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Three things we’ll be talking about this week

Mon., Jan. 11, 2010

1. Sharpen up your skates, Spokane. The 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships begin Thursday, with the top-flight athletes taking the ice this weekend. The men and pairs skaters will compete Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the ladies and ice dancers on deck the following weekend. The top skaters will earn berths on the U.S. Olympic team headed to Vancouver, B.C., next month.

2. “Idol” fans can rejoice: The new season is upon us. Beginning Tuesday, a Paula-less “American Idol” will begin its march to pop culture dominance, with the help of new judge Ellen DeGeneres. Sure, we’ll miss the spectacular brand of airheadedness of Paula Abdul, but it’s a good guess that Ryan Seacrest’s banter will continue to be … um … illuminating.

3. Maybe this will qualify as the trial of the century. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California today begins hearing Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the challenge to California’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage. How much interest is there in this federal case? The presiding judge is allowing the proceedings to be taped and posted on

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