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FROM THIS EPISODE

Two American journalists have been pardoned by North Korea. We update a story that's inspired demonstrations here in LA. We also get the latest on California's changing electorate and some rare good news from the LA Unified School District. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, Cash for Clunkers has run through almost a billion federal dollars in just ten days. With the Senate poised to come up with another $2 billion, are taxpayers funding a consumer frenzy that would have happened anyway?

Producers:
Gary Scott
Katie Cooper

Reporter's Notebook Dropout Rate Drops for LAUSD 5 MIN, 47 SEC

The LA Unified School District cut its high-school dropout rate last year by a whopping 17%.  Graduation increased by almost 8%. That's great news for an institution facing budget cuts and battles over education reform. Ramon Cortines is LAUSD's Superintendent.

Guests:
Ramon Cortines, Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District

Making News North Korea Pardons Jailed Journalists 9 MIN, 35 SEC

Los Angeles has seen street demonstrations demanding release of two American journalists sentenced to 12 years for stepping over the border from China to North Korea. Today, they were pardoned. The announcement came shortly after former President Bill Clinton arrived in North Korea and pictures of him with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il were published all over the world. Mike Chinoy, who's covered Asia for CNN, is with the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Guests:
Mike Chinoy, USC US-China Institute (@mikechinoy)

Meltdown

Mike Chinoy

Main Topic Cash for Clunkers: Does Haste Make Waste? 28 MIN, 34 SEC

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says that Cash for Clunkers “has worked better than any other stimulus program that was conceived.”  It started off slowly on the first of July, and then exploded through almost a billion dollars in the past week alone. The House quickly approved another two billion before taking off for vacation, and this week the Senate appears ready to go along.

Guests:
David Shepardson, Detroit News (@davidshepardson)
Pete Small, Sales Director, West Herr Auto Group
Jeremy Anwyl, CEO, Edmunds.com
Marc Cannon, Spokesman, AutoNation
Michael Conlon, Counsel, Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association

Main Topic California's Fragmentary Electorate 10 MIN, 29 SEC

California has grown from 23 million to 38 million people, a gain of 15 million in the past 30 years. But the change in numbers is less dramatic than the change in demography and the change in the voting population.  That's according to a report released today by The Field Poll.

Guests:
Mark DiCamillo, Field Poll
Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee (@WaltersBee)

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