Patt Morrison for April 14, 2010

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Remember all those 101 water main breaks last year? A city report released yesterday found they were caused by the city's water conservation program, which limited the use of sprinklers to Mondays and Thursdays and ultimately put too much pressure on the city's aging, cast iron pipes when water pressure would suddenly increase and then drop on certain days. That’s not to say conservation is to blame, but the findings leave some big questions as to how the city will rework its conservation plan. Patt talks with the Department of Water and Power and the lead researcher on the study about some of the alternatives, which so far include plans to require homes with even-number addresses to conserve on even-numbered days and odd-numbered addresses to conserve on odd-numbered days.
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The panel Congress assigned with the daunting task of figuring out what lead to the financial meltdown held another round of hearings last week. Citigroup and Alan Greenspan faced the commissions’ wrath but what will all this grilling add up to? Criticism of the commission’s work, from within and outside Congress, is stacking up and what promised to be an equitable, bipartisan examination of the root causes of the financial meltdown have now been plagued by infighting on the commission itself. Will the commissions’ report (expected to be massive) offer any new insights or help foster new regulations (Congress and Treasury are already moving forward on reforms)? Patt asks the chairman for a view from the inside.
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One of a few core causes of the collapse of the U.S. financial industry, and the resulting recession, was the bursting of the housing bubble—and as a result there have been several piecemeal programs geared at keeping struggling homeowners in their houses, and keeping their mortgage payments coming in. Elizabeth Warren, chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel tasked with keeping an eye on how TARP funds have been spent, found in her April report that the foreclosure crisis remains a major cause of instability in economic recovery and major cause for concern going forward. Warren’s report finds that the Home Affordable Modification Program, a part of TARP, has modified the mortgages of only 1,711 homeowners and has failed to address foreclosures caused by such factors as unemployment and negative equity. If foreclosures are still problematic how confident can we be in a full recovery of the economy?
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More family time in America?

It seems counter intuitive but a new study reveals that Americans are actually spending more time with their family than they were just fifteen years ago. Has there been a cultural shift? Are we learning how to balance our professional and personal lives better? Well now that we’ve sorted that out another study finds that kids primary wish isn’t for more time with their parents, it’s a desire for them to be less stressed out and tired. Jeez, there’s no pleasing those little buggers. What now, it has to be quality over quantity? That might require a little more Starbucks, or wine, or both.
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While the economy is beginning to recover, unemployment rates are still high – a challenge to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. One of his jobs is to foster growth, specifically by growing a green workforce and transitioning the nation to a low carbon economy. With these goals in mind, he’s participating today with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of Economy Gerardo Ruiz at the University of San Diego in a conference on clean energy to promote North American cooperation, innovation, and competitiveness in the world markets. The Secretary joins Patt with his best ideas on clean energy and how the U.S. can create those much-needed jobs.
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