Your comment on your teacher friends who have retired reminded me of a story I read last week from Wisconsin. The department that deals with retirement filings for state workers noted a large increase in the numbers of state employees deciding, suddenly, to retire. It seems a clause in the contract, which expires in the middle of this month, requires the employee to file the request at least two weeks before the expiration date or they will loose health benefits that would roll over into their retirement health plan. For some that would amount to $10k or more. Many had planned on working for several more years but faced with a 'use it or lose it' scenario--they decided to use it. Can't blame them.
I wonder if the Wyoming legislature will decide to rename their state capital 'Beijing.' Since the ozone pollution from the gas rigs has exceeded even that of L.A. on its worse days and has come in at double the EPA limits, it looks as though the state is seeing the downside of their economic boom. I wonder if the situation will get so bad that having a 'blue sky day' will be as noteworthy as it is in the Chinese capital.
Thanks to our wonderfully informative mainstream media I doubt very many people know about the film that won the 'Best Documentary' category. It is 'Inside Job' and I loved the trailer enough that I will buy the disc when it comes out--and I don't usually buy documentaries. Go here for more info.
This story from Grist stirred some memories for us. Some time ago we read the labels on the milk we usually buy and were surprised to find that only 20 calories separate the whole milk from the skim milk. We asked ourselves what real benefit we got from drinking skim milk when whole milk is so much more palatable. Mom has been on cholesterol lowering medication for some time so we were a bit worried there but her blood tests did not budge any after we went back to whole milk (and whole milk cottage cheese and whole milk cheeses). We both figure that the 'convenience' of not having to stir the oils back into the peanut butter isn't worth the rest of the crap that comes with it. At present, we avoid anything that touts low or no fat.
This is sad but oh so typical. Who is going to tell the spooks at the CIA that their pensions were 'over-promised?' And how many other Federal pensions, like most state pension plans, have been criminally underfunded?