Patt Morrison for March 11, 2010

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The L.A. Times reported this morning that unemployment rates in California have grown again in January. The state now ranks fifth highest for unemployment in the country. In nearly eight counties, more than one in five people are out of work. The chart topper in Southern California is Imperial County with an unemployment rate of 27.3%. The Inland Empire reached 15% in January and Los Angles County hit 12.5%. With the steady growth in GDP over the last three months of 2009, the numbers have startled analysts, so the question is… when will hiring match that trend?
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It’s one of the most prized fish in the ocean, both as a sushi delicacy and for its role in balancing the ocean ecology. The blue fin tuna is a big, beautiful fish that can grow up to 1,000 pounds and live as long as 30 years—and it is also worth hundreds of dollars per pound to sushi chefs across the world, and as a result the blue fin tuna has been heavily fished. At an upcoming international convention on ocean ecology and trade the United States will propose a global ban on the trade of blue fin tuna as a way to preserve the species. What could lead to a rebirth in wild blue fin tuna could prove to be tragic for sushi chefs and consumers with a taste for blue fin. Will the U.S. be successful in such a sweeping step, and would you sacrifice a delicious slice of blue fin sashimi in order to save the species?
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The Federal Communication Commission under President Obama has been threatening for over a year to wade into a fight that will ultimately determine the shape, scope and accessibility of media access across the country for generations to come. Finally, next week the FCC will introduce its long awaited National Broadband Plan to Congress and the real fun will begin—a showdown between huge telecommunication companies, smaller competitors and the ultimate end users of everything from high speed internet to cable TV and phone lines. The plan might even contain a proposal for the use of broadband wireless service for free, or a very low cost. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is here to preview the plan and discuss a report out of USC that suggests local TV news outlets in L.A. are not living up to their public service obligations.
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To this day, there is no national standard of public education, state by state, but a panel of educators convened by the nation’s governors and state school superintendents is aiming to change that. Yesterday, they released a set of proposed academic standards to establish basic education guidelines that could apply to nearly every student in the US—a baseline of what students need to know about English and math at every grade level. It may seem like a no-brainer, but supporters of the effort are already facing skepticism and California, with its greatly complex system of standards and adoption procedures, seems to be an especially vexing case. Why all the red tape? And what would standardizing education really look like?
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