World and Nation

Shorts (left)

Advocacy ad elevates interest in all super bowl ads

Viewers look forward to the commercials shown during a Super Bowl because they know the spots will almost always be different from and better than — the everyday ads they typically deride or ignore. For Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday, the anticipation may be more keen than usual.

“I can’t wait to watch,” said Steve McKee, president at McKee Wallwork Cleveland, an agency in Albuquerque, N.M., that for the 10th year is sponsoring a Web site,, where consumers can vote for their favorite commercials. For 2010, the agency is adding an Adbowl application for the iPhone.

There are several reasons for the additional interest in the spots that CBS will broadcast on Sunday. The biggest factor is the inclusion of what is being called the first advocacy ad to ever appear in a Super Bowl, a commercial from Focus on the Family, an evangelical organization that is opposed to abortion.

Medical group urges new safety rules on radiation

The leading professional organization dedicated to radiation oncology has called for enhanced safety measures in administering medical radiation, including the establishment of the nation’s first central database for the reporting of errors involving linear accelerators machines that generate radiation — and CT scanners.

The group, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, or ASTRO, issued a six-point plan on Wednesday that it said would improve safety and quality and reduce the chances of medical errors.

Even though the group says serious radiation accidents are rare, it says it will work toward a stronger accreditation program, expanded training, and an enhanced program to ensure that medical technologies from different manufacturers can safely transfer information.

ASTRO will also press for federal legislation to require national standards for radiation therapy treatment teams, along with additional resources for the Radiological Physics Center, a federally financed group that evaluates the safety of treatments.

States line up to play California, even Los Angeles, in films

Shooting day for night is one thing. Shreveport for Santa Monica is quite another. In a new indignity for Hollywood’s struggling film production business, Los Angeles and its environs are about to be ravaged by aliens in “Battle: Los Angeles.” It stars Aaron Eckhart, is set for release by Sony Pictures in 2011 — and was shot in Louisiana.

The cause is no secret: Taxpayer-supported subsidies have steadily drawn film work from Los Angeles to states like Louisiana, Michigan and New Mexico. Those three give filmmakers public support more generous than a complicated tax break California offered to producers last year, in a belated attempt to fight back.

New York City, of course, has had to get used to seeing itself depicted on screen in scenes shot in a dozen cities, like Toronto and Vancouver and, yes, Los Angeles.

But until now, moviegoers could almost always be confident that if Los Angeles appeared on screen, whether shattered by earthquakes (“Earthquake”), buried under lava (“Volcano”) or turned into a giant penal colony (“Escape from L.A.”), they were seeing the real thing.

So it’s a harder pill for Los Angeles, the home of American filmmaking, to swallow — threatening to put it in a class with other cities whose identities were deeply associated with a single industry.