Friday, July 29, 2011

Patt Morrison for Monday, August 1, 2011


Monday, August 1, 2011

1-3 p.m.






1:06 – 1:58:30





2:06 – 2:30

Job search dilemma… are you unemployable just because you’re unemployed?

Are you out of a job but want to be working? Been looking for that new position for several months or longer without any luck? Unfortunately, the news isn’t good; as shown on job sites such as, Craigslist and CareerBuilder, a trend is emerging among employers to only consider applicants who have recently become unemployed or who still have jobs elsewhere. With a plethora of job seekers for almost every vacancy at all skills levels – restaurant managers, teachers, I.T. specialists, technicians, business analysts, you name it – anyone whose skills may have faded from lack use goes to the back of the interview line. The average length of unemployment today is nine months, which is a record high, and when recruitment is limited to the “recently unemployed” millions can be eliminated from consideration. Some states are taking a look at this practice of barring unemployed workers from applying, and New Jersey is the first to pass a law to ban it. But in such a buyer’s market, what can be done to close this unemployment trap? Many go back to school to update their skills or learn new ones, volunteer to stay active and connected in society, and network, network, network, but it’s not clear how much these efforts help in finding a new job. Without job growth throughout the economy, is your job search a lost cause?



Maurice Emsellem, policy co-director, National Employment Law Project




Claudia Shah, recruiter for financial institutions; HR consultant with EE Connections LLC




2:30 – 2:58:30

Brain on Trial: researcher reevaluates how guilty criminals are based on their brains

David Eagleman recounts the crime case: On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman, a well-liked family man, stabbed his wife and mother to death and then went on a shooting rampage at the University of Texas in Austin, killing 13 people and wounding 32. The night before, he wrote a suicide note, “I don’t really understand myself these days. I am supposed to be an average reasonable and intelligent young man. However, lately I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts. I decided to kill my wife, Kathy, tonight. I love her dearly, and she has been as fine a wife to me as any man could ever hope to have. I cannot rationa[l]ly pinpoint any specific reason for doing this.”  Explanation? Whitman had a brain tumor, as an autopsy determined. Eagleman recounts another: a married man suddenly develops an obsession with child pornography and gets a prison sentence after making advances towards his stepdaughter. The night before he goes to prison, he goes to the ER for an excruciating headachedoctors find a massive tumor, remove it, and the pedophilia goes away. As a third example, Eagleman writes, there’s Parkinson’s patients who take pramipexole and become pathological gamblersthe drug mimics dopamine and thereby, in some, throws off the reward system, which draws one to food, drink, sex, etc.


What do these cases tell us? That the biology of our brains often dictates our actions, without our control. That the concepts of free will and personal responsibility are not as black-and-white as we used to think. Eagleman writes, The legal system [assumes] that we are ‘practical reasonsers’” but if free will does not exist, blameworthiness needs to be reevaluated, as does our legal system. He argues that a forward-thinking legal system informed by scientific insights into the brain will enable us to stop treating prison as a one-size-fits-all solution. In response, Eagleman and his colleagues have developed a rehabilitation method they call a prefrontal lobe workout to help people squelch their short-term desires to allow a reflection period before action. David Eagleman joins Patt to discuss this research that could transform our legal system and notions of guilt and put the brain on trial.



David Eagleman, neuroscientist; director, Laboratory for Perception and Action and Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, Baylor College of Medicine; author of bestselling book SUM and, most recently, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain




Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
Southern California Public Radio
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