AirTalk for July 21, 2010

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The Council meeting in the City of Bell overflowed with protestors, Monday, calling for the resignation of three city employees whose salaries have provoked outrage in the working class city of 38,000. The Los Angeles Times revealed last week that City Manager Robert Rizzo makes nearly $800,000—plus annual raises—his assistant manager makes $376,000, and the Chief of Police takes home $457,000, exceeding LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s pay. How will Bell respond? Will nearby Maywood stop outsourcing its city services to Bell? What efforts are underway by city government and concerned residents? Whether you’re a resident or not, what would you do about high pay for officials in cash-strapped cities?
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Comic-Con Preview

Geeks and freaks are flocking to San Diego once again to attend Comic-Con, the country’s biggest celebration of pop art, comics and fantasy. No longer strictly the domain of nerds and fanboys, San Diego's pop-culture festival promises film and TV fodder for fans of all kinds, plus video games, toys, collectibles and costumes galore. The preview is Wednesday, and the show officially starts Thursday. The new Tron movie and The Green Hornet are on the agenda. What else is in store?
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Tesla deal with Toyota

Toyota Motor Corporation and auto-upstart Tesla Motors say they'll work together to develop an all-electric version of Toyota's RAV4 SUV. The plan is to make the car at the Nummi plant in Freemont, which Tesla purchased for $42 million. Tesla, the brainchild of Elon Musk, an engineer and computer programmer who made his fortune as co-founder of PayPal, has already developed a proto-type electric drive train for the RAV4. Meanwhile, GM has its Volt coming out, Nissan has the Leaf, and a slew of other electric cars are on the horizon…does this Tesla-Toyota deal put them in the lead in the race to develop technology that can replace the gasoline engine?
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Rush to judgment?: Sherrod forced to resign

Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA director of rural development for Georgia, was forced to resign Monday when a video surfaced of her telling an NAACP audience that she could not give aid to a white farmer. The incident is fueling Tea Party allegations that the NAACP and Sherrod’s remarks are racist. But, it appears the video of her speech was edited and taken out of context, and the farmer, Roger Spooner, has come forward announcing Sherrod actually helped save his farm. Now the NAACP has retracted its criticisms of Sherrod and is asking the USDA to rehire her. To Sherrod, this news is “bittersweet.” The White House is intervening and has requested that an official review be done of the case. Did the USDA overreact and was the media quick to pass judgment? Will Sherrod get her job back?
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Stem Cell Research Aimed at Curing AIDS

In light of President Obama’s new HIV/AIDS strategy, today we’re talking with a trio of local researchers, including Nobel Prize winning Caltech AIDS researcher Dr. David Baltimore, about new, cutting edge work being using stem cells and gene therapy to treat – and possibly one day cure – HIV/AIDS. This research focuses on engineering blood producing stems cells to resist HIV or takes super-charged HIV antibodies and puts them into stem cells which then target and attack HIV. Are engineered stem cells the answer to curing HIV?
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