The trial of former L.A. County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka began this week. He’s charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice for allegedly interfering in an FBI investigation into abusive practices at L.A. County jails. Then, a look at how L.A. came to rely on helicopters for policing. Next, two radio journalists investigated the charity Planet Aid and looked closely at how it spends money. In our Friday film roundup, the new superhero blockbuster and remembering Garry Shandling.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Opening statements were made yesterday in the trial of former L.A. County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka. He’s accused of obstructing an F.B.I. investigation into inmate abuse in county jails. The two sides paint very different pictures of Tanaka; what do the opening statements suggest about how the case will unfold?
Depending on which Los Angeles neighborhood you live in, you might hear the buzz of a chopper overhead, seemingly all the time. In some places they’re called ghetto birds, which gives you an indication of where their presence is felt the most. For people on the ground, the choppers are more than a mere nuisance. How did L.A. come to rely on helicopters to police the city, and what are they doing up there anyway?
Let’s say you want to get rid of old clothes. You see one of those big yellow donation bins that says Planet Aid on it. Have you ever wondered what happens next? Well, they’re sold and the money is supposed to go to help poor people overseas in places like Africa. But two investigative reporters took a deeper look into Planet Aid’s funding and found a complicated story that involves possible money laundering and a reputed cult founded in Denmark. As for the Africans, they’re not seeing a lot of that money.
One of the most highly anticipated movies of the year is out today, and it might be somewhat less anticipated after the terrible reviews. We’re talking Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. We’ll also talk about the late great Garry Shandling. The comedian died yesterday at the age of 66.
Back in January, three friends decided to train for the Hollywood Half Marathon. But instead of running around a track, they decided to make their runs more interesting with big rewards - both food rewards and routes that take them past fun landmarks. In running and eating their way through L.A.’s urban landscape, they’ve covered 120 miles through the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley, and the streets of Compton and Beverly Hills. At each destination, they share a meal that tells a story about the neighborhood they ran through.
More From Press Play with Madeleine Brand
Drug education in the era of legal weed D.A.R.E. was once the most widely used school-based substance abuse prevention program in the country, and it was invented right here in Los Angeles. With pot now legal here in California, LAUSD is trying more a more subtle approach to educating kids about the dangers of marijuana use.
Neil deGrasse Tyson on whether war in space is coming Neil deGrasse Tyson says astrophysicists are mostly peace-loving scientists, but have always been complicit in warfare. He also explains what war in space could look like, but why it’s unlikely to happen. His new book is titled “Accessory to War.”
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