Patt Morrison for May 13, 2010

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In a case that could have all sorts of complicated implications, from the teacher tenure policy to how deep the state education budget can be cut, a L.A. County Superior Court judge took an initial step yesterday in preventing LAUSD from laying off teachers at three troubled L.A. middle schools. The judge’s injunction prohibits LAUSD from laying off teachers for budgetary reasons at Samuel Gompers, Edwin Markham and John H. Liechty middle schools, three of the city’s worst-performing schools. The lawsuit, headed by the ACLU, alleged that students were denied their legal right to an education because of the high number of budget-related layoffs at the schools. While on the surface this seems like a budget-related dispute, underneath that is the teacher tenure policy that is under attack by the LAUSD Superintendent’s office, Gov. Schwarzenegger and more. How will California’s schools cope with budget cuts, and is the influence of teachers unions withering?
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David Mamet talks Mamet talk

Political progressive, card-carrying NRA member, theater icon—David Mamet has made a legend out of contrarian views as he has woven them through now classic works like Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow and The Verdict. Contrarian as always, Mamet’s latest musings in “Theatre,” call for nothing short of the death of the director and the end of acting theory. Once again, Mamet throws down the gauntlet and slays some sacred theater cows in this manifesto. So “Put that coffee down!”…and listen to this interview.
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$20 billion—again. The bloated, ugly number that California cannot seem to escape is back again for its Spring sequel as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares to release his May budget revision, which is expected to feature a deficit of at least $20 billion, roughly the same budget hole that has been hanging over the state for the past three years. The May revision promises to offer no new taxes and “terrible cuts, absolutely terrible cuts” according to Schwarzenegger’s press secretary. How do legislators and the Governor proceed, having failed so many times before to come up with lasting solutions? Tax revenues are down and Republicans and the Governor refuse to consider tax increases; the Governor has abandoned his idea of raising $118 million with new oil drilling off the California coast; the Legislature has shot down several revenue-raising ideas, including the increased use of red-light cameras. So where will the new ideas come from and how can California avoid this brutal rite of Spring passage?
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Dave Barry says he’ll mature when he’s dead

America’s true past time is comedy. We might not have superior dramas, the scariest horrors, or the most tear-jerking love stories, but we know our comedy. If America’s true past time is comedy, then Dave Barry might be our Joe DiMaggio. The former syndicated columnist, whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers, has long been one of America’s favorite humorists. Since retiring from his column in 2005, he has been through some momentous life events, including his son’s wedding, sundry medical assaults on his nether regions and riding a fire truck with Clarabelle the cow at Disney World. Much like the world spinning, comedy doesn’t stop just because you retire, so in between watching TV, drinking beer, and passing gas, Dave managed to produce his new book, which he hopes will inspire the youth of the nation. Inspire them to do what exactly? Fetch him another beer and change the channel.
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