Friday, December 16, 2011

Patt Morrison for Monday, December 19, 2011


Monday, December 19, 2011

1-3 p.m.




1:00 – 2:00



2:00 – 2:40

Are Americans being robbed of their nest eggs? Ellen Schultz, author of “Retirement Heist,” says yes.

You’ve heard it before—the sound of big business crying out that it can’t pay its pensions, or that employee retirement plans are a drain on its profits. This is simply not the case, argues Ellen Schultz, an investigative report for the Wall Street Journal.  Schultz has covered the retirement industry for nearly a decade, and her new book, “Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers” (Portfolio Penguin), details how the current retirement crisis “was manufactured by an alliance of two groups: top executives and their facilitators in the retirement industry—benefits consultants, insurance companies and banks.”  Schultz explores how company executives exploited loopholes in regulations to turn pension funds into tax shelters and piggy banks—for themselves, that is. Other practices include siphoning from pensions to finance downsizing, cutting employee benefits while inflating executive pay, and excluding low-paid workers from 401(k)’s to increase the value for top-paid employees. Culprits include AT&T, Bank of America, IBM, Cigna, General Motors, GE, Comcast, UPS, and even the NFL. What does your pension plan look like these days, or have you given up on the idea? Should employers even be obligated to provide pensions?  If so, what kind of protections should be put in place to make sure that the funds aren’t touched?



Ellen Schultz, author of “Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers”; investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal



2:40 – 3:00

Kathleen Turner turns up the heat in “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins”

Sass, spunk, and talent are three traits that actress Kathleen Turner shares with the late Molly Ivins, who died of breast cancer in 2007. Ivins, portrayed by Turner in a one-woman show entitled “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins,” is best known for her colorful work as a newspaper columnist for the New York Times among other publications. Ivins was a witty outspoken liberal from Texas who was often described as a modern-day Mark Twain. Turner has earned critical acclaim for her performance in the play, which will be showing at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles beginning January 3rd. Margaret and Allison Engel are the co-writers of the piece.


What do you think of Ivins as a journalist? Which contemporary female journalists are comparable to Ivins? How will Turner’s portrayal shape how Ivins is remembered?



Kathleen Turner, actress known for her beauty and sexuality as shown in films such as “Body Heat” (1981) and “Prizzi’s Honor (1985); she was nominated for an Oscar for her role as a dissatisfied housewife who gets a second chance to alter her life in Francis Ford Coppola's moving “Peggy Sue Got Married” (1986).




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