In this regular weekend feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy that I think you might like to know. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.
In 1946, an Englishman named Joseph Leeming published a not-so-little book called Fabulous Fun With Puzzles which has been reissued this year by Time Inc. I loved puzzles of all kinds when I was a kid, and I recognize a lot of them in this large collection.
Word puzzles, anagrams, coin puzzles and – best of all – my favorite, brain twisters. I skipped the math and number puzzles because I’m really crappy at them, but I do wonder: isn’t soduko the same thing we called magic squares when we were kids? There are plenty of them in this book and here’s another - a matchstick puzzle (remember those?) for you.
The solution is diabolical. It will appear tomorrow at the end of the Sunday Election Issues post. (If you know the solution or figure it out, please don't give it away in the comments.)
I’ve read a number of stories (here's one) this week about the deployment of Army troops within the U.S. which would appear to violate the Posse Comitatus Act, except that in a signing statement, President Bush apparently has repealed that Act. Naomi Wolf - who believes a fascist coup d’etat took place in the U.S. on 1 October - the day the Army deployment went into effect - has published a new book, A Handbook For America which she discussed in this interview. [27:52 minutes]
Robert Reich – yes, the former secretary of labor under President Clinton – has a personal blog where, this week, he discusses Early Boomers and the Economic Mess. He warns that the oldest boomers and elders are in “particularly big trouble” due age discrimination in the workplace, falling housing prices and little time before retirement to make up for losses. This is a good blog to be reading during out continuing economic troubles. (Hat tip to Donna Woodka of Changing Places)
Social Security benefits, due to inflation, will increase next year by at least five percent – the exact number will be announced on 16 October. Still, it will hardly cover our increased costs. According to a study quoted at insurancenewsnet.com,
“A person receiving the average Social Security monthly benefit of $816 in 2000 would get $1,014 in 2008. But based on the study's findings, that person's benefit would need to be $1,532 a month this year to maintain her 2000 purchasing power.”
Medicare Supplemental and Part D premiums will rise too. I’m afraid we’re in for a long, hard ride making ends meet for the foreseeable future.
Senator McCain hasn’t mentioned it on the campaign trail that I know of, but a top aide has confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that McCain would fund his health care plan with a $1.3 trillion cut in Medicare and Medicaid benefits over ten years (that’s $130 billion per year).
The aide, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, didn’t tell the WSJ where the cuts would come from, but
“It’s about giving them the benefit package that has been promised to them by law at lower cost,” he said.
Why, I wonder, don’t I believe this?
As if that were not enough to give elder McCain supporters a reason to rethink their vote, here is a detailed list of Senator McCain’s statements regarding Social Security, an analysis of the consequences of his healthcare plan and his dismal record in Congress on Medicare and Social Security votes - all collected in one place with links. (Hat tip again to Donna Woodka)
At the non-profit Curry Senior Center in San Francisco, which serves breakfast to hundreds of low-income elders each day, peanut butter for toast has become a victim of the economic mess. The center can no longer afford the $5,000/year cost. How much more of this are we going to see. Read more here. (Again, hat tip to Donna Woodka)
Enough bad news. Here’s something to give you a little laugh:
“If 50 is the new 30, does that mean 70 is the new 50 and dead is the new 90? Did you get enough liposuction to fit into that hot new bathing suit - and end up with enough skin left over for a new pool cover?”
These are lines from a new comedy, The New 30, debuting at The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles on 28 October. I’m 3,000 miles away and won’t be able to attend. Perhaps some Los Angeles readers can do so and report back to us. Press release is here.
Earlier this week, Citizen K published a blog story about elder musicians titled, Geezers Rule. Here’s a video, Lucky, from one - 75-year-old avant-garde pianist, Paul Bley. [6:04 minutes]