Patt Morrison for April 29, 2010

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President Obama made it one of this central campaign pledges to make another stab at immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for the estimated 13 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.—and yet it was the President himself who wondered this week whether a major immigration overhaul was possible. Addressing the possibility of an immigration bill, Obama said “I know there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue. There's still work that has to be done on energy. Midterms are coming up.” Undaunted, Senate Democrats today will formally unveil the outlines of legislation for comprehensive immigration reform that will combine a process to legalize illegal immigrants with “concrete benchmarks” to secure the border before the legalization process begins. Can it be done?
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Anthem Blue Cross, California’s largest for-profit health insurer, announced several months ago that they were raising rates on individual insurance plans in the state by as much as 39%. Policyholders went berserk and the ripple effect of outrage was felt from here to Washington. Some even credit the public outcry with reinvigorating the stalled debate on health care reform. The consternation proved too much and the insurer agreed to postpone the hikes until May 1, pending an independent investigation into whether the rate increases are warranted. It’s April 29……..will Blue Cross customers be paying a substantially bigger bill?
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Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

A decade ago, when they began their study on hoarding, Randy Frost and Gail Steketee expected to find only a few sufferers. Instead, they ended up treating hundreds of patients. In their book “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things”, they explore the compulsion through a series of case studies. With vivid portraits that show us the traits by which you can identify a hoarder, Frost and Steketee explain the causes and outline the often-ineffective cures for the disorder. For the 6 million sufferers, their relatives and friends, and all the rest of us that have complicated relationships with our things, “Stuff” answers the question of what happens when what we own starts to own us.
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Back by popular demand, the massive mobile clinic has returned to Los Angeles. They will be at the Los Angeles Sports Arena for a week, seeing an estimated 1,200 patients a day for free medical checks, including eye exams and dental procedures. Patt talks with KPCC’s Alex Cohen about the mobile clinic.
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In 2008, T. Boone Pickens, the man who made billions of dollars as an old-fashioned oil tycoon, famously called for the need to finally break the American addiction to oil. He did so by advocating for vast government and private sector investment in alternative energy sources, from solar to wind, and also put his money where his mouth is with the development of a huge wind farm in Texas and the founding of Clean Energy, a company that advances the use of natural gas for mass transportation. After spending $60 million of his own money to promote the “Pickens Plan” for energy independence and several million more on the purchase of property and wind turbines, T. Boone has very mixed results to show for his efforts—his massive wind farm in Texas is dead and he’s shifted much of his energy to natural gas. T. Boone is sticking to his guns, though, claiming that in 10 years, the U.S. will not be importing oil from the Middle East. Is the Pickens Plan still a realistic goal?
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