Patt Morrison for January 14, 2009

Lawmakers Argue While State Cash Burns

California's legislative analyst, Mac Taylor, issued a report today in which he warns the state's cash shortage may cause a delay in millions of taxpayers getting their tax refunds. He has called the forty-two billion dollar budget shortfall "colossal" and says that it has pushed the state to "the edge of disaster." He posits that only by balancing the budget through increasing state revenues and decreasing expenditures can the state be pulled back from this cash abyss. What will it finally take to come to a budget agreement that makes sense and stops the bleeding of state finances? * John Myers, Sacramento bureau chief for KQED's California Report * Assembly Speaker Karen Bass

RIP Guantanamo Bay?

A lot remains uncertain about how and when it will be done, but President-elect Obama has pledged that the Guantanamo Bay prison has seen its last days. The President-elect plans to issue an executive order on his first full day in office directing the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, which will be the easiest part of what is sure to be a complicated process. It could take as long as a year to sort out transfers of the remaining 248 enemy combatants and create some kind of hybrid trial system to prosecute the prosecutable prisoners. As for those suspects too dangerous to release but too sensitive to try, their future remains an open question. Even if President Obama closes down a decried symbol of the war on terror, will its problems live on? * Robert Chesney, professor at the Wake Forest University School of Law; visiting professor at the University of Texas School of Law * Rep. Jane Harman, (D-Venice); Chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence * Madeline Morris, professor of law at Duke Law School; director, Duke Guantanamo Defense Clinic * Vijay Padmanabhan, professor of law at Cardoza School of Law; from '03—'08 he was the State Department Office of the Legal Adviser's chief counsel on Guantanamo and Iraq detainee litigation

Bush Legacy—View from Inside the White House

9-11. Iraq. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Katrina. Eight years ago, President Bush was sworn into office with a $237 billion budget surplus and relative economic prosperity. He now presides over a $438 billion deficit, two wars, and a severe economic downturn. According to a Pew survey released this month, only 11 percent of Americans rate Bush as an "above-average president," compared with 44% for Clinton. How did the Bush Administration get here and how will history remember them? We continue our series looking back at the Bush years with political consultants, historians, and those close to the President. * Dan Bartlett, former head of communications and counselor to President George W. Bush. He is now Senior Strategist with Public Strategies, Inc.

Are you Ready to Go Digital?

On February 17, old analog transmitters throughout the US will go dark as broadcasters will begin transmitting their TV signals only in digital format. Using digital signals will free up wasted wireless spectrum...most of which has already been auctioned off by the government. The Obama team has recently urged a delay in digital transmission, concerned that the government is not doing enough to help Americans in rural, poor, and minority communities in particular prepare for the switch. How about you? Are you ready? * Marguerite Reardon, reporter for CNET news * Josh Waldron, customer assistant "BlueShirt" for Best Buy. He has spent a lot of time working in the home theater department
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