Sunday, September 29, 2013
Conflicting messaging on Obamacare, why people leave fake reviews online, and India's effort to create the largest national ID program in history.
The next phase of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect next week with the opening of new health insurance exchanges. Brooke and Bob take a look at the messaging war, from the conservative ads advising people to "opt out," to the Obama administration's push to educate people about the new law, and the media's role in covering this protracted battle.
Bob reads listener responses to producer Sarah Abdurrhaman’s piece“My Detainment Story or: How I learned to Stop Feeling Safe in My Own Country and Hate Border Agents.” Brooke talks to former congressman Lee H. Hamilton, co-author of a recent report calling for reform of the Department of Homeland Security, about how the DHS can, and should, work better.
Terry Bressi is a staff engineer at the University of Arizona's planetary lab. To get to Kitt Peak National Observatory, he must take an east to west running highway, which has an in-country immigration checkpoint. Bressi estimates he’s been stopped over 300 times at immigration checkpoints along this road, which at no point crosses the border, since 2008. Brooke talks with Bressi about how he began videotaping his interactions with the border agents. (The videos have become something of an internet sensation).
This week, the New York Attorney General’s office announced that nineteen companies would be fined $350,000 for paying for fake reviews on sites like Yelp. But a study that came out earlier this year says that many fake online reviews, including the most negative ones, are often written by a brand's biggest fans. Bob talks to Duncan Simester, one of the authors of the study and a professor at MIT, about why a brand's fans would leave it bad reviews.
In a 2009 book called Imagining India, Indian tech billionaire Nandan Nilekani imagined a way to address India’s most vexing problems of corruption, poverty and lack of social services – a unique ID number for every Indian. 4 years later, India has undertaken the biggest ID program in human history. It’s called Aadhaar, and Nilekani oversees it. But trying to register 1.2 billion people, many for the first time, comes with serious privacy and data-collection concerns. OTM reporter Jamie York went to India to speak with Nilekani and lawyer Malavika Jayaram about the risk and reward of identifying every Indian.
A scene from an episode of "Will & Grace," the comedy series singled out U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in a speech at the SAG-AFTRA national convention in L.A. Pictured, from left, are Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Demi Moore as Sissy and Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland. (Chris Haston / NBC / July 16, 2003)
The TV sitcom "Will & Grace" got a shout-out from U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on Saturday morning.
In a speech at the inaugural SAG-AFTRA National Convention, Perez praised the newly formed union for helping to sway public opinion in support of the rights of the gay and lesbian community in such shows as the NBC comedy "Will & Grace."
"When I see the work you have done in the industry to address issues of equality, I'm so grateful to you,'' Perez told crowd of more than 350 delegates gathered at the J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. "Vice President Joe Biden was right when he pointed out, we wouldn't gotten so far without 'Will & Grace.'"
The topic of equal rights has been important for SAG-AFTRA. A study released Friday at the convention found that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender actors continue to face discrimination when looking for work, though opportunities are increasing. About a third of those who responded to the survey by UCLA's Williams Institute and the entertainment union said that directors, casting directors and producers may be biased against LGBT performers.
Perez congratulated the union members for their decision to form SAG-AFTRA in spring, when the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists voted to merge, creating the largest entertainment union in Hollywood with more than 165,000 members.
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"There's an old saying there is strength in numbers,'' Perez said. "As you embark on this remarkable journey together as one, the fact of the matter is, people can't play you off against each other anymore-- that's really important."
Perez also called on union members to help sell the Affordable Care Act. The Obama administration is seeking help from artists and entertainers to promote the healthcare law and get at least 7 million Americans enrolled in the next six months. But House Republicans are attempting to halt the healthcare law as a condition for keeping the government funded beyond a midnight Monday deadline.
"We need your help to get the word out and to counter the misinformation that is out there," he said.
LGBT actors still face discrimination, survey says
Gabrielle Carteris elected executive vice president of SAG-AFTRA
SAG-AFTRA to hold first national convention in L.A.