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It has long held true that elderly people have higher suicide rates than the overall population. But numbers released in May by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a dramatic spike in suicides among middle-aged people, with the highest increases among men in their 50s, whose rate went up by nearly 50 percent to 30 per 100,000; and women in their early 60s, whose rate rose by nearly 60 percent (though it is still relatively low compared with men, at 7 in 100,000). The highest rates were among white and Native American and Alaskan men. In recent years, deaths by suicide has surpassed deaths by motor vehicle crashes.
As youths, boomers had higher suicide rates than earlier generations; the confluence of that with the fact that they are now beginning to grow old, when the risk traditionally goes up, has experts worried. The findings suggest that more suicide research and prevention should “address the needs of middle-aged persons,” a CDC statement said.
There are no large-scale studies yet fleshing out the reasons behind the increase in boomer suicides. Part of it is likely tied to the recent economic downturn — financial recessions are in general associated with an uptick in suicides. But the trend started a decade before the 2008 recession, and psychologists and academics say it likely stems from a complex matrix of issues particular to a generation that vowed not to trust anyone older than 30 and who rocked out to lyrics such as, “I hope I die before I get old.”
Instead, compared with their parents’ generation, boomers have higher rates of obesity, prescription and illicit drug abuse, alcoholism, divorce, depression and mental disorders. As they age, many add to that list chronic illness, disabilities and the strains of caring for their parents and for adult children who still depend on them financially.
When CVFC, a conservative veterans’ group in California, applied for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service, its biggest expenditure that year was several thousand dollars in radio ads backing a Republican candidate for Congress.
The Wetumpka Tea Party, from Alabama, sponsored training for a get-out-the-vote initiative dedicated to the “defeat of President Barack Obama” while the I.R.S. was weighing its application.
And the head of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, whose application languished with the I.R.S. for more than two years, sent out e-mails to members about Mitt Romney campaign events and organized members to distribute Mr. Romney’s presidential campaign literature.
Representatives of these organizations have cried foul in recent weeks about their treatment by the I.R.S., saying they were among dozens of conservative groups unfairly targeted by the agency, harassed with inappropriate questionnaires and put off for months or years as the agency delayed decisions on their applications.
But a close examination of these groups and others reveals an array of election activities that tax experts and former I.R.S. officials said would provide a legitimate basis for flagging them for closer review.
“Money is not the only thing that matters,” said Donald B. Tobin, a former lawyer with the Justice Department’s tax division who is a law professor at Ohio State University. “While some of the I.R.S. questions may have been overbroad, you can look at some of these groups and understand why these questions were being asked.”
The stakes are high for both the I.R.S. and lawmakers in Congress, whose election fortunes next year will hinge in no small part on a flood of political spending by such advocacy groups. They are often favored by strategists and donors not for the tax benefits — they typically do not have significant income subject to tax — but because they do not have to reveal their donors, allowing them to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into elections without disclosing where the money came from.
The I.R.S. is already separately reviewing roughly 300 tax-exempt groups that may have engaged in improper campaign activity in past years, according to agency planning documents. Some election lawyers said they believed a wave of lawsuits against the I.R.S. and intensifying Congressional criticism of its handling of applications were intended in part to derail those audits, giving political nonprofit organizations a freer hand during the 2014 campaign.
SPLC spearheads multiple lawsuits against Signal International for human trafficking of Indian workers
A coalition of some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms today began filing a series of federal lawsuits to prosecute multiple human trafficking and racketeering allegations against a Gulf Coast marine services company and its network of recruiters and labor brokers.
The cases stem from an SPLC case, David v. Signal International LLC case, which was filed in 2008 on behalf of 12 named plaintiffs and a class of Indian guest workers. After a federal court denied class certification in the case, the SPLC contacted more than half a dozen high-powered law firms, which agreed to represent other guest workers recruited by Signal. The firms are taking the cases on a pro bono basis.
The new lawsuits allege that the defendants trafficked more than 500 Indian guest workers to the United States after Hurricane Katrina and forced them to work under barbaric conditions at Signal’s shipyards in Pascagoula, Miss., and Orange, Texas.
“These lawsuits illustrate, in shocking detail, the abuse occurring within the nation’s guest worker programs that are clearly in need of major reform,” said Daniel Werner, SPLC senior supervising attorney. “They seek justice for the victimized guest workers and also send a strong message to other companies who might engage in this type of behavior.”
According to the complaints, Signal and its agents defrauded each of the guest workers out of tens of thousands of dollars in fictitious “recruitment fees”; falsely promised them assistance in applying for and obtaining permanent residence in the United States; trafficked them to the company’s Mississippi and Texas shipyards; forced them to live in overcrowded, unsanitary and racially segregated labor camps that endangered their health and psychological well-being; assigned them the most dangerous and difficult jobs due to their race, ethnicity, religion and national origin; and threatened them with financial ruin and adverse immigration action if they balked.
According to a Modern Healthcare analysis of federal records, more than 5,400 of the 51,729 people on the government health entitlement blacklist were placed on it after failing to pay an HHS-backed medical student loan. Given a still-shaky economy, some in the health care sector expect that trend to continue.
The increasing frequency of default-related blacklisting could prove problematic as the Obama Administration tries to entice more medical students to become primary care and family doctors. Primary care providers and nurse practitioners will be crucial to effective Obamacare implementation, since the health law is expected to drive up demand for medical services as millions of previously uninsured Americans gain coverage.
But the ballooning cost of a medical education could end up being a major barrier to the Administration’s recruitment efforts. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) 2012 report on medical school debt, “86 percent of medical school graduates had education debt, with a median amount of $162,000″ in 2011 — a number that has been rising steadily over the years.
AAMC estimates that a borrower with the median $162,000 debt “would have monthly payments ranging from $1,500 to $2,100 after residency.”
That disproportionately affects the very primary care doctors that are integral to health care reform and the U.S. medical system at large. In a 2012 report, consulting firm Merritt Hawkins & Associates found that family practitioners, pediatricians, and psychiatrists are the lowest-paid physician groups in the U.S. with a base pay of $189,000.
While that’s still a lavish salary compared to average U.S. compensation, it pales in comparison to specialist pay — and as the entitlement blacklist numbers underscore, that contributes to a system in which care providers are banned from treating certain patients for purely financial, rather than medical or criminal, reasons.
Jonaya Kemper sews her own sundresses and grows her own vegetables, embodying the do-it-yourself mindset of many in the millennial generation. (Christina House, For The Times / May 15, 2013)
From LA Times:
Millennials, who range from teenagers to people in their early 30s, are more financially cautious than the stereotype of the spendthrift twentysomething, several studies suggest. Many embrace thrift.
Some experts say their habits echo those of another generation, those who came of age during the Great Depression and forged lifelong habits of scrimping and saving — along with a suspicion of financial risk.
“Both generations had a childhood memory of wealth and then saw that wealth yanked out from under them” in or around their teenage years, said Morley Winograd, who has co-written several books on the millennial generation. Though the pain was much more severe during the Depression, “Both generations are very conservative spenders,” Winograd said.
During the economic downturn, while older households ran up credit card debt, younger households whittled it down, a Pew Research Center analysis of federal data found earlier this year.
More young households had no credit card debt in 2010 than was the case in 2001, the data show. Among those who did owe on their credit cards, the median amount fell from roughly $2,500 to less than $1,700.
From Indian Country Today:
Anthropology has from the beginning been influenced and dominated by European males. They set the criteria of hierarchically ordered level descriptions, giving themselves the power to dictate the boundaries of group membership by defining race in terms of biology. As a consequence, the last Indian dies not by blunt force, expulsion or disease, but by the social construction of race imposed upon us— terminating our existence by blood.
As the history of the world proves, false constructs give life to the whole misbegotten mad lot of us, a reason to define the power between individuals and groups of people, instead of intellectual understanding. During the Age of Enlightenment, European philosophers sought to reform society by using reason, faith and the science available during that time, drawing lines and boundaries to discriminate against people who appeared and acted different then themselves (left-over from theories of the earlier Catholic interpretation of Biblical continental positions and the knowledge that then existed of the peoples of their known world).
Their conclusions however, are still with us hundreds of years later.
Starting with the predominant colonial theory of race, The Great Chain of Being was the idea that human races could be lined up from most superior to most inferior. The Chain originates with God at the pinnacle, and progresses downward through angels, demons, stars, moon, kings (the summit of humanity’s social order), princes, nobles, men, animals, trees, other plants, precious stones, metals, minerals, and then an arrangement of non-white people, with blacks at the bottom. There is no mention of Indians in the Chain because New World explorers had not yet encountered them; but upon meeting, Europeans considered them proto-human and not descendant from the original Biblical pair (Adam and Eve).
Samuel George Morton, provided “scientific evidence” of Indian inferiority. In his 1839 study, Crania Americana, and concluded from collected statistical data that the brain size of Europeans was far greater than that of Native people and thus reflected a correspondingly greater intellectual capacity. Even anti-racist Franz Boaz, is now believed by many as having promoted Jewish interests. According to Herbert S. Lewis’ The Passion of Franz Boas, published in “American Anthropologist” journal Volume 103, Issue 2, pages 447–467, June 2001, “Boas did great service at the start of this progression. His hand-waving and smoke-blowing was, as usual for Jews, used to obscure the Who/Whom – who was served by whom and at whose expense – behind a pretense that everyone benefited.”
The article continues, “Anthropology, though a cryptically Eurocentric culture of critique, has pathologized and demonized and prevailed (at least in intellectual/academic circles) not only over “racist” Nordic champions such as Madison Grant, who was responsible for one of the most famous works of scientific racism (a.k.a. eugenics) and played an active role in crafting strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, but of “Whites in general.” Further, “ These men, along with others, shifted the understanding of race from real, to insignificant, to imaginary, to the self-contradictory anti-White/anti-”racism” of today. Race is a construct of the evil White race, who used (and still uses) it to exploit and oppress all the other, innocent ‘people of color.’”
Twitter and Facebook exploded with posts like ‘Our culture is not for sale’ and ‘Keep your corporate hands off.’
By late afternoon Disney released a statement saying it would withdraw its “Día de los Muertos” trademark applications.
Gustavo Arellano, author of the syndicated column “Ask a Mexican,” said, “The Latino market is such that already there were calls for protest, boycotts and all that and Disney knows better than to poke at the so-called ‘sleeping giant.’”
The term “sleeping giant” was often used during the 2012 presidential election to describe the Latino voter bloc, credited with delivering President Barack Obama a victory.
Disney’s official statement said the company will withdraw the trademark filing because they’ve determined the title of the Mexican-inspired film will change. A spokesperson declined further comment.