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This Week in Elder News: 15 March 2008

In this regular weekend feature you will find links to news items from the precedng 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.

Further on my Ism Campaign post of a couple of days ago, the Boston Globe published an op-ed on the same issue. According to an instructor the writer quotes, it is “age” [more than race, gender or class] “that most defines both a person's own sense of identity and the way others view them.” It’s a thoughtful piece, worth your time to read.

Pursuant to our frequent discussions on TGB about elders, technology and lifelong learning, Nathan Lowell of Phaedrus blog, recently posted a YouTube video about being a 21st century learner. Take a look.

Are you keeping up with national news? The Pew Research Center has a quick, little quiz with which you can compare your score with the averages of various demographics.

A new British study suggests that a good time to quit smoking is upon retirement. 42.5 per cent of those who had recently retired had quit smoking, compared with 29.3 per cent of those still employed and 30.2 per cent for those who were already retired.

Harris Interactive polls is surprised that 56 percent of Americans never read political blogs. I’m not surprised, if the implication is that 44 percent do, although that’s not clear. Elders are the largest consumers of political blogs, with 26 percent of those 63 and older reading them. (Hat tip to Mary Jamison)

In the greater scheme of things and trillion dollar budgets, it’s not a big deal except that it illustrates the administration’s love affair with the rich on the backs of everyone else. A proposal to cut estate taxes on the .03 richest percentage of Americans will cost taxpayers $200 billion over ten years.

More than 12 million people have watched Yes We Can, a video by will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas. With lyrics taken directly from Senator Barack Obama’s New Hampshire concession speech, it is beautifully produced, good music and an inspiring message we can all buy into whomever we choose to vote for.

Quote of the week:

"The tragedy of the United States, thus far in this century, is not the crack-up of an empire, which we never knew what to do with in the first place, but the collapse of the idea of the citizen as someone autonomous whose private life is not subject to orders from above."
- Gore Vidal

Comments

Ronni: the reason I don't generally read political blogs is because I've reached the saturation point on this subject thanks to the media who have taken free speech to it's limits. I don't dispute their right to do so, I'm just fed up with their less than stellar contribution to communication. It never ceases to amaze me how little we expect......our standards in the media have all but disappeared. It's not only content, but the delivery of "news" is fraught with bad syntax, grammar & vocabulary. When will they learn they are not entertainers but rather reporters whose interpretation of current events should be left mostly to the viewer. I'd like to think that the average citizen is smarter than they give us credit for, but then there are days when I really wonder. Americans are weird! Dee

Thanks Ronni. Thanks Dee. I remember many many many years ago when there seemed to be a clear line between “news” and entertainment. My father, who died at ninety-three, commented that television was undoubtedly the worse thing that ever happened to American politics. Ratings rule. And the reciprocity between audience polls and sponsor dollars leads lizard brain and monkey mind into an ever downward, numbing spiral of entertainment at the level of bestial stupor, or something like that. “Americans are weird” to say the least.

While I am a regular reader of political blogs, lately I've been suffering from information overload, so I find myself limiting that reading to those that agree with me politically, just as I do with talk radio and cable news. So I'm not learning anything new, just reinforcing
my own biases. I need a break from politics, and fortunately two totally unrelated events have come along to provide it: the long break until the PA primary, and the start of the NCAA basketball tournament. For the next several weeks I plan to concentrate on the latter, and (as much as possible) ignore political news and commentary.

While we all reach a saturation point in political news and it is tempting to opt out, we must remain vigilant. In between the hype and sound bites is real news, but we have to dig it out.

I recommend getting our news from the Internet (TRUTHOUT is a good source) and from publications such as THE NATION. Follow up with letters and faxes to your representative. They pay attention to voters.

I only missed one on the quiz; I didn't know the Dow Jones average.

I recently helped my Mother celebrate her 92nd birthday and then wrote a post on my blog about a packet of hand made Happy Birthday cards from a class of 5th Graders.

They presented views of 11-year olds so I titled my entry as "Almost 9 Life Times."

Enjoy.

Chuck

Ronni, I really enjoyed the shift video from the perspective of an elder. The original "shift happens" got me thinking about my children's education and future. This one will undoubtedly get me thinking about my own.

The "yes we can" video is wonderfully uplifting.

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