Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Patt Morrison for Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

1-3 p.m.







1:06 – 1:39

From all ends of the political spectrum, reasons to love & hate the debt ceiling / deficit reduction plan

Any good political debate has three sides:  left, right and center.  The ongoing fight over the negotiations to raise the federal debt ceiling while cutting into the $14 trillion budget deficit is no different and it seems like politicians from all ends of the spectrum have found reasons to love or hate—sometimes simultaneously—the proposed plans circulating on Capitol Hill.  First up on the right is the Republican “Cut, Cap and Balance” Act that would make immediate spending cuts of $111 billion to next year’s budget, cap federal spending to under 20% of GDP and pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Democrats deplore the idea of cutting government spending during a recession, they find a constitutional amendment too time consuming and unnecessary, and they stridently oppose a spending cap that would handcuff future budget processes.  The bipartisan “Gang of Six” in the Senate checks in from the middle, proposing a plan to trim $3.7 trillion from the deficit over 10 years, through a mix of spending cuts and reforms to the tax code, that would ostensibly be tied to an increase in the debt ceiling.  Tea Party Republicans will most likely vote against boosting the debt ceiling no matter what and Democrats want more tax revenues included.  On the left there are straight forward plans to let the Bush tax cuts on the rich expire and dramatically reduce defense and military spending, including ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That plan has zero chance of making it out of the Republican controlled House of Representatives.


And there you have it, the three main options to getting us out of our debt crisis—which, mind you, will still be quite severe no matter which deal ultimately prevails.  Where do you come down in the midst of this old-fashioned three-sided political debate?



Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana’s 6th District; former chairman of the House Republican Conference and a candidate for the governor of Indiana


  • Rep. Pence is a strong proponent of the “Cap, Cut & Balance” deficit reduction package and has previously stated that his vote to increase the debt ceiling is contingent upon passing a balanced budget amendment to the constitution.


Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California’s 29th District; member of the House Appropriations Committee


  • Rep. Schiff is opposed to the “Cap, Cut & Balance” act; he has called for an agreement on a “Grand Deficit Bargain” that makes tough but fair choices in putting us back on a path towards fiscal responsibility, and which includes both revenues and spending cuts.


Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont; member of the Senate Budget Committee


  • Sen. Sanders will not support the “Gang of Six” compromise and has stated he’ll vote against any proposal that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, without increasing taxes on the richest Americans.




1:41:30 – 1:58:30

FCC tells phone companies to cram their cramming practices:  will mystery charges soon be history?

Phone companies are never high on any lists of the most popular companies, with some justification.  One of the most frustrating practices of phone companies is called “cramming,” when a dishonest company puts charges on your phone bill (landline or wireless) for services that were not wanted or authorized.  The charges can range from 1-900 numbers that you never called or charges from third-party service providers that you never used.  The problem is obvious if you’ve ever stared closely at your phone bill:  with lousy descriptions about the charges and shady identification about the charging party, it’s easy to overlook these often tiny charges.  The FCC estimates that 20 million phone customers are crammed each year and that only 1 in 20 cramming victims realizes they’ve been scammed.  Both the FCC and Congress are attempting to do something about phone bill cramming in the hopes that consumers will have enough tools at their disposal to know when they’re being crammed and to know what to do about it.  From clearly highlighting third party charges to getting the FCC more directly involved in going after fraudulent companies, in theory there are now more consumer protections in place.  Will consumers tell phone companies to cram it?



Joel Gurin, Bureau Chief, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission






2:06 – 2:39

Big Man on Campus – LAUSD Supt. Deasy doesn’t have it easy…

Teacher layoffs and relocations, campus closures, fights with UTLA and charter school organizations, cuts in academic programs, low student test scores…all are part of a typical day in the life of LAUSD Superintendant John Deasy. Having joined what some would call a sinking ship in January, Deasy has played an active role in reorganizing LAUSD schools and staff, mostly recently overseeing the Board of Education’s decision to meet a $408 million shortfall in funds with cuts and employment terminations. But other changes with big implications for LAUSD have occurred too, like the school district’s drop of two charter schools, a new homework policy, and Jerry Brown’s signature on the law that requires textbooks to include LGBT history. Clearly, it ain’t easy being Deasy. Join Patt for a discussion with the Superintendent of the second-largest school district in America, and weigh in with your education questions and comments.



Superintendent John Deasy, Los Angeles Unified School District





2:41:30 – 2:58:30

Health care panel recommends full coverage of contraception

The new health care law bars insurers from charging for “preventive health services,” which the nonpartisan, nongovernmental Institute of Medicine yesterday defined to include the full list of FDA-approved contraceptives. Supporters of the recommendations—including obstetricians, gynecologists, pediatricians, public health experts and Democratic women in Congress—hailed the recommendations as the first-ever federal guidelines for women’s health; opponents—including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Family Research Council and Americans United for Life—argued that birth control is not a preventive service like vaccinations or chemotherapy are and that people who have moral or ethical objections to contraceptives shouldn’t be forced to pay premiums for health plans that cover them. Most private insurance includes contraceptive coverage, but co-payments have increased in recent years. The panel argued that even small charges could deter their use and that greater use of contraception would reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended and about 40% of unintended pregnancies end in abortion. In addition to birth control, the panel also recommended that all health plans cover screening for H.I.V.; counseling to promote breastfeeding and to cover the cost of rental fees for breast pumps; screening to detect domestic violence; as well as sterilization procedures, education and counseling for all women. How will this revolutionary change in coverage impact American women and the health care industry?



Dr. Linda Rosenstock, panel chairwoman and dean of public health at the University of California, Los Angeles


Anna Franzonello, staff counsel, Americans United for Life, the first national pro-life organization in the United States




Deborah Nucatola, senior director for medical services for Planned Parenthood Federation of America



Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
Southern California Public Radio
NPR Affiliate for Los Angeles
89.3 KPCC-FM | 89.1 KUOR-FM | 90.3 KPCV-FM
626.583.5171, office
415.497.2131, mobile
jserviss@kpcc.org / jserviss@scpr.org


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