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FROM THIS EPISODE

LAUSD Threat, Violence in San Bernardino, and Porter Ranch Leak

Description: The LAUSD closed all 900 of its schools today because of an electronic threat. What do we know?

Then, a look at everyday violence in San Bernardino.

Next, we take a look at the situation on the ground in Porter Ranch, where a huge methane leak is still going on.

Turning to national politics, the real presidential fight kicks off February 1 with the Iowa caucuses, followed by the New Hampshire primaries on February 9. What’s the difference between a caucus and a primary? Is one better than the other?

Finally, a look at the phenomenon of Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas, the history of the trend and where to go in L.A. on December 25.

Producers:
Matt Holzman
Anna Scott
Jolie Myers
Christian Bordal
Laura Swisher

LAUSD Threat 11 MIN, 59 SEC

This morning, LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines announced that due to a “credible threat,” all of the 900 plus schools in the LAUSD would be closed. The specifics of the threat are still a bit unclear. Cortines said early this morning that the threat was electronic in nature, and may involve backpacks. But Police Chief Charlie Beck said the threat was traced to an IP address in Germany, though the source may be closer to home. It mentioned assault rifles, pistols and explosive devices. The FBI and the LAPD are investigating. How unusual is a closing like this, and what are teachers and students experiencing?

Guests:
Brian Jenkins, RAND Corporation (@BrianMJenkins)
Dennis Danziger, Venice High School

Everyday Gun Violence in San Bernardino 7 MIN, 15 SEC

One reason the LAUSD isn’t taking any chances today might be the recent mass shooting in nearby San Bernardino. Fourteen people were killed, and the story is still making international news. But few are talking about the three other people shot in San Bernardino in the week following that terror attack.

Guests:
Mike Kessler, freelance journalist (@mikeskessler)

More:
How to Tell a Mass Shooting from Gang Gunfire, and Other Lessons from the Forgotten Streets of San Bernardino

On the Ground in Porter Ranch 6 MIN, 43 SEC

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors may declare a local state of emergency in Porter Ranch today. If the governor signs it, more state and federal resources will be brought in to deal with a massive gas leak there. Gas has been spewing out of a well for the last seven weeks. According to state environmental officials, this leak is so big it’s increasing the amount of methane in California’s air by 25 percent. It may take months to stop the leak completely. The gas company put nearly 2,000 families in temporary housing, even though the Southern California Gas Company says the leak doesn’t pose a health threat. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has filed a lawsuit, and so has a local family. We get a view from the ground in Porter Ranch.

Guests:
Saul Gonzalez, KCRW producer (@SaulKCRW)

A History of Primaries and Caucuses 14 MIN, 11 SEC

Republican presidential candidates are getting ready to rumble in Las Vegas tonight in the final GOP debate of 2015. But the real presidential fight kicks off February 1. That’s when the Iowa caucuses take place, followed by the New Hampshire primaries on February 9. So what’s the difference between a caucus and a primary? Is one any better than the other? Also, why do two relatively smaller states get to be such big factors in deciding our nation’s highest office?


New Hampshire presidential primary plaque in Concord, NH
Photo by Billy Hathorn

Guests:
Ken Rudin, Political Editor, National Public Radio
Steffen Schmidt, Iowa State University (@DrPolitics)

'Jewish Christmas' at L.A. Chinese Restaurants 5 MIN, 42 SEC

Christmas is next Friday, what will you be eating? Gingerbread? Mashed potatoes? Or, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, how about sesame noodles and orange chicken? Yes, the idea of Jews eating Chinese food on December 25 is so ingrained, it’s become a punchline. But is it a provable phenomenon? And if so, how did the trend start? 

Guests:
Katherine Spiers, How It Got In Your Mouth (@katherinespiers)

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