Patt Morrison for May 8, 2008

Up to Our Eyeballs: Consumer Debt Piles On

In spite of, or perhaps because of, the souring economy Americans are still spending well beyond our means. Consumer borrowing jumped more than double the amount economists forecast back in March, increasing by $15.3 billion mostly in the form of credit card debt. The Federal Reserve said yesterday that overall consumer debt is now at $2.56 trillion-to put things in perspective, the total U.S. federal government debt is at $9.5 trillion. Because banks have tightened standards for home-equity loans and other borrowing, and American households remain overextended, consumers are forced into more unappetizing loan scenarios, such as high-interest credit cards. Considering we're in so far over our heads, is there any way to break the borrowing cycle? * Michelle Singletary, "Color of Money" columnist at The Washington Post

Olympic Athletes - Watch Your Step!

The Olympics are about sports, or are they? Inevitably the political and religious beliefs of the participating nations enter the games and cause controversy. In an attempt to reaffirm its apolitical position amidst criticism of China's handling of Tibet, the International Olympic Committee drafted a letter clarifying what qualifies as protest, explaining that athletes' external appearance, clothing and gestures will be scrutinized. Are the Olympics an inappropriate venue for political expression? You decide, as the controversial 2008 Olympic Games rapidly approach. * Katie Thomas, sports reporter for The New York Times * Darryl Seibel, spokesman for United States Olympic Committee * Tommie Smith, one of the athletes who gave the black power salute during the 1968 Olympics. His autobiography, "Silent Gesture," was published in 2007. * David Wallechinsky, Vice President of the International Society of Olympic Historians and author of "The Complete Book of the Olympics"

Mr. Obama Goes to Washington

Barack Obama took a leisurely stroll through the House chambers this morning with an almost-dare we say it-presidential air about him. * Ryan Grim, staff writer for Politico.com * Ron Elving, senior Washington editor for NPR News

Israel and You

It was this month in 1948 that the United Nations passed Resolution 181, which set the legal foundation for the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine. Today, conflict between Arab states, Palestinians, and Jews in Israel and in the occupied territories remains an overriding issue for the region. Over the years, the relationship between Americans and Israel has evolved. Many Jewish-Americans remain supportive of Israel, but are dismayed at some of Israeli's policies, such as permitting settlements in the territories. Arab-Americans also have strong feelings about America's relationship to Israel, the largest single recipient of American aid. Patt opens the phones to KPCC's listeners about their relationship to Israel and how it has changed and evolved over time.
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