Patt Morrison for June 30, 2010

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May Day melee – final chapter?

Closing arguments began today in a civil lawsuit brought by three journalists in which they allege the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD are responsible for injuries they received in May of 2007 during an immigration rally in MacArthur Park. KPCC reporter Patricia Nazario, KTTV-TV Channel 11 reporter Christina Gonzalez and KTTV camerawoman Patricia Ballaz were in the park on May Day and all were injured in encounters with officers of the LAPD. KPCC’s Molly Peterson has been covering the trial and brings us the latest.
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It’s not the first time this idea has been kicked around but yesterday it was presented in remarkably stark terms, considering the source was a politician. House Minority Leader John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that in the face of massive federal deficits and a potentially crippling national debt it was time to have a frank conversation with the American public about the sustainability of Social Security. "We're all living a lot longer than anyone ever expected," Boehner told the newspaper editorial board. "And I think that raising the retirement age — going out 20 years, so you're not affecting anyone close to retirement — and eventually getting the retirement age to 70 is a step that needs to be taken." Boehner also counseled hard decisions for politicians and the public alike: "We just need to be honest with people," he said. "I'm not suggesting it's going to be easy, but I think if we did those three things, you'd pretty well solve the problem." Are you willing to delay your Social Security to help bring down the debt?
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Security in Afghanistan is dirty work, for all of the involved parties from the U.S. and Afghan militaries to the private contractors that provide key logistical support. One bit of key logistical support that lies in the hands of military contractors is Host Nation Trucking, the transportation contract that provides over 70% of total good and materials distributed to U.S. troops in the field in Afghanistan. It’s worth $2.16 billion and is a key example of how well intentioned U.S. investment ends up in the hands of extremely undesirable warlords. The HNT contract fuels warlordism, extortion and corruption and it may be a significant source of funding for insurgents. We look at the troubled American effort in Afghanistan through the prism of one contract that proves your tax dollars are hard at work… the pockets of warlords.
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Some on the left aren’t ecstatic with the idea of Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court, and on the right, John Yoo, the Bush administrator who authored the so-called “torture memos,” has authored his own objections to her, in a New York Times op-ed that ran last month. Why doesn’t John Yoo heart Elena Kagan? As thin as her record may be, there’s enough for a conservative not to like—she stood her ground against the U.S. military in protesting the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy by keeping military recruiters off of Harvard Law School’s campus; she’s been critical of Guantanamo Bay and went after Congress for writing a bill that would strip courts of their authority to review detention practices; Kagan’s self-professed “legal hero” is Thurgood Marshall, the original lion of the left on the Supreme Court. But most significantly to a legal scholar like Yoo, it’s Kagan’s undeserved reputation—because as a nominee who has never served as a judge, how can we ever really know?—as a defender of executive powers and her true feelings, which Yoo claims to have gleaned through a review of her academic musings. Yesterday we looked at some liberals’ uneasiness over Kagan and today we take up the conservatives’ beef with Kagan.
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Sasha Rodriguez was 15-years-old when she walked into the L.A. Coliseum to attend the Electric Daisy Carnival rave over the weekend—the minimum age for entrance into the dance party was 16. Sasha died yesterday after being taken off of life support, most likely due to a drug overdose, which casts serious questions over throwing these kinds of parties at City-owned venues like the Coliseum and how raves in general are policed. The Coliseum Commission meets today to consider a new policy while a group of doctors are urging Los Angeles to stop sanctioning raves in any form. But drugs are available everywhere, from big industrial parties to house parties, so will cracking down on raves really put an end to the always rampant drug culture among young people?
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