Friday, August 03, 2007

A message from Dennis Leone on Divestiture: STRS Board playing politics with OUR MONEY

From Dennis Leone, August 3, 2007
Subject: Divestiture
CORE – so you know, and to set the record straight, the Board voted 6-2 at the June STRS Board meeting to develop a plan by December 31 to voluntarily reduce investments in Iran and Sudan. Craig Brooks and I voted no and argued that we should do nothing more than simply “consider” the matter. I publicly argued further that I did not even want staff time spent developing such a plan. I said in June, as the Columbus Dispatch editorial did a few days ago: “Today it’s Iran and Sudan, tomorrow it may be China and Pakistan.” Voting for the resolution were Ramser, Cervantes, Chapman, Puckett, Hayden and Johnson. Lazares and Meuser were absent. I stated further, publicly, that since the matter was heading back to a Senate sub-committee for new consideration, it would wrong for us to agree to any reduction plan at this juncture. The 6 board members who voted yes all feel that their affirmative vote will help us politically in the eyes of lawmakers and therefore help our health care initiative.
I should add that all of the articles I have been reading in newspapers over the past 2 months are NOT accurate. While the executive directors from the 5 pension systems may have promised to the House Speaker that we will reduce our Iran/Sudan investments by 50%, the STRS Board did NOT agree to this. It seems to me, given that this matter has been “shelved” legislatively for the time being, that the STRS Board has egg on its face for voting as it did in June…………which they publicly admitted was purely for political reasons. Playing politics with membership money. I am so tired of it……………..

Egg on the face of the STRS Board for their usual knee-jerk style of decision making! Real bright, you guys!!!

Thank you, Dennis and Craig for having BRAINS and SENSE -- too bad you were in the MINORITY that day!!! KBB
Dennis Leone to Linda Meineldt, August 1, 2007
Subject: RE: Divestment
You have asked a very good question. I voted no on the board resolution to develop a plan, but (as you might guess) it passed 8-2. I think the board now has egg on it’s face. The editorial in today’s Columbus Dispatch is exactly what I tried to tell my fellow board members. I intend to bring it again at the August 16 STRS Board meeting.
D. Leone
From Linda Meinelt, August 1, 2007
Subject: Divestment
From what I have been reading, it seems that Mandel's bill is shelved. Is it still necessary for STRS to divest its interests considering the negative impact on our pension funds?

Uncle Damon or Uncle Sam?

Maybe a better title would be: "Would you rather have STRS be the watchdog for your healthcare services or would you rather have traditional Medicare be the watchdog for your healthcare services?" If Congress takes the "monetary incentive" out of the Medicare Advantage program, STRS will be left "holding the bag"....and so will you! Who do you think the unscrupulous hospitals and medical service providers will fear the most...Uncle Damon or Uncle Sam? My bet is with Uncle Sam. I'll take federal oversight any day! John
Medicare Advantage a boondoggle
August 1, 2007
When President Bush tried to privatize Social Security in 2005, we were proud that Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and others in our congressional delegation stood with the American people in overwhelmingly rejecting a policy that put the financial interest of Wall Street over the people's interest on Main Street.
Now Medicare is headed down a similar path, and Congress again needs to take a stand to ensure that our public health care dollars go toward people's health care, not into health industry CEOs' wallets.
Like all privatization schemes, so-called Medicare Advantage was developed under the false promise that private insurers could provide the same services as Medicare at lower cost. The reverse has been true. Costs have gone up, and, in many cases, available services have disappeared.
According to an analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, private Medicare Advantage plans cost taxpayers an average of 12 percent more than normal Medicare. In Washington, the average overpayment is 21.5 percent.
That overpayment isn't surprising -- it's exactly the kind of expensive waste that comes from funneling valuable public resources into the pockets of insurance industry CEOs -- but its scale is a cause for serious concern. The CBO report estimated that overpayments will total $54 billion over five years, and $160 billion over the next decade.
And the extra cost doesn't even necessarily mean extra benefits. The higher prices in the private plans come with promises of improved flexibility and benefits, but some beneficiaries discover after signing up that they're actually getting less than traditional Medicare offers.
Everyone agrees that Medicare Advantage is more boondoggle than benefit.
Constituency groups that advocate for the rights of Medicare beneficiaries, including the Medicare Rights Center, the Alliance for Retired Americans, the Retired Public Employees Council of Washington, Washington CAN! and AARP, have all called for leveling payments between traditional Medicare and the Medicare Advantage program, ensuring that private plans are no longer paid billions more than the cost of covering the same beneficiaries under traditional Medicare.
An American Medical Association statement to Congress on Medicare Advantage's "Private Fee-For-Service" plans noted that "it is difficult to detect any meaningful benefits either to patients or to rural communities derived from these enormous government subsidies. In fact, there is mounting evidence that PFFS plans are luring their enrollees with false promises, skimping on benefits and reimbursement rates, and using their government subsidies primarily to increase profits for their shareholders."
It's not too late to change course, and reversing the privatization of Medicare would free up precious public resources to expand access to health care for kids and seniors.
Congress is now considering significant increases in funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which could go a long way in covering most of the 9 million uninsured children in this country. In addition, Congress is considering improving and expanding Medicare Savings Programs -- programs that help low-income Medicare beneficiaries pay their Medicare premiums and cost sharing.
It's a question of priorities: subsidies for insurance companies or health care for kids and seniors.

Buckeye Boehner and cohorts get a glimpse of the future

“This is a very partisan bill, done in a very partisan way,” said the House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio. “It expands government-run health care beyond anything any of us could have imagined in the last 10 years.”
From John Curry, August 2, 2007
Listen to the American healthcare insurance industry squeal now! Your TV will soon be plastered with "poor mouth" pleas re. how this will hurt fact, the only "hurt" will be the pocketbooks of the healthcare insurers if this passes in the Senate! This bill will also end the profiteering of the Medicare Advantage plans. If it passes the Senate, will our President veto it? Do bears go to the bathroom in the woods? John
August 2, 2007
House Passes Children's Health Plan 225-204

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 — Over angry Republican objections, the House on Wednesday passed a sweeping expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, financed with increases in tobacco taxes and cuts in subsidies to private Medicare insurance plans for older Americans.

The bill embodies the Democrats’ vision for health care, taking a step toward the goal of universal coverage while reversing what they see as Republican efforts to “privatize Medicare.”

By a vote of 225 to 204, the bill passed, with support from 220 Democrats and 5 Republicans. Ten Democrats joined 194 Republicans in voting against it. The bill would provide coverage for more than four million uninsured children in low-income families, prevent cuts in doctors’ Medicare payments scheduled for Jan. 1 and raise the federal cigarette tax 45 cents a pack, to 84 cents.

It would also increase assistance to low-income Medicare recipients and eliminate co-payments for most preventive care provided to Medicare recipients.

Passing the bill was a major achievement for the new Democratic House leaders. When Nancy Pelosi took the gavel as speaker in January, she was surrounded by the children of House members, and she called the House to order in the name of “all America’s children.”

President Bush has threatened to veto the House bill, developed entirely by Democrats, and a more modest bipartisan measure, expected to win Senate approval this week. Lawmakers see an urgent need for action because the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers 6.6 million youngsters, is scheduled to expire on Sept. 30.

Representative Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, said, “Today’s debate comes down to this: Do you favor big tobacco or children?”

Republicans tried to block consideration of the House bill and complained that it was being rammed through the House without any opportunity for amendment.

“This is a very partisan bill, done in a very partisan way,” said the House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio. “It expands government-run health care beyond anything any of us could have imagined in the last 10 years.”

Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said: “Members of Congress and our children get health care paid for by taxpayers. The children of our constituents deserve the same.”

When it was created in 1997, the children’s program focused on families with incomes less than twice the poverty level. But many states have obtained federal waivers to cover children with somewhat higher family incomes, because those families cannot afford private insurance.

The federal government is spending $5 billion a year on the program. At that rate, it would spend $25 billion in the next five years.

The Senate bill would provide an additional $35 billion over five years, for a total of $60 billion. The House bill would provide $50 billion, for a $75 billion total.

Republicans fear, and Democrats hope, the bill will set a precedent for efforts to cover more of the 45 million Americans lacking health insurance.

Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, said the bill embodied the Democrats’ “vision for the future: socialized medicine and Washington-run health care.”

“The bill uses children as pawns in a cynical attempt to make millions of Americans completely reliant on government for their health care needs,” Mr. Sessions said.

Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas, said, “The Republicans’ silly claims of socialized medicine are belied by the bill’s endorsement by the American Medical Association.”

Another Democrat, Representative Albert R. Wynn of Maryland, said, “If America is the greatest country in the world, then all of our children should have health insurance.”

Under current law, Medicare payments to doctors would be cut 10 percent in January. Under the bill, payments would go up 0.5 percent.

More than eight million of the 43 million Medicare beneficiaries are in plans offered by companies like Humana and United Health. Since December 2005, enrollment in private plans has shot up 40 percent.

On average, the Congressional Budget Office says, Medicare pays the private plans 12 percent more than it would cost to cover the same people under the traditional Medicare program. The House bill would eliminate the differential, saving $50 billion over the next five years and $157 billion from 2008 to 2017.

Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the chief insurers’ lobby, said the cuts would be “devastating to millions of seniors,” including many on fixed incomes, who rely on private plans. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that enrollment in such plans would decline 30 percent, to 5.5 million.

Republicans said it was wrong to cut Medicare to finance coverage for children. “This is kids’ care against Medicare,” said Representative Kevin Brady of Texas. “It pits children against their grandparents.”

The Bush administration and many Republicans in Congress have encouraged the development of private plans, saying they can coordinate care and control costs better than the government-run Medicare. Democrats say the “overpayments” are unjustified and threaten the solvency of the Medicare trust fund.

Marc Dann joins Dennis Leone by winning the "First Amendment Award"

From John Curry, August 3, 2007
The Society of Professional Journalists of Central Ohio recently awarded the First Amendment Award to our Attorney General Marc Dann. It's nice to know that our retired educator proponent and STRS Board member Dr. Dennis Leone will have good company on a list that many of our legislators will never be considered for! However, they may just be prime candidates for another award that this same group of professional journalists also bestows.... the "Brick Wall" Award! Who, might you ask, are some recipients of this other and embarrassing award that the winners surely will wish that they never won? Well, check out the first list of ethical Buckeyes and then put your boots on before you wade into the "other" list! John
Chapter award winners
For many years, the chapter handed out three annual awards to honor service to journalism and SPJ. In 2001, the chapter’s board voted to add a fourth award — the Brick Wall Award — as a “dishonor” to call attention to public officials who improperly block access to public records or proceedings.
First Amendment Award
This award recognizes significant contributions to the First Amendment rights of freedom of expression. Individuals and organizations both inside and outside of journalism are eligible.
2007 - Marc Dann, Ohio attorney general
2006 - Fred Gittes, Gittes & Schulte
2005 - State Rep. W. Scott Oelslager, R, Canton
2004 - Dennis Leone, former superintendent of Chillicothe Schools
2003 - Martin Rozenman, Suburban News Publications
2002 - Catherine Candisky and Darrel Rowland, The Columbus Dispatch
2001 - Staff of the Ohio State University Lantern
2000 - Thomas A. Schwartz, OSU journalism professor
1999 - Cliff Wiltshire, Suburban News Publications
1998 - Verne Edwards, Delaware Gazette
1997 - Frank Deaner, Ohio Newspaper Association
1996 - Martin Yant, Ohio Observer magazine
1995 - Staff of the Ohio University Post
1994 - The Columbus Dispatch and Editor Bob Smith
1993 - not presented
1992 - Alan D. Miller, The Columbus Dispatch
1991 - The Fairfield County Leader
1990 - Luke Feck, former Dispatch editor
1989 - Andrew Douglas, Ohio Supreme Court Justice
1986 - Sam Perdue, Columbus Citizen-Journal city editor and columnist
1983 - Judge John W. McCormac of the Franklin County Court of Appeals
And now....for the worst of the worst:
Brick Wall Award
Started in 2001, this dubious distinction is presented to the individual or organization that, according to chapter members, did the most to block citizen access to public records and proceedings or otherwise violated the spirit of the First Amendment during the past year. Anyone is eligible, but special consideration will be given to public officials and tax-funded agencies that fail to follow the law.
2007 - Ohio Supreme Court justices Paul Pfeifer, Judith Ann Lanzinger, Terrence O’Donnell, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton and Alice Robie Resnick
2006 - The Ohio Supreme Court for a series of decisions which weakened Ohio’s Open Records law. Particularly onerous was the court’s decision to recognize “executive privilege” for the Ohio governor’s office in Dann v. Taft. This exception is not in the state’s Open Records statutes or the Ohio Constitution. In other record-shielding decisions, the court has blocked newspaper access to photographs of police officers and to the home addresses of state employees – both longstanding public documents.
2005 - Sen. Larry Mumper, R, Marion: Sponsored “Academic Bill of Rights” to limit what professors can say in the classroom; Jacqueline Piar, superintendent of Northridge Local Schools: Dismissed the high school principal and sent public records out of the county to shield them from view and asked the Licking County sheriff to drop a criminal investigation.
2004 - Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Robert S. Tongren: Destroyed a $579,000 consultants’ report to hide it from public scrutiny
2003 - Village of New Rome: Refused to provide documents showing how money was spent or how some officials came to occupy their offices
2002 - The Ohio Historical Society: Refused to follow Ohio laws regarding open meetings or public records, even though it received 75 percent of its annual funding from taxpayers; kept executive salaries secret
2001 - Judge Thomas E. Louden of Delaware County Juvenile Court: Sued by The Columbus Dispatch when he improperly closed a detention hearing and posted deputy sheriffs at the doors of the Delaware County Courthouse to keep the media out of the building

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Columbus Dispatch: Divestment drive for profit, not patriotism

From John Curry, August 1, 2007
Subject: Dispatch: " in the five pensions belongs to private citizens, not to the state"
Questionable motive
Pension divestment drive is motivated by profit, not patriotism
Columbus Dispatch, August 1, 2007
Ohio's five public-pension systems have enough responsibility focusing on the best returns for public-service retirees. They shouldn't be worried about whether their portfolios have some second- or third-party connection to unfriendly regimes.
Unfortunately for Ohio's retired public employees, the retirement plans in June caved in to the legislature's pressure and agreed to dispose of about half of nearly $1.1 billion in investments that have some link to Iran and Sudan. The retirement plans accepted the deal after the General Assembly threatened them with a mandate to end all of those investments.
Proponents of divestment talk of the retirement funds as if they are the taxpayers' money. In fact, the pension money belongs to current and retired public employees.
The divestment plan might make lawmakers feel good about standing up to terrorism, but it will have no effect on the behavior of Iran and Sudan. Instead, it could end up costing Ohioans part of their retirement nest eggs because of the costs related to divestment and needless prohibitions on investment planning.
Adding to concern about this misguided policy are documents showing that consultants aiding in the drafting of Ohio's legislation stand to profit from the growing field of "terror-free" investing. One estimate says the transactions to complete the divestment will cost Ohio's pensions $15 million.
Jeff Glasgow, a retired assistant Franklin County prosecutor, used Ohio's public-records law to obtain documents from the irresponsible co-sponsors of the divestiture legislation, Reps. Josh Mandel of Lyndhurst and Shannon Jones of Springboro. The two Republicans were aided in their by money managers, who profit from arranging funds to meet divestment mandates, and by various research groups, such as the conservative Center for Security Policy.
Jones said she didn't consult the outside groups, while Mandel downplayed their role in drafting legislation.
Punishing Iran and Sudan, or any other repressive regime, is the business of the federal government, not state pension plans. The Ohio agreement set a bad precedent and opened the door to demands for other divestments. The regimes in Iran and Sudan are bad actors on the world stage, but what about Syria, Zimbabwe or China, which has an awful human-rights record?
Multinational companies are globally connected as never before, with subsidiaries on every continent. Divestment rules for Ohio's retirement plans are impractical, counterproductive and should be dropped.
Finally, if state politicians want to dabble in foreign affairs, they should do so with their own money. The money in the five pensions belongs to private citizens, not to the state.

A mayoral takeover of the Columbus schools and creation of city-sponsored charter schools? Guess whose finger is in this pie!

From John Curry, August 1, 2007
Subject: Are you a Columbus voter and a public education advocate?
If you might want to take a look at the charter school connection of Mayor Coleman's opponent and his donation from David Brennan -- the White Hat guy! John
"Todd has called for a mayoral takeover of Columbus Public Schools and the creation of city-sponsored charter schools as a way to improve the district's performance."
Campaign fundraising Mayor Coleman gets more cash than GOP rival
August 1, 2007
By Robert Vitale
Click here to see a list of top contributors to each candidate's campaign. Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman brought in more than five times as much money as his Republican opponent during the first half of the year, according to reports filed yesterday by both candidates.
The campaign-finance race so far: Coleman, $498,311; challenger William M. Todd, $90,450.
The Democratic incumbent's advantage is even bigger when the January-to-June haul is added to money left over from previous campaigns.
That shows Coleman with $519,800 in the bank as of June 30. Todd had $80,718.
Candidates for mayor and Columbus City Council filed their first campaign-finance reports of the year yesterday with the Franklin County Board of Elections.
Both sides in the mayoral race criticized the other's sources of campaign cash.
Democrats pointed out that Todd's biggest individual donor -- at $20,000 -- was David L. Brennan, president of Akron-based White Hat Management, a for-profit operator of charter schools in Ohio and six other states.
Todd has called for a mayoral takeover of Columbus Public Schools and the creation of city-sponsored charter schools as a way to improve the district's performance.
In February, he helped incorporate a nonprofit called School Choice Ohio, which shares a lobbyist and Downtown address with White Hat.
Todd said yesterday that Brennan's support came because of his proposals for Columbus schools, not the other way around.
"He's heard my message and what I want to do," Todd said. "I think he likes that."
Todd, in turn, questioned names on Coleman's donor list, which included developers, builders and others who do business with City Hall.
"The mayor has become the master of pay-to-play," he said.
Bryan Clark, spokesman for the Democrats' coordinated campaign, said Coleman reported a total of 781 donors representing all walks of life.
Todd's biggest sources of campaign cash -- Brennan, the Franklin County GOP and a loan from himself -- accounted for about two-thirds of his money, Clark said.
In City Council races, Democrat Michael C. Mentel led all candidates with more than $50,000 in contributions between January and June.
Mentel was elected council president in January.
Andrew Ginther, a Democrat running for his first term after a January appointment, raised more than $16,000. Democrat Hearcel Craig, who was appointed in April, raised more than $10,000.
Two Republicans in the seven-candidate council field -- Bill Brownson and Paul Bingle -- didn't file reports yesterday. Candidates aren't required to report donations if they raise or spend less than $10,000. The third, Larry Thomas, reported $5,380 in donations.
Democrat Charleta Tavares raised less than $10,000 as well, Clark said.
Republicans led one money race. In a head-to-head council contest to serve out the term of former Councilwoman Mary Jo Hudson, GOP candidate Heidi Samuel raised almost $5,000 more than Democratic incumbent Priscilla Tyson.

Monday, July 30, 2007

John Bos: A Nation Powered by Solar and Wind

From John Bos, July 30, 2007
Subject: A Nation Powered by Solar and Wind

We have the best opportunity we've ever had to get this country off of polluting energy like oil and coal and onto real clean alternatives. This will not only help curb the climate crisis, but save consumers money and create new jobs. Seems like a slam dunk, right?

But the oil and coal industry are going all-out to stop this bill, and some in Congress are listening to them. We need to tell Congress now to do what's right for the American people, not continue business-as-usual.

I signed a petition urging Congress to vote for to give solar and wind the support they need to assure a clean energy future. Can you join me at the link below?


John Curry reviews 'Sicko' -- a powerful message some may have missed

From John Curry, July 30, 2007

I viewed Sicko this evening. In a word...."moving." Probably the most moving part was one probably not one thought about by most viewers. You see, the 911 EMT's and Firemen whose insurance companies chose to refuse to cover were not those of the paid rescue services and fire departments of NYC...they were volunteers from neighboring squads and FD's who "volunteered" their services to help with the treatment of others and body recoveries of the 911 disaster. Since they volunteered their services...the healthcare insurance companies found it in their "compassion" to refuse them treatment. They were treated (not by doctors at the GITMO Naval Base) the U.S. Navy base but by Cuban hospitals. At the end of the Cuban trip, one of the larger Havana fire departments held an honor ceremony for those EMT's and Firefighters. You see, Firemen --regardless of their country's political philosophies -- are BROTHERS. I shed a tear...and I'm usually not that kind of guy. There IS a better way to deal with healthcare in this country...we are moving toward that concept....ever so slowly....but we are headed in the right direction -- for now at least. If you get a chance, please watch this movie....I'd sooner give a buck or two to Michael Moore than I would to my friendly local HMO or PPO.....any day! This was one of the best eight bucks I ever spent!
P.S. One of the members of Parliament, a distinguished gentleman, laid the history of their national healthcare out for all to hear. You see, in 1948, a WW II torn England formed their "nationalized" health care system -- formulated at a time in England's history when they were recovering from the savagery of damage inflicted by the German Air Force to their economy and infrastructure. Their philosophy for the creation of their nationalized healthcare system (my paraphrasing) "If we can afford a war...we can afford healthcare for all. Sound familiar to our country's current situation? They did it then.... we can do it now -- minus the profiteering of healthcare insurance companies and the pharmaceutical manufacturers!

So, who was Tommy Douglas and why was he voted as the Greatest Canadian?

From John Curry, July 30, 2007
Subject: So, who was Tommy Douglas and why was he voted as the Greatest Canadian?
Source, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:
Hmm....the citizenry of Canada must have thought this guy was really GREAT! He "creamed" Wayne Gretzky ...Wayne finished #10 in this vote. I wonder what this guy did that made him so very popular in Maple Leaf Land? Lest you be offended by his description as a "socialist" politician...let me assure you that Canada is also a democracy (Parliamentary democracy) and that the Medicare program you are now receiving (or will receive) is also "socialized" (come to think of it-"Social" Security is too).....oh, be careful, "Joe" McCarthy's offspring might be lurking in the bushes outside your window! Gotta' look out for Commies, don't we? John
P.S. Those often-talked-about long waiting lines for medical treatment in Canada must not be that long, huh?

Tommy Douglas crowned 'Greatest Canadian'

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 | 4:37 PM ET
CBC Arts

Tommy Douglas, the former Saskatchewan premier who is credited with being the founding father of Canada's health-care system, was named Monday night as the winner in the CBC's Greatest Canadian contest.

The socialist politician was chosen by CBC viewers as the Canadian who has had the most profound impact on the country's history.

Tommy Douglas in 1965 (CP photo)
Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox placed second in the voting.

Behind Fox was former Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

Douglas was the leading vote-getter going into Monday's finale. In all, 1.2 million votes were cast during The Greatest Canadian's six-week run.

Terry Fox placed second in the voting (CP photo)
The show debuted in October using a format borrowed from a BBC series. It began with a list of ten finalists, drawn from the more than 140,000 names that were submitted to the show's producers.

Each finalist had an advocate – a celebrity who tried to convince viewers that his or her nominee was worthy of being chosen as the winner.

Viewers then voted by phone, text message or e-mail.

The celebrity who stumped on behalf of Douglas was George Stroumboulopoulos, the MuchMusic personality who will soon join the staff of the CBC.

"I feel like Tommy Douglas is getting the recognition he deserves," he said when his nominee was named the winner.

Fourth place in the voting went to Frederick Banting.

The rest of the top ten, in order, are: (5) David Suzuki, (6) Lester Pearson, (7) Don Cherry, (8) John A. Macdonald, (9) Alexander Graham Bell and (10) Wayne Gretzky.

CBC host Evan Solomon was the celebrity advocate for Bell, the inventor of the telephone.

"I'm shocked that so few Bell supporters knew how to use the phone to vote," Solomon quipped earlier in the show when his nominee placed ninth.

The final episode of The Greatest Canadian, titled The Greatest Canadian of Them All, was hosted by CBC correspondent Wendy Mesley and This Hour Has 22 Minutes cast member Shaun Majumder.

Monday's broadcast began with a recap of the Sunday edition of the show.

That instalment was memorable for the barbs traded by the advocates.

At one point, CBC commentator Rex Murphy – who championed Trudeau – got into a heated verbal tussle with George Stroumboulopoulos, who argued that Douglas was the source of Trudeau's ideas.

"There is a difference between the fertilizer and the tree," Murphy said pointedly.

Douglas, born in Scotland in 1904, spent his early years in Winnipeg.

After a stint as a Baptist minister, he served as a federal MP from 1935 to 1944. He then became premier of Saskatchewan as leader of the CCF, the predecessor to today's NDP.

It was in Saskatchewan that Douglas introduced Medicare, a concept that was later adopted at the federal level by the Liberal Party.

He died in 1986.

According to the CBC, The Greatest Canadian has averaged between 500,000 to 700,000 viewers per episode.

The program's Oct. 17 debut drew more than one million viewers.

The series is arguably the public broadcaster's most talked-about show in recent years. After it debuted, Canadians from across the country joined in the debate, arguing passionately for different candidates.

The Greatest Canadian was also criticized for its methodology, with some observers noting the paucity of female nominees.

"How can this be said to represent the nation's choice of 'Greatest Canadian' when it isn't even being shown in French?" asked columnist Andrew Coyne, writing in the National Post.

Mesley and Majumder did not reveal on Monday how many votes each nominee garnered.

A 4 month old article + a 2 day old article = ONE BIG PROBLEM for Ohio's Educational Leaders

From John Curry, July 29, 2007
Subject: A 4 month old article + a 2 day old article = ONE BIG PROBLEM for Ohio's Educational Leaders
Just this past Friday, the Dispatch featured an article critical of the Susan Zelman's ODE and their failure to adequately police monies that went to Ohio charter schools!( "The audit found that the Department of Education was not making sure that charter-school operators were spending tax dollars in accordance with state and federal guidelines.)To those of us who are following the Ohio charter school fiascos this comes as no surprise. Now, let's travel back in time just four months ago and tie Friday's Dispatch article about the our state education officials poor performance in keeping track of the millions that went to Ohio's charter schools with an article that appeared in the same paper! Many CORE members and others disagree with the OEA's past actions (especially as they applied to the management of the STRS Board during the late 1990's and early 2000's) BUT...this time, they were right on the money. The article below is one that many have forgotten but needs to be reread as it now gains even more meaning as to what has not been done. The OEA, this time 'round, is "right on the money" with their lawsuit against Zelman, the ODE, and the State Dept. of Education. One sentence in that article states,"The Ohio Education Association filed suit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court yesterday on behalf of the Dayton school district. It accuses state Superintendent Susan T. Zelman, the Ohio Board of Education and the state Department of Education of failing to properly monitor charter schools." The OEA got this one right on the money! Well, OEA, this time you have additional evidence from our very own State Auditor to back up your accusations....and I am very glad that you do!
Charter schools face another lawsuit
Lack of monitoring ends up hurting Ohio public schools, teachers union says
Saturday, March 24, 2007 3:39 AM
Five months after the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the state's charter-school program, another teachers union is challenging the tax-funded, privately operated schools.

The Ohio Education Association filed suit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court yesterday on behalf of the Dayton school district. It accuses state Superintendent Susan T. Zelman, the Ohio Board of Education and the state Department of Education of failing to properly monitor charter schools.

Charter schools have violated state laws and various terms of their sponsorship agreements, yet few face any consequences, the suit alleged.

As a result, charter schools are undermining Ohio's education system by diverting tax dollars from traditional public schools.

"There is no reasonable justification for Ohio's public education system to benefit a few while harming the many," the 31-page suit said.

Dayton has the second highest number of charter-school students in the nation: nearly 6,500, or 28 percent of the district.

The exodus of students cost the district an estimated $43 million in lost state aid during the 2005-06 school year. Since 2000, $189 million has followed students leaving Dayton schools for charters.

"The expense of operating the Dayton City School District does not decrease in direct proportion to the reduction in its student population resulting from students who transfer to community schools," the suit said.

Department of Education spokesman J.C. Benton declined to comment, saying he had not seen the lawsuit.

"Ohioans have the right to expect the (state) to monitor the performance of the $500 million-a-year charter school program," said OEA President Gary L. Allen. "Through this legal action, we hope to end a pattern of lax state oversight, poor compliance and avoidance of fiscal and academic accountability."

The case was assigned to Common Pleas Judge Beverly Pfeifer, with trial set for April 15, 2008.

In a 4-3 decision in October, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the state's charter-school law. The Ohio Federation of Teachers filed that suit, arguing that charter schools violated the state's constitutional requirement of a "thorough and efficient system of common schools" because they were not held to the same standards as traditional public schools.

The court's majority found the General Assembly had the latitude to set different standards for different types of public schools.

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