Patt Morrison for June 10, 2010

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They were good years for the USC Trojan football team: in 2004 the Trojans won the BCS and AP national championships, and in 2005, despite losing to Texas in the Rose Bowl, Reggie Bush won a Heisman Trophy and USC was dominant for most of the year. Turns out that those heady years for Trojan football, and several more seasons of Trojan basketball, will be wiped off the record books after USC was sanctioned today for violating several NCAA rules on student-athlete and agent relationships. The two players who were most in the foul of NCAA rules were running back Reggie Bush and point guard OJ Mayo, both of whom were found to have received gifts and payments from agents with the possible knowledge of the USC athletics department. The sanctions will hurt the ultra-competitive Trojans—a two year postseason football ban means no Bowl games and a one year postseason ban on the basketball team means no March Madness. Can the vaunted Trojans sports program bounce back?
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Boxer vs. Fiorina—let California’s historic matchup begin

One is a career corporate executive with a successful yet controversial track record; the other is a career politician who has fostered diehard supporters and also cultivated dedicated enemies. One portrays herself as a small-government conservative, big on job creation and tough on illegal immigration. The other portrays herself as a champion of the people, standing up to big corporate interests while using the arms of government for extensive social assistance. The common thread: they’re both extremely powerful women, and they’re both running for California’s U.S. Senate seat. It didn’t take long for Carly Fiorina and Barbara Boxer to start attacking each other after the primary, and from each camp’s perspective there is plenty to attack: the liberal politics of Boxer and the corporate cronyism of Fiorina. The race is historic in pitting two strong women against each other and the outcome is sure to be close—which woman will be representing California in the Senate come November?
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Congress has given the bipartisan FCIC the daunting task of figuring out what lead to the financial meltdown. They have conducted several rounds of hearings this year calling in everyone from Alan Greenspan to the head of Citigroup. Last week they took direct aim at the credit rating system, and Moody’s Corporation was their case study. In 2006, Moody’s gave their coveted Triple-A rating to over 9,000 residential mortgage backed securities; that’s more than 30 per day. Yet, by contrast, they bestowed their highest rating on only four U.S. corporations. And what happened to all those mortgage backed securities with the gold star rating? 83% were downgraded while investors, university endowments, and pensions suffered the consequences. So, what happened? The FCIC dragged in the top guys at Moody’s, and their largest investor, Warren Buffett, to answer some tough questions. Oh, and they also issued a subpoena to Goldman Sachs. It’s been a busy week.
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LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Ask the Chief

Call in with your questions and comments as Chief Charlie Beck sits down with Patt to discuss the issues facing the LAPD. On the table are the department’s unveiling of iWatch, a program that hopes to incorporate enable the public in tracking down terrorists; the recent clashing between bicyclists and officers (all of which are caught on video); backlogs of cases and closing of evidence rooms as a result of budget cuts; and how the Lakers/Celtics rivalry takes on a new form as Chief Charlie Beck and Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis trade bets. This and more… on Ask the Chief.
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Tell the truth - do you sometimes cook people food for your pet? What’s that you say? Absolutely not! Okay, but you do buy the fancy premium pet food, right? How can you resist that holistic all natural stuff that promises to be nothing but the very best for your pet? It seems many of us are buying it, because the pet food industry is racking in $18-billion-a-year. It’s one of the few industries that some consider recession proof. So, is all that special stuff in your pet’s food really worth the price tag? According to two well-respected researchers, not so much.
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