Patt Morrison for April 6, 2010

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The Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan envisioned almost universal access to broadband internet through the cooperation and regulation of the broadband companies who had built up the internet infrastructure of the past two decades. Today the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals dealt a serious blow to this plan when it ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all internet traffic flowing over their networks. The case involved the efforts of Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, to slow down customers’ access to a download service called BitTorrent. The FCC intervened to order Comcast to knock it off, Comcast appealed and they won—and with that win the very idea of universal broadband access might be in jeopardy. What is the future of net neutrality?
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Back in the district on Spring recess, Congressman Xavier Becerra is fresh off a landmark legislative victory in getting health care reform out of Congress and onto the president’s desk. But the Congressman’s “to-do” list only starts with health care: next up is an immigration bill that provides a clear path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S., a jobs-creation bill with real muscle, a spot on the national debt commission and a vital role in defending Democratic seats in the Congressional mid-term elections. Combine all of that with priorities from back home in Los Angeles and the Congressman is a busy man, but not too busy to stop by the studio with Patt to take your questions and comments on a litany of subject.
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U.S. begins 5-month push into Afghanistan

In what officials are referring to as “March Madness,” the military is gearing up for one of the largest movements of troops since World War II, set to occur over the next five months. The plan involves packing up containers of tents, showers and construction material needed to set up a remote forward operating base, in addition to removing 50,000 American forces from Iraq and transferring 30,000 reinforcements through the Khyber Pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Afghan president Hamid Karzai is ruffling feathers and raising suspicions in Washington that he’s a less-than-reliable partner in creating a stable, corruption-free Afghan government.
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The DWP and City Council are still fighting over the proposed rate hike. Adding to the standoff, Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel has declared an “urgent financial crisis,” warning that the city could be more than broke in only four weeks. Budget officials are counting on a $73.5 million payment which the DWP committed to send the city, but DWP officials say they won’t pay up unless the rate hike goes through. Will the fighting end anytime soon?
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Harold Evans, editor of the Sunday Times from 1967 until Rupert Murdoch acquired the paper in 1981, made a name for himself by pursuing stories hidden from public view, as he did when, upon his arrival at the paper, he pushed against the Ministry of Health to cover the stories of families affected by use of the sedative drug thalidomide. Evans pushed the envelope, publishing pictures of children who had been born missing limbs. That editorial decision landed him in court with the British government, trading victories and appeals until the case ultimately ended up before the European Court of Human Rights. Evans' eventual triumph there forced the British government to reform its law blocking free speech in cases of what he claimed was "manifest injustice.” Patt talks with Sir Evans about his adventures in reporting and the remarkable changes he witnessed in the newspaper industry, from typing four carbon copies at his Underwood typewriter, to the age of the internet and Rupert Murdoch.
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