Patt Morrison for September 1, 2010

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The majestic plastic bag lives on in California

California lawmakers have rejected a statewide ban on plastic bags, but the movement to reduce their harmful impact on the environment lives on. San Francisco became the first city to ban the use of plastic bags in 2007, followed by Palo Alto, Malibu and Fairfax. Los Angeles has tossed the idea around, but so far there's been no law. Supporters of the state bill say 19 billion plastic bags are used in the state annually, and it costs the state $25 million each year to task people for clean-up and transport to landfills. So will this be the end of the momentum for anti-plastic bag lobbyists in the state, adding more mass to the Pacific's trash island, or will those crusaders for the environment see progress at the city level?
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NY passes Domestic Workers Bill of Rights – is CA next?

There are hundreds of thousands “domestic laborers” hard at work in the households of Los Angeles, and all of them should be looking east to New York with great interest. Yesterday New York Governor David Paterson signed the Domestic Workers’ Rights bill into law providing the 270,000 domestic workers in NY with more rights and protection than anywhere else in the nation. New York may be leading the way but the Golden State isn’t far behind. What is in the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (CDWBR) and who exactly is included under the umbrella term? We discuss what happens in the often isolated domestic worker industry, why these workers are not protected by the National Labor Relations Act and who enforces the law if the bill does pass here.
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After the recent controversy surrounding Sarah Palin's $75,000 bill for her CSU Stanislaus fundraising speech, it seems the entire CSU system has mixed public and private funds so much that it can no longer tell which is which. Critics have long suspected that CSU officials have used foundations as a way to spend without having to deal with public scrutiny. The chief financial officer admits that the co-mingled funds are a problem but insists there were no malicious or shady dealings taking place. So what is the real story, and how easy will it be for CSU officials to sort through the financial stew?
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Hurricane Katrina’s long legacy

Much of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans have come back from the brink of disaster in the five years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, but part of the damage is still evident. This is especially clear in the Lower 9th Ward, where only about a quarter of the 5,400 homes there before the storm have been rebuilt. In 2006, Douglas Brinkley, who was teaching at the University of New Orleans in 2005, wrote a singular book about the storm, “The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” and he joins us with a look back at the problems and progress of rebuilding.
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Breast and ovary removal to prevent cancer… what would you do?

The question of having preventive surgery is one facing many women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, which makes them at high risk for breast or ovarian cancer. The largest study to date has just been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the researchers have found a significant benefit to removal of both breasts and/or the ovaries in preventing these cancers. According to study co-author, Dr. Claudine Isaacs, "If you have this preventive surgery, it not only decreases the risk of disease but also significantly decreases the risk of death, which is [the] most important thing you're trying to do." Dr. Isaacs joins Patt with the details on her findings and the importance to women facing a gut-wrenching decision about their health.
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Garden State author Rick Moody joins Patt with his new novel The Four Fingers of Death about, well, husbands and wives, death and dying, astronauts, and a lone human arm missing its middle finger, which is the only thing to return to earth from a mission to mars. It’s a bit unclear. Told as a series of blog posts by astronaut Jed Edwards while on a mission to mars gone disastrously wrong—and including an expansive (and messy) zero-gravity sex scene—the story follows the four fingered arm that may hold the secret to reanimation or may simply be an infectious killing machine. Commenting on everything from NAFTA’s economic impact to steroid use among professional baseball players, the corroding effects of the Internet and the increasingly crass entertainment industry, this is high satire. As one reviewer put it, Moody “takes the inane and makes it sincere”—it’s unclear what’s inane about this B-movie-style space opera-novel, but that’s what he’ll explain. Selected by the New Yorker as one of its original “20 under 40” writers to watch, 48 year-old Moody is back with his first novel in 5 years. *Rick Moody will be at Skylight Books in Los Feliz at 7:30 pm Wednesday, September 1st
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