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May 1, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Education Success

  |   Video
  • Byron Garrett, a former policy adviser to Arizona Governor Napolitano, has written a book that approaches success in education from a different angle. The newly released book, “The ABC’s of Life,” provides practical advice for success in school and life. Barrett, a former school principal, will talk about his book and success in education.
  • Byron Garrett - Author, The ABC’s of Life
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: author, book, ,

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Ted Simons: Byron Garrett is former head of the PTA and current chairman of the national family engagement alliance. He has written a book titled the ABCs of life which provides an alphabet of practical advice for young people. Glad to have you.

Byron Garrett: Glad to be here.

Ted Simons: Who is Byron Garrett?

Byron Garrett: He raised both nephews from middle school through high school. I would baby-sit him and he would say, Uncle Byron, A is for apple. I said, that makes no sense. How about A is for attitude. We went all the way through the alphabet and transferred it into a book.

Ted Simons: This -- looking at this book it seems geared toward young people. Maybe not so young as well.

Byron Garrett: We're all kids at heart. But it was originally written with students in mind, but it had such universal principle. It really fits the entire cross generational message.

Ted Simons: Why is a book like this necessary?

Byron Garrett: In this day and age when you look at the challenges young people face but specifically in school, I chose Scholastic, they were great enough to publish it. Whether it's bullying, other things from a teasing, taunting perspective, they need continued inspiration, that type of guidance to keep them moving forward. I was just at Alhambra High School. Siting there with two freshman classes those who know where they want to be still need that extra lift to say you can do amazing things if you choose to.

Ted Simons: Expect failure but also expect success.

Byron Garrett: Expect failure. The notion is anyone who knows how to ride a bike they know not because they fell off but because they got back on. At some point things didn't work the way they wanted it to. You rise from that and end up being successful.

Ted Simons: Chapter for N, never, never, never say never.

Byron Garrett: That's so easy and so true. It's difficult. Sometimes people hit a wall. They want to say I want to give in, give up, get out. They suffer from what I call stinkin' thinkin'. You have to pursue your passion.

Ted Simons: Back to what you were saying, people can say that's easy for Byron. He has that personality. It could be your brain chemistry. People are up, positive, moving forward. Others may be more reflective, depressive.

Byron Garrett: We all come from different situations. I have seen people that have gone from losing avenue to luxury lane and luxury lane to losing avenue. It's not a notion of where you come historically. Your origin does not equal your destination. We need young people to realize that everything may not work the way you want it to now but you have to focus on what you want to accomplish. Success doesn't happen overnight but it does happen over time.

Ted Simons: How do you get past it because it's innate?

Byron Garrett: We have challenges. I don't want anyone to say anyone in life who is highly successful did not overcome obstacles. We all do. How do I transform this stumbling block into a stepping stone. Is the glass half empty or half full. Really looking at it from the perspective of what can I do to prepare me for where it is I want to be tomorrow.

Ted Simons: Learn how to learn.

Byron Garrett: Well, continuous learner or being a lifelong learner. Growing up my parents would say you don't have any homework tonight? Great. There's a set of encyclopedias. We want you to write a book report on duckbill platypus if you can figure out how to spell it. You should be the expert on any area that you want to enter. In this day and age it helps young people and adults realize you should continuously be learning and improving to move forward.

Ted Simons: Is your life different than in the past? If so, or if not if it's always been this way, who inspired you?

Byron Garrett: It is different. I think we live from our experiences always tell folks there a group of individuals you will never meet. Yvonne Garrett, my parents, my fourth grade teacher, my sixth grade teacher, they are folks when I would hit a wall they were the ones I still hear their consistent encouragement saying regardless of what someone else says you have the opportunity to exceed if you choose to.

Ted Simons: That says so much about how important teachers are.

Byron Garrett: Right.

Byron Garrett: Education is critical. Adults have a unique role not only in the classroom but community based organizations outside the classroom to encourage young people and instill a strong work ethic and a belief in themselves they can rise above the occasion. People rise or fall to the expectation you set for them. We have to continue to say regardless of your background, your situation, if you want an apology I'll apologize for where you came from but when you wake up tomorrow morning there's still a responsibility to move forward and deliver. You don't have to stay stuck in the same situation you're in.

Ted Simons: What type of response have you been getting?

Byron Garrett: The response has been great. From adults, grandparents, students, everyone in between. I believe the message is so simple, the realty is it resonates. You talked about a couple letters or chapters. My favorite is X. X stands for “X-ray your own life.” You have 24 hours in a day, 12 hours to mind your business, 12 hours to take care of your business, zero hours to mind somebody else's business.

Ted Simons: The ABC's of life. Good to have you.

Byron Garrett: Yes! Published by Scholastic. Thank you so much.

Ted Simons: Thanks for joining us.

Legislative Update

  |   Video
  • A reporter from the Arizona Capitol Times will give us the latest news from the state legislature.
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: legislative, update, legislature,

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Ted Simons: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The governor continues her push for Medicaid expansion; this as opponents of the move seem increasingly inclined to push back. More with our weekly legislative update with the Arizona Capitol Times is Luige Del Puerto. Always a pleasure although it seems the 800-pound gorilla is 8,000 pounds down there. What’s the latest with Medicaid expansion?

Luige Del Puerto: Right now there's still a stalemate. The governor's people and supporters of the expansion plan are pushing hard trying to convince many legislators that they can rally behind the proposal but opponents have also dug in. More specifically in the Senate, the Senate president declared he would not -- he would do everything in his power to block this from getting to the floor.

Ted Simons: So is support among Republicans at the legislature, is that support faltering?

Luige Del Puerto: There's some indication in the house you may see -- there's a sense that support is faltering a little bit in the house, however, in the Senate it's clear they have the votes there. There three Republican Senators have said several times they are for it so there's the necessary votes to get it out of the Senate.

Ted Simons: If the votes are there in the house although they may be faltering but the votes are there in the Senate, where is the vote? What's holding things up?

Luige Del Puerto: What's holding things up is that I don't think it's been decided what mechanism to use, what path to strike to get this out of the Senate. When I say that, I mentioned Senate President Andy Biggs does not want this reach the floor. He has the authority to calendar a third reading in the bill and without his consent or authority you will not see the bill on the floor. There are mechanisms to get around him and I think that's one of the things being considered and how to do that exactly.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about those. Let's go from the cleanest to the messiest.

Luige Del Puerto: Everything is going to be chaotic as mess -- and messy regardless of what they choose. They can offer it as amendment on the floor during a committee of the whole. Say the budget bills are moving and they are ready to debate the budget bills, at that point any member, Democrat or Republican, can offer the Medicaid expansion proposal as an amendment to one of the budget bills. At that point those who support it will just vote yes, those against will vote no. In the Senate we know there are votes to support it. That will pass. At that point it's just a matter of third reading or voting on the bill.

Ted Simons: You can instead of voting on the bill vote on an amendment which is the bill?

Luige Del Puerto: Instead of using a stand-alone measure separate Medicaid expansion bill you can take an existing bill and amend it with the Medicaid language. In this instance they can use a budget bill, existing budget proposal there are typically nine to ten budget bills. One is called a health care burb. They can amend the Medicaid expansion language on to it and get it out.

Ted Simons: There's nothing the president can do did about that?

Luige Del Puerto: There is something the president can do. At that point when they are done with what's called a committee of the whole debate he doesn't want that bill to go to the floor he could refuse to calendar it for a third reading vote. Of course he has authority to stop it from going to the floor, there's also a mechanism to essentially force a vote on that particular bill at that point.

Ted Simons: That's option two, basically roll him to the extent of we're voting on this anyway. Viable?

Luige Del Puerto: Yes. That's very viable. I think that's one of the things being seriously considered. There are other options. For example a nuclear one which is remove Senate president Andy Biggs as president, installing a new president and voila, it's out of the state Senate.

Ted Simons: We have separate the whole thing as an amendment, roll the Senate president, just get him out of the way, you have get rid of the Senate president, really get him out of the way. The common theme is the Senate president. How serious is he about not allowing this thing to go forward?

Luige Del Puerto: I think philosophically he's against Medicaid expansion. He has his reasons. He doesn't think it's good for the state. He doesn't think fiscally it's a viable option for the country to go into debt to fund this program and has declared candidly and categorically he would do everything in his power to block this proposal from getting to the floor. He said that two weeks ago and since then to a certain extent that started this whole conversation going about how to get the proposal out of the Senate and maybe even circumventing his authority to get it done.

Ted Simons: Okay. So with that in mind you got all these options, one, two, three. What about the option we're hearing more about, just send the thing to the voters, refer it to the ballot. We'll all make the tough decision instead of the lawmakers?

Luige Del Puerto: Obviously that is an option. I have for the heard -- there's no indication the governor is taking that option seriously. I think the reason is that whether you get this done as a referral to the ballot or out to bill as a law, you run into the same problems you're running into now, the Senate president will probably still not allow such a proposal or such a referral to get to the ballot. Out of the Senate. You run into the same problems you're running into now.

Ted Simons: Do you also address three separate options like you did before? Are those relatively viable there?

Luige Del Puerto: Yes. Those same options that I mentioned to get a bill out of the Senate can be used as the same mechanisms to get a ballot referral out of the Senate. Of course the political cover that a ballot referral provides is Republicans can say, well, it wasn't a tax increase it was a referral for a tax increase. It's not me voting for a tax increase.

Ted Simons: We've heard that before with the one cent sales tax.

Luige Del Puerto: Exactly.

Ted Simons: Before we let you go with all this going on or not going on as the case may be, what's going on? It sounds like the capitol is turning into crickets. What's happening down there?

Ted Simons: On the surface it's very, very quiet. They are settling into this hum drum routine where they go in three days a week and pass a handful of bills and there's a conference committee hearing every now and then. Not a whole lot going on on the surface level. However, behind the scenes is where the action is taking place. I can tell you there are efforts right now to break the stalemate. To get a budget out if not the Medicaid proposal at least get a budget out of the Senate. The problem is that the budget really cannot be severed from the Medicaid expansion proposal. I don't think the governor would allow a budget bill to reach her desk without resolving this elephant in the room.

Ted Simons: More on this in the Friday journalists' roundtable. Good to hear from you now. Thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.

Luige Del Puerto: Thank you.

Red Meat and Heart Disease

  |   Video
  • A new study shows a link between a nutrient found in red meat and heart disease. L-carnitine, found in red meat and also a popular supplement, is being tied to heart disease. Dr. Nathan Laufer of the Heart & Vascular Center of Arizona will talk about the new findings.
  • Dr. Nathan Laufer - Heart & Vascular Center of Arizona
Category: Medical/Health   |   Keywords: red meat, heart disease, ,

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Ted Simons: A new study shows a nutrient found in red meat is tied to an increased risk for heart disease. For more on just how far this connection goes is Dr. Nathan Laufer, founder and medical director of the Heart and Vascular Center of Arizona. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Dr. Nathan Laufer: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: Let's start by just figuring out what is -- is it L-carnitine?

Dr. Nathan Laufer: It’s L-carnititne which is made from and amino acid called Lysine. It's found in significant amounts in red meat, lesser amounts in dairy products, but we have been concerned for many years as cardiologists about excess consumption of red meat. We always thought that it was the cholesterol and high fat in the red meat that was linked to coronary artery disease but this new study links carnitine as well.

Ted Simons: Take us exactly into how it increases cardiovascular risk.

Dr. Nathan Laufer: It's absorbed when red meat is ingested is broken down by bacteria in the gut. That bacteria will then form a substance, the short version is called tMAO. That helps cholesterol land inside the plaque and helps create plaque rather than just flying through the arterial warm and being absorbed by the liver.

Ted Simons: It hits your gut, gut has bacteria in there, it forms this tMAO thing, and the cholesterol decides to stay.

Dr. Nathan Laufer: It gets sticky and decides to sit and stay, gets absorbed in the wall and that's the beginning of atherosclerosis.

Ted Simons: We were trying to figure out what was making that cholesterol sit and stay.

Dr. Nathan Laufer: That's right. There are numerous risk factors. It's also used in supplements and weight building and muscle bulking. But there are several other risk factors. The one we can't do anything about obviously is the genetic risk factor, about but those that are reversible are smoking, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, risk factors we can certainly do something about. The exercise, for example, will raise the good cholesterol and good cholesterol takes cholesterol out of the plaque and brings it back to the liver.

Ted Simons: For those of us who do exercise, you keep telling yourself it's a good thing. How is it good? Does it add more veins, more arteries? Does it clear out the arteries? What does exercise do to help your heart?

Dr. Nathan Laufer: Excellent question. The first you mentioned is does exercise clear out the arteries. The answer is no, but it's an excellent preventer of plaque buildup. The more you do the higher the HDL, the good cholesterol. It doesn't do that much to lower the bad cholesterol, which is the cholesterol that lands inside the plaque and creates plaque, but by building up the good cholesterol it can decrease the amount of plaque formation. That's one thing. The other thing is that people who exercise tend to be more conscious of their health in general and have a more balanced diet.

Ted Simons: The idea of the good cholesterol, though, HDL, if that stuff is siting there and staying there and you start exercising, that stuff still stays there.

Dr. Nathan Laufer: That stuff still stays there unless you're a monkey. Studies done in monkeys that were Fed high cholesterol diets for five years developed atherosclerosis. If then all the cholesterol was taken out of their diet and they were fed a vegetarian diet, five years later you could show some regression of this cholesterol buildup. But whether we show regression or not, the fact that we can stabilize the plaque and stop progression is very important.

Ted Simons: You brought along a kind of a poster or something there of what actually is happening in the artery. It's basically -- it really -- again, you could have that artery and you could start running marathons you'll still have that artery.

Dr. Nathan Laufer: Correct. That was the problem with Jim Fixx from, years ago, who believed exercise is good for you to the exclusion of medication. It is good for you and maybe prolonged his life somewhat but not to the exclusion of medication. If you look in the middle of the artery you'll see the beginnings of a plaque that's formed. To the right you'll see a severe atherosclerosis plaque. If you can start exercising, mod fight your diet, start a Mediterranean type diet you may stop the progress. If you are little with the middle segment of that you can live many years.

Ted Simons: Mediterranean diet? What are we talkin’ about here? We're not talking linguine, are we?

Dr. Nathan Laufer: No. We’re talking about a low carbohydrate diet. A diet from southern Italy, for example, which is rich in fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables and olive oil there was a study that just came out last month that showed that Mediterranean diet plus a little bit of olive oil or some nuts such as walnuts, high in antioxidants, actually can decrease the cardiovascular mortality by 30 to 50% compared to just low fat diet.

Ted Simons: Okay. Have a glass or two of wine, eat grapes, do the Mediterranean diet, douse myself in olive oil, eat fish, I take an aspirin or two. Again, is that artery going to always look like that?

Dr. Nathan Laufer: That artery will look like the artery you started with when you started this diet. You will decrease further progression. Even if you delay progression, say you don't decrease progression but can delay it 20 or 30 years, instead of having it progress in two to five years, you've still done some good.

Ted Simons: We have another graphic here. This is a straight on view of the artery. Again, this is basically -- if you got it, you got it. How do you know you got it? Are there warning signs? We hear so much about sudden heart attacks out of the blue. If you have that, how out of the blue is this?

Dr. Nathan Laufer: That's another excellent question. First if you look at the yellow, that's the plaque inside the artery which is in pink. That little spot you see in red, that's a clot that's formed inside the plaque. We don't really care that people have plaques. Most people don't care if they have atherosclerosis. They care if they die of heart attack. Is atherosclerosis a predictor of heart attacks? That's the $64,000 question. Cardiologists are not very good at predicting heart attacks. We're very good at finding plaque buildup in the artery but does that lead to heart attack? Turns out if you lower your blood cholesterol whether you have a 70% or 20% plaque you have the same risk of having a heart attack. The problem is the 20% plaque will not show up on the stress test. If we did an angiogram where we put dye into the artery we would not do anything if we just saw 20% plaque. That patient has the same risk as a person with a 70, 80 or 90% plaque at having that plaque tear and cause a clot to form. The best predictor is lowering the cholesterol level. Then that plaque will scar down and be less like Jell-o and less likely to tear and form a firmer plaque that won't tear. That is probably the best predictor of whether you'll have a heart attack is what your cholesterol level is.

Ted Simons: Before we go, the study, what does that tell us, eat less red meat, eat no red meat?

Dr. Nathan Laufer: Less red meat. Less. Maybe four to eight ounces less than once a week. People who ate just a little red meat had less bacteria in their gut to work with that carnatine and form tMAO and were less likely to have cholesterol deposits in their plaque.

Ted Simons: Great stuff, doctor. I'm glad we had you on. Good to have you here.

Dr. Nathan Laufer: Thank you.