Thursday ReadsPosted: July 12, 2012
I don’t know if this has anything to do with “Romneycare,” but the news came out yesterday that the average life expectancy in Massachusetts is nearly 81 years!
Life expectancy for people in Massachusetts hit an all-time high in 2009, as the rate of deaths from major killers, such as heart disease and cancer, declined, according to a report released Wednesday by the state Department of Public Health.
Overall life expectancy from birth was 80.7 years in 2009, the most recent year for which data are available, compared with 78.5 years nationally. Since 2000, death rates in the state from stroke, heart disease, all cancers combined, and diabetes have continued to drop.
Deaths from HIV and AIDS have dropped dramatically in recent years. Nearly 1,000 people died in both 1994 and 1995, during the peak of the epidemic. In 2009, there were 124 deaths from HIV and AIDS. The decline, the authors write, is the result of advances in treatment and a reduction in the infection rate.
Life expectancy varied by location. Check this out: in Brookline it was 87 years!
From the Sydney Morning Herald, Melinda Gates tells “How I convinced Bill to give away his millions.”
Imagine for a moment that you are married to one of the richest men on the planet. You have three beautiful children and a $125 million home, complete with an indoor swimming pool boasting underwater speakers and a home cinema. How would you choose to spend your days? Shopping? Lunching? Ah yes, travelling – but to the dirt-poor villages of Bangladesh? The wretched slums of India? To TB wards and Aids clinics to sit with the dying and the ostracised?
Melinda Gates, wife of the Microsoft magnate Bill, flew in from a field visit to Niger and Senegal on Tuesday, and will have risen by 4.30 yesterday morning to conduct meetings and interviews before the real working day begins.
In her capacity as co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she will then join Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, in hosting a family-planning summit for global leaders in London. Together, they will launch a $4 billion fund-raising effort that would deliver safe contraception to 120 million women and girls in developing countries.
The article doesn’t really say how she convinced her husband to become a philanthropist, but there’s some information about Melinda’s early life.
Gates’s conscience was cultivated from an early age. Unlike her Harvard drop-out husband, who was born into a privileged Seattle background, she is one of four children brought up in modest circumstances in Texas, where education was regarded as the holy grail. Her housewife mother regretted not attending college. Her engineer father set up a cleaning business on the side to raise the cash for his children’s education, and as a teenager Gates scrubbed floors to help out.
It’s nice to know that there are some wealthy people who actually want to use their money to help others instead of collecting homes and cars and horses like certain presidential candidates.
Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, Dick Cheney is holding a fundraiser for Mitt Romney today in his home in Wyoming.
Romney officials have said little publicly about the event, expected to be a high-dollar but low-publicity evening that will give top donors the chance to dine with Messrs. Cheney and Romney.
But the campaign trumpeted the reception and private dinner in an email to potential attendees, telling them that “Jackson Hole is a beautiful summer destination and this will be a memorable event.”
The dinner offers an opportunity to continue a string of fundraisers that have given Mr. Romney an advantage in the money race with President Barack Obama in the past two months.
“The past two months” are the operative words in that last sentence. Despite all the talk of Mitt Romney besting President Obama in the money race, Obama is still far ahead of the presumptive Republican nominee in terms of money collected since the two announced their candidacies. At HuffPo, Paul Blumenthal writes:
According to a report from the Sunlight Foundation, Mitt Romney will need to outraise President Barack Obama by $158 million over the next four months if he wants to take the lead in overall fundraising. This punctures a bit of the new narrative of Romney having passed Obama in fundraising. Sunlight’s Bill Allison: “For Mitt Romney, the magic number is $158 million. That’s how much he’ll have to outraise President Barack Obama over the last four months of the campaign to surpass the president, the record holder for campaign fundraising. Obama’s advantage has been lost in media reports highighting the Republican nominee’s $106 million June haul.
Romney’s June number doesn’t even put him on track to out-raise Obama.
For that to happen, Romney would have to best Obama by $39.5 million a month for each of the last four months of the campaign, which is $5 million more than the advantage Romney had in June.
The Obama campaign seems to be keeping this quiet so they can play the underdog. Interesting, huh?
Perhaps in an effort to even the score, Romney is planning fundraisers in foreign countries. We’ve already talked about the events that are being organized for him in London at the time of the Olympics. USA Today reports that he is also planning a fundraiser in Israel.
Mitt Romney is reportedly planning a fundraiser in Jerusalem during his visit to Israel later this month.
The Jerusalem Post reports that donors will be charged “$60,000 or more per plate” at the event. Romney is jointly raising money with the Republican National Committee, and $75,000 is the maximum donation to the Romney Victory Fund.
Romney is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others, during his trip. The Israel visit will come after Romney attends the Summer Olympics in London.
I’ve been posting in comments for the past couple of days about the mysterious disappearance of Jesse Jackson, Jr. He took a medical leave on June 10, but no one would say where he was. Rumors spread that he was in rehab for drugs or alcohol. Finally today, the news came in a statement from Jackson’s chief of staff that Jackson is in an inpatient facility being treated for a “mood disorder.”
The statement quoted the unnamed Jackson doctor saying: “The congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder. He is responding positively to treatment.”
Earlier today, Ald. Sandi Jackson, said she is hopeful physicians will release details soon about her husband.
“I’m hopeful that my husband’s doctors will be able to release something soon,” she told the Tribune. “I’m in constant talks with them about Jesse’s condition and his medical prognosis going forward.”
Rep. Jesse Jackson, 47, a Chicago Democrat, has been on a medical leave since June 10, but his aides and family have declined to disclose the nature of his medical problem, where he is being treated or when he may return to work.
A mood disorder could mean major depression or bipolar disorder. Whatever is wrong, I hope Jackson will recover and be able to return to the House of Representatives. At present, he isn’t expected to return until after Labor Day, if then.
I couldn’t help noticing this NYT article about a 12-year-old boy who died tragically and unexpectedly of septic shock: An Infection, Unnoticed, Turns Unstoppable.
For a moment, an emergency room doctor stepped away from the scrum of people working on Rory Staunton, 12, and spoke to his parents.
“Your son is seriously ill,” the doctor said.
“How seriously?” Rory’s mother, Orlaith Staunton, asked.
The doctor paused.
“Gravely ill,” he said.
How could that be?
Two days earlier, diving for a basketball at his school gym, Rory had cut his arm. He arrived at his pediatrician’s office the next day, Thursday, March 29, vomiting, feverish and with pain in his leg. He was sent to the emergency room at NYU Langone Medical Center. The doctors agreed: He was suffering from an upset stomach and dehydration. He was given fluids, told to take Tylenol, and sent home.
But Rory was already in grave danger.
Bacteria had gotten into his blood, probably through the cut on his arm. He was sliding into a septic crisis, an avalanche of immune responses to infection from which he would not escape. On April 1, three nights after he was sent home from the emergency room, he died in the intensive care unit. The cause was severe septic shock brought on by the infection, hospital records say.
I hope everyone will read this very sad article. An overwhelming infection that began with strep killed my graduate school mentor–the same infection that killed young Rory. One day he began vomiting and thought he had a stomach virus. The next day he was dead. This happened a few months after I earned my Ph.D. with his help and support. As you can probably imagine, this was a terrible shock to me and I’m really still grieving–I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Everyone should be aware that sepsis is “a leading cause of death in hospitals, can at first look like less serious ailments…”
Moments after an emergency room doctor ordered Rory’s discharge believing fluids had made him better, his vital signs, recorded while still at the hospital, suggested that he could be seriously ill. Even more pointed signals emerged three hours later, when the Stauntons were at home: the hospital’s laboratory reported that Rory was producing vast quantities of cells that combat bacterial infection, a warning that sepsis could be on the horizon.
The Stauntons knew nothing of his weak vital signs or abnormal lab results.
This is starting to turn into a health care post, so I’ll return to politics before I wrap up. Yesterday everyone was talking about Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP. He was booed when he talked about repealing Obamacare and at a few other points. So why did he go? Surely he doesn’t expect to win over many African American voters. I thought this piece by Jamelle Boule provided a possible answer: Mitt Romney’s Successful Speech to the NAACP
As an attempt to persuade, Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP this morning was an exercise in futility. African Americans are loyal Democratic voters, and aren’t particularly interested in an agenda of tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts for everyone else. But that wasn’t the point. Romney almost certainly knows that he’ll only win a tiny percentage of black voters in November—at best, he’ll match John McCain’s performance in 2008. If current opinion surveys are any indication, it’s more likely that he’ll win fewer African American voters than any Republican in recent history.
The point of this address to the NAACP was to send a signal to right-leaning, suburban white voters—that Mitt Romney is tolerant, and won’t represent the bigots in his party. But there’s a sense in which Romney had it both ways: Not only did he reassure hesitant whites, but by pledging to repeal Obamacare—and being booed by the audience—he likely increased his standing with those who do resent African Americans. By going to an audience of black professionals and sticking with his stump speech, there’s a sense in which Romney might receive credit for refusing to “pander.”
That makes a lot of sense to me. Here’s another piece I found interesting about Romney’s efforts to woo Evangelical Christians:
Several years ago, when Mitt Romney was merely a multi-millionaire Massachusetts politician, he couldn’t locate the conservative Christian evangelical movement with a GPS or MapQuest. Over the past few years however, Romney and his team have been holding a series of meet-ups – whose pace has been recently accelerated – with conservative Christian leaders to assure them of Romney’s fealty to their issues.
When Romney heads off to Israel later this summer, he hopes to accomplish at least three objectives: renew his longtime friendship with Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu; convince Jewish donors and voters that he is more Israel-friendly than President Barack Obama; and, send a message to conservative Christian evangelicals that he can be trusted.
Right win Christians are hoping Romney picks a VP from one of their own
“Acceptable nominees could be Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Bob McDonnell, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Marco Rubio.”
Please let it be Rick Santorum! That would be the kiss of death for Romney’s chances.