Friday, February 17, 2012

Patt Morrison for Monday, February 20, 2012 - PRESIDENTS' DAY HOLIDAY - SHOW ON TAPE


Monday, February 20, 2012

1-3 p.m.




1:00 – 1:30

Is the right to vote really a right?

Since the 2008 election, significant changes in voting laws have been made in some GOP-controlled states. Republicans say that the new restrictions are based on a need to “protect the integrity of the election,” but Democrats are crying foul and calling the new laws “voter suppression.” Speaking to a group of college students in July, former President Clinton said, “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today." The new restrictions include reducing early voting, requiring that voters show ID at voting centers, eliminating same-day voter registration and making it harder for college students to vote away from their home districts. Election workers can be fined for breaking these rules, prompting the nonpartisan League of Women Voters to suspend their Florida voter registration drives.  Republicans in Florida justified the changes on the grounds that they believe voting shouldn’t be easy or convenient.  During debate over the changes Florida Senator Michael Bennett argued that voting “is a hard-fought privilege. This is something people died for. Why should we make it easier?” Democrats stand to suffer from the new restrictions, passed in several Republican-controlled states, because they will have the greatest effect on students, elderly voters, the poor, disabled and minorities – demographics that traditionally skew towards the Democrats. Are the new restrictions a political agenda or based on a need to streamline the voting process?  Is making it harder for people to vote a good thing? 



David Savage, Supreme Court reporter for the Los Angeles Times

John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank that promotes bipartisanship

Heather Smith, president, Rock the Vote


1:30 – 2:00

Journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan and the modern black experience

Erin Aubry Kaplan is a Los Angeles-based author and journalist who is renowned for addressing issues of race head on and with a deft touch.  In her new book, Black Talk, Blue Thoughts and Walking the Color Line, Kaplan turns her keen eye and unique literary voice to topics that encompass the full range of the modern African American experience.  The book features thirty-three essays about a wide range of topics that originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, and elsewhere. Subjects range from the mundane to the tragic – including stories about Hurricane Katrina, Tiger Woods and Serena Williams, as well as new essays about President Barack Obama and her personal struggles with depression. But the common thread is Kaplan’s ability to distill life in the 21st century down to its complex and beautiful absurdity.



Erin Aubry Kaplan, author, “Black Talk, Blue Thoughts, and Walking the Color Line: Dispatches from a Black Journalista;” contributing editor, op-ed section of the Los Angeles Times


2:00 – 2:30

Ey, watcha! The linguistics of the East L.A. accent and beyond

For those of us lifelong Angelenos (an-juh-LEE-nohs), where we live doesn’t just distinguish the types of foods we eat (K-town for the best Korean BBQ), but also how we talk. We all know the, like, Valley Girl speak, but we rarely talk about the East L.A. accent. As Hector Becerra writes in a recent Los Angeles Times article, “Chicano English crosses racial and ethnic lines” and is mostly prevalent in Boyle Heights, El Sereno and City Terrace. Linguists propose that the Mexican American accent stems from an indigenous group in Mexico, Nahuatl. Distinguished by high vowels and pronouncing “ch” as “sh,” the accent is more of a regional marker than one of race or ethnicity. Of course, the thing with accents is that no one believes they’re the one with the accent. And Los Angeles is filled to the brim with languages and accents from around the world. Have you noticed the East L.A. accent? Do you speak Chicano English? What is it about our city that makes the sounds of its citizens so unique?



Hector Becerra, metro reporter for the Los Angeles Times

Carmen Fought (FAWT), professor of linguistics, Pitzer College


2:30 – 3:00

 “Tension City”:  journalist Jim Lehrer on presidential debates

Award-winning journalist Jim Lehrer’s new book “Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain” takes a witty, behind-the-scenes look at more than 40 years of televised presidential debates. Lehrer, long considered one of the most well respected figures in broadcast journalism, has interviewed every president since Gerald Ford, and has moderated eleven presidential and vice presidential debates. He is the executive editor and former anchor of PBS News Hour and author of 20 novels, two memoirs and three plays. Lehrer’s book includes in-depth interviews with candidates and other moderators, revealing the stories behind debate blunders, snafus, off-air conversations and critical moments. From candidate hesitations to jokes gone wrong, these tiny televised details had a direct impact on presidential elections, and, of course, history. Lehrer’s lively tales from the frontlines include Ronald Reagan’s affinity for one-liners, John McCain and President Barack Obama exchanging little eye contact during one 90 minute debate and Dan Quayle comparing himself continuously to John F. Kennedy. What presidential debate moments have surprised or shocked you the most? What moments would you like Jim Lehrer to shed some light on?



Jim Lehrer, award-winning American author, playwright and journalist. He is the executive editor and former anchor of PBS News Hour and author of 20 novels, two memoirs and three plays.

  • Spanning a fifty-year career, Lehrer has interviewed every president since Gerald Ford and has moderated eleven presidential debates.










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