America as a State of Mind


Saturday, October 17, 2009

1:30 p.m.

Room 111-A Chancellor’s Complex, UCSD Campus


Sanford A. Lakoff, Ph.D.


Dr. Lakoff is UC San Diego's Dickson Professor Emeritus and founding chair of the Political Science Department.  He has authored numerous op-ed articles and more than 50 scholarly articles and book chapters.   His many books include Equality in Political Philosophy; Democracy: History, Theory, PracticeStrategic Defense in the Nuclear Age; Max Lerner: Pilgrim in the Promised Land; and (with Herbert F. York) A Shield in Space?

As a spring board for his talk, Dr. Lakoff will use a chapter of his nearly completed newest book, Contested Concepts: Ten Political Ideas that Shape the Modern Mind.  He will invite questions not only on his formal subject but on topics his audience might raise about current American politics and policies.  We look forward to a lively presentation.


Notice the links!  Some internet links provide additional information.  For example, clicking on the underlined book titles above will take you their listings at  Clicking on an email address will open a blank email for you.



Sam Gusman introduced the speaker, James W. Walker, Ph.D., a retirement expert who spoke on how generational shifts and generational perceptions are changing the social dynamics of retirement and retirement planning.

Dr. Walker, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, worked at one time with  the actuarial and consulting firm Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby (TPF&C).  Today the firm styles itself a global professional services firm, but in Dr. Walker’s time it was a premier force in the defined benefits pension field.  The significance of this background was evident from a statistic that Dr. Walker shared:  today, only 19% of employees have defined benefit pension plans, down from a peak of 50%.

After leaving TPF&C, Dr. Walker got involved in manpower planning with the aerospace industry, and that brought him to La Jolla where he found a home.  Today manpower planning is known more inclusively as workforce planning.  As his career was unfolding, employers and institutions became less of a force in retirement thinking.  Of course, many of today’s retirees still benefit from the guaranteed pensions of an earlier era.  But the upcoming generations, led by the Baby Boomers, are looking more to their own resources for their financial security.

The substance of his talk concerned changing retirement mores.  Boomers like their work and they want to keep on working.  They are seeking to sustain a lifestyle beyond what Social Security and personal savings can provide.  The extension of longevity and vitality to more and more advanced ages is causing a demographic revolution. 

Dr. Walker’s book Work Wanted: Protect Your Retirement Plans in Uncertain Times, co-authored with Linda H. Lewis, goes a long way toward dispelling common myths.  For example, Dr. Walker and Ms. Lewis found that Boomers do not accept traditional retirement; they want to continue to be productive, though in a more personally fulfilling context.  Their jobs will generally not be in large, structured companies.  Because they are seeking to make their lives more meaningful, they are less hierarchically ambitious and more mission oriented.  Somewhat provocative was Dr. Walker’s assertion that many Boomers like to be paid for volunteer work.  In this context he suggested Marc Freedman’s book Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life.  

Dr. Walker closed with the observation that technology – the ready availability of instant connectivity – is the biggest driver behind generational shifts, even more compelling than shifting gender roles.

Additional intriguing highlights emerged during the Question and Answer session.  A case in point is a new airline, Carlsbad Palomar Airlines, now in formation under the entrepreneurship of an 88-year-old CEO.  The airline’s Counsel, who was present, recommends The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason for inspirational reading.




Works in Progress

Works in Progress is regrouping under the aegis of a committee, chaired by Harry Boyle, and comprised of Harry, Jean Mayer, Patricia Terry, and Catherine Blecki.  Harry Boyle invites anyone with a ready project or one in progress to contact one of the Committee members.

Colloquy Café

Colloquy Café will next meet on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 from 1 to 3 p.m.  Contact Sam Gusman at for the details about the location.  The topic for the meeting will be Entitlement.  


The Literary Group's next meeting will be on Monday, October 26 at 10:30 a.m. in the home of Gerry Horwitz, 4335 Osprey St., San Diego.  The group will discuss Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson.  Larry Gartner will lead the discussion.  Contact Harry Boyle at for more information.


Science (aka Brain Study Group)

The next meeting of the Science Group (aka Brain Study Group) is tentatively scheduled for Friday, October 2, 2009 at 3 pm at the home of Bea Rose, 8515 Costa Verde Blvd., #1909, San Diego. 

Our hearts go out to Bea in her recent devastating loss, the death of her daughter. We appreciate her continued leadership and hosting of this important study group.

The group has finished discussing Stephen Hawking's A Briefer History of Time, and now plans to take up Richard Feyman’s The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.  It is suggested that members check with Bea before the scheduled meeting time. 

Visitors are welcome.  For more information, call Bea Rose at (858) 458-9263 or email:


Member’s Notice

Independent Scholar member and website liaison Judith Strupp Green wants you to know that her publication, Laughing Souls: The Days of the Dead in Oaxaca, first published in 1969, has been reprinted this year after being out of print for decades. Written for popular appeal, it is a 32-page fully illustrated book that reflects her early ethnological field work in Oaxaca in the 1960's.

As she was the curator of the Latin American Collections at the San Diego Museum of Man at the time, many of the artifacts illustrated in her book are part of the museum's well-known Mexican folk art collection. The publication is featured in the Day of the Dead display at the Museum of Man's store and has a price around ten dollars (Museum of Man members get a 10% discount). Contact her at for more information.

From the President

Guess what!  SDIS members consider each other interesting people. It’s really no surprise, and I’m delighted that the preliminary review of your questionnaires supports that fact.  Members want more opportunities to connect with each other; some mentioned more study groups.  The variety of suggestions and responses is heartening, exactly as expected from an interesting and imaginative group. 

I thank all of you who returned your forms by last Friday, and I look forward to receiving more.  All your voices matter.  Keep those forms and letters coming!

DATE CHANGE ALERT.  Our November 21 meeting must change from the usual third Saturday, to the second Saturday, November 14.  Our speaker graciously rearranged his calendar to accommodate this change. “Doc” Noel, himself an SDIS member, will speak about his book.  Even if you don’t care about early 20th century baseball, America and Chicago of the period still fascinate.  Mark your calendars. 

-- Donna Boyle, October, 2009


November Meeting

Doc Noel will speak on his recently published book, coauthored with Alan Alop, The Best Team Ever - A Novel of America, Chicago, and the 1907 Cubs


Note that the date has been changed to November 14, 2009, to accommodate UCSD’s needs.


November 14, 2009


About SDIS

San Diego Independent Scholars (SDIS) supports unaffiliated writers and researchers and welcomes everyone who appreciates creative and intellectual activities in the humanities, science, and the arts.  SDIS is a non-profit organization and an affiliate of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.

Donna Boyle,


Scholar’s Notebook is the newsletter of SDIS. Please send your news for the Notebook to Jack Cumming, the Notebook editor: or by mail to 2855 Carlsbad Blvd N116, Carlsbad, CA 92008. The deadline for submissions is the 25th of the month prior to publication date.

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