Today's Headlines: California debates solitary confinement in local jails
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Today's Headlines: California debates solitary confinement in local jails

Jun 14, 2023

Hello, it’s Thursday, Aug. 31, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

California debates solitary confinement in local jails. Across more than 120 jails in California’s 58 counties, conditions behind bars can vary widely. But there’s one thing California’s local lockups have in common: prisoners who spend weeks, months or even years in isolation without any meaningful human contact or rehabilitation.

Assemblymember Chris Holden is trying to change that. The Pasadena Democrat introduced Assembly Bill 280 this year to limit “segregated confinement”— what is colloquially known as “solitary.”

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Hurricane Idalia hits Florida with 125-mph winds. Hurricane Idalia tore into Florida with winds howling at the speed of a fast-moving train Wednesday, splitting trees in half, ripping roofs off hotels and turning small cars into boats before sweeping into Georgia as a still-powerful storm.

After coming ashore, Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach at 7:45 a.m. as a high-end Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph. It had weakened to a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph by Wednesday afternoon.

L.A. City Council pushes for legal action against Texas’ governor over migrant buses. The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to look into whether the city can sue the state of Texas and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for sending a busload of migrants to Los Angeles on June 14, and to investigate whether Abbott’s actions violated any criminal laws.

The June 14 bus was the first sent to Los Angeles by Texas. Ten more buses have arrived in the 2½ months since, with the most recent bus arriving at Union Station during the council’s Wednesday meeting.

The weird and wonderful life of L.A.’s most bizarre celebrity photographer. For six decades, John Verzi collected about 25,000 autographs and took more than 12,000 pictures of everyone from Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot to Jimi Hendrix and Alice Cooper. Then he disappeared.

He ended up in a trailer park in Las Vegas, watching soap operas in the afternoon, playing casino slots at night, losing and winning in stretches, driving home in the ghost hours in a three-cylinder car his neighbor fixed from time to time.

‘Despair solves nothing’: How pilots in tiny planes are saving dogs from death. Amelia Air’s volunteer pilots fly unwanted dogs from kill shelters in rural areas to urban rescue centers, where they have better chances of finding forever homes.

Striking Los Angeles hotel workers vow ‘dirty rooms and nonstop noise’ at a downtown conference. Hotel workers at several downtown L.A. properties walked off the job Wednesday, the latest action in a strike that began nearly two months ago.

California prison guards are on track for $1 billion in perks and raises. The corrections union said the contract negotiation process is “going smoothly,” and reform advocates called the current proposal “disheartening.”

Just off California, octopuses are converging by the thousands. Here’s why. Marine scientists discovered what they dubbed an “octopus garden” nearly two miles below sea level. “We were just absolutely floored.”

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Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell freezes up at a news conference again. The Republican leader froze up while answering a reporter’s question for the second time in just over a month, standing silently for around half a minute.

What’s in the box? For much-hyped West Point time capsule, it turns out, only mud. After staff at the U.S. Military Academy discovered a nearly 200-year-old time capsule on campus in the spring, the possibilities of what were inside seemed endless. But all that buildup landed with a thud.

Mutinous soldiers in Gabon say they’ve ousted the president whose family has ruled for 55 years. In a video apparently from detention in his residence, President Ali Bongo Ondimba called on people to “make noise” to support him. But crowds instead took to the streets of the capital and sang the national anthem to celebrate the coup attempt.

A new Titanic expedition is planned. But the U.S. government is fighting it. The U.S. argues that physically altering or disturbing the wreck is regulated by federal law and its agreement with Britain. Among the government’s concerns is the possible disturbance of artifacts and any human remains that may still exist.

Returning series, game shows, documentaries and Trump: TV for every taste this fall. Television goes on this fall with some pretense of normalcy. Our critics weigh in on some of the genres that will dominate the fall schedule.

How the L.A. library bid $144,000 for a hidden trove of celebrity photos. An obsession with a ‘30s movie star sent two librarians to an auction for 12,500 celebrity photos taken by a post office worker turned recluse. The collection is astonishing.

We take an exclusive tour of Hollywood’s restored Egyptian Theatre, opening this fall. The hieroglyphics and artwork on the courtyard walls outside match the original theater design, including the sphinxes, ancient markers of mystery and quiet. (Let’s see if that has an impact on today’s moviegoing etiquette.)

Inside the company that has been bringing California fun to the world for the last 75 years. The company sold balls that could bounce over houses, flying discs that looked like UFOs, flexible foam boards for beach acrobatics and a slippery water slide that somehow worked on lawns. Now in its 75th year, Wham-O is making a push for relevance.

‘Google has no scruples.’ Employees protest Google Cloud conference over Israel military contract. Workers are demanding that Google cancel a $1.2-billion contract, titled Project Nimbus, with the Israeli government and military.

Former New York Times and BBC exec Mark Thompson will lead CNN. Thompson’s hiring is a signal that Warner Bros. Discovery is looking to transform CNN, which is largely dependent on cable subscriptions for its revenue, into a digital-first news operation just as he did at the New York Times, where he was chief executive from 2012 to 2020.

His Lahaina restaurant was a Dodgers paradise. He lost it but says ‘I feel blessed.’ Juan Gomez cultivated a shrine to his beloved Dodgers inside Lahaina restaurant Penne Pasta. It was destroyed by the wildfire.

‘I just love the energy.’ Electric Zachariah Branch brings infectious optimism to USC. Zachariah Branch made a spectacular debut for USC in its season-opening win. His former high school teammates are not surprised by his meteoric rise.

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The problematic use of ‘problematic’ to shut down people with whom we disagree. Why choose a vague word as the smug shorthand for something morally objectionable? A backlash against “problematic” seems to be brewing.

Why El Segundo, home of the 2023 Little League World Series champs, has winning ways. The Little League championship resonates for all Angelenos because El Segundo is part of the loose federation of Greater L.A. And at times like these, the federation sticks together.

Indoor rock climbing is on fire. These 7 great SoCal gyms let you grab hold of the thrill. If you’re an old-school L.A. climber, you may remember a time when the city had no indoor climbing gyms. Luckily, that’s changed.

On Aug, 31, 1997, Princess Diana and her companion, Dodi Fayed, died after their car crashed in a Paris tunnel, apparently while being chased by photographers.

Doctors said death came to the world’s most photographed woman from a collapsed left lung, head injuries and cardiac arrest in an intensive care unit at a Paris hospital.

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