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 May 19, 2021


“The Times" is a podcast from the Los Angeles Times hosted by columnist Gustavo Arellano along with reporters from our diverse newsroom. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, our podcast brings listeners the most essential stories from the L.A. Times. We've got the West Coast angle on the most interesting news stories of the day, taking on topics like entertainment, the environment, immigration, politics, the criminal justice system, the social safety net, food and culture and more, and delivering it in a tone that isn’t so stressed or intense. Through interviews and original stories, we are the audio guide you need to understand the day’s news, the world and how California is at the epicenter of it all.

Episode Date
What it means to be a Black cowboy

Black people have been part of the American West for centuries. But mainstream cowboy culture long downplayed their contributions, even as they exist in the present day.

Today, we hear from some of them. Read the full transcript here.

Host: L.A. Times national reporter Tyrone Beason

More reading:

Black Californians have long celebrated cowboy culture. We’re just catching up

A proud group of Black Californians keep the traditions of the Old West and cowboy culture alive.

Excerpt: Cowboys in Compton find hope and healing on horseback

Feb 01, 2023
What’s up with eggs?

All across California, people are asking the same question: Why are eggs so expensive?

Californians walk into grocery stores only to find them sold out, or that they’re going for $7 or more a dozen. Thanks to inflation, everything is more expensive right now. But when it comes to eggs, there’s more to the story.

Today, how a history of California policy and a global bird flu scrambled the economics of a food staple. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times metro reporter Sonja Sharp

More reading:

$7 a dozen? Why California eggs are so expensive — and increasingly hard to find

Watch: California eggs are becoming expensive, and increasingly hard to find

Op-Ed: Why does California have an egg shortage?

Jan 30, 2023
Colorado River in Crisis, Pt. 4: The Tribe

For over a century, Native American tribes along the Colorado River have seen other entities take water that had nourished them since time immemorial. With the depletion of this vital source for the American West, Indigenous leaders see an opening to right a historical wrong.

Today, we check in on one tribe doing just that. Read the full transcript here.

Host: The Times senior producer Kasia Broussalian

Guest: L.A. Times water reporter Ian James

More reading:

Colorado River in Crisis, Pt. 1: A Dying River

Colorado River in Crisis, Pt. 2: The Source

Inside the water crisis: A journey across the Colorado River Basin

Jan 27, 2023
3 men of color, 3 LAPD encounters. 3 deaths

In a span of 25 hours, three men of color died after encounters with Los Angeles police officers. Could a change in tactics long asked for by activists have prevented the deaths?

Today, we talk about the incidents, the aftermath — and what’s next. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times investigative crime reporter Richard Winton and L.A. Times metro columnist Erika D. Smith

More reading:

Column: MLK had a dream about ending police brutality. In L.A., we’re clearly still dreaming

LAPD’s repeated tasing of teacher who died appears excessive, experts say

Amid concerns over three deaths, LAPD releases video

Jan 25, 2023
A massacre in Monterey Park

A gunman shot and killed 10 people just after a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California. This attack, one of California's worst mass shootings in recent memory, is sparking concerns about public safety and conversations about anti-Asian hate — and renewing calls for gun control. Read the full transcript here. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Asian American communities reporter Jeong Park 

More reading: 

Authorities identify 72-year-old man as suspected gunman in Lunar New Year mass shooting

Terror at Monterey Park dance studio: What we know about Lunar New Year mass shooting 

Lunar New Year shooting: A grim moment in Monterey Park, America’s first suburban Chinatown

Jan 23, 2023
Colorado River in Crisis, Pt. 3: The Dam

The main way the American West harvests the Colorado River for its water use is by dams that create reservoirs, which are quickly drying up because of climate change. Can knocking some dams down help?

Today, in our continuing series on the Colorado River, we go to Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell to talk to some people who think so. Read the full transcript here.

Host: “The Times” senior producer Denise Guerra

Guests: L.A. Times water reporter Ian James

More listening:

Colorado River in Crisis, Pt. 1: A Dying River

Colorado River in Crisis, Pt. 2: The Source

Colorado River in Crisis homepage


Jan 20, 2023
How the California GOP lost its national sway

For decades, Republicans across the country looked to California for conservative stars and ideas even as the GOP lost its way in the state. Not anymore.

Today, we talk about how how Kevin McCarthy’s tortuous path to become Speaker of the House was yet another loud death rattle for the California GOP. Read the full transcript here. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times politics columnist Mark Z. Barabak

More reading:

Column: Kevin McCarthy ‘won’ the House speakership. Now the country will pay the price

Listen to “The Battle of 187”

Today’s GOP could snub even Reagan

Jan 18, 2023
Dance raves in, dissent out as Saudi Arabia's crown prince dictates new social order

Something unexpected is going on in traditionally conservative Saudi Arabia.

Over the last few years, the kingdom has been announcing a loosening of social restrictions at a surprising rate. Movie theaters are reopening, new professional opportunities for women are popping up and the country is hosting Western-style music festivals.

It’s all part of a plan by the country’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who says he wants to dramatically transform his country.

Today, how the prince’s push comes with a price: While dancing in Saudi Arabia might be in these days, political dissent is still most definitely out. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Middle East bureau chief Nabih Bulos

More reading:

Dancing is in, dissent is out as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince transforms his country

Saudi Arabia is giving itself an extreme makeover with ‘giga-projects.’ Will it work?

Saudis sentence U.S. citizen to 16 years over tweets

Jan 16, 2023
Colorado River in Crisis, Pt. 2: The Source

The Colorado River begins in the Rocky Mountain snowpack, which provides the water that starts off the river on its epic journey. But as the American West gets hotter, that snowpack keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Today, the second in our six-part special on the future of this vital waterway. New episodes will publish every Friday through Feb. 10. Follow the project here. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times water reporter Ian James and L.A. Times video journalist Albert Lee 

More reading:

Our full Colorado River series

Listen to the first episode in this series, “Colorado River in Crisis, Pt. 1: A Dying River”

Video: The Colorado River is drying up. Climate change and drought have taken a major toll.

Jan 13, 2023
California's stormy weather, explained

This month’s record-setting rain and snow across California also comes with terms many of us know but can’t explain. Today, we do that with our Masters of Disasters. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times earthquake reporter Ron Lin, L.A. Times Fast Break disasters reporter Hayley Smith, and L.A. Times water reporter Ian James

More reading:

California snowpack is far above average amid January storms, but a lot more is needed

Deadly results as dramatic climate whiplash causes California’s aging levees to fail

California storm death toll reaches 17 as more rain, winds arrive. Damage could top $1 billion

Jan 11, 2023
Can the Golden Globes come back?

The Golden Globes is going to air this week on NBC after a year-long hiatus in the wake of a scandal over its parent company, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Can its comeback stick? Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Company Town reporter Stacy Perman, and L.A. Times film business reporter Josh Rottenberg

More reading:

‘It took a crisis in order to make changes,’ says new Golden Globes owner

Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. approves sale of Golden Globes assets to Todd Boehly

Golden Globes voters in tumult: Members accuse Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. of self-dealing, ethical lapses

Jan 09, 2023
Colorado River in Crisis, Pt. 1: A Dying River

The Colorado River is the water lifeline for tens of millions of people across the American Southwest, which couldn’t have developed the way it is today without it. But all the damming and diversion done to the Colorado has put it at a tipping point where a future with no water is no longer just fantasy but perilously possible.

Today, “The Times” kicks off “a six-part special on the future of this vital waterway. New episodes will publish every Friday through Feb. 10. Follow the project here. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times water reporter Ian James

More reading:

Colorado River in Crisis

They sounded alarms about a coming Colorado River crisis. But warnings went unheeded

Video: Desert suburbia is growing. But the Colorado River, and Arizona’s groundwater, cannot keep up.

Jan 06, 2023
California's fight with affirmative action

The Supreme Court appears ready to abolish affirmative action later this year. The case seeking to declare it unconstitutional has schools that consider race in admissions worried about how they can continue to build diversity among their students without affirmative action.

Here in California, though, we already know what happens when programs like affirmative action are banned. In 1996, voters passed a first ballot initiative in the country to ban the consideration of race or gender and public education.

Today, how the University of California system has dealt with a 25-year ban on affirmative action. And what we can learn if a national ban does happen. Read the full transcript here. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Teresa Watanabe

More reading:

California banned affirmative action in 1996. Inside the UC struggle for diversity

Are Asian American college applicants at a disadvantage? Supreme Court debate stirs fear

Column: Affirmative action challenges aren’t about ending discrimination. Their goal is white supremacy

Some audio in this episode is courtesy of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. 

Jan 04, 2023
What losing Nancy Pelosi as a leader means for Dems

A new Republican-led House of Representatives convenes tomorrow, and after decades as a Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi is stepping away from the helm. Undoubtedly, her strength was in unifying her caucus — something that Kevin McCarthy, the G.O.P frontrunner for the speakership, has already struggled to do. Today, we look back on Pelosi's career — and what could be ahead for House leadership. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Justice Department reporter Sarah D. Wire

More reading:

The end of a political era: Nancy Pelosi’s leadership legacy in Washington

Column: Nancy Pelosi’s indelible mark

Column: ‘There’s this very toxic energy circulating.’ Alexandra Pelosi on her mom, dad and a new documentary

Jan 02, 2023
2022 in culture: Bad Bunny, the Slap and more

This year, Beyonce blessed fans with her album, “Renaissance,” the Daniels — Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — released the surreal trip of a movie “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” and Bad Bunny released banger after banger after banger.

And those were just some of the brightest cultural moments that we couldn’t stop talking about. 2022 had its dark side, too — who could forget Will Smith’s slap or the racist rants of Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West?

Today, we review both the highs and lows of Hollywood, music, culture and more. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times pop music critic Mikael Wood, film and television critic Glenn Whipp, music reporter Suzy Exposito
and film business reporter Ryan Faughnder

More reading:

For global phenomenon Bad Bunny, Puerto Rico remains his playground, battleground and muse

The top 10 Hollywood fiascoes that defined 2022 for the entertainment business

Review: Beyoncé's ‘Renaissance’ is a landmark expression of Black joy (and you can dance to it)

What happens to ‘Emancipation’ after the slap?


Dec 30, 2022
The best and worst in 2022 politics

Ukraine, abortion, midterms, racist tape leaks — 2022 was a lot, politically. We gather our newsroom experts to break down the year. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times U.S. Supreme Court David G. Savage, California politics columnist Mark Barabak, and L.A. city politics reporter Julia Wick

More reading:

News Analysis: Supreme Court likes separation of powers, but not of church and state

Hate grows, L.A. politics go berserk and Gen Z saves democracy: Columnists dissect 2022

L.A. on the Record: KDL, absurdist theater and a trick play

Dec 28, 2022
The good and bad of natural disasters in 2022

This year, we saw a pandemic that just won’t quit, a face-melting heatwave and an underwater volcano eruption that wreaked all kinds of havoc. 2022 brought with it plenty of doom and gloom when it comes to natural disasters. But we also saw an effective new earthquake early warning system, a toilet sink that’s great at reducing water and energy use and more good news for our changing climate.

Today, our Masters of Disasters kick off a week of looking back the biggest wins and fails of 2022 by talking about the year’s most memorable disasters. But it’s not all bad: the scribes of scary also offer up some hope as we enter 2023. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times earthquake reporter Ron Lin, L.A. Times coastal reporter Rosanna Xia and L.A. Times energy reporter Sammy Roth

More reading:

Massive volcano eruption in Tonga could wind up warming the Earth

How washing my hands with ‘toilet water’ cut my water bills in half

L.A. County coronavirus threat eases for now, but a second wave after Christmas possible

Why NASA’s new mission will study Earth’s water from space

Dec 26, 2022
Dr. Fauci's tips for the tripledemic

Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the most prominent public health officials in history due to his work during the HIV/AIDS crisis and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He’s about to step down from his long-held roles as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor, but before he goes, we wanted to get some last bits of advice about how to stay safe this holiday season and beyond.

Today, he joins us to reflect on the lessons learned in his career, the future of public health, and high school memories of basketball and Catholic saints.

Plus, stick around after the interview for a moving tribute to P-22. Read the full transcript here

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci

More reading:

Fauci’s warning to America: ‘We’re living in a progressively anti-science era and that’s a very dangerous thing’

Review: ‘Fauci’ illuminates even as it flatters ‘America’s doctor’

Fauci: ‘There’s no way’ the coronavirus was made with U.S. research funds. Here’s why

Dec 23, 2022
The crypto crash was inescapable

Cryptocurrency started the year strong. But as 2022 ends, what was supposed to be a revolutionary way to buy, save and invest has collapsed. The price of nearly every cryptocurrency has plunged. Multiple businesses built specifically around them have cratered.

Now, members of Congress are calling for more stringent regulations around crypto. But would regulations change cryptocurrency so much that it would essentially stop being crypto? Today, the over-talked-about, often under-understood world of crypto. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Michael Hiltzik

More reading:

Column: Crypto tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried didn’t lose a $16-billion fortune. His ‘fortune’ was never real

Column: Shame, suicide attempts, ‘financial death’ — the devastating toll of a crypto firm’s failure

Column: Thinking of putting crypto in your 401(k)? Think twice

Dec 21, 2022
Housing the unhoused, voucher edition

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden administration authorized over a billion dollars in housing vouchers to help people stay off the streets. The program had problems, but one city — San Diego — succeeded in a big way.

Today, we find out how they did it. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Former L.A. Times fellow Anumita Kaur

More reading:

How San Diego achieved surprising success housing homeless people

How San Francisco fell behind on housing its homeless population

Homeless people wait as Los Angeles lets thousands of federal housing vouchers go unused

Dec 19, 2022
A culture war over electric cars?

The Biden administration is pushing electric vehicles as the future. So are major auto makers. But how will that play out in red states? We travel to small-town Indiana to find out.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times White House reporter Noah Bierman

More reading: Can California’s electric-vehicle push overcome the red-state backlash?

Majority of voters favor gasoline-car phaseout. But all-electric goal faces tough opposition

California bans sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035. Now the real work begins

Dec 16, 2022
Will Swifties take down Ticketmaster?

After Ticketmaster botched sales for Taylor Swift’s upcoming concert tour, her die-hard fans, known as Swifties, did more than just whine on social media. They took political action, calling their representatives in Congress and flagging their concerns to other lawmakers across the country. Some Swifties even filed a lawsuit.

This is far from the first time Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, have been accused of unfairly monopolizing the ticket market. And after another debacle last week that left Bad Bunny fans stranded outside his sold-out concert in Mexico City, it’s clear it won’t be the last time either.

Today, we look at whether the latest backlash is big enough to finally break Ticketmaster’s stranglehold on the live music market.

Read the full transcript here. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter August Brown and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

More reading:

More bad news for Swifties: Ticketmaster cancels Friday on-sale for Taylor’s Eras tour

You better lawyer up, Ticketmaster: Taylor Swift fans file Eras Tour lawsuit

Essential Politics: Will Taylor Swift end Ticketmaster’s dominance?

Dec 14, 2022
The nightmare that is identity theft

Jessica Roy was hanging with friends at a piano bar when her wallet was stolen — and became a victim of identity theft. Roy filed the necessary reports and thought she’d be able to handle everything pretty quickly. That didn’t happen.

Today, she shares her ordeal and explains why fixing identity theft is a never-ending nightmare and why recovering from it is so much harder than you think.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Assistant Utility Journalism team editor Jessica Roy

More reading:

My wallet was stolen at a bar. Then my identity theft nightmare began

Are you the victim of identity theft? Here’s what to do

Is identity theft protection worth it? Here’s what you should know

Dec 12, 2022
Keke Palmer’s Hollywood reality — and dreams

Keke Palmer has already racked up two decades in show business. She acts, sings, hosts a TV show and is the face of numerous memes — and she has big plans for more. 

Fresh off hosting "SNL" and starring in “Nope,” Palmer recently sat down with our sister podcast "The Envelope." She shares what it was like to work with Jordan Peele on his blockbuster sci-fi thriller, how she felt about being her family’s breadwinner during her childhood and the advice Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett gave her on the set of “Akeelah and the Bee.” Read the full transcript here. 

Hosts: Mark Olsen and Yvonne Villarreal

Guests: Keke Palmer

More reading:

Surprise! Keke Palmer announces pregnancy and SZA reveals album release date on ‘SNL’

Is there anything better than Keke Palmer on a press tour? Nope

Review: A superb Keke Palmer keeps underdeveloped ‘Alice’ mostly on track

Dec 09, 2022
The grad student strike at UC schools

The workload for graduate students, researchers and assistants who take on-campus jobs for their discipline is notoriously underpaid and endless. That’s why 48,000 of those workers throughout the University of California system have gone on strike, demanding better pay and conditions. The strike is happening even as finals loom.

Today, we examine the background and what’s next. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times education reporter Teresa Watanabe

More reading:

Nearly 48,000 UC graduate students poised to shut down many classes, labs and research with strike

UC postdoctoral scholars and researchers reach tentative deal but strike continues

Chaos over grades, finals and ongoing classes erupts as UC strike continues

Dec 07, 2022
Has zero-COVID checkmated China's Xi?

Mainland China is roiled by protests, the size of which have not been seen in a generation. People are calling for an end to the government’s strict “zero-COVID” restrictions. The moment has also brought rare public criticism of its architect, President Xi Jinping. Just months ago, he secured an unprecedented third term, but now is as vulnerable as he’s ever been.

Today, we examine whether the zero-COVID policy could be Xi’s downfall. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times China correspondent Stephanie Yang

More reading:

‘Zero COVID’ is roiling China. But ending the policy may cause a massive health disaster

Protests over China’s strict COVID-19 controls spread across the country

Dreams of a Red Emperor: The relentless rise of Xi Jinping

Dec 05, 2022
Why the U.S. clamps down on rail strikes

This week, Congress passed a bill that effectively imposed an agreement between rail workers and their companies and prohibited a strike. Politicians feared that any work stoppage would cripple the U.S. economy for the holidays, costing the country billions of dollars.

Today, we talk about the unique, violent history of rail workers trying to fight for better union contracts. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: University of Rhode Island history professor Erik Loomis

More reading:

Senate moves to avert rail strike amid dire warnings

Biden calls on Congress to head off potential rail strike

Big rail unions split on contract deal with railroads, raising possibility of a strike

Dec 02, 2022
The megaflood, next time in California

Few people associate urban and suburban Southern California with floods anymore, mostly because many of its rivers were dammed up or transformed into concrete gulches long ago. But scientists say a megaflood could hit the entire state and would submerge cities, hitting communities of color particularly hard.

The state is nowhere near prepared for that. Today, our Masters of Disasters talk about this upcoming flood, what it could mean for a rising sea and more. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times earthquake-COVID reporter Ron Lin, L.A. Times coastal reporter Rosanna Xia, and L.A. Times environmental reporter Louis Sahagún

More reading:

Major flood would hit Los Angeles Black communities disproportionately hard, study finds

Risk of catastrophic California ‘megaflood’ has doubled due to global warming, researchers say

More than 400 toxic sites in California are at risk of flooding from sea level rise

Nov 30, 2022
A decade of downers with DACA

For the last decade, about 800,000 individuals who came to the United States as children but have no legal status have been protected from deportation by a program commonly referred to as DACA. It has allowed them to legally work, apply for driver's licenses and even travel abroad. But the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to strike DACA down, leaving the individuals enrolled with no clear step on how to legalize their status.Today, we hear from DACA recipients who aren't going to wait to find out and have moved from the U.S.. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guest: L.A. Times immigration reporter Andrea Castillo

More reading: Why these DACA recipients traded living in the U.S. for other countries 

‘I can’t keep fighting the system’: DACA recipients are leaving the U.S., disheartened by years of instability 

On the 10th anniversary of DACA, Janet Napolitano reflects on program she helped create

Nov 28, 2022
Mexico's unique, binational soccer fans

Right now, the eyes of much of the world is on the FIFA World Cup in Qatar as 32 teams fight for national pride. One team is Mexico, whose unique fanbase sets it apart from the world. With loyalties to both Mexico and the United States, it’s a representation of resilience, controversy and so much more.

Today, we examine the phenomenon. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Univisión News anchor León Krauze

More reading:

Watch “Al Grito de Guerra”

Gracias Fútbol: Reliving our favorite World Cup memories

This soccer-mad L.A. Latina has attended seven World Cups. Qatar will make it eight

Nov 25, 2022
Your future meal might be grasshoppers

Grasshopper hunting has been going on in Mexico for thousands of years, but lately eating them has gained wider acceptance. Consumption of the jumpy little protein-packed insects is booming, and more and more restaurants are putting them on the menu ... and not just in Mexico.

Today, chapulines, the world of harvesting and eating grasshoppers in Mexico. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Latin America correspondent Leila Miller

More reading:

Are grasshoppers as delicious as ham? Mexico’s insect hunters would like you to find out

Review: ‘Bugs’ documentary explores insect-eating as a cure for world hunger

This pop-up dinner menu is full of bugs. Yes, those kinds of bugs

Nov 23, 2022
Hospice for the homeless

The Inn Between in Salt Lake City offers a revolutionary program: hospice care for homeless individuals. We visit to see what resistance they have met — and what hope they've inspired.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times California politics reporter Mackenzie Mays

More reading: 

The place where homeless people come to die with dignity 

Column: He was homeless and in hospice. His recovery is a lesson in what it takes to save a life 

Column: Stalked by death, they are gathered off the streets and cared for by an army of angels

Nov 21, 2022
How ham radio can save Taiwan — and the world

Taiwan has more than 25,000 enthusiasts of ham radio, the antiquated communication technology that is increasingly being used in war zones when all other communications is down. If China declares war on Taiwan, then these ham radio enthusiasts could be crucial for civilians and officials alike — and can offer lessons for the rest of us.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times China correspondent Stephanie Yang

More reading:

If China declares war, these ham radio enthusiasts could be crucial

Living in space can get lonely. What helps? Talking to random people over ham radio

China on Taiwan: ‘External interference’ won’t be tolerated

Nov 18, 2022
When the celebrity bigot is a Black man

Right now, there’s a lot of attention being paid to Black male celebrities and their controversial statements and actions. Dave Chapelle has been criticized for his comments about trans people. Artist Ye (formerly Kanye West) and star NBA player Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets are under fire for pushing antisemitic sentiments.

It’s something we’ve seen before — but is there a double standard when the bigot is Black? Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times columnist LZ Granderson

More reading:

Column: Kanye West’s life and art are one. You don’t have to keep watching

Kyrie Irving suspended by Brooklyn Nets for failure to disavow antisemitism

Column: What I want Dave Chappelle to understand about the color of queerness

Nov 16, 2022
How to end political violence

Political violence has been a part of this country since its founding. But right now, many people feel it’s a disturbing trend on a sharp and dangerous upswing. Such acts of political violence started ramping up long before the midterm elections. And the people who study it are worried.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times national politics reporter Melanie Mason

More reading:

‘We are a tinderbox’: Political violence is ramping up, experts warn

Read our full coverage of the violent attack on Paul Pelosi

Rep. Steve Scalise and three others shot on a Virginia baseball field in apparent act of political violence

Nov 14, 2022
The slow trickle of election day

Election day has come and gone... kinda. Many races, both local and national, are still too close to call. And while the Republican Party is expected to take Congress, it’s not by the margin many had predicted. So what does all this mean for both parties? And what about 2024?

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times politics reporter Seema Mehta and L.A. Times L.A. mayoral race reporter Julia Wick

More reading:

Tapping into ‘a simmering rage’: Democrats’ emphasis on abortion stopped GOP gains

Democrats’ risky bet on GOP election deniers paid off. Should they do it again?

Why it could take weeks to get final L.A. election results. ‘We aren’t sitting on ballots’

Nov 11, 2022
Can Kevin McCarthy control Congress?

The results of the midterm elections are still being tabulated, but it looks like California Congressman Kevin McCarthy is likely to be the next speaker of the House if the Republican Party gains control. McCarthy has tied himself to former President Trump and all that comes with that affiliation, but what does the Bakersfield Republican really stand for, and how is he most likely to wield his new power?

Today, as part of our coverage of the 2022 midterms, what the early election results say about the power shift in Congress, the election in 2024, and the Republican leader at the center of it all.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guest: L.A. Times senior writer Jeffrey Fleishman

More reading:

Ambition keeps him loyal to Donald Trump. But what does Kevin McCarthy stand for?

2022 U.S. midterm elections: Live results

Democrats defy history with control of Congress still up for grabs

Nov 09, 2022
The Gen Z vote battle

Tuesday’s midterms are among the most consequential elections in decades. As Democrats and Republicans fight for control, there’s one group with millions of eligible voters that both parties desperately want: Generation Z.

Pundits point out that this generation is on track to be better educated, more ethnically diverse and more liberal than others. That would seem to bode well for the Democratic party and spell doom for the Republicans. But both parties wonder: Will Gen Z actually go out and vote?

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times staff writer Arit John

More reading:

Will young voters save Democrats in the midterm elections?

Gen Z students want better mental healthcare access on campus

Is it apathy or anxiety? What’s keeping some young Californians from voting

Nov 07, 2022
Uh-oh for U.K.'s new P.M.

Rishi Sunak made history last month as the first nonwhite person to become prime minister of the United Kingdom. But he inherits a country, a party and people in chaos. Sunak is the third prime minister in seven weeks for the U.K, as it grapples with economic problems and an identity crisis. Can a new face stop the decline?

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times foreign correspondent Jaweed Kaleem

More reading:

Rishi Sunak to be Britain’s new prime minister, the first person of color in the role

With another prime minister gone, what’s next for an already diminished Britain?

It’s a good time to be an American in Britain, as the pound declines in value

Nov 04, 2022
An audio ofrenda for Día de los Muertos

On Día de los Muertos, people across Mexico and the United States set up altars to remember loved ones who have died. But new traditions arise every year to commemorate the holiday: online tributes, public festivals and more.

In that spirit, we have decided to turn this episode into an audio ofrenda — a place to let listeners remember their loved ones. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Latino affairs editor Fidel Martinez, and our listeners

More reading:

Latinx Files: Why we built a Día de los Muertos digital altar

Día de los Muertos: How we remember our dearly departed

For this Oaxacan merchant, marigolds mean more than ever this Día de los Muertos

Nov 02, 2022
Dems try abortion-rights pitch with Latinos

The overturning of Roe vs. Wade this summer offered Democrats a new playbook for the Nov. 8 midterm elections when it comes to winning the Latino vote; promise to protect abortion rights. It’s a move that goes against the long-held assumption that Latinos skew socially conservative and hold antiabortion views rooted in their religious beliefs.

Today, as part of our ongoing coverage of the midterm elections; how a race in New Mexico gives us a window into the gamble that access to abortions can help Democrats win over Latinos. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times national political correspondent Melanie Mason

More reading:

Democrats are trying out a new pitch with Latino voters, one centered on abortion rights

Your guide to the 2022 California midterm election

Will young voters save Democrats in the midterm elections?

Oct 31, 2022
Our Masters of Disasters know it's windy

Who doesn’t like a nice breeze? A gorgeous zephyr? But the bad winds: They’re bad. And in Southern California right now, we’re going through some of the most notorious, bad winds of them all: the Santa Anas.

Today, our Masters of Disasters talk about the howling devil winds in honor of the spooky season. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times earthquake reporter Ron Lin, L.A. Times coastal reporter Rosanna Xia, and L.A. Times energy reporter Sammy Roth

More reading:

No emergency outages after Santa Ana winds prompted Southern California fire danger warnings

Why it’s been so warm and windy in Southern California this winter

Diablo winds can feed Northern California fires. Here’s how they form


Oct 28, 2022
The scandal at LA City Hall — again

It was the audio leak that created a political earthquake in Los Angeles.

Soon after the racist comments recorded during a private conversation among three council members and a labor leader leaked to the public, the fallout began. There’ve been resignations, rowdy protests at City Hall and more. The controversy has created a political opening that might fundamentally change the makeup of the City Council by pushing it even further to the left.

With midterms just two weeks away, today we talk about what’s next at L.A. City Hall. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporters Julia Wick and David Zahniser

More reading:

Racist audio leak could push L.A. City Hall further left in Nov. 8 election

Amid noisy protest, the L.A. City Council — listening via earbuds — conducts its business

Krekorian says he’ll work to restore trust in City Hall as L.A. City Council president

Oct 26, 2022
The fight over Squaw Valley's name

Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law last month to remove the word ‘Squaw’ from nearly 100 landmarks and place names across California. Native Americans and others are celebrating the new law because they find the term 'Squaw' offensive. But in Squaw Valley, an unincorporated area outside of Fresno, some residents want to keep the name. And Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig is siding with them.  Read the transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Lila Seidman

More reading: New law will remove the word ‘squaw’ from California place names

Native Americans want to ditch the name Squaw Valley. A county supervisor says context matters

Retiring its racist name, historic Squaw Valley resort will become Palisades Tahoe

Oct 24, 2022
Coyotes go urban; humans freak out

In June, at a Manhattan Beach City Council meeting, residents lined up to share their concerns about a predator that roams their streets, terrorizing them and killing their pets: coyotes. They’re an important part of the American West, but suburbanites are now advocating for their wholesale extermination. But is there another option, a way to co-exist peacefully?

Today, we examine this controversy. 

Oct 21, 2022
How Los Angeles got so overcrowded

Los Angeles for decades advertised itself as an American Eden. But it ignored repeated warnings about the consequences of overcrowding on the working class. Now, when the situation is worse than ever, calls to fix it continue to go nowhere.

Today, we talk about an L.A. Times analysis that found that more people are squeezing into fewer rooms in L.A. than any other large county in America. And it’s been a disaster for public health, even before COVID-19 began to spread. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times housing reporter Liam Dillon and features reporter Brittny Mejia

More reading:

Packed In: Overcrowded housing in Los Angeles has brought death by design

L.A.’s love of sprawl made it America’s most overcrowded place. The poor pay a deadly price

One family’s desperate act to escape overcrowding

Oct 19, 2022
Late-night TV fights for its life, again

For decades, late night television talk shows were where America snuggled up together and we laughed. The hosts were household names, but also very male and white. Things diversified a bit last decade with hosts like Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee. But now Bee’s show is gone and Noah is on his way out.

Today, what’s next for late-night television? It’s a uniquely American genre whose obituary has been written again and again, yet somehow continues to stumble along. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times television critic Lorraine Ali

More reading:

Trevor Noah’s exit won’t just hurt ‘The Daily Show.’ It’ll hurt all of late night

‘Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’ is the latest casualty in late-night TV’s reshuffle

After a major cast shake-up, ‘SNL’ confronts its weaknesses — but can’t overcome them

Oct 17, 2022
Sheriff Villanueva's unlikely rise to power

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to Alex Villanueva’s path to becoming the top cop in Los Angeles County. And that’s exactly what LAist Studios and KPCC do in a new five-part podcast series hosted by Frank Stoltze. Today, we play episode 1 of “Imperfect Paradise: Sheriff.”

The show begins with a scene of a very strange press conference: Villanueva is threatening to open a criminal investigation into L.A. Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian and Stoltze questions the sheriff about it. From there, Stoltze reflects on his time covering policing in L.A. County and explains how Villanueva is the product of a department that has been riddled with scandals for decades: racial profiling, jail violence and deputy gangs.

Host: Frank Stoltze

More reading:

Your guide to the L.A. County sheriff election: Alex Villanueva vs. Robert Luna

Dozens of Sheriff Villanueva’s donors received permits to carry guns in public

Column: L.A. County’s sheriff leans on his Latino identity. Does he exemplify our worst traits?


Oct 15, 2022
Dedicated to Art Laboe

Art Laboe’s voice filled Southern California airwaves for more than 70 years. But beyond being a beloved disc jockey whose show was eventually broadcast across the nation, Laboe spread a radical message of racial unity way before such messages became mainstream.

The prolific “Oldies but Goodies” radio legend died Oct. 7 of pneumonia. His death comes at a time when we need his message of tolerance more than ever. So today, a tribute to Art Laboe. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: TimesOC feature writer Gabriel San Román

More reading:

L.A.’s radio community pays tribute to Art Laboe, a legend and mentor: ‘End of an era’

Column: I’m playing an Art Laboe album to counteract the noxious vibe from L.A. City Hall

Art Laboe dies; his ‘Oldies but Goodies’ show ruled the L.A. airwaves

Oct 14, 2022
The leaked tape that upended L.A. politics

This week, the Los Angeles City Council made national headlines for all the wrong reasons. In a closed-door meeting, City Council President Nury Martinez made racist and disparaging remarks about colleagues to fellow council members, Kevin de León, Gil Cedillo and a well known labor leader.

The subsequent fallout has upended L.A. politics just before a crucial mayoral election. So now what? Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Benjamin Oreskes

More reading:

L.A. council members made racist comments in leaked audio. Read our full coverage

Breaking down crucial moments in the racist leaked recording of L.A. councilmembers

The fall of Nury Martinez: A blunt talker undone by her words


Oct 12, 2022
Gavin Newsom versus the world

It’s hard to avoid Gov. Gavin Newsom these days, even if you don’t live in California. He frequently attacks other governors, lobs daggers at members of his own Democratic Party, and expounds on the “California way” when talking about everything from abortion access to combating climate change and more. All this action on the national stage has people asking, is Newsom low-key testing the waters for a presidential run in 2024? And if not, what’s his endgame? Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times columnist Mark Barabak

More reading:

Column: Is Gavin Newsom running for president? Or is he just desperate for attention?

Column: If Newsom sees himself as president, he should move into position to run. That’s what he’s doing

Newsom slams red state governors on D.C. trip, stoking speculation about his future


Oct 10, 2022
Mexico's fermented drinks bubble up

For hundreds of years, Mexican fermented drinks like tepache, tejuino and pulque were looked down upon by polite society. But a younger generation in Mexico has embraced them for their taste and curative powers.

Now, they’re having a moment in the United States — and becoming a multimillion-dollar industry. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times food editor Daniel Hernandez

More reading:

Foggy, fizzy, buzzy: Searching for the fermented drinks of Mexico on the streets of L.A.

Between heaven and earth, a spirited communion on Day of the Dead

Recipe: Homemade tepache

Oct 07, 2022
The Iranian diaspora rises up

Mahsa Amini died Sept. 16 in Iran after an encounter with the country’s so-called morality police. Since her death, Iranians have taken to the streets in protest of the country’s modesty laws. But what began as a call for women’s rights in Iran has since ballooned into something so much bigger.

Today, we hear from the Iranian diaspora about why they’re protesting in solidarity. Read the full transcript here.

Host: L.A. Times podcast producer Asal Ehsanipour

Guests: L.A. Times diaspora reporter Sarah Parvini

More reading:

‘Woman, life, freedom’: L.A. protest over Iran draws thousands

Nothing to lose’: Iran’s protesters step up their defiance as a potential showdown looms

In protests over death of Mahsa Amini, internet is key to planning. Can Iran block access?

Oct 05, 2022
The sketchy test sending moms to prison

There’s a test used across Latin America to determine whether a baby was born dead or alive. And depending on the result, it could allow prosecutors to bring murder charges against mothers who might have had a still-born birth. And there’s an even bigger problem. This test is 400 years old and very unreliable.

Today, how the so-called flotation test is sending women to prison for killing their newborns, when they say that they’re innocent. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times foreign correspondent Leila Miller

More reading:

An unreliable 400-year-old test is sending mothers to prison for killing their newborns

Across Latin America, abortion restrictions are being loosened

Thousands of feminists march in Mexico City: ‘I am scared to simply be a woman in Mexico’

Oct 03, 2022
The rise, fall and rise of Lula

Brazilians are heading to the polls on Sunday to choose between two very different candidates: current president Jair Bolsonaro and a former one, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, more popularly known as Lula. The icon of the left spent years in prison on corruption charges but is now on the cusp of regaining the presidency.

Today, we talk about how that happened. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Latin America correspondent Kate Linthicum

More reading:

Three years ago he was in prison. Now he’s poised to be Brazil’s next president

Echoing Trump, Brazil’s president prepares for election loss by declaring vote rigged

COVID-19 cautionary tales from India and Brazil


Sep 30, 2022
The fight to become L.A. County sheriff

Alex Villanueva was elected as Los Angeles County sheriff in 2018 with support from progressives riding an anti-Trump wave. But since he took office, he has shifted to the right. His opponent in the November election, retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, leads in the polls.

But at a time when issues surrounding law enforcement are part of a national conversation, how much do they differ? We talk about it, as we hear from both candidates at a debate this month. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times law enforcement reporter Alene Tchekmedyian

More reading:

Luna, Villanueva trade charges in antagonistic L.A. sheriff debate

Alex Villanueva thought his ‘Quien es más Latino?’ strategy would sink his opponent. Nope

Sheriff Villanueva in tight race as challenger Robert Luna has edge in new poll

Sep 28, 2022
Masters of Disasters: Broken records!

Record heat. Record drought. Record floods. Record hail. Record bad air. In a world where climate disasters seem to break records every year, do records even mean anything anymore? And if not, then what’s next when it comes to measuring climate misery?

Today, we reconvene our Masters of Disasters to examine this existential question. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times wildfire reporter Alex Wigglesworth, L.A. Times energy reporter Sammy Roth, and L.A. Times air quality reporter Tony Briscoe.

More reading:

Destructive rain in Death Valley, flooded Vegas casinos mark a summer of extreme weather

As forests go up in smoke, so will California’s climate plan

California’s epic heat wave is over. Here’s what we learned

Sep 26, 2022
Crimes for rhymes?

There are dozens if not hundreds of cases involving prosecutors using rap lyrics that are about crimes as evidence of actual crimes, even when there was no other credible evidence. But finally, the recording industry and California lawmakers are pushing to put an end to the practice.

Today, we talk about groundbreaking legislation that could limit how music is used as evidence in criminal court. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times columnist Erika D. Smith

More reading:

Column: America loves rap, not Black people. Don’t be fooled because this bill protects lyrics

Rapper ‘Tiny Doo’ and college student arrested under controversial gang law get day in court against police

San Diego council approves $1.5M payout to two men jailed under controversial gang law

Sep 23, 2022
Legal pot in California sparks corruption

Ever since California legalized cannabis in 2016, the state’s weed market has become a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s estimated to be the largest legal market of its kind in the world. But whenever you get that much money anywhere; well, you’re gonna get political corruption.

Today, our investigation into how illegal moves around marijuana are plaguing city halls across the state. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times investigative reporter Adam Elmahrek

More reading:

$250,000 cash in a brown paper bag.’ How legal weed unleashed corruption in California

Legal Weed, Broken Promises: A Times series on the fallout of legal pot in California

Would this California town have become so pro-cannabis if not for a councilwoman’s pot industry ties?

Sep 21, 2022
How L.A.’s next mayor will handle homelessness

Housing L.A.’s homeless population has unsurprisingly proved to be a herculean task. With tens of thousands of people on the streets, it’s become a top issue for this year’s mayoral election in November. But until now, neither candidate — Congresswoman Karen Bass and real estate developer Rick Caruso — had offered specifics on the type of housing they would create, where it would be or how much it would cost.

So we asked. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporters Ben Oreskes and Doug Smith

More reading:

Bass and Caruso have talked big on homelessness. Now they’re offering some details

Can Bass or Caruso solve the L.A. homeless housing crisis? Here are their divergent plans

Bass, Caruso sling mud over USC scholarship, alleged hacks and homelessness fixes

Sep 19, 2022
Back to the moon — and beyond?

Sometime soon, NASA plans to launch a powerful new rocket. The launch is part of an ambitious quest to get people back to the moon for the first time in half a century — and just maybe, even further.

Today, why the U.S. and its partners are determined to go back to the moon and the role politics plays when we reach for the stars. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times business reporter Samantha Masunaga

More reading:

NASA’s return to the moon is delayed again after scrub because of fuel leak

Column One: 50 years after Apollo 11, the moon’s allure still resonates

Readers remember the Apollo 11 moon landing, 50 years later

Sep 16, 2022
How illegal cannabis smoked California

California voters legalized cannabis in 2016, and one of the issues that was supposed to be solved was the violence and environmental wreckage associated with the drug’s illegal trade. But that hasn’t happened.

Inside California’s famed “Emerald Triangle,” a region north of San Francisco known for its weed, there’s an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 illegal cannabis farms alone. The under-the-radar cultivation is messing with once-peaceful communities. Today, we get into this issue. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times investigative reporter Paige St. John

More reading:

Legal Weed, Broken Promises: A Times series on the fallout of legal pot in California

Nobody knows how widespread illegal cannabis grows are in California. So we mapped them

The reality of legal weed in California: Huge illegal grows, violence, worker exploitation and deaths

Sep 14, 2022
A wildfire with your Airbnb?

A Los Angeles Times analysis found that thousands of short-term Airbnb rentals are in California’s most hazardous fire zones. But the company does not provide warnings or evacuation information to guests when they make a reservations, and some customers say the company’s refund policy adds to the potential dangers.

Today, as climate change threatens so many aspects of our lives, are even our vacations not safe anymore? Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporters Ben Poston and Alex Wigglesworth

More reading:

In California’s high-risk fire country, Airbnb offers guests no warning or escape plan

Is your vacation rental in a risky wildfire zone? What you need to know

California fires are burning faster, hotter, more intensely — and getting harder to fight

Sep 12, 2022
Fast cars, furious residents

Street takeovers. Street races. Burnouts. They’re the latest manifestations of car culture in the region — cousins to the drag races, lowrider cruises, V-dub love-ins and other gear-head gatherings that’ve gone on here for decades. But what you’re seeing right now — a lot of people say the scene feels different. And some people say the film franchise “Fast & Furious” is to blame.

In a region where car culture is king and stunts are all over social media, residents, politicians and law enforcement have had enough. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Nathan Solis

More reading:

Inside L.A.’s deadly street takeover scene: ‘A scene of lawlessness’

19 cars seized, 27 arrested in illegal street takeover in Pomona

LA Times Today: Dangerous street takeovers take a deadly toll on L.A.

Sep 09, 2022
A Wyoming wind farm to power California

There’s a Gold Rush right now happening in Wyoming — for wind. Billionaire developers are putting up wind turbines to help power California and turn the American West, long a place where fossil fuels ruled, into a green energy powerhouse.

But not everyone is happy. Today, we get into the challenges around what’s planned to be the largest wind farm in the country. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times energy reporter Sammy Roth

More reading:

Read our “Repowering the West” series here

This power line could save California — and forever change the American West

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Sep 07, 2022
An unprecedented use of Mexico's military

Mexico president Andrés Manuel López Obrador came into office promising to get the military off the streets. Instead, he’s more than doubled their numbers. He claims there’s just no other way to handle Mexico’s narco-violence.

Today, we look at Mexico’s delicate dance with its military. It’s an institution that’s among the most trusted in the nation, and potentially its most dangerous. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Latin America correspondent Kate Linthicum

More reading:

Mexico’s president vowed to end the drug war. Instead he’s doubled the number of troops in the streets

Mexico’s military gains power as president turns from critic to partner

Mexico sent in the army to fight the drug war. Many question the toll on society and the army itself

Sep 02, 2022
Melanie Lynskey gets very real with us

For her role as Shauna in “Yellowjackets,” Melanie Lynskey has an Emmy nomination for lead actress in a drama series. 

Today, we've got another episode from our sister podcast "The Envelope." Lynskey joins host Yvonne Villarreal to dish on how this year has helped her feel more empowered and less underestimated, arriving at a place of self-love after struggling with an eating disorder, and why now is the time for ferocious female characters. She also busts out her Drew Barrymore impression and gets a brief, adorable visit from a special guest. Read the full transcript here

Host: Yvonne Villarreal 

Guest: Melanie Lynskey

More reading: 

‘Yellowjackets’ star Melanie Lynskey is celebrating her Emmy nod by ... buying a fridge

‘Yellowjackets’ creators break down ‘heartbreaking’ finale — and your fan theories

Sebastian Stan, Melanie Lynskey and more discuss teaching directors about acting

Sep 01, 2022
Less loan debt, more midterm love for Dems?

Millions of Americans who attended college could have their debt completely canceled or reduced under a plan announced by President Joe Biden last week. But the move is unsurprisingly stirring debate among the right and left, but for completely different reasons.

Today, we talk about how this announcement might impact the midterms. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times national reporter Arit John

More reading:

For many with student loans, the interest hurts the most. This congressman would know

Student loan forgiveness: Everything you need to know

Why Californians with student loans will gain massively from forgiveness plan

Aug 31, 2022
The Haitian dream for America

After displacement from Haiti, an exodus from South America and an epic journey through the Americas, what became of Haitians’ American dream? Today, in the final episode of the “Line in the Land” podcast produced by Texas Public Radio and the Houston Chronicle, we hear from Haitian migrants about where they ended up. Read the full transcript here.

Hosts: Joey Palacios of Texas Public Radio, and Elizabeth Trovall with the Houston Chronicle

More reading:

Listen to all “Line in the Land” episodes

The Times podcast: Our nation’s Haitian double standard

Haitians in L.A. Spread Out and Blend In

This podcast is made possible by the Catana Foundation, supporting the asylum seeker advocacy project, providing more than 100,000 asylum seekers in the U.S. with community and legal support. Learn more at For the Spanish version of this episode, listen here.

Aug 30, 2022
Hope, struggles for Afghan refugees in U.S.

One year ago this month, U.S. forces left Afghanistan after 20 years of war. Some 94,000 Afghan nationals, American citizens and lawful permanent residents have arrived in the U.S. as part of Operation Allies Welcome, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Today, we hear some of their stories. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times diaspora reporter Sarah Parvini and photojournalist Marcus Yam

More reading:

They escaped Afghanistan for California and beyond. But war’s struggles followed them

The things they carried when they fled Afghanistan

The cadence of war and its human toll: A photojournalist’s perspective

A Times journalist’s diary inside the fall of Afghanistan


Aug 29, 2022
On the GOAT-ness of Serena Williams

In 1999 in New York, Serena Williams won her first major tennis title at the U.S. Open. Everyone knew she was gonna be a star in the sport and a transformational one too, but few thought she would become the greatest of all time.

Today, we talk about the legacy of Serena Williams, not just as an athlete, but as a woman — a Black woman. And what’s next for the tennis icon. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Broadcast journalist Cari Champion

More reading:

Column: Serena Williams makes a conscious choice to give up tennis and focus on her family

Column: The mind of Serena Williams

LA Times Today: Serena Williams’ legacy on and off the court

Aug 26, 2022
Colman Domingo on redemption and forgiveness

For his role as Ali in “Euphoria,” Colman Domingo has an Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actor in a drama series. Today, we've got another episode from our sister podcast, "The Envelope." Domingo joins "The Envelope" host Mark Olsen to discuss how his character — who is the sponsors to a struggling teenage drug addict played by Zendaya — is a symbol of redemption and forgiveness, which he feels our culture desperately needs. He also dishes on why he calls himself a nerd, how he almost walked away from his career, and why being “a shapeshifter” means his real-life looks take people by surprise. Read the full transcript here.

More reading:

Colman Domingo creates a theater award for Black men

The lives of Colman Domingo: acting in ‘Fear the Walking Dead,’ writing ‘Dot,’ directing ‘Barbecue’ at the Geffen

Zendaya hopes ‘Euphoria’ fans ‘still see the good’ in Rue after she ‘hits rock bottom’

Aug 25, 2022
Goodbye, new gas stations in California?

Surprise, surprise: California cities are banning new gas stations and other cities across the world are watching. The bans are part of an ongoing quest to combat climate change, this time on a local municipal level. The movement is small so far, but now even the car capital of the world, Los Angeles, is thinking about it.

Today, what would happen if L.A. hops on this no-new-gas-station brigade. And what we can learn from the cities that’ve already done it. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Fast Break Desk reporter Grace Toohey

More reading:

California cities ban new gas stations in battle to combat climate change

Editorial: Ban new gas stations? There are better ways for L.A. to ditch fossil fuels

LA Times Today: California cities ban new gas stations to combat climate change

Aug 24, 2022
How Haiti got here

When an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, the international community pledged billions of dollars toward recovery. Much of that aid never went to rebuilding Haiti – or even to the Haitian people. But Haiti’s instability goes back even farther. In fact, it has a lot to do with outside political forces dating back to the country’s origin story as the world’s first Black republic.

Today, episode 4 of “Line in the Land,” a podcast from Texas Public Radio and the Houston Chronicle. We’ll be back with episode 5 next Tuesday. We’re airing an episode from “A Line in the Land” every Tuesday through the end of August.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Joey Palacios with Texas Public Radio and Elizabeth Trovall with the Houston Chronicle.

More reading:

Haiti’s struggle has worsened in the year since the slaying of its president

As Haiti reels from crises, U.S. policy decisions are called into question

Op-Ed: The West owes a centuries-old debt to Haiti

Binge all the episodes of "Line in the Land" here. Episodes are in both English and Spanish. "Line in the Land" was made possible, in part, by the Catena Foundation, providing more than 100,000 asylum seekers in the U.S. with community and legal support. Learn more at

Aug 23, 2022
When your anti-Black coworker is Latino

Two of the largest race discrimination cases investigated by the federal government in the past decade allege widespread abuse of hundreds of Black employees by supervisors and coworkers at warehouses in Southern California’s Inland Empire. Anti-black bias on the job is sadly nothing new. But as the Latino population across the US, and especially California continues to grow, anti-Black bias by Latinos in the workplace is drawing renewed scrutiny.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times labor reporter Margot Roosevelt

More reading:

In California’s largest race bias cases, Latino workers are accused of abusing Black colleagues

Horrific allegations of racism prompt California lawsuit against Tesla

Fight over jobs divides interests of Blacks, Latinos

Aug 22, 2022
Who is America?

Since the start of 2021, L.A. Times national correspondent Tyrone Beason has been on the road. He’s doing what a lot of us are thinking about: he’s on a quest to find out what’s up with the United States. In a year-long series called “My Country,” Beason has been trying to find the things that bind us, while also trying to make sense of the issues that keep tearing us apart.

Today, we check in with Beason and hear some of his dispatches. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times national correspondent Tyrone Beason

More reading:

Read Tyrone Beason’s full “My Country” series here

In the vastness of the Inland Empire, people of color find ‘peace in these troubled times’

This California wine country town is multicultural. So why do so many feel invisible?

Aug 19, 2022
Better call Rhea Seehorn

For her role as the ethically flexible attorney Kim Wexler in “Better Call Saul,” Rhea Seehorn is nominated for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series. She joins “The Envelope” host Yvonne Villarreal to delve into the show’s last twists and turns and talk about the scariest day on the set. Seehorn also discusses her efforts to balance gratitude with confidence and shares stories about how her father’s alcoholism shaped her. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Yvonne Villarreal

Guests: Rhea Seehorn

More reading:

Rhea Seehorn knows her ‘Better Call Saul’ character is toast. And she’s loving every minute

A couple that schemes together, dreams together

Rhea Seehorn on reading a ‘Better Call Saul’ script: ‘I’m not dead yet. Are you dead?’

Aug 18, 2022
Babies at a bargain, pricey problems

Decades ago, when you couldn’t conceive or carry a child, your options for becoming a parent were limited. But then in 1978, in-vitro fertilization became possible. But IVF can be very expensive. And one method in particular can lead to heartache and scandal.

Today, how one woman’s attempt to offer more affordable surrogacy services collapsed, leaving in its wake heartbroken couples, frustrated surrogates and an FBI investigation. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Former L.A. Times national correspondent Emily Baumgaertner

More reading:

She promised babies at bargain prices using surrogates in Mexico. Now the FBI is investigating

LA Times Today: Why the FBI is investigating surrogates in Mexico

The audio of the first test tube baby, Louise Brown, is from a video news release produced by London Television Service and made available by the BFI National Archive. 

Aug 17, 2022
Life and death in the Darién Gap

To get to the U.S. border from South America, Haitians have to trek through an isolated stretch of jungle called the Darién Gap. In the latest episode of “Line in the Land,” a podcast produced by the Houston Chronicle and Texas Public Media, Haitian migrants take listeners with them on a jungle journey like no other. Read the full transcript here. 

Hosts: Joey Palacios and Elizabeth Trovall

More reading:

Lost in the deep of Darien

Crossing the Darién Gap

This remote sliver of northwest Colombia is one of the world’s busiest migration corridors

Binge all the episodes of Line in the Land here. Episodes are in both English and Spanish. A Line in the Land was made possible, in part, by the Catena Foundation, providing more than 100,000 asylum seekers in the U.S. with community and legal support. Learn more at

Aug 16, 2022
The parents at the epicenter of a culture war

Last year, frustrations over COVID-related school closures slammed into the nation’s culture war and tipped an election. It all started in Virginia’s Loudoun County, whose schools became a lightning rod as they grappled with mask mandates, a bathroom policy for transgender students and efforts to fix systemic racial discrimination.

Today, we discuss how conservative parents in Virginia began a powerful nationwide movement and how Democrats are trying to win this important voting bloc back. We also explore how parents in Loudoun County really feel. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guest: L.A. Times White House reporter Courtney Subramanian

More reading:

Focus on the economy, not ‘critical race theory’ or sex ed: Inside Democrats’ plan to win back parents

School boards become battle zones over COVID-19 rules, critical race theory, trans students

Opinion: Teachers have to put the welfare of transgender students before their own beliefs

Aug 15, 2022
Why Wyoming's "brand" hates Liz Cheney

You might know Liz Cheney for her recent leadership of the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Her prominent role in the televised hearings has boosted her status nationally, but back at home, in conservative Wyoming, Cheney has effectively been disowned. Her vote to impeach President Trump and the decision to take part in the investigation has forced her into a sort of exile from her home state.

Aug 12, 2022
Sweet, scary, sad, silly Bill Hader

Bill Hader became popular on "Saturday Night Live" with silly characters like Stefon, but his titular character on the HBO show "Barry" is more twisted and brilliant. It’s a great dark comedy about a hitman who wants to become an actor and how his worlds collide. 

In this conversation with “The Envelope” host Mark Olsen, Bill brings both the fun and the darkness: He’s pleasant and light, and he laughs while talking about some of the most disturbing things on his show. Read the full transcript here.

Aug 11, 2022
House music forever

This summer, some of the biggest names in music decided that we all need to dance. Drake, Beyoncé, Charlie XCX, Bad Bunny — they all departed from their usual styles to create albums inspired by a genre called house music.

Today, we talk about how house music became the sound of liberation and why it’s back and more mainstream than ever.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times pop music reporter August Brown

More reading:

Beyoncé returns with liberating house jam ‘Break My Soul’

The Gold Line carries house music to downtown L.A.

The Beyoncé effect: ‘Break My Soul’ propels ’90s star Robin S and the Great Resignation

Aug 10, 2022
A Haitian Odyssey Episode 2: Chile

Today, we offer episode 2 of “A Line in the Land,” from our friends at Texas Public Radio and the Houston Chronicle. It’s a podcast that explores the human story behind the Haitian immigration journey. On this episode, hosts Elizabeth Trovall and Joey Palacios try to answer the question of why many Haitians went to Chile after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake. And what happened to those refugees when the Chilean government became more hostile to immigration. 

Aug 09, 2022
Taiwan prepares for China's wrath

Last week, Nancy Pelosi became the first House Speaker  in a quarter century to visit Taiwan. China viewed Pelosi’s trip as a direct challenge. As tensions over the self-governed island ratchet up, Taiwan is preparing for war. But are its people ready?

Aug 08, 2022
Jennifer Coolidge welcomes her closeup

Jennifer Coolidge has a career full of memorable roles, from the “American Pie” franchise to the “Legally Blonde” series and the mock documentaries of Christopher Guest. But it wasn’t until her role in HBO’s hit “The White Lotus” that she finally earned critical respect. Today, Coolidge talks about her life and career — and what’s next. Read the full transcript here.

Hosts: Mark Olsen and Yvonne Villarreal

Guests: Jennifer Coolidge

More reading:

Column: Jennifer Coolidge has been a big deal for years; with an Emmy nod, she’s starting to believe it

Jennifer Coolidge gets vulnerable

Jennifer Coolidge dreamed of being a dramatic actor. ‘White Lotus’ was her chance e-envelope-podcast

Aug 05, 2022
Vin Scully, the greatest

Vin Scully was the broadcaster for the Dodgers baseball franchise for 67 years, from its time in Brooklyn through its move to Los Angeles. In the process, he not only became a sports legend; he became a summer soundtrack for generations of fans in Southern California and beyond.

Today, we remember the life and legacy of Vin Scully. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Former fellow for The Times, Angel Carreras

Guests: L.A. Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Jaime Jarrín, sportscaster Bob Costas

More reading:

Complete coverage: Remembering the life of Dodgers announcer Vin Scully (1927-2022)

Column: Vin Scully’s voice, a serenade of rebirth, will live on forever in Los Angeles

Column: Vaya con Dios, Vin Scully — a beacon of possibility for generations in L.A.

Aug 04, 2022
A place of friendship at the border closes

On the U.S.-Mexico border, where San Diego ends and Tijuana begins right next to the Pacific Ocean, there’s a place called Friendship Park. It opened over 50 years ago and was meant to be a symbol of the binational community that stretches across the border. Friendship Park eventually became an unlikely place for poignant cross-border reunions.

But since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Friendship Park has been shut down. And there’s a good chance it might not reopen. We get into its history and future today. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: San Diego Union-Tribune border reporter Kate Morrissey

More reading:

Once a symbol of binational unity, Friendship Park could close to cross-border reunions forever

Wall going up in Friendship Park at U.S.-Mexico border

U.S. side of a binational garden at Mexico border bulldozed

Aug 03, 2022
A Haitian Odyssey Episode 1: Texas

We bring you episode 1 of “Line in the Land,” a new podcast from Texas Public Radio and the Houston Chronicle that explores the human story behind the Haitians traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border in search of a better life. Read the full transcript here.

Hosts: Joey Palacios with Texas Public Radio, and Elizabeth Trovall with the Houston Chronicle.

More reading:

Inside the brutal 10,000-mile journey Haitian migrants make in search of a home

Podcast: Our nation’s Haitian double standard

Opinion: Helping one child at a time in Haiti 10 years after the devastation

Aug 02, 2022
Her life, her body, her death

On July 16, Gabriella Walsh carried out a decision months in the making; a process involving her loved ones and medical providers. She drank a fatal dose of medication prescribed under California’s so-called death-with-dignity law, which allows some terminally ill patients to request drugs to end their lives.

Today, we tell the story of Walsh, and hear her talk about why she decided to end her life on her own terms. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Marisa Gerber, and L.A. Times photographer Dania Maxwell

More reading:

One last trip: Gabriella Walsh’s decision to die — and celebrate life — on her own terms

Death-with-dignity movement springs back to life in California

California lawmakers vote to speed up state process for terminally ill to end their lives


Aug 01, 2022
What you need to know about monkeypox

Monkeypox is on the rise, and now officially considered a global health emergency. Cases in the U.S. number in the thousands and only took a week to double here in Los Angeles. The viral disease has, so far, mostly affected the LGBTQ community, but anyone can get it. So how worried should we be?

Today, we talk about what to know and answer listener questions. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times breaking news reporter Grace Toohey

More reading:

Monkeypox spreads in L.A. County, but vaccine shortage persists. What to know

World Health Organization declares monkeypox a global emergency

San Francisco officials declare state of emergency as monkeypox spreads

Jul 29, 2022
The drought, this time in northern Mexico

A drought has drained the reservoirs that provide most of the water for 5 million residents who live around Monterrey, the financial capital of northern Mexico. The crisis has sparked widespread upheaval. Anger is mounting at government officials who allow the region’s factories to continue pulling water from the strained aquifer via private wells while some residents are left without water for days.

Today, we take a look at the city and an unfolding crisis that experts say is a stark warning for the rest of Mexico and the American West. Read the full transcript.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times foreign correspondent Kate Linthicum

More reading:

Taps have run dry in Monterrey, Mexico, where there is water for factories but not for residents

Podcast: Drought wants your carne asada and iPhone

Western megadrought is worst in 1,200 years, intensified by climate change, study finds


Jul 28, 2022
He took Trump's Jan. 6 close-up

The Jan. 6 House subcommittee investigating the events of that day have poured through thousands of hours of videos. But during the hearings, the public also got a sneak preview of even more moments caught on tape — from a documentary that tells the events of the U.S. Capitol insurrection through a behind-the-scenes view of Donald Trump.

Today, we’re talking with documentary filmmaker Alex Holder about his movie “Unprecedented,” which aired this month on Discovery Plus. The documentary offers an inside view into the Trump organization right as Jan. 6 was happening. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Filmmaker Alex Holder

More reading:

Jan. 6 panel to receive Trump family footage from 2020 election and Capitol insurrection

Five takeaways from the Trump Jan. 6 documentary ‘Unprecedented’

A new Trump doc was subpoenaed by Jan. 6 committee. It’s not as revelatory as it sounds

Jul 27, 2022
What do Gillian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt have in common?

It’s Emmy season, so we’ve got another episode of the “Envelope” for you. This time, it’s an in-depth conversation with Gillian Anderson, who plays Eleanor Roosevelt in “The First Lady.” Anderson talks about how Eleanor Roosevelt was the brains behind the FDR presidency, the focus on Roosevelt’s loving relationship with journalist Lorena Hickok in “The First Lady,” and why it took her some time to click with “Sex Education.” Taking on a historical figure isn’t new for Anderson — who also plays Margaret Thatcher in “The Crown” and Catherine’s mother, Joanna, in “The Great.” Nor is portraying a character who stays in her lane, which wasn’t a stretch from Anderson’s own personality. Follow the "Envelope" wherever you listen to podcasts.  Read the full transcript here.

Jul 26, 2022
Beyoncé, Beyoncé, Beyoncé — Beyoncé!

Beyoncé is getting ready to bring the world her seventh studio album this Friday. Rumors are already swirling about what genre she’ll showcase, what themes she’ll explore and more.

We already got a hint with the single “Break My Soul,” which has popped across dance floors all summer. Even if you’re not part of Beyoncé's Beyhive counting down the days until the album release, it’s hard to deny that the artist is iconic — a total game changer.

But how did she get here, and how does she remain relevant? We get into that today. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times pop music critic Mikael Woods

More reading:

Beyoncé has made music history — again — with chart-topping ‘Break My Soul’

Beyoncé's ‘Renaissance’ album cover is here. Saddle up and bow down to the queen

Beyoncé returns with liberating house jam ‘Break My Soul’


Jul 25, 2022
The 411 on the 988 suicide hotline

Remember this number: 988. The new three-digit hotline is now the 911 equivalent for mental health emergencies. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And experts say the pandemic, racial violence and political unrest are behind an uptick in suicides across the country. That’s why last weekend’s launch of the nationwide mental health crisis hotline couldn’t come soon enough.

Today, as part of “For Your Mind,” Los Angeles Times’ new initiative exploring mental health from multiple angles, we talk about the hopes and challenges ahead for the 988 hotline. Will it help fundamentally change how the U.S. treats and considers mental health, or will it fail like so many efforts before it? Read the full transcript here. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Jaclyn Cosgrove, assistant editor at the Los Angeles Times and manager of “For Your Mind”

More reading:

Op-Ed: Will the new 988 hotline be a game changer for mental health or a missed opportunity?

New 988 hotline is the 911 for mental health emergencies

Editorial: For crisis response, press 988 — and pass a bill to keep it funded

Jul 22, 2022
Musicians for abortion rights redux

When the annual Glastonbury music festival happened this year, performers openly criticized on stage the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, which happened that same week. It recalled a similar movement nearly 30 years earlier, when feminist rock groups started Rock for Choice and rallied a generation to fight for abortion access.

Today, the history of that movement — and whether it can happen again. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times music reporter Suzy Exposito

More reading:

In the ’90s, a new breed of rock stars organized for abortion rights. Could that happen today?

Phoebe Bridgers, Olivia Rodrigo and other performers slam Supreme Court at Glastonbury

POP MUSIC REVIEW : Bands get together for Rock for Choice

Jul 21, 2022
Simone Ashley’s ‘Bridgerton’ breakthrough

It’s Emmy season, so we’re dropping another episode of our sister podcast, the “Envelope." Today, an in-depth conversation with actor Simone Ashley. 

Ashley has always been a fan of the romance genre, but before being cast as Kate in “Bridgerton,” playing the lead in a period drama seemed improbable to her. “I never imagined that a woman who looked like me could be a part of one,” she says. In this episode of "The Envelope" podcast, Ashley discusses embracing the political aspects of her career, how acting on “Sex Education” prepared her for "Bridgerton" and how her upbringing taught her to dream big. 

Subscribe to the "Envelope" here and never miss an episode.

Jul 20, 2022
Pregnant and homeless in Hollywood

In 2018, the L.A. Times began to follow Mckenzie Trahan, a pregnant homeless woman living in Hollywood. Over the next four years, a Times reporter, photographer and videographer tracked Trahan’s life as she tried to find housing and become a mom. Today, we hear about her journey. Read the full transcript here. 

Host: L.A. Times photographer Christina House

More reading:

Pregnant, homeless and living in a tent: Meet Mckenzie

She spent decades as a nomad. But her daughter’s pregnancy brought her back to L.A.

We chronicled one homeless woman’s motherhood journey since 2018

Jul 19, 2022
Burnout at the front lines of disasters

So many disasters, so little time. And it’s the same group of people on the front lines, year after year. What happens when they get tired? Today, our Masters of Disaster talk about burnout among firefighters, scientists, doctors and the people we trust to take on the biggest calamities nature throws at us — as well as how to hold on to a little hope. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporters Rong-Gong Lin II, Rosanna Xia and Alex Wigglesworth

More reading:

Hellish fires, low pay, trauma: California’s Forest Service firefighters face a morale crisis

Almost 9 in 10 Californians live in areas with high COVID-19 levels as BA.5 fuels infections

Editorial: Let’s make 2022 the year we all get angry about climate inaction

Jul 18, 2022
The mountain lion that captured L.A.'s heart

He’s animal royalty in the City of Angels; an ambassador for conservation and for the random beauty this megalopolis offers. But P-22 is also a poster boy for something sadder. The mountain lion is thought to be about 12, and nearing the end of his life. He’s an eternal bachelor, cut off from the rest of his species and a symbol of what’s left of LA’s once-incredible ecosystems that are just barely holding on.

Today, the story of the cougar who stole L.A.'s heart. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times enterprise reporter Laura J. Nelson

More reading:

He’s terminally single and getting old. What’s next for P-22, L.A.’s favorite wild bachelor?

A week in the life of P‑22, the big cat who shares Griffith Park with millions of people

Must Reads: Mountain lions are being killed on freeways and weakened by inbreeding. Researchers have a solution


Jul 15, 2022
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, together for us

It’s Emmys season, and the “Envelope” is here for it. So once a week for the next couple of weeks, we’re going to feature an episode of our sister podcast in “The Times.” First up: Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, who recently wrapped up their much-beloved Netflix series, “Grace and Frankie.” In this episode, the duo laugh and cry with us while reflecting on their decades long friendship, their mutual admiration for their “9 to 5” co-star Dolly Parton, who reunited with them for the final episode, and the lies people tell about aging and death. Subscribe to the "Envelope" here or wherever you listen to podcasts. Read the full transcript here. 

Jul 14, 2022
What happened to Lora Lee, Part 2

For over a year, L.A. Times entertainment reporter Stacy Perman tried to track down Lora Lee Michel, a former child star whose custody case scandalized 1940s Hollywood. Michel went through a string of marriages — and then disappeared.

In Part 2 of our miniseries, Perman finds out Michel’s shocking fate. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times entertainment reporter Stacy Perman

More reading:

Podcast: What happened to Lora Lee? Part 1

A child star at 7, in prison at 22. Then she vanished. What happened to Lora Lee Michel?

Explaining Hollywood: Your child wants to act. What do you need to know?

Jul 13, 2022
What Happened to Lora Lee?

Throughout the history of Hollywood, child entertainers have consistently clashed with their parents and guardians who manage their money and lives. The stories of kid stars like Britney Spears and Gary Coleman are well known. But long before them, was child actor Lora Lee Michel. In the 1940s, Michel became a famed Hollywood actress at age 7, working alongside screen legends like Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper. But by the time she was 22, she landed in prison. Then she disappeared.

Today, part 1 of a two-part series tracing Michel’s life. It’s a story that reveals the underbelly of Hollywood’s Golden Age and the perils facing child actors. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Company Town reporter Stacy Perman

More reading:

A child star at 7, in prison at 22. Then she vanished. What happened to Lora Lee Michel?

An old VHS tape gives a son a glimpse of his father’s shot at fame in 1960s Hollywood

Explaining Hollywood: Your child wants to act. What do you need to know?

Jul 12, 2022
California's carbon-capture controversy

Lawmakers want California to eliminate the state’s carbon footprint altogether by 2045. They’re taking all sorts of steps to get to that ambitious goal; from phasing out gas-powered engines in new cars and lawnmowers to electrifying home stoves. But there’s an even bigger plan ahead, one that environmental experts say could derail it all.

Today, we talk about California’s plan to pump carbon gas into the ground. It sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, but that’s exactly what California says is key to be able to make the state carbon neutral. Can it work? Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times air quality reporter Tony Briscoe

More reading:

Pollution from California’s 2020 wildfires likely offset decades of air quality gains

How California will fight Supreme Court’s limits on EPA climate enforcement

Jul 11, 2022
Biden's bold moves abroad to win at home

In the 5 months since Russia’s invasion, the American public’s attention has turned back to problems at home — and US President Joe Biden hasn’t gotten a good grade for his handling of them. But last week, he was able to lead major policy breakthroughs at the NATO and G7 summits.

Today, can President Biden’s push to spread democracy abroad help him deal with various crises back home? Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times White House reporter Eli Stokols

More reading:

News Analysis: Bold in shoring up democracy abroad, Biden is criticized as timid on the domestic front

Biden commits to more U.S. forces in Europe as NATO invites Sweden and Finland to join

Implored by Zelensky, Biden and G-7 allies will increase Ukraine defense aid, economic support

Jul 08, 2022
The rise and fall of a Hollywood almost-was

Randall Emmett had built a career for himself in Hollywood over the past decade as a producer of schlocky action films featuring cameos of iconic actors like Bruce Willis and Al Pacino. But in recent years, he was at the cusp of finally gaining mainstream respect. He had a recurring role on the reality TV hit “Vanderpump Rules” and produced Martin Scorsese’s last two films. But a Times investigation found that multiple former assistants and people who worked for Emmett alleged improper behavior.

Today, we get into the rise and fall of Emmett, and what it says about the Hollywood of today. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times corporate media reporter Meg James and L.A. Times senior entertainment writer Amy Kaufman

More reading:

The man who played Hollywood: Inside Randall Emmett’s crumbling empire

Bruce Willis halts acting career after diagnosis with cognitive disorder

Randall Emmett’s drive to produce films is paying off

Jul 07, 2022
Lowriders lawfully cruise again

Few things are more beautiful on a California summer evening than the sight of lowriders cruising slow and low and bouncing up and down through the streets. But for decades, municipalities across the Golden State have been declaring war on lowriding.

Today, why cities banned car cruising in the first place and how activists are finally winning. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Tammy Murga

More reading:

California Assembly urges cities to repeal bans on cruising

Podcast: Lowriders. Cruising. A Southern California ritual returns

During pandemic, trash and crime increased on Whittier Boulevard. Lowrider clubs said: Enough

Jul 06, 2022
That classic VW Bug could be an electric vehicle

Classic cars are a staple of California culture, but they have a dirty secret – they're gas guzzlers. And with gas prices so high, collectors are beginning to convert their cars into electric vehicles. In this episode, L.A. business reporter Ronald D. White talks about the creative ways that Californians are getting their hands on electric cars.

Jul 05, 2022
The Future of Abortion, Part 6: History Repeated?

A 22-year-old woman and an abortion doctor from California played key roles in the legal fight that eventually led to Roe vs. Wade. But now that Roe’s been struck down, is that history our future? Today, we look at what it was like for women seeking abortions in California and the doctors who served them before the procedure was legalized, and what that past might say about a future without the constitutional right to abortion. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Brittny Mejia

More reading:

Her illegal abortion paved the way for Roe. 56 years later she shares her story

“The Future of Abortion” series

California will see rush of people from out of state seeking abortion care, study says

Jul 01, 2022
D.C.'s secretive VP power lunch

For decades, weekly lunches between the American president and his vice president have piqued the interest of D.C. insiders. Today, we take a look at this unique tradition and examine what the most exclusive meal in D.C. tells us about the evolution of the vice presidency. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times White House reporter Noah Bierman

More reading:

It’s not just a meal: Inside the nation’s most secretive and exclusive power lunch

Opinion: Obama and Biden do lunch

Gorbachev, Reagan, Bush to Lunch

Jun 30, 2022
Can companies help protect abortion?

President Biden has vowed to help protect the ability of those who seek abortions to travel to other states. California and other states have stepped up to offer expanded access. And now companies are vowing to do what they can to help their employees continue to access abortion. But how much do those vows from private businesses really matter?

Today, we talk about how corporations are stepping up when the government won’t. But are they actually changing anything in a meaningful way? Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guest: L.A. Times business reporter Sam Dean

More reading:

Companies vow to help employees access abortion after Roe vs. Wade is overturned

Hollywood companies vow to pay travel costs for abortions after Roe vs. Wade decision

How Apple, Levi Strauss and other U.S. companies are creating a brand-new abortion benefit

Jun 29, 2022
Summer's biggest hazard? Humans!

We’ll be having fun all summer long ... or not. Hazards are everywhere this season — in the bonfires we set, the trash we leave behind, the sunburns we get. Today, our Masters of Disasters talk about all the hazards out there, including us. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times earthquake reporter Rong-Gong Lin II, L.A. Times wildfire reporter Alex Wigglesworth and L.A. Times coast reporter Rosanna Xia

More reading:

In California’s high-risk fire country, Airbnb offers guests no warning or escape plan

Where are California’s dirtiest beaches? This list might surprise you

First suspected cases of monkeypox in Riverside and Santa Clara counties reported

Jun 28, 2022
California, the abortion sanctuary state

More than 20 states have already worked to ban or severely limit abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade. But in California, access to abortion will continue to be protected. In fact, the state’s Democratic leaders want to expand the right to abortion — for those who live here, and even for those who don’t.

Today, how and why California is setting itself up as a “beacon of hope” for people who want an abortion.

Read the full transcript here. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times California government reporter Melody Gutierrez

More reading:

What happens in California with Roe vs. Wade now dead?

Newsom signs bill protecting California abortion providers from civil liability

In an America divided by abortion, guns and COVID, California and Newsom seize the moment

Jun 27, 2022
Special Edition: The Death of Roe vs. Wade

Roe vs. Wade protected the constitutional right to an abortion for nearly 50 years. Now that the Supreme Court has overturned it, at least 20 states are banning or putting extreme limitations on access to abortion.

The outcome was expected, but the country still erupted when the ruling posted — abortion opponents gathered in celebration while abortion-access advocates reacted with anger.

Over the last few months, The Times has looked at the issue of abortion from a number of perspectives to help understand how we got to this historic moment. Today, we revisit five episodes from “The Future of Abortion” series.

Listen to the full episodes here:

Future of Abortion Part 1: Medicine
Dr. Warren Hern has performed abortions since before Roe vs. Wade. He speaks about his career — and the fears he has for the future.

Future of Abortion Part 2: Church
The complicated story of how evangelicals mobilized around restricting abortion, and one Christian woman’s place in it all.

The Future of Abortion Part 3: Money
How Texas has made it nearly impossible for low-income women to get an abortion. And how other states want to copy that.

The Future of Abortion, Part 4: Keeping It
Pregnancy centers have grown in numbers with the backing of antiabortion religious organizations. What’s their future like in a post-Roe vs. Wade world?

The Future of Abortion, Part 5 : Law
What went wrong with Roe vs. Wade and why the court’s effort to resolve the abortion controversy back in 1973 has instead led to decades of division.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporters Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Jaweed Kaleem and David G. Savage

More reading:

“The Future of Abortions” print series

In historic reversal, Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, freeing states to outlaw abortion

The four key turning points that led to the fall of Roe vs. Wade

Jun 24, 2022
She was the Rosa Parks of the 1800s

In celebration of Juneteenth, this week we're running some of our favorite episodes about the Black experience. 

L.A. Times features writer Jeanette Marantos takes us from modern-day Southern California back to 1860s Massachusetts and Maryland for a look at an unsung civil rights hero. This episode first aired on Sep 24, 2021.

Read the full transcript here. 

Host: L.A. Times features writer Jeanette Marantos

More reading:

She was the Rosa Parks of her day. So why was she in an unmarked grave for 129 years?

How we got the story of Ellen Garrison Jackson Clark and her courageous, unsung life

LA Times Today: The ‘Rosa Parks of Concord MA,’ discovered in an unmarked grave in Altadena

Jun 24, 2022
Big Tobacco, Black trauma

In celebration of Juneteenth, this week we're running some of our favorite episodes about the Black experience. 

Today, we revisit the showdown centering on proposals to ban menthol cigarettes and how the tobacco companies enlists Black community leaders to ensure that any ban never happens. This episode first aired on Apr 26, 2022.

Read the show transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times medical investigations reporter Emily Baumgaertner, and Ben Stockton of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Jun 23, 2022
Home was where the freeway is

In celebration of Juneteenth, this week we're running some of our favorite episodes about the Black experience. 

Today, housing and affordability reporter Liam Dillon dives into the historical and continuing impact of the 10 freeway on Black communities in Santa Monica. This episode first aired on Jan. 31, 2022.

Read the full transcript here. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times housing reporter Liam Dillon, and Santa Monica native Nichelle Monroe

More reading:

Santa Monica’s message to people evicted long ago for the 10 Freeway: Come home

Freeways force out residents in communities of color — again

Tour Santa Monica’s once-vibrant Black neighborhoods, nearly erased by racism and ‘progress’


Jun 22, 2022
The Future of Abortion, Part 5: Law

The Supreme Court’s decision on Roe vs. Wade in 1973 was supposed to end the debate on abortion once and for all. But instead, it has led to decades of division. In our “Future of Abortion” series, The Times looks at abortion from a number of perspectives. Today, we dig into where Roe went wrong.

Read the full transcript here. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter David G. Savage

More reading:

Where Roe went wrong: A sweeping new abortion right built on a shaky legal foundation

Supreme Court’s pending abortion ruling: What it may mean

When will the Supreme Court make a decision on the fate of Roe vs. Wade?

Jun 21, 2022
An ‘Emmett Till moment’ for guns?

In the wake of the Uvalde massacre, Emmett Till’s name is again at the forefront of a national conversation, this time about gun control. Till was the 14-year-old boy lynched by a group of white men in 1955 in Mississippi. Images of his mutilated body shocked the country and galvanized civil rights activists.

As people inside and outside newsrooms struggle with whether showing brutal images of slain children might move people and politicians toward collective action, Emmett’s family talks about power and pain, and the impact and limitations of an image.

Today, in honor of Juneteenth, we kick off a week of episodes about the Black experience with the question: Is this country in the middle of another “Emmett Till” moment?

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Marissa Evans

More reading:

After Uvalde shooting, people consider an ‘Emmett Till moment’ to change gun debate

Hearts ‘shattered’: Here are the victims of the Texas school shooting

House passes gun control bill after Buffalo, Uvalde attacks


Jun 20, 2022
To be queer in Singapore

Just this year, Singapore’s top court upheld section 377A. That’s a British colonial-era law prohibiting consenting sex between men. And while the government says it doesn’t strictly enforce that law, anyone who breaks it could face up to two years behind bars.

Meanwhile, thousands of Queer Singaporean activists and LGBTQ allies will gather in Hong Lim Park this weekend for an annual gay pride event — and send a clear message to lawmakers that they’re done being denied their basic human rights. 

Read the full transcript here.

Host: The Times producer David Toledo

Guest: L.A. Times Asia correspondent David Pierson

More reading:

Pink Dot: Singapore’s yearly pride celebration gets bigger and brighter

A Singaporean erotic OnlyFans star faces months in prison — and sparks a debate

Same-sex penguin parents spark literary controversy in Singapore


Jun 17, 2022
The biggest Jan. 6 bombshells

After more than a year of investigations and thousands of hours of depositions, the Jan. 6 committee is looking to prove that former president Donald Trump had a plan to overturn the 2020 election.

Today, a look at the most explosive moments so far — and to come — as the committee lays out its case to show Trump’s connection to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and the role he may have played in spreading debunked conspiracy theories that the election he lost two years ago was rigged.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Sarah D. Wire

More reading:

Jan. 6 attack on Capitol was the ‘culmination of an attempted coup,’ panel chairman says

Trump ignored repeated warnings from Barr, advisors that election fraud claims were ‘bogus’

What’s the TV schedule for the next Jan. 6 committee hearings?


Jun 16, 2022
The Future of Abortion, Part 4: Keeping It

Pregnancy centers offer services like free pregnancy tests, and sometimes resources like diapers or baby clothes — even classes and counseling. Their main focus, though, is to persuade women not to have abortions — and support those who continue their pregnancies.

Today, how religious organizations and state funding have led to the rise of these pregnancy centers, as abortion rights fall nationwide. 

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Houston bureau chief Molly Hennessy-Fiske

More reading:

The antiabortion movement fuels a growth industry: Pregnancy centers

Read and listen to the rest of the L.A. Times “The Future of Abortion” series here

Even with Roe vs. Wade in place, low-income women struggle to get abortions in Texas

Jun 15, 2022
Why L.A. has fridge-less apartments

For most renters across the United States, having a refrigerator come with your unit is a given. Not in Southern California. For reasons no one can fully explain or understand, renters must furnish their living spaces with their own fridges, which has created an underground economy for the essential unit. Today, we try to crack this mystery.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times housing reporter Liam Dillon

More reading:

Why do so many L.A. apartments come without fridges? Inside the chilling mystery

Real Estate newsletter: Where are all the fridges?

Landlords in California aren’t required to provide refrigerators

Jun 14, 2022
Hidden clues of a Black family's Bible

In the late 1980s, the Diggs family of Southern California came across a family Bible with an incredible backstory. Notes written in the margin documented their family history to an enslaved ancestor who learned to read and write — rare at the time. The Diggs eventually donated their heirloom to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., where it’s now on display. Historians say artifacts like the Bible are rare and offer a valuable portrait into legacy and resistance.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: L.A. Times Washington D.C. reporter Erin B. Logan

More reading:

How a Black family’s Bible ended up at the Smithsonian Institution

Black genealogists get help tracing their roots

Behind these names, you’ll find stories of L.A.’s Black history

Jun 13, 2022
The drag mothers of Los Angeles

Drag culture is one of the most iconic forms of expression within the LGBTQ community. For outsiders looking in, drag culture looks fun and flamboyant. But for lots of queens, it’s about so much more than the flashy fun. It’s about family.

Today, we dig deep into drag, specifically drag mothers who keep the culture afloat and show us what family can be for some in the LGBTQ community.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Times producer Ashlea Brown

More reading:

All hail the drag queens raising L.A.’s tight-knit families

Essential California: A drag laureate for West Hollywood?

How drag has changed the face of art, fashion, and beauty

Jun 10, 2022
How mass shootings affect young voters

This year’s midterm elections were expected to be a referendum on the economy, but as gun violence is on the minds of Americans, yet again, millennials and zillennials, who’ve grown up in an era of massacres, might prove a constituency that no politician can ignore. If they show up to the ballot box, that is.

Today, we talk about how gun violence affects the politics of young voters.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times 2021-22 Los Angeles Times Fellow Anumita Kaur

More reading:

Newsletter: Essential Politics: Do mass shootings affect young voters?

School shootings have increased recently; the violence in Texas is among the deadliest

Thousands protest outside NRA convention in Texas days after massacre in Uvalde

Jun 09, 2022
What the Summit of the Americas means

The Summit of the Americas. It’s when the leaders of all the nations of the Western Hemisphere get together every three to four years and and talk shop. This year’s edition is in the United States, for the second time ever — and the Summit will happen right here in Los Angeles.

Today, we get into this conference — how it began. What usually happens. And whether the U.S. wields the same influence in the Americas as it has for two centuries.

Read the full transcript. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Washington D.C. correspondent Tracy Wilkinson

More reading:

Summit of the Americas opens in L.A. as U.S. grapples with deteriorating relations and influence

‘No more dictatorships’: The slogan that rings in the streets at the start of the Summit of the Americas

Summit of the Americas hobbles to its opening as Mexico’s president declines to attend


Jun 08, 2022
Welcome to Portugal, now go home

Ocean breezes, mountain views, stunning architecture, great food. Fala vocé português? Even if you don’t; Portugal is it right now, and has been for years. But recently, more Americans and especially Californians are looking to make their vacations in the small European country permanent.

Today, why more Americans are trading in their SUVs and fast food drive-throughs for the affordable homes and easy living of Portugal. And what that means for local residents.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times European correspondent Jaweed Kaleem

More reading:

Welcome to Portugal, the new expat haven. Californians, please go home

These Californians relocated to Portugal. They share their stories

Goodbye, L.A. and San Francisco. Hello, Riverside and Central Valley. California moves east


Jun 07, 2022
Covering COVID on ‘sacred ground’

The U.S. has lost more than 1 million people to COVID — and the virus isn’t done with us yet. Frontline hospital workers have experienced the devastation up close and in real time. And for one L.A. Times photographer who documented the losses and wins against COVID, looking back at the images she captured and revisiting the hospital rooms where people fought for their lives — spaces a hospital chaplain now calls ‘sacred ground’ — has helped her process the pain and remember the moments of connection and hope.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times photojournalist Francine Orr

More reading:

The fight against COVID, a chaplain says, unfolded on ‘sacred ground’

U.S. reaches 1 million COVID deaths — and the virus isn’t done with us


Jun 06, 2022
Queer Ukrainians on the frontlines

Ukraine was never a utopia for gays and transgender people, but activists there say things have improved over the years. Now, though, people are worried that Russia’s invasion could put all of that progress at risk. Today we talk to two LGBTQ+ Ukrainians, one who’s fighting against Russia for his country — and another who fled Ukraine but is continuing her fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Read the full transcript here.

Host: The Times: Daily News from the L.A. Times producer David Toledo

Guests: L.A. Times Latin America correspondent Kate Linthicum

Jun 03, 2022
A new militia at the U.S.-Mexico border

Patriots for America patrols the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, stops migrants, and questions children. They call it faith-based ministry work; civil rights groups say they’re just another racist group of extremists. Today, we follow them in action. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Molly Hennessy-Fiske

More reading:

Texas border militia stops migrants and shoots video of kids. Rights groups say they’re racist

Texas militia sanctioned by sheriff seeks government support to halt flow of migrants

Minutemen Project begins recruiting volunteers to man U.S. border

Jun 02, 2022
California's historic water restrictions

Unprecedented water restrictions in Los Angeles County are going to ensure the slow demise of lawns. And now, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is ready to deal green lawns a final blow. Today, how Southern Californians will have to get used to browner lawns — and why even that might not make a dent in a historic drought.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times water reporter Ian James

More reading:

Newsom urges aggressive water conservation and warns of statewide restrictions

California just adopted new, tougher water restrictions: What you need to know

California bans watering ‘nonfunctional’ grass in some areas, strengthening drought rules

Jun 01, 2022
The pickleball pickle

It’s pitting neighbors against neighbors in suburbs across the United States. Tempers are flaring. Tension is high. And nope, all the drama has nothing to do with politics or COVID or any of the usual suburban suspects. The culprit now: pickleball.

Today, we serve you the rapid rise of a sport whose popularity boomed during the pandemic and the intense backlash rising right alongside it. 

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guest: L.A. Times investigative and enterprise reporter Connor Sheets

More reading:

Pickleball noise is fueling neighborhood drama from coast to coast

Pickleball is a godsend for older players. L.A. needs to fund new courts


Pickleball is a smash hit in SoCal. Now younger players are picking up the paddle

May 31, 2022
A visit to Vancouver's safe injection site

Overdose deaths in the United States have risen rapidly during the pandemic. It’s a trend driven largely by the spread of fentanyl.

In California, the push to save lives and stop the fallout has led some activists and politicians to propose safe injection sites — places where people can take drugs with clean needles, without fear of arrest. There’s already one site like this operating in San Francisco.

But in Vancouver, Canada, there’s a neighborhood that has hosted a safe injection site for almost 20 years. In today’s episode, we go visit it.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guest: L.A. Times columnist Anita Chabria

More reading:

Column: Vancouver’s safe drug-use sites are wrenching to see. California should open them anyway

In a bid to stop overdose deaths, California could allow drug use at supervised sites

With overdose deaths rising, here’s how to test drugs for fentanyl


May 27, 2022
California’s gun control wars sway the U.S.

Today we talk about California’s huge role in influencing gun control laws in the U.S. and about the backlashes. We discuss the state’s historic 1989 ban on assault weapons and why a federal judge issued an order to overturn that ban. And we talk to the mayor of San Jose, who wants his city to be the first in the United States to require gun owners to buy liability insurance.

Read the full transcript here.  

An earlier version of this episode was published Aug. 23, 2021. 

May 26, 2022
L.A. mayoral candidates debate homelessness

Last week, we partnered up with KCRW for a live mayoral debate with some of the city’s top candidates for the top job.

It was the final group debate before the primary on June 7. And in it, three candidates talked a lot about a housing-first approach and took progressive stances on the issue of homelessness.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano and KCRW housing reporter Anna Scott

Guests: Rep. Karen Bass, L.A. councilmember Kevin de León, and activist Gina Viola

More reading:

With Caruso absent, L.A. mayoral candidates argue for progressive moves on homelessness

L.A. on the Record: Renters are getting short shrift in the mayor’s race, advocates say

L.A.’s mayoral candidates agree homeless encampments need to go. The question is how

May 25, 2022
Tijuana's toughest time

In this episode of the “Border City” podcast from our sister paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, longtime U.S.-Mexico border reporter Sandra Dibble brings us to an awful time for Tijuana: the three-year window from 2008 to 2010. Cartels ramped up violence to horrifying levels, targeting cops and doctors. Police tried to purge traitors from their ranks — and went too far. But through it all, the spirit of Tijuana stayed alive. In the darkness, there were still sparkles of music and art and joy.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Sandra Dibble

More reading:

Must Reads: Meth and murder: A new kind of drug war has made Tijuana one of the deadliest cities on Earth

Images from the front lines of Tijuana’s deadly drug war

Reporter’s Notebook: Behind the story: How The Times reported on Tijuana’s massive rise in homicides

May 24, 2022
Desperately seeking restaurant workers

The pandemic has made a lot of us rethink a lot of things. On the forefront of that existential rethink: restaurant workers. 
This realignment of priorities and personal interests drove lots of restaurant workers to quit. Now, two years after COVID-19 upended the restaurant industry, so many food spots are still short-staffed and help-wanted signs are seemingly everywhere. That's motivating employers to offer better pay, conditions and perks. 
Today, L.A. Times business reporter Samantha Masunaga discusses why the labor shortage is still a big problem for restaurant owners across the country and how they can persuade workers to come back. Read the full transcript here

May 23, 2022
ICE released dying detainees, avoiding responsibility

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which detains hundreds of thousands of people nationwide, typically says fewer than a dozen detainees die in its custody each year. But if the agency releases a person in dire health, they're not in custody when they die — so ICE doesn't need to count that death. 

Today, L.A. Times immigration reporter Andrea Castillo tells the stories of two people who were abruptly released by ICE just days before their deaths and pulls back the curtain on the system that allows this to happen. Read the full transcript here

May 20, 2022
Cryptocurrency's addiction problem

The ups and downs of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin can bring quick wealth — or quick bankruptcy. It's the hope for a huge payoff that keeps people hooked on these fluctuations, to the point where their attention turns to addiction. 

Today, in the wake of the crypto market's recent crash, we look at how obsessing over digital currency can affect people and their lives. 

Read the full transcript here.

May 19, 2022
How California popularized the Great Replacement

On Saturday, a heavily armed 18-year-old white man rolled up to a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, N.Y., and killed at least 10 people. The suspect is said to have committed the act to stop the so-called “Great Replacement,” a conspiracy theory that gained popularity among the far right across the world in recent years.

Its premise says that a secret cabal of elites are supposedly helping people of color take the place of white people. In the United States, the great replacement theory was turned into political strategy and policy long ago. And it started here, in California.

Today, we hear how the Golden State helped the fringe conspiracy go mainstream. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times columnists Erika D. Smith and Jean Guerrero

More reading:

Column: I’m part of the ‘great replacement.’ It’s not what believers say it is

Column: Buffalo shooting is an ugly culmination of California’s ‘Great Replacement’ theory

Column: How the insurrection’s ideology came straight out of 1990s California politics

May 18, 2022
Tijuana in the time of opera and cartels

In the late 1990s, a turf war between the Arellano-Felix and Sinaloa cartels in Tijuana led to mayhem and corruption. But as the cartel-fueled violence continued, residents in the city lived their lives.

Sandra Dibble was a reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune at the time, and she treated her visiting mom to handmade corn tortillas, Cafe de la olla, and eggs drenched in mole in Tijuana’s upscale neighborhood. She took her brother to Tijuana’s famous Mercado Miguel Hidalgo to buy tamales. And she got on stage to play a noblewoman in a Tijuana Opera performance of “Romeo and Juliet.”

During the day, though, she reported on the mayhem. She talks about this dichotomy in Episode 5 of “Border City.” Read the transcript here.

Host: Sandra Dibble

More reading:

The collapse of Mexico’s ‘invincible’ drug cartel

Los Tucanes de Tijuana: Banned in their namesake border city

Arts are beginning to blossom in Tijuana

May 17, 2022
The Future of Abortion Part 3: Money

Roe vs. Wade is expected to be struck down this summer, which would mean abortion will no longer be a federally protected right. If that happens, about half the states will probably ban abortion altogether, or make getting one a lot more difficult. But for those who live in Texas, especially in the Rio Grande Valley, it’s already hard to get an abortion.

Today, we look at how Texas has made it nearly impossible for low-income women to get an abortion. And how other states want to copy that. Read the transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Houston Bureau Chief Molly Hennessy-Fiske

More reading and listening:

Even with Roe vs. Wade in place, low-income women struggle to get abortions in Texas

Podcast: Future of Abortion Part 1 | Medicine

Future of Abortion Part 2 | Church

May 16, 2022
Let's blame someone for California's drought

It’s barely spring in 2022 and California has already broken record heat and drought levels never before seen in 1,200 years. Major reservoirs across the American West are at record lows. Groundwater is drying up. It’s projected to get even worse in the upcoming summer months. Come June 1, millions of Southern Californians will have to learn how to live with the region’s most severe water restrictions ever.

So who can we blame? Today, our Masters of Disasters tell us. Read the transcript here. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times earthquake reporter Rong-Gong Lin II, L.A. Times wildfire reporter Alex Wigglesworth and L.A. Times breaking news reporter Hayley Smith

More reading:

A drought so bad it exposed a long-ago homicide. Getting the water back will be harder than ever

It’s not even summer, and California’s two largest reservoirs are at ‘critically low’ levels

Your lawn will suffer amid the megadrought. Save money and put it out of its misery

May 13, 2022
Why U.S. women's sports stars play abroad

The arrest in Russia earlier this year of WNBA superstar Brittney Griner made worldwide headlines. But few dug into why she was playing abroad in the first place.

Today, we hear how Griner is just one of many female athletes who find themselves abroad year after year to play the games they love, geopolitics be damned. All because they can’t get a fair wage in the United States. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guest: L.A. Times sports editor Iliana Limón Romero

More reading:

Brittney Griner’s arrest in Russia: What you need to know

WNBA to honor Brittney Griner with decal on teams’ floors

Commentary: Why Brittney Griner was in Russia, and what it says about women’s sports in the U.S.

May 12, 2022
The fight to use Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse has been the mascot for Disney going back to the days of, well, Walt himself. But the copyright for the mouse that Disney has zealously guarded for decades is set to expire in just two years. That means the black-and-white version of Mickey Mouse depicted in “Steamboat Willie” would be in the public domain, where anyone can do anything with him and all of his magic and fame.

A group of Republicans, mad at some of Disney stances on social issues recently, want that to happen. Disney though, ain’t going to let Mickey go without putting up a hell of a fight. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times travel reporter Hugo Martín

More reading:

Republicans are trying to exterminate Mickey Mouse. Does anyone care?

Whose mouse is it anyway?

Disney Wins Big in Battle to Keep Company Icons

Disney Led Push to Add 20 Years to Copyrights

May 11, 2022
Russia's Syria playbook in Ukraine

Aerial strikes, targeting civilians, cutting off supply chains: Russia’s brutal war tactics in Ukraine are shocking, but also hauntingly familiar. These are tactics the country has used before.

Six years before Russia launched its brutal attack on Ukraine, it began another horrific military operation in Syria. Today, we talk about what we can learn about Russia’s strategy in Ukraine from its involvement in Syria. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Middle East correspondent Nabih Bulos

More reading:

Syrian fighters ready to join next phase of Ukraine war

Humanitarian corridors, from Syria to Ukraine, explained

Russia has been Assad’s greatest ally — as it was to his father before him

May 10, 2022
California mulls a four-day workweek

More and more companies worldwide are making the switch to a 32-hour work week. And in California, there’s even talk of making it the law. Today, we discuss what the State Legislature is discussing. And we hear from people at companies that already have done that. And guess what? Worker productivity, at least according to them, is as great as ever. 

Read the transcript. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times breaking news reporter Hayley Smith, and Andrew Barnes, 4 Day Week Global co-founder

More reading:

Proposed bill would shorten California workweek to 32 hours. Here’s what you need to know

Editorial: What if every week was a four-day workweek?

Working 7 to 5—Four days a week : Companies are increasingly turning to a compressed workweek to meet anti-pollution laws and to recruit workers.

May 09, 2022
A TikTok president for the Philippines

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has been campaigning to become the next president of the Philippines via the power of TikTok and other social media. And Bongbong’s whitewashing of his family’s violent past has him on the cusp of victory.

Today we go to the Philippines, where the presidential election is taking place next week. And we talk about how social media disinformation, yet again, might put a populist onto the global stage of power. Read the transcript.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Asia correspondent David Pierson

More reading:

Dictator’s son uses TikTok to lead in Philippine election and rewrite his family’s past

Troll armies, a growth industry in the Philippines, may soon be coming to an election near you

The Marcos diary : A lust for power, an eye on glory

May 06, 2022
Cinco de Mayo forever

We repeat our episode from last year on Cinco de Mayo because it’s that good. Axios reporter Russell Contreras takes us to the forgotten history of the holiday that’s more American than Mexican, and offers a case for why we should celebrate it. Read the transcript here. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Axios reporter Russell Contreras

More reading:

If it’s Cinco de Mayo, the cooking should be Mexican

Op-Ed: Cinco de Mayo -- a truly Mexican American holiday

Five ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at home

May 05, 2022
L.A.’s election of rage

On June 7, voters in Los Angeles will elect their preferred candidates in the primary. A couple of races — the mayor’s seat, L.A. County Sheriff, a possible recall of Dist. Atty. George Gascón — are earning national attention against a backdrop of voters angry with what they think is out-of-control crime and homelessness.

Today, we air a live panel on all this and more, originally held during the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times columnist Erika D. Smith, L.A. Times mayor’s race reporter Julia Wick, and L.A. Times sheriff’s department reporter Alene Tchekmedyian.

More reading:

Rick Caruso’s campaign spending tops $23 million in L.A. mayor’s race

Column: Sheriff Villanueva acts like he’s above the law in L.A. County. What if he’s right?

First eyewitness account of Sheriff Villanueva lying in a cover-up revealed in filing


May 04, 2022
Tijuana's many, many sides

In this installment of the podcast “Border City” from our sister paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, longtime border reporter Sandra Dibble talks about what it was like covering the assassination of a police chief in Tijuana and the arrest of a powerful drug suspect.

She also moonlights as an opera singer in Tijuana, puts on a concert for friends from both sides of the border and navigates living a binational life after 9/11, which changed the flow of traffic from one side of the border to the other.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Sandra Dibble

More reading:

Listen to all the “Border City” episodes

May 03, 2022
The state of the streaming wars

Streaming services were one of the few winners from the pandemic, especially Netflix. But the pandemic’s binge boom seems to have burst.

Today, the winners and losers in the streaming wars and how providers are handling the post-quarantine subscriber drop. 

Read the transcript. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times film business reporter Ryan Faughnder

More reading:

After Netflix’s week from hell, why streaming is becoming more like ‘just TV’

Same-day streaming film releases are ‘dead,’ cinema group leader says

Layoffs at Netflix have some staffers questioning company strategy and culture

May 02, 2022
What light rail will bring to South L.A.

After South L.A. erupted in anger 30 years ago, government officials promised to end the community’s economic disparity once and for all, and invest. It’s a promise that many residents say remains unfulfilled. But is that finally going to change?

Today, Part Two of our L.A. riots anniversary coverage will focus on the Crenshaw Line, a light-rail system that some South L.A. leaders say will help the neighborhood improve — and others fear will bring gentrification. 

Read the transcript. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times business reporter Samantha Masunaga

More reading:

Facing schedule delays, L.A. Metro seeks $120 million more for Crenshaw Line

Meet six artists making the public art you’ll soon see on Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Line

Opinion: The Crenshaw Line is a start, but L.A.'s most transit-dependent neighborhoods need more options

Apr 29, 2022
The L.A. riots, 30 years later

April 29, 1992. A date that forever changed Los Angeles. Six days of chaos erupted after the acquittal of four police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, an unarmed Black motorist. This is the first of two episodes on the 30th anniversary of the L.A. riots.

Today, Black, Latino and Asian communities reflect on the uprising. We also discuss the racial reckoning of the L.A. Times newsroom in its aftermath. Read the transcript. 

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times columnists Sandy Banks and Frank Shyong

More reading:

Column: What we got wrong about Black and Korean communities after the L.A. riots

Column: He was murdered during the L.A. riots. We can’t forget Latinos like him

The damage went deep

Apr 28, 2022
Black Twitter frets for its future

For more than a decade, #BlackTwitter — a community of millions that has harnessed the power of the social media platform to create real-world change — has been a cultural phenomenon. But with Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, many Black activists fret for the future of the space they created and say they might not stick around to see what changes the platform’s new owner will make.

Today, how Twitter’s influential Black community is reacting to the controversial new leader — and where Black online social activism might thrive next. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times columnist Erika D. Smith

More reading:

Column: With Elon Musk in charge, it’s the beginning of the end for #BlackTwitter

Elon Musk reaches $44-billion deal to buy Twitter

Black Tesla employees describe a culture of racism: ‘I was at my breaking point’

Apr 27, 2022
Big Tobacco, Black trauma

Menthol-flavored cigarettes have been controversial for decades, and the Food and Drug Administration is weighing a national ban on them. But tobacco companies are not a fan of losing out on millions of dollars with that possible move. So they’ve enlisted leaders in a community that has long been the biggest consumer of menthols: Black people.

Read the show transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times medical investigations reporter Emily Baumgaertner, and Ben Stockton of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

More reading:

How Big Tobacco used George Floyd and Eric Garner to stoke fear among Black smokers

Addicted to menthol: Big Tobacco’s targeting of Black communities could soon end

Op-Ed: Big Tobacco helped destroy Black Americans’ health. Banning menthols could help improve it

Apr 26, 2022
Helping and hoping in Ukraine

As Russia’s war against Ukraine enters its third month, ordinary Ukrainians continue to upend their lives to protect their homeland. Today, we’ll hear the stories of three Ukrainians who came to the aid of their country in its hour of greatest need.

Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times foreign correspondent Kate Linthicum

More reading:

Full coverage of the war in Ukraine

Ukraine war heroes: A student spiriting supplies to soldiers. A DJ answering calls about the missing

Ukrainian citizens trapped as Russia attacks hospitals, schools and refuses evacuations

Apr 25, 2022
Shanghai’s lockdown tests limits

The strict lockdowns and zero-tolerance COVID policies that were once praised for keeping China largely infection-free; they’re back. And they’re now pushing people to their limits.

Today, how the recent lockdown in Shanghai is testing China’s zero tolerance strategy, and what it means for the country’s communist government. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times China correspondent Stephanie Yang

More reading:

Strain of Shanghai’s COVID lockdown tests China’s zero tolerance resolve

Human toll from Shanghai lockdown fuels public frustration

‘It’s a nightmare’: Hong Kong runs low on coffins as Omicron exacts deadly toll

Apr 22, 2022
Mexico's weird presidential self-recall

Earlier this month, Mexico had an election. But it wasn’t business as usual. The vote was a first in Mexico — a recall referendum on the country’s president. The person pushing to recall the president … was the president himself.

Today we get into the curious history of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times foreign correspondents Leila Miller and Kate Linthicum

More reading:

Mexicans vote on whether to recall the president, an election he pushed for

López Obrador on track to retain control of Mexico’s Congress, but with reduced majority

Amid journalist killings, Mexican president tries to shame famous reporter who wrote about his son

Apr 21, 2022
The AriZona iced-tea 99-cent miracle

Since AriZona iced tea launched in 1994, a can of the stuff has cost 99 cents. It’s a business anomaly, yet one that has turned the company into a multibillion-dollar outfit. And the owner vows to keep his iced tea at that price even during the worst inflation the United States has seen in 40 years, which is eating into the company’s revenue.

Today, we get into this odd business ideology.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guest: L.A. Times business reporter Sam Dean

More reading:

As inflation soars, how is AriZona iced tea still 99 cents?

Read the episode transcript

Apr 20, 2022
Tijuana sí!

In Chapter 3 of “Border City,” a podcast from the San Diego Union Tribune and L.A. Times, Sandra Dibble continues her story about living and working as a journalist in Tijuana. It’s both sides of Tijuana that eventually make Sandra feel like she’s not just passing through anymore, but like she’s finally found her place and purpose.

From drug cartels, a kidnapping and an attempted murder of a journalist, to building real friendships, a surprise birthday party, tennis lessons, aerobics and intimate concerts in Tijuas, Sandra’s real-life experiences bring the border town’s sharp contrasts into focus — the bitter and the sweet.

Host: Sandra Dibble

More reading:

Jesus Blancornelas, 70; writer exposed actions of drug cartels

Here’s something you didn’t know about Tijuana: It’s a great weekend escape for food lovers

From the Archives: Amid all the bustle, Tijuana has classic lilts

Apr 19, 2022
Coachella 2022, Coachella forever

Some of the biggest names in the music industry have played the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival since it debuted in 1999 on large grass fields out in the California desert. It turned into a global phenomenon and tastemaker in the process. But for the past two years, along with the rest of the live-music industry, Coachella went on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic...but it’s BACK.

Today, what Coachella’s return this past weekend and next weekend says about the state of the music industry.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times pop music reporter Mikael Wood

More reading:

Live updates from Coachella 2022

The best moments of Coachella 2022 in photos

Inside the Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia’s very last-minute Coachella collab

Apr 18, 2022
Future of Abortion Part 2: Church

In anticipation of the Supreme Court making its landmark abortion decision this summer and very likely undoing Roe v Wade, The Times is looking at the issue from a number of perspectives. Today, we’ll tell the complicated story of how evangelicals mobilized around restricting abortion — and one women’s place in it all.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times national correspondent Jaweed Kaleem

More reading:

Read the L.A. Times’ “The Future of Abortion” series

As Supreme Court weighs abortion, Christians challenge what it means to be ‘pro-life’

The pastor thought Trump was ‘evil.’ So he quit his conservative church

Apr 15, 2022
The case that ended 'Mexican-only' schools

In 1945, five families sued school districts in Orange County to challenge the practice of so-called Mexican schools, which kept Latino students from attending white schools with better resources. The daughter of one of the plaintiffs, Sylvia Mendez, has spent her retirement telling the story of the landmark desegregation case, which was decided 75 years ago on April 14, 1947.

But she goes from school to school talking about the importance of this case at a time when Latino students are, in many ways, more segregated than ever.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times education reporter Paloma Esquivel

More reading:

Mendez vs. segregation: 70 years later, famed case ‘isn’t just about Mexicans. It’s about everybody coming together’

Op-Ed: How Mexican immigrants ended ‘separate but equal’ in California

Westminster council takes steps to recognize historic civil rights case

Apr 14, 2022
Tijuana beyond the bad headlines

When reporter Sandra Dibble started covering Tijuana in the 1990s, many of her stories dealt with violence and corruption in the city. But like most Tijuanenses, Sandra actually felt pretty. She didn’t let the terrifying headlines she was writing stop her from settling into her new life and exploring her adopted home of Tijuana.

Today, in the second episode of “Border City,” Sandra talks about that era and what she learned.

Host: Sandra Dibble

More reading:

Tijuana: Through a Mirror, Darkly

Tijuana killings may signal fall of Arellano Felix cartel

Making a Tijuana art scene built to last

Apr 13, 2022
Earth Day: Binge or cringe?

In 1969, off California’s coast, an ecological disaster gained worldwide attention. The state’s largest oil disaster shocked a nation into action: It led to the creation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, and the passing of California’s Environmental Quality Act and the federal Environmental Protection Act. The catastrophe also inspired a day to reflect and learn about environmentalism — Earth Day.

But in a world where climate change is ravaging the earth, what good is just a day anymore?

Today, we get into Earth Day’s fails and wins.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times earthquake reporter Ron Lin, L.A. Times wildfire reporter Alex Wigglesworth and L.A. Times coastal reporter Rosanna Xia

More reading:

Editorial: Happy 50th birthday, Earth Day

An Earth Day message for California: Move faster on climate change

8 ways to get active on Earth Day

Apr 12, 2022
Come fly the toxic skies

An L.A. Times investigation found that jet engine oil can leak into the air supply of passenger planes, creating a toxic cocktail that can lead to health problems. It happens with an alarming frequency across all airlines — and that’s despite the airline industry and its regulators saying otherwise. The Times investigation just might result in real-world change.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times investigations reporter Kiera Feldman

More reading:

After Times investigation, Congress is moving to curb toxic fumes on airplanes

How toxic fumes seep into the air you breathe on planes

Smells on a plane: Have you been exposed to toxic chemicals while flying?

Apr 11, 2022
What COVID-19 wrought on Black men

Black people are two and a half times more likely to be hospitalized, and 1.7 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than whites.

That stat from the CDC is shocking. But it’s not exactly surprising. Not to people like L.A. Times reporter Marissa Evans.

Her father, Gary Evans, is now one of nearly 97,000 Black people in America who’ve died from COVID-19 complications.

And while Marissa is willing to accept her father’s death, on today’s episode, she says she refuses to accept that losing all these Black men is normal ... or OK.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times healthcare reporter Marissa Evans

More reading:

The way we lose Black men never makes sense. Losing my father to COVID is another example

Black L.A. residents have highest COVID hospitalization rate: ‘A deplorable reality’

Op-Ed: A COVID diary: My Black family’s struggle with vaccine hesitancy

Apr 08, 2022
Welcome to Tijuana

Reporter Sandra Dibble spent more than 25 years covering the U.S.-Mexico border for the San Diego Union-Tribune. And what she found out after her first day on the job is that Tijuana is ... complicated.

The impact of being home to the Western Hemisphere’s busiest border crossing — how the border has shaped Tijuana — is a big part of what Sandra spent her career digging into.

And she pulls all that work together in "Border City," a new eight-part narrative podcast series. Today, we air its debut episode.

Host: Sandra Dibble

More reading:

Border City: A podcast about beauty, violence and belonging in Tijuana from a journalist who spent more than 25 years reporting at the border

The Backstory: Sandra Dibble discusses “Border City,” her upcoming podcast about reporting in Tijuana

Opinion: After writing about Tijuana for decades, I can’t imagine my life without this city


Apr 07, 2022
The lawyer behind Trump's Jan. 6 attack

Before Jan. 6, 2021, John Eastman was known as a fringe figure in conservative circles. But now, Eastman’s not so fringe anymore.

A California-based federal judge said Trump probably committed felonies in connection with the events of that day. And he says that Eastman was the person Trump chose to find “a coup in search of a legal theory.”

Today, in the second part of a miniseries on the Jan. 6 investigation, we get into Eastman’s career — and what his emails and actions on Jan. 6 might mean for Trump’s future.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Justice Department reporter Sarah D. Wire

More reading:

How a California lawyer became a focal point of the Jan. 6 investigation

Judge rules against Trump lawyer John Eastman in dispute with Jan. 6 investigators

John Eastman, Trump’s lawyer on overturning election, under investigation by California Bar

Apr 06, 2022
What's slowing down the Jan. 6 investigation

Hundreds of people have been charged with federal crimes in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. The amount of evidence against many of the insurrectionists is growing. But sorting through it all has ground many of these criminal cases to a halt. Today, in the first of a two-part series on the Jan. 6 investigations, why it might take years to prosecute all the rioters who invaded the Capitol, and how difficult it will be to make charges stick.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Capitol Hill reporter Sarah D. Wire

More reading:

The evidence in the Jan. 6 investigations is overwhelming — literally

Jan. 6 defendant pleads guilty to a single charge after prosecutors forgot to indict him

Beverly Hills anti-vaccine doctor pleads guilty in Jan. 6 Capitol riot case

Apr 05, 2022
Goodbye, Title 42

Title 42 has plugged up the asylum system since it was put in place at the start of the coronavirus crisis. Since March 2020, U.S. border officials have used the policy to quickly remove migrants by sending them back to Mexico or to their home countries.

But now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says migrants are not a public health threat, so Title 42 will come to an end on May 23.

Today, we talk about the ramifications of the controversial public health order.

Guests: L.A. Times immigration reporter Andrea Castillo

More reading:

Biden administration could revoke controversial border policy blocking asylum in weeks

Biden administration announces asylum system overhaul: What you need to know

Fearing for their lives, Mexicans fled a gang-ruled town. Now they seek political asylum in California


Apr 04, 2022
The takedown of a dial-up drug network

Beverly Hills resident Ray Mascolo died of a drug overdose in 2020. His passing led investigators to a sprawling, Hollywood-based drug-dealing network with a business model resembling a food-delivery app.

We tell this saga today.

Host: L.A. Times courts reporter Michael Finnegan

More reading:

How a man’s death in Beverly Hills exposed a sprawling Hollywood drug delivery business

California lawmakers target fentanyl as opioid overdoses surge

How drug overdose deaths surpassed 100,000 in one year


Apr 01, 2022
In praise of long-scorned Black women's hair

When Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars for a joke the latter made about the hairstyle of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, it brought forth the politics of Black hair, especially the hair of Black women. Long maligned, it’s getting more attention than ever, from the sisterlocks of prospective Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to anti-discrimination bills passed on the state and local level.

Today, we talk about the issue with two L.A. Times writers who bring their own personal history to the subject.

Host: L.A. Times D.C. reporter Erin B. Logan

Guests: L.A. Times columnist Erika D. Smith

More reading:

Column: Will Smith’s Oscars slap of Chris Rock settles it. We’re done with Black hair jokes

California becomes first state to ban discrimination based on one’s natural hair

The world of Black hair magic, according to an icon of L.A.’s hair avant-garde

Mar 31, 2022
A soldier's funeral in Ukraine

L.A. Times foreign correspondent Patrick J. McDonnell has covered Ukrainian refugees flooding into Poland and the funerals for Ukrainian soldiers in Lviv. He’s heard from mayors urging Americans to approve a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and men returning to their country to fight on the front lines.

Today, we hear some of Patrick’s stories.

Guests: L.A. Times Mexico City bureau chief Patrick J. McDonnell

More reading:

A funeral for Ukraine soldiers brings war to small town

Refugee flows from Ukraine mount. Meantime, aid and would-be fighters head in other direction

In Ukraine, the flood of displaced people fleeing the war only grows

Mar 30, 2022
California tries to figure out reparations

Two brothers near Sacramento are fighting for compensation for the land they say was taken from their formerly enslaved ancestors during the Gold Rush. Their story got pulled into an even bigger debate happening right now in California. A first-of-its-kind task force is trying to decide: Will the state pay reparations to Black people? And if so, who should get it?

Guests: L.A. Times columnist Erika D. Smith

More reading:

Column: They say California stole their ancestors’ land. But do they qualify for reparations?

Column: It’s a guaranteed income program, but think of it as a test case for reparations

California created the nation’s first state reparations task force. Now comes the hard part

Mar 29, 2022
A lot of magic with "Winning Time"

Binge Sesh” is a new L.A. Times podcast taking a deep dive into the television shows everyone is talking about. For its inaugural season, the series gets into the HBO show “Winning Time,” which talks about the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s who dominated the NBA with its Showtime approach to basketball.

Host: Matt Brennan and Kareem Maddox

Guests: Author Jeff Pearlman

More reading:

‘Winning Time’ began as the seminal book on the Showtime Lakers; it’s Hollywood now

How a pair of unknowns made themselves into Lakers legends for HBO’s next big drama

Four years. Four coaches. Inside the off-court drama that made the Showtime Lakers


Mar 28, 2022
An existential crisis for the Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has added and subtracted elements to this year’s Oscars. A roundtable of L.A. Times film and television experts discuss those changes, plus offer up other commentary and criticism about this Sunday’s Academy Awards.

Today, we’ve got a special episode from our sister podcast, “The Envelope.”

Host: Mark Olsen

Guests: Justin Chang, Glenn Whip, Mary McNamara

More reading:

The Oscars are embracing better movies. The show acts like it’s embarrassed by them

How the Oscars have, and haven’t, changed since Halle and Denzel’s historic victories

Column: ‘Belfast’ isn’t my favorite movie in the Oscar race. But it gave me the most hope


Mar 25, 2022
Where's Jack?

What lengths would you go to find someone you love? Even as their disappearance edges closer and closer to becoming a cold case? Today, we have the story of a family working to find their missing loved one.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times reporter Lila Seidman

More reading:

Was Jack here? A sister asks the beach community whether they’ve seen her missing brother

Help Find Jack Stein Facebook page

Mar 24, 2022
The medieval prince that Putin adores

In the war for Ukraine, it’s Zelensky versus Putin. Two men with essentially the same first name fighting for their place in history — not just for their respective countries but for the ancestral roots that Russia and Ukraine share, and that both rulers claim to be the true defender of.

And a prince, who ruled more than 1,000 years ago — known in Russia as Vladimir the Great and in Ukraine as Volodymyr the Great — lies at the heart of that intertwined history. We get into that today.

More reading:

Putin’s rationale for Ukraine invasion gets the history wrong

Ukrainian Tales

In battle between Russia and Ukraine, even God is in dispute

Mar 23, 2022
Disney's stumbles on "Don't Say Gay" bill

For the past two decades, Disney’s reputation in the LGBTQ community has been stellar. It was one of the first Fortune 500 companies to offer same-sex couple benefits. And tens of thousands of people attend their unofficial Gay Days. More and more out characters are appearing in television shows, movies and cartoons. But critics now say Disney has thrown away all that goodwill. Just another thing to blame on…Florida.



Mar 22, 2022
Ketanji Brown Jackson is feeling supreme

Today, hearings will begin to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the seat of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. Jackson’s a different type of judge, a Black woman for starters — she’d be the first ever on the Supreme Court — but she also brings unprecedented professional and life experiences. But even if she’s confirmed, how much influence can a history maker really have?

More reading:

Jackson supporters gear up to protect her historic Supreme Court bid from racist, sexist attacks

Biden nominates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court in historic pick

Column: The unsubtle racism of questioning Ketanji Brown Jackson’s qualifications

Mar 21, 2022
Townies versus gownies battle for Berkeley

Thousands of students apply to UC Berkeley every year. It’s one of the most applied-to universities in the entire U.S. But the city of Berkeley is also emblematic of our nationwide housing crisis. Which is why residents and the university have been locked in a legal battle over enrollment numbers.

Today, we delve into the latest town-versus-gown throw-down.

More reading:

Lawmakers unveil rescue effort to help UC Berkeley avoid enrollment cuts after court battle

How much will UC Berkeley have to cut admissions after Supreme Court decision? What we know

UC Berkeley will meet court-ordered enrollment cap with online, deferred admission offers

Mar 18, 2022
Another scandal for L.A. Fire Department

Last May, the Palisades fire ripped through the Santa Monica Mountains. About 1,000 people were put under mandatory evacuation orders, and about 500 homes were threatened by the flames. As that emergency was unfolding, the guy in charge of the Los Angeles Fire Department’s operations center overseeing the fire was allegedly intoxicated. That’s according to an investigation commissioned by city officials.

Today, we talk about what came next.

More reading:

LAFD chief deputy allegedly drunk during a major fire gets no discipline, $1.4-million payout

LAFD received complaints that a top official was drunk on duty. Some say it was covered up

Raging Palisades fire is a dangerous warning of California’s new year-round fire reality

Mar 17, 2022
China's influence grows in Central America

There’s been a new Cold War brewing for years now between the United States and China. And a big battleground on that front is Central America.

Today, we look into how China’s billions of dollars and influence in Central America could strengthen a new generation of regimes hostile to the U.S.

More reading:

In Latin America’s new Cold War, will China lift up autocrats?

Taiwan loses one of its last diplomatic allies as Nicaragua recognizes China

Is China good for the Americas?


Mar 16, 2022
Hotel housekeeping is dirtier than ever

Something disturbing has happened since the last time most of us took vacations — it’s getting harder to clean rooms because of COVID-19 protocols. Hotel workers say ever since the pandemic started, their work has been harder and dirtier than ever.

Today, we hear from one of those workers.

More reading:

How the pandemic made hotel housekeeping more difficult — and disgusting

Tourists are back: L.A. hotel bookings reach 100% of their pre-pandemic levels

‘Tsunami’ of hotel closures is coming, experts warn


Mar 15, 2022
Future of Abortion Part 1: Medicine

Dr. Warren Hern has seen the past, present and future of the abortion debate in the United States. The Colorado doctor remembers treating women for illegal abortions, was there for the opening arguments of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade — and now fears what might happen if it’s struck down.

Today, Dr. Hern talks about his career.

More reading:

As a med student, he saw women nearly die from illegal abortions. At 83, he sees no end to his work

60 hours, 50 abortions: A California doctor’s monthly commute to a Texas clinic

California plans to be abortion sanctuary if Roe vs. Wade is overturned

Mar 14, 2022
Ukraine, Russia and your gas tank

Here in the United States, we’re already feeling the cost of Russia’s war in a place none of us can escape: the rising price of oil.

Today, we look into how global conflicts upend global energy supplies and efforts to fight climate change, how gas prices keep getting higher and might continue to rise, and what can be done about it.

More reading:

How high could gas prices go? More pain at the pump likely coming

Ukraine is a climate story. Because everything is a climate story

The truth about L.A.’s most notoriously expensive gas stations

Mar 11, 2022
One family's 27,000-mile road trip

Greg Bledsoe is a former morning news anchor for NBC 7 in San Diego. About a year ago, he, his wife and their two children got into an SUV and began to drive. Forty-four states, more than 20 national parks and more than 27,000 miles later, they’re still at it.

Today, Greg shares with us some of their stories — and lessons.

More reading:

Follow the Bledsoes’ adventures on Instagram

Opinion: I live on the road with my wife and two young kids — and I highly recommend it

Coronavirus ruined our family vacation this year. We turned to an RV for a new adventure


Mar 10, 2022
500 miles to Kyiv

For more than a month now, L.A. Times Middle East Bureau Chief Nabih Bulos has been on the ground in Ukraine, covering the escalating Russian invasion. Bulos has seen fierce fighting by Ukrainians, nonstop bombardment by Russians, hope and fear and chaos. He’s crisscrossed Ukraine to hear residents tell their stories.

Today, he talks to us about what he has seen.

More reading:

Raining rockets, scattered corpses, an existential battle: A 500-mile journey across a week of war

‘We’re keeping watch’: What foreign correspondents Nabih Bulos, Marcus Yam are seeing in Ukraine

Dead soldiers. An icy river. Ukraine town on the front lines prepares to battle Russians

Mar 09, 2022
Media bias, and refugees 'like us'

The European Union is doing everything possible to welcome Ukrainian refugees. And people around the world have donated money and supplies to help. But this open-arms response has people in similar situations wondering: Why so much goodwill toward Ukrainians, and not us?

Today, we talk about the media’s role in deciding who is the “right” type of refugee — and how that helps or hinders displaced people around the world.

More reading:

In Ukraine reporting, Western press reveals grim bias toward ‘people like us’

20 years after 9/11, an American Muslim recalls the costs of war you didn’t see on TV

Trevor Noah slams media for racist remarks on Ukraine: War ‘was Europe’s entire thing’

Mar 08, 2022
History-making, Oscar-nominated Ariana DeBose

Ariana DeBose has made history as the first Afro-Latino and openly queer woman to be nominated for an acting Academy Award. In this crossover episode with “The Envelope,” DeBose talks about the expectations she must carry, her experience with “West Side Story” and more.

More reading:

Ariana DeBose wants you to feel Anita’s presence before you even hear her

‘West Side Story’s’ Ariana DeBose makes the case against ‘ethnically ambiguous’

Here’s how Oscar nominee Ariana DeBose could make history

Mar 07, 2022
An American leaves Ukraine to return

Aaron Bray is a San Diego native who’s lived the last couple of years in Kharkiv, Ukraine, after a stint with the Peace Corps. And now, alongside over a million Ukrainians and foreigners, he’s had to flee the country in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

Today, we hear Aaron’s first-person story about what it was like to leave his adopted home behind … and why he says he’s going back.

More reading:

Read the L.A. Times’ full coverage of the war in Ukraine

Costa Mesa couple barely escape Ukraine with days-old newborn

Commentary: ‘I’m scared, bro’: Inside Ukraine, through the harrowed eyes of two U.S. athletes

‘A lot of innocent people will die’: Ukrainians in California decry Russia’s attack

‘When there are troubles, we go to God’: Ukrainian Americans gather in grief at L.A. church

Mar 04, 2022
A homeless community that couldn't last

A small, tight-knit community grew inside an abandoned building in L.A.’s Koreatown. The people who found shelter there felt lucky. In a city where unhoused people have to set up encampments wherever they can — in parks, on sidewalks, beneath freeway overpasses — this old building offered a real sense of home.

But the people who lived there knew their community couldn’t last.

More reading:

In an abandoned Koreatown building, homeless Angelenos create a community

‘Gimme Shelter’: The gap in California’s homelessness plan

‘Remember that can easily be you’: Angelenos closest to the homelessness crisis urge compassion


Mar 03, 2022
Russia and China, forever frenemies

On Feb. 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping just hours ahead of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Winter Olympics. The meeting made headlines, and has people asking: Could China be the overlooked player in the Russia-Ukraine crisis?

Today, we dive into the complicated history between the two countries — and whether Russia’s moves on Ukraine might serve as a template with China and Taiwan.

More reading:

Beijing may be tempted to side with Putin in the Ukraine conflict. But at what cost?

Putin heads to China to bolster ties amid Ukraine tensions

Op-Ed: Whether it sides with Russia or not, China will pay a price


Mar 02, 2022
Mexico's lawsuit against American guns

Gun violence has killed more than 100,000 people in Mexico over the last decade. Yet most of the guns involved are illegal, smuggled into the country from the U.S. Now, the Mexican government has had enough.

Today, we talk about a federal lawsuit filed by Mexico against American gun manufacturers that seeks to reduce the bloodshed.

More reading:

Column: Don’t shield U.S. gun makers from liability for Mexico’s gun violence

There is only one gun store in all of Mexico. So why is gun violence soaring?

Op-Ed: For Mexico, taking a stand against gun trafficking is a moral imperative

Mar 01, 2022
How workers evade vaccine mandates

As more and more workplaces have instituted COVID-19 vaccine mandates, a cottage industry has sprung up to help skeptics evade them. Today, we look into what constitutes a deeply held religious belief, how those beliefs can play out in the workplace, and what employers can do about shady religious exemption requests.

More reading:

Online pastors, form letters: The cottage industry helping workers avoid vaccine mandates

New workplace mandate for COVID-19 vaccine pushed by California lawmakers

Column: L.A.'s unvaccinated public workers go Ayn Rand, throw fit over city’s vaccine mandate


Feb 28, 2022
Maggie Gyllenhaal on her directorial debut
Feb 25, 2022
How violence smashed Mexican avocados

Americans eat billions of dollars of Mexican avocados every year. Demand is such that drug cartels and other criminal elements have muscled in on the business, centered around the Mexican state of Michoacán. This reality got worldwide attention Super Bowl weekend, when the American government announced it was temporarily suspending any avocado imports from Mexico.

Today, we talk about this development — and why Americans are so obsessed with avocados in the first place.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Mexico correspondent Leila Miller, and L.A. Times acting deputy food editor Daniel Hernandez.

More reading:

Avocado imports from Mexico are blocked. What does that mean for you?


How we got to peak avocado: Super Bowls to Mexico’s drug cartels

Inside the bloody cartel war for Mexico’s multibillion-dollar avocado industry

Feb 24, 2022
Vladimir Putin's Ukraine obsession

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his country would recognize the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and send Russian troops there for “peacekeeping” purposes. The move immediately drew worldwide condemnation — but signaled the culmination of a decades-long desire by Putin to bring Ukraine closer to Russia’s control.

Today, we talk to our reporter on the ground about this past, what’s happening now — and what’s next.

More reading:

Russian troops move into eastern Ukraine, EU says, as fear of war grows

Artillery fusillades from Russian-backed separatists set Ukraine’s east on edge

Will war come to a town called New York in Ukraine?


Feb 23, 2022
Transgender drivers struggle to join Uber

Uber’s under fire over its treatment of transgender drivers after the Los Angeles Times published a story about the alleged mistreatment.

Today, we’ll hear from the L.A. Times reporter who broke the story. And we’ll also hear more from an Uber driver who hopes other trans people won’t ever have to go through what she went through.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times business reporter Suhauna Hussain

More reading:

Uber blocks transgender drivers from signing up: ‘They didn’t believe me’

Uber faces ‘serious questions’ over transgender drivers’ treatment after Times report

Uber’s self-driving cars put tech’s ‘move fast, break things’ credo to the test


Feb 22, 2022
Saving segregated 'Mexican' schools

Marfa, Texas, is known internationally for its arts scene. But on the south side of the city, there’s this old school. It’s a school where teachers once paddled Latino students for speaking Spanish. Now, some of those same students — grandparents and retirees in their 80s — are working to save the long-shuttered segregated Blackwell School and make it a national historic site to teach the history of segregated schools for Latinos in the United States.

This episode has been updated. An earlier version included audio of Jessi Silva describing an integrated school she attended in addition to  the Blackwell School in Marfa, Texas. That school was in California, not Marfa.

More reading:

Saving the school where kids were paddled for speaking Spanish

Lorenzo Ramirez, late plaintiff in famed school desegregation case, honored by Orange

Mendez vs. segregation: 70 years later, famed case ‘isn’t just about Mexicans. It’s about everybody coming together’

Feb 18, 2022
Homeless prisoners of the suburban dream

A new podcast series from KPCC and LAist Studios called "Imperfect Paradise: Home Is Life" zeroes in on the battles over homelessness in suburban communities. Today, we air Episode 2 of this three-part series, which focuses on an effort in 2018 to build housing for unhoused people in the Orange County city of Fullerton.

More reading:

Listen to “Imperfect Paradise”

Fullerton will start enforcing parking regulations on street where homeless live in RVs

‘No place to go’: Fullerton ordinance, on hold for now, could force out homeless living in RVs


Feb 17, 2022
California's death penalty flip-flops

For decades, California voters and politicians have vacillated over the future of the death penalty. Currently, Gov. Gavin Newsom has put a moratorium on them and has ordered that death row at San Quentin State Prison — the largest in the United States — be emptied. Is this the end of the line for capital punishment in the Golden State — for real?

More reading:

California moves forward on plans to shut down death row

California is closing San Quentin’s death row. This is its gruesome history

Editorial: Dismantle death row, but don’t stop there

Feb 16, 2022
A labor union with your latte?

The U.S. labor movement has experienced a resurgence in recent years in sectors that historically have hired younger people. And one of the biggest battlegrounds is where you get your lattes. Today, we’re taking you to a Starbucks in Santa Cruz, where workers are demanding more from their corporate employer.

This episode has been updated to clarify when the Starbucks store in Buffalo, N.Y. filed its union petition, who resigned at the Starbucks in Santa Cruz, Calif. and to include a response from a Starbucks spokesperson about the conditions at the Santa Cruz outlet mentioned. 

More reading:

Starbucks workers at Santa Cruz store file union petition, joining a national push

Did baristas lose their jobs because of COVID-19 or because they tried to unionize?

Starbucks workers vote to unionize at a store in Buffalo, N.Y.

Feb 15, 2022
Black joy in Questlove's "Summer of Soul"

The Roots drummer and music legend Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson sifted through 40 hours of archival footage of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival for his documentary, “Summer of Soul.” It was a festival where legends like Nina Simone and Stevie Wonder performed in the same summer as Woodstock.

The film is now in the running for Best Original Documentary at this year’s Oscars. So today, we’re airing an episode with Questlove from our sister podcast, “The Envelope.”

More reading:

Review: ‘Summer of Soul’: A rousing cultural and musical revolution, now finally seen

Questlove’s ‘Summer of Soul’ is much more than a music documentary

Meet the archivist who saved the historic footage that became ‘Summer of Soul’

Feb 14, 2022
Will the Super Bowl change Inglewood?

With more economic development and rents on the rise, Inglewood is struggling to meet its goal of encouraging more investment while trying to preserve one of California’s last remaining Black enclaves. Today, we examine this through the prism of SoFi Stadium, which is hosting the Super Bowl this Sunday.

More reading:

Op-Ed: For Inglewood, it won’t be a Super Sunday

‘A crisis for renters’: Football sent Inglewood home prices and rents skyrocketing

Must Reads: One of California’s last black enclaves threatened by Inglewood’s stadium deal

Feb 11, 2022
Let's get loud, Super Bowl halftime show

 Even if you don’t like football, you probably have opinions about the Super Bowl halftime show. Today, we look at the history of this curious spectacle, from its humble beginnings to the mega-star extravaganzas of today. And along the way, we’ll take a look at how this roughly 15-minute intermission became an unlikely reflection of American culture.

More reading:

At SoFi Stadium, Dr. Dre assembles a hip-hop dream team for Super Bowl halftime show

Janet Jackson says she and Timberlake ‘have moved on’ from Super Bowl scandal

Adam Levine thanks you for hating Maroon 5’s Super Bowl performance

Feb 10, 2022
Why the NFL doesn't hire Black coaches

In a league where Black players make up 70% of active rosters, the NFL currently has only two Black head coaches. League officials and even fans have offered all sorts of excuses about this discrepancy for decades. But now there’s an explosive federal lawsuit about the matter. It was filed this month by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. In it, he puts this persistent and longstanding problem on stage.

Today, we dive into why the NFL just can’t seem to hire Black head coaches.

More reading:

Seven things you need to know about Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL

Op-Ed: The NFL fails on Black leadership. So do most institutions in America

Column: Brian Flores’ lawsuit features memorable receipts that could force the NFL to change

Feb 09, 2022
The triple terror of tsunamis

For the latest installment of our “Masters of Disasters” series, we talk tsunamis in the wake of a volcanic eruption near Tonga last month that caused waves felt across the Pacific. There was none of the devastation like the world saw in Fukushima in 2011, or across the Indian Ocean in 2004. But what happened in Tonga got us thinking: How are the effects of tsunamis so devastating, yet so little is known about them?

More reading:

The tsunami that battered Santa Cruz highlights the threat facing California’s coast

Can a tsunami happen in Southern California? What should you do about it?

Surprising tsunami triggers may lurk off California’s coast, scientists say


Feb 08, 2022
We enter the metaverse — and return

Everybody is talking about the metaverse right now. But Times host Gustavo Arellano didn’t want to just talk about it; he wanted to experience it firsthand.

And so off he went inside the metaverse with a guide. Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

More reading:

Explainer: What is the metaverse and how will it work?

Want to glimpse our metaverse future? Theme parks are already on the case

Op-Ed: Mark Zuckerberg makes a ‘mwahahaha’ metaverse move

Feb 07, 2022
When cars on autopilot crash — and kill

A first-of-it’s kind case in Los Angeles County is going to play a big role in determining culpability whenever self-driving cars get into accidents. Prosecutors have charged a driver with felony manslaughter after his Tesla crashed into a car in 2019, killing two people. The accused was in the driver’s seat, but prosecutors say his Tesla … was on autopilot.

More reading:

A Tesla on autopilot killed two people in Gardena. Is the driver guilty of manslaughter?

Are self-driving cars safe? Highway regulator orders industry to cough up the data

Why do Tesla cars keep crashing into emergency response vehicles? Federal safety agency is investigating

Feb 04, 2022
No freedom gold medal for you, Olympics

There’s a growing realization that the brilliance of the world’s best athletes isn’t enough anymore to cover some glaring problems that come with putting on the Olympics every two years.

The International Olympics Committee has always claimed the Games are about promoting goodwill and celebrating the brotherhood of mankind. But as it turns out, not only do Olympics not do that, they tend to make democratic states… more authoritarian.

So what does that mean for the Games coming to Los Angeles in 2028?

Guests: Human Rights Watch China Director Sophie Richardson, and Pacific University political science professor Jules Boykoff

More reading:

The ‘Feel Guilty Games’?: China human rights issues have forever marked the Beijing Olympics

2028 L.A. Olympics: Agreement outlines key issues but final price tag remains unclear

Op-Ed: Tokyo’s Olympics have turned nightmarish. L.A., are you watching?

Feb 03, 2022
Mexico's murdered journalists

Mexico trails just Syria and Iraq as the deadliest country in the world to be a journalist. That’s according to data collected from 2000 through 2022 by the Committee to Protect Journalists. And the Mexican government has done little to stop it.

But in the wake of the murder of four reporters so far this year — José Luis Gamboa, Margarito Martínez Esquivel, Lourdes Maldonado López and Roberto Toledo — Mexican journalists are openly criticizing President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador and government officials like never before.

More reading:

Journalists throughout Mexico say enough to killings and crimes against press

Photojournalist shot to death outside his home in Tijuana

She told Mexico’s president she feared for her life. Then she was killed


Feb 02, 2022
Tet, today and yesterday

Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, is a national holiday, not just in Vietnam but all over the world wherever Vietnamese may be. And in the United States, red envelopes filled with money, special dishes and other traditions have become a part of life in major American cities such as San Jose, Houston and especially in Orange County, which is home to the largest Vietnamese expat community in the world.

Today, we talk about Tet memories and its evolution with the authors of the recently released “The Red Boat Fish Sauce Cookbook.”

More reading:

Buy “The Red Boat Fish Sauce Cookbook”

A new nuoc mam: Red Boat ‘first press extra virgin’ fish sauce

Gifts for food lovers: Red Boat fish salt, kids chef caddy, cooking classes

Feb 01, 2022
Home was where the freeway is

In Santa Monica during the 1950s and ‘60s, city leaders evicted hundreds of Black families to build what ended up being the 10 Freeway. But now, in an act of civic penance, Santa Monica is trying to bring some of those families back. It comes at a time when municipalities across the United States are reckoning with their racist actions from the past.

We’ll talk about Santa Monica’s attempt to redress a historical wrong. And we’ll also talk to a woman whose family was one of many Black households that Santa Monica wants to make right by.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times housing reporter Liam Dillon, and Santa Monica native Nichelle Monroe

More reading:

Santa Monica’s message to people evicted long ago for the 10 Freeway: Come home

Freeways force out residents in communities of color — again

Tour Santa Monica’s once-vibrant Black neighborhoods, nearly erased by racism and ‘progress’


Jan 31, 2022
The Blur guy insulted a pop star. The reaction? Swift

It was the Taylor Swift diss heard around the world. “She doesn’t write her own songs.” That’s what Damon Albarn, the lead singer for the British bands Blur and Gorillaz said to L.A. Times pop music critic Mikael Wood.

The drama between Taylor and Damon got real. But it also hit on something really interesting — songwriting, and who gets the credit for it, is a thing … now more than ever.

More reading:

For Damon Albarn, modern life is still pretty much rubbish

Column: Taylor Swift slapped back for all the women who have been told ‘you didn’t write that.’

After insulting Taylor Swift, Damon Albarn says he was cast into ‘social media abyss’

Jan 28, 2022
The Omicron kids

Just when it seemed schools and parents and teachers were figuring out how to do in-person learning again, Omicron hit.

The highly contagious variant really blew up while schools were on winter break in California. So when schools reopened and students returned, there were problems.

Today, we hear from a parent and high school students who are trying to navigate their teenage years while worrying about COVID-19.

More reading:

California schools under intense strain, fighting to stay open during Omicron surge

Amid high absenteeism, incoming L.A. schools chief says campuses are safe

Omicron surge anxiety, absences and confusion mark first day of new LAUSD semester

Jan 27, 2022
A comic and COVID walk into a cruise ship ...

On New Year’s Day, comedian Jen Murphy boarded a cruise ship out of Miami and got ready to perform for 1,800 people. She never did end up getting on that comedy stage, though. Instead, she ended up getting trapped in a COVID cruise quarantine.

Today, Murphy gives us a hilarious and intense look into why she got on a cruise ship in the middle of the pandemic in the first place and what she learned from it.

More reading:

Shame and fish filets: Diary of a comedian trapped in COVID cruise ship quarantine

Cruise passengers share what it’s like to be on a ship with COVID cases

Visit Jen Murphy’s website

Jan 26, 2022
A new Honduras president-elect is set to make herstory

Xiomara Castro is about to be inaugurated as the first-ever female president of Honduras. But la presidenta has a daunting task in front of her. Her countrymen continue to leave the nation, tired of poverty, government corruption and violence.

And the legislative majority she was counting on to help her reform Honduras is now gone.

Today, we’ll talk about how Castro promises to solve her country’s problems. But, in light of what’s happening right now in the National Congress of Honduras, will she even get a chance?

More reading:

Honduran Congress splits, threatens new president’s plans

Kamala Harris headed to Honduras for inauguration of country’s president

La diáspora hondureña en EE.UU mira a Xiomara Castro como el ‘cambio’ y la ‘esperanza’

Jan 25, 2022
An Indigenous language, back from the brink

Native American culture and history have long been ignored or romanticized as vestiges of a lost people — or both.

The Serrano people of Southern California have seen their Indigenous language nearly vanish. But tribe member Ernest Siva has been working to save it. Among his efforts: The octogenarian contributes to Cal State San Bernardino’s language program.

Then, 25-year-old Mark Araujo-Levinson found the classes through a Google search — and started making YouTube videos of himself learning the language.

Today, we hear their voices. And L.A. Times Metro reporter Nathan Solis takes us through their story and how their efforts have gained momentum.

More reading:

The Indigenous Serrano language was all but gone. This man is resurrecting it

San Bernardino County recognizes Serrano language and museums sitting on tribal land

Tongva, Los Angeles’ first language, opens the door to a forgotten time and place

Jan 24, 2022
Standing up for Black lives at the border

Felicia Rangel-Samponaro used to live a fairly normal life as a suburban stay-at-home mom in the border city of Brownsville, Texas. But now the half Black, half Mexican-American mom crosses the border to help Black and Latino migrants, many of them asylum seekers stuck in camps in the border town of Reynosa, Mexico. 

Today, we hear her story.

More reading: 

The woman defending Black lives on the border, including her own 

Podcast: Our nation’s Haitian double standard 

Podcast: Biden shut a migrant camp. Then this bigger one appeared

Jan 21, 2022
Where carne asada is a crime

For over 140 years, street vendors hawking Mexican food have been a staple of life in Southern California. Horse-drawn tamale wagons turned into taco trucks, turned into hot dog carts, turned into pop-up tents — …and, eventually, hipsters caught on and these trends went national.

But even as SoCal has become famous worldwide for its street food scene, government officials have amped up their war on it.

Today, we examine one city’s crackdown on street vendors. And we also talk to an East L.A. taquero affected by code enforcement.

More reading:

Column: He’s L.A. food royalty. He began with a taco cart. Let street vendors thrive

Anaheim teams with county to take down taco stand pop-ups

Where to get beef birria, and a haircut. Seriously.


Jan 20, 2022
An American West with no snow?

This past December brought record-high amounts of snow to the Sierra Nevada, California’s main mountain range. The state, of course, has suffered for years from bad, bad drought, so we should all be happy that the dry days are over with all this snow, right? In fact, those who monitor such things are saying we should be saving water more than ever. Because there’s a real possibility that one day, blizzards in the West might be gone. Today, our Masters of Disasters reconvene to talk about this possible future.

 More reading:

 A ‘no snow’ California could come sooner than you think California is suddenly snow-capped and very wet. 

But how long will the water rush last? 

Editorial: Welcome the bout of winter storms, just don’t call them drought busters

Jan 19, 2022
The pandemic will end. We promise.

The COVID-19 era is rough, to say the least. But let’s put it in perspective. Every pandemic ends eventually, and this one will too.

Today, assistant editor Jessica Roy with the L.A. Times’ utility journalism team walks us through a century of past pandemics — from the 1918 flu to SARS — and the different ways they resolved, and she describes what’s likely to happen in our future.

Then medical historian Frank Snowden, a professor emeritus at Yale, reaches further back to explore how pandemics have changed society and what we’ve learned from them.

More reading:

Will this pandemic ever end? Here’s what happened with the last ones

CDC shifts pandemic goals away from reaching herd immunity

From the archives, April 2020: From the Black Death to AIDS, pandemics have shaped human history. Coronavirus will too

Jan 18, 2022
Nikole Hannah-Jones on her triumphs and trolls

Two years ago, Nikole Hannah-Jones launched “The 1619 Project,” a collection of New York Times Magazine articles, photography and podcasts. That project became a launching point to talk about Black people’s roles in shaping the United States. Hannah-Jones has been praised and vilified for her work ever since.

Today, we share highlights from a L.A. Times Book Club chat between Hannah-Jones and L.A. Times executive editor Kevin Merida. They talked about how Black people can be patriotic despite centuries of mistreatment … and about using mountains of research to get back at haters.


More reading:

Nikole Hannah-Jones dives into the origins and language of ‘The 1619 Project’

Nikole Hannah-Jones became a political target. What she’s learned from the ‘hurtful’ attacks

Howard-bound Nikole Hannah-Jones plans to ‘even the playing field’ for HBCUs. Here’s how


Jan 17, 2022
The tragedy of Latinos and COVID-19

COVID-19 has been devastating for everyone, but in the United States, there’s one demographic hit particularly hard: Latinos. According to the California Department of Public Health, Latinos make up about 39 percent of the state’s population but nearly half of all cases and 45 percent of all deaths. A perfect storm of factors made Latinos especially vulnerable to the coronavirus: Multigenerational households. Crowded neighborhoods. Essential jobs that required us to show up in person. Vaccine hesitancy among too many. Today, we hear about the devastation.

More reading:

 Pandemic portraits: The Latino experience 

COVID stole the heart of my family. It also divided it 

Column: Don’t be a ‘pandejo.’ Take the pandemic seriously

Jan 14, 2022
Chuck E. Cheese forever

How the hell does a chain based on an orphaned mouse who plays in a band survive and thrive? Very carefully. Today, we’ll talk to L.A. Times business reporter Samantha Masunaga about the company, and we’ll hear from its new chief executive about everything Chuck E. Cheese, including its infamous animatronic band.

More reading:

How do you make a 44-year-old animatronic rodent appeal to today’s kids? 

Chuck E. Cheese unveils a new look for its mousy mascot

Listen to Chuck E. Cheese's Spotify playlist

Jan 13, 2022
Work from home, get spied on by your boss

A Gallup poll last fall found that 45% of full-time U.S. employees were still working from home at least some of their hours. A full quarter of them exclusively work from home. Because of this, companies are increasingly using technology to monitor the activities of their workers while they’re on the clock, wherever they are. 

Today, we examine how and why companies are spying on their workers at home… and whether there’s a backlash coming.

More reading: 

Is your company secretly monitoring your work at home? 

Since COVID, the practice has surged 

How your employer can keep track of your work at home So your employer is monitoring you. What you should know

Jan 12, 2022
Issa Rae, take a bow

Issa Rae is the brilliant, hilarious mind behind the recently concluded HBO show “Insecure.” In this crossover episode with The Envelope, Rae talks about the incredible trajectory of her career, from a YouTuber turned Hollywood powerhouse, and how she repped South Los Angeles in a way that wasn’t just real but uplifting.

More reading:

 Issa Rae almost ended ‘Insecure’ differently. But she couldn’t ‘deny Issa her soulmate’ 

Issa Rae on the music business: ‘It’s an abusive industry... it needs to start over’ 

How ‘Insecure’ achieved its ‘mission’ to forge a real bond with South L.A.

Jan 11, 2022
Goodbye, gas stoves? The fight heats up

To fight climate change, municipalities across the United States are banning natural gas lines from being installed in new buildings. That means no gas stoves. Politicians and policymakers in those places — Berkeley being one of the first — want people to use electric appliances, such as electric stovetops or the more advanced induction stovetop. (There’s a health factor too. Open flames put out some gases you might not want to breathe.)

But the natural gas industry is fighting back. Today, L.A. Times national correspondent Evan Halper talks about the multimillion-dollar battle being fought between gas companies and municipal and state governments. And that battle is being waged in your kitchen.

More reading:

Clash of the kitchens: California leads the way in a new climate battleground

Video: Would you get rid of your gas stove and go electric?

California ditched coal. The gas company is worried it’s next

Jan 10, 2022
California crime waves, real and imaginary

It’s been a season of crime in California. Smash-and-grab thefts, follow-home robberies, high-profile murders — national, even international news accounts have painted a Golden State of chaos.

The numbers tell a different story: Some major crime indicators are up, but others are down, and they’re nowhere near historical highs. But that reality isn’t placating anyone. And when Californians get mad about crime — watch out, America.

Today, L.A. Times columnist Erika D. Smith discusses California’s legacy of crackdowns. And business reporter Sam Dean discusses how some stores may be taking advantage of public fear.

More reading:

Column: Don’t let Jacqueline Avant’s shooting get pulled into L.A.'s crass politics of crime

San Francisco confronts a crime wave unusual among U.S. cities

Retailers say thefts are at crisis level. The numbers say otherwise

Jan 07, 2022
The rising left in South America

Across Latin America, the political left is making a comeback not seen since the 2000s. Izquierdista presidential candidates won recent elections in Peru and Honduras. Activists are mounting protests against the conservative presidents of Brazil and Colombia.

The left’s biggest win so far is in Chile, where Gabriel Boric was elected president last month. He’ll take office in a country that’s about to rewrite its constitution, which was put into place by dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Today, L.A. Times Mexico City bureau chief Patrick J. McDonnell and Universidad de Chile professor Claudia Heiss speak with us about this “pink tide” and what it could mean for a region coming to terms with soaring inequality, a legacy of colonialism and a bloody, authoritarian history.

More reading:

Leftist lawmaker Boric wins polarized election in Chile, to become nation’s youngest president

Chile’s new president (Taylor’s version): Gabriel Boric is a Swiftie

Chileans approve rewriting of constitution in landslide vote

Jan 06, 2022
The next pandemic is already lurking

Hopefully the COVID-19 nightmare will soon wane, but it’s unlikely to be the last pandemic of our lifetimes. Because the virus that will cause the next pandemic is probably already out there.

Animals carry hundreds of thousands of viruses that have the potential to infect humans. Buffer zones between where people live and where wild animals live lower the risk of viruses jumping from another species to our own. But now human behaviors such as deforestation and urbanization, along with climate change, are erasing those zones.

Today, L.A. Times foreign correspondent Kate Linthicum, who recently traveled to the Amazon rainforest, and national correspondent Emily Baumgaertner, who focuses on medical investigations, explain the issue. And they talk about ways to solve the problem — or at least dial down the risks.

More reading:

Where will the next pandemic begin? The Amazon rainforest offers troubling clues

Op-Ed: What it will take to keep the next pandemic at bay

Letters to the Editor: Want to help prevent the next pandemic? Go vegan

Jan 05, 2022
Locked in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6

Los Angeles Times congressional correspondent Sarah D. Wire knew she was in for a historic day when she walked into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. She was there to cover the counting of the electoral college votes for the 2020 presidential election.

Because of then-President Trump’s allegations of election fraud, she was expecting controversy. But she didn’t expect to be caught in the middle of an insurrection.

Today, Sarah tells us about the day a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol, and she shares never-before-heard interviews with the Congress members who sheltered with her for hours. It’s a glimpse into the minds of our lawmakers as they worried for their lives while chaos invaded the seat of American democracy.

More reading:

I’m in a roomful of people ‘panicked that I might inadvertently give away their location’

Jan. 6 committee prepares to go public as findings mount

Column: The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was bad. It may have set the stage for worse

Jan 04, 2022
What's the L.A. Times going to do in 2022?

Kevin Merida became the Los Angeles Times’ executive editor last summer at a tumultuous time. Newsroom morale was down, the publication had lost $50 million in 2020, and several of his recent predecessors hadn’t endeared themselves to staffers. So what drew him to the job?

Today, Merida reflects on the first six months of his tenure, talks about his vision for the L.A. Times and answers the eternal Southern California question: What does he think about In-N-Out?

More reading:

ESPN’s Kevin Merida named L.A. Times executive editor

‘I see nothing but opportunity.’ Meet L.A. Times’ new top editor Kevin Merida

Video: Kevin Merida takes helm of L.A. Times

Jan 03, 2022
Make way for women, LGBTQ and POC skateboarders

Skateboarding is a mainstay of California street culture, from San Diego to San Francisco and beyond. It’s so popular that L.A. County filled outdoor skateparks with sand earlier in the pandemic so no one could grind on them.

But during the pandemic, skateboard sales surged — and communities long marginalized from the sport are now making their own spaces.

Today we talk to reporter Cerise Castle, who’s covering and participating in this rise, and skateboarders from various parts of America — including Washington, D.C., and the Navajo Nation — tell us why they skate.

An earlier version of this episode was published Nov. 5, 2021. 

More reading:

Skating can be a bridge in L.A. These 3 crews show how bonds form on four wheels

Skateboarding improves mental health, helps build diverse relationships, USC study says

From the archives: Skateboarders in urban areas get respect, and parks

Dec 30, 2021
How one mom learned to stop worrying and love video games

Video games had always been a point of division between L.A. Times science reporter Deborah Netburn and her 12-year-old son. Then the pandemic hit, and the gap between them seemed to widen. 

Today, Netburn shares her journey from ignorance to understanding. She did it by playing the games.

An earlier version of this episode was published May 7, 2021. 

More reading: Video games came between me and my son in the pandemic. Could they bring us back together?

Dec 29, 2021
The Chinese Communist Party and me, Part 2

This year, the Chinese Communist Party kicked off its 100th anniversary by celebrating China’s economic success and ambitions to create a new world order. The festivities, of course, are carefully choreographed. For decades, the Communist Party has crushed any counter-narratives to promote a whitewashed version of Chinese history. Those who deviate from the party’s official narrative suffer retribution — and in recent days, records of that punishment have been expunged as well. 

Today, we focus on a newly revised volume of Communist Party history that aims to airbrush its past for a younger generation who have come of age in a tightly controlled social environment. And we highlight the young activists who are trying to bring attention to this whitewashing — and are getting jailed or exiled for doing so. Our guest is L.A. Times Beijing bureau chief Alice Su.

An earlier version of this episode was published July 2, 2021. 

More reading:

As Communist Party turns 100, China’s Xi rallies his compatriots and warns his critics

He tried to commemorate erased history. China detained him, then erased that too 

China offers a minority a lifeline out of poverty — but what happens to its culture?

Dec 28, 2021
The Chinese Communist Party and me, Part 1

Two years ago, the world watched as millions of people in Hong Kong marched in the streets to call for autonomy from China. Beijing responded by passing a national security law last summer that broadly defined acts of subversion, foreign collusion and terrorism. Critics say the law crushed civil liberties. Since it was enacted, many people have fled Hong Kong — some to neighboring Taiwan. Yet Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims as its territory, is at risk as well. 

Today, we start a two-part series on the Chinese Communist Party’s ambitions as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. This episode gets into the continued crackdown on freedom and democracy in Hong Kong, where authorities have arrested thousands of pro-democracy activists and shut down a major daily newspaper. We’ll also discuss China’s growing threats to absorb Taiwan. Tomorrow, how the Chinese Communist Party is rewriting China’s history.

An earlier version of this episode was published July 1, 2021. 

More Reading

Beleaguered pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily says it’s closing down

As democracy fades, Hong Kong’s political opposition become political prisoners

The most important company you’ve never heard of is being dragged into the U.S.-China rivalry

Dec 27, 2021
QAnon disrupts the yoga and wellness worlds

QAnon or New Age? Increasingly, in California’s vast health, wellness and spiritual worlds, there's an intersection between the two communities so pronounced that the phenomenon has a new nickname: “Woo-Anon,” and it’s coming to a yoga studio near you.

 Today, we speak with L.A. Times investigative reporter Laura J. Nelson and yoga instructor Seane Corn about the growing movement, as well as the broken friendships and business partnerships that are happening in a once-placid scene.

An earlier version of this episode was published July 13, 2021. 

More reading:

California’s yoga, wellness and spirituality community has a QAnon problem

‘Woo-Anon’: The creep of QAnon into Southern California’s New Age world 

Former La Habra police chief, now yoga instructor, indicted on Capitol riot conspiracy charges

Dec 23, 2021
On track to become a doctor — or not

For a few days this week, we’re highlighting the work of students from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Maya Abu-Zahra started college with every intention of becoming a doctor. But about half of pre-med students end up choosing a different path. Today, she brings us down two of those paths, speaking with former pre-meds who ended up in very different careers.

Dec 22, 2021
Hollywood, here comes Madison

For a few days this week, we’re highlighting the work of students from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Today, Jillian Carmenate introduces us to her older sister, Madison, who’s forging into the entertainment industry. Madison Carmenate hopes to create movies and TV shows that feature people with disabilities, like her — and like a full quarter of U.S. adults.

More reading:

How entertainment professionals with disabilities are fighting for inclusion

This manager is working toward diversity in Hollywood — and that includes those with disabilities

Hollywood’s reluctance to welcome disability shuts out a lot of fresh talent and stories


Dec 21, 2021
When the labels don't feel right

For a few days this week, we’re highlighting the work of students from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Today, Cari Spencer guides us through her journey of figuring out her identity. Half Taiwanese and half white, she felt all her life that she had to “pick a side” — or that she wasn’t enough of one thing or the other. Then she found another option.

Host: USC student Cari Spencer

More reading:

Five takeaways from the new U.S. census data

From the archives, 2001: Census’ multiracial option overturns traditional views

Dec 20, 2021
Hey, it's our holiday special

Today we’re doing something a little different: channeling our inner holiday spirit and sharing stories from some of our awesome colleagues across the L.A. Times newsroom.

They submitted stories about losing a loved one to COVID-19. Finding new ways to bond with family. Reconnecting with choirmates after months of virtual performances. And the exploits of one seriously sassy pet rabbit. (Thank you, Steve Padilla, Karen Garcia, Wendy Lee and Jazmín Aguilera!)

We at The Times have been working remotely throughout the pandemic, and we miss chitchatting with coworkers. Hearing these stories is kind of like kicking back at an old-school office potluck and catching up. It made us feel good and cheery. We hope it does the same for you.

More reading: Just some holiday stuff to set the mood

The L.A. Times 2021 holiday cookie recipes

8 fun, festive and free phone and Zoom backgrounds made by L.A. artists

How to handle another COVID holiday season

Dec 17, 2021
Vicente Fernández, the King

His nicknames: El Hijo del Pueblo — the People’s Son. El Ídolo de México — Mexico’s Idol. El Rey — the King. Or just plain Chente.

Ranchera legend Vicente Fernández passed away this week at age 81, and millions of his fans in the U.S., Mexico and beyond are mourning a man who was their soundtrack of love and sadness and resistance for over half a century.

Today, L.A. Times journalists who grew up with Chente’s music — host Gustavo Arellano, deputy sports editor Iliana Limón Romero, video journalist Steve Saldivar and culture writer Daniel Hernández — talk about his legacy. We even sing some of his songs — badly.

More reading:

Vicente Fernández, a Mexican musical icon for generations, dies at 81

Column: Vicente Fernández’s journey was our parents’ journey. Long may they live

Appreciation: 10 essential songs of ranchera legend Vicente Fernández

Dec 16, 2021
We (kinda) gift you a box of See's Candies

Need a quick, yummy gift for Christmas or any other occasion? For generations of Californians, the answer has been a box of See’s Candies. With stores that sport a black-and-white checkerboard design and offer a galaxy of sweets — chocolates, peanut brittle, butterscotch lollipops — the South San Francisco-based company is nostalgia in a box or bag.

Today, L.A. Times food columnist Jenn Harris talks with host Gustavo Arellano about See’s on the occasion of the chain’s 100th anniversary. And you'd better believe some taste tests are involved. (What’s that white-chocolate one that Gustavo has never liked?)

More reading:

Is See’s Candies the best in the world? It’s certainly the most memorable

Everything you ever wanted to know about See’s Candies

Timeline: 100 years of See’s Candies

Dec 15, 2021
Hope, in a time of disasters

2021 has been a bad year for disasters: Drought. Oil spills. Bomb cyclones. Wildfires. Delta. Omicron. Yet if you’re reading this, you’ve survived.

Our Masters of Disasters — L.A. Times reporters Ron Lin, Alex Wigglesworth and Rosanna Xia — reflect on the year and offer a bit of hope on apocalyptic issues such as the coronavirus, the environment and wildfires.

More reading:

The American West went through climate hell in 2021. But there’s still hope

More than 400 toxic sites in California are at risk of flooding from sea level rise

Newsletter: We write about environmental calamity. Here’s what gives us hope

Dec 14, 2021
Next U.S. ambassador to India might be L.A.'s mayor. Huh?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is political royalty in the City of Angels. His father was a district attorney. Eric Garcetti won his last election with over 80% of the vote. There were even rumors he would run for president in 2020. This summer, the Biden administration has tapped Garcetti as the U.S. ambassador to India. A Senate panel will consider his nomination this week. And people from Kolkata to Calexico are still saying ... huh? Him?

Today, we speak to L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez, who says Garcetti’s ambition might actually make him good for the position, and to former City Council candidate Dinesh Lakhanpal, who’s open to the idea, if a bit skeptical.

An earlier version of this episode was published June 10, 2021. 

More reading:

Garcetti’s India move is no surprise. But it still stirred emotions and speculation

Waiting for Garcetti: India evaluates its ties with a post-Trump U.S.

Garcetti’s Senate committee nomination hearing scheduled for Tuesday

Dec 13, 2021
Today, we feast!

Hungry? The Los Angeles Times' annual list of the 101 best restaurants just dropped. Whether you live here, want to visit or are just craving inspiration for types of food to explore near your own home, the list has something for you. Today, L.A. Times restaurant critic Bill Addison tells us about some of his favorite local restaurants — high-end spots, mom-and-pop places, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Korean and beyond — and how he chose which ones made the cut. He also talks about how food journalism is changing and why journalists used to give so much positive attention to chefs who made great food but behaved like toxic jerks.


More reading: 

These are the 101 best restaurants in L.A.

11 must-try pop-ups, the next generation of L.A. dining

10 places to drink (wine, beer, cocktails, caffeine) right now

Dec 10, 2021
There she is, Miss Navajo Nation...

The Miss Navajo Nation pageant has been going on almost every year since the 1950s. It’s not about swimsuits or evening gowns, though. This tradition is all about making sure the culture of the largest Native American tribe in the United States remains alive — and vibrant.In this episode, you’ll hear from this year's contestants, judges and the winner. And you’ll get a sense of why the Diné — what Navajos call themselves — place such importance on something nonmembers, at first glance, might dismiss as a mere beauty contest or country fair frivolity.

More reading: 

A pageant like no other: ‘Can you imagine Miss USA or Miss Universe butchering a sheep?’ 

Navajo shepherds cling to centuries-old tradition in a land where it refuses to rain

Navajo Nation surpasses Cherokee to become largest tribe in the U.S.

Dec 09, 2021
The life and legacy of Jacqueline Avant

Jacqueline Avant was a force many times over in Black Los Angeles and beyond. She was a renowned philanthropist, a political king and queen maker, a patron of the arts. She was also a wife, mother, a friend to community activists and U.S. presidents alike. Last week, an intruder fatally shot her in her Beverly Hills home. Tributes from across the world have poured in to mark a life ended too soon. Today, we devote our episode to the life and legacy of Jacqueline Avant, who was 81 years old.

More reading: 

The killing of Jacqueline Avant: What we know 

‘Unfathomable’ slaying of Jacqueline Avant stuns Hollywood and political world 

Philanthropist Jacqueline Avant helped unite the worlds of Black politics and entertainment

Dec 08, 2021
Now hiring! Formerly incarcerated people

There are about 20 million people in the United States with felony records and unemployment rates among the formerly incarcerated is especially high — 27%, a few years ago, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. Compare that with the overall unemployment rate around the same time, which was less than 4%. The stigma of a criminal record has long influenced this reality, but with the Great Resignation unfolding before us, the situation for these folks seems to be looking up. Today, we'll hear from L.A. Times business reporter Don Lee, who has written about the issue, and from someone who's working to connect formerly incarcerated people with jobs — and who was formerly incarcerated himself.


More reading: 

Once shunned, people convicted of felonies find more employers open to hiring them 

Tight job market is good for felons, people with disabilities and others who are hard to employ. But can it last?

Visit the Honest Jobs website

Dec 07, 2021
Kirsten Dunst on her new movie, family and mental health

Our sister podcast “The Envelope” — which does deep-dive interviews with movie and TV stars — just started a new season, so we’re giving you a taste.

In this episode, Kirsten Dunst shares stories about growing up in Hollywood, why she decided to publicly address her mental health break, and the joyful — though sometimes awkward — moments of acting opposite her real-life partner, Jesse Plemons, in “The Power of the Dog.”

More reading:

‘Power of the Dog’ writer-director Jane Campion explains her enigmatic career choices

Review: ‘Power of the Dog’ reasserts Jane Campion’s mastery and reveals a new side of Benedict Cumberbatch

Kodi Smit-McPhee walks us through that ‘Power of the Dog’ ending

The Envelope podcast homepage

Dec 06, 2021
A Chinese tennis star disappears

On Nov. 2, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai published a letter on her verified social media account that accused a former top Chinese government official of sexual assault. Then suddenly, she disappeared. But it’s not just people with name recognition who are disappearing in the country. Human rights group Safeguard Defenders estimates that more than 45,000 people were subjected to a form of secret detention since President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2013.

Today, we speak with L.A. Times Beijing Bureau Chief Alice Su, who has been investigating this phenomenon. And we’ll also hear from a writer who studies feminism in China.

More reading:

They helped Chinese women, workers, the forgotten and dying.

 Then they disappeared Women’s tennis tour suspends events in China over Peng Shuai concerns 

EU wants ‘verifiable proof’ that Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai is safe

Dec 03, 2021
David Chang gets very honest with us

Today, we’ll spend the show with food personality David Chang to talk about his new Hulu series, "The Next Thing You Eat," which — full disclosure — our host Gustavo Arellano appears in. We’ll discuss what David found, why he thinks Southern California is such a great place for food, and also the future of the food industry in the era of COVID-19.

He also has a raw conversation about how the harsh working conditions in restaurants can be improved, and about his own anger.

More reading:

Watch "The Next Thing You Eat" on Hulu

David Chang on restaurants and his own life: ‘The old ways just don’t work anymore’

David Chang doesn’t want your compliments

Dec 02, 2021
College degrees for incarcerated folks

For more than a century, California's approach to incarcerating people has gone mostly like this: Incarcerate them. But now, there’s a program offered by the Cal State University system that helps incarcerated folks not only develop skills but also reimagine themselves — as people who could have lives after serving long prison terms, as scholars. Today, we’re going to talk about this new educational opportunity for those on the inside with L.A. Times education reporter Colleen Shalby.

More reading:

They were supposed to die in prison. Instead, they earned freedom as college graduates 

Editorial: For former prisoners to have a shot at a normal life, we need successful reentry programs 

Apodaca: UC Irvine law professor sees college degrees as a way to reduce recidivism


Dec 01, 2021
Cycling while Latino in L.A. County is tough

An L.A. Times investigation found that from 2017 to July of this year, 70% of bicyclists that L.A. County sheriff’s deputies pulled over were Latinos, even though the group makes up only about half of the county’s population. And they searched 85% of bike riders they stopped, even though deputies often had no reason to think they’d find something illegal. They ended up making arrests or writing citations 21% of the time. Today, we talk to the L.A. Times journalists who reported this story. And we talk to a Latino cycling activist about how it is to cycle around Los Angeles.

More reading:

L.A. sheriff’s deputies use minor stops to search bicyclists, with Latinos hit hardest 

Bicyclists share stories of being stopped by L.A. County deputies: ‘Everybody is a suspect until proven otherwise’ 

L.A. County supervisors seek to decriminalize bike violations after Times investigation

Nov 30, 2021
Lowriders. Cruising. A Southern California ritual returns

Our guest host Faith E. Pinho, a Metro reporter at the L.A. Times, speaks with Times culture writer Daniel Hernandez about the cast of characters and cars that have been lining the wide boulevards of Southern California for decades. They look at who is embracing cruising culture and its uneasy relationship with law enforcement.

An earlier version of this episode was published May 28, 2021. 

More reading:

The lowrider is back: The glorious return of cruising to the streets of L.A. 

Here are 8 key lowrider moments in pop films and TV, according to Estevan Oriol 

During pandemic, trash and crime increased on Whittier Boulevard. Lowrider clubs said: Enough

Nov 29, 2021
Alison Roman on cooking and cancellation

Alison Roman is a chef, food writer, cookbook author and video maker whose unfussy recipes pack a punch. Those recipes, along with her fun persona, made her a bright spot for many fans especially as the pandemic began taking hold. Then Roman, who is white, lobbed some criticism at celebrities Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo — women of color — and controversy engulfed her. Roman was canceled. Or was she? What exactly does being canceled mean, anyway? What can a person learn, and where can they go from there? L.A. Times reporter Erin B. Logan asks Roman these questions. But first: What's Roman making for Thanksgiving, how did she get into the food world, and how does she make simplicity taste so good?  (Psst: This is the last episode before The Times' Thanksgiving break. We'll be back Monday!)

More reading: 

Alison Roman moves beyond Chrissy Teigen backlash and vows to grow from it

When Alison Roman insulted Chrissy Teigen: Everything to know about their online spat

Column: Cancel culture is as American as apple pie

Alison Roman's website



Nov 23, 2021
Sohla El-Waylly on cooking and appropriation

Sohla El-Waylly is famous for her cooking videos for outlets like the History Channel’s “Ancient Recipes,” Bon Appetit’s “Test Kitchen,” and so, so much more. She also writes a column at Food52 and contributes to the cooking section at the other big-time Times newspaper (the one on the East Coast).

Today, we do another crossover episode with our sibling podcast “Asian Enough,” where El-Waylly talks about food appropriation, her inspirations and much more.

Hosts: Johana Bhuiyan and Tracy Brown

Guest: Chef Sohla El-Waylly

More reading:

Babish expands as pandemic boosts YouTube cooking shows

Vulture: Going Sohla

Sohla’s website

Nov 22, 2021
The story of L.A.’s glitzy gambling boat kingpin

This story of Los Angeles’ 1930s era of gambling boats — and Tony Cornero, the underworld boss at the center of the action — is a portal to another version of the city, one that’s glamorous and seedy. Business reporter Daniel Miller spent months chasing down the tale, poring over FBI records, reviewing newspaper accounts and interviewing the few people alive who remember when barges bobbing off the coast of Santa Monica offered the chance at a sea-sprayed jackpot. He tells us about this world of water-cannon gangsters and floating vice dens — which paved the way for the popularity of Las Vegas and dramatically met its end 82 years ago this month.

More reading:

The secret history of L.A.’s glitzy gambling boat kingpin — and the raid that sank him

Nov 19, 2021
Social media's Latino misinformation problem

Last month, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen revealed she had released thousands of documents that showed how the company knew yet did little to curb harmful content for its billions of users. Those documents also showed that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, knew disinformation on its platforms was particularly corrosive to Latino communities — yet the company did little to stop it. Today, we talk about the damage and what activists are doing to try to stop it.

More reading:

What Facebook knew about its Latino-aimed disinformation problem 

Misinformation online is bad in English. But it’s far worse in Spanish 

Facebook struggled with disinformation targeted at Latinos

Nov 18, 2021
Mega-drought + mega-rain = uh-oh!

When it rains, it pours, and when it pours after a long dry spell, water can become dangerous. Fire-scarred lands see mudslides devastate homes. Parched soil can’t absorb the rain that comes. Water, water everywhere, and California is still on the brink.Today, we reconvene our Masters of Disasters to discuss how too much rain after a drought can be bad. And who knew the term "mudslide" could be so controversial?

More reading:

Threat of mudslides returns to California after devastating fires. How do they work?

California rains break all-time records, spurring floods and mudslides

October’s torrential rains brought some drought relief, but California’s big picture still bleak

Nov 17, 2021
In-N-Out Burger enters the COVID-19 wars

Last month, In-N-Out Burger made national news when health officials in San Francisco shut down one of its restaurants. The company’s sin: refusing to comply with a law that requires restaurants to ask customers for proof of COVID-19 vaccination. An In-N-Out spokesperson described the mandate as “intrusive, improper and offensive” — and suddenly, the burger chain became a flashpoint in the country’s culture wars. Today, we talk about this beloved company with L.A. Times reporter Stacy Perman, author of the best-selling 2009 book “In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules.”

More reading:

 Column: What In-N-Out’s vaccine standoff reveals about the California dream 

Inside In-N-Out Burger’s escalating war with 

California over COVID-19 vaccine rules ‘We refuse to become the vaccination police’: In-N-Out Burger, and other restaurants defy COVID mandates

Nov 16, 2021
Leyna Bloom on breaking ground as a trans woman of color

Over the last few years, Leyna Bloom has been the first in many categories. In 2017, she became the first trans woman of color to grace the pages of Vogue India. In 2019, she became one of the first trans women to walk Paris Fashion Week. And most recently, she broke barriers again as the first trans cover model for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.

On this crossover episode with our sister podcast “Asian Enough,” Bloom talks about her ties to ballroom, her Black and Filipina identity and reuniting with her mom after decades apart.

More reading:

How Leyna Bloom became the first transgender actress of color to star in a film at Cannes

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit goes bold: Megan Thee Stallion, Naomi Osaka, Leyna Bloom

Review: Luminous performances elevate trans romance ‘Port Authority’

Nov 15, 2021
Can the FBI spy on Muslims and not say why?

In 2011, a group of Muslims in Orange County sued the federal government, alleging that the FBI violated the constitutional rights of Muslims by spying on them solely because of their religion. The feds denied the allegations, but they also said they couldn't disclose why they had spied on this community. To do so, according to the government, would reveal state secrets. Now the lawsuit is before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the feds want it dismissed. Today, we hear from L.A. Times reporter Suhauna Hussain, who is covering the case. We'll hear from some of the plaintiffs and Muslim activists. And we'll also hear from Craig Monteilh, the self-admitted FBI informant in the center of all this.


More reading: 

Supreme Court skeptical of FBI’s claim in monitoring of Orange County Muslims

Column: In Orange County case, the U.S. is hiding behind claims of ‘state secrets’

From the archives: Man says he was FBI informant

Nov 12, 2021
Why we forget U.S. violence toward Chinatowns

This fall, a commemoration in downtown Los Angeles marked the 150th anniversary of when a mob lynched 18 Chinese men and boys — one of the biggest such killings in American history. The recent memorial comes in a year when many similar remembrances have bloomed across the United States. Anti-Asian hate crimes have soared during the pandemic, but that has also spurred an interest in learning the long, and long-hidden, history of such bigotry.



More reading: 

History forgot the 1871 Los Angeles Chinese massacre, but we’ve all been shaped by its violence

L.A.'s memorial for 1871 Chinese Massacre will mark a shift in how we honor history

The racist massacre that killed 10% of L.A.’s Chinese population and brought shame to the city

White residents burned this California Chinatown to the ground. An apology came 145 years later

Nov 11, 2021
California's marijuana revolution at 25 years

Marijuana use is now ubiquitous in mainstream culture — even Martha Stewart’s into CBD products thanks to her good pal Snoop Dogg. Despite this, the federal government classifies basically all cannabis-related products as illegal. That stands in the way of things like medical research. Can California, which sparked a revolution 25 years ago with the legalization of medical marijuana by voters, push the federal government to legalize marijuana once and for all?


More reading: 

California changed the country with marijuana legalization. Is it high time for the feds to catch up?

Thousands of California marijuana convictions officially reduced, others dismissed

Editorial: What legalization? California is still the Wild West of illegal marijuana

Nov 10, 2021
Why this USC fraternity scandal is different

At USC, hundreds of students have been protesting university officials and so-called Greek life itself over the last month after a series of drugging and sexual assault allegations that the school kept quiet about for weeks. It's the latest scandal to hit the school, and some of the loudest criticism has come from an unexpected source: fraternity and sorority members. Today, we talk to L.A. Times higher education reporter Teresa Watanabe about the matter. And a USC student who's a proud sorority sister tells us why she's pushing for change.

More reading: 

USC students protest toxic Greek life after fraternity suspended for alleged drugging, sexual assault

USC’s ‘Greek experience’ under fire even as fraternities gain in popularity post-pandemic

USC admits to ‘troubling delay’ in warning about fraternity drugging, sex assault reports

Nov 09, 2021
How Filipino Americans are the Latinos of Asia

In this crossover episode with our cousin podcast “Asian Enough,” hosts Suhauna Hussain and Johana Bhuiyan speak with sociologist Anthony Ocampo. He’s spent his career studying the intersection of race, gender and immigration, which guided his groundbreaking book “The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race.”

Today, Ocampo also speaks about another facet of his work: what it means to be brown and gay in Los Angeles. And he reflects on Filipino nurses’ role in battling the coronavirus in the United States.

More reading:

Filipino American trailblazers speak truth to Hollywood through jokes and rhymes

How the Philippines’ colonial legacy weighs on Filipino American mental health

Filipino-led micro-businesses blossom in the pandemic at L.A.'s Manila District

Nov 08, 2021
Make way for women, LGBTQ and POC skateboarders

Skateboarding is a mainstay of California street culture, from San Diego to San Francisco and beyond. It’s so popular that L.A. County filled outdoor skateparks with sand earlier in the pandemic so no one could grind on them.

But during the pandemic, skateboard sales surged — and communities long marginalized from the sport are now making their own spaces.

Today we talk to reporter Cerise Castle, who’s covering and participating in this rise, and skateboarders from various parts of America — including Washington, D.C., and the Navajo Nation — tell us why they skate.

More reading:

Skating can be a bridge in L.A. These 3 crews show how bonds form on four wheels

Skateboarding improves mental health, helps build diverse relationships, USC study says

From the archives: Skateboarders in urban areas get respect, and parks

Nov 05, 2021
What it's like for L.A.'s female firefighters

Less than 4% of Los Angeles’ firefighters are women — a number that, despite the mayor’s goals, has inched up only slightly in recent years. Many of the female firefighters say their ranks are so small because of a hostile, sexist culture pervading the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Today, we talk about what women in the LAFD have been dealing with, including trash in their lockers, feces on bathroom floors and nasty remarks from co-workers they need to trust with their lives. We talk to L.A. Times City Hall reporter Dakota Smith, who has covered this hazing culture, and we also hear from Stacy Taylor, a retired battalion chief who pushed for better treatment during her 26 years in the department.

More reading:

Women say they endure ‘frat house’ culture at L.A. Fire Department. ‘The worst of my life’

Female firefighters, civil rights advocates call for LAFD chief’s removal

Firefighters sue over city of L.A.'s vaccine mandate

Nov 04, 2021
Extreme heat, the silent killer

Every year, people in the American West die from scorching temperatures. Experts fear that the number of deaths is undercounted — and, that as the climate continues to heats up, the death rate is going to rise.

Officially, California says 599 people died due to heat exposure from 2010 to 2019. But a Los Angeles Times investigation estimates the number is way higher: about 3,900 deaths.

Today we talk to Tony Barboza and Anna M. Phillips, who, along with Sean Greene and Ruben Vives, spearheaded the L.A. Times investigation. We discuss why their count is so different from the state's, who's most vulnerable to the heat and how to protect yourself. 

More reading:

Heat waves are far deadlier than we think. How California neglects this climate threat

Climate change is supercharging California heat waves, and the state isn’t ready

Poor neighborhoods bear the brunt of extreme heat, ‘legacies of racist decision-making’

Nov 03, 2021
Mexico’s wine country gets big — maybe too big

The Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California is Mexico’s premier wine country, a lush valley that makes Napa seem as gorgeous as a parking lot.

But a lot of development is coming to the Valle — and many locals aren’t happy.

Today, we travel to this beautiful, contested space with two experts. Javier Cabral is the editor of LA Taco and wrote about a recent anti-development protest there. Javier Plascencia, a pioneering chef, has seen Valle grow and wants the world to come in — in a sustainable way.

More reading:

Is Valle de Guadalupe over? The fight to protect Mexican wine country

10 things to know about Chef Javier Plascencia

Baja is making a lot more great wine than you might think

Nov 02, 2021
Just 5 countries could make or break climate change

Over the next two weeks, leaders from nearly 200 countries are gathering in Glasglow, Scotland, for a United Nations climate summit known as COP26. They’ll tell us what we’ve heard before: that scientists have warned about rising oceans, sinking cities, famines and millions of refugees if we don’t dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Officials will tell us we all need to act ASAP. But the fate of humanity really rests with a handful of countries.

Today, we’re gathering our panel of correspondents from across the globe – L.A. Times Beijing bureau chief Alice Su, Seoul correspondent Victoria Kim, Singapore correspondent David Pierson and Mexico City correspondent Kate Linthicum – to focus on a few crucial countries in the fight against climate change and why it’s been so difficult for them to reduce their emissions.

More reading:

G-20 summit fails to bridge divides on pandemic and climate change

The Amazon is still burning. Can U.N. summit in Glasgow address such climate failures?

What U.S.-China tension means for fighting climate change

Nov 01, 2021
How Día de los Muertos flourished in the U.S.