Patt Morrison for June 18, 2010

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The Los Angeles Lakers are world champions of the NBA! Let’s flip a bus! Moments after the Lakers captured their 5th NBA title in 11 years, Lakers fans decided to personify their jubilation by turning their city into Baghdad for a night. What would cause a person to do such a thing? Some think that fans were upset after being left out of Ron Artest’s “thank-a-thon” after the game, in which Ron thanked everyone from his hood of Queensbridge, NY, his wife, his family, his doctor, his psychiatrist, ESPN sideline reporter Doris Burke, and himself. Whether fans felt snubbed by Artest or not, LAPD is reporting that there were 37 incidents just a half-mile away from Staple’s Center, some lasting as long as 3 hours. So what causes all of this civil unrest? Can Los Angeles survive multiple championships in one year? Can Ron Artest’s psychiatrist help? We talk to an expert on rioting out of joy.
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The numbers are staggering—24 million children are growing up in homes where biological fathers are not present; it’s estimated that the federal government will spend $100 billion annually to support homes without a father; an absentee father is a more reliable predictor of criminal behavior than race, environment or poverty. The role of dads in modern American has grown on the surface but remains somewhat diminished underneath it all—moms are still counted on to be the primary caregivers and beyond that moms give most of the nurturing, give most of the baths and do more of the comforting of kids. While mothers will probably always prove to be the most valuable side of the parenting equation, the role of fathers, especially with young boys, is silently invaluable. On this approaching Father’s Day we look at what it takes to keep dads more involved, more engaged and just plain present in the lives of their children.
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The new LA Film Festival?

It’s the 16th annual LA Film Festival, but almost everything about it seems new. It has new digs--downtown’s LA Live complex (it was formerly held in Westwood). The films will be shown all over town in places like the Orpheum Theater, the Disney Hall’s Redcat theatre and the Ford Amphitheater. It has a new artistic director, David Ansen, who is attempting to combine mass appeal with art house taste (if that’s possible). One example—Big Hollywood is there in spades. The festival will premiere both Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Universal’s 3-D feature Despicable Me. That doesn’t sound like a typical line-up at most indie-centric film festivals, right? Well, the more sophisticated types will appreciate that over half of the films competing for bragging rights this year are international submissions. Ansen wants the under forty types to get an education in how to read and appreciate sub-titles. Are his hopes too high? In short, the festival will screen close to 80 films. Patt talks us through some of them….but sans the sub-titles.
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Iran: One year later and has anything changed?

It was June 2009 and the world watched as Iranians took to the streets of Tehran in violent and deadly protests. Protestors turned to the Internet, blasting pictures and videos through Twitter and Facebook. Yet one year later, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still in power and expanding his nuclear agenda. Last week marked the one year anniversary of the Iran elections and the subsequent green movement and while demonstrations had fizzled out, the emotions and wounds still run deep. With protests scheduled across the world, what can we expect from the Green Movement? Will there be a bloody repeat of last year’s demonstrations or can change really come through peaceful protests?
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If there was a guide for every stage in life, would you follow it? Gail Sheehy, a literary journalist and author of 15 books, has chronicled some of the most complex stages of life in her books “Passages” and Menopause: The Silent Passage. But in her latest book, Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence, Sheehy taps into the life of caregivers, looking to her own experience with caring for her husband as a step-by-step journey. Passages in Caregiving highlights the eight ‘passages’ Sheehy feels constitute the universal experience in caregiving and hopes to be a guide for those living as a caregiver. But are Sheehy’s strategies and experiences really universal, when many families struggle to even may the medical bills?
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