AirTalk for September 16, 2009

Baucus health plan

Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) released his health care proposal today. The $856 billion bill would require all Americans to have health insurance and make it illegal to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, but the bill does not include a public option. Larry Mantle discusses the plan as Congress prepares begins work on a final bill.

CA schools show some improvement

The annual Academic Performance Index scores for public schools came out Tuesday. The results are mixed, but indicate incremental improvements in K-12th grade public ed. Do standardized tests and grad rates paint an accurate portrait? Where do California schools stand nationally?

Is being late to school a crime?

In an effort to combat high rates of truancy, school police and LAPD officers have the right to issue tickets to students caught cutting class. A first-time offense costs $250. After that, fines can be higher. According to the Community Strategy Center, about 12,000 students were ticketed in LA County in 2008 for skipping or being late to school. Is this the best way to promote attendance and learning?

Outbursts and consequences

High-profile public outbursts seem to be on the rise these days. Last week, Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” at President Obama, then Kanye West disrupted the MTV music awards. Add to that the angry vitriol at town halls, and frenzied talk show hosts on both sides of the political spectrum, the nation seems to have lost decorum. What’s going on? Is racism at the root of it all? Or is it more complex than that?

Station fire: what now?

The largest fire in Los Angeles County history is now nearly 90 percent contained. County Fire expects to have it out completely by the weekend. While there's still a danger of flare ups, efforts are now turning to the recovery effort. How long will it take for the trees and vegetation of the Angeles Forest to regenerate? What will the process look like? What's the danger of mudslides come the rainy season? And what, if any, steps should forest services take in this process?
Find an archived Episode: