FROM Kerman Maddox
What Can the Rest of the Country Learn from the LA Riots? In 1991, Rodney King, an African American, was chased down for drunk driving by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. King was beaten by the LAPD, struck more than 56 times and tasered more than once. The incident was videotaped by a bystander and broadcast repeatedly, locally and worldwide. Four of the officers were charged with excessive force and tried a year later in the white, conservative suburb of Simi Valley. When all were acquitted of all charges, the city exploded, but the LAPD was completely unprepared. Exactly 20 years ago today, Los Angeles was in the second day of a riot that killed 53 people, wounded thousands and cost more than a billion dollars. It was a perfect storm of police abuse, racial hostility, economic decline and crime, including deadly traffic in crack cocaine. Today, crime's declined, people feel safer and race relations are much improved, but LA's troubles aren't over yet. What can the rest of the country learn from a city that's often called a preview of America's future? For complete KCRW coverage of the 1992 riots, go to http://KCRW.com/LARiots .
South LA South Los Angeles will be more connected -- quite literally — when the new Expo Line opens to much fanfare this coming weekend. Metro's newest line will go from Pico and Flower downtown, south to USC and then west all the way to Culver City. KCRW's Saul Gonzalez recently took a preview ride with Metro CEO Arthur Leahy and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.