AirTalk for August 4, 2011

Mercer 19992

As pessimism rises, stocks fall

The Dow Jones plunged 353 points this morning in direct response to the increasing economic cynicism of investors around the world. At midday, the Dow is down 2.9% overall, with Nasdaq down 3.4%. European markets are feeling the effects of debt problems in Italy and Spain, as stocks are currently down 2%. Earlier today, the Labor Department reported a slight decrease in unemployment applications this week, but economists predict this is simply a stall and will not improve. Investors are selling off their portfolios before the week comes to a close and focusing on gold, Treasury bonds and reliable foreign currencies to protect their wealth. Is this the beginning of a drastic drop in the market? What will it take to get back on the upswing? What are you doing to protect your stocks and investments?
Mercer 19986

FAA impasse hits California workers

The ongoing standoff between House Republicans and Senate Democrats over the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill isn’t as dramatic as the recent debt ceiling debate. But the impact is already being felt my tens of thousands of government employees and other workers. The partisan fight has resulted in a partial shutdown of the agency and is now costing the government as much as $30 million a day. Dems say the battle is over unions, which are under attack from the right. But the GOP says it’s really about cost-cutting. On Tuesday, President Obama asked both sides to pass even a temporary resolution. But that seems unlikely at this point. Since Congress has failed to fund the FAA, it’s now out of cash and at least two hundred Californians have been furloughed as a result. How long will this partisan battle last? How serious will the impact be locally and nationally?
Mercer 5527

OC journalists’ roundtable

Larry and a talented duo of Orange County journalists riff on the latest news from the OC including the beating and subsequent death of a Fullerton homeless man by several Fullerton police officers, the decision by church leaders of the Christal Cathedral not to sell the building but instead to raise more $50 million to pay off the Church’s debt, a plan to build homes on the Sexlinger Orchard, one of Santa Ana’s last orange groves, claims by nude bathers at San Onofre Beach that they are being harassed by park rangers and more.
Mercer 19974
Composer Marvin Hamlisch started at Julliard when he was only 6 1/2 years old. He has been contributing extensively to the music world and entertainment industry ever since. Name an award, he’s won it. Hamlisch has received four Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony, a Pulitzer and two Golden Globes. In fact, he’s is one of only twelve entertainers to be an EGOT, or the winner of ALL of the top four entertainment prizes (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony). His compositions are legendary, including the scores to movies like “The Way We Were,” “The Sting” and “Sophie’s Choice.” Next weekend, Hamlisch takes the podium of the Pasadena POPS with Marvin Does Broadway, a concert that includes selections from “The Producers,” “Funny Girl,” “Wicked,” “Phantom of the Opera” and many more. Music legend Marvin Hamlisch joins us in studio to talk about his influential career and his debut as Principal POPS conductor of the Pasadena POPS.
Mercer 19975

Countering extremism, state-side

The White House has unveiled a new strategy to combat home-grown radicalization in the U.S. It pitches a community-based approach. President Obama says among the best defenses against violent extremism are empowered communities that work with local law enforcement. The new policy document makes no mention of wire-tapping, racial profiling or undercover informants. So it's in stark contrast to an FBI operation currently on trial in a U.S. District Court in Orange County. That lawsuit claims the FBI conducted sweeping unconstitutional surveillance of Muslims and mosques in Southern California. The American Civil Liberties Union of SoCal and the L.A. office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations say the FBI planted an informant, secretly taped conversations and profiled innocent individuals. The latest development in that case came late Monday. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requested blocking some information from the trial by invoking state-secrets rules -- arguing the information could harm national security. Could the trial proceed if this unknown information is sealed? What has been the effect of trials such as this one on the government's counterterrorism tactics?
Mercer 19977

Linguistics across the globe

With today’s ever multiplying options for communication, it’s easy to forget about the spoken word. John McWhorter explores how the 6000 languages around the world grew, changed and progressed over the past 150,000 years. Incorporating a genuine curiosity and understanding of other cultures, What Language Is, examines how languages across the globe have intermingled and at times, branched off to form new languages. According to McWhorter, there’s no such thing as improper grammar. If a group of people are communicating in a structured manner, that is, in itself, the very definition of grammar. McWhorter explains that while we’ve been talking for 150,000 years, we’ve only been writing for 5,500. Therefore language is inherently oral and the way it mutates over time is largely influenced by how it’s spoken. How then, does this affect the written word? When does a language decide to branch off from its “mother language” and stand on its own?
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