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The Sound of Ideas

The Sound of Ideas: Archive by Date

December 2010

Who Judges the Judges?

Posted December 1, 2010
Topics: Government/Politics, Other, Community/Human Interest, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement

The right surname, a law degree, some work as an attorney and a bit of political hustle can make someone a court judge in Northeast Ohio. But is that person truly qualified to be a judge? A new task force on judicial excellence aims to raise standards and scrub the politics from the process. Republican and Democratic party leaders are on board, too. But can the process really bring qualitative change to the local bench? We’ll take oral arguments Wednesday at 9:00 on the Sound of Ideas.

The Return of LBJ: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat

Posted December 2, 2010

LeBron James promised to bring Cleveland an NBA championship before taking his talents to South Beach. Instead, he jilted Cleveland and his fans on national television. Will his return turn ugly, too? On the next Sound of Ideas, we're going to vent and talk about how we should react to the fallen King's return. A chorus of boos? Deafening silence? Or perhaps some very pointed answers to his TV commercial question: "What should I do?" Thursday at 9 on 90.3

Regional Roundtable

Posted December 3, 2010
Topics: Environment, Government/Politics, Other, Community/Human Interest, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement

Basketball star LeBron James returns for the first time to the city he spurned for the balmy climate of Miami. How he's treated by the fans at 'The Q" is a matter of intense national scrutiny. Ohio's prison bosses say a 10 per cent budget cut will lead to prison closings and potentially dangerous overcrowding. Plans to modernize the sewer system will cause some fiscal pain for rate-payers in northeast Ohio. And the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners meets for the last time. Join us with your thoughts for the regional roundtable Friday morning at 9:00.

What You Need to Know About Health Care Reform

Posted December 6, 2010
Topics: Health

Big changes are coming to health care in the new year, including no charges for preventative care and higher annual coverage limits. But those changes are likely to come with higher costs for some. As workers decide now among employer health insurance plans during the traditional open enrollment period, the Sound of Ideas will detail the changes and what they'll mean to your medical bill. Join the conversation Monday at 9 on 90.3.

Taxing Times

Posted December 7, 2010
Topics: Economy, Government/Politics, Other, Miscellaneous

Tax returns aren't due until mid-April, but for some taxpayers the time to start thinking about taxes is now. A little planning now, before the calendar flips to 2011, can make tax time easier. We're putting on the green eyeshade and looking over the tax rules Tuesday morning. Will Congress extend the current tax rates, or will they go up again? What other changes are likely? Oh, and if you've never heard of the Alternative Minimum Tax, you'll find out the hard way unless Congress acts this year. Join us with your tax questions.

Hoarding in Northeast Ohio

Posted December 8, 2010
Topics: Health

Imagine a home packed so full with stuff that there's barely room to move. The kitchen, the family room, even the stairwells become storage areas. Compulsive hoarders aren't just a reality TV phenomenon. Hoarding is more common than you might think. We'll explore compulsive hoarding in Northeast Ohio and talk about how hoarders can be helped. Do you show hoarding tendencies? Could a child's messy room or that junk-filled kitchen drawer be an early warning sign?

Want to Buy a House…or Rent an Office?

Posted December 9, 2010
Topics: Economy, Regional Economy/Business - Analysis and Trends, Other, Housing/Real Estate, Technology

The local residential real estate market is still pretty bleak. Housing prices have retreated to those of a decade ago and sales of existing homes in 15 Northeast Ohio communities were down more than twenty percent from last year. New homes were even worse. Meanwhile, twenty two percent of office space in the region sits vacant. Despite that, some experts are bullish. Why? The bottom, they say, has been reached. The real estate picture in northeast ohio Thursday morning at 9:00 on The Sound of Ideas.

Friday Reporters’ Roundtable

Posted December 10, 2010

A behind-closed-doors maneuver by some Cuyahoga County Democrats isn’t sitting well with advocates for reform. We’ll ask our panel of journalists to assess the possible fallout. Also, more from Governor-elect Kasich on where he wants to take the state government, while outgoing Governor Strickland talks to the White House about his future. We’ll discuss those and other top stories of the week tomorrow journalists' roundtable, at 9 on 90.3.

Science Cafe: Sustainable Solutions for Healthy Lakes and Rivers

Posted December 13, 2010
Topics: Environment

All that snow we're slogging through this month might be a good thing. Snow is water and water replenishes our rivers and streams. The Nature Conservancy's Jeff Opperman joins a science café edition of the Sound of Ideas Monday to tell us how cloudy skies -- like those that blanket Cleveland in winter -- make our region healthy. We'll also talk about the science of sustaining the health of our region’s rivers and lakes, including the fight against toxic algae, Monday at 9 on 90.3.

What Do We Know About Faith?

Posted December 14, 2010
Topics: Other, Community/Human Interest, Ethics/Religion

It turns out religious people may not actually know all that much about religion -- even their own. A recent national survey found that atheists and agnostics knew more than the devout. On the next Sound of Ideas, we'll examine the survey and discuss whether it's important to know the details of your religion to be faithful. Does the entrance to heaven, for example, involve a multiple choice quiz? Join us Tuesday morning at 9:00. We've got faith it will be a lively discussion.

Cleveland Schools CEO Eugene Sanders Steps Down

Posted December 15, 2010
Topics: Education

Cleveland Schools CEO Eugene Sanders dropped a bombshell over the weekend: He's stepping down just as his massive academic transformation plan begins. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson must find a new chief executive who can keep the reform rolling while facing a $58 million operating deficit, negotiating new deals with unions and possibly championing a levy. What skills and background must the next schools chief possess and what lessons can be learned from other districts? Join the conversation Wednesday at 9 on the Sound of Ideas.

Public Defender on Trial

Posted December 16, 2010
Topics: Government/Politics, Other, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement

A Cuyahoga County judge says the criminal justice system here moves too slowly. Among other impediments, it takes too long for courts to appoint lawyers to indigent defendents and it takes police and prosecutors too long to get around to considering charges. The public defender, he says, is blocking efforts to expand a pilot program that might speed things along. We'll talk to the judge and the public defender as we consider the speed of justice on The Sound of Ideas, Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on 90.3.

Friday Reporters’ Roundtable

Posted December 17, 2010

Ex-auditor Frank Russo is headed to prison and makes a deal to help the prosecution. And John Kasich may try taking over the city of Cleveland's schools. Plus, Attorney General Richard Cordray takes a new job in D.C., but plans to come back for a gubernatorial run in four years. And the Ohio National Guard gets its first female Adjutant General. Join the conversation on the Sound of Ideas - Friday morning on 90.3.

Holiday Cards and Letters to Santa

Posted December 20, 2010

Even in this era of Facebook and Twitter, of e-mail and texting, people still take the time to send holiday cards and letters this time of year. Perhaps you've had sent or received a few yourself. We'll talk with an editor at American Greetings about the holiday card tradition and how it has changed. Plus, we'll meet an author who has studied a different kind of holiday mail -- kids' letter to Santa Claus. Monday at 9 on 90.3.

Jim Rokakis

Posted December 21, 2010
Topics: Economy, Regional Economy/Business - Analysis and Trends, Government/Politics

Jim Rokakis was elected to his first public office -- Cleveland City Council -- when he was 22 and has spent the last 14 years as Cuyahoga County treasurer. For the first time in more than three decades, he'll be out of office next month. Not by choice. The new county government means there's no more elected treasurer. On the next Sound of Ideas we'll conduct an exit interview with Rokakis to talk about his accomplishments, his take on the future of government here and his next step. Tuesdayat 9:00 on 90.3.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted December 22, 2010

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. This morning on The Sound of Ideas, we’ll try to slow down the holiday pace and think about just what makes it wonderful. Maybe it’s a special, unforgettable gift; maybe the whole family still laughs about the big tree mishap of ’78; maybe it’s the year Grandma got run over by a reindeer. We have some thoughts on what makes the holiday time special for us; we want to hear what makes it special for you. Leave a comment below or send us an email at and let us know..or join the conversation Wednesday at 9:00.

Weekly Journalists’ Roundtable

Posted December 23, 2010
Topics: Economy, Regional Economy/Business - News, Environment, Government/Politics, Other, Community/Human Interest

Governor Ted Strickland blasted The Plain Dealer and Northeast Ohio in an exit interview this week, saying people in the region always thought of him as a hayseed. Meanwhile, the state Senate takes aim at him, torpedoing dozens of his appointments to state boards and commissions. Ohio will lose two Congressional seats now that the census numbers are in and yet another member of Cuyahoga County Council says he's lined up the votes to become president. It's our regional news roundtable, Thursday at 9:00 on 90.3.

Backstory: Naughty & Nice: A History of The Holiday Season

Posted December 24, 2010
Topics: Other, Miscellaneous, Holiday

Christmas may be the Big Kahuna of American holy days… but it wasn’t always so. For many centuries, it was a time of drunken rowdiness, when the poor would aggressively demand food and money from the rich. Little surprise, then, that the Puritans banned Christmas altogether. BackStory’s year-end special takes on the fascinating history of the “holiday season” in America with Historian Stephen Nissenbaum describeing how the holiday was re-invented in the 1820s as the peaceful, family-oriented, and yes, consumeristic ritual we celebrate today. And Rabbi Laura Baum explains how the Hanukkah story came to be, and why telling kids the truth about its origins doesn’t diminish the holiday.

Fulbright Scholars in Northeast Ohio

Posted December 27, 2010
Topics: Education

A recent University of Akron graduate is learning about currency in Croatia while a Cleveland State University history professor gained insight into the culture of a small village in Nigeria while teaching about the African American experience in the U.S. The Fulbright scholars go abroad to increase understanding between people of the United States and foreign countries. We'll talk with four Fulbright Scholars to find out just how they do that, Monday at 9 on the Sound of Ideas.

Important Jobs and Interesting Sidelines

Posted December 28, 2010

Many of us work for a living, but we don't necessarily have to live for our work. Tuesday on the Sound of Ideas, we visit with four Northeast Ohioans who have important jobs and interesting sidelines. There's the cancer surgeon who is a master of close-up magic, the cop who bowls over linebackers, the rockin' TV anchor and the lawyer turned playwright. Hear their stories tomorrow at 9 on 90.3.

Sound Walls and Fury

Posted December 29, 2010
Topics: Other, Transportation

Highway noise barriers are meant to quiet the sound of traffic for neighbors, but they're generating a roar of their own. Some residents complain that the drab concrete walls, such as those being installed along I-71 in Cleveland's Brooklyn Centre neighborhood, are just plain ugly. They want a better look, perhaps natural barriers like walls made of vegetation being tried elsewhere in Ohio. How to get sound walls that are pleasing to both the ear and the eye, Wednesday at 9:00 on 90.3.

Reporters’ Roundtable Year in Review

Posted December 30, 2010
Topics: Government/Politics

2010 will be remembered as the year corruption shook Cuyahoga County, with the indictments of a commissioner, auditor, judges, contractors and a slew of others. It's also the year LeBron James snubbed Cleveland on national TV. The CEO of Cleveland's schools announced he's leaving, too, though not, thankfully, on a national TV special. And the state raced to the right as republicans swept into every statewide office. Join us for a discussion of the year in news, Thursday at 9 on the Sound of Ideas.

Capital Steps: Politics Takes a Holiday New Years Review

Posted December 31, 2010

Should old acquaintance be forgot? Of course not...but enough about John McCain! Make your New Year’s resolution to roast 2010 to a crisp with the Capitol Steps annual awards ceremony! Featuring all new categories: “Worst Time to Buy Stock in British Oil Companies,” “Most Absolutely Fabulous Reason to Get Rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” “Best Way to Shellac a Democrat” & “Worst Moment in Arizona History to Have a Dark Tan and No Driver’s License.” You have every reason to look forward to 2011-- but not before we make fun of 2010 first. Join us Friday morning at 9 on 90.3.


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Every weekday at 9:00 AM (EST), The Sound of Ideas reports the news, explains the news, and sometimes makes news. The Cleveland Press Club awarded it “Best Radio Show” in Ohio and thousands daily find it to be an indispensable source of information about what’s most important to Northeast Ohioans.

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Funding for Ideas/Sound of Ideas comes from The George Gund Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, Eaton, the George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation, The Robert O. and Annamae Orr Family Foundation, and the Nord Family Foundation.