AirTalk for August 3, 2010

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Republicans slam stimulus spending

$1,000,000 for 1,600 iPod touch devices for high school students? Cell phones for smokers? “Summertime Blues,” a new 74-page report compiled by Republicans John McCain of Arizona and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, outlines 100 purportedly wasteful projects that received funds from the $862 billion stimulus program. The White House questions the validity of the report’s claims and stimulus supporters contend that the spending staved off a far more serious recession. Total spending on these projects pales in comparison to the billions spent on job creation and infrastructure, so is the report nitpicking or due diligence? Do you feel your tax dollars have been wasted?
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Now, that would be a headline. Unfortunately, once again, it ain’t one you’re going to see outside of the Onion. But at least Sacramento’s trying. There are already several proposals floating around to get revenue more in line with spending. One involves increasing income taxes but lowering sales taxes as a slight of hand to pull in more money from the feds. There’s also another push for the oil severance tax and scrapping corporate tax breaks. But will the Republicans accept this? And what other cuts in spending are on the table?
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How Black is the White House?

From Shirley Sharrod’s firing to Congressional ethics investigations into Reps. Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters – some progressives are speculating that Barack Obama’s administration isn’t post-racial, but that the White House simply doesn’t understand or support blacks in power. Meanwhile, Glenn Beck has famously accused Obama of hating white people. Are we overdue for a national conversation on race? And if so, should the country’s first biracial President lead the dialogue?
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Don’t listen or repost…this is private

KCRW producer Sarah Spitz got quite a shock when she posted on the list-serv Journolist that she would laugh if Rush Limbaugh died of a heart attack. She expected her comments to remain private but, as with almost anything on the internet, they didn’t. Spitz admits she made a mistake, but it brings up a larger point. Our interconnected world of cell-phone cameras, list-servs, Tweets, and closed-circuit TV comes at a cost: there are fewer and fewer places where one can have a private interaction. Must we always be on guard? When do you feel you have a reasonable expectation of privacy? Is the personal now, de facto, public?
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