Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RE: Patt Morrison for Thursday, September 15


Thursday, September 15, 2011

1-3 p.m.




1:06 – 1:30 OPEN



1:30 - 1:58:30

Do you trust Google News to decide what is news?

A Los Angeles Times reporter has accused the Central Basin Municipal Water District of paying a small news website, News Hawks Review, to write positive news stories about it—stories that made it onto Google News. Does Google News have a team of editors who choose which stories get the most prominence? How does Google News determine which news sites and stories are legitimate?




Sam Allen, Los Angeles Times reporter who is covering the Central Basin/News Hawks Review story

Karen North, director, Annenberg program on Online Communities



2:06 – 2:30

Does your housekeeper or nanny need meal and rest breaks, overtime pay, and workers’ comp?
If the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, or AB 889, passes, all domestic workers in California will be legally mandated to receive meal and rest breaks, overtime pay, workers compensation, at least eight uninterrupted hours of sleep, use of kitchen facilities and reporting time pay (if employer reduces or cancels worker’s shift). The bill’s author, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, and sponsor, the California Domestic Workers Coalition, say that domestic workers have historically been excluded from labor laws that have protected other California workers. They argue that this measure is especially needed because domestic workers—which includes housekeepers, nannies and home health aides—are isolated and inside homes and therefore vulnerable to abuse. The bill, which will be taken back up in the state legislature in January, stipulates a 30-minute meal break for domestic workers after five hours of work and 10-minute rest breaks after four hours of work. Any domestic worker who works more than 5 hours would have a right to cook their own food, a provision the Coalition says is important because domestic workers often eat different foods than their employer.

In opposition, Senator Doug LaMalfa, R-Redding, and other Republicans say the measure is excessive and that employment arrangements within the household should not be regulated by the government. Other opponents, such as the California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH), say that measures such as overtime pay will raise the cost of in-home care for elderly and disabled persons so much so that they won’t be able to afford the help they need. The mandated eight hours uninterrupted sleep provision is unreasonable, CAHSAH says, because elderly or disabled people might need (bathroom, for example) assistance in the middle of the night. Overall, opponents to AB 889 say that increasing the cost of domestic workers will mean less domestic workers will be hired—a situation no one wants in an economy with high unemployment. And, opponents say that increasing regulation will only fuel the already significant underground economy in home care where labor laws are not followed at all. Is this the routine pushback that labor rights movements get before winning—like with the minimum wage movement? Or are these regulations unreasonable—making the elderly and disabled unable to afford the help they need? Should individuals decide for themselves how to treat their domestic workers or is a bill of rights needed to protect against abuse?



Grecia Lima, campaign director, California Domestic Worker Coalition; former housecleaner in La Jolla

Marci Seville, professor of law, Golden Gate University School of Law; director, Women's Employment Rights Clinic; helped draft the Domestic Workers bill

Robert Nuddleman, senior associate with Phillip J. Griego & Associates, an employment law firm



2:30 – 2:39 OPEN



2:41:30 – 2:58:30

Do you prefer natural or fake: a bitter battle over sugar

The beginnings of a high stakes battle of the sweeteners entered a Los Angeles court this week, as a cadre of sugar farmers and the C&H Sugar Company mounted a legal offense against makers of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The defendants, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Cargill and the Corn Refiners Association, are being accused of devising a $50 million dollar false advertising campaign to persuade consumers that HFCS is as natural as sugar. High-fructose corn syrup has been at the center of obesity epidemic and many food manufacturers have opted to take the sweetener off their labels. The producers of HFCS want to rebrand the image and have filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. What will become of this saccharin-skirmish? Some health experts argue that Americans consume too much sugar, regardless of whether it’s natural or not. Are you avoiding high-fructose corn syrup?




Lawyer representing C&H and the sugar farmers

Lawyer representing Corn Refiners Association

Dr. Toni Yancey, Professor in the Department of Health Services in the School of Public Health at UCLA





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