Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Patt Morrison for

Patt Morrison for July 14, 2011

From This Episode


Facial profiling: more crime fighting tool or civil liberties threat?

The hand-held facial-recognition device can snap a picture of a face from up to five feet away, or scan a person's irises from up to six inches away, and immediately search for a match in a database of people with criminal records. No, it’s not a scene from the movie “Minority Report” or Facebook’s latest tagging technology, but the product description of a Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS, which can attach to the back of an iPhone. Until recently, such a device was only found in military operations, but it could soon be coming to a sheriff’s department near you. Law enforcement groups are split on the matter; police in Arizona are eager to use the gadget to identify people who aren't carrying their ID when stopped, while the National Association of Police Organizations is concerned that, because of its close range, iris scanning could be considered a "search." A search requires a warrant, so without one, facial scanning faces a host of civil liberties challenges, not to mention a bunch of significant questions about privacy in public places. It’s generally legal for anyone with a camera to take pictures of people in public space but once a law-enforcement officer stops someone, a different standard applies. Would you submit to facial scanning? And is the technology up to par after years of jumpstarts, like the attempt at Logan airport, where the system couldn’t even detect the images of employees whose photos were in the database?


Making city roads a driver’s nightmare

Inching along surface streets in bumper-to-bumper traffic can be hellish, but imagine driving in a city with structures and regulations specifically designed to torture car users—with large portions of blocked road, fees for traveling in congested areas, popular biking programs authorized to hog car lanes, closely spaced red lights, and reduced parking. Oh, the horror! But many European cities, like Vienna, Paris, Barcelona, London and Stockholm, are taking exactly these measures to meet their Kyoto Protocol emission obligations and make their urban environments more livable for humans. It seems that Americans often change their cities to make them better for their cars—the upcoming 405 closure and toll lanes come to mind—and not necessarily for their inhabitants, as the Europeans do. Some have pointed out that such transportation changes are easier for them than for us, since cars are so deeply entrenched in American culture, and because many European cities have old, narrow avenues that can’t easily handle automobile congestion. But others attribute the “improvements” to strong policy and a conscious shift in European public attitudes. Though New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg “pedestrianized” Times Square, there haven’t been similar large-scale changes yet. Will Americans ever be able to put the environment ahead of their cars? And if so, will we do it differently from the Europeans? Weigh in with your transit questions and comments.


Who do you blame? Obama, Bush, Republicans, Democrats all in the crosshairs as debt crisis looms

With negotiations on a “grand bargain” that would dramatically reduce the federal budget deficit, through some combination of spending cuts and tax increases, breaking down in an ugly fashion—and with an August 2nd deadline looming to raise the debt ceiling before the U.S. starts to default—the blame game is on. Congressional Republicans blame President Obama, and not just for the failure to reach a compromise, but on the lousy overall state of the economy, the huge $14 trillion deficit and for playing class warfare politics. President Obama blames Republicans for refusing to consider new tax increase on the wealthy even as he is offering up broad cuts in entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare, that Democrats hold sacred. Who do you blame? According to a new Quinnipiac poll, you blame just about everyone and a political ghost from our not too distant past. The country is in a recession, 71% of American voters say in the poll, but by 54 – 27% they blame former President George W. Bush more than President Obama. President Obama’s approval ratings are still languishing at 47% but Congress fares much worse. Voters say by 67 – 25% that an agreement to raise the debt ceiling should include tax hikes for the wealthy and corporations, not just spending cuts. In Washington, not surprisingly, each group is blaming the other. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid called House Majority leader Eric Cantor, who reportedly had a blow up with the president during negotiations yesterday, “childish.” Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell declared that no real solution to the deficit was possible as long as President Obama was in office. These criticisms are predictable, but what remains unpredictable is the ultimate outcome of this showdown and which side voters will punish in 2012. Who do you blame?

Recent Episodes from Patt Morrison

Patt Morrison for September 7, 2012

Broadcasting live from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, we check up on how President Obama's speech checks out. And Hollywood's been at the DNC – actors Richard Schiff and Beau Bridges riff on that enduring connection. Also, Comedy Congress’ big wrapup in Charlotte – Diane Sawyer talks about her age and Mike Dukakis talks about what ifs.

Patt Morrison for September 6, 2012

It’s old home day at the Democratic Convention... that is, if your home is California. The Golden State’s Attorney General Kamala Harris, southern California Congresswoman Judy Chu, and actor Richard Schiff, he is of "The West Wing" and a new political show called "Chasing the Hill." Plus, a post game analysis of former President Bill Clinton’s address to the Democratic troops.

Patt Morrison for September 5, 2012

We’ll hear the First Lady’s speech but what does her body language say? We’ll be reading it. And, what party muckety mucks are keeping away from President Obama and staying home from the Democrats’ big dance? We’ll do the Charlotte two step.

Patt Morrison for September 4, 2012

How do the conventions look to the rest of the world? And how well do foreigners understand the electoral college? We’re polyglot with the foreign press in Charlotte. And, what did Nancy Pelosi tell Comedy Congress about Clint Eastwood and his chair?

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