Southern California -- this just in

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Good morning -- here's what's happening 6.19.08

June 19, 2008 |  7:59 am

An_arm_and_a_leg_and_your_firstborn How about a brisk round of finger-pointing to go with those insane gas prices: It's the speculators, of course. No, it's the Saudis. Wait -- it's the Bushie. Or the Greenies or the Democrats or -- aha! -- consumers like you and me. Welcome to the blame game.

Lord it was hot Thursday and it'll be hotter today, but just wait for Friday. Already, there's a heat-related death in the state, as an elderly couple near the Arizona border run afoul of the scorching weather.

Maybe George Bush wants oil drilling off the California coast but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, he did endorse John McCain for president, who doesn't now says he does want the drilling) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein are against the idea. (We've got a poll going on the story page and so far, drilling is winning. Want to weigh in?)

And even if the offshore drilling ban is somehow lifted, there are nowhere near enough drilling rigs to do the job.

After a salmonella crisis, tomatoes are back!

Witnesses are giving graphic testimony about the slaying of high school football star Jamiel Shaw II.

You're looking at more than a $20 fine if you get into an accident while using your cellphone after the hands-free law kicks in. Depending on what happens to the other guy, you could be on the hook for some serious felony charges.

The boy whose mother and friend have been arrested for allegedly torturing him was the subject of an abuse claim three years ago, but the case file was closed without any follow-up.

A $35-billion Air Force contract to build aerial refueling tankers is in limbo and thousands of new jobs in  California could vanish after the Government Accountability Office rules that the terms of the deal were flawed and says that the Pentagon should reopen the bidding process.

They've gone mad in Ixtapa, Mexico, where two shark attacks have spurred a frenzy of illegal shark Bigger_faster_stronger_2 hunting.

Tired of crummy movies? Then vote with your wallet and go see one of the terrific documentaries now struggling at the box office. (That's a still from "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" at left.)

-- Veronique de Turenne

Photo credits: European Pressphoto Agency (top); Magnolia Pictures (bottom)