It’s been a while since I’ve done a snarky snippets post, though in truth almost all of my posts contain an element of snark! Anyway … I have just a couple of short ones for you this afternoon …
Killing us softly with …
The big news yesterday was that the U.S. has seen a significant drop in life expectancy … the biggest decrease since WWII. My first thought was … “Well duh. 625,000+ people dead in the U.S. from the pandemic – what do you expect?” And certainly, the pandemic has played a role in the decline in life expectancy, but it isn’t the only culprit. Turns out that the ever-expanding income disparity is one of the biggest culprits, and it has been bringing down life expectancy rates for a few years now, even before the pandemic.
During the second half of the 2010s, life expectancy fell on a sustained basis for the first time since the fighting of World War II killed several hundred thousand Americans.
It’s hard to imagine a more alarming sign of a society’s well-being than an inability to keep its citizens alive. While some of the reasons are mysterious, others are fairly clear. American society has become far more unequal than it used to be, and the recent increases in mortality are concentrated among working-class Americans, especially those without a four-year college degree.
For many, daily life lacks the structure, status and meaning that it once had, as the Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton have explained. Many people feel less of a connection to an employer, a labor union, a church or community groups. They are less likely to be married. They are more likely to endure chronic pain and to report being unhappy.
These trends have led to a surge of “deaths of despair” (a phrase that Case and Deaton coined), from drugs, alcohol and suicide. Other health problems, including diabetes and strokes, have also surged among the working class. Notably, the class gaps in life expectancy seem to be starker in the U.S. than in most other rich countries.
Covid has also caused sharp increases in racial inequality. As a Times article on the new report explains:
From 2019 to 2020, Hispanic people experienced the greatest drop in life expectancy — three years — and Black Americans saw a decrease of 2.9 years. White Americans experienced the smallest decline, of 1.2 years.
Covid has also killed more men than women, Case and Deaton pointed out, increasing the mortality gap between the sexes, after years in which it had mostly been shrinking. Life expectancy was 5.7 years longer for women last year, up from 5.1 years in 2019. The gap had fallen to a low of 4.8 years in the early 2010s.
The bottom line: Covid has both worsened and exposed a crisis in health inequality. But that crisis existed before Covid and will continue to exist when the pandemic is over – if it ever is.
You all know my feelings on rich bastards wasting their money on not-so-cheap thrills like building a rocket ship and flying to the edge of space for no other reason that they can afford to do it. The latest was Jeff Bezos, and frankly I’m so disgusted with this ‘man’ and his lack of compassion, lack of humility, that I am seriously considering canceling my Amazon account permanently. Anyway … talk show host Gayle King got the best of him in my view yesterday when she spoke with Bezos on CBS This Morning and she asked him …
“All of you keep saying this is not a competition, and I find that so hard to believe because you’re all type A personalities. Don’t you want to be first? It really to you isn’t a game of whose is bigger? Honestly, it really isn’t?”
I nearly choked with laughter! Penis-envy run amok!
Filiwhat? Filiwho? Filihow?
President Biden made an appearance here in Cincinnati, Ohio yesterday and at the end of the day he participated in a CNN Town Hall along with Don Lemon. When asked about the filibuster and whether it should be killed off in the Senate, he was far less forceful than I would have liked.
“There’s no reason to protect it other than you’re going to throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done. Nothing at all will get done.”
WTF??? Nothing at all is getting done now!!! The Senate Republicans have all but killed the For the People Act, the infrastructure bill, and anything else that might be on the table with their damned filibuster! Joe did say he wouldn’t mind seeing it altered to the ways of yore, when senators actually had to stand on the floor of the Senate and expound for hours, but let’s face it … the Republicans have enough hot air in them to ramble and rant for days without coming up for air!
Moscow Mitch said WHAT???
You may have noticed that a number of Republicans have been urging people in this country to get the Covid vaccine this week … people like Mitch McConnell, Steve Scalise, and even Fox’ Sean Hannity. I note we haven’t heard the positive take from the absolutely disgusting Tucker Carlson, but then he marches to the beat of a different drummer, so don’t hold your breath.
I’m not sure what triggered the Republicans’ sudden faux concern for people, but hopefully their constituents listen to them, for as long as we continue to have some 30% of the nation refusing to be vaccinated, we are NOT going to end the pandemic. Period. One of my favourite late-night comedians has a humorous take on the newly-discovered consciences that I think will give you a chuckle or two. This is, in my opinion, one of the best Colbert has done!