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Newsletter: Love or hate him, Schiff is now a star

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Love or Hate Him, Schiff Is Now a Star

The House impeachment inquiry will enter a new phase next week when the Judiciary Committee holds its first public hearing to begin deciding whether President Trump will become the third president in history to face impeachment.

The Dec. 4 hearing, which could include the president’s lawyers, will focus on the historical and constitutional basis for impeachment, the definition of an impeachable offenseand the process going forward.

New polls show the public hearings have done little to change Americans’ minds so far; the public narrowly favors impeaching Trump and removing him from office but remains sharply divided. More than 70 million viewers watched some portion of the hearings.

In terms of political consequences, at least one thing is clear: Rep. Adam B. Schiff of Burbank has emerged as a rising star among Democrats, even as Republicans from Trump on down accuse him of unfairness and bias.

More Politics

— Two Office of Management and Budget officials grew frustrated with the hold on Ukraine military aid ordered by Trump and resigned from the agency, according to newly released impeachment inquiry testimony.

— Republican officials are eager to have Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo run for the Senate in Kansas, but the impeachment inquiry could complicate matters.

— Here’s what you need to know about Michael Bloomberg, the newest addition to the Democratic presidential primary field, from why he’s running to how he made his billions to whether he’s really a Democrat.

— In Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains, Ga., the former president is uniting Trump supporters and Democrats … to a point.

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Stormy Weather

A major storm is sweeping through California. It first hit Northern California yesterday, bringing heavy snow and winds that closed Interstate 80 near Lake Tahoe, with Central and Southern California expected to get the brunt today. Though the water is welcome, the storm is raising concerns about mudflows in burn areas and the possible closure of major freeways such as Interstate 5 and 15 due to snow, just in time for Thanksgiving travel.

In the hills northwest of Santa Barbara, residents hope the rain will extinguish the Cave fire without unleashing a deluge that could cause more life-threatening damage. And in L.A., officials said they would open some emergency shelters ahead of schedule to shield homeless people from the rain and cold.

Help for Those in Need, but …

It took months to get off the ground, but Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to build a homeless shelter in every City Council district has taken off. In all, 30 shelters are in some stage of development for a total of 2,300 new beds. One problem: The city is at odds with L.A. County over who should pay. Meanwhile, L.A. officials are stepping up their lobbying efforts to secure more funding in next year’s state budget for board-and-care homes, which serve low-income people with debilitating mental illness.

Is This a Crime?

Nearly two months after Chelsea Becker delivered a stillborn baby boy, police arrested her and prosecutors charged her with murder. They cited an autopsy report showing the baby had toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system. Now, Becker is at the center of a legal and ethical debate over the criminalization of drug abuse and pregnancy that’s playing out across the country.

Food for Thought

“It’s hard to say when or how it started, but a few years ago my husband and I quit celebrating Thanksgiving,” writes Times reporter Esmeralda Bermudez. “The decision came gradually, after many conversations, after many autumns wrestling with the same uneasy feeling that came each time we gathered around a table to give thanks, to stuff our bellies full — in honor of a holiday born out of a dark history.” But what do you say and do when the kids have a Thanksgiving feast play at school? Here’s how one family learned to tell a new Thanksgiving story.


— If you’re driving to snowier climes and have to bust out the tire chains, you may need some tips on how to use them.

— Whether you’re in need of an emergency can of pumpkin, a cure for your post-turkey indigestion or some fast food in lieu of it, here’s a list of which stores and restaurants are open on Thanksgiving.

— Throwing together a last-minute dish to bring? Our food team suggests a secret ingredient for stuffing.

— Here are 14 must-see movies for weekend, as selected by our film critics.

— After 38 years, Slayer — dubbed “the hardest band in history” by Rick Rubin — will play its last shows at the Forum this weekend.

Editor’s note: This newsletter will be taking the rest of the week off for the holiday. We’ll be back Dec. 2.


On this date in 1961, a long line of an unusual type of stage parents snaked around a Hollywood block, hoping for a shot at stardom — for their cats, that is. They’d been drawn there by an open casting call for three feline roles in “Tales of Terror,” a film adaptation of several Edgar Allan Poe short stories. Among them: the titular role in “The Black Cat.” The Times reported in the Nov. 28, 1961, edition:

“More than 100 black cats lined up — as much as cats will line up — for an audition for a movie part in response to a newspaper ad seeking ‘a sagacious black cat.’ There were big black cats, little black cats, gray black cats, black kittens, black and white cats, white and black cats, nervous black cats, gentle black cats. There was even a white cat. It was there to keep a pal, a black cat, company. … The movie’s stars — Joyce Jameson, Vincent Price and Peter Lorre — played with each cat. To see if it was sagacious enough, someone said.”

A professional was ultimately cast in the lead role. But seven other black cats were picked for understudy and promotional parts.

Nov. 27, 1961: Black cats and their human companions wait during a casting call for the upcoming movie “Tales of Terror.”

(Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)


— A 25-year-old L.A. County deputy was in critical but stable condition after she was hit by a suspected drunk driver as she chased a man who punched her through her patrol car window, authorities say.

— Garcetti has abandoned his long-stated goal of getting the city’s public employee unions to pay a portion of their healthcare costs — a major policy reversal that critics say will cost the city and taxpayers millions.

— State officials are intervening in a new court fight over home cannabis delivery in communities that have banned or restricted pot shops, escalating a legal battle with cities and counties over where marijuana can be sold.

— An aide to L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar has filed a $10-million legal claim against the city, saying his boss retaliated against him after he told the feds he thought he might be trying to extort pot shops.


Taylor Swift‘s latest salvo in her fight with Big Machine Label Group and Scooter Braun over her back catalog: a new T-shirt.

“Queen & Slim,” veteran music video director Melina Matsoukas’ feature debut, is “an adrenaline shot right to the heart, and a bold declaration of a bright new auteur,” critic Katie Walsh writes.

Jennifer Lopez has some advice for Charlize Theron on being a celebrity, and some thoughts on what her Super Bowl performance with Shakira means in “Trump’s America.”

Laura Dern discussed what she loved about making “Divorce Story,” and what drew her back to “Jurassic Park.”

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Raul Rodriguez is a Navy veteran who worked as a U.S. Customs officer for 18 years. Then investigators discovered something he says he didn’t know: He was born in Mexico. He was fired by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in July, lost his health insurance and had his residency application rejected this month.

— The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general is investigating whether agency officials retaliated against a whistleblower who criticized cybersecurity lapses in the nation’s bioterrorism defense program.

— After decades of life expectancy gains, Americans are dying younger for the third year straight, felled prematurely by diseases linked to social and economic privation and a healthcare system with glaring gaps, new research finds.

— Beijing has ripped the Chinese movie world in two, banning its movies from the prestigious Taiwan-based awards nicknamed the “Chinese Oscars” and holding its own rival Party-sanctioned awards at the same time.


— From gift card rackets to online fraud, consumers are under near-constant assault by holiday scammers during what some analysts are calling the country’s first trillion-dollar holiday season.

— A California farm labor contractor has been fined for rejecting a local worker in favor of a foreign agricultural guest, holding onto foreign workers’ documents and failing to pay them for transportation time, federal labor officials say.


— Yes, the Rams are corkscrewing into the ground — but then, so are most of the NFC teams that made the playoffs last season, Sam Farmer writes in a column.

Lindsey Vonn has a warning about her new memoir and HBO documentary: “I go into a lot of detail and maybe more than I should about things, and I hope my family forgives me.”


Big Tech still doesn’t have a handle on its growing role in campaigns, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— A federal judge’s rejection of Trump’s claim that the White House counsel has immunity from congressional subpoena is an important decision even if it doesn’t lead quickly to potentially incriminating testimony, the editorial board says.


Catholic Church employees in the U.S. are sharply divided — particularly between priests and nuns — on whether women should be ordained as priests and whether sex abuse is still a major problem, a major survey by local NBC stations found. (NBC Los Angeles)

— The founders of the firm that compiled the Steele dossier on Trump are defending their work in a new book. (The New Yorker)

— After Conan the military dog visited the White House, the question on many minds was: Good boy, or good girl? So veterinarians examined the photographic evidence. (Slate)


In this week’s episode of “Off Menu,” host Lucas Kwan Peterson explores the foodways of skid row, including two groups trying to provide one of L.A.’s most neglected communities with healthy food, job training and a sense of community. The Los Angeles Community Action Network runs a rooftop garden and a marketplace where residents can buy produce, get free haircuts and participate in an open mike. Skid Row Coffee, run out of the public library’s main branch, provides nutritious, affordable food, vocational training and a dignified work environment. Watch the full episode here.

Off Menu - Skid Row

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