Patt Morrison for October 28, 2010

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When will Mexico's drug war reach its tipping point?

It's been a terribly bloody week in Mexico. with at least 40 murders that all have ties to drug cartels: 13 patients in a Tijuana drug rehab were massacred; gunmen killed six young men in a tough neighborhood of Mexico City, which has up until now been largely spared from cartel violence; two bus-loads of factory workers attacked in Ciudad Juarez, killing four; and 15 people killed at a car wash in the Pacific coastal city of Tepic. Thousands of Mexicans have lost their lives over the past few years in a drug war that seemingly has no end, and while the murder rate has stayed relatively static the brutal nature of the killings has become more explosive. At what point does the Mexican government, and ordinary Mexican citizens, throw up their hands and say enough? At what point does the American government get more involved to help, and at what point do officials on both sides of the border start to try new tactics, from drug legalization to even negotiating with the cartels?
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Raising objections on grounds of privacy concerns, fraud and just plain waiting in long lines, European airlines and safety officials began criticizing American airport security standards yesterday, after the chairman of British Airways criticized Washington for not imposing certain safety restrictions on domestic flights that it requires from flights to and from the United States. Chairman Martin Broughton was especially irritated by the requirement that passengers take off their shoes and remove their laptops from their luggage during security checks and called for the practice to be abandoned altogether, calling it “redundant”. It’s preaching to the choir to the millions gearing up for holiday travel this season, but can—and should—anything be done to streamline airport security without making it less stringent? Some European executives yesterday called for more hi-tech scanning machines to replace procedural safety measures like requiring passengers to pack liquids separately—that might not fly in this economy, but is there room to consider an overhaul of the current safety regulation?
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Filed by an alliance of local government groups, Proposition 22 is aimed at protecting existing funds and tax revenue allocated to local government from being raided by the state, even in times of financial hardship. Those who proposed the initiative and would vote “Yes” argue that the state’s current ability to raid local government’s general funds supports those state leaders who are unable to manage the budget and allows for cuts to important local services such as policing and road improvements. On the other side, “No” voters argue that Proposition 22 will give money to redevelopment agencies at the expense of the state’s budget and other services paid for by the state budget (like public education). So where do you stand on the issue? Patt discusses Prop. 22 with representatives from both sides of the fence and asks YOU to join in the debate.
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Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America

It would be foolish to make generalizations about any group - not all women hate football, not all men like root beer, some Americans actually do believe that we are going to get out of this recession. With that in mind, Eugene Robinson discusses the class and cultural divides within Black America in his new book Disintegration. Robinson carves out four categories of American blacks, the Transcendent class, the Abandoned class, the Emergent class and the Middle class. Who constitutes the “Transcendent” class and is the political climate so different now than previously that there is decidedly less cohesiveness in the African American community?
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The Muslim world has been inexorably intertwined with American society & politics since 9/11, and while stories of intolerance (aimed at all sides by all sides) had seemed to fade away as the country attempted to move past those momentous terror attacks, this past year has brought the theme of a Western-Muslim clash of cultures back into the headlines. Starting with the controversial plan to build a mosque in Manhattan close to Ground Zero and most recently NPR’s firing of Juan Williams for his comments about being fearful of flying on an airliner with Muslims, the general distrust of Islam as a religion and a culture seems to be back with a vengeance in the U.S. How does the Muslim world view American Muslims, and how the U.S. government regards Muslim communities both locally and globally? How do Muslims view an America that offers millions of dollars of assistance to earthquake-stricken Pakistan while also continuously launching missile attacks against Pakistani extremists? With the help of a State Department special envoy, we look at America through Islamic eyes.
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