Today’s Headlines: With unity elusive, Biden lays out the facts

Hello, it’s Jan. 7, 2021, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

We’re still in need of healing

The anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has brought no sense of healing to a country that remains deeply divided over the deadly riot, with the nation’s leaders failing to demonstrate a shared commitment to American democracy.

Although Democrats marked the day with commemorations, a moment of silence and a prayer vigil, almost no Republicans participated, a reminder of how few are willing to confront former President Trump’s lies about the last election. Trump himself issued a series of reality-defying statements, even urging supporters to “never give up” in their fight to return him to power.

President Biden has sought to ignore his predecessor but in a passionate speech at the Capitol methodically detailed Trump’s conduct as the slow-motion riot accelerated. He also spent much of his address debunking Trump’s claims of a rigged election, point by point, asking why many of the Republicans who have supported the former president’s fraud claims have not disputed their own victories, on the same ballots.

More politics

  • Kamala Harris, then the vice president-elect, was evacuated from DNC headquarters when a pipe bomb was found Jan. 6, 2020, a White House official said.
  • Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and several other legislators are now in quarantine and will miss floor sessions in the California Senate and Assembly after attending a party with a state senator who later tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Because of residency requirements, former journalist Nicholas Kristof is ineligible to run for Oregon governor.

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California schools are fighting to stay open

As students return from winter break, schools across California are struggling to stay open amid severe staffing shortages, high student absences and increased infection rates as the Omicron variant surge continues to sweep through the region.

Problems have emerged across the state. The San Gabriel school system has shut down a middle school and high school for Thursday and Friday. A San Diego high school switched to online learning for the rest of the week. A group of San Francisco teachers plans a sickout. Across L.A. County, 50 of 80 schools systems reopened this week, and the vast majority appear to be staying open, but nothing is coming easy.

A record number of coronavirus cases in L.A. County — but the Super Bowl is on

Los Angeles County reported more than 37,000 new coronavirus cases Thursday, another record-breaking total amid the Omicron surge. But even so, health officials say they fully expect next month’s Super Bowl can take place as scheduled at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.

More top coronavirus headlines

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

Democrats propose California universal healthcare, funded by new income and business taxes

California would enact a sweeping, first-in-the-nation universal healthcare plan under a proposal unveiled by a group of state Democratic lawmakers, providing health services to every resident and financed by a broad array of new taxes on individuals and businesses. The proposal, now laid out in separate pieces of legislation, faces significant hurdles in the coming months.

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CALIFORNIA

An LAPD captain whose home was raided is the latest to sue the city over a gun store scandal. He alleges he was unjustly “swept up” in an embarrassing gun theft scandal due to their collective negligence and malfeasance.

A firefighter has died after battling a blaze in Rancho Palos Verdes. An official said firefighters were able to save a family from their burning house, “but tragically, one of our own Los Angeles County firefighters lost his life in the effort.” Jonathan Flagler, 47, leaves behind a wife and two teenage sons.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Michel Moore pledge transparent investigations into the fatal shooting of Valentina Orellana-Peralta by an officer. They said three investigations into the shooting would go beyond the conduct of Officer William Dorsey Jones Jr. to also examine LAPD policies, practices and standards for using deadly force.

A dine-and-dash duo hit an employee with their car. Two people trying to flee a Redondo Beach restaurant without paying their bill struck a manager with their car — and it was all captured on video.

He robbed a La Jolla bank teller, then fled on a scooter.

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NATION-WORLD

A deadly Philadelphia fire may have been started by a child. Investigators are looking into the possibility that a 5-year-old who was playing with a lighter set a Christmas tree on fire, sparking a conflagration that killed 12 people in a Philadelphia rowhome, officials said.

Hunters killed 20 gray wolves that roamed out of Yellowstone. The animals, among the park’s renowned gray wolves, were the most killed by hunting in a single season since the predators were reintroduced to the region more than 25 years ago, according to park officials.

Extraordinarily violent protests convulse Kazakhstan. Dozens of protesters and at least 12 police officers have been killed in protests that began over a big hike in fuel prices. Here’s a deeper look at what’s behind the unrest.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Wondering how to watch this Sunday’s untelevised Golden Globes ceremony? You can’t. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which hands out the awards, announced that this year’s ceremony — which was pulled off NBC after months of controversy sparked by a Times investigation — will not be available to watch on any platform.

Once again, E3 will not return to Los Angeles this summer. The trade group that represents major players in the video game industry cited the threat poised by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Peter Bogdanovich, influential director, has died at age 82. The revered director of touchstone 1970s films such as “The Last Picture Show,” “What’s Up, Doc?” and “Paper Moon,” died Thursday of natural causes at his Los Angeles home.

A livestreamed “Clyde’s” starring Uzo Aduba is the next best thing to being in a theater. It’s a blast to watch Aduba, an Emmy winner for her work on “Orange Is the New Black” and “Mrs. America,” flamboyantly transform herself (with assistance from Jennifer Moeller’s deliciously outré costumes) into the boss from hell, writes theater critic Charles McNulty.

BUSINESS

The New York Times will buy the Athletic in a $550-million deal. Started six years ago, the Athletic established itself by poaching big-name sportswriters from news outlets across the country. It now has more than 1 million subscribers.

AT&T and ViacomCBS look to sell their stakes in the CW. Amid changing television economics, the two media giants have been exploring possible transactions. The CW, which primarily reaches younger viewers, has steadily built its prime-time programming block from Warner Bros.’ D.C. Comics and old CBS hits such as “Dynasty” and “Walker.”

SPORTS

Looking back at a Lakers record that has yet to fall. On Sunday, Dec. 12, 1971, the Lakers won their 21st consecutive game, setting the record for the longest winning streak in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain said: “I’m sure glad it’s over.” But the Lakers’ winning streak wasn’t close to over. The record they set — the longest winning streak in team sports — is still standing 50 years later.

UCLA men’s basketball made its long-awaited return to the court. The team beat Long Beach State 96-78 at Pauley Pavilion, though the victory was marred by Jaime Jaquez Jr.’s ankle injury.

Isaiah Mobley scores 19 as No. 7 USC stays perfect with win over Cal. Mobley also had nine rebounds and sparked a late surge to help keep No. 7 USC unbeaten as the Trojans held off California 77-63 on Thursday night.

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OPINION

Anti-vaxxer Kelly Ernby died of COVID-19 this week at age 46. Her death set off an ugly public debate, reflecting all the bitterness, polarization and frustration in American pandemic society, writes Nicholas Goldberg. The Huntington Beach resident became a symbol rather than a person, a blank slate onto which we could all project our harshest gut reactions.

YOUR WEEKEND

Two of the varieties of rainbow water ice from Happy Ice on Melrose Avenue.

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Go to Smorgasburg. The weekly food festival is back after a holiday season pause, writes Food staffer Stephanie Breijo, and 2022 brings new offerings. Among them: Philadelphia-style rainbow water ice from Lemeir Mitchell’s Happy Ice, Korean fried chicken from Chimmelier, Cali Dumpling’s pan-fried dumplings and soup dumplings, B’ivrit’s vegan Israeli shawarma and falafel from chef Amit Sidi. Smorgasburg is held Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. within the ROW DTLA complex in the Arts District.

Head to the desert. Our sister newsletter Escapes (sign up for great travel ideas weekly; it’s free) is devoted this week to Joshua Tree and highlights four unique destinations, including Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum, 10 acres filled with artworks created from found and junked materials, and the Retreat Center, for pursuit of “oneness.”

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

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Listen, sometimes you need to have a cathartic freak-out. It may not be the newsiest headline, but an old clip of Elmo having a meltdown over a friend’s imposing pet rock on “Sesame Street” has gone viral this week. The footage has spurred a wave of public support for the friendly monster on behalf of anyone and everyone who has ever simply had enough — which is many of us this January. (Los Angeles Times)

Stop dieting and start savoring your food instead. The Eat Well Challenge focuses on mindfulness to retrain your brain around eating — or interrupting “the habit loop.” “Start practicing awareness by slowing down and thinking about what you’re eating and why you’re eating it. Try not to focus on weight loss, food restriction or eliminating favorite foods from your diet. Avoid labeling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’” (New York Times)

Read this and you will probably want an Earthship too. These off-grid, self-reliant houses are built from tires, dirt and garbage — and they can be gorgeous. There are “arched, cavernous living spaces,” and “plants line corridors between inner and outer windows, while glass bottles and aluminum cans stuffed inside walls make rooms look like mosaic playgrounds.” New Earthships once sat dormant “for years, but many are now sold before they’re even completed as the pandemic has drawn people to an oasis of self-sufficiency.” (Washington Post)

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Three women in hats, gloves and one with a fur stole stand together, smiling and laughing, inside a court building.

Judith Vosselli, left, Dorothy Short and Charlotte Treadway were among “Ladies by Request” cast members taken into custody.

(Los Angeles Times)

Eighty-six years ago this month, theater invaded a Los Angeles courtroom. The Jan. 24, 1936, Los Angeles Times reported on the hoopla that surrounded the performance for jurors of the three-act play “Ladies by Request” — “line by line” by 14 cast members. Weeks earlier, the cast and crew had been arrested at the Hollytown Theater (then on North New Hampshire Avenue in L.A.). The in-court performance was to prove that the play wasn’t indecent.

The Times reported: “As word spread that the show was being put on, judges speeded up proceedings in their courts and rushed to see the play. Clerks and bailiffs deserted their posts to do likewise. Spectators jammed the courtroom and the hallway, attempting to get in while perspiring bailiffs struggled to keep them out.” During the performance, kisses between actors were timed with a stopwatch to make sure they lasted as long as they did during in-theater performances.

“All in all, a good time was had by all,” The Times wrote, “except one woman juror whose face was a grim mask of frozen disapproval.” Producer James A. Timony (who also happened to be Mae West’s longtime manager) and cast were acquitted.

We appreciate that you took 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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