FROM Mike Kessler
Everyday Gun Violence in San Bernardino One reason the LAUSD isn’t taking any chances today might be the recent mass shooting in nearby San Bernardino. Fourteen people were killed, and the story is still making international news. But few are talking about the three other people shot in San Bernardino in the week following that terror attack.
Is the US Doing Enough for the Refugees? The nations of Europe are divided over what to do about tens of thousands of refugees from Syria's civil war. The US is also divided between its historic offer of liberty to the world's "huddled masses" and fears about homeland security.
Will Single-Issue Politics Lead to a Government Shutdown? Congress has so much unfinished business and time is growing so short that the federal government faces another shutdown at the end of this month. We hear how it may become hostage to a single, hot-button political issue: funding for Planned Parenthood.
LA Prepares for Pacific Coast Headache Traffic that regularly brings the Westside to a halt is about get a lot worse for a long time. Projects to repair a sewer on PCH, replace the California Incline and bring light rail into the heart of Santa Monica all will be in full swing — simultaneously. Is one of America’s most livable areas about to become uninhabitable?
Should College Athletes Be Paid? Boosters of big-time, "amateur" college sports say "student athletes" are getting free educations and possible pro careers, but critics say they are unpaid professionals victimized by academic fraud. Should they be paid?
Can Deliberate Plane Crashes Be Prevented? Investigators now say Tuesday's Germanwings airline crash that killed 150 people was a "deliberate" act. The co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cockpit. A mysterious tragedy has now become a criminal case.
California Pot Growers Come Above Ground Marijuana may already be California’s biggest cash crop, and the likely legalization of recreational use — as soon as next year -- will mean even more billions of dollars. Generations of local pot farmers are worried about outside competition, especially from Big Tobacco. They’re joining the battle over regulation of growing conditions, quality, prices and distribution.
Can the Republican Congress Get Anything Done? Despite promised action by Republicans when they won the Senate, gridlock continues on Capitol Hill. But it's not just partisanship as usual. Divisions within the GOP have slowed routine government business — and may delay enactment of the federal budget.
Is California's Initiative Process Broken? For the fee of just $200, a California lawyer has proposed a ballot measure to authorize the killing of gays and lesbians. It's outrageous and unlikely to qualify for the ballot, but experts agree that the Attorney General must give it a title and 100-word summary so signature gathering can begin.
Netanyahu, the US and the Isolation of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu won reelection last week after a campaign that disparaged Israeli Arabs and renounced a Palestinian State. How much has that widened the gap between Israel and the US — its most important historical ally? What's next at the United Nations?
Exploring the FAA Regulations on Drones The FAA says amateurs can fly drones during daylight as long as they're within the operator's line of sight. Commercial use is prohibited, but that might be about to change. Yesterday, the FAA gave Amazon permission to experiment with drones as a means for delivering packages. Other potential commercial operators -- including farmers, realtors, filmmakers and others — think it's about time they got into the action. That's according to Mike Kessler, a journalist and contributing producer to To the Point. He flew a drone for the first time and wrote about it for TakePart.com .
Selling Girls for Sex in LA “Too many children in Los Angeles County know that the sex trade has no borders.” That’s from an article in this month's Los Angeles Magazine, which reports that the kids can be “runaways fresh off the Greyhound,” "immigrants” from Southeast Asia or eastern Europe or aspiring “models” whose “managers have them convinced that sexual favors are standard operating procedure.” The writer is Mike Kessler, a freelancer who often produces for To the Point and Which Way, LA?
Police Say an Alleged Plot Has Been Interrupted According to Police in South Pasadena, two teenagers said they were willing to die in a shootout after killing as “many people as possible.” They’re under arrest, but no guns have been found. We’ll talk with the Mayor and ask a specialist about how to detect any warning signs.
In Ukraine, There Will Be "No Quick Fixes" After yesterday’s 5-hour meeting with diplomats from Ukraine and Russia, Germany’s Foreign Minister told reporters: “things can get even worse." Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces have won enough ground to make a ceasefire unlikely — while separatists say new Russian arms and soldiers are on the way.
Truth, Lies and the Fighting in Gaza Today’s 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza lasted for about 90 minutes. Once again, professional journalists are caught in the middle, trying to report the claims of Israelis and Palestinians and assess their credibility. But distrust and angry emotion extends to the news media. Is there any chance of achieving “fairness” and “balance?”
Artificial Intelligence: is the Promise Worth the Peril? Artificial intelligence might be the death of humanity. That’s from no less an authority than Stephen Hawking—the world’s best-known physicist. How do Americans feel about science fiction made real? Will developers agree not to go too far before it’s too late?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.