... the Sonia Sotomayor hearings for the nominee to the Supreme Court. Once we've wrapped up in D.C. for the day, three of our guests will soon be testifying at the hearings themselves: two against Sotomayor, and one in favor.
As for the fireworks here on yesterday's program, you could take it to Vegas: the bet that the most calls and comments we'd get in the course of two hours would come with the news that some Southern Californians.
Curiously, we couldn't find anyone from the ''California Taxpayer Protection Act of 2010'' to talk about the potential initiative they're circulating for signatures now. I say curiously, because you'd think they'd want every chance to discuss their hoped-for initiative.
It'd stop public benefits for illegal immigrants, much as five other states are doing now, something that's getting some traction as the economy nosedives. Perhaps even more ambitiously, it would challenge the Constitution's 14th Amendment, which provides that ''all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.'' That means anyone born on U.S. soil, including the children of people here illegally. This initiative wants to change that, barring children born to women here illegally from becoming citizens automatically, which could mean a constitutional fight a-brewing. The initiative sponsors refer to a 2002 Los Angeles Times story on ''birth tourism,'' but the story actually referred to a thriving industry operating here and in Asia to bring pregnant women here from South Korea on tourist visas to clinics that help them deliver their babies -- instant citizens -- and acquire passports and Social Security numbers for the infants.
California voters tried to deny benefits to illegal immigrants in 1994's Proposition 187. It passed by a huge margin, was mostly thrown out on constitutional grounds, served to drive a wedge between the Republican Party and Latinos, and also drove Latinos eligible for citizenship to go ahead and get it, and to vote. The sponsors, one of whom calls himself a constitutional scholar, says this initiative won't be tripped up by such matters this time.
I don't know which ballot measures will be getting more headlines: this one, or a measure to undo Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban. Watch this space ...
Running a good close second was our time with Ryan Grim, who wrote about the history of drug use and the drug wars waged by this country since the '60s -- say, the 1660s. ''This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America'' starts with the author, Grim, wondering why he can't find any LSD for sale any more [this is in 2001] and takes us on a flashback of the country's paradoxical relationship with legal drugs, from doped-up patent medicines and over-the-counter opiates to prescription meth. I hadn't realized that that ten-second ad, the fried-egg ''this is your brain on drugs,'' actually enticed people to try drugs who might not have tried it before. Or that meth iis so over -- well, at least in some places.
And happy birthday to the Original Farmers' Market! Three quarters of a century of al fresco foods, jewelry, eyeglasses, gimcracks and souvenirs, you name it, beneath the iconic clock tower that replaced the iconic wiindmill. Now there's no more Gilmore Field, and groves of trees have been replaced by The Grove shopping center, but the spirit of the place is like nowhere else in town -- except maybe some of the spinoffs the Farmers' Market inspired, the one-day-a-week farmers markets around LA, from Watts to Hollywood. It's all so tempting, I have to keep myself from buying more than I can eat!
-- Patt Morrison