Patt Morrison for May 4, 2011

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Without a top secret national security clearance it’s difficult to piece together the evidence that led to the tracking and killing of Osama bin Laden, but based on accounts that have leaked out it’s clear the path to the compound in Pakistan went back years and several captured al Qaeda operatives. Intelligence authorities had to find out the identities of the couriers who carried messages to and from bin Laden, and from there the now infamous Abbottabad compound was located—but how was this information extracted and could it have involved “enhanced” interrogation tactics like waterboarding? The debate over torture of terrorist detainees has begun anew after bin Laden’s death with supporters of the Bush Administration claiming that enhanced interrogation provided the intelligence that lead to bin Laden. Meanwhile Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she did not think that torture produced any actionable bin Laden intelligence. Would you think differently about torture if it helped find Osama bin Laden?
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What happens if the Fed stops paying its bills?

Last year, Congress set a spending limit of $14.3 billion and it is now coming very close to exceeding that limit. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has warned that if the U.S. does not raise the debt ceiling, fiscal calamity will spread globally. Republicans are holding steadfast to promises made to conservative voters to cut and cap government spending at all costs. One conservative leader, former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, has broken ranks. Holtz-Eakin agrees with his conservative colleagues about the need to cut spending, but he argues that defaulting on U.S. debt will send the wrong message to foreign investors. At a time when the country needs international borrowing more than ever, Holtz-Eakin argues that the U.S. needs to protect its credit rating. Patt sits down with Holtz-Eakin to find out how he envisions raising a debt ceiling while also cutting government spending. Should investors be worried about the U.S. credit rating? After compromise between Republicans and Democrats has proven nearly impossible, will leaders on both sides of the isle be able to come together to avoid exceeding the limit they themselves set?
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In 1962 James Watson was awarded the Nobel Prize, along with his research partners Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, for discovering the double helix structure of DNA. In 2011 Watson is wondering what happened to the class of super drugs—pharmaceuticals targeted for specific diseases based on the specific DNA structure of a person’s cells—that he feels should have been developed by now. At the Milken Institute Global Conference Watson spoke on the promise of medical science and to Patt he states bluntly that the promise has not been fulfilled. He saves the bulk of his criticism for pharmaceutical companies that, Watson believes, is simply not turning out the kind of effective drugs quickly enough. The discoverer of the double helix talks to Patt about what should come next in modern medicine.
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What's the truth about hunger?

Patt talks with economist Esther Duflo about her new theory debunking the conventional wisdom about hunger and poverty. After collecting data from rural villages and urban slums around the world, speaking with poor people from Morocco to Kenya, Indonesia to India about what they eat and what else they buy, she and colleague Abhijit V. Banerjee have uncovered a current and far more complex picture of world hunger. It’s a picture of a world, as they put it, “where those without enough to eat may save up to buy a TV instead, where more money doesn't necessarily translate into more food, and where making rice cheaper can sometimes even lead people to buy less rice.” What implications could their research have for international policy, foreign aid and farming? Duflo joins Patt to talk about how her research might aid policy makers in avoiding sweeping, ideological solutions to problems that defy one-size-fits-all answers.
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John Waters brings one-man show to KPCC

John Waters, the outlandish American filmmaker with an affinity for the weird, the extreme, and the shocking, has had a cult following since the early 1970s for his films Pink Flamingos and Desperate Living, among others. Waters’ release of the 1988 film Hairspray, starring Ricki Lake, brought him mainstream acclaim, after which the film was turned into a wildly popular, Tony Award-winning musical. Waters came out with a memoir last year, Role Models, in which he includes as the most inspiring individuals in his life himself, Johnny Mathis, Charles Manson-follower Leslie Van Houten, and a lesbian stripper named Zorro. Now Waters is in-studio to talk to Patt about his one-man vaudeville act, This Filthy World Goes Hollywood, described as “a send up of show business, the art world and his own lunatic career in a rapid-fire performance.”
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