Monday, June 27, 2011

Patt Morrison for Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

1-3 p.m.





1:06 – 1:39





1:41:30 – 1:58:30

Put on your tinfoil helmets, the smart meters are coming!

“Smart meters” have already been installed by utilities across the country, but Pacific Gas & Electric Company is meeting fierce opposition from homeowners, politicians, city officials and environmentalists who don’t want their old meters replaced in some areas of California. This unlikely coalition is vociferously rejecting the installation of automated metering devices, saying that they violate property rights and emit unhealthy pulses of electromagnetic radiation. But according to the California Council on Science and Technology, the nonprofit and nonpartisan group that advises our state government on technology, smart meters emit radio signals that meet the federal government’s safety criteria for cell phones and microwaves.


PG&E is standing firm in its decision to continue smart meter installation and refuses to honor the moratoriums on meters that have been imposed by several cities, saying that the smart meter program is under the authority of the California Public Utilities Commission, not local governments. The company is, however, offering an alternative meter plan that allows customers to keep their old meters, if they pay a monthly fee for visits from a technician.


8 million of the low-power smart meters have been put in service since last summer, but it is unclear how long the rest will take. Are these claims against smart meters well-founded? And will the current opposition pose a threat to nation-wide efforts to create an electrical smart grid for more efficient energy use? 



Molly Peterson, KPCC environment reporter



Patt: We’re finished here, but the conversation continues on the Patt Morrison page at KPCC-dot-org and on our Facebook page. You’re listening to 89.3 KPCC – Southern California Public Radio. When we come back …


2:00 – 2:01 – billboard






2:06 – 2:19


Bad science, ill-prepared forensic pathologists contribute to mishandling of child death investigations with devastating results for the innocent

We’ve all seen the cool assurance, brilliant expertise and cutting-edge technological methods of the forensic scientists on any given episode of C.S.I., but real-life autopsies, especially those performed on children, are far less glamorous. Mounting evidence compiled by several journalistic agencies suggests that many forensic pathologists are misdiagnosing the causes of death for infants they receive at the morgue, and providing testimony that largely contributes to the convictions of innocent people. Oftentimes, medical examiners who perform post-mortem examinations on young children do not have a solid enough understanding of child anatomy or disorders to accurately distinguish between bodily injuries caused by abuse versus those caused by natural conditions. And often they do not consult patient medical records or pediatric specialists before determining the official cause of death. Such malpractice played a prominent role in more than two dozen cases of wrongful conviction, which are now coming to light, but for many who were put behind bars, exoneration cannot repair the damage done to their families and personal lives. Should evidence from medical examiners weigh so heavily in Can our deeply-rooted desire to hold someone accountable for a child’s death sometimes make us too eager to find a defendant guilty?  




A.C. Thompson, reporter at ProPublica



Eddie Lopez, younger brother of Ernie Lopez, who was found guilty of killing an infant under his care. His case is under appeal because of fault found in the forensic investigation.





2:21:30 – 2:39

Is blowing a whistle a noble cause? Not if you ask Obama.

Who is a whistleblower? In the past that was a pretty straight forward question--an individual who put their job on the line to release insider information about corporate wrong doing or government malfeasance.  They served the greater good and the country validated their efforts by creating legislation to protect them. What would have happened in Vietnam if Daniel Ellsberg hadn’t released the “Pentagon Papers” to the New York Times or if Jeffrey Wigand hadn’t exposed Brown &Williamson’s manipulation of nicotine in cigarettes to 60 minutes, or if Bunnatine Greenhouse hadn’t spoken out against Halliburton and the company’s no-bid contracts, waste, fraud and other abuses in Iraq? But today the question of how we define what a whistleblower is and how much protection they should receive is a much more complicated one.  Should army private Bradley E. Manning receive protection for releasing sensitive military information to WikiLeaks? What about Thomas A. Drake who felt the government’s eavesdropping program was unproductive and a waste of money? He was indicted in April. Then there’s the Army intelligence analyst who was arrested for allegedly handing over a classified video of an American military helicopter firing on civilians in Baghdad. The Obama administration has racked up more prosecutions for people who have leaked classified information than any other president in our country’s history. Is President Obama justified? Are these cases jeopardizing American security, or revealing a little more than the government than would like us to know? Do we need to reassess who a whistleblower is and how much protection should they receive?



Stephen M. Kohn, executive director, the National Whistleblowers Center and author of the recently released book The Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself.





2:41:30 – 2:58:30

A bright idea? Republicans attempt repeal of pending incandescent light bulb ban

Come New Year’s Day 2012, you won’t be able to buy your standard 100-Watt incandescent bulb anywhere in the country. That is, unless the current chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee can convince Congress to repeal the ban. The original Energy Independence and Security Act, or CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 was intended to jumpstart the market for the energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and to move the U.S. towards greater energy independence. Critics complain CFLs are up to ten times as expensive, take 3 minutes to warm up, contain mercury, have limited versatility and produce a colder, flatter light than their warm predecessor. Tune in to find out if repeal stands a chance and why the chairman who originally backed the 2007 bill changed his mind.




Representative Joe Barton


Representative Michael Burgess


Representative Fred Upton



Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
Southern California Public Radio
NPR Affiliate for Los Angeles
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