AirTalk for May 27, 2011

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Bryan Stow’s alleged attacker lawyers up

As of Monday the alleged Dodger Stadium attacker, Giovanni Ramirez, has a new lawyer. El Monte criminal defense attorney Jose Romero has signed onto the case along with Century City defense lawyer Anthony Brooklier. Whether or not Ramirez is guilty is for a jury to decide, and everyone deserves representation under our system of government, but what makes someone decide to undertake a case like this? Is it the publicity? The challenge? Or a strong belief in justice for all? Also, what’s next for Ramirez after this weeks failed lineup? And have his lawyers already felt public pressure over the case?
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Foundation finds flagrant fish fraud

An ocean advocacy group called Oceana recently released a study about fraud in the fisheries industry. Among the findings are that people within the industry are mislabeling cheaper, more readily available species of fish as big sellers like red snapper or wild salmon. In fact, the study claims that about half of the fish we’re eating is not what we think it is. The fisheries industry responded to the report, saying they want to clean up fishing as much as anyone but they say they’ve taken big strides in doing so. They point to the fact that they’ve pledged to stamp out fraud by creating the Better Seafood Board in 2007. The board is an offshoot of the National Fisheries Institute, whose members commit to a higher set of standards. This report comes at a time when people are trying to be more aware of where their food comes from. It could have a major impact on the seafood industry if the public feels like they can’t trust the labels they see in the display cases. On the other hand, the fisheries industry cautions us not to put too much stock in the numbers of a clearly biased group of researchers. So, is this flagrant fish fraud…or a set of funny numbers?
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Grammy Awards cuts strike a bad note for some

A coalition of musicians is protesting a recent decision by the Recording Academy to drastically trim the number of Grammy categories. The 2012 awards show will feature 78, down from 109 this year. Last month, Grammy President and CEO Neil Portnow said a yearlong examination of the awards structure led to the decision -- one he said would make the Grammys more competitive and the awards more coveted. However, concerned artists are holding rallies across the country -- calling for a reversal of the move. They also charge that the decision unfairly targets ethnic music. What do you think of the major changes for the Grammys? Would it make the awards more competitive? Or is it sacrificing the recognition of distinct musical genres?
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KPCC film critics Peter Rainer, Henry Sheehan and Charles Solomon join Larry to review the week’s new film releases including The Hangover Part II, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Tree of Life, Dumbstruck, Make Believe and The Abduction of Zack Butterfield. TGI-FilmWeek!
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Teen Magic

In his new documentary film “Make Believe” director J. Clay Tweel followed six adolescent outsiders who all share a passion for magic. He chronicles the journey of these teen magicians who take their talent and paraphernalia to the annual World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas where they vie for the title of Teen World Champion. Tweel explores the lives of these teens whose onstage presence is poised and gifted but whose offstage lives are filled with the same alienation and pressures that many adolescents experience.
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Not as dumb as they look

Mark Goffman’s new documentary Dumbstruck is a humorous and heartfelt story of five ventriloquists as they pursue their dreams of a career in puppetry. The film follows the performers as they take their acts across the United States, the Mexican Riviera, the Bahamas and Japan. The film’s true life characters include Kim, a former Miss Ohio beauty queen yearning for her big break; Dan, a thriving cruise ship performer whose wife may divorce him when he comes ashore; Dylan, an introverted 13-year-old with dreams of hitting the professional circuit; Wilma – all six-foot-five of her – a former security guard who brings her dummies to senior homes and Wal-Marts; and Terry, who struggled for decades as a small-time performer before winning America's Got Talent on his way to a $100 million contract to headline the Mirage Casino in Las Vegas. It won the Best of the Festival in the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
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