Patt Morrison for Friday, July 24, 2009

Budget Deal Struggles through State Assembly

After being approved by the California State Senate earlier today, a plan to close the state's $26 billion budget deficit struggles its way through the assembly. The legislative package of $31 billion includes measures to borrow billions from cities and counties, a plan that is controversial with members of both parties. Failure to approve any of the bills could wreck the deal and lead to more fiscal turmoil for the state. We look to Sacramento for an update.

CA May Lose out on Millions in Education Stimulus

Data-driven school reform is a major objective of the Obama administration with regard to education. But California has among the worst records of any state in collecting and using data for the evaluation of teachers and schools. And if California legislators don't change a law that prevents it from using student test scores to measure teacher performance, the state could lose millions of dollars in education stimulus money.

Is Charity the Only Hope for Newspaper Future?

The newspaper industry has been bleeding advertising revenue for sometime and, increasingly, shop talk says the best hope might be charity. The New York Times has begun considering funding investigative journalism projects with donations from non-profit groups like ProPublica, a model that would promote reader-driven reporting. Are mainstream newspapers going the NPR-route? And does it raise conflicts of interest?

Yellowstone: Sitting Pretty on a Time Bomb?

Everyone knows about Yellowstone Park, the oldest national park in the United States. But what people may not know is that it sits right on top of one of the biggest volcanoes on earth. And, contrary to initial assumptions about the volcano, it is alive. The most recent explosion was 640,000 years ago and was a thousand times the size of the Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980. Apparently, the question about another eruption of Yellowstone isn’t if, but when.

Theater Critics' Roundtable

From "Spamalot," to "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Wasps," and yes, "Octomom the Musical," the theater critics join Patt for a roundtable of the summer pickings. What's hot, what's not, and what's outdoors and FREE? Tune in for theater on any budget.

LA's Post-Punk Vaudeville Meets Mexican Wrestling

Los Angeles has a homegrown theater genre with social misfits and counterculture aplenty that evokes the environment of Dust Bowl-era carnivals. We look at Lucha Vavoom, which the LA Times calls "a mash-up of Mexican lucha libre wrestling, burlesque striptease and post-punk vaudeville."
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