Tuesday, February 22, 2005
If after yesterday's installment in our Social Security series (Mathematics, Part 1), you're still confused about how your social security benefits are calculated, we received this email from a 31-year claims representative who kindly explains it all in detail:
When figuring a retirement benefit, 35 years of earnings are used. People who have 35 years of earnings get the highest benefit payments. If you don't have 35 years of earnings, and many people do not - for a variety of reasons- out of work, out of country, out for raising children, self employed and not paying in (even though they should have been,) working off the books (a very common one) we still divide by 35, to determine your average, so if you only have 28 years, as an example, you have 7 zeroes in the computation which brings down your average. If you only had 10 years of earnings in the U.S. (which is the minimum number of years needed to qualify for "something", that "something is determined by still divided by 35, which makes it a relatively low benefit payment. ...
Monday, February 21, 2005
President Bush can't seem to escape his past. As he was leaving for Europe new audio tapes were released with the President discussing his past drug use. Douglas Wead, a longtime Bush family friend, secretly recorded the conversations with George Bush as he was gearing up to run for President.
Our extended entry contains the transcripts of the tapes heard on ABC news.
And send us your thoughts on this subject, do you think the President was right to lie about his past to protect children from following his example?
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Today's installment in our Social Security series was about the language used in discussing the issue. Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg joined Brian to discuss the words "insurance," "reform," "trust fund" and "privatization" among others.
To start the segment off, Brian spoke briefly with Pierre Epstein, the son of Abraham Epstein, ...
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
In the end, the only opinion of The Gates that matters is your own. Nevertheless, if you missed this morning's opinion-fest on the meaning of all that specially-woven saffron fabric, here are a few interesting takes on the meaning of it all.
Christo and jean-Claude have not made an art piece so much as he has created a performance art piece! The work is not the gates or the fabric, but in fact it is the people moving around the park.
Christo says that the work is "totally irrational, irresponsible,
useless, with no justification, with no reason to exist except that we
like it." We should take him at his word, and conclude that 'The Gates' is
Aside from The Gates, what do you think is the meaning of Jackson Pollock's work? What about those Robert Ryeman painting (enormous blank white
canvasses) that were on view at the Pace gallery a few months ago? It is the case that, in a very general way, all contemporary art involves the viewer's participation (interpretation)
Tell us what you think!
Monday, February 14, 2005
Some of us made it to Central Park this weekend to see the unfurling of The Gates. Some of us feared the crowds and decided to wait one week, which may be a mistake as praises for Jean-Claude and Christo seem to be streaming in from all ends ensuring more ...
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Responding to today's interview with Jane Mayer on the practice of extraordinary rendition, MH in the East Village writes:
What exactly is the semantic origin of the term "extraordinary rendition"? On the face of it, one might imagine a rapturous piano sonata, but the actual meaning re: torture/interrogation is ...
Monday, February 07, 2005
I doubt that any woman looks forward happily to having an abortion. I'm sure that's true. But many women who have abortions have them with relief. When I had my early-term abortion at the age of 48, I was profoundly relieved that abortion was safe and legal. There was no ...
Friday, February 04, 2005
standardized testing makes standardized children. The underlying premise of this test is to standardize potential workers so that the are more easily managed.
Thank heavens they didn't test me for job readiness 35 years ago -- I
would have flunked cold. I had a pretty bad attitude, ...
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Yesterday’s State of the Union was noted for its emphasis on the President’s plans for social security, but on today’s show we focused on the evolution of the speech in its treatment of foreign policy. Judging from the word counts of the speech, the president spoke more about “freedom” and “democracy” and less about “Iraq” this year than he did in 2003 (in the run up to the war). “Democracy” got 1 mention in 2003 versus 8 in yesterday’s speech; “Freedom” got 20 mentions yesterday versus five in the pre-Iraq war speech. Perhaps even more important, there were three mentions of “weapons” this time around, versus 27 in 2003.
Monday, January 31, 2005
Thursday, January 27, 2005
On the BL tomorrow: a Spanish lesson from politician, sometime filmmaker, and all around impresario Nelson Dennis.
How much Spanish do you know? Can you understand the following words and phrases?
no se apoye contra la puerta
si ves algo, de algo
empleados tienen que lavarse las manos antes de regresar al trabajo
¿qué usted piensas? Diga nos!
feedback on mashups:
As a musician I angry when every idiot with a record gets called a DJ. But I have to say, Go Home Productions actually changed my mind with the 'Girl Wants to Say Goodbye to Rock and Roll".
This is an old technique and style used by street hip hop DJ's known as "blending" by DJS such as Grand Master Vic.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
This morning’s discussion on the subway problems just scraped the surface of another urban issue. Homelessness emerged as a topic in various news outlets and blogs in the wake of the fire at the downtown C-line station.
Listener comments are pasted below and here’s what the New York Times wrote in today's editorial (reg required):
The subway is also no place for the homeless, and it's a sign of the system's shaky state that hundreds of people have been allowed to live in its grapevine of tunnels and passageways. It is not safe for them and, as Sunday's fire makes clear, it is not safe for the millions who ride through those tunnels every single day. The city's police and homeless outreach programs need to be mobilized right away.
BL Show regular, Jeff Jarvis also weighs in today:
Rudy Guliani was the first politician in New York to have the guts to deal with this issue; other cities (I'm thinking of you, San Francisco) haven't.
And the real issue isn't homelessness. It's insanity. The laws in this country make it impossible to commit and help even the obvioulsy and often the dangerously insane.
I say that One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is as much at fault as any politician, for it made the institution frightening and the people who run it bad guys.
Friday, January 21, 2005
Today listeners called in to respond to David Brooks' recent op-ed column about whether it wouldn't better for women to have children before focusing on their careers instead of having to take time off in the middle and perhaps miss out on having children entirely. And whether our social policies shouldn't work to make the children-first option more feasible. What do you think?
Here are some of the responses we received during the show:
It is important that women establish their independence economically early in life. It grants them options in who they marry, why them marry, how they share power in their relationships and what their options are if life throws them a curve. Knowing that you are capable of managing your own career and finances is more powerful for both you and your spouse. It also gives you the opportunity to prepare financially to be home with the family you want to raise. As for the remark that men could never consider this in their twenties...the gentleman was 100% correct about that. Corporate America shows no mercy for men who prioritize family first... A. C.
Clearly David Brooks has never dated a 'man' in his 20's! I can't imagine trying to marry and have children with one! -Patty in Manhattan
Nowadays, people don't work for one company or even in one profession for a lifetime. I know many people who work in one profession for 5-10 years and then switch to something else (sometimes something completely different). Perhaps women who are interested in more than one profession can have children between two of their "careers" -- K.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Here are some listener comments from our mail bag in reference to the Condoleezza Rice confrimation hearings.
chavez was elected. a referendum to remove him was defeated last year. the only thing the US government doesn't like about him is that he hasn't privatized the oil industry. D.B.
The problem ...
Monday, January 17, 2005
Martin Luther King, Jr.s 1967 speech "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence" inspired today's MLK Day commemorative call-in. Listeners were asked to call in with brief readings about other countries and responded with selections from Nelson Mandela to the I Ching, including Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (read in Arabic). Here is the text of Dr. King's speech in its entirety, from the BRC-News website.
Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City
I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.