PATT MORRISON SCHEDULE
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
CALL-IN @ 866-893-5722, 866-893-KPCC; OR JOIN THE CONVERSATION ONLINE ON THE PATT MORRISON BLOG AT KPCC-DOT-ORG
1:06 – 1:30 - OPEN
1:30 – 1:58:30
Congressional speech proven to be sophomoric
What does it take for a politician to communicate with the American public? Apparently, speaking like a tenth grader. Using the Flesch-Kincaid test, which equates longer words and sentences with more complex ideas, a nonprofit called the Sunlight Foundation has analyzed the speeches of our representatives and senators over the course of the last year. Their discovery? That our current Congress speaks at a 10.6 grade level – down from the 11.5 grade level lawmakers earned seven years ago. Before you get too critical, the majority of Americans only read at an eighth- or ninth-grade level, so supposedly most of our representatives still speak over our heads. Other correlations made include moderates speaking at a higher level than extremists (no matter what the party), Democrats speaking at a higher level than Republicans (but only since 2005), and the more that someone speaks, the simpler his or her speech tends to be. Representative Mick Mulvaney, who was ranked lowest in the study, told CNN that he is intentionally plainspoken. “If you want someone to understand your message, you speak clearly and concisely.” President Obama most likely feels the same – his State of the Union speech has been at an eighth grade level for the last three years. Is there something to be said for speaking simply? Do tests like the Flesch-Kincaid undervalue conciseness? What do you think of the level of dialogue in Congress?
2:06 – 2:30
How much would you pay for some Reagan DNA?
A British auction website has listed quite the unusual item - a medical vial purportedly containing the residue of late President Ronald Reagan’s blood. The listing alleges the vial once contained a blood sample taken at the hospital when President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. on March 30, 1981. But the authenticity of the item still remains in question. Michael Reagan said in an interview that the claim is ‘bogus,’ and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library has said if it is a legitimate claim, they won’t stand for its sale. The seller contends it’s the real deal even claiming that he did contact the Reagan Foundation previously and declined to simply donate the vial per their request. Also included in the sale are a lab report with more information and a letter of provenance from the current owner. Thus far, the bidding has reached nearly $15,000. So which is it, a legitimate claim or just another circus trip? And if the seller’s claim is true, should he be able to sell such a thing? The sale of body parts, or anything containing DNA is prohibited eBay.
Kevin Conway, owner of Conway’s Vintage Treasures, a Providence, Rhode Island-based online store that specializes in vintage memorabilia like autographs
2:30 – 2:39 - OPEN
2:41:30 – 2:58:30
My 64,000 + member book club…on Twitter
It’s always difficult for book clubs to choose their next subject, but it’s especially difficult for Jeff Howe, who runs a book club with over 64,000 members…on Twitter. How does it work? What do they read? And with the world’s great books all tweeted in 140 characters, is it really worth it? Howe explains that it’s not only the format of books that is changing, but the entire reading experience. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Howe thinks Twitter could be the most social reading experience yet. Still, it’s left others wondering: Is the book dying, or getting a social life?
Jeff Howe, assistant professor at Northeastern University, where he teaches multimedia journalism; he’s the author of "Crowdsourcing: How the Power of Crowds is Driving the Future of Business," and he runs a 64,000 + member book club via Twitter
Producer - Patt Morrison
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