Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Jan. 25.
- Justice Department sues Google over ad dominance.
- Shasta County ends use of Dominion voting machines.
- And a massive metaphor for human striving in the Mojave.
“There was something that happened where he snapped.”
Chunli Zhao, the 66-year-old man accused of killing seven people in Half Moon Bay, worked and lived at the mushroom farm where the shooting unfolded, authorities said Tuesday. They believe Zhao targeted specific employees there, killing four, then drove to another nearby farm where he previously worked and killed three more people. It would not have been Zhao’s first fit of workplace rage. In 2013, he was accused of threatening to split a coworker’s head open with a knife. S.F. Chronicle | A.P. | CNN
The latest infuriatingly predictable mass killings evoked despair in a state where liberal lawmakers have enacted some of the country’s toughest gun control laws. In Half Moon Bay on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said one state can’t solve the problem of gun violence. He lashed out at Republicans in Congress and Speaker Kevin McCarthy specifically: “We haven’t heard one damn word from him,” he said. “Not one word.” Washington Post | Mercury News
A devoted dancer with “an infectious cheerfulness.” A grandfather who was the “life of any party.” A beloved ballroom manager who was “always smiling” and died trying to protect others. The victims of the mass shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park were united by their love of music and dancing. Here’s what reporters have learned about them. L.A. Times | L.A. Daily News | KTLA
California voters will get a chance to overturn a 2022 labor law that would establish a government panel empowered to set wages, hours, and working conditions across the fast-food industry, officials said Tuesday. A coalition of businesses including In-N-Out, McDonald’s, and Starbucks bankrolled a signature-gathering campaign for a referendum on the law, which they feared would lift minimum wages to as much as $22 an hour, costing the industry billions. The law will remained paused until the vote in November 2024. L.A. Times | A.P.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday blocked Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both California Democrats, from serving on the House Intelligence Committee in his first major act of partisan retribution since taking the majority. The move was widely viewed as a tit-for-tat after Democrats blocked Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from congressional committees. McCarthy denied that it was retaliatory, saying Schiff and Swalwell, two favorite foils of Republicans, are unfit for the positions. N.Y. Times | Wall Street Journal
There’s an aquifer under the Mojave Desert with enough water to flood a third of California 1 foot deep. Water in the massive Fenner aquifer has been dated to more than 10,000 years old, meaning it fell to the earth as rain during the last Ice Age. Cadiz Inc., which owns land atop the water, wants to pump it up and sell it to thirsty Southern California cities. The battle over whether they should be allowed to has raised not just legal but moral considerations. The Atlantic
The Justice Department is trying to break up Google’s ad business. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, federal prosecutors and attorneys general from eight states including California said the Mountain View giant had abused a monopoly over the technology that powers online advertising, halting the rise of rivals and hurting consumers. Dina Srinivasan, a Yale adtech expert, called the lawsuit “huge” because it aligned the entire nation in a bipartisan legal offensive. A.P. | Wall Street Journal
Shasta County is still talking about Dominion voting machines. At a supervisors meeting on Tuesday, the board’s far-right majority voted to terminate the county’s contract with the voting software company that became a focus of conspiracy theories after the electoral defeat of former President Trump. The decision came over the objections of local elections officials who cited the machines’ near-perfect performance in audits. Redding Record Searchlight
Give something they’ll open every day.
Twitter and YouTube both complied with a request from the Indian government to censor a BBC documentary critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reports said. The BBC series investigates Modi’s role in notorious religious riots in 2002 that left more than 1,000 people dead. News of the censorship by the California companies was denounced on Twitter, where users recalled owner Elon Musk’s public rationale for buying the platform: to restore free speech. Hollywood Reporter
San Diego’s City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to drop its Covid-19 vaccine mandate for city employees, citing improvements in infection and hospitalization numbers. Debate over mandate, imposed in November 2021, was deeply contentious, leading to multiple lawsuits and fierce resistance from the city’s police union. “We’re glad this is finally over,” Sgt. Jared Wilson said on Tuesday. “We can put this behind us, but there’s been a lot of damage.” CBS8 | NBC San Diego
The Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday and the takeaway, according to several critics, is that the academy has finally remembered that popular movies can be great art. Among the films that earned best picture nods were the box office hits “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Elvis,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Washington Post
- The full list of nominees. 👉 Hollywood Reporter
- Where to stream “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “The Fabelmans,” “Tár,” and other nominees. 👉 N.Y. Times
☝️ There’s a giant inscription made of carefully piled rocks on a bare hillside deep inside the Mojave Desert. Known as Rhythms of Life and Atlatl, the symbols just north of Joshua Tree National Park are part of a global art project by the Australian sculpturist Andrew Rogers, who has built 51 structures across seven continents. Art critics have described the work as a metaphor for human striving and introspection. Atlas Obscura | Google Arts & Culture
- DesertUSA took some nice drone footage. 👉 YouTube
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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.
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