AirTalk for June 14, 2010

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The logistics of rescuing Abby Sunderland

Last Saturday, a French fishing vessel rescued 16-year-old Abby Sunderland from her destroyed sailboat in the raucous waters of the Indian Ocean. She was found over 2000 miles off the coast of western Australia after having been stranded in the open ocean for days, and her attempt to be the youngest sailor ever to circumnavigate the world was cut short. What goes into coordinating these rescue efforts, how much do they cost, and who is responsible for them?
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When is it okay to give kids cell phones?

They’re already ubiquitous with teenagers. But what’s the right age to let kids have cell phones? Parents love the security of knowing they can get in touch with their children at any time. But they also have that nagging worry about the potential health hazards from the cell phones’ electromagnetic emissions. What impact does youthful mobile phone ownership have on the development of social skills? To what extent is peer pressure a factor with kids in wanting phones? And can kids really learn independence if their parents are always a ring away? Larry asks KPCC listeners: when is it ok to give cell phones to kids? And how should parents guard against over-use?
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The desert state has been at the center of immigration furor since it passed SB 1070, the country’s strictest anti-illegal immigration bill, last month. Now, Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce plans to introduce a new measure that would deny birth certificates to children born to illegal immigrants. But is this even possible? The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: “all persons, born or naturalized in the United States…are citizens of the United States.” But to Senator Russell Pearce, that is so 1868. Pearce says illegal immigrants have “hijacked” the 14th Amendment – and it’s time for a change. Critics say this is clearly unconstitutional. But Pearce vows to introduce it nonetheless. What’s going on in Arizona? Is there any chance a bill like this could stand up to judicial review?
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Adding insult to injury, the poor are the most likely to fall prey to scams. In his new book, Broke, USA: From Pawnshop to Poverty, Inc., New York Times writer Gary Rivlin looks at what he calls the “poverty industry.”It used to be just pawn shops that offered short-term cash for the remaining valuables of people who’d fallen on hard times. Today, there’s an explosion of companies that offer payday loans, used car financing, and sub-prime loans to people who are too poor to buy things up front. The result: the poor end up so deep in debt, they can never get out. What, if anything, can be done about predatory lending targeting the disenfranchised?
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