Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich is running for County Executive with public financing and plans to take on developers. Kim R. Ford is challenging fourteen-term Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for her seat. We talk to both of them about their campaigns and look at the biggest political news of the week.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seeks protection from extradition at Ecuador’s Embassy in Britain. Attorney General Eric Holder courts Congress’ contempt and President Obama evokes executive privilege over “Fast and Furious” documents. The Obama Administration weighs in on D.C.’s voucher program. And the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act could come at any moment. Join us to talk about those stories and others on your mind.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIWelcome back. Having been living in the world of H.R. of Bad Brains for the past 40 minutes or so, we know return the real world where it's your turn to call us, 800-433-8850 to set the agenda by emailing us at email@example.com, by sending a tweet @kojoshow, or simply going to our website kojoshow.org to discuss anything that is on your mind. There is a move afoot to reinstate Teresa Sullivan as the president of the University of Virginia. She was forced to resign from that post a little more than a week ago and it's led to a great deal of upheaval on campus.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIWhat is your own view? We'll be going into this in more detail next week. We'd be interested in getting suggestions from you about what aspects of that you think we need to explore. 800-433-8850. The move in the House of Representatives to cite the U.S. attorney general for contempt of Congress for not turning over what in the view of Congressional leaders are sufficient documents having to do with the now well-known Fast and Furious episode in which the U.S. attorney general's office was involved. 800-433-8850.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAnd of course, President Obama has reversed his position on vouchers for school choice here in the District of Columbia. Some would say it is a reversal, others would say it's a budget compromise that he has reached an agreement that he will allow the use of school vouchers for people to choose what schools they want to go to in the District of Columbia. What is your view? 800-433-8850. We start with Siman in Arlington, Va. You're on the air. Go ahead, please.
SIMANGood afternoon, Kojo.
NNAMDIGood afternoon, Siman.
SIMANI have two comments.
SIMANOne, it's the right of the parents to take their children to whichever school they think would give them the best education, but there aren't enough private schools to absorb the whole number of students in Washington D.C.
SIMANSo this is not only the problem of Washington D.C., the whole United States doesn't have enough private schools. So the question comes back where are the rest of students going to go if the federal government and the D.C. government is not going to take the public schools seriously and make enough reform, not only firing teachers -- the majority -- a sort of majority of teachers are the best, but they have become a scapegoat. Please deal with public schools seriously. The second question is...
NNAMDIWell, allow me to ask you a question about that Siman. There are some people who believe that the whole issue of vouchers is part of a broader attempt to privatize public education in the United States. Do you, A, agree that private -- that public education is being privatized by the use of vouchers? Do you think that privatizing of education would be a good thing?
SIMANLook, public schools graduated so many successful people all around the world, not only here in the United States, all around the world, and all of a sudden now, public schools are bad. It is the beauty of the governments everywhere to improve, equip, and get ready public schools to absorb all students. Getting rid of...
NNAMDISo you think that the issuing of school vouchers allows the government to avoid its responsibility to improve public schools?
SIMANMy second -- my second comment is...
SIMAN...there was -- there is still, and there was an ethnic cleansing and genocide going on in Ethiopia by the dictator called Meles Zenawi, and a month and a half ago, the "Voice of America" was reporting on this. Some of the young children, eight years, six years, four years, all children were ethnically cleansed and they were on the Internet. We are talking about thousands...
NNAMDIWhat, Siman, do you think should be done about this? Obviously, you think that there is not enough attention being paid to this. What would you like to see happen?
SIMANOkay. Look, not only ethnic cleansing in one region...
NNAMDIOkay. Okay. But people can read -- people can read the details of the news story itself. I'm interested in finding out what you think should be done so that we can get other callers in.
SIMANOne, the American public is not informed. Your own show where...
NNAMDIWell, you said you saw it -- you said it was reported on "Voice of America," which...
SIMANThe "Voice of America" is not meant for the American public. The "Voice of America" broadcasts to the rest of the world. It's not meant for the American public, so you cannot hear it.
NNAMDIWell, you have just indicated to our listeners here who may not be familiar with it exactly where they would be able to find that information, but we do have to move on.
SIMANOh no, let me finish. Hello?
NNAMDIPlease do. Yes.
SIMANLet me finish. There is a genocide going on in western Ethiopia, in eastern Ethiopia, in southern Ethiopia, a coup. Why they want to make a state for land grabbers like Mohammed al Amoudi from south...
NNAMDII'm afraid, Siman, you're going on a little too long. I think people are now aware of what you are talking about and can find ways of getting more of that information themselves. But thank you very much for your call. We move onto Simon in Alexandria, Va. Simon, it's your turn. You're on the air. Go ahead, please. Hi Simon, are you there?
NNAMDISimon, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
SIMONYeah. Hi, Kojo. How are you today?
NNAMDII am well, Simon.
SIMONGreat. Great. I was listening to Diane this morning, and talk -- her and her guests talking about the Senate, the Congress, and I just had to laugh to myself. I'm in the private sector, but I deal with the government every day, and it's not the Senate and the Congress that have control over what happens, it's the bureaucrats, and if the Senate and the Congress do something that the bureaucrats don't like, they don't -- they'll just -- they just wait them out. I see it every day.
NNAMDIWell, specifically what are you talking about, Simon?
SIMONWell, I deal with a specific agency.
SIMONAnd this agency...
NNAMDICare to name the agency?
SIMONYeah. The FAA.
SIMONAnd there are certain rules and regulations that we have complied with and we have been certified several times, and yet some very low people take it upon themselves because they feel it's going to cost them a great deal of money when they...
NNAMDIHave you been in touch with the inspector general of that agency? Because if there is impropriety in the agency, that's why the inspector general exists.
SIMONYeah. We have, and the inspector general recommended we do some things, but she can't do anything herself. All she can do is say, yeah, that's a bad situation and you're right and I find that the facts that you've given me are correct.
NNAMDIWell, no. In fact, the inspector general can do a lot more than that. The inspector general can find that the agency has been at fault and make recommendations for what needs to be done to correct it, but as you point out, it is a long process, and the specifics of that we don't have time to go into right now, but Simon, I would suggest you continue to pursue that course, and thank you for your call. Here now is Alfonso in Wheaton, Md. Alfonso, your turn. Hi Alfonso, are you there?
ALFONSOYes, I'm here now. Sorry about that.
NNAMDIGo right ahead, please.
ALFONSOI was calling, you mentioned the -- I had two things if possible, but the first I am a high school administrator. I wouldn't like to go into too much detail about where, but I've seen students, especially advanced students, taking online courses, and I was very interested in the relationship between when you saw in the Washington Post, I don't know if it was yesterday, online they had shared emails from the governing board of University of Virginia in relationship to the ouster of the university president, and so much of that was about her stance on online courses and they wanted a faster progression of the adoption of online courses.
ALFONSOAnd what I'm most amazed by in the general media is I don't -- with my own observation with students, I rarely see a student -- if not, I can say never, who loves that online experience. It was usually they had to jump through a hoop and they did it, and that's exactly what the experience felt like. What I ask all of your listeners to think about is think about the teacher, whether in college or grade school that you loved the most, and what it was about the teacher that inspired you. So much of that is about...
NNAMDIWell, Alfonso, allow me to interrupt, because I did not see the specific online email that you are talking about. Was the move -- the, I guess, advocacy of more online courses a way of reducing expenses at the University of Virginia, a way of reducing costs?
ALFONSOAnd it's gonna do that, and the university is gonna head in that direction. It's inevitable, right? But what I'm so frustrated with, and you see this on the board, is this enormous level of ignorance. No one's asking, the question is how do these courses help students learn? Of course...
NNAMDIWell, it does seem -- it does seem at this point that the overwhelming sentiment on the campus is in favor of the resigned president or the forced out president, Teresa Sullivan. What is your view, that she needs to come back?
ALFONSOEspecially because there's -- what I'm getting at is the board is relatively ignorant of the things that they're promoting, and I think the community recognizes that. I expect hopefully that reinstatement to occur.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very for your call, Alonso. Here -- Alfonso. Here is Rita in Washington, D.C. Rita, you're on the air. Go ahead, please. Hi Rita. You're on the air.
RITAOh, hi. How are you?
NNAMDII am well, Rita.
RITAIt's good to talk to you. I was calling in because being a native Washingtonian...
RITA...I wanted to bring light to the situation of -- and commend Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton for passing -- for pushing to pass the bill to have Frederick Douglass' heroic bronze statue be placed in the U.S. Capitol, because as you know, we've been fighting for statehood for years, and because we're not a state, our capitol is not allowed...
NNAMDIWell, let me give some background to that. The proposal was for two statues of the District of Columbia to be allowed in Statuary Hall as each other state does, and so far the District has not been able to get in, and now apparently the Senate has voted to allow one statue, the one of Frederick Douglass, to be placed in Statuary Hall, and that was what Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton, my friend Mark Plotkin and others have been fighting about for a long time. So it does appear as if this is certainly a victory -- maybe a small victory for the District of Columbia.
NNAMDIDo you think that there should be a major ceremony about this induction into the Statuary Hall and who do you think should be invited to attend that ceremony?
RITAWell, I definitely do think because of the part that he played on Douglass' legacy, you know, being an abolitionist and just being pretty much the right-hand man there in the office at that time, and this is his home, and he's given so much, we should definitely celebrate his wife and everything that's happened afterwards. And just having made such monumental steps to even get this bill passed, and definitely the invitees should be, you know, the people, you know, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton, the artist himself, Steven Weitzman, who put in a lot of time to this $100,000 to produce and he, you know, did a lot for D.C. as a whole. He has other artwork as well.
NNAMDIDo you think the president should be invited? Do you think he'd show up?
RITAOh, yeah, definitely Obama -- definitely Obama. You have to invite him. He would love to be in attendance. I think we should invite him.
NNAMDIOkay. We'll see what happens with that. Some people say good luck with that, but we'll see what happens with that. Thank you very much for you call, Rita. On now to Gene in Urbana, Md. Gene, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
GENEHi, Kojo. I just wanted to turn people onto the idea that our money, our currency, is fundamentally based in debt, not in wealth like everybody thinks of money, and that it causes a lot of problems, and there are bills in Congress to change that right now that we could promote if we wanted it, HR2990 is a solution to the debt-based money problems. There are other alternatives to money as debt. Money can be other things and has been in history. Look up Stephen Zarlenga and a book he wrote and learn all about all the different things. It's a huge book.
NNAMDIYou raise an extremely complicated and controversial issue about how to deal with the debt in Congress, whether we should do so by cutting taxes, or whether we should do so by another means of balancing the budget, but thank you very much for your suggestions. I'm afraid we're just about out of time. "The Kojo Nnamdi Show" is produced by Brendan Sweeney, Michael Martinez, Ingalisa Schrobsdorff, and Tayla Burney with assistance from Kathy Goldgeier and Elizabeth Weinstein.
NNAMDIThe managing producer is Diane Vogel. The engineer today is Timmy Olmsted. Natalie Yuravlivker is on the phones. Podcasts of all shoes, audio archives, CDs and free transcripts are available at our website kojoshow.org. Thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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