Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Patt Morrison for Thursday, April 14, 2011


Thursday, April 14, 2011

1-3 p.m.






1:06 – 1:19




1:21:30 – 1:39

Bumping our heads on the ceiling, arguments for & against raising the debt ceiling

The federal government has to borrow an additional $125 billion a month to finance all of its commitments, from paying Medicare benefits to keeping American troops in Afghanistan.  Without raising the $14.3 debt ceiling imposed by Congress the government’s borrowing binge must end with potentially devastating consequences—or easily manageable, and possibly even positive, consequences depending on who you believe.  There are some economists who are starting to argue that defaulting on loans to the U.S. government might not be that bad, after all Argentina did it back in 2002 and it helped to reduce their debt and remake their economy.  Many Republicans in Congress are against raising the debt ceiling on the principle of deficit reduction, targeting the symbolic mechanism that allows the government to continue borrowing money and driving us deeper in debt.  But there is an economic argument that bond markets are essentially holding the U.S. government hostage for their own gains.  Will failing to raise the debt ceiling touch off the financial catastrophe that has been predicted?



Christopher Whalen, founder & managing director of finance research firm Institutional Risk Analytics


  • Whalen is the author of the op-ed piece published on titled “Why Congress should vote no on raising the debt ceiling”




1:41:30 – 1:58:30

Paul Watson, captain & ideological leader in the whale wars

It’s a war that is fought far away from prying eyes, in parts of the world’s oceans that are so remote it’s hard to know what kind of overarching authority exists there—until Animal Planet put its cameras on board the whale preservation group Sea Shepherd’s vessels, little was realized about the Japanese whaling operations in the Antarctic or the activist campaign to stop them.  Japanese whalers, operating under the auspices of scientific research, killed over 1,000 whales during the 2009 – 2010 season but they have faced increasing pressure from Sea Shepherd led by their captain and founder Paul Watson.  Watson overseas two, and sometimes three, ships cruising Antarctica with the chief goal of interrupting Japanese whaling.  As Watson returns to the U.S. and the latest season of “Whale Wars” gets ready to premiere on Animal Planet in June he has reason to feel good.  Sea Sheppard estimates they prevented the killing of 800 whales, making this campaign their most successful.  Often called an “eco-terrorist,” Paul Watson steers his ship into the KPCC studio to talk about saving whales and taking on the Japanese with abandon.



Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society & co-founding director of the Greenpeace Foundation


  • Watson is in town to deliver the keynote address at the Go Green Expo, the biggest green consumer show on the West Coast.
  • Sea Shepherd is working on shark preservation, trying to create the world’s first shark sanctuary.
  • Sea Shepherd is also fighting against over-fishing of blue fin tuna in the Mediterranean.




2:06 – 2:19

Civil War sesquicentennial, LA style

The civil war started 150 years ago and 3,000 miles away, but that doesn’t mean California was immune. The Golden State in 1861—divided between pro-Dixie LA, pro-Union San Francisco and the many Californians in favor of seceding to form an independent Pacific Republic—lay at the fulcrum of the slave states vs. free states debate. Patt toasts the Civil War sesquicentennial, LA style, with nods to an underground network of pro-Confederate conspirators, a plot to seize Alcatraz and of course the camels the army brought here to use for military purposes in the desert (weird, but true).



Adam Goodheart, author of 1861: The Civil War Awakening. He is director of Washington College’s C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, and contributes frequently to The Times’s online Civil War series, “Disunion.”





2:21:30 – 2:39

No strikes you’re out: Little League bans composite bats

Spring is in the air, and that means baseball season. But the game is in major flux this year, as college, high school and now Little League baseball have all placed moratoriums on composite-barrel bats—the power-hitting kind that make the ball go farther than their wood or metal-alloy alternatives. Little League says composite bats’ advanced technology give players an unfair advantage. Other fans of the ban say it promotes a safer game with less powerful line drives aimed at pitchers. Opponents say there isn’t much difference between how composite and wood bats hit or how often they cause injuries. To make things more complicated, Little League is the only youth league banning the bats, leading some parents to park their kids in one of the other four leagues. What’s the real difference and what’s the future of baseball? Could the ban mean a new kind of game focused on speed and base running rather than the power-hitting pastime Americans know and love?



Mike May, director of communications, Sporting goods manufacturing association and founder of the organization Don’t Take My Bat Away (DTMBA)



  • Argues there’s a misconception that you have a higher rate of injury in the sport when you use non-wood bats. Collisions and throw balls and strains and sprains from running the bases are where the most injuries come from


Milan Mrakich, administrator and coach, Little League – District 18 (covers the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles). Milan sat on the forum that made the decision to ban composite bats in Little League




2:41:30 – 2:58:30

The Quantum Man

Richard Feynman was a superstar of science. As a musician, an extrovert, a well-known party guest and a noble laureate in the field of quantum electrodynamic theory, Feynman made a name for himself, beyond just a scientist, but as a modern Vitruvian man. Feynman was revolutionary in his field for developing the “Feynman diagrams,” an outline for the mathematical expression governing the behavior of subatomic particles. A contemporary and a biographer of Feynman: Lawrence M. Krauss is here to talk about his new book about the man himself - it is titled simply: The Quantum Man.



Lawrence Krauss is an author, a professor at Arizona State University. He earned his PHD in theoretical physics from MIT and his latest book, a biography on the life of Richard Feynman, is titled The Quantum Man




Patt: We’re finished here, but the conversation continues on the Patt Morrison page at KPCC-dot-org and you can follow us on Twitter. You’re listening to 89.3 KPCC – Southern California Public Radio.






Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
Southern California Public Radio
NPR Affiliate for Los Angeles
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