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Patrick Warburton Makes Surprise Appearance At Disney Park On Soarin’ Over California Attraction

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Patrick Warburton Makes Surprise Appearance At Disney Park On Soarin’ Over California Attraction


A select group of Disney California Adventure Park guests were treated to a special appearance from actor Patrick Warburton as they were ready to board the Soarin’ Over California attraction.

Warburton has been part of the attraction since it first opened in 2001, providing “important safety tips” for passengers in the queue before taking their flight over iconic Californian sceneries.

The actor made an in-person appearance as a chief flight attendant during the limited return of Soarin’ Over California amid the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival through April 22.

Instead of guests seeing the safety tips on the screen, Warburton delivered the tips live. Warburton decided to conduct his final safety check in person before surprised guests flew through picturesque locations in California, including Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, San Diego harbor, Malibu at dusk and the energetic lights of downtown Los Angeles, before returning for a triumphant flight over Disneyland park.

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“It’s just magical to see how beloved Soarin’ Over California still is after all of these years,” Warburton shared. “I can remember my first trip to Disneyland at the age of five and I continue to be a huge Disney fan, so to be part of a Disney attraction that has lasted this long has just been such a sweet and wonderful thing for me.”

He continued, “Getting to surprise guests today was super fun, and it’s great to see the impact that this safety intro has made for the past 23 years and how people still love it. It was such a blast getting to be the Chief Flight Attendant for Soarin’ Over California once again!”

The rest of the year, the attraction is called Soarin’ Around the World, which features locations in Switzerland, Italy, Australia, Egypt, India, Paris, and more. Disney theme parks that feature the attraction include Epcot in Florida, Shanghai Disneyland Park, where it’s known as Soaring Over the Horizon, and Tokyo Disney Sea, where it’s known as Soaring: Fantastic Flight.

See Warburton above surprise DCA guests in the video above.

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Map shows new California high-speed rail routes

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Map shows new California high-speed rail routes


A series of maps show the full extent of California’s proposed high-speed rail routes that would provide an efficient and quick way of travel between the state’s major cities.

Renewed interest has surfaced in high-speed rail travel after Brightline West, a new all-electric, 218-mile rail line bringing passengers from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Rancho Cucamonga, California, broke ground on Monday after construction was delayed for several years.

The project is expected to be completed before the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has another rail line planned that would provide a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than three hours, but progress has been slow.

A rendering of the Brightline West high-speed rail under construction in southern California. The California High Speed Rail Authority is planning a statewide project that would take passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in…


Brightline West

According to maps on the Rail Authority’s website, the proposed high-speed rail line would traverse three regions—northern, central and southern California.

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“The Phase 1 system will connect San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin via the Central Valley in under three hours on trains capable of exceeding 200 miles per hour,” the website said. “Phase 2 will extend to Sacramento and San Diego.”

A spokesperson for the Authority told Newsweek that the project is at an “exciting time.” There are 171 miles of rail line under construction, and there is environmental clearance for 422 miles.

“In the last year alone, the Authority has been awarded $3.3 billion in new federal funds to advance the work on the initial operating segment between Merced and Bakersfield, signifying a renewed federal partnership,” the statement said.

Map showing high speed rail California
The map showing the total completed route for a high-speed rail line from San Francisco to San Diego.

California High Speed Rail Authority

Northern California project

There are two legs to the northern California project. Phase 1 involves creating a high-speed rail line from San Francisco to Merced, with stops in between at Millbrae-SFO, San Jose and Gilroy. Phase 2 would bring travelers from Sacramento to Merced with stops at Stockton and Modesto.

For the San Francisco to San José leg of the journey, the Authority plans to introduce high-speed rail service to the Caltrain corridor. Environmental clearance was completed in 2022, and construction of the Caltrain electrification is under way.

Environmental clearance also was completed for the San José to Merced leg.

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“Electrifying the existing rail corridor from San José to Gilroy will modernize the rail corridor for electrified high-speed rail service and allow Caltrain to extend electrified service to southern Santa Clara County,” the website said.

Northern California route
The northern leg of the high-speed rail route from San Francisco to Merced.

California High Speed Rail Authority

Central California project

The middle stint of the statewide project travels from Merced to Bakersfield with rail stations at Fresno and Kings/Tulare. Construction is most promising in this segment.

“The electrified high-speed rail line between Merced and Bakersfield is the first building block of the statewide system. This 171-mile line will offer the nation’s first true electrified high-speed rail service,” the Authority said on its website.

The spokesperson told Newsweek that this leg of the project is expected to be completed by 2030 to 2033.

Central California route
The central leg of the high-speed rail route.

California High Speed Rail Authority

Southern California project

The southern California stint also involves two phases. Phase 1 would bring travelers from Bakersfield to Anaheim with stops in Palmdale, Burbank and Los Angeles. Phase 2 would travel from Los Angeles to San Diego with stops at San Bernardino and Riverside. The southern California map also shows the Brightline West route.

Southern California route
The southern leg of the high-speed rail route.

California High Speed Rail Authority

The statewide project has been plagued with delays and price jumps. Voters approved the project in 2008, KTLA reported, with Phase 1 taking travelers from San Francisco to Los Angeles. At the time, the project was anticipated to be operational by 2020 and cost $33 billion.

Four years past the deadline, the project is still far from being completed and the price has jumped to $128 billion.

“The full Los Angeles to San Francisco line completion date is contingent on federal funding,” the spokesperson told Newsweek.

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According to a U.S. House testimony by Lee Ohanian, a UCLA professor and Stanford University fellow, California began its journey to high-speed rail in 1993 by creating the California Intercity High-Speed Rail Commission. Three years later, the commission was replaced by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

“California’s HSR project has little to show over this 30-year period. The project is significantly delayed, and its budget has increased to about four times its initial cost. Some of this is due to mistakes in planning, management, oversight, and accountability,” Ohanian testified.

“But other factors reflect more endemic challenges in building HSR, including limitations in understanding the scope and size of the problems and risks that can arise in such a major infrastructure project.”

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.



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California map reveals areas with most high school dropouts

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California map reveals areas with most high school dropouts


A map shows which counties in California have the highest percentage of high school dropouts.

To determine which counties had the highest percentage of dropouts, Newsweek analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau which tracked the number of residents 25 and over with at least a high school diploma.

The analysis found that Monterey County had the highest percentage of high school dropouts, at 27.3 percent.

That was followed by Colusa County with 26.7 percent, Madera County with 26.4 percent and Merced County with 25.7 percent. Imperial County has 25.5 percent.

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The counties with the highest number of high school graduates were all in northern California. Placer County had the lowest dropout rate, with just 4.4 percent. Other counties—including Trinity, Nevada, Shasta and Plumas—all had fewer than 6 percent.

Newsweek previously reported that California, the nation’s most populous state, ranks at the very bottom of U.S. states when it comes to the number of high school diploma holders. Just 84.7 percent of California residents aged 25 or over have graduated from high school, according to 2022 Census data.

However, the latest data from the California Department of Education has shown that students are graduating from high school at higher levels than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The graduation rate for the class of 2023 was 86.2 percent—down about a percentage point from the previous year, but still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The data was “encouraging,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in December, but “our work is not complete.”

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California Map Reveals Areas With Dropouts

Photo Illustration by Newsweek

“We have made an unprecedented investment in services that address the needs of the whole child,” Thurmond said. “We can see that those efforts are paying off, but this is only the beginning. We need to continue providing students with the tools they need to excel, especially now that we are successfully reengaging our students and families, so we can close gaps in achievement in the same way that we have begun to close the equity gaps in attendance and absenteeism.”

Students across the country have been absent at record rates since schools reopened during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding further challenges as schools work to help students recover from huge learning setbacks.

Those who end up dropping out of high school could face adverse consequences well into adulthood, according to Jennifer Lansford, a research professor of public policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

“The long-term consequences of dropping out of high school can be very negative for individuals who drop out, their families, and society as a whole,” Lansford told Newsweek.

She pointed to research that she and colleagues carried out using data from children that were followed from the age of 5 until 27.

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That research found that individuals who dropped out of high school were nearly four times more likely to be receiving government assistance, were twice as likely to have been fired two or more times, and were more than three times more likely to have been arrested since the age of 18.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.



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California considers ban on line-skipping service Clear

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California considers ban on line-skipping service Clear


A state Senate committee held an initial hearing on a first-of-its-kind proposed law in the U.S. concerning airport security.

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If passed, the law would mandate that private companies like Clear either establish and finance their own dedicated TSA-staffed security lanes or face a ban from all nine California airports utilizing the service.

As air travel increases, so do crowds and tensions, unless travelers can afford a shortcut service. Clear members pay $189 for a service that verifies their identity using facial, iris, and fingerprint biometrics unique to each traveler.

Fullerton Democrat Senator Josh Newman criticized Clear, stating it fails to deliver on its promises.

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“This service, as part of the larger system, would enhance the efficiency of airports and also improve security. And in fact, neither of those things is actually the case. What your membership does, is it gives you the right to to cut the line,” said Newman.

Rapper Guapdad 4000 said his Clear membership often determines whether he catches his flight.

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“I do a lot of traveling in the summer and my team has to come with me, photographer, manager and, if we’re all late for the flight, or if we all need to be moving at a faster pace, it’s cool to have that access,” he said.

During non-busy times, TSA PreCheck, Clear, or the general security line don’t make much difference, as travelers pass through TSA quickly. However, during peak travel seasons, it makes quite a difference.

Newman likened Clear to an extra-cost theme park pass, allowing holders to bypass waits at popular rides but in a public facility.

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“Do we want all of us taxpayers who paid for a public asset, like TSA, to have unequal access?”questioned Newman.

A Southwest passenger said, “I think for those who can afford it, it would be a nice luxury, but not everybody can afford that.”

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Newman wants Clear to finance an additional dedicated TSA security lane at each airport, similar tp Delta Airlines with its Delta One service at Los Angeles International Airport.

Clear said it is improving conditions by “creating hundreds of jobs, sharing more than $13 million in annual revenue with our California airport partners, and serving nearly 1 million Californians to ensure all travelers have a safer, easier checkpoint experience.”

Newsom raised concerns about security breaches.

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“There’s lots of cases, over the last couple years, where unauthorized travelers have used Clear as a way of breaching TSA security,” he said.

Several airlines, including Southwest, United, and JetBlue are pushing back against the bill, saying that the revenue lost from Clear could result in increased airfares. 



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