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FROM THIS EPISODE

Here's the kind of decision required of the Veterans Administration: is that traumatic brain injury from high school football or a roadside bomb in Iraq? Questions like that are just one reason the VA is so far behind in processing claims. We hear why so many veterans are so frustrated, despite bipartisan promises that they'll get what they deserve. Also, a Pennsylvania judge blocks the state's controversial voter ID law, and preparing for a presidential debate.

Banner image: VA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Photo by afagen/flickr

Producers:
Caitlin Shamberg
Christian Bordal
Frances Anderton

Reporter's Notebook Presidential Candidates Prep for Debate 9 MIN, 11 SEC

book.jpgSamuel Popkin is a long-time political consultant and now political science professor at the University of California, San Diego. He played Ronald Reagan when incumbent Jimmy Carter was preparing for the 1980 debates. His most recent book is The Candidate: What It takes to Win -- and Hold -- the White House. (KCRW will carry live coverage of tomorrow's presidential debate, beginning at 6pm.)

Guests:
Samuel Popkin, University of California, San Diego (@SamPopkin)

The Candidate

Samuel L. Popkin

Main Topic The Worst Backlog in Washington 33 MIN, 46 SEC

Despite all the issues that keep them apart, President Obama, Mitt Romney and every other American politician agree that American veterans should get the lifetime benefits they deserve. But the Veterans Administration has been infamous for its "backlog" in processing claims, going back to before September 11. Despite 4000 new workers since 2008, less than 80 percent of the work has been done, frustrating veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Korea -- even World War II.  Are still more workers needed?  How about shifting from paper files to computers?  We look at the problem and some proposed solutions.

This story was informed in part from sources in the Public Insight Network. You can find out more at  www.kcrw.com/insight.

Guests:
James Dao, New York Times
Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times (@MaeveReston)
Patrick Bellon, Veterans for Common Sense (@Patrickbellon)
Allison Hickey, US Department of Veterans Affairs

Making News Pennsylvania Judge Blocks Controversial Voter ID Law 7 MIN, 26 SEC

Voters in Pennsylvania can still be asked for photo ID in November's election, but if they don't have it, they can vote anyway.  That's the ruling of Judge Robert Simpson. Angela Couloumbis reports on state politics for the Philadelphia Inquirer's Capitol Bureau in Harrisburg.

Guests:
Angela Couloumbis, Philadelphia Inquirerer (@AngelasInk)

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