Friday, July 1, 2011

Patt Morrison for Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

1-3 p.m.





1:06 – 1:19




1:21 – 1:39

Does China own too much U.S. debt?  
Our biggest creditor, China, holds at least $1.115 trillion in U.S. debt, and is a frequent presence at the Treasury’s weekly auctions, which sell between $13 billion and $35 billion of debt at each session. Reuters investigated the U.S. Department of the Treasury and found that a 2009 change in the procedure for debt auctions was made in response to suspicions that China was buying more debt than it reported. Officials were particularly worried when they discovered that Chinese entities were using “guaranteed bidding,” a method by which they arranged with dealers to place bids at auctions for them and then collected the bought debt afterward. This enabled China to remain anonymous in the transactions and to skirt the Treasury’s requirement that no single bidder purchase more than 35% of the bonds at a given auction. Worried that China had acquired a controlling interest multiple times, the Treasury accordingly changed its policy to exclude guaranteed bidding, though it publicly attributed the change to “technical modernization.” Was the Treasury aware that China was buying more debt than allowed? And if so, how long did they know it before they changed the rules? What economic impact, if any, could result from China's owning so much of U.S debt?



Emily Flitter, reporter, Reuters





1:41 – 1:58:30

Petty to Bachmann: You’re ‘No American Girl’. 

Michele Bachmann is the most recent in a long line of mostly Republican candidates asked to refrain from using campaign theme songs written by mostly left-leaning artists.  Case in point, Tom Petty asked Michele Bachmann to stop using his song “American Girl”, and as if that wasn’t bad enough Katrina and the Waves told her she can’t use “Walking on Sunshine” either.  But Bachmann’s won’t back down she’s playing the song anyway.  Experts say there is a bit of a gray area when it comes to whether a politician can continue to use a song once the artist has asked them to stop, but generally most candidates do.  The controversy started when Bruce Springsteen told Ronald Regan to stop using his song “message of hope” (contrary to popular belief Regan never actually played “Born in the U.S.A”).  Bachmann shouldn’t feel too bad for being turned down twice; George W. Bush was rejected four times.  He was told to stop playing Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”, John Mellencamp’s “R.O.C.K in the U.S.A”, Sting’s “Brand New Day” and “Still the One” by Orleans.  Sen. John McCain took some flack for his running mate Sarah Palin’s use of the Heart song “Barracuda”.  McCain had to settle out of court with Jackson Brown for using “Running on Empty” in a campaign ad without permission.  While Republicans seem to have a hard time of it, Democratic candidates like Bill Clinton not only get the thumbs up, sometimes they can get a popular band to reunite, as was the case with Fleetwood Mac when Clinton used their song “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” for his campaign.  So what is a Republican candidate to do?  The safe bet? Play a country song. 



Ken Rudin, political editor and writer of the Political Junkie blow for National Public Radio (NPR)



Brian Hiatt, senior writer, Rolling Stone





2:06 – 2:30

U.S. Supreme Court term ends, leaving business pleased, consumers sour, and younger players of violent video games entertained

The Supreme Court’s recent term featured momentous decisions, with several verdicts relying on new applications of the First Amendment and others seeming to defend business interests. Free speech played a central role in Court rulings that allowed protesters to demonstrate at funerals, enabled generic drug companies to forgo warning labels, and protected politicians who opt for private financing, Other decisions resulted in narrowed criteria for class-action law suits, a validation of Arizona’s law dictating stricter penalties for businesses hiring illegal workers, and easier inmate access to DNA evidence that could help prove their innocence. The Court also rendered judgment on issues affecting us right here in California, finding that a ban on violent video games sold to minors violated the First Amendment’s right to free speech and that overcrowded state prisons infringed on the Eighth’s protection against “cruel and unusual punishment.”


Four justices have joined the bench in the last five years, with strong convictions and sometimes controversial ways of reading the law. Much of the time, they are sharply divided along ideological lines—in fact, 12 out of recent 14 decisions saw this pattern. Conservative justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia often voted together, as did liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan; the moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy served as the “swing” vote on most decisions. It would seem that many of the recent rulings are in line traditionally rightist and leftist attitudes on business rights, consumer protection, inmate rights and immigration. How strong are their respective influences on the bench, and what historically has caused changes in that balance of power? What common beliefs do the justices share, and what are they unwilling to compromise on? And will Obama’s healthcare plan, affirmative action and Prop 8 be next on the Court’s agenda?



Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times.


  • He began covering the Supreme Court for the Times in the fall of 2008 and has written a column called “Sidebar,” on developments in the law, since 2007. Mr. Liptak’s series on ways in which the United States’s legal system differs from those of other developed nations, “American Exception,” was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting.


Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of University of California, Irvine’s law school




2:30 – 2:58:30



Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
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