The Procrastination Equation

Mark Twain once said, “Never put off till tomorrow, what you can do the day after tomorrow.” As an antidote to that Ralph welcomes Professor Piers Steel, author of “The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Do…

Mark Twain once said, “Never put off till tomorrow, what you can do the day after tomorrow.” As an antidote to that Ralph welcomes Professor Piers Steel, author of “The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done.” Plus, Ralph urges listeners to sign up for The Capitol Hill Citizen Association, another way to organize citizens to put pressure on the branch of our government where things must get done, the United States Congress.  

Dr. Piers Steel is one of the world’s leading researchers and speakers on the science of motivation and procrastination. Dr. Steel is a professor in the Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources area at the University of Calgary, and is the Brookfield Research Chair at the Haskayne School of Business. He is the author of The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done.

The root of procrastination is impulsiveness. Impulsiveness is valuing the now more than the later… We’re designed to value the now. And this was really adaptive for a long time. It’s not a bad trait. It’s just that we’ve designed a world to take advantage of every little flaw that we have in our decision-making system.

Dr. Piers Steel

You have to deal with yourself as an imperfect, flawed creature and deal with the reality of that. We’re not robotic angels of perfection. We have limitations. And when I actually act within my limitations, I get stuff done.

Dr. Piers Steel

We’re superstars of self-control in the animal kingdom. We’re able to hunt and kill most anything because we’re willing to actually put in the delay of gratification. That’s really what makes us great. But we’re still not ready for things that are happening even a year off, much less five or ten.

Dr. Piers Steel

More people will listen to what we just said about becoming part of the Capitol Hill Citizen Association and say to themselves, “I’m going to get around to doing that,” than the actual number of people who do it in a prompt period of time. So it would be very good to listen to Professor Steel’s suggestions and read his book, because we cannot afford procrastinatory citizens. We have a procrastinatory Congress, and the citizens have got to get them to anticipate, to foresee, to forestall so many of the omnicidal urgencies that are coming at our country and other countries around the world.

Ralph Nader

To become a member of the Capitol Hill Citizen Association, click here.

In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis

1. On August 28th, 20 groups – ranging from Left-wing anti-war organizations like Veterans for Peace to Right-leaning government transparency groups like R Street Institute – sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees demanding they maintain Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s Cost of War amendment in the final National Defense Authorization Act. This provision “requires public disclosure about the cost of the U.S.’ overseas military footprint and gives the American people greater transparency on military spending.” Hopefully, the left-right consensus on this issue is enough to maintain this amendment.

2. In other Pentagon news, the Intercept reports that Rep. Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, has introduced an amendment demanding the Pentagon “collect information on trainees who overthrow their governments,” following the recent spate of coups in Africa. Gaetz told the Intercept “The Department of Defense, up until this point, has not kept data regarding the people they train who participate in coups to overthrow democratically elected — or any — governments.” This could become a flashpoint as Congress prepares to consider the 2024 NDAA when it returns from recess in September.

3. As expected, tensions are running high in Guatemala following the upset victory of anti-corruption crusader Bernardo Arevalo. Opponents of Arevalo had urged the country’s electoral tribunal to suspend his Semilla party on dubious legal grounds, which the tribunal resisted hewing to the letter of the law which dictated such actions could not be taken during the electoral process. After the election however, the party was officially suspended. Now, Reuters reports that suspension has been revoked, following a mass mobilization of Arevalo supporters in Guatemala City. It seems unlikely however that Arevalo’s political opponents will accept his victory without a fight.

4. In a dangerous, anti-free speech move, the Attorney General of Georgia has filed RICO indictments against 42 individuals involved with the Stop Cop City protest movement, the Atlanta Community Press Collective reports. This is the latest in a long line of attempts to quash opposition to the project, which has so far included trumped up domestic terrorism charges and arrests for handing out flyers.  

5. Bloomberg reports that President Biden and Brazilian President Lula will jointly call for new worker protections at the upcoming General Assembly of the United Nations. While the article notes the two leaders have been “at odds” over China and Russia, they align on the topic of labor unionization. The two presidents have found common ground before, such as on the issue of climate change.

6. Visual Effects workers at Disney have filed for unionization, per the Hollywood Reporter. Approximately 80% of VFX staff have already signed union cards, demanding an NLRB election and representation by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees or IATSE. This comes on the heels of a similar announcement by VFX workers at Marvel, a Disney subsidiary. In recent years. studios have increasingly relied on VFX workers in a rather blatant attempt to cut costs, as VFX workers have generally been non-union.

7. At long last, the Department of Health and Human Services has announced the first ten drugs that will be subject to Mecicare negotiations to bring down prices. These are: Eliquis, Jardiance, Xarelto, Januvia Farxiga, Entresto, Enbrel, Imbruvica, Stelara and – crucially – several brands of insulin. HHS noted that “These selected drugs accounted for $50.5 billion in total [Medicare] Part D gross covered prescription drug costs, or about 20%, of total Part D gross between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023.”

8. The Washington Post reports Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su has proposed new overtime rules intended to “extend overtime pay to an additional 3.6 million salaried white-collar workers in the United States.” According to current rules, workers are exempt from overtime if they make over $35,568 per year; the new rules would extend to workers making under $55,000 annually. If implemented, this would mean a whole new class of workers would be eligible for time-and-a-half pay if they work more than 40 hours per week.

9. Per Republic Report: “The U.S. Department of Education announced…that it is cancelling $72 million in student loan obligations for more than 2,300 former students who attended for-profit Ashford University between 2009 and 2020.” Yet, even now the shady operators behind Ashford may still be able to squeeze money out of the taxpayers via a convoluted buyout by the University of Arizona Global Campus. Still, this marks a significant victory in a legal battle that has raged for over a decade, with Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa calling Ashford a “complete scam” all the way back in 2011.

10. Finally, in more debt related news, the Philadelphia Inquirer has published a piece detailing how the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt was able to purchase – and forgive – over $1.6 million in medical debt. As the piece explains “When hospitals or physician groups have delinquent debts they have little chance of collecting on, they’ll typically go to what’s called the secondary market and sell their portfolios for pennies on the dollar.” It was on this secondary market that RIP Medical Debt was able to buy $1.6 million worth of debt for just $17,000. In celebration, “30 proud, self-described gutter-pagan, mostly queer dirtbags in their early 30s,” gathered for a ritual burning of an oversized medical bill. Someone chanted “debt is hell” and the crowd responded “let it burn.”

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This content originally appeared on Ralph Nader Radio Hour and was authored by Ralph Nader.

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