Patt Morrison for May 18, 2010

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Big budget deficit, hard choices, brutal spending cuts—sound familiar? Last week it was California’s state government kicking off its heated budget season, this week it’s Los Angeles seeking to close a $500 million deficit through a series of program cuts that are sure to be felt with deficiencies in services across the city. Yesterday the L.A. City Council voted to eliminate 761 positions while continuing to seek concessions from the unions that represent city employees, but the cuts didn’t stop there: cutbacks in library hours, child-care positions and tree-trimming are all but guaranteed to be part of the final $6.7 billion budget. L.A. City Council Eric Garcetti joins us for this budget-special edition of his regular sit-downs with Patt to discuss how the Council and the Mayor will navigate a difficult course of closing the deficit without completely paralyzing the city. For good measure Councilman Garcetti will also bring up the boycott of Arizona, and a dog barking ordinance that could get you some extra sleep at night.
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The Secret life of the grown up brain

If you’re middle-aged, you might not be able to find your keys or remember the name of the person you met yesterday, but in spite of those shortcomings, the middle-aged brain might be the best positioned to deftly cut through muddled problems to find a solution. That’s largely because myelin, the fatty white coating of neurons that enables our brain to make connections, actually keeps growing through middle age, so with 40+ years of wisdom and the ability to continue to expand one’s mind, middle age looks like a time of happiness and relatively lower stress. And it doesn’t stop there: those who continue to flex their frontal cortex, whether by learning a new language, or even just arguing with someone, increase their “cognitive reserve”—thought to be a buffer against the effects of aging and possibly even Alzheimer’s. Patt checks in with an expert for the science and a how-to guide.
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The hotly contested primaries going down today across the country are not limited to one party or one particular issue, but there is one similar theme among the races: incumbents beware. In Pennsylvania hard-luck Senator Arlen Specter, who switched parties earlier because he feared for his future as a Republican, faces a tough Democratic primary against Rep. Joe Sestak, as the two are locked in a virtual tie. A bigger race in Pennsylvania might be the special election to fill the seat of the late John Murtha, a conservative-leaning Democrat in a conservative-leaning district. In Kentucky the Tea Party movement faces its biggest test in the Republican Senate primary featuring Tea Party darling Rand Paul; in Arkansas moderate Democratic incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln has been feeling the anger of the left-wing as unions and liberal activists fight against her. Will the outcomes of these races prove a harbinger for November?
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Governor Schwarzenegger’s May budget revision on Friday was the first act of the multi-part drama that is about to unfold in Sacramento as the Legislature begins to grapple with closing a $19 billion budget deficit. Today the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office takes its turn pulling apart the governor’s budget proposal and is sure to look at the short-term savings versus the long-term costs of some of the more drastic cuts proposed by the governor. For instance, will completely eliminating the CalWORKS program, scheduled to save the state about $1.1 billion, come back to haunt the state government in the form of higher unemployment and lower tax revenues? Will the cuts to in-home care programs and mental health services result in great costs in the state’s emergency rooms? The LAO weighs in on what is sure to be a protracted fight over California’s budget.
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"Tell-All" by Chuck Palahniuk

He is the author of nine best-selling novels and has a reputation for causing some to faint at his readings – he's the one and only Chuck Palahniuk. And now he's tackling Hollywood. The cult-master of high-concept fictional subversion joins Patt to discuss his latest work, "Tell-All." Is it possible to write about career comebacks and cosmetic surgeries with the same moxie and pluck that ingrained the first rule of "Fight Club" into the frontal lobe of a generation? I mean really, what could possibly be so foul about fame?
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