Patt Morrison for November 23, 2010

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In the latest book by German Journalist Peter Seewald, Light of the World, Pope Benedict XVI said tha the use of condoms by prostitutes to prevent the spread of HIV is a “lesser evil.” The Pope made clear that he specifically approved of “the intention of reducing infection” – but in no way sanctions the use of condoms as a method of birth control. Many are applauding these statements with the hope that even the limited allowance of condom use could dramatically impact the AIDS epidemic. Despite the limited scope of Benedict’s comments this is the first time that any Pope has acknowledged the use of condoms as a step toward taking responsibility for the spread of disease. Could this be the beginning of a sea-change within the Catholic Church?
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In the almost 60 years since the end of the Korean War there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of small skirmishes between North & South Korea that, while potentially disastrous, have not yet ignited the dormant tinder box that is the heavily militarized Korean Peninsula. This morning another one of those skirmishes broke out, this time after North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells at a South Korean island killing two marines and injuring several civilians. As is the case with many of these exchanges there are broader political implications and a larger backdrop to the hostilities—North Korea just revealed it was nearing completion on a new nuclear reactor, South Korea was holding military exercises in the area around Yeonpyeong island and tensions are still high after the North sank a South Korean naval vessel in March, killing 46 sailors in the process. North Korea is usually looking for some kind of payoff when it starts these fights, whether its food aid, new negotiations with the U.S. or just plain old attention. What is the North looking for this time around and will this be the small skirmish that burns into full blown war?
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Whether you’re looking for a hot meal or looking to dish one out this week, we’ve got you covered. Just in time for Thanksgiving, Patt surveys volunteer opportunities and free events throughout the southland this holiday season, highlighting the work of groups like the Midnight Mission in downtown Los Angeles, Operation Gratitude and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. From the Inland Empire to the OC and throughout greater Los Angeles, whether you’ve got time, money or food to spare—or are in need of it—whether you’re looking for a child-friendly experience or a way to keep giving after the holiday, don’t miss this cornucopia of opportunity.
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Unless you coached or officiated high school football you probably paid little attention to the implementation of California Interscholastic Federation Bylaw 313 at the beginning of this season, but it could change the face of amateur football. Old-school high school football coaches were known for pushing their young players as hard as possible, even if they had their “bell rung” after a hard hit on the field. In light of extensive recent research about the lifelong effects of concussions, especially on young, developing brains, high school football’s governing body started to look at a way to monitor and prevent head trauma in players during and after the games. The result was Bylaw 313, which put the onus on coaches and referees to remove from a game any athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion. Coaches and refs hated the rule at first but have since embraced it, and there’s little doubt that the parents of these players are appreciative. Can young athletes play violent sports without long lasting consequences?
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Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity

Did Brangelina adopt another child? What's the latest on Tiger Woods? President Obama is a smoker? The world's obsession with celebrity is no new thing, but why is it so widespread? What is it about movie stars, politicians, professional athletes, and other people of note that makes their lives so much more interesting than a run of the mill person's? In Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett explores the cultural phenomenon of celebrity arguing that the desire to "celebrate" some people while excluding others has widespread social implications including elevating and solidifying social strata and making or breaking careers and companies. Currid-Hackett examines celebrity, from the art world to Hollywood, tracing its impact on economics, geography, and networking.
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