Patt Morrison for June 25, 2010

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The LAUSD 2010 – 2011 budget has just been approved by the Board of Education - it keeps getting smaller and school problems – they just keep getting bigger. Teacher and staff furloughs, shuttered classes for disabled students, funding shortages for athletics… LAUSD superintendent Ray Cortines is here with his answers to Patt’s questions and yours.

That ain’t my bag, baby

Paper or plastic? That’ll be a fee. After next week, shoppers will need to bring their own bags on their next shopping trip as the Los Angeles City Council hopes to outlaw plastic grocery bags. From now on, it will cost 25 cents for a paper bag if you don’t bring your own multi-use bags. Proponents of the bag ban say it will relieve the city of the plastic bags that dirty the streets, but others say it won’t completely solve the litter problem. Are you willing to give up your plastic bags or will you pay the price?
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It’s being hailed by its authors and proponents as the biggest overhaul of financial regulation laws since the Great Depression—Sen. Christopher Dodd, the main architect, called its passage a “great moment.” But there is much more mystery than certainty about how the new financial rules will impact the end user of financial services, from mutual funds to the average bank savings account. A new consumer protection agency is established; the “Volker Rule,” which bars banks from making risky trades with its own money (which of course is your money) was approved; the principal of “too big to fail” was knocked down in the bill. However, the initial, and potentially long-term, effects felt by the average consumer might hurt more than help: the end of free checking accounts at banks and higher interest rates on all kinds of loans are most likely on the way as banks look to new revenue sources. But is it worth it if new oversight will prevent future financial meltdowns, like the one we’ve been enduring for three years?
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Are doctors too close to Big Pharma?

The University of Michigan Medical School says it will no longer take money from drug makers to pay for coursework that’s required for doctors renewing their medical licenses. Commercial financing for postgraduate medical education, known as Continuing Medical Education (CME), has recently come under increased scrutiny by academics, medical associations, ethicists and lawmakers for its potential to push products over patients’ health or interests. Commercial industry currently covers about half the cost of CME courses nationwide, amounting to about $1 billion. Shunning pharmaceutical industry money could mean higher course fees for doctors but do companies face an inherent conflict of interest by footing the bill? The answer could create a schism among some of the nation’s highest profile docs.
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Los Tigres Del Norte at Disney Hall

From a small farming town in Mexico to the top of Latin music charts, Los Tigres del Norte have come a long way over their three-decade career. The norteño-ensemble of brothers and cousins are fixtures in the Latin music scene, with more than 55 albums under their belt and five Latin Grammy Awards. Their corridos and ballads speak to the hearts of Latino people everywhere, with lyrics about pursuing dreams, immigration, love and family. Los Tigres return with their album “Detalles y Emociones” and prepare for their upcoming performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the Global Pop concert series.
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