Today’s Headlines: The ‘perfect storm’ behind Southwest’s flight cancelation chaos

Hello, it’s Wednesday, Dec. 28, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Southwest’s mass flight disruptions

The majority of Southwest Airlines were canceled Tuesday — becoming an outlier for disruptions even as the weather improved. Airlines across the U.S. canceled more than 3,000 flights Tuesday, the vast majority of them — 2,632 flights — with Southwest Airlines, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.

Thousands of Southwest Airlines’ travelers, as well as the company’s flight attendants and pilots, remained stranded at airports across the country as the fallout from a powerful winter storm that pounded much of the nation continued to ground hundreds of flights and disrupt passengers’ holiday travel plans. While the company acknowledged the sitaution, they offered little explanation or plans for relief.

Supreme Court refuses to lift Trump-era rule at the southern border

A divided Supreme Court refused to lift the Trump-era rule that has turned away migrants at the border as a public health threat.

By a 5-4 vote, the justices granted an appeal from Arizona and 18 other Republican-led states that sought to keep Title 42 in place to prevent a new surge of migrants who seek to apply for asylum.

The court agreed to hear arguments in February from the GOP states, but its order said it did not “prevent” the Biden administration from taking steps to limit the disputed policy. But the White House conceded its options are limited.

More politics

  • New York Rep.-elect George Santos admitted to lying about his career and college education, but said he would still take office.
  • The latest from Mark Barabak: It’s not just Russia and China targeting Washington — disinformation is a problem in local races, too.
  • “I’m Mexican American. But the L.A. City Council audio leak reminded me that I’m Oaxacan too,” writes The Times’ Melissa Gomez.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

Should fast food have environmental labeling?

On any given day, more than a third of Americans find themselves eating fast food, which serves up a significant portion of climate-burdensome red meat. What customers order may be a personal preference, but experts say it has tremendous implications for the amount of planet-warming gases emitted from farms.

In a recent study, researchers polled adults to gauge whether placing climate-impact labels on fast-food menus might persuade customers to choose more environmentally friendly choices.

They found customers were 23% less likely to order red meat at a fast-food restaurant if the menu had labels warning that those meals had a negative impact on the climate. Customers were nearly 10% more likely to order a more climate-friendly option, such as chicken or fish, if those items had labels promoting them as climate-friendly.

Tom Girardi’s other legacy: State Bar of California reform

Up until two years ago, the regulation of California’s lawyers was not something many people outside the profession gave much thought. Then the legendary Wilshire Boulevard law firm Girardi Keese collapsed.

Tom Girardi, political influencer and renowned champion of the downtrodden, had been stealing from clients for decades, it emerged in court records and media reports. And his wife, Erika, flaunter of diamonds and couture on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” had been enjoying, perhaps unwittingly, an opulent lifestyle underwritten by cheated clients.

The spotlight eventually came to rest on the State Bar of California. Revelations about Girardi have led to a two-year reckoning at the bar and in the larger legal world.

The rising onslaught of harmful noise

Health experts warn that noise pollution is a growing problem that is not confined to our ears but causes stress-related conditions such as anxiety, high blood pressure and insomnia.

California legislators passed two laws in 2022 aimed at quieting the environment. One directs the California Highway Patrol to test noise-detecting cameras, which may eventually issue automatic tickets for cars that produce noise above a certain level. The other forces drivers of illegally modified cars to fix them before they can be reregistered.

In October 2021, the American Public Health Assn. declared noise a public health hazard. Decades of research links noise pollution with not only sleep disruption but also chronic conditions such as heart disease, cognitive impairment, depression and anxiety.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

A canal cuts through a suburban desert neighborhood as the sun begins to set

(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

As fentanyl overdose deaths keep rising, efforts to reverse the trend meet liability fears. California is at the forefront of the fight to reverse the grim trend, but organizations worry that their increasingly bold efforts could land them in legal trouble.

The Rose Parade is set to return amid concerns of “tripledemic.” The Pasadena Rose Parade — which was canceled in 2021 and had a mask mandate in 2022 — returns Monday without pandemic restrictions for the first time in three years.

San Diego is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle public-records lawsuits. In case after case, the city paid to settle allegations that officials improperly withheld documents, wrongly insisted there were no records or simply did not follow the law.

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NATION-WORLD

Co-leader of a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is sentenced. A judge gave Adam Fox 16 years in prison for conspiring to abduct the Democrat and blow up a bridge to ease an escape.

Little progress made as femicides continue in Mexico. Mexican officials have recognized the femicide rate and violence against women in general as a major problem for decades, yet little progress is evident in national data.

Researchers are pushing to make pig livers humanlike amid organ shortages. More than 105,000 people are on the U.S. waiting list for an organ transplant. That’s why scientists are looking to animals as another source of organs.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Acting once left Murray Bartlett “in pieces.” How he became Hollywood’s go-to “hunk.” If there’s a lesson to be gleaned from the arc of the “White Lotus” and “Welcome to Chippendales” star’s career, it may be this: Never underestimate the power of a really great mustache.

Why is a Swedish billionaire buying up California’s video gaming empire? In a matter of years, Embracer has snapped up hundreds of game companies, publishers and intellectual property rights from Los Angeles to Mumbai, with plans to profit big.

Modest Mouse drummer Jeremiah Green was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Green’s mother Carol Namatame, announced her son’s diagnosis on Christmas Day on Facebook. On Monday, Marco Collins, a popular rock radio DJ, shared that Green had pulled out of the band’s tour to undergo chemotherapy treatments.

Kim Kardashian says parenting with Kanye West is “hard,” and the kids “don’t know anything.” During Sunday’s episode of the “Angie Martinez IRL” podcast, the reality TV star and beauty mogul shed tears while detailing her efforts to shield her children from the controversy surrounding their infamous father.

BUSINESS

Tesla stopped reporting its Autopilot safety numbers online. The company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, won’t say why it stopped reporting its safety statistics, but critics are happy to speak up about the situation.

OPINION

Climate change efforts won’t work if they exclude people with disabilities. Recent reports show that people with disabilities have been systematically neglected in U.N. climate negotiations and domestic climate policies worldwide, a group of experts write.

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SPORTS

Finally back in playoffs, the Chargers look to “make a run to a Super Bowl championship.” The Chargers clinched the franchise’s first playoff appearance in four years Monday with a 20-3 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, giving them a chance to pass the Ravens for the conference’s top wild-card spot.

Equal pay is just the start. Cindy Parlow Cone has ambitious goals for U.S. Soccer. Cone has ushered in drastic changes at U.S. Soccer since becoming the federation’s president as she looks to strengthen the sport.

ONLY IN L.A.

We asked the experts about the real-life Hollywood history behind “Babylon.” Damien Chazelle’s delirious take on the period, follows a handful of characters attempting to navigate the tricky transition from silent film to talkies, which snuffed out some of Hollywood’s hottest careers and revolutionized the industry.

Here’s what the experts say the film gets right about the 1920s and 30s Hollywood.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

This month marks 108 years since world-famous California naturalist John Muir died of double pneumonia at the California Hospital. The great conservation movement, which resulted in the establishment of national parks, was successful through Muir’s personal efforts.

He wrote a book on “The Mountains of California” and another on “Our National Parks” as well as several volumes on nature work, study and research. His contributions to magazines and his papers read before scientific bodies brimmed with information that no other naturalist possessed.

He knew every landmark along the whole length of the Sierras, and from his lonely residence in the wild, he carried on the research of animal life and vegetation. The redwood forest overlooking San Francisco from an elevation across the bay is named after him. He also discovered Glacier Bay in Alaska in 1879.

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https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/newsletter/2022-12-28/southwest-canceled-flights-perfect-storm-todays-headlines