Tomorrow, unless more interesting news takes precedence, I'll try to provide direct links from here to some of the important PERS cases on Ron's site. In the meantime, happy hunting.
Please don't post your comments more than once. I moderate all comments and a delay between posting and appearing is part of the drill here. I get to all comments in due time. Please don't continually repost the same comment. Only one will be posted. Also, due to the volume of email I'm getting right now, I am unable to guarantee that I will respond to all personal emails sent to my email address. I am being buried alive under an avalanche of email. Please go to the PERS Oregon Discussion (POD) Group, linked below (left) under LINKS to post your question and get a variety of answers. Thank you.
Monday, May 30, 2005
Tomorrow, unless more interesting news takes precedence, I'll try to provide direct links from here to some of the important PERS cases on Ron's site. In the meantime, happy hunting.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Finally, let me take a moment to honor all those men and women who defend our country in the armed services. I may not abide political decisions to enter into armed conflict, but I have nothing but admiration, respect, and gratitude for your service to our country. A special note to my nephew Adam: we love ya man. We thank the lord daily that you came home from Baghdad with everything still in tact (including your wicked sense of humor). Eighteen months of combat can suck the life out of you and everything around you. It didn't do it to you. You da man.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
It only gets worse. Today I received a note from a reader who reported that she retired on 3/1/04. She contributed $524 to the IAP for January and February 2004. She couldn't get access to the money when she retired; she's had to wait for it until just last week. Today, 14 months after retiring, the account is worth $410, despite the fact that the fund didn't lose a dime while the woman was working. But because they couldn't figure out how to get her money in timely fashion, she eats the losses for 2005, which exceed the gains from 2004. Now I suppose you could argue that PERS would have to pay out the gains in to those people whose accounts gained in value and I would agree with you. But, don't you think that the members SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN A CHOICE? How difficult would it have been to say: "we can't get your money to you when you retire; do you want to keep it fully invested or move it to a safe money-market type account?" Why is it that the involuntary beta testers of any system are the ones with the broken computers, and programmers saying, oh we're sorry but we have no liability.
The more this stuff surfaces, the more I think I'm walking torn and tattered into a "close" room where there are three or four others in the room - PERB, the Employers, the Legislature, the Governor, and some right coast investment bankers. Someone has just cut the cheese and it stinks. The only thing I know for certain is that it ain't me who let one rip, but somehow I'm always the one downwind of the stench.
Monday, May 23, 2005
In the meantime, I'm going to introduce a new feature today: Get on the Natch, which allows me to publish (with permission) letters and emails I get from PERS friends and occasionally non-friends. These letters usually speak for themselves and so I won't offer any commentary other than to introduce them. I won't identify the authors of these letters; people can feel free to email me in full knowledge that I won't reveal their writings to anyone. I would NEVER put your words from a private letter to me up here without first getting your permission. Look for the first letter posted in the space below this afternoon.
Our first entry of Get On The Natch:
Disco Inferno - Friday, May 20, 2005, posted by mrfearless47
.........."And so my PERS friends (and those of you who I wouldn't exactly call 'friends'), there you have it. You understand now why I want to take all of that social, economic, and religious diversity of the PERS family and just turn it upside down, turn it inside out, and just shake the living daylights out of the apathy, enmity and animus that exists towards us in the halls of power. To do this, we have to set aside all our differences and unite in a common purpose.".......
I loved your last three "rants." I would like to help with that "common purpose" you mentioned above. I want "PERS people" to be mad as hell and stand up and say "I'm not going to take this any more!" I know I'm tired of having my PERS pocket picked and being called names like greedy and lazy.
I want to start doing something NOW to help change the climate in Salem in 2006! We need to have a planning phase and start it SOON. I've been thinking of how we might best reach a good portion of those 300,000 PERS members and get them motivated. We need their email addresses. The PERS-member readers of your blog and Dana's OPDG forum still know a lot of active PERS member back where they used to work. If several "someones" that they respect (you, Dana, Martha, RRobert) were to ask them to contact their old co-workers, explain to them why they should care about what is happening to their PERS, and then ask them for a staff directory or just a list of employee names and email addresses. From that we would be able to compile an email list that would at least get us started on our way. ... (an identifying line edited out -mrf47).
After we've gotten a good number of email addresses, we have the best writer in our group (you) confer with our other greats -- Dana, Martha, RRobert [Spake not always clear ;-) ] -- to craft the first email to be sent out. In addition to explaining to them why they should care about PERS and why we need to work together to elect new blood in Salem, we ask them to forward this email to all the PERS members they know and they, in turn, should ask these people to forward it to their PERS friends/co-workers, etc, and so on. Also, ask all of them to send you the email addresses of the people they forwarded your message to. We then add those addresses to our ever growing email list.
If enough people commit to working on something like this, we could go from a grass roots level to something really big. Have you had any experience in creating a political PAC? I wonder how difficult it would be. Maybe one of Dana's OPDG members would have experience with creating one. If something like that could be created and we are able to reach a good portion of our 300,000 PERS members, we could then ask them to contribute $5 or $10 to the PAC to help elect PERS friendly candidates to the Governor's Office and the Legislature.
What do you think? Am I being overly optimistic? Too simplistic? What? I just want us to START doing something to get the ball rolling in the right direction. I'd be willing to make a political time commitment....last year I worked on Kerry's campaign -- I know, I know, but he was better than Dubya Dufus -- as long as he could keep his foot out of his mouth and quit handing gems to Karl Rove to bash him over the head with.
Tell me what you think.....what can we start doing to help our cause? And keep ranting on your blog -- I really look forward to them!
A fired up PERS member,"
Sunday, May 22, 2005
On the surface any effort to remove partisanship from Oregon politics would be seen as a good thing. Nevertheless I keep wondering whether this will be another wreck of the day from the legislature or whether it is a serious attempt to put lipstick on the pig. Call me cynical if you like. I don't have any answers, but I do wonder "Cui Bono?", "trojan horse?", "wolf in sheep's clothing?" and other thoughts. I'm not exactly enamored of the motives of anything coming from this or past legislatures. Exactly how does removing a label from a ballot remove partisanship? How does a candidate run without a platform, yet have a platform to run on? And where does that non-partisan platform come from? How will we know whose water any particular candidate is carrying? Can a candidate list his/her political affiliation (or hints of it) in a voters' pamphlet and, if so, where exactly is the non-partisanship there. And the list of questions goes on. We're left to inquire, as Lewontin and Gould might have done, are labels part of a spandrel that simply have to be there to satisfy political constraint, or do they exist for a purpose separate from their political necessity. Are they necessary at all? Put more simply, are labels a necessary consequence of the political architecture, or do they have some function independent of it? Which leads us back to the question: will removing the labels produce the "wreck of the day" or a "panglossian panacea"?
OK, I know this rumination appears to violate what I said yesterday about being clear and writing with a purpose. I can't help it. When I read the piece about this bill in the Oregonian, I went looking to find the authors of this bill and who voted for/against it. The lists left me in the curious position of thinking of Lewontin and Gould's article and how it perfectly skewered the adaptationist paradigm in evolutionary theory, and how, by analogy, it could extend to this effort to "adapt" to the political structure of Oregon. If you want to read it, here is a good start. Since the link isn't visible for some obscure reason, I have to enter it manually here. You'll need to copy this to your browser bar: http://tinyurl.com/cnyu6. It's heavy, but rewarding, reading.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
I'm not fond of any of Gertrude Himmelfarb's writings (except maybe her book on Charles Darwin written well-before the rest of her ideas were so hardened), but I am fond of a title to a book she wrote about 10 years ago entitled "On Looking Into the Abyss". Think of that title when you read my last two essays.
This muckraker will be taking a vacation from his anti-elected officials screeds for awhile. Further blog postings will continue as usual, but the reminders about our elected officials will continue appear at periodic intervals, whenever I think people are getting too smug, too self-satisfied, and too complacent. "We've only just begun to fight."
Friday, May 20, 2005
Disco Inferno is a place I think about regularly. Imagine a place where all elected officials (and the unelected or self-appointed ones too) could be sent to suffer through endless reruns of "Saturday Night Fever", polyester disco suits, Donna Summer's pantingingly puerile lyrics, "Welcome Back, Kotter", and maybe with the Village People thrown in for added torture. Think of this as a Guantanamo for legislators who committed terrorist acts against PERS members and who continue to think of PERS as a sort of slush fund to bail out a state budget that's been assembled out of quicksand since 1990 when Ballot Measure 5 passed. The problems in Oregon aren't necessarily caused by a lack of money; they are almost assuredly caused by a pandemic lack of imagination, an epidemic shortage of intelligence, a millimeter deep gene pool, insatiable corporate greed, and a congenital absence of a spine - all collected together in that group of stuffed shirt legislators that keep getting sent back to Salem to do ------------------ absolutely nothing, in cahoots with governor after governor each actively trying to do worse than his/her predecessor. At the 'eye of this stupidity storm' are PERS members and retirees who ended up with a system, not of their making, that turned out to benefit them in retirement (AS PROMISED FROM DAY 1) in a way that working for substandard salaries did not during their working life.
As I noted yesterday, there are no fewer than 300,000 PERS members, retirees, beneficiaries, spouses, and children who are of voting age in Oregon. This is one of the most accurate cross-sections of Oregon I've ever run into. We live east of the Cascades; we live west of the Cascades; we live in urban centers and in rural outposts and everywhere in between. We vote Democrat, we vote Republican, we vote Independent, we vote Libertarian, we vote Socialist. We're pro-choice, we're anti-abortion, we're pro-Union, anti-Union, pro-schools, anti-schools, neutral about schools, for tax increases, against tax increases, we're pro-death penalty, anti-death penalty, pro-assisted suicide, anti-assisted suicide. We go to church, to synagogue, to mosque, or we don't worship to any higher deity. No matter how you slice us and dice us, the most you can say is that we are not monolithic in our political beliefs, our religious beliefs, or our social beliefs. Yet, for all this diversity, most of us feel unity in the belief that we've been betrayed by all the efforts to "reform" PERS and we take it very personally that we've been singled out for some sort of karmic retribution by the very people (not literally) who developed the system for our retirement, and who now feel that an injustice was done to employers and to taxpayers for which WE must now pay. Our history and the facts of our stories mean nothing do them - they're inconvenient details that don't fit the narrative the media is telling and the politicians spouting, and so must be ignored, rewritten, or massaged. They conveniently forget that the PERS system was foist on us; we didn't get to pick it or choose it. It came with the jobs. So what if we figured out after years of salary freezes, salary cuts, cost-of-living increases that barely kept some members off food stamps, that the PERS system was the ONLY compensatory aspect of our salaries that made the jobs economically viable. We scrimped, saved, and suffered self-deprivation during our working lives so that we wouldn't have to do this quite as aggressively when we stopped working in our later years. For this, we get what? A swift kick in the ass, a cut in retirement benefits, and a goodbye tantamount to saying: "Don't let the door hit your butt on the way out. So long you greedy SOB. Have a nice life" Oh, you don't like it: "Sue me".
And so my PERS friends (and those of you who I wouldn't exactly call 'friends'), there you have it. You understand now why I want to take all of that social, economic, and religious diversity of the PERS family and just turn it upside down, turn it inside out, and just shake the living daylights out of the apathy, enmity and animus that exists towards us in the halls of power. To do this, we have to set aside all our differences and unite in a common purpose. If you're a Democrat and you've been screwed over by another Democrat, throw the rascal into disco inferno. If you're a Republican, and you've been cavity-searched by another Republican, put him/her in the penalty box -- for life. You need to release yourself from the shackles of the logic that "...the devil you know is somehow better than the devil you don't know". It is that reasoning that allows these people to get elected and re-elected. They take your vote for granted; they capitalize on your altruistic tendencies, or your selfish tendencies, or your mean-spirited tendencies, or your 'greater good' tendencies. And we are suckered everytime, like lambs being led to slaughter. It is time to work outside your normal comfort zone, to become unpredictible, and to think outside the box. Put all the other important issues aside, just once. Ask yourself whether that juicy tax cut the Republicans might be offering you is worth the price you're going to pay out of future PERS benefits? As yourself whether those added dollars the Democrats want to throw at the public schools really does you any good at all if you're paying a disproportionate share as a result of potential tax increases and reduced salaries and benefits (particularly PERS benefits). At the moment, all the political posturing is over an essentially zero sum game. The ONLY way someone else can gain is if someone else loses - and PERS members, as a group, seem to be the current [close your eyes here for a moment if my words offend] "niggers", "jews", "muslims", "wetbacks" [Please don't be offended by my choice of words here. I mean no disrespect or intolerance of any of these groups, but I really want to let people know how it feels to be a PERS retiree at the moment. I truly do understand how it feels to be discriminated against as I fall into one of the categories described above, and have an adopted daughter in another of those categories. I know wherefrom I speak].
Throw off the shackles of consistency and predictibility. Let's let the politicos know that we won't support them under any circumstances, even if this runs contrary to our interests in other areas. Let's remind them that we, too, understand Howard Beale's scream: "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more". Let's consign the SOBs to that purgatory called Disco Inferno, where power and 50 cent won't get you a ride on Tri-Met.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Stop reading right here if you're not ready for one of my (possibly) incoherent rants.
If you've gotten this far, you're already one of the 10,000 who stop by here every month to check out what alfalfa sprouts from my keyboard - today it may be more like hops, as in "hopping mad". Once the City of Eugene decision is finally announced and the outcome of the current PERS litigation is resolved, one way or another, I plan to turn my attention to harnessing this energy to eliminate all those folks down in Salem who are hostile to PERS and its members/retirees. Even if "we" win on the City of Eugene case, memories shouldn't be short. No one should relax. A "win" in the City of Eugene case will only delay further retribution until the next Legislature in 2007. We will need to be vigilant regardless of the outcome. I won't regard my own PERS benefit as fully safe until my wife and I are both deceased and we've both lived out our actuarial lifetimes plus an extra 10 years just to be ornery. Lest anyone have a morsel of doubt that we're going to continue to play this perverse game of jeopardy no matter how the courts rule, just get hold of this month's (May 2005) "Brainstorm NW" magazine. Read Ron Saxton's latest screed against PERS, written AFTER the Supreme Court ruled in Strunk. Remember Ron Saxton. He's going to try to oust Kevin Mannix as the Republican gubernatorial candidate, leaving voters with the choice of Two-Faced Ted ("I'm sorry I had to do this to all my loyal supporters - about 60% of whom are PERS members - but the devil made me do it"), or Ron whose opinions on PERS are about as subtle as a Glock-9. Then we have Kevin ("I used to be a Democrat") Mannix. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters? And I haven't even begun to describe my animus towards the Legislature.
So consider this a warning. Just because I don't live in your legislative district doesn't mean I won't try to use these various bully pulpits to defeat you in 2006. Just because I might have voted for you in 2002 or 2004 doesn't mean I'd lift a finger or blacken a box on a voting form for you again. I might just as easily use energy, words, and money to help defeat you. You may view me as an arrogant and conceited SOB who has delusions of power and grandeur. Not true. It is you who have the delusions of grandeur and power. What you need is to be taken down a peg or two or plain knocked out of the game. Game over, out of time. Just be careful that you don't take me or any of the other 300,000 or so PERS-connected Oregon voters for granted. If you do, you'll be making a huge mistake. You might think of yourself as the lesser of two evils, but many of us have long ago given up on that calculus in election choices. We KNOW how bad you are; it hardly matters to us that your opponent might be worse. Worse than what? You may think that by straddling the fence you can sucker us into voting for you again because you'll try to "kiss and make up." Again, bad assumption. I'd sooner vote for someone who's got one hand on my wallet and the other hand squeezing my ...., than someone with one hand around my shoulder and the other hand patting my back patronizingly while cooing in my ear that "it will only hurt for a moment." Horse hockey. I'm done with that game and I think quite a few others are too. Hubris doesn't play well in our sandbox anymore. Just watch out for that wave breaking just west of Salem. It isn't "surf's up, dude". It's "time's up, dude".
I like to think of participants in and readers of all the different venues mentioned above as "brothers in arms" all marching to that great rap song - "California Love" by a group known only by its initials - NWA (do a Google search on that group if you don't know what the initials stand for). Just think of us as PMWA. Payback time is coming soon, starting as soon as the "silly season" of 2006 begins in earnest. Tomorrow we'll continue with "Disco Inferno" - a great song title even if I can't think of how to hook it into what I might say. Perhaps I'll start with Howard Beale's perfect rant in Paddy Chayevsky's "Network".
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
As a BTW, I've had a few entries to my contest (see May 11th entry). So far, the closest anyone has gotten is 13/16 and I've had two people so far do that well (each missing a different 3). There are tons of hints out there if you combine your Google searches with some other more obvious investigations - like possibly my own website, my profile here, and the previous selection of song-titles. I don't go for obscure artists (usually), but I do have extremely eclectic tastes (and 3 daughters aged 37, 28, 13 and who requently supply sources for my musical interests). Today's title might give you a clue to my eclecticism. Also, the fact that I've told you these songs are on my iPod is a hint in and of itself. None of the songs there are illegal; that means they've been ripped directly from CD or purchased from iTunes. Perhaps that will narrow your hunt down a bit.
Friday, May 13, 2005
Enjoy the (hopefully) sunny weekend.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Still bored and still reading. Have I got a deal for you. Relieve your boredom by matching the song name in the post titles with the artists singing them. It won't be quite as easy this time as last. Start with the post entitled "Candy Everybody Wants" (late April) and go forward to today's (this) post "Cold Day in July". I *think* there are 15 entries, but who's counting. Email me with the song title and the artist you *think* I'm referencing. Some of these songs have multiple covers; I'm interested in the specific one I used (i.e. the one on MY iPod). A couple of these should be low-hanging fruit because I've either identified the artist in the post, or given you hints directly in the post. Others are, frankly, more obscure than others. Google *may* be your friend here, but Google may give you more answers than you want. You may find it helpful to scavenge around in other fairly obvious places to see what artist I'm likely to have used. Deadline is next Wednesday (May 18 - in tribute to ole Harry Truman and David Johnson who went down in smoke on Mt. St Helens 25 years ago). Email your answers to me -- only one entry per person. Winning entry gets a $20 gift card from Borders or Barnes & Noble (depending on which I'm nearer to on the closing day). Internet scavenger hunts are delightful time-wasters and will keep you from dwelling on and perseverating about what the Supreme Court is up to.
Monday, May 09, 2005
and life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button girl,
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe, just breathe,
Woah breathe, just breathe.
This pretty well sums up the way I feel right now after weeks of "deconstructing" the Strunk decision as it pertains to retirees. I have a pretty good feel for what "might" happen, but two very knowledgeable sources have offered diametrically opposed opinions of what happens next, especially if the Supreme Court upholds the majority of the City of Eugene case. Because I'm not a fortune teller, not a lawyer, and have no way to unravel the conflicting interpretations offered by others, I've decided to discontinue any further speculation -- informed or otherwise -- on what happens next or how this will play out for any group caught in the snare of the fowler. I'm taking Anna's advice and "just breathe".
And no, this doesn't mean I'm discontinuing anything. I'm just not going to be drawn into any speculation about what "might" happen next, because, frankly, neither I nor anyone else really knows - except the Supreme Court and they're more secretive (at least now) than the College of Cardinals. Moreover, they continue to blow black smoke from the chimneys.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
In this post I'd like to explain what MY understanding of what MAY happen if City of Eugene is upheld by the Supreme Court. In a later post, I'll provide a more elaborate example of how I *think* it will work.
Bear with me. For this to make sense, we have to suspend all expectations of a miracle. Let's face potential reality for the next few minutes. If the topic is relevant to you, you'll undoubtedly find the news mixed at best. I can generalize slightly and say that the severest impact will be on "window" retirees who had *all* of their account balance in the Tier 1 regular, regardless of when you retired. Similarly, anyone who retired before the market began its rebound in 2003 and early 2004 *and* who had money in variable until the date of retirement will be losers. However, the combination of the later retirements (late 2003 - early 2004) may be the best off, unless you retired under the "lookback", in which case the news is quite mixed. As with everything PERS-related, there is NO simple, single answer for anyone. This doesn't mean I can't write a calculator; it just means that it will require an incredible amount of user-input directly from member statements spanning 1999 - 2003/4, and some solid grasp of the PERS earnings postings on their web site. The program can do all the hard calculations, but they are complicated. I now have a far better grasp of why it will take so long for programmers at PERS to unwind the 0% crediting, unwind the COLA freeze and recalculate benefits under the scenario envisioned by Lipscomb. It is an incredibly complicated set of calculations that involves the "lookback" for post-June 2003 retirees, old and new actuarial tables. In short, the entire process will involve essentially starting over with the 1999 earnings crediting and recalculate EVERYTHING that has happened since earnings were credited in 1999. Add to that the Lipscomb variable adjustment and the whole process is one giant programming mess.
Today I'm going to talk only about the simplest case - a July 1, 2003 retirement. This eliminates the "lookback" problem and requires me to explain this only in terms of the "old" mortality tables. It also eliminates the problem of unrolling the 2003 earnings crediting because July 1, 2003 retirees got 4% (approximately) for 6 months of 2003. They weren't subject to the 0% crediting. The Strunk ruling *only* applies in this case to the COLA freeze, while Lipscomb *only* applies to the 1999 earnings crediting decision. The Supreme Count only said that the COLA freeze was a breach of contract and couldn't be used as a means of "recovery". The court went out of its way to point out (see yesterday's post) that this did NOT prevent PERS from "recovery" using other statutory methods (i.e. ORS 238.715, although they did not mention that statute specifically).
With this in mind, imagine our hypothetical 7/1/03 retiree receiving a Notice of Entitlement that indicates a Money Match "winning" method and a monthly Option 1 benefit of $2500 per month, which has remained "fixed" due to the COLA freeze since then. Now further suppose that by refiguring the 1999 earnings credit at 11.33% (Lipscomb and settlement) the member's "true" retirement benefit after correcting for the "error" (assume Lipscomb upheld) should have been $2350 per month. That becomes the "fixed benefit" to which the COLA should be added. That member WOULD HAVE received 0.77% effective 7/1/03, another 1.17% effective 7/1/04, and 2% (expected) effective 7/1/05. By 7/1/05, the member's benefit should be $2443.71 ($6.29 LESS THAN the current benefit). So, in this very simple case PERS would adjust the current $2500 monthly benefit DOWN to $2443.71, and then seek recovery of $6.71 x 24 months = $161.04**, for the amount the member had been overpaid because of the "erroneous" crediting of 1999 regular earnings.
So, for members in the "window" period, the crucial detail will be the amount by which the current benefit would have been reduced had the 1999 credit been 11.33% instead of 20%. The larger the difference, the bigger the potential reduction in current benefit and the higher the amount of the payback. Just keep in mind that this approach is distinctly different than the interpretation typically offered for the Strunk decision vis-a-vis the COLA freeze. The methodology described above accomplishes TWO things, not just one. It collects for the present value of the "overcredit" as well as for the future value of the "overcredit". The standard (?mis)interpretation would have only recovered the present value of the overcredit, while continuing to leave the future value untouched. Unlikely that it would happen that way.
**If PERS really did this properly, the "payback" would be more than what is illustrated here. A correct calculation would adjust the first 12 months by more (because the differential is greater); the second 12 months by slightly less (because the differential is getting smaller). The 12 month period that would include the latest (not yet given) COLA would finally get the member down to the $6.71 differential, but that would be moot because the adjustment would have already taken place. In the end, the new benefit as of 7/1/05 would be only $6.71 less than the benefit determined at the actual time of retirement. And here you thought this would be a simple explanation.
Friday, May 06, 2005
"58. Put another way, the legislature took what it deemed to be restorative action, but used as the mechanism for doing so an adjustment that implicated the COLA provision of the PERS contract. Our conclusion that that particular legislative action amounted to a breach of the PERS contract, however, implies nothing about PERB's -- or, for that matter, the legislature's -- authority to recover amounts determined to have been paid from the fund in error."
To put that footnote in context, read the ORS 238.715 sections to grasp what the court explicitly went out of its way not to say.
P.S. (note added about 11:50 a.m.) Earlier this week I sent PERS a lengthy hypothetical question concerning how exactly it would implement the settlement terms for retirees IF Lipscomb were upheld. My sources wouldn't speculate on whether Lipscomb would or wouldn't be upheld, and did not want to be quoted because there is NO OFFICIAL PERS policy on this topic yet. Nevertheless, I got a window into the limits of implementating the settlement for retirees, and I was surprised by what I learned -- until I starting thinking about it more deeply. I'll post more this weekend to explain how I think the City of Eugene settlement could be implemented for retirees in the "window" period (4/1/00 to 3/1/04). Please understand that the motivation for all my questions was to try to gain purchase on the mechanisms that would be put in place to effect the settlement. As a part-time programmer and author of an earlier PERS retirement calculator, I have been urged and have been planning to implement my own version that can be used by affected retirees to determine the impact of a negative ruling in the City of Eugene case. There is so much information, speculation, and just plain mis-information floating around that until I can "know" what PERS is planning to do, I can't even begin to formulate an algorithm and program design. Once I'm certain about how they *would* implement the settlement, I can probably put something together fairly quickly. (That's one of the truly great things about object-oriented and modular programming. I can gut irrelevant pieces from the old PERS calculator I wrote, and plug in new modules to handle the specifics of the situation for retirees. I'll try to explain what I think *has* to be the method in a post over the weekend.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Forgive me if it goes astray.
But when I woke up this mornin'
Coulda sworn it was judgment day.
The sky was all purple
There were people runnin' everywhere
Tryin' 2 run from the destruction
U know I didn't even care
'Cuz they say two thousand zero zero party over
Oops out of time
So tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999."
This brief interlude brought to you by the artist formerly known as Prince, then known as something weird, and who is currently known as Prince. I was ruminating on these lyrics when I realized they were written in 1984 - an amazing piece of prescience on Prince's part. I wish I had something to say about the Lipscomb decision. Methinks these lyrics will be appropriate regardless of what the court decides.