Five at 8 – 6/3/09

  • Lost amid the big news of the week has been an admirable effort by National Public Radio to focus on the changing nature of retirement — The New Future of Life After Work. Those of us who have under 10 years to retirement had to be encouraged by the interview on All Things Considered last night with Jeremy Siegel of the Wharton School. It felt like the ’80s were coming back. And that set some in the audience off. “What good are the professor’s & NPR’s myopic assurances when you all ignore predictable future consequence of current real world trends?” one commenter on the Web site asked.

    Don’t bother looking for the retirement calculators All Things Considered host Robert Siegel promoted. They’re not there. But if you have a strong stomach and many years to go before retirement, you can find one here, here, and here.

    MPR has calculators of a different sort that are coming back in vogue. The price of a gallon of gas shot up to $2.69 in the Twin Cities yesterday. The gas price calculators are here.

  • The Air France disaster. Ben Sandilands, who writes the Plane Talking blog, considers the evidence so far and analyzes what appears to be a mid-air breakup of the plane off the coast of Brazil.
  • There was an odd sentence on All Things Considered last night about the meeting between President Barack Obama and Saudi King Abdullah, before the president moves on to Egypt for the long-awaited speech to the Muslim world.

    The Saudi leader is expected to press Obama to take action on Middle East peace…

    What exactly does the Saudi leader have in mind? The story never said. But let’s talk about Saudi Arabia for a second. A must-read is Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby’s interview with Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian sociologist and the founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies in Cairo.

    Yes, there are vested interests in keeping the Palestinian conflict going. So if Obama’s speech will really be a breakthrough for peace, it will also be a stepping-stone to genuine democratization. Peace will take away the excuse that the authoritarian regimes use to justify their own hold on power.

  • It’s been 20 years since China snuffed out a whiff of democracy in Tiananmen Square. You’ll want to read local blogger Charles Quimby’s visit to the Square
  • Harvard to endow chair on gay studies. The first in the country.


    Midmorning – First hour: The perils of a global economy and the possibility of economic collapse in China. Second hour: Innovation and change.

    Midday – Political analysts Tom Horner and Todd Rapp kick around life after Gov. Pawlenty. Homework assignment before the show: Read Smart Politics’ assessment of Jim Ramstad as a player in the race.

    Talk of the Nation – What’s all this talk about something involving Norm Coleman and Al Franken? NPR political guru Ken Rudin discusses the Minnesota Senate race in the first hour. In the second hour: The edible history of humanity.

    All Things Considered – Tracking the Minnesota politicians who want to be bigger fish in the pond. With the collapse of GM, what happens to all the Corvette clubs? YouTube tries to make itself Internet MTV.

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