Sunday, December 11, 2016

US life expectancy shortens under Obama

Why? Increased deaths from a bad new rash of illegal drugs is likely to be one factor, plus the upsurge of gun deaths after Obama's demonizing of the the police. The police are now to a significant degree sitting on their hands rather than confront crime. Why risk your neck when you get so much abuse for doing so? Best to keep away from trouble. Let the many black on black deaths in Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit (etc.) go on without interference.

But something else not being mentioned is a major feature of the Obama presidency: The decline in the percentage of the population in employment. Work is definitely good for your health -- particularly when the alternative is to turn into a couch potato in front of the TV. Even spending a few years in the army extends your lifespan. You get lots of activity and exercise in the army.

For the first time in decades, nationwide life expectancy in the US fell in 2015, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infants born in 2015 are expected to live on average to age 78.8 — a decline of 0.1 year from 2014. A decline in nationwide life expectancy at birth hasn’t happened in the US since 1993.

Earlier this year, the CDC reported that life expectancy among white Americans fell from 2013 to 2014, but at that time the average across all races was still on the rise.

The latest life expectancy data — which the CDC hasn’t yet broken down by race — add a new sense of urgency to those previous reports.

Men’s life expectancy fell from 76.5 to 76.3 years, while women’s fell from 81.3 to 81.2 years.

Death rates for both black and white men rose in 2015 by about 1 percent, and they rose 1.6 percent among white women.

CDC researcher Dr. Jiaquan Xu, the 2015 report’s lead author, cited the opioid epidemic as a significant factor in the national decline.

Today, Xu added, “We’re seeing so many more preventable causes of death, and they’re significantly affecting mortality negatively.”

He specifically pointed to unintentional deaths: “Motor vehicle accidents have gone up 6 percent. And accidental poisoning increased 13 percent. And 97 percent of accidental poisoning was from drug overdoses and alcohol.



What it’s like to apply for a job in Trump’s White House

When former governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia stepped off the elevator on the 26th floor of Trump Tower last week for his interview with Donald Trump, he expected a grilling by the president-elect and a phalanx of associates, something along the lines of the confrontational boardroom scenes at the sleek conference table in the television show “The Apprentice.”

What he found instead was Trump, calm and solicitous behind a desk cluttered with papers and periodicals, in a large corner office with a hodgepodge of memorabilia and d├ęcor that appeared little changed from the 1980s. Nick Ayers, an aide to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, and Stephen K. Bannon, who will serve as Trump’s chief strategist, listened from the sidelines. Trump, who offered Perdue a seat across from his desk, was in charge.

“He was approaching this from a deal standpoint, and he wanted to know if he was on the right track,” said Perdue, who is being considered for secretary of agriculture and wore a tie adorned with tractors to the meeting. “He believes that we in the United States have been sort of patsies over the years in the way we’ve dealt with our foreign competitors and international trade — and I agree with him — and he wanted to know what I would do about it.”

For more than a decade, millions of Americans tuned in to watch Trump interrogate prospective employees on “The Apprentice” with a mix of arrogance and disdain. But in private over the past few weeks, a less theatrical spinoff of the spectacle has unfolded in Trump’s office in Manhattan, and occasionally at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., or at Mar-a-Lago, his getaway in Palm Beach, Fla.

Trump’s interview style in the real world is direct but conversational, according to people who have sat opposite him. He did not take notes or appear to refer to a set list of questions, but he did have dossiers on his visitors and often displayed intricate knowledge of their backgrounds and experience. He rarely drank or ate. He kept his suit jacket on. In New York, he liked to show off the sweeping views of Central Park visible over his shoulder.

Job seekers, who must parade before the media in the marble and bronze lobby of Trump Tower — “It was almost like walking the red carpet in Hollywood,” said Representative Lou Barletta, Republican of Pennsylvania, who has offered himself up as a secretary of transportation or labor — said that the president-elect often asked open-ended questions and had little patience for meandering answers.

“If you filibuster, he’ll cut you off,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who was initially in the running to be Trump’s secretary of state but has since said he is not interested in a Cabinet post. “He wants to know what you can do for him.’’

Gingrich said Trump’s approach to putting together his administration was the same one he has used with his multibillion-dollar business.

“He’s used to defining jobs, measuring capability, and making a judgment: ‘Do I think you can run my golf course? Do I think you can run my hotel? Do I want your restaurant in my building?’” Gingrich said.

Trump has been more hands-on in the interviews than his predecessors were. George W. Bush rarely spoke in person to more than one finalist for each Cabinet post, said Clay Johnson III, who directed his transition effort in 2000. President Obama also interviewed a single finalist for each post in most cases, usually in a one-on-one discussion meant to confirm an already well-established conclusion that the candidate would be right for the job, said Dan Pfeiffer, a senior transition official in 2008.

Members of Congress, generals, business executives, and others mingle outside his office, waiting for an audience. Barletta waited more than 45 minutes for his meeting, passing the time chatting with his House colleague Michael McCaul of Texas, who was waiting for his turn to audition for secretary of homeland security.

“It was like a green room, a waiting room of people you know or you know of, all waiting their turn,” said Robert L. Johnson, the founder of the television network BET, who visited Trump at Bedminster to discuss ways the incoming president could reach out to African-Americans.

As Johnson was coming in, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York whom Trump is considering for secretary of state, was going out.

Trump wants a gut sense for a potential hire, people close to him said, prizing personal chemistry and an entrepreneurial spirit. But he also leans on the judgment of trusted advisers — particularly Pence and his elder daughter, Ivanka Trump — when assessing a candidate.

Trump, who prizes loyalty, also wanted to know precisely what the job seekers did to propel him into the White House.

“He asked about what I had done to help in Georgia,” said Perdue, who told the president-elect that he and his cousin, Senator David Perdue, had repeatedly reassured campaign officials about Trump’s prospects there and encouraged them to focus their energies elsewhere.

Scott Brown, a former Massachusetts senator who met with Trump last month about becoming his secretary of veterans affairs, said Trump asked how he could help him deliver on his campaign pledges and how to ensure a “good value” for veterans receiving services from the agency or private contractors.

“He made it clear that he’s a businessman and he’s going to delegate to people like me, potentially, and others,” Brown said. “He’s going to say, ‘Do your job, and do it well, and otherwise — you’re fired.’”



Democrats: From Temper Tantrum to Self-Delusion

Hard to believe, but Hillary Clinton’s campaign team thinks it lost because Donald Trump ignited America’s inner bigot, which caused the KKK and Aryan Brotherhood members and sympathizers to show up in droves and vote Trump.

Following Mitt Romney’s 2012 defeat, Democrats and pundits predicted GOP defeats as far as the eye could see, because there aren’t enough white voters for Republicans to win. But now the narrative is, “Trump won by appealing to white voters.” Could they please pick one and stick to it?

That’s the takeaway from the Harvard quadrennial postmortem in which the two campaign camps participated. About Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign CEO, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri said, “If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am glad to have lost. … I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”

To this Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, angrily responded, “No, you wouldn’t. That’s very clear … respectfully. No, you wouldn’t. … Jenn … do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform? Are you going to look me in the face and tell me that?”

“It did, Kellyanne. It did,” countered Palmieri.


Fact: Based on exit polls, Trump got a lower percentage of the white vote than Mitt Romney did in 2012, and a higher percentage of the black vote and the Hispanic vote than Romney. Initial post-election tabulations find that nationwide, Trump won 209 of the 676 counties that voted for Barack Obama twice — in both 2008 and 2012. And he won another 194 of the 207 counties that Obama took only once — in either 2008 or 2012. Did a raft of white supremacists move in and change the vote? Or did the voters' latent racism suddenly erupt in 2016?

Fact: When Barack Obama took office in 2009, he had, with the exception of John F. Kennedy, the highest approval ratings, 68 percent, of any elected president since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. It certainly appears that Obama was black or biracial back in 2009, just as he was black or biracial when his poll numbers declined.

Fact: In a nation that the Clinton camp believes teems with white supremacists, Obama, in 2008, got a higher percentage of the white vote than Democratic candidate John Kerry in 2004. But in 2016, whites came down with an acute case of what CNN’s Van Jones called “whitelash,” a reaction against, as he put it, “a changing country” and “a black president.” Now it is true that Obama did not get a majority of the white vote. But the last presidential election in which Democrats won the white vote was in 1964. The majority of voting white Americans don’t want a white Democrat or a black Democrat sitting in the Oval Office.

This assumption of vast American white supremacy mirrors the exceptions of many black politicians when, back in the ‘90s, the Supreme Court struck down and demanded redistricting of Southern congressional districts that had been specifically designed to increase black representation in the House of Representatives. Elaine Jones of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said, “Once this decision goes through, you’ll be able to hold the Black Congressional Caucus in the back of a taxicab.” But contrary to the dreary predictions, every black Southern congressperson who decided to run for re-election — despite having to try and retain a seat in a much more white congressional district — won his or her race.

Early in the 2008 Democratic primary race, a black South Carolina state lawmaker, Robert Ford, refused to support Obama. He argued that a black presidential candidate would not only lose badly but would trigger such white racism that down-ballot Democrats would suffer: “It’s a slim possibility for (Obama) to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed. … Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose, because he’s black and he’s top of the ticket. We’d lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything. … I’m a gambling man. I love Obama. … But I’m not going to kill myself.”

Memo to the “racism, racism everywhere” crowd: Whites are as proud of slavery and Jim Crow as Germans and Austrians are of Adolf Hitler.

If Democrats truly believe that racism carried the day for Trump, they’re even more out of touch than initially thought. Given that line of reasoning, they will be hard-pressed to get back the middle-class and working-class Americans they lost this cycle.

If Democrats think Trump won by “catering to racists,” just wait until the economy improves under Trump, and more Latinos and blacks stop voting like victicrats. Just wait until blacks and Hispanics start voting to continue the policies that caused an improvement in their economic conditions and for education policies like Trump’s pro-voucher stance.

Then Democrats will really start losing.



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