Patt Morrison for December 6, 2010

Mercer 12571

Whither the class action lawsuit?

It’s the biggest workplace, class action suit in the history of the U.S., and it will decide much more than just the fate of 1.5 million women working at Wal-Mart—the future of class action lawsuits will also be at stake when the Supreme Court takes up Wal-Mart v. Dukes this Spring. The Wal-Mart case contends that women were regularly paid less than men and denied promotions, which Wal-Mart has denied. While the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go ahead to the lawsuit, Wal-Mart is arguing that the lawsuit shouldn’t proceed as a class action, because hiring and promotion decisions are made by local management in its 3,400 stores. Wal-Mart’s position is viewed sympathetically by many large companies that feel pressured to simply settle huge class action lawsuits rather than risk a potentially crippling jury verdict. Class action suits have long been viewed as a way to hold companies accountable but that all could change depending on how SCOTUS rules in a case that now goes well beyond gender discrimination.
Mercer 12534
NASA has decided to cut its in-house space shuttle program, but never fear – this doesn’t mark the end of U.S. space flight. Hawthorne, CA based company SpaceX has landed a 1.6 billion dollar contract with NASA to provide twelve spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station through 2016. SpaceX has set the date of its first of three demonstration launches for December 7th. The company’s rocket Falcon 9 will be sent into low Earth orbit where it will release SpaceX’s Dragon capsule to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere from orbit, a first time event for any private firm. So could this be the beginning of a space travel revolution? What does SpaceX’s attempt mean for commercial space flight?
Mercer 12485

Prop 8 lives on: judges hear oral arguments today

The fate of Perry v. Schwarzenegger – the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8’s constitutionality – will be decided by a three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which convened this morning at 10 am (Monday, December 6). Some gay marriage advocates worry that Perry v. Schwarzenegger seems fast tracked for the Supreme Court, forcing a national showdown on gay marriage. We hear about those arguments and the judges’ reactions from our KPCC reporter, Julie Small, who was in courtroom.
Mercer 12575
Think of it as one dreaded holiday dinner where several feuding members of your family are all seated around the same table: your cranky uncle, Bush-era tax cuts, are looking for an extension that will include tax breaks for the very wealthiest Americans; your somewhat unmotivated brother, unemployment insurance benefits, is also looking for an extension to keep a fiscal lifeline open to some two million Americans who are out of work; and the role of your impatient grandfather is played by the national deficit, trying to make sense of how all of these disparate political family members will make peace in time for the holidays. Welcome to the conundrum facing members of this lame-duck Congress as we approach the holiday recess, where unemployment benefits have already expired and tax cuts to all Americans are set to run out by December 31st—and all of these debates are taking place in the shadow of the federal debt commission that has recommended a painful fiscal reckoning. Can a reasonable deal be worked out in time to save everyone’s Christmas?
Mercer 12433
Why should a rough, tough, bearded man clearly old enough to drink be asked for ID at a bar? And why did public schools decide to remove the climbing rope from gym class? Famed radio host, actor, and angry man extraordinaire Adam Carolla asks these questions and more in his new book, In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks. Carolla rips into the absurdities of American culture, hilariously commenting on our society’s uncanny knack for taking once simple things and turning them into huge ordeals and litigious fights. “What we used to settle with common senses or a fist, we now settle with hand sanitizer and lawyers,” Carolla observes. And when he’s not complaining, he gives readers a glimpse into his personal life, from football Sundays at Jimmy Kimmel’s to making it big and raising his children in such an absurd atmosphere. Adam Carolla stops by the studio to vent to Patt. Don’t even get him started on the traffic he sat in to get here...
Find an archived Episode: