AirTalk for February 4, 2010

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LA Council delays job cuts

The Los Angeles City Council is $218-million in the hole and has to make some drastic cuts. But after all-day negotiations Wednesday, council members put off a decision to cut as many as 1000 jobs. On the table now, is the possibility of a freeze on LAPD hiring, which the city’s budget analyst says could save the city $69.3 million. But the Mayor wants to replace departing cops. How will the City Council come to terms with all the competing needs and agendas?
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Haiti: Medical relief efforts

Estimates are some 200,000 people died in Haiti’s January 12 earthquake. Patients with head, chest or abdominal injuries or whose limbs had been badly crushed needed immediate surgery, but with the collapse of hospitals, nothing was available. And now, the lingering effects of disease and malnutrition plague the millions of people left homeless by the quake. How do relief workers even begin to approach such a catastrophe, in this poverty stricken nation with so little functioning infrastructure?
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The B-word: is bipartisanship even possible?

It’s the latest and greatest buzz word: bipartisanship. President Obama spoke of it in his State of the Union, calling out both Republicans and Democrats, saying this country expects its representatives to work together to get things done. But is there enough political pay off for bipartisanship to ever work? What about ideologically; is there sufficient common ground between the two parties to achieve real reform? Or are lawmakers simply too polarized? And if that’s the case, are we just doomed?
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Are vegetative patients able to think?

In a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers report that a form of brain scanning could be used to determine the consciousness of patients who appear to be in a persistent vegetative state. Using functional magnetic resonance, five patients showed brain activity that indicated awareness and intent, with one patient able to communicate 'yes' and 'no' answers. The findings, all in subjects with traumatic brain injuries, could lead to a test to determine a patient's consciousness, as well as inform a family's decision to continue or end life support.
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