Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more. Hosted by Larry Mantle

AirTalk for

AirTalk for May 31, 2011

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Assisted suicide debate reignites

A San Diego woman -- aged 91 -- was the target of an F-B-I raid last week. Sharlotte Hydorn is being investigated for selling "suicide kits." The product consists of a clear, plastic bag and medical-grade tubing. A customer wanting to end their life willfully and peacefully connects the tubing to a helium tank and fits the bag over their head. Asphyxiation happens within minutes. While directly assisting suicide is illegal in California, it's unclear whether selling these kits breaks the law. This coincides with a new Gallup poll out today calling doctor-assisted suicide the most morally divisive issue in America. Forty-five per cent say it's morally acceptable, while 48% think it's morally wrong. We're going to debate the legal aspects of what Hydorn has been doing. Is it illegal or is the FBI trying a chill tactic around this type of activity? If someone is going to take their own life, what kind of advice can they legally seek, and what is too far? National Suicide Prevention LifeLine 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
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Another item to pick up at the black market

What comes to mind when you think about the black market? Illegal passports, firearms, dangerous weapons, drugs and…human body parts? That’s right, there is a global industry centered around the sale of organs, bones, blood and even children. In his new book, The Red Market, Scott Carney explores the seedy underbelly of this macabre world. The author takes you on a trip from “Kidneyville,” an Indian village in which all the citizens have sold their kidneys for profit, to the blood barns of south Asia, in which hostages are held by “vampires” who drain their blood for years. How have some people and communities resorted to such egregious means of making money? What efforts are being made to crack down? How could people do this?
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LA commuters – get ready to reroute your engines

Angelenos love to complain about traffic. Well, commuters on the West side will have more reason than ever starting July 15. That’s when the San Diego 405 freeway will be shut down in both directions — from Getty Center Drive to the 101 — for an entire weekend. The closure between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside will start just after midnight that Friday and continue until 5:00am the following Monday, July 18. It’s all part of a $1-billion 405 widening project, to add northbound carpool lanes and radically remodel the 50-year old freeway’s bridges and ramps. Sounds great, but how on earth will commuters cope? Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is here to talk about the project and help get the word out. But we have a feeling some frustrated commuters will be in need of, if not medical advice, a little traffic therapy from Dr. Roadmap himself.
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LACMA’s fantastical peek into Tim Burton’s brain

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art kicked off its highly anticipated Tim Burton exhibition this past weekend. This major retrospective, which runs through October 31, digs into the dark and quirky world of Burton’s creativity as a director, artist, illustrator, photographer and writer. It includes over 700 drawings, paintings, photos, storyboards, puppets, concept artworks, little-known personal projects, and new artwork created for the exhibit. Befitting a man famous for eccentric and elaborate films like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Alice in Wonderland, LACMA’s new Resnick Pavilion was transformed into a “Burtonesque” environment complete with music by his longtime collaborator Danny Elfman. Last Saturday, Larry travelled to LACMA to preview the show and interview the man behind the wonderful madness.

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