Thursday, March 14, 2013

AirTalk for Friday, March 15th, 2013

Contact: Producers Joel Patterson, Jasmin Tuffaha, Anny Celsi &




Friday, March 15, 2013

11:06 –11:20
Topic: OPEN
Guest:  TBA

11:20 -11:40
Topic:  Obama campaign support morphs into social action network: [blurb to come] They won’t have to change the monogram - Obama for America has become Organizing for Action.  This week, former Obama campaign workers and supporters met to launch a new nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to fighting for the president’s legislative agenda on issues like gun control, immigration reform and the budget.  The group’s founders see this as a way to continue to mobilize the army of volunteers and donors who helped elect Obama to a second term last year.  As the president himself told a Wednesday night gathering, the swell of energy harnessed under his message of  change during the 2008 campaign “just kind of disspipated” once the election was over, and he wants to avoid making the same mistake this time around.  Top campaign staffers are heading up the new organization and top donors are being tapped to keep the money flowing in - a donation of $500,000 will put donors on a national advisory board that will meet with the president quarterly. Campaign reform advocates are crying foul, accusing Obama of violating the Ethics in Government Act Ban which prohibits elected officials from soliciting gifts.  They say the new OFA is just a thinly disguised super-PAC, selling presidential access and influence to the highest bidders, and that Obama’s involvement - such as speaking at the dinner - is suspect. And, they point out, siimilar complaints have been lodged by Democrats against groups that support GOP candidates and agendas. The group’s national chairman, Jim Messina, wrote in CNN that Organizing for Action “is an issue advocacy group, not an electoral one” and that its mission is to “rebalance the power structure” against special interests.  Is Organizing for Action making an end run around governmental ethics rules to push the president’s agenda?  Should Obama curtail his involvement with the group?

Guest: TBD

Topic: Can information obtained under “truth serum” be used in court? The idea of using “truth serum” to get a subject to open up and spill the beans goes back to ancient Rome, when people noticed the tongue-loosening effects of wine. But is information obtained under the influence admissible in court? This week, a judge in Colorado ruled that prosecutors could use a “truth serum” – most likely a drug such as sodium amytal – to extract uninhibited testimony from James Holmes. Holmes is suspected of the shooting spree in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater last July that left 12 dead and 58 injured; his lawyers are expected to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.  The “truth serum” option is being considered as a way to determine whether or not Holmes was indeed insane at the time of the shooting.  But experts question both the legal and the medical validity of the technique.  Starting in the 1920’s, barbiturates such as Pentothal and Amytal were sometimes used by police departments and in courtrooms, but by the 1950’s they had been judged more or less invalid by the scientific community. In 1963 the Supreme Court declared drug-induced confessions unconstitutional and therefore inadmissible. The Holmes case would mirror the 1959 trial of accused killer Raymond Cartier, with a twist: in that case, truth serum was used by the defense to support their claim that Cartier had been insane at the time of his wife’s murder. Does the use of barbiturates to elicit a courtroom confession violate the defendant’s 5th Amendment right to remain silent? Can anything said under such conditions be considered valid - or “truthful?”  Is there any such thing as a reliable “truth serum,” or is this just the stuff of spy novels?

Guest: Laurie Levenson, professor of Law, Loyola Law School and a former federal prosecutor

12:06 – 12:40
Topic: FilmWeek: The Call, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Spring Breakers, and more: Larry is joined by KPCC film critics Tim Cogshell, Claudia Puig, and Charles Soloman to review the week’s new film releases including The Call, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Spring Breakers, and more. TGI-FilmWeek!

Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC and Alt Film Guide
Claudia Puig, film critic for KPCC and USA Today
Charles Solomon, film critic and animation historian for KPCC, author for

12:40 – 1:00
Topic: “The Searchers” and how a John Wayne film redefined how we look back at the Old West: [blurb coming]
Guest: Glenn Frankel, author of “The Searchers”

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