Learning from twin studies and longtime friends

Cal State Fullerton Professor Nancy Segal is an authority on such studies, having worked for nine years on the famous Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart, and now heading CSUF's Twin Studies Center.  She's joined me several times on "AirTalk" to discuss her books on twins, including guesting with me this past Wednesday.

What I find so fascinating from these studies is how strong our genetic programming appears to be, despite different childhood environments.  It's certainly counterintuitive to me, as I would expect a strong environment -- positive or negative --to be more influential.  However, it might be that we embrace the idea of powerful nurturing because it gives us a greater sense that we can influence others.  We also know how damaging abusive or neglectful parenting can be, so maybe that leads us to ascribe equally strong outcomes to a positive influence.

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The November election seems so far away

We're in the dog days of summer for the Presidential campaigns.  I know that's self-defeating of me to say as someone who heavily relies on national events to provide the content for "AirTalk."  However, it's the undeniable truth.  When you see cable television news channels devoting hours to campaign surrogates' attacks, you know desperation has set in.

However, in Southern California we've got a lot to talk about -- Governor Brown's tax initiative, cutbacks in higher education, cities on the financial brink, and the local housing market bottoming-out and gently rising.  These are just a few of the major stories we've got happening here.

Summer also gives us time to talk about lighter topics that we don't otherwise have time to discuss.  On this morning's "AirTalk," I interviewed the head of a local company that creates music playlists for many prominent local and national restaurants.  We probably notice the music played at our favorite places, but don't necessarily think about how it was chosen.  I assumed it was picked by management or came from a canned service.  It was interesting to hear how individualized soundtracks are growing in popularity and how big a role that sound can play in a restaurant's success or failure.

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Farewell to a man I admired and enjoyed

I was off the air Monday and Tuesday, as my stepfather Dick Morse passed away early Monday morning at the age of 86. 

He could seemingly do it all -- build a house on his own, undertake rigorous physical challenges, recognize business opportunities for new technologies, and manage people in an effective and considerate way.  I haven't met many people who combined such an advanced mechanical and engineering mind with superb interpersonal skills.

Dick used his wide skill set and varied interests to great effect in his professional, personal, and philanthropic lives.  He was a 40-year executive with Pacific Bell/AT&T, a devoted husband to his late first wife and to my mother during their 28-year marriage, and a leader in the Lions Clubs where he lived throughout California and Nevada.

I miss Dick for his character, his good nature, and, above all else, his company.  I've lost a wonderful friend. 

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The Roberts surprise on ACA

It seems no one saw this coming.  The Chief Justice's agreement with the Supreme Court's liberals on the Affordable Care Act was a stunner.  Given how polarizing the court has been, this is a real curveball.

As someone who loves wonky legal stuff, I'm fascinated by Roberts' constitutional justification for the law.  The Solicitor General Don Verrilli's oral arguments in the case were widely criticized.  But it appears he was right on with his argument about the penalty that wasn't a tax really being a tax.

Will this decision have any bearing on the Presidential race?  What do you think?

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Go, Kings, go!

I'm writing about 90 minutes before the start of Game Six of the Stanley Cup finals -- Kings vs. Devils.  As a long-suffering Kings fan, I can only hope that our long wait ends tonight.  If not, I shudder to think of Game Seven in Newark. 

I go back to the days of Jiggs McDonald, "Whitey" Widing, and "Frenchy" Lemieux.  I still think the 1974-75 Bob Pulford-coached squad, featuring Rogie Vachon in goal, was the most consistently strong King team I saw.  However, the truly entertaining teams came with the arrival of Marcel Dionne and the construction of his Triple Crown Line.  I loved watching the Kings during the 1970s and early 80s.

Of course, the Wayne Gretzky era wasn't too bad.  How can you complain about the franchise's only previous trip to the Stanley Cup finals (1993) and getting to see the sport's greatest all-time player in our city? 

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