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Adieu, Michael Jackson, and a Look at the T-word: Torture

The news of his death broke in the last moments of the program today, and it's still reverberating.

Michael Jackson has been world-famous since he was a child, and no novelist could have dreamed up the arcs of triumph and drama that made up the life of Michael Jackson. The best-selling album of all time, the phenomenal showman and the almost pathological recluse in the same person, the mind-boggling spending sprees, the accounts of child molestations, the immensely talented trend-setter and the deeply wounded human being. We'll be talking more about Michael Jackson tomorrow.

The Mexican ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, is in Los Angeles for a weekend conference of Latino leaders, and spent some time with us about Mexico's new relationship with the new President, Barack Obama, about the obligations created on both sides of the border by the bloody drug wars, and of course about illegal immigration.

And the feature film ''The Stoning of Soraya M'' opens nationwide tomorrow. Its Iranian-born star, Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo, told us about how much it means to her to be able to show the world the harrowing true story of the young woman stoned to death in Iran more than 20 years ago -- you could hear the passion and the sorrow in Aghdashloo's voice. And the film's co-writer and director Cyrus Nowrasteh said he was unsparing in his depiction of the killing of Soraya M., falsely accused of adultery by a husband who wanted to get rid of her, buried up to her waist and stoned to death. Her own father and sons were among her killers.

Tomorrow, NPR's ombudsman on why NPR doesn't use the word ''torture'' to describe Bush Administration interrogation techniques, and a smackdown between WNYC's Brian Lehrer and me over whose legislature is worse: New York's, or California's? Cast your virtual vote on the Patt Morrison blog.

-- Patt Morrison

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