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Leno, immigration, state budget, oh my!
Well, that was lively. Not surprisingly, many of you had strong feelings about the much-rumored likelihood that NBC will move Jay Leno back to 11:30 (albeit in truncated form). Much as I like Conan O'Brien, I always thought it was a mistake to chase Jay from the Tonight Show. It's nice that NBC thinks about the future, but you don't take your star pitcher out of the game when he's still throwing the heat.
Our discussion of that UCLA study on immigration, as expected, prompted plenty of sparks between the guests and lots of calls and blog postings from you. Say what you will about the subject, my sense is that immigration reform has to be part of any long-term approach to boosting the economy. These workers are an integral part of the machinery.
And thanks to KPCC's Julie Small for giving us a sneak peek at the state budget. All we know for sure is that it ain't gonna be pretty.
Larry followed with FilmWeek and, as usual, helped us all know how to spend our multiplex money. See you next time.
All That Jazz
It's not every day you get to chat with one of your heroes. Can't tell you what a thrill it was to spend some time with Wynton Marsalis. I have several of his jazz and classical CDs at home, and have spent many hours listening to him coax sounds out of a trumpet that I never thought possible. For my money, Marsalis' takes on the Haydn trumpet concerto and Pachelbel's Canon in D are the definitive versions. And mad props to the guy for his work with kids and in classrooms. A class act all the way.
We sure covered some ground on our other segments today. Healthcare -- well, that's a topic that won't go away any time soon. Our guests were right: Any movement on a public option will happen behind closed doors, after all the political posturing has been put to rest and lawmakers can get down to some real horse trading. I'm not very optimistic that a public option will make it all the way to the president's desk, but it's nice to hope.
Cellphones on planes? No thanks. I understand that the safety issues may have been resolved, and that usage may be limited. But I agree with everyone who called in saying cellphones will only be an annoyance. As if flying wasn't bad enough already. Also, very interesting discussions of the nutritional merits (or not) of high-fructose corn syrup, as well as the dwindling value of the dollar. I learned a lot today. Hope you did as well.
Larry's back tomorrow.
-- David Lazarus
Eight Years Since 9-11
Eight years since 9-11. They said at the time that nothing would ever be the same. In fact, everything seems the same, only more so.
Reading articles and watching videos before today's show reminded me what a scary day 9-11 was. Certainly there's been no similar experience in my lifetime. As I mentioned on the air, it really hit home for me a couple of years ago when I visited ground zero in New York. I was unprepared for the flood of emotion as I stood at the site of the fallen towers. I was also startled to see people hawking all manner of souvenir -- startled but not really surprised. This is the American way.
Obviously any loss of life is shocking and terrible. I can only imagine what the families of 9-11 victims went through, and continue to go through. Yet this event doesn't seem to have transformed us a nation in any meaningful way. We still act rashly and, in the eyes of some, arrogantly. We still place short-term gain ahead of long-term interests. We still traffic in fear as a political commodity. And, at the end of the day, we sell souvenirs.
Hearing your voices reminded me that the scars of 9-11 run deep, and perhaps that's a good thing. We want to come to terms with tragedy, but we don't want to forget it. In remembrance there is closure, and perhaps healing. I'm an optimist. I'd like to think that something positive will eventually emerge from catastrophe, that we will ultimately come together as a nation and leave divisiveness behind. We're nowhere close to that point now. Maybe one day.
Nine-eleven reminds us that there is horror in the world, but there is also hope. It is there that I choose to reside, and to await the future.
Thanks for having me today. Larry's back Monday.
-- David Lazarus
A Hot time
A fiery finish to the week. We opened with -- what else? -- the wildfires raging throughout the region, bringing you updates from our reporters on the scene and big-picture perspective from fire officials. The smoke will probably linger through the weekend, so be careful if you're in the vicinity of any of the blazes. Limit outdoor exposure and strenuous activity. Always better to play it safe under such circumstances.
Before we went on the air today, the producers and I were debating the question of how much freedom parents should give their kids. The topic arises because of the horrific story of the woman who was returned to her family this week after 18 years of captivity. She'd been kidnapped at the age of 11 while heading to a bus stop. Clearly there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to how watchful a parent should be. But I thought our guest made a compelling case for why things are different, and more dangerous, now than they were when many of us were growing up. I respect all the callers who said you need to give kids their independence. But I'll still remain vigilant.
Filmweek is always a hoot, and it was fun running down the new releases with Claudia and Andy. Then we were joined by Bobcat Goldthwait to discuss his new movie, "World's Greatest Dad." I'm a big fan of the Bobcat. It was a blast having him around.
And it was a pleasure, as always, to spend time with all of you. Larry's back Monday.
-- David Lazarus
Smoke and Ash
I've had a sore throat ever since the fires started this week. So it didn't come as much comfort to learn from the experts that, yes, all this smoke and ash and whatnot is dangerous, and, no, there's not much you can do about it. Sure, we can all stay inside as much as we can. But you've still got to breathe, and sooner or later some of that soot is going to make its way down your throat. At least we should be through the worst of it by this weekend.
I share the frustration of everyone who called in voicing opposition to California's new tax hike. But as our guest explained, this is an automatic adjustment related to inflation and not a money grab by Sacramento lawmakers. Moreover, those adjustments have favored taxpayers for the past 25 years. I can stomach the occasional adjustment that pinches a bit. As more than one caller observed today, that's the price for keeping the state running.
Great stuff on healthcare. First we had a spirited conversation about whether healthcare reform should be put off until the economy improves (no), and then we asked whether new medical findings mean all boys should be circumcised (unclear). Why am I not surprised that so many of you had strong feeling on both issues?
Back for one more go tomorrow. Looking forward to it.
-- David Lazarus