Today’s Headlines: California’s turbo-charged vaccine booster push

Hello, it’s Friday, Nov. 12, and we’re here with an update on the stink making headlines ’round the world.

Less than 10 miles separates one of your Today’s Headlines writers from the rotten-egg smell in Carson that British news site the Guardian has characterized as “the stench of death.” Fortunately, the hydrogen sulfide gas that’s the cause of the smell has begun, after more than five weeks, to diminish.

Carson residents, however, aren’t ready to return, and their lodging bills are adding up. If the situation lasts through March 2022, it could costs the county $220 million. That stinks!

Here are today’s headlines.


‘Do not turn a patient away who is requesting a booster’

California and other areas are turbo-charging the push for COVID-19 booster shots by doing all they can to encourage adults to get the extra shot. Officials said the CDC guidelines could be interpreted as saying all adults could qualify for a booster if they wanted one.

The move comes amid sluggish demand for booster shots, which has sparked concern that more people who got their initial vaccinations nearly a year ago will see their immunity wane going into the holiday season.

More top coronavirus headlines

  • A judge on Wednesday denied a request by the Los Angeles police union that he block the city’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for police officers from taking effect.

Stay up to date on pandemic developments, coronavirus case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

It’s the biggest expansion of public education in a century

Democrats’ plan to transform how the nation provides early child care stands out as one of the most expensive and sweeping provisions of their $1.85-trillion social-safety-net bill.

The proposal would provide all 3- and 4-year-olds with universal access to preschool, the largest expansion of free education since high school was added about 100 years ago. It would also subsidize the cost of child care for the vast majority of parents with a child under 6.

More politics

  • In France, Kamala Harris is introducing herself to the world. The vice president’s trip has afforded her an opportunity to reveal herself on the world stage after 10 months of focusing on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises that have left her domestic reputation battered.
  • Veteran Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard would lose her district that includes South and East Los Angeles under draft congressional maps approved by the state’s redistricting commission, a blow to Latino representation in California, according to political analysts.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

Freeways force out residents in communities of color — again

The U.S. Interstate Highway System — built from the 1950s to the early 1990s — is one of the country’s greatest public works achievements, but it came at an enormous social cost. More than 1 million people were forced from their homes, with many Black neighborhoods bulldozed and replaced with ribbons of asphalt and concrete.

Some negative effects of the freeway building boom, including examples of intentional racism, are widely acknowledged today. But a Los Angeles Times investigation has found that widenings, extensions and other freeway construction continue to take a significant toll on communities of color even now.

The words "Black Towns Matter" form a mural on a street, seen from above.

An aerial view of Link Road in Independence Heights. The neighborhood of Houston is one of the oldest Black communities in Texas, and 165 more homes could be taken in planned interstate expansions.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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Biden infrastructure funds will help the state bullet train — but not as much as boosters hoped. Exactly how much money will reach various rail projects — including the financially challenged California bullet train — is still an unknown and will depend on how the complex law is administered and developed into grant programs.

Ships will have to wait for a green light about 150 miles from the coast. Vessels bound for the ports of L.A. and Long Beach will now have to wait for an available berth almost seven times as far away as currently allowed in a bid to improve air quality and safety in the area.

Celebrities are targeted in follow-home robberies. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore warned that his department has seen a spike in such crimes in recent weeks in more affluent areas of the Westside, with at least two cases involving celebrities that generated media attention.

A recent marine inversion was like a lid on a pot. A shroud of stagnant, hazy air draped the L.A. Basin, and many Angelenos wondered what was causing it. Graphics and data journalist Paul Duginski tells us how inversions work.

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A ninth person dies from injuries sustained at Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert. Bharti Shahani was a dutiful, first-generation Indian American, a student of computer engineering at Texas A&M University. She was 22.

Xi Jinping ensures his future. Only two leaders of China’s ruling Communist Party have been powerful enough to rewrite the nation’s history. On Thursday, President Xi Jinping became the third, laying the groundwork for Xi to serve an unprecedented third term.

An antisemitic attack leads to a life term. A French man has been sentenced to life in prison for stabbing an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor to death.


Britney Spears’ conservatorship could end today. A judge in Los Angeles is set to consider a petition to terminate the 13-year legal arrangement.

Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth” has big stars, but it’s Kathryn Hunter who steals the show as the play’s supernaturally prophetic Three Witches. She delivers an unnerving and hypnotic — and genuinely weird — interpretation in the film adaptation that is slated to hit theaters Dec. 25.

We look at how Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem became Lucy and Desi. Writer-director Aaron Sorkin is all too aware of the expectations most viewers will bring to a film about the incomparable zany redhead and her broad-shouldered Cuban bandleader husband that they’ve come to know through nearly 200 timeless episodes.

The latest in our Explaining Hollywood series: How to get a job as a gaffer.


Disney+ added just 2 million subscribers in the last quarter. Two years after Walt Disney Co. launched its streaming service, the platform has grown into the entertainment industry’s most formidable competitor to Netflix. But the popular app’s growth slowed dramatically in the most recent quarter.


The Rams are stockpiling for a Super Bowl run. The team announced they had agreed to terms with wide receiver Odell Beckam Jr., adding another marquee player to a 7-2 team in boom-or-bust mode.

The Rams have added OBJ. OBWhy? asks columnist Bill Plaschke.

The U.S. hosts Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in Cincinnati today. But Mexico expects a hostile qualifier after the USMNT worked to keep El Tri fans out.

That’s seven for the Kings. Jonathan Quick made 34 saves and the Kings beat the short-handed Ottawa Senators 2-0 to extend their winning streak to seven games.

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Why is USC defending fraternities? They’re incubators of sexual assault and other violence, writes columnist Jean Guerrero.


A bowl of mashed potatoes on a white tablecloth.

A photo to tickle the taste buds: creamy mashed potatoes with labneh, sizzled garlic and butter.

(Jennifer Chong / For The Times; prop styling, Dorothy Hoover)

We know you’re already planning for Thanksgiving. Cooking columnist Ben Mims has enlisted friend and former Bon Appétit editor Andy Baraghani to create the perfect dinner menu, with those garlic mashed potatoes pictured above, turmeric-roasted squash, turkey, an apple tart and more.

The best bets for your weekend. A new musical featuring the songs of the Go-Go’s and the return of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra lead our shortlist of cultural offerings this weekend.

Griffith Park’s 125th celebration is Saturday. Our colleague Mary Forgione recently laid out the details in her hiking-happy newsletter the Wild: Visitors to the free event “can seek out 29 curated spots to learn about the park, including its ties to the Tongva people, the history of the Old Zoo and Greek Theatre, which they can tour.” (More from the L.A. Conservancy.)


Mug shots stay online forever. Some states and cities are grappling with a question: Why do police release mug shots — and should they be allowed to? (NBC News)

Why are so many people so cruel to their dogs? A reporter seeks to understand why some owners leave their pets chained, starved and neglected outside, and the people fighting to offer the dogs love and care. This is not an easy read, but an important one. (Washington Post)

He began taking undergrad classes at age 70. Manfred Steiner was a medical researcher and a professor at Brown. But what he really wanted to be when he grew up was a physicist. So, he recently defended his dissertation, earned his doctorate and started living his dream. He’s 89. (Associated Press)

“Dormzilla” has been disparaged. But a tiny, windowless room at least would have ready access to a shower and toilet, unlike the van where one UCSB student has been living. He’s among the thousands of students across California’s three public university systems affected by an affordable housing crisis that’s left some unsheltered, others with mounting debt burdens and many filled with anxiety and stress. (Los Angeles Times)


A woman uses a vending machine.

A Los Angeles Times photo from Oct. 19, 1963, ran with the caption: “Louise Peden buys a paperback book — the latest item to become available from coin-operated automatic machines.” The exhibit by the National Automatic Merchandising Assn. was at the Ambassador Hotel.

(Los Angeles Times)

Thanks for taking the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at [email protected].

— Amy Hubbard and Laura Blasey

Eleanore Beatty

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