Patt Morrison for September 2, 2010

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Environmentalists and Gulf Coast residents are reeling after news of yet another oil rig explosion not far off the Louisiana coast and only 200 miles west of the site of BP's Deepwater Horizon drill site. All 13 crew members were rescued, but an oil slick has already begun to appear on the surface of the water. The rig was managed by Mariner Energy, which, along with related companies, has been cited 10 times for accidents in the Gulf of Mexico over the last 10 years. The extent of a spill is not yet know, but it will be easier to clean up, because the well is in much shallower waters. And where does BP stand now? The company has been criticized for its expensive ad campaign, and as of now, crews are set to remove the cap that finally plugged the 3 month leak so they can finally extract the piece of equipment that failed and caused the leak. Two leaks in one area in less than 6 months... how will the off-shore drilling movement be affected?
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Boxer and Fiorina – head to head

Barbara Boxer criticized Carly Fiorina for shipping jobs overseas while taking $100 million in compensation as head of Hewlett-Packard; Fiorina pointed out that Boxer voted for the bail-out of Wall Street firms. In the first face-to-face debate between the two contenders for the U.S. Senate seat, the two clashed over jobs, taxes, spending and regulation practices, environment policies, same-sex marriage and foreign policy. Carla Marinucci, senior political writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, was one of the panelists and she joins us today with a review of the action.
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It was a campaign promise of Barack Obama’s to reengage in the tortured Middle East peace process, a process that was more-or-less left for dead when the Bush Administration left office. After a tumultuous first two years spent mostly on domestic issues, President Obama is now attempting to breathe life into peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians with an opening summit this week in Washington D.C., kicking off talks that could last throughout the next year. Expectations are low on both sides—a combination of distrust, indifference and wariness has set the bar very low on a potential two-state solution with a sovereign Palestinian state right next to Israel. But sometimes when expectations are at their lowest good things can happen…can President Obama pull off the impossible?
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As members of Congress get ready to go back to DC after their recess ends in early September, they're preparing to deal with a number of issues. Among them are the unprecedented rate of unemployment, the continuing economic downturn, and environmental issues. To top it all, mid-term elections are rapidly approaching, elections which could make or break the Democrats’ House majority. In the next few weeks, Patt talks with House representatives in a short series. Representative Tom McClintock discusses midterms, the economy, unemployment and California’s natural resources.
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The Pew Hispanic Center found that the nation’s overall illegal immigrant population fell by nearly 1.1 million between 2007 & 2009, unscientifically attributing a mix of a slumping economy with stepped up enforcement in the decline. This news comes amid the backdrop of continuing hand-wringing about immigration policy in the U.S., from the controversial law aimed at illegal immigrants in Arizona to talk of reviving comprehensive immigration reform in Congress. The common theme in most immigration debates in the U.S. is that illegal migration is out of control, unchecked and extremely damaging to the country—yet, here we have some evidence that, while the overall number of undocumented people in the country remains high, it is being at least somewhat controlled. Plus the Obama Administration has actually been more aggressive in detaining and deporting illegal immigrants. What exactly is the perception versus the reality of illegal immigration in the U.S.?
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The road to citizenship: how to become a U.S. citizen

The flow of illegal immigration into the U.S. has slowed sharply since 2007, bringing down the estimated total number of undocumented residents to 11 million. Even with the declining numbers, that leaves a lot of people in the country who, ostensibly, would like to be here permanently and legally. How does one become a U.S. citizen—how long does it take, how expensive is the process, and how can an immigrant of simple means and limited experience navigate a complicated legal system? Research shows that immigrants to the U.S., whether legal or illegal, are a motivated group—the rate of citizenship among immigrants great from below 10% in 1990 to 56% by 2008, a substantial achievement given the constraints of the federal citizenship law. So how is it done, and could 11 million undocumented residents of the U.S. all one day become citizens?
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