Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Patt Morrison for Thursday, August 11, 2011


Thursday, August 11, 2011

1-3 p.m.


1:06 – 1:19      OPEN



1:21:30 – 1:39

Fans First (Ticketmaster) vs. Fan Freedom (StubHub): does paperless ticketing or ticket scalping put fans first?

When there’s a concert or sports game you want to attend, where do you buy your tickets? Do you go straight to the source—Ticketmaster; do you look for a cheaper price on the largest re-seller of tickets—StubHub; or do you take your chances and wait to buy from a scalper on the street? Do you feel like no matter where you go, prices are just too high? In response, competitors Live Nation (parent company of Ticketmaster) and StubHub have both started nonprofits that they claim are meant to protect the consumer. In a fierce battle, Live Nation (Ticketmaster) and its nonprofit, Fans First Coalition, believe that tickets should be paperless (requiring the credit card that purchased it for admission) in order to eliminate what it calls predatory scalping of tickets. On the other side, StubHub and its nonprofit, Fan Freedom Project, believe that fans should be able to do what they want with tickets and sell or give them away as they please. StubHub and Fan Freedom say tickets should be a commodity with the market dictating price. Live Nation and Fans First say scalpers distort the value of the tickets both up and down—for the most in-demand tickets, scalpers push ticket prices higher than most fans can afford; for other tickets, the scalpers end up selling the tickets for less than the original price.


What has resulted is a lobbying battle across the country. Last year, a change supported by StubHub and scalpers and opposed by LiveNation and Ticketmaster was made to New York’s scalping law; the change requires that consumers be given the option of paper tickets. Similar battles have taken place in New Jersey, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Tennessee, and a bill is pending in Congress that would loosen restrictions on reselling of tickets nationally. Part of the reason for the nonprofits on both sides is that both Live Nation (Ticketmaster) and StubHub could use a publicity boost. Ticketmaster is often criticized as having exorbitant surcharges added on to ticket prices. And, StubHub suffers in the public eye for the fact that most of its resellers are not individual scalpers but rather professional brokers with a significant profit margin. Would you rather have ticket prices frozen at the price Ticketmaster sets, protecting scalpers from buying up tickets and hiking up prices? Or would you like to be able to resell your tickets so that your credit card isn’t required for re-entry and to be able to also buy tickets from whomever at whatever price?




Michael Marion, president of Fans First Coalition, a nonprofit started by Live Nation, which they claim is meant to protect the consumer


Jon Potter, president of Fan Freedom Project, a nonprofit started by StubHub, which they claim is meant to protect the consumer


Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, which monitors lobbying


Congressman Brad Sherman, (D-CA 27th District)


Representative, Live Nation, parent company of Ticketmaster


Representative, StubHub



1:41:30 – 1:58:30

What is Americans Elect and who is behind it?

What is Americans Elect? The self-described revolutionary, somewhat mysterious nonprofit political organization doesn’t want to be thought of as another attempt at a third party that splits the vote. They don’t want to tell you who is giving them money, but they swear they’re multi-partisan. They are hoping to select a 2012 presidential candidate via the internet and thereby transform America’s political system. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman thinks they’ll “flatten the incumbents and let the people in.” Others, like blogger Jim Cook, are skeptical about the organization’s non-profit status, which allows it to withhold its financial contributors’ names from the public. There are arguments to be made for a shake-up in the current two-party political system, which can gridlock debate and quash reform, but how would Americans Elect act differently than a third party? And how would their massive online election work? In its own words, Americans Elect explains what it is and how it’s harnessing the internet.



Elliot Ackerman, CEO, Americans Elect


Josh Levine, chief technology officer, Americans Elect



2:06 – 2:19      OPEN



2:21:30 – 2:39

Slated to close 70 state parks, California considers privatizing

Should California privatize its parks? In a last ditch effort to prevent the closure of 70 public parks after their budget was nearly halved since 2007, Sacramento is looking for new and creative ways to keep the parks open. One of the most viable-looking options on the table right now is a public-private partnership. But how would that work? Is there danger in turning California's most precious beaches, lakes and forests over to private entrepreneurs? And how has the model worked in the past? One local partnership between Stater Bros. and Coca-Cola has raised close to $2 million since 2009 for campaigns like Preserve Our Parks. Opponents say it’s akin to renting California's own land back to its citizens for corporate profit, while proponents say it is the best option for keeping as many of the state’s parks open as possible. Patt talks with the director of California State Parks about the idea and checks in with a developer to hear his experience with private partnerships in New York’s infamous Bryant Park.



Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks



Dan Biederman, president of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, which works with cities around the country to consult and bring improvements to their parks and downtown areas by using private funding in place of city, state or taxpayer money.



2:41:30 – 2:58:30

Penn Jillette: God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales

It seems like Atheism—a belief based around the lack of a belief—has been taking itself a little too seriously these days. An entire field of academics has even begun foisting its mantle upon itself—“secular studies,” it’s called. We know that the moment academia touches anything it becomes immediately stuffy and humorless, so what could lighten the unbearable yoke of the modern establishment Atheist? Enter Penn Jillette, comedian, magician, author and Atheist! His new book details his own thoughts on what is important and the journey that lead him there. Find out what application the “Penn Commandments” could have for layperson.



Penn Jillette, magician, comedian, illusionist, bassist and writer, known for his Libertarian world view and skeptic commentaries; he is the author of God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales




Lauren Osen

Patt Morrison

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