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Fixing Social Security not impossible problem

Natalie Cole blew the roof off Yoshi's in Oakland last weekend. In that intimate setting, it was like she was singing in our living room.

Her signature piece toward the end of the show is a duet she sings with her late father, Nat King Cole. As I sat there with goosebumps, marveling at this timeless bond between father and daughter, I found myself thinking about Social Security and how, in its genius, it links the generations.

Mass bank exec exodus nonexistent

The collapse of the financial services industry may have been just the catharsis that this country needed after gorging on tax cuts and an unrestrained free enterprise system. Like Warren Buffett says, "When the tide goes out, you see who's not wearing a bathing suit."

My "Man of the Year" award goes to Kenneth Feinberg, the government-appointed pay czar. He has capped annual pay at $500,000 for senior officials at all the banks that received our tax money, and now he is working on what the maximum salaries will be for the next level down.

Electric car, solar system combination pays nicely

<p>I just sent in my modest, refundable deposit on a new four-door, all-electric sedan to be built by Tesla, so I guess that puts me firmly on the green bandwagon. Unfortunately, for those of you who are curious to hear how it all turns out, the delivery date for car "#1664" is the summer of 2012. Talk about delayed gratification.</p><p>On paper, this car sounds terrific. It goes from zero to 60 in about five seconds and will go 300 miles between charges.

'Working dog' puts trust in education

In a dusty, dog-hair-strewn world of silent, super-smart canines, lies one of the nation's fastest growing hobbies according to the Wall Street Journal. It's herding sheep with so-called "working dogs" - border collies and Australian shepherds known for speed and brainpower.

Recalling that there's nothing more frustrated than an unemployed working dog, I was reminded of some of my friends, now retired, who experienced the same level of frustration.

College leaders newest pay superstars

THIS STATE certainly has its share of Marie Antoinettes, and not all of them are female.

The latest collection includes the senior management of the University of California system whose annual salaries plus retirement benefits, under careful analysis, appear to run into the millions. Pausing to reflect for a moment, I'm reminded of a comment made by Steve Hebert, a friend from childhood who spent a career that included negotiations regarding pay for senior university officials. He pointed out that finding a college president is one of the hardest recruiting jobs.

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