Talking Points

What you need to know: Solar eclipse, Jerry Lewis, another LA Times exit

snuggle-again.jpgLincoln Boulevard in Venice. LA Observed photo

A semi-regular bite at the day's news and observations. Follow LA Observed on Twitter between posts.

1. Eclipse madness
NBC, ABC and CBS are planning live TV coverage of the solar eclipse on Monday between 10 a.m. and noon, as the moon blots out the sun in a track moving from the coast of Oregon to the coast of South Carolina. Cable networks and local channels are getting in on the fun, and there will be lots of live-streaming events on the web. Ignore all that. You don't need any technology to experience the rare-in-North America solar eclipse. The moon will start to pass in front of the sun at 9:05 a.m. here, and reach the maximum local eclipse of about 62 percent of the sun at 10:21 a.m. At 11:44 a.m. it will all be over. If there's no marine layer, the effect should be widely visible.


Remember not to look at the partly blocked sun — it's very dangerous to your eyesight without special glasses, and there are many unsafe lenses being peddled out there. Besides, the cool phenomenon you will remember won't be the sun. It will be seeing the sky go shaded, the weird light effects on the ground around you, and the reactions of your fellow eclipse watchers. And your pets.

2. Speaking of madness
President Trump has scheduled his first primetime TV address as president for Monday at 6 p.m. The subject is billed as Trump's thoughts on the war in Afghanistan. This should be, ah, interesting.

The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, on Sunday landed a new anti-Trump editorial, headlined Enough is enough. "These are not normal times," says the paper's unsigned editorial board statement, the seventh in its series about Trump. "The man in the White House is reckless and unmanageable, a danger to the Constitution, a threat to our democratic institutions.

"With such a glaring failure of moral leadership at the top, it is desperately important that others stand up and speak out to defend American principles and values. This is no time for neutrality, equivocation or silence. Leaders across America — and especially those in the president’s own party — must summon their reserves of political courage to challenge President Trump publicly, loudly and unambiguously."

The Times is currently selling a compilation (through Heyday Books) of its earlier 2017 editorials denouncing the president as dishonest and unfit.

3. LA Times managing editor to retire
lawrence-ingrassia-lat.jpgLawrence Ingrassia says in a note to friends and colleagues that he will retire from the Los Angeles Times in mid-September. He joined the paper in 2015 after retiring from the New York Times. Ingrassia came in as associate editor for new ventures, but his layer of senior editors was quickly rejiggered into a troika of co-equal managing editors beneath maximum editor Davan Maharaj. After Ingrassia departs, the last managing editor standing will be Marc Duvoisin, barring further changes.

One of the others in that recent trio of managing editors, S. Mitra Kalita, left last year to be CNN's vice president of digital programming. Over the weekend, she posted an interview with a former white nationalist asking ("as a woman of color and a mom of two kids") Why do you hate me? Despite the headline, it's really about the ex-white supremacist offering his take on his former fellow travelers.

Speaking of ex-Timesers writing first person, former business analyst Brett Levy has posted a piece on Medium about past incidents of anti-Semitism in his life and how President Trump failing to call out the Nazis in Charlottesville hit him hard. Levy is co-founder of The Journalism Shop, a website that helps arrange for freelance editorial services by former LA Times newsroom staffers.

4. Jerry Lewis
Actor, director and comedian Jerry Lewis died Sunday morning of natural causes in Las Vegas. He was 91. At his peak Lewis was one of the most popular comics in the world, starting in 1946 in Atlantic City with his stage partner Dean Martin. “He was the top comedy star of his generation,” film historian Leonard Maltin said Sunday. Lewis also hosted the annual Muscular Dystrophy Assn. telethon for 44 years. His hand prints are in the forecourt of the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

Obits: NYT, LAT, THR, Variety

5. Lessons for the news media from Charlottesville
Ken Doctor at Newsonomics draws some conclusions after last weekend's events. "For media, the events in Charlottesville have been more on-the-job training covering stories many thought had been relegated to the archives," he writes. "Among the equivocations and equivalencies, false and true, we’ve seen re-energized efforts to keep the stories behind the story high up in the news cycle."

"Let’s take a quick look at the weekend’s news, its coverage, and what it tells us about our times." Sample:

A new spine. We’ve seen an odd reversal of form in the past few months of the Trump presidency. As many pointed out over the weekend, this was the politician who had famously demanded that others speak the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” Even before his half-hearted address to the country Saturday, cable anchors and their guests had raised the question in advance: Would he call out by name — neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Kluxers — those involved, they asked in the run-up to the talk? And then, they asked, would he call it “terrorism”? Of course, we’ve seen trickles of acquiescense since then. The man who built his wild ride on offense has become all about defense. The press here — in raising the questions and keeping them raised — is developing a spine and finding a way to define norms. Words matter, we hope — even if they may not be authentically spoken.

6. Condor chicks
Two wild born California condors are raising their own brood in the Ventana Wilderness in Monterey County for the first time in more than 30 years. "The biologists involved in saving the California Condor - America's largest native bird - are among the proudest grandparents in the world these days," writes the Salinas Californian.

7. Selected tweets

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