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The Smart Stars Come Out For Us in Beverly Hills

Doing interviews at the Milken Institute Global Conference is like two days of journalism speed dating with really smart people.

I don’t think the chair seats had a chance to cool off between guests – from General Wesley Clark, whose interview you’ll hear next week, to oil and wind-man T. Boone Pickens, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, CNBC Wall Street reporter Maria Bartiromo, Michael Battle, the ambassador to the African Union, web maven Arianna Huffington – time’s up! Next!

It was like some whirlwind radio romance, or a whirlwind European tour – two days, twenty guests.

Broadcasting poolside at the Beverly Hilton isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. It was cold and overcast for the most part, and when the sun came out, so did the holiday-makers, children in swimsuits shrieking and playing – and the inevitable and unstoppable car alarm somewhere in earshot, which prompted Big Apple editor Keller to remark that Beverly Hills sounded just like New York.

Listen in next week, for the interviews about homeland security with Clark and Erroll Southers, the transportation and counterterrorism expert … and for the panel with Huffington, Keller, and NPR president and CEO Vivian Schiller on the future of journalism.

As the news dictates, we’ll be having more to say about Anthem Blue Cross announcing it’s not imposing those big proposed increases on individual Californians’ policies, and on immigration overhaul legislation in Congress, along with that big weekend march in downtown LA to protest Arizona’s new immigration law requiring law enforcement who have reasonable suspicion about someone’s legal status to ask for proof of that status. It’s a 180-degree contrast to LA’s Special Order 40, which is based on the idea that cops asking people about immigration status interferes with the trust necessary for police work. By the way, that policy was implemented under LAPD chief Daryl Gates, who was just buried this week with great solemnity and fanfare.

So that’s this weekend’s big demonstration. Last weekend’s was the 95th annual commemoration of the Armenian genocide; here’s a link to my Los Angeles Times interview with a leader of the Armenian diaspora here in Southern California, and a link to Kitty Felde’s story about legislators on that issue: