Patt Morrison for May 6, 2010

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While it may seem like common sense to prohibit anyone who is on a terrorist watch list from purchasing a firearm, surprisingly there are no laws to keep suspected terrorists from buying guns. Dating back to the first volley of anti-terror laws after 9/11, gun rights advocates argued fiercely, and successfully, that any move to restrict gun sales to suspected terrorists would ultimately infringe on 2nd amendment rights. A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report out today disclosed that from February 2004 through February 2010, individuals on the terrorist watchlist were involved in firearm or explosives background checks 1,228 times. Of those, 91% were allowed to proceed because there were no legally disqualifying factors. The suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing, a resident of the terrorist watchlist, bought himself a gun a few weeks before he drove an explosives-laden SUV into New York City—should the “terror gap” be closed?
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The Federal Communications Commission today announced plans to apply regulations to high-speed internet access. The proposal comes after a federal court last month found the FCC had limited ability regulate broadband companies like Comcast. Now the FCC is attempting to restore the authority they thought they had by reclassifying broadband as a telecom service. Broadband companies such as AT&T and Comcast Corp. are none too happy about plans for any regulation and claim it’s an unnecessary government intrusion that will stifle innovation while the FCC claims a change is necessary to monitor pricing and to protect consumers. So, is the Net an information or a telecommunication service? The answer could make a world of difference.
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How can you get a solar energy system on the roof of my house without going into bankruptcy; how can you build an affordable rain-catching system to reuse rain water in your garden and beyond; what’s the latest insulation technology to cut my home’s heating and cooling bills? It’s fashionable to call oneself an “environmentalist” these days but few of us have taken the steps to implement green policies around our own homes, from big construction projects like installing solar panels to smaller steps like recycling water. As the AltBuild expo rolls into town this weekend, architects, water experts and green builders will gather to tackle the big and small of green home improvement. Patt brings together a few experts to answer your questions and help you build a meaner, greener home.
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The National Day of Prayer became national law nearly 60 years ago and every year since 1952, the president of the United States has issued a proclamation urging people to turn to God in prayer. Now that law is being challenged in federal court; a federal judge says it’s unconstitutional but President Obama’s Justice Department is appealing that ruling. Defenders of the tradition say it’s an attack upon the religious heritage of Americans and detractors say it’s nothing less than a government endorsement of religion. Shall we pray? Or not…
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At one point today it looked like Armageddon on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was losing 10% of its value, down nearly 1,000 points as investors fled everything from stocks and bonds to commodities. It has since recovered and looks to close at a loss of about 3% of its total value, which is a bad day but nearly as bad as it could have been. As losses piled up, mostly fueled by protests in Greece over the EU bailout plan, and the Dow went into freefall traders entered the “people jumping out of windows” territory, according to one analyst. Strangely, much of the losses were blamed on a 50% drop in stock price for Proctor & Gamble. But even stranger is a report from numerous sources claiming that a trader entered a "b" for billion instead of an "m" for million in a P&G trade. This simple alphabetical error may have caused the entire panic. What does such a volatile day on Wall Street mean for the overall economy and is this a blip on the radar screen or an ominous sign of things to come?
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Though some of the advice may seem obvious—go to class, read the books, talk to your professors—in a time when it is becoming harder and harder to get accepted into a university maybe some straightforward tips are exactly what the college freshman of 2010 need. As the school year comes to an end, guest host David Lazarus brings you some recommended summer reading that may prove to be exactly what the guidance counselor ordered. David talks with long time university professor Philip Freeman about his book, Lecture Notes: A Professor’s Inside Guide to College Success.
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