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 September 8, 2011

From This Episode


Vocabulary of disaster: How 9/11 did or didn’t change the way we talk

How did 9/11 forever change Americans’ language? Linguist Geoffry Nunberg argues not much. He’s been making a list of words since 2001 that were connected to 9/11 and its repercussions. “They're a jumble: axis of evil and "the army you have," cakewalk, coalition of the willing and "connect the dots," "dead or alive" and "don't touch my junk," evildoers and enhanced interrogation.” There was also that one phrase: “the terrorists win,” which was employed so often that it quickly became a parody of itself, appearing in a November 2001 New Yorker cartoon that showed a man in a bar saying, "I figure if I don't have that third martini, then the terrorists win." Most of those words and sayings have already disappeared, and other than “9/11” itself, few others will probably be around in another decade. Buzzwords come and go, but it's significant that 9/11 has left almost no traces on our everyday language. Nunberg believes the ephemeral nature of the words born out of 9/11 is a testament to the relatively narrow impact 9/11 had on Americans’ lives. As proof, he points to when the American Dialect Society voted on the word of the decade in 2010, and “9/11” came in third, behind “Google” and “blog,” showing perhaps that, over the last decade, the Internet has gotten a lot more of our attention than 9/11, and it has given us a lot more new words. According to Nunberg, “If there's any difference between the new normal and the old, you couldn't tell it from the way we talk.” Do you agree? Call Patt with the 9/11 words that you’ve noticed or use in everyday language.


The sun sets on Solyndra as FBI raids bankrupt solar company—was the Obama administration too cozy?

Hailed as one of the finest examples of the green technology revolution, the Fremont-based solar company Solyndra had bright prospects when it began operations in 2005. Its innovative solar panel design and potential to create thousands of jobs enabled the company to score a handsome $535 million federal loan under President Obama’s green energy program, and it seemed that money would ensure the firm’s development for years to come. But last week, Solyndra suddenly fired 1,100 workers and declared bankruptcy, and this morning officials from the FBI and DOE raided the company’s buildings for undisclosed reasons. Though Solyndra’s spokesperson maintained that he wasn’t aware of the reason for the raid, details are emerging that suggest federal officials had been concerned about the risk of the loan for some time in light of the DOE’s recent restructuring of its deal with the company. More troubling questions are being raised over whether the political influence wielded by one of President Obama’s campaign “bundlers,” who owns a portion of Solyndra, may have contributed to the company’s selection as the administration’s first loan guarantee recipient. In contrast to the vigorous denials of unfair procedure by the DOE, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) articulated this growing sentiment when he asked "How did this company, without maybe the best economic plan, all of a sudden get to the head of the line?," and vowed to get to the bottom of the matter. What will be uncovered in the FBI’s raid? What does this mean for the credibility of Obama’s green energy program, and the “green revolution” in general?


As healthcare spending doubles, the ranks of the uninsured & underinsured grow

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Patt Morrison for September 5, 2012

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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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