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FROM THIS EPISODE

Concern about the environment is declining in California and becoming more of a partisan issue, and Governor Schwarzenegger's popularity has dropped to where Gray Davis' was before the 2003 recall. Also, state courts are shutting down one day a month to save money. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, the President says the arrest of a black Harvard professor by a white Cambridge policeman provided a "teachable moment." Was it "stupid?" We'll hear contrasting views on the "beer summit" at the Obama White House.


Banner image: Giant wind turbines, powered by strong prevailing winds near Palm Springs, California. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Katie Cooper
Gary Scott
Andrea Brody

Main Topic The Cop, the Professor and the President of the United States 27 MIN, 53 SEC

In an incident now familiar to most Americans, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates arrived home from a trip to China to find his door jammed. He and his driver tried to force it open. A neighbor reported a possible break-in, and Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley showed up at the home. After a verbal confrontation about racial profiling, Gates was arrested outside for disorderly conduct, a charge that was later dismissed. President Obama was asked about the incident at a press conference.

Guests:
Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Sun-Times
Wilmer Leon, Professor of Political Science, Howard University
Wayne Bennett, TheFieldNegro.com (@fieldnegro)
Eugene O'Donnell, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Making News Budget Cuts Close the Courts One Day a Month 5 MIN, 52 SEC

Juvenile courts, family courts, trial courts, appellate courts and the State Supreme Court will all be shut down on the third Wednesday of every month, all to save $414 million. That's the unanimous decision of the California Judicial Council, presided over by Chief Justice Ron George. The Los Angeles Superior Court is one of the nation's largest, and Allan Parachini is the official spokesman.

Guests:
Allan Parachini, Spokesman, Los Angeles Superior Court

Main Topic Californians Less Concerned about Air Quality, Global Warming 14 MIN, 1 SEC

California has some of the nation's worst pollution, but residents aren't as concerned as they used to be. They're also less concerned about global warming. And there's a growing divide between Democrats and Republicans as to what measures to take and how soon to take them. Those are some of the findings of the latest statewide poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. 

Guests:
Mark Baldassare, Public Policy Institute of California (@ppicnotes)
Terry Tamminen, Climate Policy Director, New America Foundation

Lives per Gallon

Terry Tamminen

Reporter's Notebook Big Brother Technology in Squad Cars? 6 MIN

It's not the City of London yet, but Los Angeles is expanding the use of video scanners by the LAPD. Automated recognition systems mounted in patrol cars can process 1500 license plates every minute. A cop with a computer can handle about 100 in a ten-hour shift. The technology is great for solving auto thefts, picking up wanted felons or monitoring sexual predators' movements. But it also collects and stores vast amounts of data about innocent people. Peter Bibring is a staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California.

Guests:
Peter Bibring, ACLU of Southern California (@ACLU_SoCal)

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