Private sector pensions are one of the great scandals of our age. Only 40 per cent of private sector workers are now in an employer-sponsored pension scheme. It’s even worse with low-paid workers: only 20 per cent of those earning between £100 and £200 a week are in an employer-backed scheme.

But the argument should not be to drag down the pensions of public sector workers: it should be to drag up the pensions of private sector workers. Why punish public sector workers for the bad practices of private sector employers? If we do, we end up in a race to the bottom.

RIP: Comedian Patrice O’Neal has passed away. He was 41.


RIP: Comedian Patrice O’Neal has passed away. He was 41.

The news was first reported on the Opie and Anthony radio show. A cause of death has not yet been released, but O’Neal was known to be in poor health, having suffered a stroke in October.

The stand-up comic got his start in his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. He moved to LA in the late 90s to pursue an acting career, landing bit parts on Arrested Development, Chappelle Show, Yes Dear, and The Office. He also starred in the short-lived Fox series The Jury, lent his vocal talents to Comedy Central’s Shorties Watching Shorties, and was the first host of VH1’s Web Junk 20 among many other contributions to television, film, and comedy.

Taking to Twitter to confirm the sad news, Opie wrote: “Yes it’s true that our pal Patrice O’Neal has passed away. The funniest and best thinker i’ve ever known PERIOD.”

[tmz / @opieradio.]

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-11-27

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Porn legend Sasha Grey — winner of the 2010 AVN award for best anal sex scene — was invited to read books to 1st graders at an L.A.-area elementary school last week … but the school tried to cover it all up … after parents pitched a fit.

TMZ has obtained photos of Sasha reading children’s books at Emerson Elementary School in Compton on November 2nd … participating in the Read Across America program.

Sasha tweeted about the experience — calling the students the “sweetest” ever. Howeveer, not everyone saw it that way … some angry parents complained to the PTA — which then contacted the school’s principal … but there’s one problem.

A rep for the school district is flatly denying Sasha was ever inside one of its classrooms — telling TMZ, “We have several celebrities who read to our students each year. The actress you have indicated [Sasha] was not present.”