Tuesday, September 20, 2011

RE: Patt Morrison for Wednesday, September 21



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

1-3 p.m.



1:06 – 1:30 OPEN



1:30 - 1:58:30

Is your mortgage check in the mail? Bank of America is increasing foreclosure filings in California

Bad news for homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payment, Bank of America is ratcheting up foreclosure proceedings in states where a court action isn’t required to repossess a home—and California is one of those states. In fact, the nation’s largest mortgage servicer has already started.  In one month, between July and August, Bank of America increased the number of default notices sent to homeowners by 182% in California. That amounts to 6, 478 homes. The bank claims the dramatic increase is due to a backlog that was on hold until foreclosure procedures could be streamlined. But the troubling news for those on the financial brink is that Bank of America may not be alone, other banks may soon follow.  Jumana Bauwens, a spokeswoman, for Bank of America told the LA Times that the increase in foreclosure activity could be a “potential harbinger for housing market recovery.” Will the push to get these homes up for sale help the housing market recover or do other factors like unemployment and lending play into the mix?


John Karevoll, analyst with DataQuick, a San Diego-based research firm that tracks foreclosure activity

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research
Lisa Sitkin, staff attorney for Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, a California statewide, not-for-profit legal service and advocacy organization. Their core practice areas are predatory or unfair mortgage lending, foreclosure prevention and fair housing.


  • HERA provides direct legal representation services primarily in Northern California, with technical assistance, training and counseling services available by telephone statewide. Can answer questions consumer questions, not just for Northern CA.



Bank of America



2:06 – 2:30

Xanax, OxyContin, and Vicodin overdoses at record highs. Is prescription drug abuse a health epidemic?

If you’re using Xanax, OxyContin, or Vicodin as a coping mechanism, you aren’t alone. Health professionals have noticed a dramatic uptick in the number of people using and addicted to prescription drugs in the United States and are using words like “epidemic” to characterize the problem. According to the LA Times analysis of government data, there are now more deaths attributed to prescription narcotic overdoses than to auto accidents.  Deaths due to overdoses of painkillers and anti-anxiety medication tripled between 2000 and 2008. Another startling fact, these drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. One warning public health experts want to drill home is that just because a prescription is written by a doctor and gets filled at the pharmacy doesn’t mean it is safe. One case and point is a relatively new painkiller is called Fentanyl--it’s 100 times stronger than morphine. In Hollywood, the painkiller OxyContin (known on the street as OC, O and hillbilly heroin) is becoming one of the most abused drugs in town. Michael Jackson was addicted, Courtney Love overdosed in 2003 and Heath Ledger was taking the drug before his death. The scary news is that many health professionals don’t know how to stem the tide of prescription drug deaths. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy this year introduced a few initiatives to try and tackle the problem including offering voluntary courses to train physicians about the risks associated with prescription drug use.  In Los Angeles recently 4 alleged “prescription mills” were raided and shut down for illegally dealing addictive painkillers.  Can more be done? Is the new war on drugs taking place in a plastic bottle with a child proof cap?



Steve Opferman, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. and head of a county task force on prescription drug-related crimes



Larissa Mooney, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA



2:30 – 2:58:30

How to teach math? One size may not fit all

Most high school math is completely useless to the majority of adults and "most citizens would be better served by studying how mortgages are priced, how computers are programmed and how the statistical results of a medical trial are to be understood." At least that’s the argument two mathematicians are making. They suggest that current math curriculum doesn’t benefit all students. Some students will excel at math geared towards those with a future in the sciences, but others would be better off with some basic applied math. They also worry that students who feel overwhelmed by more complex math will be turned off to the subject entirely and won’t learn the basics they need to get by in the real world. But how can those students be identified? Is it helping or hurting to close the door on jobs that heavily use math and science—jobs that are often some of the best paying? Is the problem not the math but the way it’s being taught? And is this the right time to change math education in the US, when the US routinely falls behind other countries in the math and sciences? 



Sol Garfunkel, executive director of the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications about the piece he co-wrote for the New York Times



Representative, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which annually ranks the US and 64 other countries’ education systems


  • According to PISA’s 2010 results, the United States ranks 17th in science and a below-average 25th in math.  The best educated students – those in Korea, Finland, Shanghai-China, and Hong Kon-China – by age 15 are a year ahead of their American counterparts in math and science.






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