Patt Morrison for April 28, 2010

This isn’t the first walk of shame that prominent CEO’s have made in front of Congressional committees—it wasn’t that long ago that executives from the auto industry, insurance companies and energy firms were all dragged in front of Congress for a righteous grilling. The latest two days of testimony given by the chief executive of Goldman Sachs and his various underlings makes for good drama—and the fraud case brought by the SEC against Goldman could result in billions of dollars in fines—but nobody will go to jail and business could likely to carry on as usual. Even as a debate rages in Congress over how much more power to grant the Federal Reserve and other regulators to monitor and potentially break up troubled financial giants, critics claim that the financial regulation overhaul legislation doesn’t go nearly far enough to prevent the next market meltdown. Two weeks ago, Alan Greenspan appeared in front of Congress and questioned the entire “modern risk-management paradigm.” Will anyone listen?
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A rare creature roams the wide-open, lonely plains of Montana—a creature who goes against the stereotypes of his species, who got an “A” rating from the NRA on gun control issues, who just ordered an across-the-board 5% slash in state spending. That creature is Brian Schweitzer, the Democratic governor of Montana who has been held up as a model of a different brand of Democrat ever since he was first elected in 2004. With Congressional midterm elections coming up in November the Democrats might want to take a page out of Gov. Schweitzer’s playbook to stave off losing control of Congress—ironically it was the “Schweitzer” kind of Democrats, more conservative in approach and style, that helped the Democrats regain control of the Senate and House in 2006. As Montana grapples with the same budget pressures that haunt almost every state in the country, Gov. Schweitzer has done the unthinkable for a Democrat: he cut spending, and has also managed to cut taxes. What can Democrats learn from the Montana Governor? Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana (Democrat)
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TV in the age of the internet: Les Moonves on the melding of media

Television is no longer the transformative medium, so says the pundits—the title now belongs to the internet. And yet for the internet to expand and grow, especially into the Third World, it will most likely need to piggyback on the (all of a sudden) old fashioned technology of television. Les Moonves, the head of the CBS media empire, has become a master at merging mediums, from radio to television to book publishing, and is on the front line of the entertainment industry’s learning curve for new technologies, from the internet to 3-D. The industry on a whole had a solid 2009, in spite of a recession, when “Avatar” became the highest grossing movie of all time, reality shows on TV retreated somewhat from the prime time schedule and book sales were brisk. As the economy continues to be shaky and as technological advancements fly fast and furious, how does Les Moonves envision entertainment in the 21st century?
It’s been 40 years since President Richard Nixon declared a war on cancer. And yet, 40 years later, cancer remains with us. The goal is still the same—to transform the disease into a curable or at least manageable chronic disease, but the methods of treatment are rapidly changing. From a possible vaccine to various immunotherapies, the treatments are radically different and ever-changing, as an unprecedented new wave of candidates show real promise against cancer. And it’s not just a cure for cancer that is close but the very prevention of a disease that takes on so many forms. Patt checks in for the latest developments with two leaders in the field.
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The quest to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Can’t remember where you put your keys, forgot to take your morning vitamin, could it be early on-set Alzheimer’s? Maybe, the disease effects 13 percent of people over the age of 64, and 40 percent of those over the age of 85 in the United States. The cost to treat it is more than $148 billion each year. The Alzheimer Association is calling for a “Man on the Moon” plan--a national program to address the disease and its detrimental affects on society, including the increasing financial burden on Medicare and Medicaid. So, will the U.S devise a plan now to prevent a disease that affects so many families and crippled a former President, or pay more later?
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The influence of China in the African continent, energy needs in South Africa, political unrest of South Africa, elections in Nigeria…with 53 nations and a myriad of cultures and political identities, economic development and political progress is a constant challenge. U.S. Ambassador Michael Battle is at the fore-front of America’s efforts to help develop agriculture (that now employs 70% of working Africans directly or indirectly), infrastructure, technology, and investment partnerships.
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