Patt Morrison for November 16, 2010

Mercer 12058
It was supposed to be a relatively easy victory for Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley in the race for California’s attorney general—up against liberal, anti-death penalty Kamala Harris, District Attorney of San Francisco, Cooley with strong support from law enforcement groups up and down the state was expected to roll over the younger Harris. But as the days of the midterm campaign wound down Harris worked hard to close earlier poll gaps and here we are two weeks removed from election day and she has a slim lead, of roughly 30,000 votes, over Cooley. As a slow and steady count of the ballots continues the recriminations between the two campaigns are heating up, with Cooley’s campaign questioning the legitimacy of thousands of votes because names on the ballots were not being matched to voter’s registration cards. The Harris camp has accused Cooley’s monitors of “aggressively attempt[ing] to have ballots disqualified” and both sides have asked for more of their monitors to be allowed to watch the counting. The deadline to certify the race is still two weeks away—will California have an attorney general in place by then without a flurry of lawsuits?
Mercer 12042

Unfolding the issues with Hugh Hefner

From Marilyn Monroe to the Girls Next Door – Hugh Hefner has been the silk robe behind many a sexual icon. He is known for his parties, his girlfriends, his fights with the FBI over obscenity charges, that melee with the Meese Commission and a load of other things. Hef has fought long and hard for Playboy and free speech since his magazine first hit the stands in 1953. His belief in the company has yet to go limp despite drooping profits. Though it seems Playboy Enterprises will be netting a loss of more than $50 million this year, Hefner came out last summer with a $123-million dollar bid to buy the outstanding shares of the company and as of today, that offer still stands. What Hefner may not be known for is his recent pledge of funding to save the Hollywood sign and his massive collection of art – now set to be auctioned off. Patt talks to the man that has been at the center of so many first amendment fights and his company’s prolonged endurance. *Hugh Hefner will receive the Award of Honor & First Amendment Award at the PEN Center USA's 20th Annual Literary Awards Festival tomorrow night at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Mercer 12057

Lobbyists take on Financial Regulatory Reform

The U.S. economy is still reeling from the economic collapse—unemployment is high, banks have restricted their lending practices, retail sales are low and foreclosures are high. There have been numerous investigations into what caused the meltdown and how to prevent another one. Congress spent months putting together regulations aimed at preventing an economic disaster capable of wreaking havoc on the U.S. and world economy. Given the great risk associated with financial markets left unchecked, it might be reasonable to expect government to keep a closer eye on Wall Street. And yet lobbyists are lining up to pressure regulators to loosely interpret or weaken financial regulatory reforms. They have filed numerous appeals and logged hundreds of meetings asking for exemptions from restrictions on the trading of derivatives to writing risky loans. Is this a case of balancing competing interests or irresponsibility? Does Congress have the right to protect the financial markets from another economic collapse even if it means reigning in Wall Street, or will reigning in Wall Street have an impact on the economy?
Mercer 12062
About 15% of U.S. households, 17.4 million families, lacked enough money to feed themselves at one point last year; in California just over 14% of households suffered from “food insecurity” at one point during 2009. In the richest country in the world this large of a number of households that are wanting for food is never acceptable, but the problem is stabilizing somewhat as the economy limps toward a recovery—but there are bigger issues in the immediate future, most of them based on the funding of government programs, from food stamps to Medicare, that act as a vital safety net for the poorest and hungriest Americans. A federal law that covers the country’s school meals program is awaiting reauthorization from either a lame duck Congress or a new Republican majority hostile to these kinds of spending programs; stimulus money went to prop up food stamps last year and that extra funding is petering out; and budget cuts, both at the federal and state levels, threaten all kinds of nutritional sustenance programs. Even as the economy gets a little better might more Americans be going hungry?
Mercer 12055
Are you tired of those Astroturf wing nuts? Let down by the Lame-stream media? Feel unseen by those pushing for Obama-care? Are you frustrated by Islamophobia? Man-up. Great Recession. Tea-Party. Grass Roots. Climate Change and Global Warming. Housekeeper-gate. Aqua Buddha. Shellacking. Calm down, we aren’t talking about the 2012 elections. This last mid-term election, just as much any, included a new vocabulary of terms and talking points. So what was some of the most effective language of this election cycle? Patt sits down with linguist George Lakoff for a teachable moment on political language.
Find an archived Episode: