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This Week in Elder News: 12 January 2008

In this regular Saturday feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy that I think you might like to know. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.

A new study from Denmark suggests that contrary to conventional wisdom, people do get smarter as they get older. But you and I knew that all along, didn’t we. [Hat tip to Chuck Nyren of Advertising to Baby Boomers]

Noting that tracking preventable deaths is one way to gauge the quality of a nation’s healthcare system, researchers released a study in the journal, Health Affairs, finding that 101,000 U.S. deaths per year could be prevented if America’s healthcare system worked as well as those in other countries. The U.S. came in dead last in the ranking of 19 industrialized nations. France was first.

One reason for the United States’ last-place position in that survey may be this: after a pilot project irrefutably proved that a simple, five-item, procedural checklist for doctors and nurses saved more than 1500 lives in Michigan hospitals over 18 months, the state’s Office of Human Research Protections shut down the program citing privacy concerns. Read it and weep at bureaucratic stupidity and for lives needlessly lost every day throughout the U.S.

There is a newly discovered video at YouTube deconstructing the definitions contained in S.1959, the Thought Crime Bill (The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act). Although the video maker’s use of whackos (conspiracy and otherwise), Bill O’Reilly, Rosie O’Donnell and Glenn Beck, weakens the argument, they too have a right to speak (unless this bill becomes law). Pay attention to what the narrator is saying. That’s the important stuff in this video. (9:40 minutes) [Hat tip to Darlene Costner] has long been a useful service for tracking the veracity of what politicians and journalists say. Now they’ve become even more useful with their new Ask FactCheck service where you can submit questions they will fact check and publish the results on their site. They say that most of the questions they accept for research relate to politics and public policy.

While economists debate whether the U.S. is in a recession yet, the brilliant and tell-it-like-it-is reporter, Barbara Ehrenreich explains why the official definition of recession has no meaning to us average Joes.

Playa Cofi Jukebox may be one of the most unattractive sites on the web, but the music is a load of fun. Choose from the top one hundred tunes of any year from 1950 to 1979, or choose a genre of music from those eras and they will stream it right out of their page and into your ears. Instant nostalgia. [Hat tip to Marion Dent of And the Beat Goes On]

Another kind of nostalgia pertinent to this election year can be found at The Living Room Candidate, a project of the Museum of the Moving Image. They have collected presidential campaign television commercials from 1952 through 2004, and what a long, strange trip it's been. If you can afford to throw them a couple of bucks to keep project going, that would be a mitzvah.

My favorite elder story of the week could be headlined Dead Man Rolling and just might disprove the first item in today’s news list. It concerns two 60-something men who wheeled their dead friend to the local check cashing shop in Manhattan in hopes of cashing his Social Security check. God, I miss New York sometimes.


Thanks, Ronni! A lot of thought- provoking material here.

Thanks, Ronni,

I have just two comments. On the You Tube film. Glen Beck and O'Reilly may be wackos but the have a following and, from what I have been seeing lately, their notions seem to be more widespread than I am comfortable with. Their arguments have a certain twisted logic which elements in our current administration think attractive and compelling. And they have a long history in this country. After all, J. Edgar Hoover tarred all dissident groups with the same brush and kept up illegal surveillance on not civil rights groups and non-violent student organizations and non-violent opponents of the Viet Nam War. With the Patriot Act and other measures it is not so illegal now. The 'Thought Crime Bill' takes this mentality to the next step.
The other comment is on the 'Week-end At Bernies' knock-off story. Mom and I saw a blurb on this but interestingly it did not mention the ages of the three, nor that the two men who tried to cash the check were 65 and unemployed. Mom saw one story that I did not in which the check was described as a Social Security check indicating that the dead man was at least 62 but gave no indication of the ages of the other two. Talk about incomplete reporting which aims merely to--what?--inject a tone of light hearted humor into the news program?

Ronni: The past week or two, I've seen 3 or 4 different commercials (early am)about vitamin supplements put out by Nature Made (?, memory lapse)that are delivered by real live elders who look like elders!! Not like the stereotypical images usually seen on TV. Anyway the message is short, upbeat & sensible & impressive. Since you're an early riser, I thought perhaps you've seen it. BTW, todays links are really good. Thanks. Dee

That last one sure sounds like something I would run into.

Dead Man Rolling - bwahahahaha!

I somehow see this as a scene in a Richard Pryor/Gene Wilder film.

Too bad, we've lost Richard, but I can so imagine the dialogue!

If those two got smarter as they got older, I'd hate to have seen them in their teens...

Re the Dead Man Rolling item:

Those guys must have just seen "Weekend at Bernies" again.

One of the funniest pictures ever...

Wow...thank you so much for Cofi Jukebox...I've had a fun time tonight listening to the oldies and goldies. Oh..the memories..thanks for that.
Now I have it on my desktop.

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