Patt Morrison for January 24, 2011

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Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) pitched a plan to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles. Rival development company, Majestic Realty, is already lobbying to build a stadium in City of Industry, but AEG’s plan would place the stadium smack-dab in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles, right next to the Staples Center in L.A. Live. The price tag? It could reach one billion dollars by the time all is said and done. For the plan, AEG would demolish the West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center to build a stadium to hold up to 78,000 seats. AEG’s President and CEO Tim Leiweke is urging the L.A. City Council to consider the plan – he says the project will create 20 to 30 thousand new jobs and bring in revenue through tourism and commerce. But he’s proposing that the city issue a $350 million bond to pay for a new West Hall, a parking lot, and debt. Leiweke says if tax revenues failed to repay the bond, AEG would cover the shortfall. Council members expressed concerns about the bond and $450 million still owed on the Convention Center, as well as the impact such a large stadium would have on L.A.’s already terrible traffic. Leiweke dismissed those concerns as well. So is it all worth it? Could an NFL stadium be the answer to the City of Angels' budget woes, or would the cons outweigh the pros? And if the proposal does go anywhere, L.A. would still need a team...
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Counting Southern California’s homeless population

Volunteers and county personnel are fanning out across Riverside County today to count the homeless, taking with them “homelessness guides” who know the parks, underpasses, and other places frequented by transients. The count is a biennial requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which bases funding for homeless assistance to local and state agencies on the results. Riverside counted approximately 3400 people living on the streets in 2009 and is working hard to be sure every indigent person is counted this year, so as not to lose any of that federal funding for their welfare programs. The counters will face a challenge, though, as some of the homeless may not want to be approached and questioned, even if it’s for their own good. Ronald Stewart, who is deputy director of the Department of Public Social Services and in charge of the effort, tells us what they expect to find on the streets of Riverside.
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The Pentagon has a new Cyber Command. The government of Iran has its own Cyber Army, believed to be linked to the Revolutionary Guard. But Stuxnet might be the kind of game-changing computer worm that could outsmart them all. This cyber weapon is believed by experts to have been created by Israel or the United States - some say China or Russia - and targeted specifically to gas centrifuges in Iran, causing havoc in their nuclear program. Stuxnet was identified in June of this year, but the extent of its damage wasn’t clear until recently, when official downplaying of Tehran’s progress in development of an atomic weapon by the State Department and Israel’s intelligence service seems to point to success in efforts to disrupt Iran’s plans. With the ability to be focused in a very specific way, many say this most sophisticated cyber weapon signals immense consequences for global security.
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Are American Muslims being radicalized?

The hearing has caused a major stir, without even being formally scheduled. Congressman Peter King, a New York Republican who is know for speaking bluntly on matters of national security, is planning on holding a hearing, in his new role as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, on the threat posed by radical Islam in America. Rep. King plans to focus on the shootings at Ft. Hood and the bombing attempt in Times Square, both of which were perpetrated by American Muslims. Just the announcement alone has caused controversy on both sides of the issues—security hawks are disappointed that more aggressive advocates against radical Islam are not being called as witnesses, while Muslim American groups are very weary that they will all be characterized as terrorists in waiting. There does seem to be anecdotal evidence of more terrorism attempts carried out by American citizens of Muslims decent, but there’s also a sizable Muslim population in the U.S. that is well educated and very successful. Is radicalization really a threat?
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Has the world gone mad? Are cats and dogs now living together in harmony? How is it possible that Los Angeles doesn't have the worst traffic in the country? Believe or not, L.A.'s traffic is not the nation's worst, that dubious distinction goes to Chicago and Washington D.C., where drivers in both cities spent an average of 70 hours a year stuck in traffic. L.A.'s drivers spent an average of 63 hours a year in traffic, according to the Texas Transportation Institute that puts out an annual survey of the worst traffic in America. The Institute gave L.A. credit for improving public transit options and operational improvements to streets and highways. For those of you who were sitting in rush hour traffic this morning, you might be questioning the sanity of the Texas Transportation Institute, but the numbers don't lie--you aren't wasting quite as much time as you think sitting in traffic.
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Zombie Spaceship Wasteland! An Oswalt perspective

What do zombies, spaceships, and wasteland all have in common? Nothing? Or everything! Patton Oswalt, a comedian known for his stand-up and roles in The King of Queens and Disney Pixar's Ratatouille, has put together Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, a collection of comedic yet insightful essays on the widest array of issues possibly imaginable - all stories from his life thus far. Is it that Oswalt has had a more interesting, humorous life than the rest of us or just that he is able to see the funny in our mundane? Let's a take a nose dive into the like-none-other world of Oswalt and see the results! *Patton will be reading from his new book “Zombie Spaceship Wasteland” at Book Soup at 5 pm on Saturday, January 29th and again at 9 pm at The Largo at The Coronet. On Sunday, January 30th he will be reading at 2 pm at Dark Delicacies in Burbank.
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