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Patt Morrison asks

The civic conversation for Southern California and beyond.

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Guess what? The rich really are different from everyone else — and it ain’t pretty

Dacher Keltner, the head of UC Berkeley's social interaction lab, sizes up how tax cuts affect the rich and poor differently, and the ethical gap between the haves and have-nots.

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Anchor Judy Woodruff on the dare-to-be-boring 'PBS NewsHour' in the era of Twitter and 'fake news'

Cabinets and Congresses come and go, yet Woodruff, and the most durable hour of news on television, soldier on.

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Have tech companies like Facebook tricked us into abandoning our humanity?

Aza Raskin, co-founder of Center for Humane Technology, cautions that social media sites like Facebook are rick-rolling users into damaging democracy, and ourselves.

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Author Steven Pinker on how science, reason and progress will allow humanity to triumph despite itself

Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker's new book endorses the long, uplifting view of humanity's progress — though humans themselves may need persuading.

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Dianne Feinstein on Trump's support (or not) for gun control and her non-endorsement by the state Democrats

California's senior senator discusses Trump's apparent surprise acceptance of gun control and what the state's changing demographics mean for her in 2018.

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Amidst controversy over police shootings and drones, how does Los Angeles replace Chief Charlie Beck?

Los Angeles Police Commissioner Sandra Figueroa-Villa talks about the fraught task she and her fellow commissioners face.

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For a real ballot backlash against Trump, we need more women to run for office

Women aren't being trained to see themselves as leaders. Emerge California director Maimuna Syed is fighting to make sure that changes.

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Joe Biden discusses why he didn't run in 2016, the field for 2020 and drag-racing Colin Powell

The former vice president also weighs in on his new book and his son Beau's death from illness.

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Writer Laurie Kilmartin shows Americans how badly they 'suck' at handling death

The Victorians were horrified by sex but practically fetishized death, and we do just the opposite.

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Got something 'really worth hearing'? Iconic DJ Art Laboe thinks you could make it on radio

The radio business is struggling, Art Laboe concedes, but now with the Internet, just about anyone can break through if they have something truly original.

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Zen and the art of guerrilla freeway signs

Freeway blogger Patrick Randall: He writes the signs that make the whole driving world see.

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Disenfranchised because of voter ID bureaucracy? VoteRiders and Kathleen Unger can help

In Alabama next week, voters may find themselves standing at a polling place being told that this time, they don’t have the right identification to vote.

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John Hodgman on rich white men, his book 'Vacationland' and how he's basically the new John Dos Passos

Polymath performer John Hodgman sends up Maine with a little help from Nick Offerman and a ukulele.

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The man who helped prove Einstein correct weighs in on America's startling science gap

Nobel laureate Kip Thorne talks with Patt Morrison about the most powerful interstellar event humans have ever observed.

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A year after the election, there's still ferocious power in the phrase 'nasty woman'

Feminist author Kate Harding argues that Trump's branding of Hillary Clinton was the start of something important.

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Why bad ads deserve to die, and what might replace them

Former ad man Andrew Essex explains how the culture changed while advertising stayed behind.

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Salman Rushdie on becoming an American novelist in the age of Trump

Rushdie's latest novel follows New York real estate tycoon Nero Golden during the presidency of "the Jokers."

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How Hitler's fascism almost took hold in Los Angeles

USC history professor Steven J. Ross on the how close the California Reich came to paving the way for a Nazi invasion.

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American crackpots used to be a charming part of our civic life, until they started steering the ship

Kurt Andersen on his new book "Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire," and how the practical, level-headed, sensible America has lost its way.

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In the age of Trump, how do you build a legal marijuana industry from the ground up?

L.A.'s new cannabis chief Cat Packer on helping to create a formula for the pot industry.

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Ken Burns on making his Vietnam War documentary: 'I was humiliated by what I didn't know'

The documentary filmmaker talks about the thousands of conversations and 10 years of research that went into making his film on the Vietnam War.

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Without unions, our middle class is vanishing. Without a middle class, we don't have democracy

UFW's Dolores Huerta: As a new documentary about her opens, her civil rights battles are still being waged.

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Before Title IX came along, many people didn't believe discrimination against women was a problem

Bernice Sandler wrote the 1972 federal law that has resulted in radical changes for women and, she says, is still as necessary as ever.

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Does carrying a gun make you safer? No. In fact, right-to-carry laws increase violent crime

A long-range study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that states would have had less violent crime had they restricted gun-carrying.

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Bill Nye on the terrifying ascendancy of American 'dingbatitude'

American ignorance springs from the idea that making money is more important than knowledge.

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Unruly women were having a moment. Then Trump happened

"Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud" author Anne Helen Petersen on the backlash against strong women.

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The U.S. medical system is broken. We should be listening to doctors about how to fix it

The American medical system doesn't always deliver bang for its billions of bucks.

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Remembering the revolutionary, hedonistic and sexist 'Summer of Love'

The "Summer of Love" was a revolution, a happening, a turning point—and historian William Schnabel was there for it

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Former Playboy model Dani Mathers is on a body-shaming apology tour. Here's what her victim has to say

L.A. City Atty. Mike Feuer: Speaking for the victim in the Dani Mathers case

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Jimmy Webb on Auto-Tune, lying to keep John Lennon from being deported and how cocaine changed music

Jimmy Webb is all about "that" cake, "that" rain, and popular music then and now.

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How Clippers' owner Steve Ballmer is trying to create the Wikipedia of government figures

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer on his new website that puts government spending and taxing data at the click of a mouse.

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Let's take a moment to remember Barack Obama

David Garrow is a history professor and law scholar at the University of Pittsburgh who won the Pulitzer Prize 30 years ago for “Bearing the Cross,” his biography of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Q&A
Listen: Caitlyn Jenner talks Trump, being a transgender Republican and missing Bruce

Caitlyn Jenner speaks with Patt Morrison on her podcast.

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Yay, the drought is over. Now let's save our dying urban trees

A Johnny Appleseed of urban forestry demands we start asking what we can do for our trees.

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Filmmaker John Singleton on L.A.'s fragile progress since the 1992 riots

John Singleton's 'L.A. Burning' documents the Los Angeles Riots 25 years later

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Margaret Atwood on why 'The Handmaid's Tale' is more relevant now than ever

Here we are in 2017: Women’s rights to control their own bodies are at risk, the environment is threatened — and “The Handmaid’s Tale” is more popular than ever.

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Your guide to talking like a Californian. Tips for the 'hella tricky' dialect

A California accent is about as plain, mainstream American English as you can get. But speaking like a Californian means something else.

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Patt Morrison asks: USC Annenberg's new dean, Willow Bay, on leading a university journalism program in the age of Trump

At this fraught moment for journalism, Willow Bay is about to become the dean of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

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Patt Morrison asks: Rachel Dolezal on racial fluidity and her changing identity

In June 2015, a few days before Donald Trump declared that he was running for president, the news cycle was dominated by a different person: Rachel Dolezal. She

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Patt Morrison asks: Abundant Housing L.A.'s Mark Vallianatos on the dangers of Measure S

The idea of Los Angeles that sold the middle-class and the Midwesterner on this place well over a century ago is still deep in our brains: the R-1 home with its

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Patt Morrison asks: Xavier Becerra, California's new attorney general and point man in its battle with Trump

Longtime Democratic congressman Xavier Becerra has come home to California — and to a battle, one at least as big as any he’s fought in Washington, D.C.  He was

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Patt Morrison asks: Politwoops' Derek Willis on the value of unearthing deleted political tweets

Not all tweets are deleted equally. Politicians’ trashed tweets can have a second life. Derek Willis runs Politwoops for the nonprofit investigative journalism

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Patt Morrison asks: Lawyer Ted Boutrous Jr. on preserving the 1st Amendment under Trump

The White House press room evidently won’t be in the White House any more, but in a building next door. On national television, President-elect Donald Trump

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Patt Morrison asks: Jason Diamond on the enduring genius of John Hughes

The National Film Registry of the Library of Congress is a kind of hall of fame, a Cooperstown for important American films of every genre. “The Breakfast Club”

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Patt Morrison asks: 'Lore' podcast creator Aaron Mahnke on the fantastic tales humans love

Logic, science and common sense have blazed the trail to humankind’s triumphs. But oh, how we love to wander off that bright path toward the campfire shadows,

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Patt Morrison Asks: Barbara Boxer is leaving the U.S. Senate but not the struggle

By this time next week, another woman will occupy the desk in the U.S. Senate where Barbara Boxer sat for more than 20 years. It’s the same seat once occupied

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Patt Morrison Asks: Bruce Forbes, Christmas historian, on our many reasons for the season

“Santa Baby” is a Christmas song. So is “O Little Town of Bethlehem” — or more accurately, a Christmas carol. Somehow, we have gotten used to hearing “war” and

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Patt Morrison asks: Transit guru Edward Humes on spending L.A.'s new transit billions

Measure M – M as in money, M as in moving around – passed handily with Los Angeles County voters, meaning that over the next 40 years, tens of billions of

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Mike Judge: The election is over, but our idiocracy is here to stay

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Patt Morrison asks: 'Chessman' playwright Joseph Rodota on California's ongoing civil war over the death penalty

One reason Californians will be voting, again, about the death penalty, next month, is because of a man named Caryl Chessman. He was called the “Red Light

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Patt Morrison asks: MacArthur 'genius' Josh Kun on the real Los Angeles behind the Hollywood curtain

New Yorkers are moving to Los Angeles by the platoon. It is sweet revenge for the mockery of yore. Aldous Huxley said Los Angeles was “nineteen suburbs in

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How do you find the firestarters when California burns?

Ahead of its 235th birthday, take a look back at the words Los Angeles brought to the world

LA has bestowed all kinds of new words on the world – not just movie-business terms like “hot set” and the red-carpet posing practice known as “step and repeat,” but “surface street.”

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Patt Morrison asks: Stanford linguistics professor John Rickford on the legacy of Ebonics

Kids who move pick up mainstream speech can navigate the larger society without leaving their homegrown speaking patterns behind.

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Science fiction master Ursula K. Le Guin talks Comic-Con and the psychological power of imagination

As Comic-Con begins yet another flashy fest, one of alternative fiction’s true masters is shaping her forthcoming book, “Words Are My Matter."

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Patt Morrison asks: Historian Douglas Brinkley talks Clinton, Trump and the history of political conventions

How did Americans wind up with the twin carnivals called political nominating conventions, and how well do they do the job?

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America could be 4 months away from electing its first female president. So why can't we handle an all-women 'Ghostbusters'?

An all-gals “Ghostbusters” lands in theaters just as Hillary Clinton lands in the history books as the first woman major-party presumptive presidential nominee. So why all the hate?

  • Op-Ed
Patt Morrison asks: Author Rebecca Traister on 'Ghostbusters' and Hillary Clinton

An all-gals “Ghostbusters” lands in theaters just as Hillary Clinton lands in the history books as the first woman major-party presidential, so why all the hate, and the stereotypes?

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How many people does it take to overpopulate Earth?

Oscar-winning filmmaker Jessica Yu’s population documentary asks how many people are really too many for Planet Earth?

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Can Frank Gehry and a coalition of advocates bring the L.A. River back to life?

Matthew Gandy is a Cambridge professor who lives closer to the Thames than to the LA River, but he’s studied it for more than a dozen years, written about it in his book “The Fabric of Space.”

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Patt Morrison asks: L.A. River scholar Matthew Gandy

Matthew Gandy is a Cambridge professor who lives closer to the Thames than to the LA River, but he’s studied it for more than a dozen years, written about it in his book “The Fabric of Space.”

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Patt Morrison asks: Lara Smith of the Liberal Gun Club

Don’t bother checking your calendar – it isn’t April 1, and there is such a thing as the Liberal Gun Club

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Liberal gun groups? They're out there — and they have a different take on stopping gun violence than you might expect

The Liberal Gun Club’s Lara Smith on background checks, gun safety, ammo clips, and how the organization differs from the NRA.

  • Op-Ed
Patt Morrison asks: Omar Epps

Actor/producer Omar Epps: present fathers and their fight to keep their families together, in a documentary for Father’s Day

  • Op-Ed
Patt Morrison asks: Sen. Barbara Boxer

Barbara Boxer has had a title in front of her name for four decades – first, Marin County supervisor, then member of Congress, and now United States senator.

  • Op-Ed
Senator Barbara Boxer on her retirement, Donald Trump and her new book. Oh, and she sings a little, too.

Senator Barbara Boxer: The lifelong Democrat sizes up Bernie Sanders, Edward Snowden, Donald Trump-- and even sings a (very) little bit

  • Op-Ed
Patt Morrison asks: Ronald Reagan political guru Stuart Spencer

A transcript of Patt Morrison's interview with Ronald Reagan political guru Stuart Spencer on the 2016 election.

Ronald Reagan's political guru Stuart Spencer takes on Trump and the GOP for neglecting Latinos

Stuart Spencer, Reagan's political guru, takes on Donald Trump and the GOP for neglecting Latinos.

Donald Trump nemesis Jorge Ramos talks election 2016 and the battle for immigrant rights

Patt Morrison asks Jorge Ramos

Patt Morrison asks: Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos has sat in an anchorman's chair longer than Walter Cronkite - about 30 years at Univision's flagship nightly news program. And even in today's

  • Op-Ed
Patt Morrison asks: 'Love & Friendship' director Whit Stillman

As wonderful as Jane Austen's most famous novels are, she left a tantalizing store of other works, and director Whit Stillman is partnering one of them around

  • Op-Ed
Patt Morrison Asks: Brian Michael Jenkins

The announcement, on a Sunday night five years ago, from President Obama: "Tonight, I can report to American people and to the world that the United States has

  • Op-Ed
Patt Morrison asks: Shakespeare scholar Ron Rosenbaum

He's not just the most famous writer in human history - out of all 100 billion of us ever to live on this planet, he's one of the most famous people. William

  • Op-Ed
Patt Morrison asks: Alan Alda

Movies and novels about scientists tend to trade on the socially inept genius who can win a but not the girl, and on science itself being inscrutable and

  • Op-Ed
Is Donald Trump a fascist?

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