Wednesday, April 3, 2013

AirTalk for Thursday, April 4, 2013

Contact: Producers Joel Patterson, Jasmin Tuffaha, Anny Celsi, and Fiona Ng



Thursday, April 4, 2013


11:06 –11:20

Topic: North Korea talks war

Guest:   David Kang: (pron: KONG),   Professor of International Relations and Business at the University of Southern California. He is also director of the Korean Studies Institute.


11:20 -11:40

Topic: Is Consumer Watchdog the wrong hire for Insurance comish? In response to rising health insurance rates, California's insurance commissioner has been reviewing rate hikes with the help of a consumer advocacy organization. As reported in the L.A. Times, the insurance industry is complaining that using Consumer Watchdog for government work creates political and financial conflicts of interest. A spokesperson with the state's Insurance Department tells KPCC that Consumer Watchdog's analysis is just one piece of information their department uses. Governance expert Jessica Levinson says, "While I'm not saying [Consumer Watchdog] won't do a good job. In a perfect world, you've have someone who doesn't have skin in the game." Why does the Department of Insurance have to rely on analysis of outside groups? Is there anyone else who could fulfill that role? Does using a consumer-advocacy group help balance the influence of analysis from health-company lobbyists?

Guest: Janice Rocco, (pron: TBA) Deputy Commissioner of Health Policy, California Department of Insurance

Guest: Jessica Levinson, Professor, Loyola Law School and governance expert



Topic: Federal Trade Commision announces winners of robocalls challenge

How many times have you picked up the phone at home only to hear an automated computer voice on the other end? The Federal Trade Commission gets about 200,000 complaints every month related to “robocalls” – computer-dialed, prerecorded messages – and it recently sponsored a national contest to find the best blocking technology for these unsolicited calls.  Winners for the contest were announced earlier this week. They are Aaron Foss, a freelance software developer, and Serdar Danis, a computer engineer. Each will receive $25,000. On the show today, Larry talks to Foss about his innovation, called “Nomorobo.” What is it? How does it work? And can consumers expect to see Nomorobo on the market soon?

Guest: Aaron Foss, independent software developer based in Long Island, NY


12:06 – 12:30

Topic: Will there ever be a marketplace for our “used” digital music, movies, and ebooks? Last week a federal district court in New York said that reselling the music you bought on Apple’s iTunes store is an infringement of the Copyright Act. [TEMP BLURB]


Guest: David Kravets, senior staff writer at Wired Magazine


12:30 – 12:40

Topic: GOP Senators ready to do battle over U.N. Arms Trade Treaty: After two weeks of intense negotiations, the United Nations General Assembly this week voted to approve a landmark new arms trade treaty.  The language of the treaty establishes common international standards requiring states to ensure that arms and weapons exported to other countries are not to be used “to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law.” The treaty is designed to curb  sales of arms that could end up in the hands of terrorists and dictators, and covers exports of tanks, large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft and vehicles, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and small arms and the like. While approval was overwhelming, the decision was not unanimous; the final tally was 154-3, with 23 countries abstaining.  President Obama is expected to sign the treaty, but it will face an uphill battle for the 2/3 majority needed to pass in the Senate.  Over 50 Republican senators have expressed opposition.  Detractors, including the National Rifle Association, claim that language in the treaty could potentially supercede Second Amendment rights, threatening gun ownership legislation already in place.  And critics also point out that, while well-intentioned, the treaty  is unlikely to have the teeth needed to affect the $60 million global arms trade.

Guest: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association

Guest: TBD


12:40 – 1:00

Topic: The fates of famous corpses: Hugo Chávez’s death reverberated around the world, and so did the news that Venezuelan officials wanted to embalm the body for permanent display. It ended up not happening, but bodies of other famous people have gone through some odd adventures. This topic inspired Bess Lovejoy to do some research. She found out Eva Perón’s corpse travelled across countries, that Lenin wanted a simple burial instead of mummification, and that Alexander the Great’s body was a required visit for aspiring leaders, however clumsy or thievish. In Bess Lovejoy’s book, “Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses,” she included some of her favorite stories, like the very mysterious life and death of “Russia’s greatest love machine” and mystic Grigori Rasputin, whose preserved genitals was later proven to be a sea cucumber. Lovejoy ordered her favorite stories thematically in order to show how ancient and modern societies have dealt with death. Although we may not keep the organs of deceased loved ones in drawers like Mary Shelley, author of “Frankenstein”, do we still need physical objects to venerate leaders and loved ones? Have societal views towards death shifted? How do we deal with death today? Is it healthy?

Guest: Bess Lovejoy, author of “Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses” (Simon and Schuster)



Joel Patterson

Senior Producer, AirTalk

626-583-5375 office

858-349-2205 cell




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