It is 8:01 and I just did Ron’s first courtesy call for our eventual meeting at the gym in probably and hour and a half. I’ll call him again in 20 minutes and make sure he confirms he is actually standing up out of bed.
The finale of 24 was fantastic! WOW. Great reversals and intrigue and an ending that I think reaches the shock of the end of Season 1 which I think is one of the best season endings of any TV show ever. You can almost hear the writers giggling in devilish glee – ‘Wait until they see THIS!’ I think that Season 5 is the third best season. In order of virtuosity.
1. Season 1
2. Season 3
3. Season 5
4. Season 4
5. Season 2
Ron just called back. He’s not going to gym after all. He’s still sleepy. Heh. He works this afternoon.
A few sneezes brewing in my nose right now – waiting for OTC Claritin to take effect.
Ron and I watched that Frontline special on the retirement status of America and it was just as shocking the second time around. Yes, I’m that much of a dork: I taped a PBS special, watched it myself and then watched it again with Ron.
Lots of phone calls and follow-ups today. I did get those transcripts delivered to the proofreader and the audio to the audio engineer. So that’s in process. I need to get cracking on that third book proposal. I’ve been putting it off. I just need to sit my butt in the chair and do it.
The pension/retirement debate is difficult because most folks don’t know the context of it. We don’t hear the history of how Xerox and Kodak influenced Congress to produce the 401k legislation. We don’t hear about the dangers of pensions versus 401ks. What really drives me nuts is there never any reporting on how other countries are handling these issues. It is like the US thinks they are so exceptional that there is nothing to be learned by the rest of the billions of people out there that face these very same issues.
Ron was quizzing me on why I thought Americans were so ill prepared and why do these trends happen in this country. I think a big part of it is education and history. European countries seem to see the economy as a system that supports life – not an end in of itself. Is that why things veer a little more socialist than here in the States? I don’t know. In a consumer-drenched culture there is little impetus for savings. Savings isn’t sexy (Can you imagine if it was? That’d be a feat for Madison Avenue). I think we are sold on ‘ownership’ but most people don’t want the responsibility that comes with ownership. Is mandated savings the only way? Is mandating employees into a 401k the only way? Is this part of that Nanny-state conservatives reel from? In an economy where education and savings aren’t valued – which will lead to more people on government assistance – shouldn’t we mandate tools that ensure people can survive in the long-term without having to draw on social programming?
This is leaning towards the fiscal conservative angle that by helping out the poor we are subverting their economic development. It’s tricky. How long do you support people before you just say ‘Ya know what? You obviously don’t give a shit about your own future? Just go away.’ There are people in the world that simply don’t care about their own well-being or welfare – does that mean their kids should suffer? Or is it the parent’s responsibility to ensure that their kids are taken care of and they are just being bad parents?
1) Free, widespread, unfettered access to contraception including Norplant for all women including full reproductive rights (access to abortion)
2) HIV testing implemented as part of normal routine physicals
3) All electronic voting machines have a paper-based, verifiable audit trail plus opensource software
3) Government subsidized haircuts – really folks – I mean REALLY.
4) A complete ban on jean shorts
5) Caps on credit card interest rates (which seem to be nearing loan-shark territory)
6) Caps on ATM fees
Am I nuts? Perhaps. Between foreign-owned debt, the pension timebomb, the potential devaluation of the dollar, oil prices, the future of Social Security and the trillion-dollar War for Profits, it might just make a bit of sense.