News today from the Census Bureau shows that the economic situation for millions of Americans got better last year: More than three million people escaped poverty and median income is up more than 5 percent. In South LA, violent crime is up. The LAPD is fighting the trend with the Community Safety Operations Center, a coordinated effort between precincts. It’s the 20th anniversary of the murder of Tupac Shakur in a drive-by in Las Vegas. Press Play looks at his legacy and influence. And Keith Morris, founding member of punk bands Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, has a new book out: “My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor.” Finally, a new investigation shows that the sugar industry cooked the books about the health dangers of their product back in the 1960s.
FROM THIS EPISODE
News today from the Census Bureau shows that the economic situation for millions of Americans got better last year. More than three million people escaped poverty – the biggest drop in the poverty rate since 1999. According to the census, the middle class is doing better too. The median income jumped more than 5 percent. It’s the first time it’s gone up since the recession.
Justin Wolfers, University of Michigan
The Los Angeles Police Department realized five months ago that it had a problem: violent crime was up, and half of the city’s shootings and murders were happening in just four of the LAPD’s 21 divisions -- all of them in South LA. So the LAPD came up with the Community Safety Operations Center. It’s a temporary command center set up in a conference room at LAPD headquarters. It’s staffed with about a half dozen officers almost 24 hours a day. Rows of computers are lined up on a couple of long tables; one huge screen displays a color-shifting map of the city. All day and night, the rotating team tracks crime in South LA and communicates with captains on the ground. It’s a way to focus resources on a part of the city that’s normally divided into separate police precincts that don’t communicate much with each other. Now that it’s in place, is it working to tamp down violent crime?
Dennis Kato, LAPD
Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of rapper Tupac Shakur. Tupac was shot four times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas; his murder is still unsolved. He is one of the most controversial figures in hip-hop and still one of the most influential. Case in point: Kendrick Lamar, considered one of the most important hip-hop artists of his generation, featured a full-on conversation with Tupac on his 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly.” Press Play talks about Tupac’s legacy and his influence on artists like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Kanye West, YG, and others.
Rob Markman, Genius
When you think of the early days of punk rock, maybe you think of London and the Sex Pistols and the Clash; or New York and the Ramones and the New York Dolls. But Los Angeles also had a homegrown and influential punk scene. The LA sound was harder and thrashier, developed by bands like Black Flag. Keith Morris was the first lead singer and a co-founder of Black Flag. He also went on to create the Circle Jerks and his latest band, Off! Now he’s written an autobiography about his years toiling in the punk trenches. It’s titled “My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor.”
Keith Morris, Musician, Author
A new investigation shows that the sugar industry cooked the books about the health dangers of their product back in the 1960’s. Recently discovered documents reveal that the Sugar Research Foundation paid three Harvard scientists to publish a review of sugar’s effect on fat and heart disease. The studies were handpicked by the sugar group to minimize the link between sugar and its problems with heart health -- and to shift the blame to fats. Stanton Glantz analyzed the documents and wrote about what he found in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
More From Press Play with Madeleine Brand
What's the future of Facebook's A.I.? Mark Zuckerberg apologized on Wednesday for how Facebook handled the Cambridge Analytica scandal, saying his company will protect users’ privacy. But Facebook is heavily investing in artificial intelligence that could potentially mean more sophisticated data mining of its users.
Can we rein in tech giants? Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a statement today saying his company will protect user data and investigate apps with access to his social network. British firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly used Facebook user data for political purposes. We talk about reining in Facebook and billionaire tech leaders.
Why black boys from rich families have a 50-50 chance of falling into poverty New research shows that black boys raised in U.S. -- even in the richest neighborhoods -- still earn less money when they grow up than white boys of similar backgrounds. But that’s not the case for women. Black and white women usually track together, while black men rarely make it to the same levels as white men.
California case: free speech v. abortion rights Crisis pregnancy centers are generally run by pro-life groups that aim to convince pregnant women not to get abortions. A California law requires that employees tell their clients that the state offers free and low-cost abortions and other family planning services. Now a group of these centers is arguing that the law violates their freedom of speech.
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