Monday, June 13, 2011

Patt Morrison for Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

1-3 p.m.





1:06 – 1:19




1:21:30 – 1:39

The greatest theft ever?  The curious case of $6.6 billion missing from Iraq reconstruction funds

It’s a story straight out of a national security novel:  armored tractor-trailer trucks leaving the Federal Reserve currency repository in East Rutherford, New Jersey, stuffed with hundreds of millions of dollars in cash, bound for Andrews Air Force Base and a C-130 ride to Iraq.  It’s a real life scenario that played itself out 21 times between 2003 – 2004 as the Bush Administration made a desperate attempt to stabilize post-invasion Iraq and provide basic government services that had all but shutdown in the chaos of war.  $12 billion in cash, in total, made its way to Iraq; because of sloppy (or sometimes nonexistent) tracking, $6.6 billion of that cash is still unaccounted for.  The Pentagon has been asking for more time to investigate the fate of the missing cash but the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction isn’t waiting around any longer, hypothesizing that the money could have been stolen outright.  Throughout the Iraq war hundreds of millions of dollars were nefariously taken by contractors, Iraqi officials and even U.S. military personnel through graft, theft and extortion but nothing compares to $6.6 billion in $100 bills.  Could this be the biggest heist in history?




Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction




1:41:30 – 1:58:30

IRS sees skyrocketing cases of identity theft 

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), in 2008 the IRS found 52,000 cases of identity theft.  Last year that number jumped to 245,000. And the scary news is most experts expect that number to be much higher due to the delay associated with reporting these crimes. The cases typically involve individuals either using false social security card numbers to collect another person’s tax refund or to avoid paying taxes all together.  The IRS is somewhat hamstrung in terms of what they can do to help consumers.  The agency has set up a special unit to assist tax-payers, but the responsibility falls squarely on the individual to protect their social security number. If the IRS suspects identity theft, laws prevent the agency from disclosing the perpetrator’s identity to the taxpayer being cheated, or even, in some cases, to federal authorities.  Should more be done and what can you do protect yourself?





Robert Siciliano, McAfee consultant (McAfee is an internet security company) and identity theft expert




2:06 – 2:30
Can one Louisiana lawmaker overturn Roe v. Wade?

Louisiana State Representative John La Bruzzo is a lightening rod for change.  Tired of taking incremental steps toward the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the lawmaker recently introduced a bill that would make all abortions in his state illegal, including cases involving rape, incest and an attempt to save the mother’s life.  One might ask, isn’t that a direct violation of federal law? The answer is yes, but that’s the point.  LaBruzzo wants to take the issue to the United States Supreme Court in an attempt to challenge, and ultimately overturn, Roe v. Wade.  The legislator has an ambitious plan, but he’s going to have to wait a little longer.  Despite the fact that both the legislative and executive branches in Louisiana do not support abortion rights, his bill did not pass.  The lawmaker says it’s “more than likely” that he’ll try again.  But it may not be fast enough. Mississippi and Alabama are considering introducing similar legislation.  So is it just a matter of time before the conservative leaning Supreme Court hears a case that could result in a reversal of Roe v. Wade?

Rep. John LaBruzzo (R-Louisiana), state senator representing Louisiana’s 81st district

  • District 81 includes a section of Metairie near the storied 17th Street Canal, which was breached in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It consists of the mostly residential neighborhoods of "Bucktown," "Hog Alley," and "Old Metairie."

Donna Crane, policy director, NARAL Pro-Choice America



2:30 – 2:39




2:41:30 – 2:58:30

Finally a constructive use for the teenage brain: composing the perfect pop song

Close your eyes and imagine this: At every top music recording company, a room of white lab-coated scientists monitoring rows of electrode-bedecked teenagers and banks of computers registering their brain waves, while a new pop song blares in the background. At the song’s chorus, brain activity becomes patterned and marked, and the scientists nod approvingly as they predict the song’s commercial popularity. Sound like a crazy way to forecast the next musical hit? Perhaps not. Researchers at Emory University recently discovered that the teenage brain does respond in telling ways to new music, revealing which songs we are more likely to like—i.e., those that will become popular once released. It turns out that certain songs trigger more cells in the region of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens, which registers rewards and pleasure, though no one knows exactly why. This correlation between brain activity and popularity seems to be so strong that scientists say brain responses can be correlated with song units sold. Will teenage brains become integral to marketing in the not-so-distant future? And what can the way our brains function tell us about the biological foundation of our personal preferences?




Gregory Berns, professor of neuroeconomics & the director of the Center for Neuropolicy at Emory University


Daniel Levitin, director of the Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition & Expertise at McGill University



Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
Southern California Public Radio
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