AirTalk for September 1, 2010

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President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office last night, marking the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq. Fifty thousand American troops will remain as support for Iraqi security forces. As a candidate, Obama promised to quickly draw down troops in Iraq and reengage the better fight in Afghanistan, and he has done precisely that. Yet, has U.S. involvement in Afghanistan been any more productive than in Iraq? Has either war been worth it? Will we ever in good conscience be able to say “mission accomplished”?
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Examining Chelsea’s Law

Chelsea’s Law is named after 17-year-old Chelsea King of Poway, who was raped and murdered while jogging in Rancho Bernardo Park last February. John Gardner, a registered sex offender, confessed to the crime. The law, introduced by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego), will increase prison time for violent sex offenders and will lead to more monitoring of convicts by GPS devices. Originally the bill was stronger, but it underwent modifications during the legislative process. Either way, the Governor has vowed to sign it into law. But does law enforcement have the additional resources needed to enforce Chelsea’s Law? And how many people will it really impact?
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Are these the golden years of television?

On the one hand, there’s Emmy Award winning shows like Mad Men, Modern Family and Breaking Bad. Not to mention the very popular programs True Blood, Family Guy and The Wire. On the other extreme there’s Two and a Half Men, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and an explosion of “reality” TV. Compared to the days of All in the Family, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Twilight Zone and M*A*S*H – is television today better than ever? Or a vast and vacuous wasteland?
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The Science of Suffering

Chronic pain is more widespread, misdiagnosed, and untreated than any major disease in America, affecting as much as 10% of the population. In her new book “The Pain Chronicles,” author Melanie Thernstrom outlines the history of medicine’s quest to alleviate pain from the first use of ether for surgery in 1842 to the modern use of controversial opioids and the advent of neuro-imaging to retrain the brain to cope with pain. Thernstrom waged her own battle with chronic pain and ultimately found a regime of physical therapy, Botox, Celebrex and Tramadol to deal with it. Her book examines the elusive nature of pain and how often misguided notions of pain have prevented proper treatment of unrelenting pain that many confront with grace and courage everyday.
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