Grassroot Perspective – May 1, 2003-Medicare, Prescription Drugs and Insurance; New Teachers Pay the Collective Bargaining Price; Hawaii Subs Vs. LIUNA; Are We Eating Ourselves to Death?

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“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Medicare, Prescription Drugs and Insurance

Author: Mark Pauly, Ph.D.

Source: House Ways and Means Committee Testimony, 4/9/03

Prof. Pauly of the Wharton School recommends that Congress base its
decisions about Medicare and prescription drug policy on the principles
of providing true insurance and helping people with low incomes purchase
needed medicines they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Insurance
should provide protection against “the rare high cost event that spells
financial disaster,” and he argues for “insurance that provides full
coverage above a deductible, with the deductible stated as a percentage
of household income.” For those who may be “miffed at not getting an
equal slice of government largesse,” Pauly says, “Congress should play
an educational and leadership role in explaining to citizens that it is
not in the long run desirable for most people to ‘make money’ from
Full text:

Above is quoted from the Galen Institute, Health Policy Matters April 18

– New Teachers Pay the Collective Bargaining Price

When the money is flowing, and record raises are being handed out, times
are good for both teachers and their unions. But when the need to
tighten belts becomes inevitable, someone always loses his pants. More
and more, that someone is the new teacher.

In Colorado, districts have trouble attracting new teachers because they
always end up in the worst schools. “They stay three or four years, then
they choose to transfer to a school where the work is not as hard,” one
district administrator told the Rocky Mountain News. Transfers according
to seniority have a significant effect on teacher retention — one
factor unlikely to be mentioned by union representatives.

In Arizona, first-year teacher Kathy Davis appeared in series of
newspaper articles because of her creative teaching methods. This year,
she got a pink slip. “She will be replaced by someone with more
experience and more seniority,” said her school principal. “It can’t be
avoided at this time.”

In Nebraska, the Crete Education Association (CEA), famous for its
lawsuit against the school district for paying a teacher too much,
negotiated a new contract without “objectionable language” that had
allowed the district to place new teachers higher on the salary scale.
“It was our association’s priority,” said CEA President Jennene
Anderson, claiming the old provision was a “source of staff morale

In Oregon, the Portland Association of Teachers is considering an unfair
labor practice complaint over a contract provision that allows the
district to pay new teachers $2,000 more than the salary scale allows.

In California, the Richmond school district sent layoff notices to 11
new teachers at Washington Elementary School, prompting a parent and
student protest. Four of these teachers are on the school’s leadership
team and are described as “some of its most energetic teachers.” But
efforts to bypass the seniority list are met with stiff union

“I hesitate to say one teacher is better than another teacher,” said
Jeff Cloutier, executive director of the United Teachers of Richmond.

What Cloutier means is that he hesitates to speak the truth. Some
teachers are better than others. A system that doesn’t allow
differentiation between good and bad (or even good and better) is doomed
to failure.

– Hawaii Subs Vs. LIUNA

EIA has been tracking an unusual situation in Hawaii, where Local 368 of
the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) is seeking
authority to represent the state’s 5,000 substitute teachers. The state
legislature passed a bill that would allow union representation of subs,
and that bill is now on the desk of Gov. Linda Lingle, who has not
indicated whether she will sign or veto it.

If Lingle signs the bill, a labor organization would need authorization
cards from at least 30 percent of the state’s registered substitute
teachers to force a representation election. That would be a difficult
hurdle, but the state Department of Education ruled last month that subs
will need college degrees to teach in Hawaii schools. This ruling had
the dual effect of spurring the union movement while lowering the
threshold for authorization cards. Only about 3,600 Hawaii substitute
teachers have college degrees.

But LIUNA’s gains have come at the expense of the substitute teachers
who started the unionization movement last fall. Subs on Kauai, Maui and
Oahu have banded together to form the Substitute Teachers Professional
Alliance (STPAL). STPAL activists tell EIA they are gathering signatures
independently of LIUNA and will decide later when, and if, they should
affiliate with a national union.

What happens in Hawaii is significant, because it would be the first
instance of a statewide labor organization of substitute teachers in the
United States. Even 3,600 active members would match the size of the
University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, which is the NEA-affiliated
union of higher education faculty.

– DC Gives New Meaning to “Voucher Scheme.” Michael W. Martin became the
second person to plead guilty to charges stemming from the theft of more
than $5 million from the Washington Teachers Union. Martin was the
hairstylist and image consultant for former union President Barbara A.
Bullock, who allegedly converted members’ dues into luxury items and
clothing for herself and her cronies.

Along with his plea, Martin filed a statement of facts that claims he
created a consulting firm at the request of Bullock for the express
purpose of laundering dues money and kicking cash back to Bullock.
Martin netted $480,000 over a three-year period for this service, using
some of the ill-gotten gains for Washington Redskins tickets, furniture
and a vacation. Martin found one other use for his share of the loot:
private school tuition for his children.

Martin probably does not appreciate the irony, but DC teachers should.
While Bullock was spending dues money to keep vouchers out of the hands
of the district’s poorest residents, she was also using dues money to
provide a “school voucher” for Martin’s children.

Despite his own sins, Martin can hardly be faulted for his school
choice. Last week the Washington Post reported that the DC Public
Schools paid a financial consultant $280,000 over the past six months.
His primary job? To “identify problems that have caused overspending.”

You don’t need a consultant to identify a train wreck. You need a
cleanup crew.

Above are quoted from The Education Intelligence Agency, Communique
April 14, 2003

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– Are We Eating Ourselves to Death?

Author: Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D and Robert J. Cihak, M.D.

Published: The Heartland Institute 03/01/2003

Is there or is there not an epidemic of obesity? Should you worry about
that growing cummerbund around your waist? Of course not. We all
perished 10 years ago in the global famine, so confidently predicted by
the environmental apocalyptics of the 1970s. Or had you forgotten?

But maybe we should worry … because there’s another apocalypse coming.
This time, if you believe the Guardians of Girth and Dictators of Diet,
America is about to become the first nation in history to eat itself to

Clearly, Americans weigh more than they used to. So does much of the
rest of the human race. (Spend some time looking at armor or clothing in
a museum, or travel to Japan if you doubt this.) But there is an
epidemic of muddled diagnosis and wrong-headed thinking on this heavy

Two Facts, for Starters

First, “overweight” is an arbitrary and to some extent culturally
defined construct, a set of height/weight/body type/body fat percentage
relationships you read off a chart. Any individual’s comfortable and
healthful, let alone “ideal,” weight might vary significantly.
Metabolism matters. So does occupation, lifestyle, and myriad other

Second, overweight (as opposed to genuine obesity) is in most instances
the result of the human body’s natural ability to store extra calories
as fat–a survival-enhancing mechanism from those eons when you never
knew when the next woolly mammoth barbecue might be. “Calorie” is
actually a measure of heat or energy. The image of the body “burning up”
calories is pretty close to the physiologic truth.

For every extra 3,300 calories accumulated and stored as fat in the
body, you gain one pound of fat weight, plus extra fluids. Further,
whatever the nutrient value of specific foods may be, all calories are
created equal. As Michael Fumento, author of The Fat of the Land,
writes: “Maintaining a healthful body weight is no more complex or
magical than simply balancing calories burned vs. calories consumed,
regardless of the source.”

They’re Wrong

If overweight is an epidemic, the national health statistics should show
it. But statistically — and despite all the other fashionable
fears — we’re actually getting healthier and living longer, better lives.
So, what’s going on?

At one level, it’s snobbery: the elitist conviction that Americans can’t
be trusted to take care of themselves, and that the “Holier/Healthier
than Thou” crowd must therefore lobby and legislate and sue and try to
force people to live according to their standards. Social engineering
and coercion flaunt “scientific” evidence that doesn’t stand up, often
for the simple reason that it doesn’t exist to begin with.

As Steve Milloy of writes, “the simplistic notion that
dietary fat is bad was a political and business judgment, not a
scientific one.”

It seems to have started back in 1977, when a Senate committee led by
George McGovern issued a report advising Americans to consume less fat
to avoid “killer diseases,” then supposedly sweeping the country.

The politically dutiful National Institutes of Health joined the
anti-fat bandwagon, a move that spawned the low-fat food industry — a
boon to consumer choice, but not necessarily one with a beneficial
health impact.

As Fumento notes: “Since 1977-78, fat as a percentage of our diets has
dropped by over 17 percent, even as obesity has increased by over 25
percent. The fewer calories we’ve taken in from fat, the fatter we’ve

But the low-fat bandwagon was a boon to activists seeking funding and
power, especially the Food and Drug Administration, the National Academy
of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health,
and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

If you were lucky enough to get some exercise equipment or a health-club
membership last Christmas or Hanukah, do use it. In moderation, of
course. Overdoing efforts to get the calories off can be more dangerous
than putting them on.

Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D. is a multiple award-winning writer who
comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D. is a former
president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Both
doctors are Harvard-trained diagnostic radiologists.

Above is quoted from the Heartland Institute, Health Care News March

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which
takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch
over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and
mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that
authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on
the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: It is well content
that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but
rejoicing.” — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835]

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He can be reached at (808) 487-4959 or by email at:”’ ”’For more information, see its Web site at:”’