Rick Santorum officially joined the growing field of 2012 Republican presidential candidates today. The former Senator from Pennsylvania known as a social and fiscal conservative, kicked off his bid on Good Morning America saying, “We’re in it to win.” Other major contenders who’ve formally declared include Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and wildcard Herman Cain. Have you heard who else might be running for president? Everyone! Or so it seems. Sarah Palin is “Going Rogue,” touring the country in a big bus, but says she’s “still trying to figure out what the lay of the land will be as these weeks and months go by.” Meanwhile, Palin continues to be a Fox News contributor, even though the network ended its contract with Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Who’s most likely to win the GOP nomination? And who – if anyone – has the goods to beat Obama in 2012?
The Adult Industry Medical (AIM) Health Care Foundation clinic shut its doors late last year after L.A health officials served them a cease and desist order and refused to issue them a clinic permit. The industry-run clinic operated for over a decade, testing performers for STD’s so they could continue to perform without wearing condoms or other prophylactic devices. After a 2004 outbreak the clinic came under increased scrutiny from public health officials and outside groups advocating for mandatory condom use on set. Recently AIM, and its non-profit parent group, The Free Speech Coalition has come under massive fire from all sides. They were slammed for forcing performers to pay for their own tests, for finding an end run around condom use and for not protecting the privacy of performer’s medical records. Now they’re unveiling a new testing system for the adult industry. This time they won’t be operating the clinic themselves but they will still maintain a database for producers to consult before hiring a performer. So has the FSC learned their lesson? Will this new plan keep performers safe from sexually transmitted diseases? And does it address all the concerns that safety advocates have?
Every year Los Angeles plays host to the largest video game conference in the world, The Electronic Entertainment Expo. This year all the major players in console gaming have big debuts. Sony is releasing the Next Generation Portable, the latest iteration of its popular portable gaming console. It better be good because Sony has a lot to make up for this year. For the last few weeks they’ve been besieged by hackers who have compromised thousands of online gaming accounts. Microsoft made waves last year with the Kinect, a movement based console platform. This year they’re set to announce Halo 4, the much anticipated sequel to the Halo series. But by most accounts all eyes are on Nintendo. They’ll be exhibiting their follow up to the game-changing Wii console. So, what will generate the most buzz? Will we see a revolutionary new product? And, considering the success of games like Angry Birds, why is Apple opting out of E3 altogether?
On April 1, the Union Rescue Mission (URM) on skid row in Los Angeles started a new policy. It was not an April fool’s joke, as many homeless people who use URM’s services had hoped. CEO Rev. Andy Bales and his team started charging $7 per night for beds (the first three nights are free) and cut down the free meals for non-residents from three a day to one. Two dollars, out of every seven, go into a savings account that guests get when they leave the mission. Born out of necessity and budget constraints, the changes were also made to inspire clients to participate in efforts to get their lives back on track. There’s an alternative for people who don’t want to or can’t pay: they can enroll in one of URM’s free long-term recovery programs with classes in finance, relationships and counseling. At first, angry residents vacated URM’s 300 beds. But now, 200 are occupied by those who appreciate the changes and the new, quieter way of life they seem to have brought to skid row. What are the pros and cons of URM’s new sustainability plan? Is it fair to charge homeless people for mission services? Does charging for a bed inspire more appreciation and respect? Or might it prevent those most in need from seeking help?
Jazz clarinet is alive and well – thanks to New York-based musician Anat Cohen. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Cohen moved to the Big Apple in 1999 and started playing a number of community and club dates. She established herself not just as a student of music, but as a first rate performer at a very young age. This Saturday, Cohen showcases her talent on stage at the Hollywood Bowl where she will be part of the Cos of Good Music, the all-star jazz band Bill Cosby compiled as part of the Playboy Jazz Festival. Larry talks to Cohen about her time as a saxophonist in the Israeli army and how teachers at Berklee College of Music in Boston encouraged her to give the jazz clarinet another try. Have you been to the Playboy Jazz Festival in previous years? Are you looking forward to going?