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A new state law provides for inmates to be released when they are sick, aged, paralyzed or otherwise no longer a threat to the public, but at the first opportunity the state Parole Board refused to release a man who's a quadriplegic. Does the Board want to scuttle the medical release program? Will elected prosecutors demand continued imprisonment because of the brutal crimes that led to convictions? Also, a new, state-of-the-art public school no students can go to.  On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, Saudi Arabia and the "Club of Kings."

Banner image: Mule Creek State Prison, one of California's overcrowded penal facilities. © California State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Making News SoCal Edison Executive to Head Commerce Department 7 MIN, 6 SEC

President Obama today appointed a Californian to be Secretary of Commerce, with special emphasis on reducing US dependence on foreign oil. John Bryson co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council. Bill Bradley is a former Democratic consultant whose memory goes back to Jerry Brown's first Governorship. He's now publisher of NewWestNotes.com and a columnist at the Huffington Post.


Bill Bradley, New West Notes

The New American Story

Bill Bradley

Main Topic California Prisons: Mercy or Madness? 12 MIN, 17 SEC

"If we can't start with a quadriplegic, where can we start?" That's the question from San Francisco's Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno, who wrote the new law providing that inmates who are incapacitated should be released on humanitarian grounds and to save money.  But last week, at its first opportunity, the State Parole Board said "no" to a man whose spine was severed in a prison fight, so he can't move either his arms or his legs.  His family has agreed to provide care and to pay for it.

Note: The Parole Board refused our request to participate in today's program.

Mark Kleiman, New York University (@MarkARKleiman)
Nancy Kincaid, California Department of Insurance (@CDI_Gov)

Reporter's Notebook Hundred-Million-Dollar School Sits Empty in Riverside 5 MIN, 45 SEC

Hillcrest High in Riverside's Alvord Unified School District is the perfect model for California's failures in public education. District voters overwhelmingly approved $105 million to build a campus with wireless Internet, a robotics lab, digital smart boards in every classroom and a well-designed performance hall. Hillcrest is finally available but students can't go there, as Phil Willon reported in today's Los Angeles Times.

Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times (@LATimesWillon)

Main Topic Middle East Democracy versus the 'Club of Kings' 26 MIN, 9 SEC

Middle East Democracy versus the 'Club of Kings'Over the weekend, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing on Gaza's southern border, a sign that the current military regime may be more responsive to its people than the Mubarak government was. The US is playing it down, but it's another sign of changing priorities in the Middle East. Last week's G-8 Summit promised $20- to $40 billion to help Egypt and Tunisia turn the so-called "Arab Spring" into peaceful democracy. At the same time, US ally Saudi Arabia is conducting a worldwide campaign to keep kingdoms and other autocracies just as they are.

Segment image: A Yemeni soldier who joined sides with anti-regime protesters hold a rifle bearing the slogan "leave" during a demonstration calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on May 27, 2011. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

Margaret Coker, Wall Street Journal (@margaretwsj )
Richard Murphy, Middle East Institute
Mark Levine, UC Irvine
Tony Karon, Time magazine (@TonyKaron)

Heavy Metal Islam

Mark LeVine

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