is a bust and a “cynical ploy” to kneecap the Food and Drug Administration, ultimately hurting all patients, business columnist Michael Hiltzik writes.
— UC investments are going fossil-free. But not exactly for the reasons you may think.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— One big beneficiary of the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act: insurance that barely covers anything. Dozens of customers of one such insurer say they were tricked into buying plans that left them stuck with surprise bills. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
— Three California opera singers who all happen to be transgender talk about the risks they took to live authentically. (KQED)
ONLY IN L.A.
For more than 137 years, no newspaper has covered Mexican food better than the L.A. Times, Gustavo Arellano writes in a piece chock full of delicious finds from the archives. That’s meant challenging expectations, calling trends first and pushing non-Mexicans out of their comfort zone — even while printing tamale pie recipes alongside stereotypes. The Times featured the earliest known English reference to a taco (in an 1899 letter from Mexico City by Los Angeles writer Olive Percival) and helped promote America’s first celebrity chef of Mexican food (a Southern housewife). It taught Mexican cooking classes, plugged community pop-up dinners and published hundreds of readers’ recipes. As Arellano says: “In an era when representation and diversity of voices in journalism are more important than ever before, The Times can proudly say that we let Mexicans tell their comida stories, in their words, long before it became cool to do so.”
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