Patt Morrison for February 11, 2011

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After yesterday’s false start, today protesters in the streets of Egyptian cities finally got what they wanted: Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt for almost three decades, had stepped down from power. The moment that Mubarak’s resignation became known to the crowds in Tahrir Square in Cairo, the focal point of the demonstrations for the past two-plus weeks, the collective thousands seemed to all let loose 30 years of fear, anxiety and repression with great, jubilant celebrations. What happens next remains very unclear: a military council, made up of generals from the Egyptian armed forces, was announced to have taken charge of the country but their intentions are unknown. Will the military hang onto power for itself, will a transformation of power to some kind of caretaker ruling structure begin, or will elections be held immediately? We go to the streets of Cairo to look for answers and to soak up the emotion of the electric atmosphere, as Egyptians celebrate their new-found, hopeful freedom.
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A legal battle over the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution started in an Orange County classroom when a history teacher, James Corbett, described creationism to his students as “superstitious nonsense.” A Christian student in the class, Chad Farnan, recorded the comment on an electronic device without Mr. Corbett’s permission or knowledge, and used it as evidence to successfully sue for violation of religious rights. The case will now be heard in federal appeals court while Mr. Corbett continues to teach Advanced Placement European History at Capistrano Valley High School.
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Sunny prospect for solar-powered cars?

In President Obama’s Jan. 25 State of the Union address, he boasted “At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars.” What he is referring to is the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), a team of scientists from Caltech and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who were awarded $122 million in July from the Department of Energy after wining a national competition. Their idea is simple: to recreate the process by which all the trees and plants on this planet create their energy—photosynthesis. They hope to be able to take the ingredients that plants use—sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide—and produce energy ten times more efficiently than common crops. Being able to store this energy in chemical fuel would get around the small dilemma with solar energy—that the sun goes out every night. Chemical fuel is the most dense way to store energy, and it can make our cars run. Creating artificial photosynthesis is the ultimate scientific challenge—where physics, chemistry, and engineering converge. If it comes to fruition, will your hybrid, natural gas, or biodiesel-powered vehicle be outdated and out-greened by a plant-like, solar-powered car?
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Well it’s not exactly giving it away, but improbably the state of California does have $2 billion stashed away with the goal of helping more than 100,000 struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. The $2 billion comes from the federal government, stashed away by California in 2008, as part of the TARP financial bailout and is only now being rolled out under a state program called “Keep Your Home California.” The program relies on banks working with the state and homeowners to help renegotiate mortgage terms in return for a generous incentive, but similar ideas have been tried in the past three years with little success. California’s plan is actually four separate approaches, the biggest part allocating $875 million in temporary financial help to people who have lost their jobs to help them cover their home payments. Another part of the plan would provide as much as $15,000 per homeowner to help them get current on mortgages. It’s ambitious and it sounds promising but there’s a lot of uncertainty—can “Keep Your Home California” actually keep Californians in their homes?
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The United States and Egypt – what next?

In response to Hosni Mubarak’s resignation today, President Obama said in a statement that the president of Egypt "responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change.” He cautioned that "this is not the end of Egypt's transition. It's a beginning. I'm sure there will be difficult days ahead, and many questions remain unanswered." Many questions, indeed. Mubarak leaves behind a police state with the military in charge and a host of uncertainties about how that country will be governed going forward and how the partnership between the U.S. and Egypt will change. Congressman Brad Sherman, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, gives his assessment of our future relationship with arguably the strongest nation in the Middle East.
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The Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo falls up

Jaime Gomez aka “Taboo,” one of the founding members of the hip-hop band the Black Eyed Peas, describes his path from East L.A. to on top of the world in his book Fallin’ Up. His father was absent during his childhood, his mother and grandmother raised him, and at the age of 17 he became a father himself. Taboo's pursuit of music, encouraged by his grandmother, turned his life around. After more than a decade of churning out ear-candy, racking up top-10 hits and a few number-one songs, as well as performing on the most high-profile stages like at Super Bowl XLV, Taboo has proved that his motto of “keep it on the positive” pays off in more ways than one. He married in 2008, and he is now expecting his third child, which is his second child with his new wife. In addition, this year he celebrated four years of sobriety, kicking his addictions to both drugs and alcohol to the curb.
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