Patt Morrison for April 26, 2010

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Arizona gets tough on immigration

The Governor of Arizona signed a controversial immigration bill and touched off a firestorm in her state and across the nation. The bill makes it a crime to be in the country illegally--thus shifting power to the police to enforce immigration laws. Law enforcement groups are divided. The ACLU of Arizona says the bill violates civil rights and is in the process of filing litigation. Should law enforcement be emboldened to stop anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally? Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, calls it “the country’s most retrogressive mean-spirited and useless anti-immigrant law.” Should Arizona be praised for leading the nation and finally doing what Congress hasn’t been able to (pass an immigration bill), or has the state they gone too far?
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Fremont High

In December 2009, LAUSD superintendent Ramon Cortines invited all staff, with the exception of a newly appointed principal, to reapply for their jobs at John C. Fremont High—one of the lowest performing schools in the district, with less than 2% of its students testing proficiently in math last year. The decision is part of a process known as “restructuring,” an aggressive plan under the No Child Left Behind Act that allows districts to reconstitute a chronically underperforming school. District officials have chosen it as what they see as the best remedy for a school culture grown complacent with underachievement. While not technically “fired,” teachers were outraged and felt they had no input in the decision. About 60% of Fremont’s teachers reapplied for their jobs by the March deadline. Today Patt kicks off a series looking at Fremont High School’s restructuring and the stakeholders involved. We begin with local district 7 superintendent George McKenna III.
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Betting on & in Hollywood?

Two companies recently got regulatory approval to go ahead with plans for futures trading on Hollywood movie releases, but not everyone is happy about. Most of the big Hollywood studios in fact are a little less than thrilled about brokers betting on the success or failure of their films. The “industry” has been lobbying Congress to intervene, and intervene they have. The Senate just approved a bill that bans betting on Hollywood films and lawmakers heard testimony this week about whether box office receipts are actual commodities to be bought and sold. Many in the entertainment business are worried about manipulation, insider trading and whether all the betting will affect audiences and thus the profitability of their investments. There is a lot of opposition in Hollywood and in Congress, so will betting on Hollywood have a happy ending or go down in flames?
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Pakistan is a major hot spot for security experts and political watchers. With the hope that of stabilizing the country and enlisting greater cooperation in the fight against Taliban insurgents and terrorists, the Obama administration has increased military and economic aid. But what lies behind the headlines in this vast, complex and multicultural nation? Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, talks with Patt about the security situation in his country and its effect on Pakistan’s economy, the nation’s infrastructure challenges, and what the prospects are for better relations with India.
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In his new book, Daily Beast editor Reza Aslan asserts that by infusing the War on Terror with its own religiosity, the Unites States has fallen prey to the same failed logic of its enemies, ultimately engendering a religious war in which God is believed to be directly engaged on behalf of one side against the other. And a religious war, as Aslan has long contended, cannot be won. Aslan joins Patt for an in-depth look at the ideology fueling al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and like-minded militants in the region, compared with the religious violence in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His goal is to strip religion from his lens and look at the bare, earthly grievances that lie at the war’s root.
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