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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.
Alabama high school graduate Chelsey Ramer was fined $1,ooo and denied her diploma and transcripts after wearing an eagle feather attached to her mortarboard as a symbol of her Native American heritage.
Ramer is a member of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians, and had previously attempted to appeal the school policy banning students from wearing “extraneous items” with the school’s headmaster, but her request was denied. “About two months ago, me and the other Indian seniors from the graduating class asked our headmaster if we could wear the feathers on our caps,” Ramer told Indian Country Today Media Network. “She told us ‘no’ and that if we did, she would pull us off the field.”
Ramer wore the feather anyway, saying it was important to her to represent her heritage. “Being honored with a feather for graduation is a wonderful experience. It’s a lot more than showing off your culture. It has ties into our spirituality as well,” Ramer’s former teacher Alex Alvarez told WMPI-TV.
Now, more than a week since the graduation ceremony took place, Escambia Academy High School is still withholding Ramer’s diploma. Ramer has appealed the fine and may seek legal counsel, but says she does not regret the decision to wear the feather in her cap: ”It was worth it. It means a lot to me,” she said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter signing a historic agreement that will hopefully bring an end to decades of animosity and contentious lawsuits between the two sides.
From Indian Country Today:
In less than a month of intense negotiations, decades of animosity and contentious lawsuits between the Oneida Indian Nation and the state of New York were brought to a close in a historic agreement that, if approved by the state legislature, will resolve all disputes between the two sovereigns over land rights, tax issues, gaming exclusivity and profits.
Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the monumental agreement that will recognize the Oneida Nation’s reservation, settle all outstanding litigation and resolve all disputes over property and sales taxes, including cigarette and fuel sales, at a press conference in Albany, the state capital, on May 16. The agreement also entails payments of tens of millions of dollars from the Oneida Nation, and concession of a gaming exclusivity zone by the state.
“This is indeed a defining moment in the history of the Oneida Nation and New York state,” Halbritter said. “Together today we begin a partnership in our shared prosperity in our upstate region. It’s not unlike the historical relationship the Oneida Nation had in the historical time of the Revolutionary War, when we were all under the Treaty of Canandaigua. We recognize together with the United States that peace and friendship shall be perpetual between our Nations and we’re here in that spirit today,” he said at the press conference.
“This is a fair and reasonable agreement that will benefit all parties involved and the people of the Oneida Nation, Oneida and Madison [Counties], and all New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. The agreement “ends years of expensive and disruptive court battles for all parties involved and marks a new era of collaboration and commonality between the Oneida Nation and the state of New York,” Cuomo said.
The deal was hammered out in negotiations that began on April 25, when Cuomo personally contacted the Oneida Indian Nation. “The governor’s office reached out to us and initiated discussions and we talked to things that are important to us and the more we talked the more we could see the possibility of [reaching an agreement] with all the parties we thought were important,” Halbritter told Indian Country Today Media Network, which is owned by the Oneida Nation. “So it was discussion and negotiation that was initially done at the governor’s call, and it proceeded from there. He really took a real leadership role to make it happen.”
Nearly a half-century after a Texan, President Lyndon B. Johnson, helped usher in the era of affirmative action, the Supreme Court is poised to rule as early as this week on whether the University of Texas can continue to consider race as one of many factors in its admissions policy. It is a case that could have a profound impact on race-based affirmative action programs across the nation, and it has reignited a discussion of how much progress minorities, blacks in particular, have made in integrating into some of the most sought-after professions, especially since the recession.
Only a little more than 1 percent of the nation’s Fortune 500 companies have black chief executives, although there are some prominent exceptions, like Kenneth I. Chenault of American Express and Ursula M. Burns of Xerox. At the nation’s biggest companies, about 3.2 percent of senior executive positions are held by African-Americans, according to an estimate by the Executive Leadership Council, an organization of current and former black senior executives.
While about 12 percent of the nation’s working-age population is black, about 5 percent of physicians and dentists in the United States are black — a share that has not grown since 1990, according to an analysis of census data that was prepared for The New York Times by sociologists at Queens College of the City University of New York. The analysis found that 3 percent of American architects are black, another field where the share has not increased in more than two decades.
The share of the nation’s lawyers who are minorities and women, which had been growing slowly but steadily for years, fell in 2010 for the first time since NALP, the National Association for Law Placement, began keeping statistics in 1993. The deep recession not only disproportionately hurt African-Americans in many fields, but it also led businesses to make diversity programs less of a priority. And a growing number of states — including Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Oklahoma — have moved to ban race-based affirmative action in recent years. California, Florida and Washington did so in the 1990s.
Such numbers raise the question of whether the private sector’s commitment to affirmative action and diversity programs is eroding, even as the Supreme Court again considers a high-profile case involving a public university.
While blacks made up only 2.65 percent of the partners at Houston firms last year, that figure represents progress as the share of black partners more than doubled over the past decade, according to statistics kept by NALP, the law placement association. At the lower levels of firms, black lawyers have lost some ground, however. Houston firms reported that 4.74 percent of their associates last year were black, down from 4.96 percent in 2002, the association said.
On Monday, a bill squeaked through the Minnesota House of Representatives that would allow in-home child care and personal care workers in the state to unionize. By a margin of two votes, the state House of Representatives sent the bill to Gov. Mark Dayton (D), who is expected to sign it.
SEIU and AFSCME, the state’s largest unions, now have four years to organize those workers:
The 12,500 child care workers in Minnesota who look after children in the state’s Child Care Assistance Program, known as C-CAP for short, must vote on whether or not to join the union by 2017. At least 50 percent of the state’s providers will need to join in order of the union to be established.
Those who do not provide care to C-CAP families will not need to vote and will not be affected.
If care workers vote to unionize, the union will be able to negotiate the size of reimbursements from clients who use subsidies and members will be able to file grievances. The bill doesn’t give them the right to strike.
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.