AirTalk

Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more. Hosted by Larry Mantle

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AirTalk for November 16, 2009

Segments From This Episode

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Civilian trials for terror suspects spark debate

The Obama administration has decided to bring five top terror suspects, including professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, to New York for trial in civilian court. Meanwhile, other Gitmo detainees accused of plotting Al Qaeda's attack on the USS Cole in 2000, will face military tribunals. Are public terror trials an example of America's commitment to due process? Or do they risk the safety of Americans?
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Last (four-letter) words

For more than ten years before his death in 2008, comedian George Carlin worked on his memoir with Tony Hendra, one of the original editors of "National Lampoon" magazine. In the just-released autobiography "Last Words," Carlin reveals who influenced his comedy as well as the origins of routines like "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television." Carlin also writes frankly about his turbulent relationships and struggles with substance abuse. Larry Mantle talks with Kelly Carlin-McCall about her father's life and signature humor.
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Health reform: state protections at risk?

The health care legislation currently in Congress would allow insurers to sell their policies over state lines. This is raising concern for consumer advocates, who fear that it will weaken state insurance mandates and consumer protections, since some states have laws that go beyond federal regulations. In California, insurers are required to pay for HIV/AIDS testing and second surgical opinions, and there is an independent appeals board for denied insurance claims. Would interstate sales lead to weaker coverage for consumers, or allow them to pick policies that fit their needs?
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Lunar probe makes a splash

The results and analysis are streaming in from NASA's LCROSS probe--a robotic craft they purposely crashed into a crater to look for water. And they found some--about 25 gallons. It's got scientists excited, because it looks likely that's just the tip of the, uh, iceberg. That means there may be an abundance of water available for a future moon base.
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The danger of positive thinking

Is America plagued by optimism? In "Bright-sided," Barbara Ehrenreich argues that the prevalence of positive thinking has made society blind to reality. She takes on motivational speakers who preach that you can get what you want by wishing for it and blames the economic crisis on investors and consumers who failed to see the negative consequences of their behavior. Ehrenreich also criticizes the belief that setbacks should be met with a cheerful attitude. Following a breast cancer diagnosis, she writes about her indignation for those who told her to see her condition as a gift. Ehrenreich joins Larry in studio to talk about the downside of positive thinking.

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