By Elvia Limón and Jason Sanchez
Hello, it’s Wednesday, Sept. 7, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
Table of Contents
Info at risk after a cyberattack on Los Angeles Unified
Private data for more than 400,000 students could be at risk in the wake of a cyberattack on the Los Angeles school district, which overcame a complete digital shutdown over the Labor Day weekend to successfully open schools on schedule.
An investigation involving the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement is underway, underscoring the seriousness of the attack. District staff recognized the breach quickly and took fast action that may have averted an operational disaster — shutting down all district systems, a move that created additional headaches.
There are indications the hack could have originated in a foreign country, and Supt. Alberto Carvalho said there had not been a ransom demand.
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California is in the midst of the hottest, longest September heat wave
For the last week, a heat dome has smothered much of California, delivering record-high temperatures and unseasonably warm lows that have made this stretch of blistering weather the state’s longest and hottest September heat wave. The punishing heat is expected to linger through the rest of the week, pushing the power grid to its limits.
The drought has diminished hydropower, a low-cost resource used to quickly ramp up electricity. Solar energy levels off in the evening, when temperatures subside but Californians still crank their air conditioning. The challenges are a test of how the state can balance the system when it’s under pressure, experts say.
Plus: Here’s what you can do before, during and after a power outage.
Is COVID-19 winding down? Scientists say no
Is the coronavirus on its way out? You might think so. New, updated booster shots are being rolled out to better protect against the variants circulating now. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dropped COVID-19 quarantine and distancing recommendations. And more people have thrown off their masks and returned to pre-pandemic activities.
But scientists say the answer is no. They predict the scourge that’s already lasted longer than the 1918 flu pandemic will linger far into the future. One reason is that the coronavirus has gotten better and better at getting around immunity from vaccination and past infection.
More top coronavirus headlines
- The CDC recommends people ages 12 and older get the new COVID-19 booster shot, which targets the latest Omicron subvariants as well as the original coronavirus strain.
Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.
L.A. County’s first street psychiatrist
A psychiatrist with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Dr. Shayan Rab, leads a small but growing initiative in street-based treatment that is beginning to make inroads with the population of homeless people who wander L.A.’s streets with untreated mental illness.
Rab and four other psychiatrists and two psychiatric nurse practitioners are attached to the teams of outreach workers, social workers, nurses and substance abuse counselors of the county’s Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement, or HOME, program. They treat clients where they find them and are using innovative techniques to manage people averse to treatment, including conducting court hearings on the sidewalk.
The team is still being expanded, with HOME budgeted for at least eight psychiatrists.
The trolling of Dr. Oz
When Dr. Mehmet Oz announced last fall that he would run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican in Pennsylvania, he had a built-in advantage most first-time candidates don’t: fame. But since Oz narrowly won the GOP primary in June, his Democratic opponent has sought to turn his celebrity into his greatest political weakness.
John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s burly, 6-foot-9 Democratic lieutenant governor, has wielded the weapons of satire and snark on the internet and off to turn Oz’s residency and wealth into a focal point of the race.
He’s hired a plane to fly a welcome home banner over the beach in New Jersey, where Oz resided for decades before moving to Pennsylvania ahead of his Senate run. He’s released videos of Garden State celebrities telling Oz to come home. And he’s invited supporters to nominate Oz for induction into the New Jersey hall of fame.
- A New Mexico state district court judge has disqualified county commissioner and Cowboys for Trump co-founder Couy Griffin from holding public office for engaging in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
- Californians will soon be asked to weigh in on electoral contests that will shape the future of Los Angeles, the state and the nation. Here’s what voters need to know.
- A key congressional committee is pushing a federal bill to bolster protections for consumers’ online data privacy, but California lawmakers have launched an aggressive bid to amend or block it because it would unravel the state’s tougher protections.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
A 15-day outdoor watering ban has taken effect for parts of L.A. County. The ban affects people in Beverly Hills, Glendale, Burbank, Malibu, Long Beach, Pasadena, San Fernando and Torrance, in addition to residents in the Central Basin Municipal Water District, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, Foothill Municipal Water District and West Basin Municipal Water District. Residents can view the shutdown map on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California website to learn more.
“Like a sitting duck.” Aging Toyota Priuses are the target of catalytic converter thefts. The second-generation Prius, sold from 2004 to 2009, has become a prime target for catalytic converter theft in California. The car’s shoebox-sized anti-pollution device contains trace amounts of precious metals and can fetch several hundred dollars from scrapyards and recyclers.
A former Chino Hills stockbroker who targeted Latinos in $3.2-million investment scheme is sentenced to prison. Robert Louis Cirillo pleaded guilty to running a securities fraud scheme that targeted low-income Latinos, according to federal prosecutors. Cirillo was also ordered to pay more than $3.9 million in restitution.
The deadly 4,500-acre fire near Hemet began near reported “circuit activity” by Edison. Two residents in Avery Canyon were killed while trying to flee, officials said. A third was injured. It’s unclear what the circuit activity was or whether Edison’s equipment played a role in starting the fire.
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Rape and incest exceptions are out of South Carolina’s abortion bill. The vote to remove the exceptions sets up a showdown among Republicans wary of passing such a restrictive bill. Democrats helped set up the fight, choosing not to vote with three moderate Republicans who wanted to keep the exceptions in the bill.
Tension are rising as Turkey and Greece voice festering grievances. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doubled down on a thinly veiled invasion threat, and Athens responded that it was ready to defend its sovereignty. Turkey and Greece have decades-old disputes over an array of issues, including territorial claims in the Aegean Sea and disagreements over the airspace there.
New British Prime Minister Liz Truss is vowing to tackle the energy crisis and the ailing economy. Truss quickly began appointing senior members of her Cabinet as she tackled an inbox dominated by the energy crisis stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The nation’s third female prime minister named a top team diverse in gender and ethnicity but loyal to her and her free-market politics.
In flood-stricken Pakistan, rains damaged an archaeological site. The rains have inflicted damage and continue to threaten the famed archeological site, which dates back 4,500 years. The ruins of Mohenjo Daro — a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the Indus River in the southern province of Sindh — are considered among the best preserved urban settlements in South Asia.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
After suddenly canceling his L.A. show, the Weeknd says the return date is “being worked out.” The star of the forthcoming Netflix series “The Idol” was briefly out of commission after losing his voice during the concert at SoFi Stadium. Three songs into his set, the Weeknd told fans that he needed to cut the show short.
An “SNL” mainstay is taking on a new role. Kenan Thompson, the longest-running cast member in the nearly half-century history of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” has played a monumental number of offbeat characters during his 19 seasons on the sketch comedy series. His latest character, though, is brand new: Kenan Thompson, Emmy host.
The standouts of Telluride. Times critic Justin Chang found plenty to nourish the appetite of any cinema lover at the 49th edition of the Telluride Film Festival, which took place over Labor Day weekend in Colorado. Among the festival’s highlights were Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All,” Sebastián Lelio’s “The Wonder” and Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover.” Plus: The Times’ Josh Rottenberg further breaks down all the winners and losers from this year’s festival.
Always on the side of labor. Barbara Ehrenreich, the bestselling author of books including “Nickel and Dimed” and an early member of the Democratic Socialists of America, died at 81 on Thursday. She departs as a sort of prophet redeemed: Her incisive work on the grinding poverty of wage laborers and the downward mobility of white-collar workers has taken on the cast of common knowledge, at least on the political left.
A broadcast anchor goes upstream. John Dickerson has been named host of “CBS News Prime Time,” a daily live program on the Paramount Global unit’s CBS News Streaming platform, a free ad-supported service that supplies news 24 hours a day. Dickerson is the first top-tier star at CBS News to anchor a live program since the service was relaunched in January.
Juul Labs has agreed to pay a nearly $440-million settlement. The electronic cigarette maker agreed to the payment to settle the two-year investigation by 33 states into the marketing of its high-nicotine vaping products, which have long been blamed for sparking a national surge in teen vaping. The settlement includes numerous restrictions on how Juul can market its products. The company still faces nine separate lawsuits from other states.
Did someone “accidentally” send you money on Venmo? You might be getting scammed. Whatever you do, don’t send the money back, writes our colleague Jessica Roy. “A scammer sends you $500, but if the charge is reversed, that initial $500 is clawed back. The money you sent ‘back’ is a different $500. It’s your $500.” Inform Venmo, and let it sit.
How the scourge of originalism is taking over the Supreme Court. Originalism is the idea that the meaning of a constitutional provision is fixed when it is adopted and can be changed only by amendment. But it makes no sense to limit the Constitution’s broad language to what was intended in the agrarian, slave society of 1787. Now, though, originalism is in its ascendancy on the Supreme Court. In case after case in the last term, the conservative justices based their decisions on their cramped reading of American history.
Our too little, too late climate action means triage more than prevention. With the Inflation Reduction Act in August, President Biden signed the first major climate bill in U.S. history. We need to view its provisions and incentives less as putting an end to heat waves, wildfires and algae blooms and more as triage — doing what we can while we can to salvage what we might.
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The race to be USC’s left tackle continues. The team appears to be in no hurry to decide between Courtland Ford or Bobby Haskins as the Trojans’ sole left tackle. Ford officially got the start in USC’s 66-14 win over Rice, but Haskins spelled him on the next drive. The two tackles continued to rotate throughout, finishing with 24 snaps apiece.
The Chargers’ kick-returner is set to make a regular season debut. During one stretch, DeAndre Carter was out of the NFL for so long that he took a job as a substitute teacher at a middle school in Northern California. Now, after playing 45 preseason snaps, Chargers fans will get to see the real, complete Carter in Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
ONLY IN L.A.
Dance fitness broke into the top 10 most popular fitness classes for the first time last year, according to the workout-booking platform ClassPass. If you haven’t yet experienced the stress-busting joy of dancing in sync to a perfectly curated playlist with a room full of strangers, here is your moment.
These five classes in L.A. require no prior dance experience— you simply follow the moves of the teacher (or try out some of your own) and lose yourself in the music. There’s no attitude, no shame, no “right” way to look. You’re free to dance like no one is watching because, really, no one is. Among them are Dance Church in El Sereno, Mia Moves Me in North Hollywood and Pony Sweat in Glassell Park.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Twenty-four years ago this week, on Sept. 4, 1998, Google Inc. founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were Stanford students, and they dreamed up their search engine in a Menlo Park, Calif., garage.
Susan Wojcicki — now the chief executive of YouTube — rented the garage and three rooms of the 1,900-square-foot house to the 25-year-olds to help pay her mortgage. As they worked to build their search engine, The Times wrote in 2013, they also “played ping pong in the garage, soaked in the hot tub and raided Wojcicki’s refrigerator.”
Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.
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