AirTalk for February 23, 2010

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ACLU's Ramona Ripston retires

Executive Director Ramona Ripston has been with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California for 38 years, but today she announced plans to retire in 2011. But it’s not her fight against the death penalty or her battles with the LAPD that led to her retirement – it’s the economy. She laid off five staffers last year, telling the LA Times that firing staff for money reasons took a lot out of her. She also hopes her retirement will bring new talent, new ideas and new leaders to the ACLU. Ramona Ripston talks with Larry Mantle about her legacy, why she’s leaving now, and what she’ll do next.
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Tea party crashes the GOP?

Cut taxes—or abolish the IRS? While Republicans have long called for smaller government, does the GOP platform square with tea party activists’ more radical propositions? From Newt Gingrinch’s updated Contract for America to the tea party-approved Contract from America endorsed by top conservatives at the CPAC convention last week, manifestos have multiplied as conservatives either tap or tamp down on grassroots ire. Wither the GOP? Will loosely affiliated groups of conservatives alter the Republican Party’s central goals and message?
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Cyber-safety in America

Just as the Internet has opened up a whole world of communications, it’s created an entire new area of criminal activity. Hacking was once the purview of isolated nerds looking for the thrill of punching through a complex security system. No more. In his book, “Fatal System Error,” writer Joseph Menn explores the Russian Mob and the American Mafia as they vie to control this now lucrative criminal undertaking of organized cyber scams and hacking.
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