Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

July 15, 2009


Host: Ted Simons

Chess Camp

  |   Video
  • Visit the 2009 Summer Chess Academy in Tempe where all the kids are winners.
Guests:
  • Dr. Norm Saba - Banner Children's Hospital
Category: Education

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
For the last two weeks, the summer chess academy in Tempe has been teaching kids all the right moves. David Majure has more.

David Majure:
It's an age-old competition.

Kid 1:
I'd say chess is sort of like an art of war or something like that. I'm sure if it had more violence, more people would be playing it.

David Majure:
While not exactly a contact sport, chess keeps winning over new generations of fans.

Kid 2:
I just like playing chess.

David Majure:
Even in this whiz-bang world of high technology, where kids can choose video games or chess.

Kid 3 “Dylan”:
Video games or chess? I like them both a lot.

Teacher 1:
We have iPods, we have D.V.D.s, video games, and the nice thing about chess is, it helps kids to slow down and think.

Kid 4:
Actually lately I've been having random times where chess moves go in my head.

Kid 2:
Every time I play a game, I always get so excited to play another and learn more things.

Kid 3 “Dylan”:
I'm pretty sure I'll never get to grandmaster or anything like that, but I can at least try, and maybe I will.

David Majure:
Maybe they all will. The nearly 100 kids who show up each morning and spend all day at the summer chess academy in Tempe.

Teacher 2:
Well, I'll tell you what. Dylan's very active in soccer, and he's been very active in chess. Since he's been probably about 6. So it's a good combination between using your brain and the physical activity.

Kid 4:
I feel like I'm going to get better, and I might be able to beat my dad finally.

Kid 2:
I've been here three years, and, yeah, I've gotten better each year.

David Majure:
That's why Dwayne Schmidt enrolled his 8-year-old in the two-week academy.

Dwayne Schmidt:
To learn more chess, obviously, to excel at what he's learning, and the ability to interact with grandmas terse, international masters, including the American champion, is kind of a really exciting event for these guys.

Teacher 3:
What do you do here?

David Majure:
The kids learn from some of the nation's top talent. Like the 2008 U.S. champion grand master Uri Shulman, Grandmaster Gregory Kidenoff, and International Master Ben Fiengold.

Ben Fiengold:
More likely you live it in check.

Teacher 1:
Most of the great players started young, like a lot of the kids at this camp.

Kid 4:
I like chess, but I also like PE too.

David Majure:
Not a problem. Several times a day, kids leave their chess boards behind, and they take part in physical activities led by a certified P.E. teacher. In fact, the camp's administrative staff are all certified educators. They make sure it runs smoothly, and the kids get everything they need.

Kid 2:
I go to gym, I play, and we get drinks. We go to the bathroom.

David Majure:
Even the most basic needs are covered, all for $420 a child. But thanks to corporate sponsors and individual donations, half the kids attend for free, or at a reduced rate.

Allen Anderson:
This is Friday, day five of the summer chess academy.

David Majure:
Making the nonprofit chess academy accessible to everyone is a goal for its organizer, Allen Anderson.

Allen Anderson:
The idea is that a child whose parents might object food stamps can go to a national caliber chess camp for two weeks, get exercise, have a great time and they develop a lifelong hobby and they also develop their critical thinking skills. It's a great investment in the next generation of children.

Teacher 1:
We want the kids to have fun. My goal personally, after the camp the kids want to play in more competition and go to more camps and get better at the game.

David Majure:
The kids say they are get can better, and they're learning a lot.

Kid 2:
There's a couple defenses that I never even heard of. And now I can easily do them.

Kid 5:
I've learned a few tricks, a silent game and what was the other thing called? I learned quite a bit so far. I just can't remember the name.

David Majure:
The names aren't nearly as important as the knowledge. And no matter how much you think you know, you'll never know it all.

Teacher 1:
You never get too good. You just keep playing. There's so many possible games of chess, you could play a different chess game every one second of your life and you'd never play the same game twice.

Kid 3 “Dylan”:
It can change in one move. The game could turn around in one move.

David Majure:
And that is a lot like life.

Allen Anderson:
In life, it's very important to think through before you actually act and understand that once you do act, there are going to be consequences. I hope for that, chess will be a training exercise for real life.

David Majure:
So back to real life. Which one will it be? Video games or chess?

Kid 2:
I'd have to say both.

Kid 4:
Chess.

Kid 6:
I'd like to play a chess video game.

Kid 7:
Video game.

Ted Simons:
Friday is the final day of the chess camp. I recently spoke with a pediatrician about the positive effects of chess on kids. Dr. Norm Saba chairs the department of pediatrics for banner children's hospital. He's given his support and endorsement to the summer chess academy. Thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon."

Norm Saba:
Thank you.

Ted Simons:
The positive impact of chess on kids, talk to us about it.

Norm Saba:
Thank you for inviting me. It's a great opportunity to showcase our summer chess academy, which is in its third year. I've been involved as a pediatrician, one of my goals is to get children to focus, concentrate, sit still, think, and not being constant motion all the time. In this day and age of video games and things, it's hard to get kids to try to just use their own thought processes and calculate. There are a lot of studies that show chess is an actual positive in the classroom. Many countries have chess as a course. It's part of the curriculum. And they are -- there are studies that have shown that kids who apply themselves, learn chess, and learn the benefits of chess foe discussing, concentration, logical thinking, that the logical consequences, if you make a bad move, this is what happens. Now you learn and you pick it up and try again next time. Those things apply to all aspects of learning. Math, science, reading. And scores of kids who do learn how to play chess actually are much higher when they do testing.

Ted Simons:
And even things like creativity, imagination, intuition, those sorts of things, they're at play as well.

Norm Saba:
Yes. And they can take a game of chess and they can create a work of art in the way they move the pieces, and make a beautiful combination. And it gives a lot of pleasure, and it's a thrill to see that interaction. It's geometric, it's mathematical. It appeals to a lot of people. But the main focus to get kids to sit for a while and think, they're not moving anything, pieces are not moving around, it's not a constant motion type game. All the motion is going on inside their brain. And they're thinking about processes, and having to remember. It's an excellent memory tool. Because you have to remember what positions you just analyzed, and now what's going to happen next. So it does have a lot of spin-offs. And we usually like to see kids start anywhere from ages 6, 7, 8, through middle school, and it can make -- if they get start and they're learning chess, it can make an impact in their studies, and their ability to focus.

Ted Simons:
Compare and contrast the skills needed for chess. And what goes on with video games. I'm sure the fight with the younger mind and the video game, the dynamic there.

Norm Saba:
Video games are fun, obviously. My kids grew up playing video games, and they enjoy them. I have tried them, rhyme just not as good. They're just too quick these days. But the problem that I see with that is a lot of that motion is constant. When the video game is over, they're still in that constant mode. Whereas in a board game, whether it's building a puzzle, or checkers, or something like chess there's not that constant motion going on. There are versions of chess where if you need that constant motion you can put a clock on the game and you, set each person's clock for one minute. And then you'll see a very high speed version of chess. Which appeals to a lot of people as well.

Ted Simons:
But if you play against the computer as well, which I'm sure a lot of kids do, you lose some of that social aspect which seems like it might be, you have to show consideration, have you to be quiet, you have to meet someone you may not be familiar with. That's all there too.

Norm Saba:
And that's an excellent point. One of my favorite stories about chess and a positive benefit it can give to children and society is there was a school in New York in Harlem, and the teacher there basically felt his role was more of a police officer, keeping his classroom from the kids beating each other up all day. He actually was pretty much frustrated and one day came to work, he loved chess, so he sat at his desk playing chess. And the kids commented, what's going on? He's playing a game. So they came up and they wanted to know what it was. At first he figured, yeah, right. You can't read and you can't do anything, you're going to learn chess? They actually became very interested in the game. He described it as a war game, which caught their interest, a Battle Ground, which they enjoyed. And they focused, and they actually wanted to learn how to read so they could learn how to read the chess books, which would make them better. These kids went on to learn how to play chess, and actually competed as a team. They were called the royal knights. It's an excellent story, and it's all true. They went on to compete, win tournaments, and some of those kids not only graduated high school, but went on to college. To this day they would tell you that's the number one biggest benefit in their life was their teacher introducing them to chess, and the changes it made in their life. They traveled to Russia, they traveled around playing other people, and the other aspect like you mentioned, they became gentlemen of the chess board. They learned how when the game is over, you shake your opponent's hands, say "great game" and go on and look forward to the next game. It's a game. You have to put it in perspective. The other thing we try to guard against is people get doing serious about anything. You don't want them to be all consuming so all you do is sit in front of the chess board. You have to have children be well-rounded. As the aspect of having them create positive thought processes and learn how to think creatively and logically and apply themselves is where you get the benefits.

Ted Simons:
The academy looks like a hoot. And it obviously is doing a lot of kids a lot of good. Thank you so much for what you're doing and thanks for joining us on "Horizon."

Norm Saba:
Thank you for having me.

Health Care Reform and Children

  |   Video
  • How will proposed health care reform affect children, and how will it address their needs? Bob Meyer, CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, will address the issue.
Guests:
  • Bob Meyer - CEO, Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Today a senate health committee pass add $600 billion overhaul of the nation's health care system, a major goal for the Obama administration. Recently Senator John McCain spoke at Phoenix children's hospital about health care reform. Children are a special part of the reform process, and we'll talk about that, but first, here's a look at some of the senator's comments.

Mike Sauceda:
Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals gathered to hear Arizona Senator John McCain speak about health care reform at Phoenix children's hospital on a day President Obama was out selling his plan. McCain provided cautions about Obama's plan.

John McCain:
We're talking about health reform that could impact everybody in this room. And the democrats and President Obama want to move very quickly. That alone concerns me, whether we should move very quickly in four or five weeks on an issue that consumes one-sixth of our gross national product. I believe a government plan would be a big foot in the market, and would cause mass transfers from existing coverage to the government plan that will be artificially less expensive than current options. This is a step to a government-run single-payer system and controls prices and leads to rationed care. We need legislation as we all know, but we don't need to create another costly government program. We should allow people to go across state lines, and there's one other issue real quickly, and that is medical malpractice reform. I think there is -- I've not met a doctor in any specialty that hasn't told me in candor that they haven't prescribed additional tests and procedures simply for protection against a malpractice suit.

Mike Sauceda:
McCain also took questions about health care from the audience.

Audience Member 1:
Our emergency departments are flooded with a lot of unnecessary visits that could be tackled in primary care.

John McCain:
First of all, on the access to primary care, I agree with you, and it seems to me that community health centers could provide a significant portion of that. I believe that when you look at the incredible expenses associated with health care, one of them is the emergency room care, the most expensive of all. So if you have a community health center in larger numbers, I think that relieves that burden.

Audience Member 2:
I think if we want to make change, we need, and the government, through education and through programs, need to let the public know that they have a responsibility for their health care.

John McCain:
We all know a little straight talk that obesity and the rise of obesity in the United States of America is a huge problem. But I hope that this nation realizing what kind of crisis we're in, we can sit down together and work out an agreement that will at least begin to attack the problem. I don't expect it to be reversed in a year.

Ted Simons:
Here now to talk about health care reform and kids is Bob Meyer, C.E.O. of Phoenix children's hospital. Thank you for joining us on "Horizon." Health care reform. Is it necessary?

Bob Meyer:
I think it absolutely is. What the system that we put together and cobbled together over the last 50 years, has a lot of serious flaws, and it's fundamentally needs to reform. It's broke.

Ted Simons:
The special challenges for a children's hospital.

Bob Meyer:
Well, I think the special challenges for a children's hospital are pretty much for all hospitals. Its access to physicians, its access to Services, the senator referred to the overcrowding of emergency rooms because of a lack of the primary care physician access. Payment levels, obviously is a big issue, because we're very much at the uniqueness of a children's hospital's Medicaid payments.

Ted Simons:
Some of the things that are wrong with the system right now, you just touched on. What's right with the system? What can be built on?

Bob Meyer:
I think some of the programs have been put in place, there's a special program for children in adds called kids care, it's a national program, what it does is it expands coverage for children up to certain levels of the poverty level. Right now in Arizona it's 200% of the poverty level. It allows us to get more children, actually with insurance coverage regardless of their family situation and the parent.

Ted Simons:
There's an idea out there to cover kids from birth to the able of 21. Sounds like a mandatory insurance plan. But get every kid covered until the able of 21, does that make sense?

Bob Meyer:
It does. If you look at children as our future, so to speak, and you look at the challenges they face, I think the insurance from birth to 21 is important. It's also economically feasible because children fundamentally relatively well. They don't get sick very often. Unfortunately when they do, they can have very devastating diseases.

Ted Simons:
And kids as well, when they do have problems early on, some of those problems mean lifetime care. That's a concern as well.

Bob Meyer:
Yeah. The children develop some of these chronic illnesses that they carry with them, whether it's congenital heart disease, even kids with cancer treatments. Because some of the treatments will lead to other issues. Radiation, etc. So I think again, coverage for all these kids, there's a big issue with prosthetics for children. Children that need them, they grow, we need continued access to those types of prosthetics.

Ted Simons:
Expanded coverage and improved access. The dynamics there. Talk to us about it.

Bob Meyer:
Well, I think the biggest dynamic of that is going to be the cost of reimbursement issues. One of the things Arizona did right going back to your earlier question is, the Medicaid system in Arizona has paid reasonably well over time. Which has allowed to access. There's good access for primary care physicians for that Medicaid population in Arizona. But what's been proven across the country, as you start to reduce those payments, which is what's going on today in this economic environment we're on, the access starts to go away. Because as you cut those payments, all physicians are busy, you can always see X number of patients in a given day, and they'll take the ones with the higher payment rates. So it's a self-fulfilling profitability. Access is one, the education of physician, the supply of physicians, but it's also payment levels.

Ted Simons:
And payment levels back to hospitals, Medicaid payments, everything, you're seeing less of them, aren't you?

Bob Meyer:
Yeah, we're seeing very significant reductions. As recently as three years ago, there was some studies done by the state that showed we're being paid about 93% of our cost for treating Medicaid patients. That's a reasonable amount, not making any money, but reasonable. That same number has shown falling into the high 70%. And this is why I talked about earlier, those payments start to go down, and it's affecting physicians as well, we have 200 employed physicians. So we're very aware of the physician payment levels too.

Ted Simons:
The Obama plan in general, it's awfully complicated, we don't have time to get too deeply into it, but in general, your thoughts?

Bob Meyer:
I think it's a very well meaning plan. The idea of the public plan gets concerning to a lot of us that would -- are fearful of movement of any of the insured patients that are currently in the commercial or private payers into a plan that pays Medicaid or Medicare levels that don't cover our costs. Which would also give those plans an unfair advantage in the marketplace against the private insurers.

Ted Simons:
Real quickly, critics would say it would be hard-pressed to be worse than the system is now. Would you disagree with that?

Bob Meyer:
No, would I disagree to some extent. It goes back to the payment levels. If everything moves to the lower payment levels, I think the quality of the care will degrade over time.

Ted Simons:
All right. We have to stop it there. Good discussion. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Bob Meyer:
Thank you.

SCA Political Contribution

  |   Video
  • Arizona Capitol Times Reporter Jim Small discusses the latest revelations about SCA, an unregistered political committee that contributed more than $100,000 to the Arizona Republican Party during the 2008 election season.
Guests:
  • Jim Small - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Government

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight on "Horizon," more on the names of donors who bought a controversial ad targeting sheriff Joe Arpaio's rival. Also we'll hear from Senator John McCain and his comments on health care reform at Phoenix children's hospital. And we'll visit a summer chess club where everyone is a winner. That's next on "Horizon." Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Sheriff Joe Arpaio's attempt to obtain email records from county court officials and judges was shot down again today. The Arizona court of appeals had denied Arpaio's request for the email records, saying the request was too broad. Today a court official turned down another request for the records, citing the court of appeals' ruling. Joel Fox yesterday revealed the names of contributors to the sheriff's command association, a group that paid for a controversial ad targeting the sheriff's election opponent last year. Fox revealed the names while under the threat of a $315,000 fine. Among the contributors, valley developer Steve Ellman and several of the sheriff's own men, including top aide Dave Hendershott. Here to talk more about all of this is Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jim Small. You've been on this story inform from the get-go. Very quickly, S.C.A., what is it?

Jim Small:
Basically, it was a group of people who pooled their money, sheriff's officers, a total of seven, six of them in the -- some of the higher echelons of command in the department. Along with Mr. Ellman and four other businessmen from across the country, all pooled together their money, the businessmen and Ellman together put in about $100,000 of what was a total of $112,000. So they bank rolled the vast majority.

Ted Simons:
This was supposed to be an independent expenditure committee, independent of sheriff Arpaio. Any connections?

Jim Small:
Obviously you've got the connection was his staff contributing to it and running it, frankly. The courts and the Maricopa County elections department determined this was a political committee that was what led to the threat of a fine. It's interesting to see who was involved with this, and really where this money came from. I think it had certainly people in political circles, they were waiting to find out who was on the list, and so now that it's revealed, it's really quite interesting.

Ted Simons:
And again, donated 100,000-plus to the G.O.P. before the election. G.O.P. gives it to the second group, second group does the ads, and then complaint is filed. Correct?

Jim Small:
Yeah. The complaint was filed, and then the Republican party went ahead and returned the money to this S.C.A. group. It's probably fair to note you can't draw a straight line from the money that S.C.A. gave to the Republican start party into those ads. It went into the general pot and it was several weeks before any money was taken out and funded for those ads, but without the S.C.A. money, the state party would have gone into a negative balance and wouldn't have been able to pay the cost it did at that time.

Ted Simons:
Why was Joel fox targeted?

Jim Small:
He was targeted because he was the only one that ever had contact with the Republican party on behalf of S.C.A. He opened the bank account, he signed the checks. So when the complaint was filed, the Republican Party, their response, they said, well, we talked to Joel fox. He's the only guy we had contact with. They provided information on that and then the investigation led to him.

Ted Simons:
And Steve Ellman, the developer, former park Coyote owner, $25,000, friend of Arpaio's?

Jim Small:
Yeah, a long-time friend and supporter, he's been referred to -- been around, had dinner with him, been referred to in some ways as an ad hoc advisor.

Ted Simons:
We've got a couple guys from Texas, one from Alaska, a sandwich shop owner from Illinois. Who are these folks?

Jim Small:
We're trying to figure out who they are and what the relationship is to either Sheriff Arpaio, the Republican party, or Steve Ellman. I think that seems to be the obvious connection. He's the local big businessman, and these are all big businessmen from around the country. One of them, who owns some aviation companies in Texas, he is actually a minority owner in the coyotes, owns 1% of the team. So there's a quick line to draw there. But I do think what's interesting to note is none of these gentlemen outside of Ellman had a connection to Republican politics, but as soon as the money from the Republican Party was returned to S.C.A., all of them except for one turned around and donated the same amount to the Republican party. So even though this $105,000 donation got returned, contribution got returned, within a matter of two weeks you had $90,000 of that right back in the party's coffers. It's really interesting. Now that we have the names, you can go back and look at financial -- campaign finance reports that were filed at the state level and also at the federal level. And really piece this together.

Ted Simons:
Where do we go from here? Is this pretty much closed now? Or does it have more things happening to it?

Jim Small:
I'm imagining there's going to be more that happens to it. At the very least people will try to figure out what relationship these folks have to Sheriff Arpaio, and what their interest was in this race.

Ted Simons:
Right now the sheriff says, these are folks working outside, an independent committee, I've got nothing to do with it, nothing to do with me.

Jim Small:
That's been his stance from the get-go. I imagine whether -- any stories continue to follow that angle, we'll -- will depend on what people uncover.

Ted Simons:
Great work on this, thanks so much for joining us.

Jim Small:
Thank you.

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