Newsletter: A frosty debate forecast in Iowa

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will face off Tuesday night on a debate stage in Des Moines. The senators’ presidential campaigns have clashed this week.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will face off Tuesday night on a debate stage in Des Moines. The senators’ presidential campaigns have clashed this week.
(Photos by Associated Press)

The leading Democratic presidential candidates will take to the stage again tonight, and some are already giving each other the cold shoulder.


A Frosty Debate Forecast in Iowa

As the top Democratic presidential contenders get set for yet another debate tonight, there’s a touch of frost in the Des Moines air — and it’s not just because of the cold weather outside.

Tensions are rising among the candidates, who are taking more and more shots at each other as the first round of voting looms Feb. 3. On Monday, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders quarreled over whether Sanders had told her a woman could not win the presidential election.


Uncertainty remains the order of the day. Polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to vote, show four candidates bunched closely at the top — former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sanders and Warren — while billionaire candidates Tom Steyer and Michael R. Bloomberg remain wildcards. Sen. Amy Klobuchar sees the voting in Iowa as her best and probably last chance to vault into the upper tier.

Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey announced he’s ending his campaign, leaving the once diverse field a little older and whiter..

More Politics

— A U.S. cybersecurity company says Russian military agents successfully hacked Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the scandal that led to President Trump’s impeachment.

— A Wisconsin judge has ordered the state’s elections commission to immediately begin removing up to 209,000 names from the state’s voter rolls or face hundreds of dollars in fines for each day they don’t do so.

‘I Accepted I Was Going to Die’

Asad Air Base, which American troops call “Triple A-B,” sits about 120 miles west of Baghdad in Iraq. Last week, it was the target of a barrage of ballistic missiles from Iran. None of the approximately 1,500 U.S. service members, almost 500 other coalition soldiers, Iraqi troops and contractors were injured. How? Intelligence, training and a good deal of luck all played a part. Some of those who lived through it recounted the hours-long ordeal.

Punish Cities for Failing on Homelessness?

A task force appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom is recommending cities and counties face tough new sanctions for failing to make progress on homelessness, calling for a constitutional amendment to create a mandate and let the state sue local governments if the number of people living in encampments doesn’t drop. The Legislature would have to craft the plan, and voters would then have to approve it in November.

Meanwhile, a sweeping proposal by the Trump administration to help Los Angeles’ growing homeless population may come with strings attached.

And the Nominees Are ...

The Academy Awards picture is coming into better focus, but not everyone is enamored with what they see. The dark comic-book smash “Joker” leads the field with 11 nominations, followed closely by the World War I drama “1917,” Martin Scorsese’s long gangster epic “The Irishman” and Quentin Tarantino’s 1960s fantasia “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood,” with 10 nods apiece.

But if you look more closely, the film academy’s choices brought as many questions as they did answers. No female directors were selected, and Cynthia Erivo was the only person of color among this year’s acting nominees. But if she wins, the actress in “Harriet” could become the youngest person to attain EGOT status.

More About the Oscar Nominations

— Among studios, Netflix scored the most nominations. But as the Golden Globes showed, there’s no guarantee of winning.

Analysis: Film critic Justin Chang found nine reasons why the nominations were not completely dispiriting, while awards columnist Glenn Whipp explains why the best picture race could be more or less decided by this weekend.

— The complete list: The whole nominations and nothing but the nominations.

The Houston Asterisks

“How did the Houston Astros’ hitters so easily pound three of the Dodgers’ hottest pitchers in two key games in Houston in the 2017 World Series? … They cheated, that’s how.” That’s how columnist Bill Plaschke sums up the consequences of a Major League Baseball investigation that found the Astros used technology to cheat during their championship season. And, he says, the punishment is nowhere near enough to make up for the crime.

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In 1987, staff writer Garry Abrams and photographer Lacy Atkins spent time with more than a dozen people living on the streets and in shelters, documenting their stories. At 16, Robbie became one of thousands of homeless youth after his sister moved and left him behind. For Derrick McClendon, the loss of his job sent his family into a shelter. And Geneva Reese had always wanted to travel the country in an RV. What she didn’t expect was the stigma she and her 13-year-old daughter would face from police and residents. See more of portraits and stories from the series here.

Jan. 12, 1987: Geneva Reesa, 36, and daughter Eve, 13, live in a van. Geneva, an artist, holds her sketchbook. Eve holds a textbook she studies.
Jan. 12, 1987: Geneva Reesa, 36, and daughter Eve, 13, live in a van. Geneva, an artist, holds her sketchbook. Eve holds a textbook she studies.
(Lacy Atkins / Los Angeles Times)


— Four families whose relatives were among the 34 victims of the Conception fire are suing the dive boat’s owners, saying the vessel was “unseaworthy” and lacked the required watch policies and procedures.

— Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca is probably headed to prison now that the Supreme Court has denied his last-ditch bid for a review of his case. He was convicted of helping orchestrate a scheme to interfere with an FBI probe into jail abuses.

L.A. Metro has unveiled its proposal to fix plummeting ridership: It would involve more buses and fewer stops on major streets.

— After what has been a mostly dry January, a chilly winter storm is expected to move into the northern portion of the state today before making its way down the coast to Los Angeles County by late Thursday morning.


— If you head to AMC Theatres or Regal Cinemas to see the Oscar showcase, expect a few holes in the lineup. Netflix‘s two best-picture nominees won’t be shown at those two major theater chains, the latest in their long-running feud with the streaming giant.

— L.A. rapper Roddy Ricch is the decade’s first breakout star on the Billboard charts.

— Supermodel Gigi Hadid is in the jury pool for Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial. She told a judge she’d met both Weinstein and possible witness Salma Hayek but could “keep an open mind on the facts.”


Iran’s judiciary said arrests have been made in the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176 people. The announcement came amid an upswell of anger and protests by Iranians. Iran had initially dismissed allegations that a missile had brought down the plane.

— Atty. Gen. William Barr says the U.S. is removing nearly two dozen Saudi military students from a training program and sending them back to Saudi Arabia after an investigation into a deadly act of terrorism by a Saudi aviation student at a Florida Navy base last month. Barr also criticized Apple Inc. for not helping investigators to unlock the alleged gunman’s iPhones.

— Trump plans to drop China’s currency manipulator designation, paving the way to sign a “phase one” trade deal this week.

— As Indonesia grows more hostile to gay and transgender people, a small but determined cadre of Indonesian filmmakers is fighting to keep telling LGBTQ stories.

Queen Elizabeth II says she supports Harry and Meghan’s plan to step back from their royal duties. The royal family has agreed to a “period of transition” that will allow the couple to spend time in the U.K. and Canada. But one may wonder: Do they even like hockey?


Latinos are sorely underrepresented in Hollywood. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has a jobs plan to double their representation in a decade.

— Coming to a Walmart near you: more human-sized, camera-equipped robots.


— In the College Football Playoff championship game, quarterback Joe Burrow led No. 1-ranked LSU to victory over No. 3 Clemson.

— Taekwondo athlete Kimia Alizadeh was Iran’s only female Olympic medalist. But in a blistering letter, she says she’s defected to the Netherlands.


— The Democratic Party is about 40% people of color, but its top-tier presidential candidates are now 100% white. That’s why the vice president needs to be a person of color, says writer Noah Berlatsky.

Marie Kondo‘s advice sounds simple. Writer Julie Owsik Ackerman asks, “What if my husband’s stuff doesn’t ‘spark joy’ for me?”


— Two states, two different stories. A look at history textbooks in California and Texas finds politics decide what students learn. (New York Times)

— He’s Trump’s sword and shield. William Barr is prepared for battle like no attorney general since Watergate. (The New Yorker)

— A world without work? Sounds like a dream, but ... (The Guardian)


The second bald eagle egg has landed. Not long after announcing the arrival of the first such egg of the new year, the San Bernardino National Forest has unveiled the sequel. A video captured the proud mom, Jackie, perched above her eggs, which are due to hatch around Valentine’s Day.

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