AirTalk for Jun 25, 2009

Homies Unidos director arrested

A nationally recognized anti-gang activist has been arrested on federal racketeering and conspiracy charges for his alleged gang involvement. Alex Sanchez was the director of the gang-intervention nonprofit Homies Unidos. Sanchez, along with two dozen others indicted, is believed to be an associate of the street gang Mara Salvatrucha. How difficult is it for former gang members to advocate gang prevention without being pulled back to a life of crime? David Lazarus explores the issue.

State budget update

State Controller John Chiang has announced that he will be forced to issue IOUs – starting a week from now if the Governor and State legislature don't agree on a budget. IOUs would be issued to local governments for social services, to residents and businesses for tax refunds, to private contractors, state vendors, and others. A Democratic plan to begin closing California's $24 billion budget deficit failed Wednesday, and legislative leaders said they will have lawmakers work through the weekend in an attempt to avoid the cash crisis.

Orange County journalists roundtable

Larry Mantle talks with Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly staff writer, and Orange County Register senior editorial writer and columnist, Steven Greenhut, about the latest news events and developments in Orange County.

Obama's environmental policy

President Obama campaigned with a pledge to promote green jobs and a clean energy economy. He also vowed to increase environmental protections and reverse several policies of the Bush era. But environmental activists are confused by the Obama administration's decision to defend in court the construction of roads in national forests and the practice of mountaintop mining. Administration officials say that by defending the cases, they will ultimately have greater control over environmental policy instead of leaving it to the courts. Nancy Sutley, the head of the White House Counsel on Environmental Quality, joins David Lazarus to discuss the environmental agenda of the Obama administration.

Do apologies matter?

In a tearful confession yesterday, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted to having an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina. Along with last week's statement of infidelity by Nevada Senator John Ensign, it is only the latest in a long line of public apologies, including John Edwards and Elliot Spitzer. Do these apologies make a difference in saving a public figure's reputation? Does it make a difference to you?

Actress Farrah Fawcett dies

After battling cancer, actress Farrah Fawcett has died at the age of 62. David Lazarus looks back on the career of the "Charlie's Angels" star and her status as the pinup of a generation.

The American lifestyle: making more of less

In a recent New York Times opinion piece, writer Pico Iyer shared how he left a high-profile career in Manhattan to find greater fulfillment in Japan, living without modern luxuries in a simple apartment. He questioned his pursuit of outward accomplishments and possessions, observing, "I decided that…happiness arose out of all I didn't want or need, not all I did". Iyer wrote that while the toll of the recession is unfortunate, it may prompt people to reconsider what is truly essential in their lives. Might the economic downturn bring about a paradigm shift in society and the idea of the American dream? David Lazarus talks with Pico Iyer about the merits of living with less.
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