AirTalk for January 11, 2010

Mercer 6340

Harry Reid's remarks racist?

A new book on the 2008 election reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid championed Barack Obama’s entrance into the presidential race by saying the future president was “light-skinned” and with “no Negro dialect” unless he chose to have one. Republican leaders, including RNC chairman Michael Steele, are calling for Reid’s resignation over his racially charged comments. Democratic leaders, including President Obama, have accepted an apology from Reid, and are throwing their support behind the Senator’s 2010 campaign for reelection in Nevada. Is an apology from Senator Reid enough? Are Republicans simply maneuvering for political advantage, or are they right in calling for Senator Reid’s resignation? What are the long-term political costs of this scandal, and what does it say about race relations in America?
Mercer 6388

Prop. 8 and gay marriage battles continue

In November 2008, voters in California approved Prop. 8, which banned gay marriage. Now a Federal District Court in San Francisco will hear arguments over whether the U.S. Constitution forbids states like California from restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The plaintiffs, two couples, a gay rights group, and the City of San Francisco sued the Governor and Attorney General of California. Neither Arnold Schwarzenegger nor Jerry Brown are defending the case, but a coalition of religious and conservative groups have stepped in to defend the ballot measure. The plaintiffs will be represented by Theodore Olsen and David Boies, famous rival attorneys in Bush v. Gore. The defendants, meanwhile, have retained Reagan-era Justice Department lawyer Charles Cooper. If the plaintiffs prevail all the way to the Supreme Court, gay marriage bans in some 30 states will be overturned.
Mercer 6390

Chino prison riot aftermath

Riots at the state prison in Chino last summer left over 200 inmates injured and two housing blocks demolished. In the aftermath, displaced prisoners were marched into outdoor cages by prison staff, where they were left for several days. In a three-part series airing this week, KPCC’s Steven Cuevas tells the story – which has gone unreported up to now.
Mercer 6387

Health reform: do costs outweigh benefits?

According to a new study, set to be released Wednesday by The Cato Institute, contends that health care reforms proposed by Democrats could have unintended economic consequences. The slate of mandates, subsidies, tax penalties and regulations could potentially trap Americans in low-wage jobs, while subjecting them to higher taxes. Removing insurers’ ability to deny health insurance based on pre-existing conditions would allow people to purchase policies only when they were sick, thus driving premiums up. Could the drive for universal health coverage lead to catastrophic economic illness?
Mercer 6385

Pete Carroll leaves USC

Pete Carroll is leaving USC to coach the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. With an announcement expected tomorrow morning, Carroll will sign a five-year contract with the team and will have full control of the Seahawks operation. In his nine seasons as head of USC's football program, Carroll guided the Trojans to a 97-19 record and seven Pacific 10 Conference championships. What's next for USC, and who will take Carroll's place?
Mercer 6384
From the famous Lakers/Celtics rivalry, to Magic Johnson, to the arrival of Kobe Bryant, the LA Lakers basketball team has one of the richest histories in the sport. They celebrate 50 years in Los Angeles this year. Larry talks with Narda Zucchino and Jeanie Buss about the Lakers' place in city--and national--lore.
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