Marketplace on WVTF, RADIO IQ & RADIO IQ w/BBC News
Marketplace with host Kai Ryssdal produced and distributed by American Public Media focuses on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy, and wider events linked to the financial markets.
The only national daily business news program originating from the West Coast, Marketplace is noted for its timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economics and personal finance.
Friday, May 1, 2015 5:00pm
I will preface this by saying I am not gonna be one of those shelling out $89.95 to watch the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight on Saturday. But millions of other people will, which gets us to this tidbit that CNBC has put together.
Assuming Floyd Mayweather makes — as has been predicted — $120 million or more, that means he will make in just one night more than the following companies had in profits all of last year: Sotheby's, the auction house, Cheesecake Factory, GoPro, Smith & Wesson and Kate Spade.
Friday, May 1, 2015 5:00pm
Joining Kai to talk about the week's business and economic news are Sudeep Reddy from the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post's Catherine Rampell. The big topics this week: the U.S. gross domestic product experiences a slowdown during the year's first quarter, the Federal Reserve holds a two-day meeting and Greece continues to have a tenuous relationship with the eurozone.
Friday, May 1, 2015 5:00pm
Tech-entrepreneur Elon Musk made a big splash last night in California. His company, Tesla, introduced the Powerwall, a big battery for your home. There’s a lot of hype around the battery, but is it practical for the average person?
The Powerwall will work by storing energy that comes from solar panels on your roof. This will allow for 24-hour energy, rather than only when the sun is out. In theory, this should save you money — but a few factors may stand in the way.
Analyst Brian Warshay says even with an aggressively priced Tesla battery, it doesn’t make sense today, for the home.
“The residential market will be limited, one because most people don’t have solar power. Two, most people that do have solar power are already saving money on their electricity bill without any storage. And in the U.S., for the most part, the power grid is quite reliable and quite cheap. So it does make sense for people to remain grid connected.”
Marketplace’s Scott Tong believes that a more likely scenario is for homeowners to partially defect from the grid with solar panels, battery, and a small utility bill. However, total grid defection could be in the future.
“This could be the big original cellphone that took two hands to hold. Technology costs have absolutely come down,” says Tong.
And a fun fact – the power grid that this battery will defect from evolved largely because of technology developed more than a century ago by a man named Nikola Tesla.
Friday, May 1, 2015 5:00pm
Jesse Kovalcik got his first job because he wanted to spend time with his dad.
When the family moved to South Florida, Kovalcik’s dad got a job at the Tri-County Humane Society. When his father was tasked with managing the pet cemetery, Kovalcik decided he wanted to help out.
“Mostly I was responsible for digging the pet graves,” Kovalcik says.
It was hard work, but, for every grave he dug, his dad must have dug half a dozen, Kovalcik says. His father would hold a funeral service for the pets too.
“I always thought it was a little bit strange to have a funeral for your pet,” Kovalcik says, “but what always struck me was how helpful he was to them and how supportive he was.”
But for Kovalcik, his first job at the pet cemetery was more than just a macabre after school activity. Seeing how compassionately his dad dealt with people whose pets had died sparked something in Kovalcik.
“Definitely it gave me a sense that I should try to do something that helps people,” Kovalcik says. “It gave me a sense of what was important and what I should be doing with my life.”
Kovalcik now lives in Oakland, CA and is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a school counselor.
Friday, May 1, 2015 3:59pm
Attorney General Loretta Lynch has announced a $20 million Justice Department pilot project to provide body cameras to selected police departments nationwide, to help encourage and study their use.
While dash cams that record from inside a police car are now widely deployed nationwide, body cams are currently in use in a small minority of police departments. The systems are expensive—with an initial investment for cameras, and ongoing costs for data storage and technology management.
The police department in Rialto, California, has been using body cams since 2012. They're small, cigarette-lighter-sized video cameras mounted to a helmet or uniform, with built-in data storage for videos, connected to a small battery pack. The cameras — Rialto’s are supplied by Taser International — are supposed to be turned on by the officer before any significant encounter with a member of the public, a witness or a suspect. That means everything from a routine traffic stop, to a domestic dispute, to a robbery in progress.
Rialto was the subject of one of the first controlled academic studies of the impact of body cams on policing.
Rialto police chief Tony Farrar was studying for a master’s degree at the Cambridge University Institute of Criminology in the U.K. in 2012. He worked with several of his professors to craft a study on the roll out of body cams in his police department. Farrar obtained approximately $100,000 in state and federal grants to purchase cameras (at about $1,000 each, plus the hardware and software necessary to upload and store video from each officer’s shift).
Farrar says the results of that initial study were impressive—so impressive, he outfitted the entire department, all 106 sworn officers in the small Southern California city of 100,000, in 2013.
“We’ve got less officer complaints, less times that we have to use force,” says Farrar. Complaints against police by civilians declined by 88 percent in the first year body cams were being worn, according to the Cambridge study; use-of-force by police declined by 60 percent. Violent incidents against the police also declined — the Cambridge researchers speculate that people interacting with police know they’re being videotaped, and moderate their behavior as a result. Farrar says the department’s rate of successful prosecution improved, because of better evidence being gathered on the body cams.
Farrar’s conclusion: “Hopefully, we have an increase in public trust and credibility and the overall legitimacy of policing.”
Still, not everyone in the department was on board to hit the streets “packing video.” Farrar says, “some of the more seasoned officers had a few more questions.” A young patrol officer in the department, Randall Peterson, who is a former Marine with two and a half years on the force, agrees. He says there was “controversy” when the body cams were rolled out.
But he himself quickly came to accept them as a valuable addition to his standard procedure and gear when he goes out patrolling his beat. On a recent day shift, he was looking for witnesses and a suspect in an alleged assault. If he found them, he planned to videotape everything that transpired. For the suspect in particular, he says, “there’s a huge potential for him to either make a spontaneous statement that he did commit the offense, or, say he decides he wants to run or fight, then it’s going to catch any offense that he commits after the fact during my contact.”
“A big part of my job is protecting myself from civil liability,” says Peterson. “And why not help myself? That’s how I see it.”
Chief Farrar says all the videotaping hasn’t crimped his veteran officers’ style—on patrol or at headquarters.
“Officers sometimes have a very unique way of relieving stress and tension, and pulling pranks on each other,” says Farrar. “I went downstairs to briefing the other day and they kind of ripped me apart. We don’t arbitrarily search videos looking for officers that did something wrong or may have said something wrong.”Police departments grapple with body camera costs
Officer Peterson feels comfortable in his privacy while on the job. He says he videotapes what’s required, and is careful to control his mode of expression in front of civilians. But, “I have the ability to turn the camera off when I want to tell a joke to my partner. And I honestly should have the professionalism to realize that if I’m in front of the public, I should probably keep my inappropriate jokes to myself.”
Chief Farrar says he absolutely does want his officers to be conscious that they’re being recorded, to temper their behavior in stressful law enforcement situations.
“If you have a long foot chase, or a long car chase, or you make a very good arrest, the officers want to congratulate each other or whatever,” says Farrar. “But I don’t think it’s appropriate to be high-fiving at the end of a car chase.”
However, inhibiting police officers from acting as they otherwise would, absent a camera recording their every word and move, is seen as a problem by law enforcement officers who oppose mandatory use of body cams. And it’s also a concern shared by some criminal justice experts.
Professor Maki Haberfeld chairs the program in law, police science and criminal justice administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Haberfeld predicts that increasingly ubiquitous video-monitoring of police, plus police officials, prosecutors and civil rights lawyers scrutinizing all that video for evidence of misconduct, will make officers on the beat afraid to use adequate force when they need to.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that they will second-guess themselves, they will hesitate, and it can potentially create a danger,” she says.
Haberfeld is also skeptical as to whether more videotaping will really help good cops defend their use of force, or protect the public when bad cops go over the line.
“Things can be understood out of context even if they’re recorded,” says Haberfeld. “This is going to be scrutinized against standards that are totally unrealistic, by people who do not understand how police work is done properly. Certain situations appear to be abusive when they’re not.”
Of course, police could just turn off their video recorders when they’re in a dangerous situation, or if a situation has the potential to make them look bad. But that would violate police policy in most jurisdictions where body cams are in use.
And, in response to the potential for police to fail to record incidents or attempt to manipulate what has been recorded, some critics of police behavior are already calling for body cams to be set or designed to record all the time, throughout an officer’s shift. Then officers wouldn’t have to turn the cameras on to record an incident; in fact, they wouldn’t be able to turn the body cams off.
“It’s oppressive to have to work on-camera every minute of the day,” says Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a public-interest legal group formerly affiliated with the ACLU. “It should only be done where it’s really necessary. But there are cases where it may be necessary, like police officers. It’s literally a matter of life and death, and experience has shown that we can’t detect police abuse any other way.”
March 31, 2015