EMAIL PAGE FIVE
COLUMN 104, APRIL 1, 2004
(Copyright © 2004 The Blacklisted Journalist)
AARP NEEDS NEW INVENTORS!
Subject: Column on Reinventing AARP
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004 01:37:20 EST
Posted on Sat, Mar. 13, 2004
GEORGE FULMORE: THE ART OF RETIREMENT
AARP needs to reinvent itself
IN A PREVIOUS column, I talked about how the history of the American Association of Retired People (now known just as AARP) involved false pretenses, its major flaw being that one of its founders -- insurance broker Leonard Davis -- built its business model dependent on royalties from profitable insurance products.
Today, AARP is a huge organization, with an operating budget that exceeds $600 million per year and a paid staff of more than 1,800. And, although the AARP Web site section "Financing AARP" states that its largest single source of income "is the dues paid by a steadily growing membership," the AARP end-of-year 2002 financial position clearly shows that royalties bring in nearly 20 percent more income than membership dues.
Overlooking, for now, what appears to be an obvious misstatement by AARP as to its primary income source, all could still make sense if the following, again, per the AARP Web site, had credibility: "AARP, through AARP Services, Inc. (ASI), strives to make available products and services that do not duplicate those already in existence, but instead fill the gaps left uncovered by commercial providers or to provide features that are specifically designed for the older consumer."
The flaw here, as I've pointed out before, is that the earliest AARP-endorsed insurance products were found to be both inferior in quality and more costly than similar products offered by others. I believe the same is true today.
As an example, I received an AARP solicitation recently for term life insurance. Called "AARP Level Benefit Term Life Plan," offered through New York Life, I'm told that I can purchase $25,000 in death-benefit coverage, for my age, for a cost of $62.65 per month. Since I currently pay just $27.50 per month for a term-life benefit of $100,000 to another company, I see what sure looks to me like an example of the same old AARP pattern: an offer to the membership of an overpriced, inferior product.
So, how do we turn the AARP ship around?
First, AARP needs to reinvent its business model by ending its dependency on income from insurance solicitations and sales. Second, AARP needs to define pivotal positions that improve its credibility to its membership.
● Continue to oppose any changes to the Social Security system unless of direct benefit to older Americans.
● Oppose all suggestions that the growing federal deficit is the result of baby boomer entitlement programs.
● Oppose all current long-term-care insurance product offerings; insist on more government regulation and standardization, and pricing based on actual expectations of needed care, per the current age of the policy holder.
● Slash AARP management and staff positions and salaries and downsize the high-priced Washington, D.C., digs.
The reinvented AARP needs to pay its bills primarily from membership dues, based on a nonprofit, objective mission of service to older Americans.
George Fulmore teaches the course "The Art of Retirement" in the Mt. Diablo Adult Education program. Reach him at ArtofRet@aol.com . ##
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JOHN ASHCROFT WANTS TO KNOW WHAT YOU READ
Subject: (no subject)
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 05:13:23 EST
Periodicals of Mass Destruction
By Jack Neworth
Understandably, 9/11 and the era since, hasn't provided a lot of laughs.That is unless you count John Aschcroft singing patriotic songs and the occasional duct tape panic buying spree. (All due respect, my advice to our
Attorney General is not to quit his day job, though oddly enough, that's exactly what my liberal friends would like him to do.)
Last month however, I had a semi-humorous brush with 9/11. I was at the Ocean Park Library, about to check out some magazines. (One of which I admit was the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.) Suddenly I noticed a sign stating the government may have the right to see what you're reading. My first thought was I was glad I didn't have the Al Qaeda Swimsuit issue (featuring the "thong burka" which comes dangerously close to revealing the entire female eyebrow.)
Nearby a middle-aged woman was complaining to the library. Somehow I assumed it was about the Patriot Act, but as I eavesdropped I learned it was the library's "two dvd limit" rule. I noticed one of her DVD's was "The Vagina Monolgues" and thought wait until crooner Ashcroft gets a load of that.
Hoping the woman might be bothered, I casually pointed the sign out to her. And sure enough the more she read the more upset she got. Sensing I was an instigator (who me?) the Librarian snapped, "We can't have this in the library!." "We were only reading your sign" I responded. An exchange of sarcasms later and I felt like I was ordering a chicken salad sandwich from the waitress in "Five Easy Pieces."
The Vagina Monolgue woman jumped in and suddenly the three of us we were in a heated discussion about civil liberties. When other library patrons turned around, I could sense our McLaughlin Group was spiraling out of control. Worried I was going to quote Nicholsen and tell the librarian where she could hold the magazines (does "knees" ring a bell?) I flashed my library card and said I was double parked (I had in fact walked.) I took my magazines, bid good-night and left the building, just like Elvis. (I know that reference makes no sense other than I was able to get McLaughlin, Elvis and Nicholsen in the same sentence.)
On the way home questions ran through my mind. Why is Al Qaeda spelled four different ways? (And why no "u" after the "q"!) More on point, why does the Patriot Act include public libraries? (Although I admit I have
seen some pretty shady characters perusing the self-help books.) Do we think terrorists hang out at libraries for books on how to crash planes into buildings? Or do we fear they are going to sabotage the Dewey Decimal
System and devastate book cataloguing as we know it? Oh, the chaos.
All in all it was a surprising post 9/11 encounter. In the end it seems to me monitoring library transactions is counter productive and a violation of civil liberties. But then I think Ashcroft's singing is counter productive and a violation of something. All I can say is if Big Brother is over my shoulder as I gawk at the Swimsuit Issue, then the terrorists win. Or even worse, more John Ascroft songs. ##
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AMATEUR JOURNALISM OR AMATEUR EMAIL WRITING?
Subject: This would be much more...
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 13:16:57 -0600
From: "Joel Cady" <email@example.com
entertaining if you could substantiate any of it. What's your angle? It all feels a little left but that doesn't click
because your timeline blames the libertarian administration for starting everything. This is amateur journalism at best. I for one can understand why you've chosen the blacklisted theme for this verbal diarrhea. Here's a few pointers; be concise about your political platform and be consistent. Don't confuse fact and fiction, you need evidence to support what is written. I hope this isn't your day job. Good luck with your agenda whatever it happens to be.
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PAGING DONALD LEV
Subject: Looking for donald lev
Date: Mon, 08 Mar 2004 14:59:34 -0500
From: Karren Alenier firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Address: email@example.com
Hi, I'm trying to reach Donald Lev regarding a poem we published by his wife Enid Dame. Can you help me?
Karren L. Alenier
The Word Works
Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit www.wordworksdc.com for more info
The Word Works
PO Box 42164
Washington, DC 20015 ##
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Date: Thu, 04 Mar 2004 01:25:56 -0500
From: "Ian Reed" email@example.com
'Haitred' by Ian Reed
(on the ouster of President Aristide from Haiti)
Having won independence at great cost
By slave rebellion in 1804 --
A fight in which Napoleon's armies lost --
Haiti is stripped of what she gained before,
Because the U.S. engineered a coup,
A democratic leader overthrew,
Enforced regime-change by a murd'rous crew,
Installed dictatorship (what else is new?).
A former priest, the kidnapped president
Espoused theology of liberation,
Upheld reform with noble sentiment
To earn displeasure from our pious nation.
So U.S. foreign policy became
To furnish death-squads with despisèd arms,
To starve the nation in strategic game,
And cap it all with propaganda's harms.
They false-accused Haiti of false elections
Incited violence and insurrection,
That country, with no army and few police,
Against well-armed militias had no means.
Now is its leader, in a blow to peace,
Abducted by United States marines.
Our mainstream media made a scene, meanwhile,
Of popular uprising at the fore,
Proving once more by treachery and guile,
The New York Times is rotten to the core.
Now chaos reigns and military rule,
Blood in the streets, riot, agony and fire.
They kill civilians and ransack the school,
Rampaging anarchy by thugs for hire.
Behold what springs forth from our leaders' minds,
Behold their business of betraying trust.
See how they torture Haiti, read the signs:
The same atrocities are meant for us.
Ian Reed - March 2004
'Polemics', a collection of political poems and essays by Ian Reed, can be viewed at http://www.ReedandWrite.com ##
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LEGISLATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION
Subject: LEGISLATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2004 21:39:44 -0800 (PST)
From: Kirti Pinna firstname.lastname@example.org
LEGISLATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION
The Boston Tea Party is a symbol of patriots revolting against the levy of taxes on a populace that had no representation in the parliament that levied the taxes. We have that condition today, in our Healthcare and our Social Security System. Our Medical and our Retirement packages are being drawn up and voted on, into law, by people who ARE NOT part of the society they are legislating over. Our Senators and Representatives in the House are part of an elite society that has voted itself Policies that provide for FULL health coverage "for life" and FULL salary "for life", without paying premiums into either of these policies. How can these same people proclaim a belief that the healthcare packages and social security plans that they propose, for the public, are "good" policies, when they themselves are not part of it. How can a person satiated at a feast have a true understanding of the conditions of hunger faced by those without a meal that night. I propose that the Congressional Senators and Representatives of the House vote to repeal their current health care and retirement packages and join the public that they represent, in the social security and health care plans being proposed by themselves. The Public has the right to be legislated over ONLY by its peers, not by an elite few (like the House of Lords of England).
Let this be our calling CRY "Representation or NO Legislation." ##
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Subject: Fw: Bush Sep 11 ads/An insult to the American people
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2004 19:40:40 -0600
From: "Larry Sawyer & Lina ramona" email@example.com
To: al aronowitz firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bush Administration's crass appropriation of images depicting the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 is at the least sickening and at the most truly frightening. That the Bush Administration would hold up images of this horrible event as evidence of the good job they are doing to protect the citizens of this great nation is quite frankly unfathomable. In this day and age, propaganda in an election year is to be expected, but the Bush Administration has gone too far. After George W. Bush's media cohorts' original claim that they would never stoop so low as to use these images to boost their political campaign, using fear and paranoia to frighten the American public--well they have done just that. The Bush Administration's original claim that using these images to serve their political agenda would be morally reprehensible underscores the fact that they are
completely aware of their actions.
The Bush Administration cannot now claim ignorance or even claim that they are merely acting in good faith as defenders of our great nation. This cynical action exposes them for who they really are--ignorant purveyors of damaging propaganda that distorts and insults the memory of the innocent people that lost their lives that fateful day.
This is not a matter of Republicans and Democrats and partisan politics. This media campaign is morally reprehensible on a simply human level, nothing more and nothing less!
You can do something about this.
We ask that you merely pass this message along to all the people that you know--friends, acquaintances and relatives. Spread this message via e-mail or print it out and mail it. Send this message to elected officials at the local, state, and Federal level to show your extreme distaste for this act of theft, for these people have stolen the honorable memory of those that not only lost, but gave, their lives.
The Bush Administration has stolen the memory of the darkest day in American history--an attack on our soil--to further their own personal goals with the ultimate goal of perpetuating their personal financial gain.
What follows are two quotes from a major network, news source CBSNews.com:
"It's a slap in the face of the murders of 3,000 people," Monica Gabrielle, whose husband died in the Twin Towers, told the New York Daily News for its Thursday edition. "It is unconscionable."
"It's as sick as people who stole things out of the place," said firefighter Tommy Fee. "The image of firefighters at ground zero should not be used for this stuff, for politics."
--March 4, 2004 ##
* * *
ON THIS 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF BEATLEMANIA!
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