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Join KPCC's AirTalk with host Larry Mantle weekdays for lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, the arts, entertainment, and more. Call-in number: 866-893-5722
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    Federal Funding Cuts To Food Stamp Program Take Affect Today

    Richmond Emergency Food Bank volunteer Abdul Olorode packs boxes with food to be handed out to needy people on November 1, 2013 in Richmond, California.; Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    President Trump’s budget proposal is causing a stir, and for those who use the nation’s food assistance program it could also affect what's put on the dinner table.

    Under Trump’s plan, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP would incorporate a “USDA Foods package” as half of its benefits. As reported by NPR, the package would include “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.” Under SNAP’s current program, recipients get money every month on an EBT card, which can be used on food that falls under certain guidelines.

    Critics of Trump’s plan say it will give a stigma to low income SNAP beneficiaries, and restrict their food choices. The USDA has said that state governments will deliver food a lower cost, although it’s unclear how the food would be distributed on a state-by-state basis, so how viable is the plan?

    Guests:

    Andrew Cheyne, director of government affairs for the California Association of Food Banks

    Brandon Lipps, acting deputy undersecretary for food nutrition and consumer services administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    A woman stands in the doorway of a court

    A room in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on March 16, 2009.; Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    The decision of whether to release a defendant on bail and on which conditions is usually left in the hands of judges, but some courtrooms are now turning to risk-assessment AI systems in an effort to make the process less biased.

    One commonly used system -- Laura and John Arnold Foundation’s Public Safety Assessment -- is now used in nearly 38 jurisdictions, including four counties and one city in Arizona, and Santa Cruz County in CA. The system  processes data on a defendant based on factors such as their prior convictions, past behavior and age, to create two scores on a scale of 1-6: the likelihood that a defendant will skip out on their court date and the likelihood that they will commit another crime. These scores are one of the many factors that a judge can choose to incorporate into their pre-trial sentencing decision.

    Proponents of using AI systems in pre-trial sentencing are hopeful that this will reduce human bias and even replace the cash bail system. But critics are afraid that judges will grow too reliant on these scores. And there are concerns that the system itself may have prejudice baked into it. The argument goes that since these risk-assessment systems rely on data about prior convictions and people of color interact more with the criminal justice system because of pre-existing human bias, they will end up with higher risk scores than white defendants.

    We talk with a researcher who is currently running a study on the Arnold Foundation’s Public Safety Assessment scoring system.

    Guests:

    Christopher Griffin, research director at Harvard’s Access to Justice Lab, which evaluates new ideas in civil and criminal justice; the lab is currently assessing the Laura and John Arnold Foundation’s Public Safety Assessment, a risk-assessment scoring system

    Suresh Venkatasubramanian, professor of computing at the University of Utah and a member of the board of directors for the ACLU Utah; he studies algorithmic fairness

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    The Beatles

    Pop group The Beatles, waving to screaming fans en route to Boston airport, America, from left to right, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, on August 12, 1966. ; Credit: Express/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    It’s safe to say love songs aren’t what they used to be – but is that such a bad thing?

    As the societal concept of love has changed, it only makes sense that romantic music has changed with it. Love songs tackle issues such as gender, sexual preference, dating, cheating – the list goes on. Arguably, these ideas have all evolved since before Mozart struck his first piano key, so how has music reflected the change?

    We sit down with LA Times music critic Mikael Wood to discuss.

    Guest:

    Mikael Wood, pop music critic for the Los Angeles Times

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    ISRAEL-POLITICS

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Muni World conference in Tel Aviv on February 14, 2018. ; Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    Allegations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust have been brought against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    As reported by CNN, Israeli police said Tuesday that there’s “sufficient evidence” to indict Netanyahu and criminal charges in two separate corruption cases have been brought against him. Israeli police are investigating whether Netanyahu accepted gifts including cigars from overseas businessmen, and is particularly honing-in on the prime minister’s relationship with Arnon Milchan, an Israeli billionaire and Hollywood film producer.

    The second case involves Netanyahu’s conversations with the owner of one of Israel’s leading newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, which is known to be critical of the prime minister. In leaked transcripts of conversations with the paper’s owner, Arnon Mozes, Netanyahu talks about limiting the circulation of a competing news publication, bartering for more favorable coverage.

    Netanyahu said Tuesday that the allegations would not amount to anything. Investigation evidence will now go to the attorney general, who will decide whether to indict the prime minister. So what does this mean for the state of Israel? Larry speaks to a reporter and analysts to find out more.

    Guests:

    Paul Danahar, Washington bureau chief for the BBC; former Jerusalem bureau chief for the network; he is also author of “The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring

    Eran Vigoda-Gadot, a political scientist and the dean of the faculty of social sciences  at The Haifa University in Israel

    Aaron David Miller, vice president for new initiatives and Middle East Program director at the Wilson Center; former adviser to Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State on Arab-Israeli negotiations, 1978-2003; he tweets @aarondmiller2

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    TOPSHOT-RUSSIA-HACKING-INVESTIGATION-INTERNET-POLITICS

    A picture taken on October 17, 2016 shows an employee walking behind a glass wall with machine coding symbols at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow. ; Credit: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    Russia is already interfering in this year’s midterms elections, according to top U.S. intelligence officials at the Senate Intelligence Committee’s annual hearing on “worldwide threats” yesterday.

    Similar to the 2016 election, Russia is currently using fake social media accounts, many of which are bots, to spread inaccurate information. Reports have also shown the U.S. state elections systems are vulnerable to hacking because of outdated technology.

    Larry sits down with Secretary of State of California Alex Padilla to hear what California is doing to protect its voting system ahead of this year’s midterm elections – plus, the executive director of Harvard’s Defending Digital Democracy Project tells us how they’re working with states and candidates to prevent hacking and interference.

    Guests:

    Alex Padilla, Secretary of State of California

    Caitlin Conley, executive director of the Defending Digital Democracy Project at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; the project aims to protect democratic processes and systems from cyber and information attacks; she’s an army officer who is currently a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Weekend Traffic

    A Los Angeles County freeway on Dec. 1, 2009.; Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority gave its support this week for a $6 billion proposal to widen the 710 Freeway.

    As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the plan would add one lane in each direction between Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach and the 60 Freeway in East Los Angeles. It could also make changes to 24 major streets and displace an estimated 436 people, many of which live in low income areas.

    But the 710 corridor is a path for tens of thousands of trucks to access the ports of L.A. and Long Beach and Metro argues that as the number of trucks increase, congestion is rising. So will a wider freeway make for a better traffic flow?

    Guests:

    Martin Wachs, distinguished professor emeritus of urban planning at UCLA

    Adrian Martinez, staff attorney at the environmental law firm, EarthJustice

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Agents From Immigration And Customs Enforcement Agency Target About 100 7-Eleven Stores In Employment Of Undocumented Raids

    A pedestrian walks past a 7-Eleven store on January 10, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.; Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    Last month, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents raided 7-11 convenience stores across the country.

    Managers were served audit notices and all-in-all, 21 workers were arrested.

    The audits and raids sent a shockwave through immigrant communities across the country, including right here in Los Angeles, where one of the 7-11 stores that was raided is located.

    We’re asking AirTalk listeners: how are employers talking to undocumented employees about recent ICE raids? How are employees talking to each other and what are those conversations like? If you run or work at a business where undocumented workers have been an integral part of the operation of the business, how are you dealing with the audits and raids? Are you changing hiring practices or vetting employees in a different way? What conversations are you hearing your employees or co-workers have?

    Correction: An earlier version of this article identified KIWA as the Korean Immigrant Workers Association instead of the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Association. We have made a correction and apologize for the error.

    Guests:

    José Eduardo Sánchez, director of organizing for Koreatown Immigrant Workers Association (KIWA)

    Davis Bae, regional managing partner at the Seattle office of Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm that represents employers, where he also co-chairs their immigration practice

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Online Retailer Amazon Launches In Australia

    The Amazon website is seen on December 5, 2017 in Dandenong, Australia.; Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to take up a case that would overturn a 1992 decision exempting retailers with no physical presence in a state from collecting state sales tax.

    As reported by Reuters, the South Dakota appeal was made following a lower court decision in favor of Wayfair Inc., Overstock.com Inc. and Newegg Inc. Main Street retail supporters like the National Retail Federation are in favor of requiring online businesses to collect state sales tax, regardless of where the company is based. They say the move would even the playing field in the digital age. Since these sales tax requirements were lifted before the online sales boom, trade groups in favor of local retail stores also say the exemption is antiquated.

    E-commerce advocates such as NetChoice argue that a change in the law would stifle innovation, putting undue burdens on businesses that don’t have a store, office or warehouse in states where purchases are made.

    So how would these state sales tax charges work if the law is overturned? And what would the impact to local brick-and-mortar retailers be if state sales taxes are not required for in-state online retailers?

    Guests:

    Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice, an e-commerce trade association group

    Rachelle Bernstein, vice president and tax counsel at the National Retail Federation

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    US Dollar Drops To Two And Half Year Low After Latest N. Korean Missile Launch

    In this photo illustration, twenty and five dollar bills are displayed on August 29, 2017 in San Anselmo, California.; Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    Whether it was your first glimpse of a weekly allowance or watching your friend get a shiny new car, it’s amazing how our memories affect the way we think about money.

    Family financial values play a big part in how we handle our investments as adults. But what if your parents never talked about the bills? Or, maybe money was an open subject and you had to pitch-in at an early age. Maybe Mom and Dad had great investments and showed you how to do the same.

    Gaby Dunn, host of the “Bad With Money” podcast, remembers how her mom, a lawyer, would barter with people in need who couldn’t pay for legal services. And that shaped how Dunn measured her own financial worth as a freelancer.

    AirTalk wants to hear about the memories that formed your views about money. Was there a specific moment when your parents spoke to you about paying the bills? Did money remain a mystery until you earned your first paycheck? Does financial planning feel overwhelming due to past circumstances? And how did the way you handle money evolve over time?

    Call us at 866-893-5722.

    Guests:

    Gaby Dunn, writer and host of “Bad With Money” a financial planning podcast; her upcoming book, "Bad With Money" is due out later this year; she tweets @gabydunn

    Delia Fernandez, fee-only certified financial planner and investment advisor with Fernandez Financial Advisory, LLC

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Popular Smart Phone Apps Of 2016

    A finger is posed next to the Snapchat app logo on an iPad on August 3, 2016 in London, England.; Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the videos taken during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

    As CNN reported, a student shot video of classmates who were hiding in their classroom as the gunman opened fire. News outlets advise viewer discretion, but there are questions about whether these videos should be shown at all, and what the rules are in obtaining clips from minors.

    On the law enforcement side, it’s unclear whether videos could help improve future tactics in active shooter situations, or reveal game plans that are best kept secret. And what does video use mean for investigations?

    Larry speaks to a panel of law, media ethics and security experts to find out more about the growing use of videos taken during shootings.

    Guests:

    Todd M. Keil, former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, from 2009 to 2012); for 23 years, he was a special agent with the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service

    Jane Kirtley, professor of media ethics and law at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota

    Larry Rosenthal, professor in the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University and a former federal prosecutor

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    US-SHOOTING-SCHOOL

    Sheriff vehicles are seen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami on February 14, 2018 following a school shooting.; Credit: MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    Yesterday in Parkland, Flor., 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly walked into his old high school with an AR-15 and open fired.

    17 people were shot and killed, and a multitude of other were injured.

    At this point in time, police have reportedly identified all the victims and will be releasing their names later today.

    Law enforcement is also investigating the troubled past of Cruz, whose adoptive mother had recently died and was living with friends.

    This morning, President Trump gave a speech offering his condolences and support to the Parkland community and those affected by the shooting. The topic of gun control was not addressed, but the president did speak of actions needed in better addressing mental health disorders, and stated that school safety was now a top priority for his administration.

    We get the latest from a Florida reporter and discuss Trump’s speech and its implications.

    Guests:

    Louis Nelson, breaking news reporter for Politico based in Arlington, VA; he tweets @louisjnelson

    Vic Micolucci, anchor and reporter at WJXT, a TV news station in Jacksonville, FL; he is in Parkland covering the story; he tweets @WJXTvic

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Civil Rights Leaders At The March On Washington

    Civil rights Leaders hold hands as they lead a crowd of hundreds of thousands at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington DC, August 28, 1963.; Credit: Express Newspapers/Getty Images

    Mary Knauf and Caitlin Plummer | AirTalk®

    Financially, middle class African-Americans are better off than they have been in decades past.

    But when you look at their growth compared to that of other ethnic groups, the progress is comparatively slow. Some even say that progress has plateaued or is dropping off.

    In 2017, analysis of census data showed African-Americans were the only racial group in the country earning less money than they were in the year 2000. Two years earlier, in 2015, researchers at Stanford University published a study that pointed to the neighborhood gap as one of the major factors behind racial disparities across the U.S. Using census data, the researchers discovered that even among black and white families who made the same amount of money each year, white families were more likely to live in a “good” neighborhoods with good schools, parks, day-care, etc. What the researchers said was even more striking is that they found typical middle-income black families live in neighborhoods where the average income is lower than a neighborhood where your average low-income white family.    

    Some might say there’s also an issue of segregation among middle class African-Americans. While education and job opportunities are now more accessible than they have been in the past for middle class blacks, many families have been sequestered into neighborhoods with low home values, which can leads to disparity in opportunities. In this 2016 op-ed from the New York Times, author Henry Louis Gates, Jr. points to the work of Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson, who argues that there are two groups within Black America: the haves and the have-nots. And the haves, some argue, don’t like being associated with those they believe are ‘have nots.’

    Today on AirTalk, Larry Mantle looks back at the history of the rise of the black middle class, and talks with expert historians about what the past can tell us about what the future may hold.

    Guests:

    Stefan Bradley, Ph.D., chair of the African American Studies department at Loyola Marymount University; his research focuses on post-WWII Black communities in America

    Jody Armour, professor of law at USC

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, special counsel on the Russian investigation, leaves following a meeting with members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on June 21, 2017. ; Credit: AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    A week that began with the hope that an open debate on the Senate floor would result in a DACA fix has stalled after four immigration proposals were blocked Thursday.

    One of the proposals was a bipartisan measure that would have given $25 billion to border security as well as a road to citizenship for DACA recipients. Another was a measure that would have carried out Trump’s proposal to create a path to citizenship in exchange for border wall funding and limits to legal immigration.

    So what happens next? Has an immigration agreement stalled for good? And what does this mean for DACA recipients?  

    Plus, news broke today when the DoJ announced Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities in the Russia probe, including a Kremlin-linked internet research firm called the Internet Research Agency.

    Mueller charged the defendants with conspiracy to defraud to United States.

    The indictment said the Internet Research Agency had a “strategic goal to sow discord in the US political system,” using social media to disseminate fake information to U.S. audiences.

    You can read the indictment here

    Larry talks with Bloomberg Congressional reporter Laura Litvan to get the latest.

    Guest:

    Laura Litvan, Congressional reporter for Bloomberg News; she tweets @LauraLitvan

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    DOUNIAMAG-US-DRUGS-CANNABIS-CALIFORNIA

    A budtender displays cannabis at the Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, California, December 27, 2017.; Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    A California bill introduced Wednesday would keep employees from losing their jobs if they test positive for medical cannabis use.

    As reported by the Cannifornian, the proposal, AB 2069, would also prevent businesses from refusing to hire people because they use medical marijuana. A growing number of states have put similar laws into practice. And Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), who introduced the bill, argues that the change would help people from turning to opioids for pain relief.

    AB 2069 wouldn’t protect workers such as pilots, pipeline workers and boat crew members who must be tested under federal law for marijuana use. Proponents of the bill also say that the current testing system detects marijuana that could have been ingested weeks or even months earlier.

    So what are the drawbacks of the bill? And how do employers feel about this proposal?

    Guests:

    Ellen Komp, deputy director for California NORML, a cannabis legislation advocacy group

    Todd Wulffson, labor employment defense attorney and partner at the law firm, Carothers, DiSante & Freudenberger in Irvine

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


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    Florida Town Of Parkland In Mourning, After Shooting At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Kills 17

    Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, is seen on a closed circuit television screen during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.; Credit: Pool/Getty Images

    AirTalk®

    As more details surface from Wednesday’s deadly attack on a Parkland, Florida high school, the 19-year-old accused shooter fits into a familiar narrative: Lone wolf. Depressed. Troubled.

    But aside from being anti-social, there were a number of signs that posed Nikolas Cruz as a serious threat. In a new statement just released by the FBI, a source close to Cruz had called the FBI’s tipline about Cruz's potential to carry out a school shooting, including his “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts [...]”

    The statement also said that established FBI protocols were not followed.

    Other sources show that a threatening comment was posted onto YouTube by the username “Nikolas Cruz” in September. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” it said. Cruz's violent behavior towards animals was also reported by neighbors, including shooting chickens with BB guns, poking sticks down rabbit holes and killing squirrels.

    When reporting a potentially violent person to authorities, how should law enforcement respond? What are the protocols when receiving numerous complaints that include both true risks and false alarms?

    Guests:

    Ron Hosko, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to law enforcement professionals; former Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigation Division at the FBI (2012-2014)

    Eugene O’Donnell, professor of law and police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; former NYPD officer and former prosecutor in Kings County, New York

    Alex Yufik, Psy.D., board certified forensic psychologist and licensed attorney; in his  private practice, he sees patients and conducts forensic evaluations in criminal and civil cases

    This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.