AirTalk for August 4, 2010

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This morning White House energy adviser Carol Browner announced that 75 percent of the oil spilled into the Gulf has disappeared. But where did it all go? According to Browner, “Mother Nature has done her part,” and the majority of oil has either evaporated or naturally disintegrated by waves and bacteria. BP also reported this morning that their “static kill” efforts of pumping heavy mud into the well to plug the leak are working and could stop the leak permanently within a few days. The construction of their relief well could be completed within the next two weeks. Has all the oil in the Gulf of Mexico really been accounted for and will BP’s new recovery efforts be successful?
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KCET at a crossroads

Yet another potential casualty of the Great Recession is Los Angeles’ stalwart public television station, KCET. Struggling, but holding on, the station is facing a lack of underwriters and a splintered audience and is considering several options to stay afloat – selling their historic Sunset Boulevard studios, banding together with other regional public TV stations or maybe even leaving the PBS network and becoming an independent station. KCET pays a yearly $6.8 million to remain a PBS affiliate and does not have exclusivity to top tier PBS programs such as “Nova” and “Frontline.” But critics of these measures feel that that additional belt-tightening at KCET is in order. Do you think that KCET should remain in the PBS network? Can they survive without “Sesame Street” in their programming?
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A federal judge will issue his decision today in the case challenging Prop 8. The ruling will determine whether Prop 8, which banned gay marriage in California, violates the constitutional rights of same sex couples under the 14th amendment’s “equal protection” clause. Supporters of Prop 8 filed a motion yesterday to stay Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision, even before its expected release this afternoon. What has the judge decided? If Prop 8 is overturned, will same sex partners be able to marry immediately in California? And will the case get appealed all the way to the Supreme Court?
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Should for-profit colleges be better regulated?

For most of this decade, housing loans came into banks that were based on false assumptions and predatory practices that sold mortgages to people who had no chance of paying them back. We’re all now familiar with the tragic results. A new report due out from the Government Accountability Office shows that another sector of the loan industry may be in for a similar shock: for-profit schools, according to some consumer advocates, convince people to get student loans for educational programs that, in many instances, lead to non-existent jobs. Is the student loan industry in for a similar shock? Are for-profit schools really taking students for a ride right back to the unemployment line or are they doing their best to retrain people in a terrible economy?
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Gonzo jazz critic chronicles rich jazz scene

Nat Hentoff was only 11 years old when he became transfixed by jazz. Hentoff walked past a record store in 1936 and heard Artie Shaw’s song “Nightmare” playing. That transformative moment was the beginning of a lifetime chronicling jazz and his relationships with its makers – from giants like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald to unsung side players. In his new book, At the Jazz Band Ball, Hentoff draws from personal accounts, interweaving music with civil rights, education and family.
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