AirTalk for October 19, 2010

Mercer 11321

Crystal Cathedral files for bankruptcy

Robert Schuller’s Orange County Megachurch, The Crystal Cathedral, widely known for its “Glory of Easter” pageant and “The Hour of Power,” filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday. It is estimated that the church owes approximately $7.5 million to its creditors and has not been able to strike any deals in order to pay their debts. What’s next for this Orange County landmark?
Mercer 11309

Crenshaw Light Rail line receives federal funding

Los Angeles is in the middle of planning and building a rapid-transit network, including a subway extension, a light rail line down Exposition, and an extension of the Gold Line. Now add to the pot the Crenshaw line. The feds have approved financing of $540 million, which will go a long way to bridging the gap between the Expo Line and the area just east of LAX. Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas talks about the line, how long it will take to build, and what it will mean to his constituents.
Mercer 11307

Repeal of corporate tax breaks – Prop 24 debated

Changes to California law in the last three years allow businesses several tax advantages: the ability to deduct losses across different tax years, the ability to share tax credits among related businesses and the option to have California income determined based on a single sales factor. Proposition 24 would repeal those laws, returning tax provisions to their pre-2008 state. Boosters of the measure say it would close tax loopholes enjoyed by wealthy, multi-state corporations but not by small businesses. Opponents say repealing those laws would send jobs out of state and cost us long-term tax revenues. Do you know how you'll vote?
Mercer 11322

French retirement protests turn violent

It seems as if the French are always striking about something. But the latest protests have grown especially nasty, with masked youths clashing with police and fires burning in cities across France. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, train service has been cut in half in some regions, and more than a thousand gas stations have been shuttered. Still, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says it's his duty to pass pension reform—his plan is to raise the country’s retirement age from 60 to 62. He has also pledged to crack down on the protesters who he calls “troublemakers.” Are the French people being unreasonable and inflexible? Or would the proposed austerity measures take too large a chunk out of benefits the French people feel they have fought hard for and won fairly?
Mercer 11303
Humans have traditionally looked to religion to provide a moral compass. Scientists themselves frequently concede the high ground when it comes to morality, retreating to allow religion to handle issues of conscience. In his new book, The Moral Landscape, author and neuroscientist Sam Harris has launched the latest volley in the science vs. religion battle by empirically examining human well-being and positing that science is perfectly capable of addressing issues of morality. When it comes to questions of conscience, what's better - science or religion? Can people discern right from wrong without God?
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