AirTalk for May 6, 2011

Mercer 17766
Vice President Joe Biden and top congressional budget negotiators met Thursday, hoping to bridge the wide partisan divide over taxes and spending. Seeking to reduce a $1.4 trillion budget deficit, Democrats and Republicans agreed to focus first on areas of potential compromise, side-stepping raising taxes and the divisive proposal to revamp Medicare. President Obama has said he hopes the talks will lead to an agreement by June, before the federal government hits its debt ceiling. But finding common ground on a deficit reduction strategy will be a struggle. Democrats have criticized House Republicans for passing a fiscal year 2012 budget that Dems claim would weaken Medicare. The GOP meanwhile has blasted President Obama’s fiscal blueprint for not cutting enough. If Medicare and taxes are off the table – what should we cut? Why have Republicans backed off calls to overhaul Medicare? Should lawmakers raise the country's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling?
Mercer 17754

Fox News holds first GOP debate

Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party co-sponsored the first GOP debate of the 2012 presidential race last night, and there were several conspicuous absences. Namely, just about anyone who has a chance at winning the party’s nomination. We heard from big name also-rans like Ron Paul and Rick Santorum and a few no names like Herman Cain, the former owner of the Godfather Pizza Chain. Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota Governor, may have been the only viable candidate on the dais, since Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee and Michelle Bachmann all declined the invitation. So who came out ahead and who fell to the back of the pack? Can any of these candidates topple President Barack Obama? And with most of the big fish not showing up, are we seeing a rift in the usually stalwart Republican Party?
Mercer 17715
California has 713 prisoners on death row. Housing death-row inmates is estimated to cost $90,000 a year more than housing prisoners serving life without parole. Now, California officials put off reviewing the state’s revised lethal injection methods until December. The delay means that California will have gone at least six years without executing any condemned prisoners. Last month, Governor Jerry Brown canceled a plan to construct a new Death Row at San Quentin State Prison, which was expected to cost $356-million. Opponents of the death penalty argue the Governor should take it further and commute the sentences of all prisoners on death row to life in prison, saving taxpayers about $1-billion over the next five years. According to a recent public opinion poll conducted by David Binder Research, 65% of 800 voters polled, support such commutations. Motivated at least in part by cost savings, fifteen states have abolished the death penalty. Should California follow suit? Is the death penalty just too expensive and convoluted a process to be worth it? Is it cruel and unusual to keep prisoners on death row for indeterminate periods of time? If you support the death penalty do these numbers cause you to rethink your position?
Mercer 17755
KPCC film critics Henry Sheehan, Andy Klein and Charles Solomon join Larry to review the week’s new film releases including Thor, The Beaver, Mia and the Migoo, Passion Play, The Robber, There Be Dragons and more. TGI-FilmWeek!
Mercer 17753

This summer, Mel Gibson is…unforgivable?

Before there was Charlie Sheen, there was Mel Gibson. In 2006, Gibson got a DUI and while being arrested he accosted the arresting Jewish officer with anti-Semitic remarks. In 2010, audio recordings revealed Gibson verbally abusing his wife, complete with sexist and racist remarks. He also has a history of homophobic statements going back to 1991. This week, Gibson makes his return to the big screen in The Beaver. The actor has apologized profusely, usually through his publicist, for his words and actions. But has he managed to redeem himself, despite all he’s done? Will his egregious behavior affect the movie negatively? Is it possible to disassociate “Mad Mel” from Mad Max?
Find an archived Episode: