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The World Health Organization has found that air pollution is the biggest global health hazard. Is the air still bad in LA? How bad? Conservatives are fighting in court for their First Amendment rights and against contraceptive coverage, campaign contribution limits, and more. TV pilot season is a costly and slightly crazy tradition. Now it’s in for a long-awaited shake-up. Errol Morris talks about his new documentary on the architect of the Iraq War, Donald Rumsfeld. And should Kobe Bryant stay or should he go?

Banner Image: Los Angeles smog; Credit: Ben Amstutz

WHO Smog Report 7 MIN, 31 SEC

Air pollution is now the single biggest global health hazard, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. Seven million people died worldwide from dirty air in 2012. About half of those deaths came from indoor pollution - from cooking on coal stoves - and most of the deaths from outdoor pollution were in Asia. But air isn’t stagnant... We have some of that dirty air from China here. Plus our own homegrown smog.

Chip Jacobs, co-author, 'Smogtown' (@lasmogwriter)


Chip Jacobs

Conservatives Fighting for Free Speech 8 MIN, 10 SEC

The Supreme Court heard arguments in the Hobby Lobby case today. That’s the case that was brought by the owners of a Christian crafts corporation that don’t like the mandate in the Affordable Care Act that requires all employer-provided health insurance to cover contraceptives. But this is only one of several First Amendment cases brought by conservatives this year. In fact, David Savage, who reports on the Supreme Court for the LA Times, says there’s been a kind of role reversal at the court this term: First Amendment claims used to be brought by liberals.

David Savage, Los Angeles Times (@davidgsavage)

TV Pilot Season Shakeup 9 MIN, 34 SEC

We’re in the middle of March Madness - the basketball tournament - but that’s also a perfect name for TV’s pilot season. This is the height of the network’s annual scramble to produce new shows and roll out their Fall line-ups. It’s a costly and slightly crazy tradition - and it’s only gotten costlier and crazier. For years, network executives have said that they were going to do things a better way. Now it seems like that’s finally started to happen.

Cynthia Littleton, Variety (@Variety_Cynthia)
Michael Schneider, Indiewire / Variety (@Franklinavenue)

Errol Morris: The Unknown Known 14 MIN, 6 SEC

Eleven years ago the United States invaded Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld led that invasion as President Bush’s defense secretary. He became known at the daily Pentagon briefings for his colorful and circuitous statements... a man utterly confident that the U.S. was doing the right thing, despite mounting evidence that the war was not as well planned as it could have been and - in fact - had been waged under false pretenses. Donald Rumsfeld is now the subject of a new documentary by Errol Morris.

Errol Morris, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker (@errolmorris)

Kobe Bryant's Long Goodbye 7 MIN, 45 SEC

When you talk about the Lakers, you’re really having a conversation about Kobe Bryant. But Kobe’s injured and out for the season. Again. And the Lakers are TWENTY-THREE and FORTY-SIX… not in a good way. No post-season for them. There’s a chance that this season will be the WORST in franchise history. And both behind the scenes and in public, there are a lot of people hinting not-so-subtly that Kobe should just bow out and not come back at all.

Ben McGrath, New Yorker (@mcgrathben)

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