Good morning. It’s Thursday, Nov. 16.
- Elon Musk pushes antisemitic conspiracy theory.
- Drug addiction rips through Northern California tribe.
- And a salt-of-the-earth getaway in wine country.
From 1919 to 1952, California’s state hospitals sterilized roughly 20,000 patients under a program intended to cure societal ills. In 2021, the state vowed to compensate living victims of the eugenics movement and another group who were victimized in women’s prisons more recently. Yet as of October, just 108 out of 510 applications had been approved. That’s because officials have relied on an overly narrow definition of sterilization, critics say. “I’m horrified at how language that I actually wrote could be so weaponized to remove it so far from its actual meaning,” said Cynthia Chandler, a lawyer who helped draft the law. KQED
In 2021, doctors at a Sacramento hospital concluded that Daphne Muehlendorf, a 68-year-old patient who had suffered seizures, was ready to go home. But for weeks, she refused to leave, even as medical facilities across the state were overwhelmed by Covid-19. Now the hospital system is invoking a novel legal strategy to sue Muehlendorf. It’s accused her and patients in two related cases of trespassing under a 1994 California law that was designed to stop anti-abortion protesters from blocking access to health facilities. California Healthline
Michael Drake, the UC president, announced a $7 million infusion of funds to combat rising antisemitism and Islamophobia across the public university system. During a UC regents meeting held under tight security at UCLA on Wednesday, Drake acknowledged the fears of students amid heightened tensions on campuses. “Today we are doubling down on who we are,” he said. “An educational institution that’s guided by facts and data, but also a moral compass that helps us find our way to compassion and understanding in difficult moments.” L.A. Times | CalMatters
Other developments related to the Mideast conflict:
- Hundreds of protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza held a sit-in on Hollywood Boulevard on Wednesday, shutting the thoroughfare down for hours. The Guardian | L.A. Times
- Elon Musk agreed with a post on X that said Jews support “hatred against whites” and the flooding of the U.S. with “hordes of minorities.” A journalist noted that the white supremacist who massacred worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 espoused precisely the same conspiracy theory. The Atlantic
On Northern California’s remote Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, Judith Surber’s sons played sports, hunted, fished, and participated in motocross events. She had high hopes for them. Then OxyContin came to the valley. First, Surber’s husband became addicted. Then two of her sons. Then her grandchild. “My heart is broken,” she wrote in a devastating and beautifully told account of how drug addiction is ripping through a Native American tribe. N.Y. Times
Hundreds of protesters blocked traffic in San Francisco; a man in a blue jacket punched a woman chanting “People over profit!” near his face; and the leaders of the U.S. and China strolled the luxurious grounds of a country estate on the eastern slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was an action-packed Wednesday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative conference in San Francisco. Here are the highlights. 👉 S.F. Chronicle | A.P.
In 1985, Xi Jinping came to the U.S. as part of an agricultural delegation, bunking in an Iowa family’s home and visiting San Francisco, pictured above. Xi became the leader of a global superpower, but held his fondness for his Midwestern hosts, with whom he planned to dine in San Francisco on Wednesday. Washington Post | Des Moines Register
Members of a special House committee sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking whether the decision to end “The Problem With Jon Stewart” had something to do with China. The letter cited suspicions that the Chinese Communist Party had pressured Apple over Stewart’s criticism of China. While companies are free to choose their programming, the lawmakers wrote, “the coercive tactics of a foreign power should not be directly or indirectly influencing these determinations.” According to the Financial Times, more than 95% of iPhones, AirPods, Macs, and iPads are made in China. Bloomberg | Reuters
It’s been exactly one decade since “Batkid” saved San Francisco and captured the hearts of the nation. In 2013, Miles Scott, then five years old and battling cancer, transformed into a superhero sidekick then helped rescue a damsel in distress and defuse a bomb as part of an elaborate Make-A-Wish America event. Now 15, Scott is cancer free and playing catcher for his high school baseball team in Tulelake, near the Oregon border. “I wear all-black in baseball,” he said. “So the dugout’s always screaming ‘Batkid! Batkid!'” NPR
- “I feel normal.” See a video update on Scott’s life. 👉 YouTube
Give something they’ll open every day.
Eight miles north of Healdsburg, the unofficial epicenter of Northern California’s wine country, is a tiny salt-of-the-earth town with charms of its own. “Geyserville is real, rural wine country: Farmers are out at 5 a.m.,” said Douglas Keane, a chef who moved his Michelin-starred restaurant there last year. The travel writer Amy Tara Koch recommended how to do a perfect weekend in Geyserville. N.Y. Times
- Northern California’s wine country is popping with color right now. California Fall Color
After some people complained about a Santa Monica College play depicting a relationship between a white male slave owner and an enslaved Black man, the production was canceled hours before its opening night last month. Critics are now accusing the college of violating the First Amendment. “The censorship impulse on both extremes of the political spectrum is strangling discourse, critical thinking and, really, the human spirit,” wrote the columnist Robin Abcarian. L.A. Times
The Los Angeles author Justin Torres took 12 years to write his second book. That’s in part because one day roughly nine years ago, he lost the laptop that contained his manuscript. “It was before the Cloud, or at least before I knew about it,” he told Interview magazine. The loss was paradoxically freeing, giving Torres a chance try something completely different. The result, “Blackouts,” about a young male narrator in conversation with an aging, erudite gay man on his deathbed, just won the 2023 National Book Award for fiction. L.A. Times | A.P.
- Critic Charles Arrowsmith on “Blackouts”: “An ingenious assemblage of research, vignette, image and conceit.” Washington Post
The Wedge in Newport Beach produces some of California’s premier waves, but they can be bone-crushing as swells bounce off a jetty and form freakishly steep drops. For spectators, wrote surf journalist Jake Howard, “it’s a lot like NASCAR or hockey … most people watch just for the hits, crashes and chaos.” Tonight, the third annual Wedge Awards will name the wipeout of the year. See video of the five nominees. 👉 @wedgeawards
Thanks for reading!
The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.
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