Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Patt Morrison for Thursday, December 16, 2010


Thursday, December 16, 2010

1-3 p.m.





1:06 – 1:19




1:21 – 1:39

If being green means using less energy, how do you sell that plan to utilities companies?

At a time of year when companies are trying to get people to buy more of their stuff, how do you encourage some companies to get their customers to consume less of their product?  That’s the conundrum facing the California Public Utilities Commission, which votes today on whether to pay $77 million in energy-efficiency bonuses to Southern California Edison Co., Southern California Gas Co. and two other for-profit electric utilities.  The PUC started the program back in 2006 as a way to incentivize energy companies to get their consumers to use less of their product.  If the companies could prove they met certain goals in creating more energy-efficiency savings, the commission would reward them with a bonus. But according to the Division of Ratepayer Advocates, a PUC staff report released in April found that those utilities companies failed to reach their goals and the DRA wants the CPU to withhold those bonuses. They argue that the program is only subsidizing the energy industry to ease the transition toward greener energy and that it’s an inherently flawed concept.  Is there a better way to go green?



TBA, California Public Utilities Commission


Joe Como, Acting Director, Division of Ratepayer Advocate



Frank Wolak, Professor of Economics at Stanford and Chair of the Market Surveillance Committee of Cal ISO




1:41 – 1:58:30

Good news! You're living longer. Bad news - you're spending more of your life sick

Researchers at the University of Southern California have published a new study in the Journal of Gerontology revealing that while life expectancy in the U.S. has increased over the last two decades, people spend more time sick than ever before. That may not seem surprising at first glance —the more years you live, the more years you’ll probably spend sick, but it actually means we’re spending less time healthy today than we were two decades ago. And that is perplexing doctors.  It was assumed by many researchers and scientists that the same factors contributing to longer lives would also contribute to a decrease in disease and time spent ill. But it turns out while we've been successful in preventing death from disease, chronic diseases have become increasingly prevalent, such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular complications. It also raises questions about quality of life and end-of-life care. Is it worth living to 90 if you’re not going to enjoy it? How should we use this information the change the way we provide care?




Eileen Crimmins, AARP Chair in Gerontology at the University of Southern California; co-researcher on the study




2:06 – 2:30

Goodbye plastic, hello cash  

Americans are giving green this holiday season.  And no, not the environmentally conscious green, the cold hard cash kind of green.  The bad news for credit card issuers is that the “lowest percentage of shoppers in the 27 year history of a national survey said they used credit cards over the Thanksgiving weekend.”  It seems more and more people are opting to spend their hard earned cash (literally) rather than wake up after the holidays with a bad credit card hangover.  In response, some issuers are creating incentives to beef up credit card usage by offering cash back on holiday purchases, bonuses to spend more and special savings available only with a credit card.  Others are offering no-payment and no-interest charges on holiday purchases. Has there been a shift? Have consumers forced credit card issuers to adapt to their economic concerns?  What’s keeping you from pulling plastic out of your wallet?  Are you unemployed, or under employed, got loads of medical bills or a high health insurance deductible to pay, or are the high interest rates and fees keeping you from pulling plastic out of your wallet?



Britt Beemer, chief executive of America’s Research Group



  • America's Research Group is a full service consumer behavior survey research company


Josh Frank, senior researcher, Center for Responsible Lending




2:30 – 2:39




2:41 – 2:58:30

What earmark ban?

Political irony rang through the halls of Congress yesterday as the Senate voted overwhelming to approve the deal that would extend tax cuts and unemployment benefits at the same time that votes were taking place on the massive 2011 omnibus spending bill—why is that ironic?  Because as conservatives in the Senate were fulfilling one campaign promise to keep tax cuts in place they were breaking another promise by stuffing the omnibus full of earmarks, estimated to be worth $8 billion in total.  This comes just weeks after Congressional Republicans, President Obama and even some Democrats signed off on a plan to permanently ban earmarks, the spending goodies tucked into bills that benefits the home districts of Congress members.  From maple syrup research in Vermont to an oyster safety project in Florida, it seems that earmarks are indeed alive and well.




Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont


Ryan Hecker, director of the Houston Tea Party Society & organizer of the Tea Party “Contract from America




Jonathan Serviss

Producer, Patt Morrison Program

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