A Time for Thanks (Redux)

It’s time to Break It Down!

Originally posted on November 24, 2010, and prior to today, subsequently on November 27, 2013, and November 26, 2014 by alpha heel.

I just can’t! It’s only hump day, but there have been a number of weighty news items worthy of reporting already this week.

  • We’ve seen video of a #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) Movement protester being assaulted at a leading Presidential Candidate’s rally, merely for exercising his Constitutional 1st Amendment rights. *
  • The same leading Presidential Candidate, when discussing the matter Sunday morning on Fox News, said, “Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” What he and two other protesters were doing was shouting, “Dump the Trump,” and “Black Lives Matter.”
  • A leading Presidential Candidate retweeted bogus crime statistics, inflating the role of blacks in violent crime, suggesting African Americans are responsible for most white homicides; deflating the role of whites. *
  • A leading Presidential Candidate alleged to have seen (on TV) thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks; a claim numerous media outlets have denied. What’s eye opening about this claim is, no media outlet has been able to produce footage of this alleged indiscretion…not even Fox News. (That should tell you all you need to know about that matter).
  • Despite most news services dismissing the leading Presidential Candidate’s claim, and none supporting it, the candidate continues to insist he saw it, and in fact, has insisted he is owed an apology.
  • The head of this leading Candidate’s SuperPac told CNN Monday that the BLM movement “don’t really” have a right to protest at Donald Trump rallies for the same reason that “I wouldn’t go into a black church and start screaming “white lives matter.”” Say what? The apparent logic: both telling and repulsive…that just as Donald Trump rallies are for white people and the #BlackLivesMatter movement isn’t welcome; black churches are for black people and those who would scream “White lives matter!” aren’t welcome. Oy vey!
  • Another leading Presidential Candidate said he saw the same footage, but subsequently said that what he saw occurred in Middle Eastern countries, not in the Garden State.
  • A Pennsylvania Police Chief was caught using the N-word. *
  • A District Attorney released a video of a black teen getting shot 16 times by a Chicago Police Officer. *
  • White Supremacists shot 5 BLM protesters in Minneapolis, after threatening, online, to do so days earlier. *

*Thank you James E. Ford for allowing me to e-pick your brain; ’06!

The ten bulleted items above are not just low hanging fruit; they are all national issues. Of course, we are also knee deep in collaborating with the community of nations to thwart ISIS (ISIL/IS, whichever you prefer). So yesterday’s news was dominated by reports that Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet that entered its air space.

The international plot thickens, as if it were not already sufficiently dicey. Since we are currently working with France, Turkey, Russia, et. al., to diffuse the ISIS problem, it’s fair to say we have 99 problems, and Turkey shooting down the Russian fighter “is” now one of them.

I could go on, but I won’t. Or, as I said in the opening sentence, “I just can’t!” Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.

As in the past, since it is Thanksgiving Week, this post will deviate from the standard fare. I know that travel schedules (impeded by weather events this year), meal planning, family time, shopping, football, parades, and if there is any time remaining, relaxation, will dominate this week. However, it is Wednesday, so there shall be a blog! It is definitely brief.

Those among us who have perfected humility, and ascended to a genuine Nirvana state, have no doubt, also elevated giving thanks to an art form. The rest of us must fully invest our appreciation in the notion, “That’s why we have Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, which kicks off what we commonly refer to as the Holiday Season. Almost instinctively, Thanksgiving and Christmas come to mind. Yet, there is so much more than that to the Season.

Over the next 54 days, many of us will enjoy succulent feasting at Thanksgiving, exchange gifts and contribute to the needy during Hanukkah. We will buy, give, exchange, and/or receive gifts at Christmas, eat, drink, and celebrate the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa, and party and toast the dawn of 2011 (2014/2015/2016), on New Year’s Day. We will honor the life and works of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on MLK Day. In addition, even in these tough (though improving) economic times, this weekend, millions of Americans will pay (literally) homage to our most celebrated of shoppers’ holiday weekends, Black FridaySmall Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, by rising early, and proceeding to scour the aisles for those perfect gifts…and if not perfect, at least cheap, relatively speaking. In 2015, there are even some precociously enterprising businesses that will start the shopping clock Thursday. Sigh!

In past years, I have recounted my reasons for being thankful. This year I find that I have more reasons than ever to sit contemplatively in humble repose, and affirm boldly, that I know, without caveat, not only the goodness, no the greatness of God, but also of his inestimable and inexhaustible beneficence. I thank Him for deliverance, and for imbuing me with the sense and sensibility to discern the distinction between kairos and chronos, Greek concepts for God’s time, and man’s time, respectively.

Eons ago, when I was a college student, I pledged a fraternity. It is the Oldest, Boldest, and Coldest, but I digress. The point of this reference is that during the erstwhile pledge process, as prospective initiates, we were required to learn a series of poems. There were many, each selected to convey a specific life lesson. Many of them have stayed with me, but none more than Invictus, written by English poet, William Ernest Henley (1849-1903). The Latin translation for Invictus is Undefeated. You may recall it, but just in case, see it below:

Invictus (Latin for Undefeated) By William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

So, as you go about your way tomorrow, and all the tomorrows that follow, recognize that Thanksgiving, at its core, is not simply a day on the calendar. It is a spirit that dwells within us, an impulse that prompts us to thank God (for our being undefeated), and for the graciousness to share His blessings with our fellow men and women. Indeed, everyday is “A Time for Giving Thanks Redux!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.”  Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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Rise of the Phoenix: Romney 2016?

It’s time to Break It Down!

We are closing in on the holidays and the change of seasons; both on the calendar and politically. In just over a week many of us will observe Thanksgiving. In December, there is Hanukkah, followed by, for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, transitioning into winter, quickly followed by Christmas, or the “Happy Holiday Season,” if you roll like that. In January, we will commemorate the King Holiday. Then comes February, politics move front and center, and it’s on! The month alone will include The Iowa Caucuses, the New Hampshire Primary, Nevada Democratic and Republican Caucuses (on different dates), and the South Carolina Primary.

In the early (pre-voting) stages of the 2016 Presidential Campaign, the Democratic and Republican Parties have moved on noticeably different trajectories. The Democrats started with five principal candidates:

  • Hillary Clinton
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Martin O’Malley
  • Lincoln Chaffee (Withdrawn)
  • Jim Webb (Withdrawn)

After the first Democratic Debate, two candidates, Chaffee and Webb withdrew. Neither registered a significant percentage in the polls, nor crafted a message that resonated with Democratic voters. Arguably, they did themselves, their would-be campaign financiers, and the electorate a favor, albeit a tad late. One might surmise, keen observers are wondering how long will it take Mr. O’Malley to get this message.

Over on the GOP side of the ledger, a fundamentally unexpected, but explainable phenomenon is unfolding. First the race started with a large number of candidates who at least considered themselves serious threats to claim the Party’s Nomination. The festivities kicked off with seventeen candidates:

  • Donald Trump
  • Jeb Bush
  • Scott Walker (Withdrawn)
  • Ben Carson
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Ted Cruz
  • Marco Rubio
  • Rand Paul
  • Chris Christie
  • John Kasich
  • Rick Perry (Withdrawn)
  • Rick Santorum
  • Bobby Jindal (Withdrawn)
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Lindsey Graham
  • George Pataki
  • Jim Gilmore

At first blush, a glance at the list of GOP contenders, and in some instances, I use the word loosely, reveals a wealth of experience in politics. The slate includes Governors, former Governors, Senators, former Senators, and conspicuously, three individuals who have never been elected to any office.

Initially, handicappers applied conventional wisdom to this race, and predicted Dr. Carson, Mrs. Fiorina, and Mr. Trump (that’s just Alpha Order; nothing sinister) would soon lose their sizzle and appeal to voters, and quickly wind down their campaigns, bowing out gracefully. Well, maybe not Mr. Trump (bowing out gracefully, that is).

That was initially. A funny thing happened to the race as polling ensued. First, Mr. Trump, yes, the Donald, he of Reality TV, and Casino fame, rocketed to the top of the charts. After the first Debate, Mrs. Fiorina quickly moved up to the upper tier of GOP Candidates. Then, in what now seems an inexorable evolutionary turn, Dr. Carson gradually made his way to the front of the class…I mean, the top of the polls. Just like that, the three political neophytes found themselves running at or near the head of the pack.

After recalibrating the bases for their projections (which tends to be necessary when you are wrong at every turn), the prognosticators, political writers, talking heads, and handicappers re-spun their collective narrative. Alas, this was the election cycle when Republicans opted to turn the process on its ear because they were disillusioned with politics as usual, and as result, fed up with the usual politicians. But, we were assured, this was just a passing fancy, and effectively the political silly season, as Jeb Bush called the situation. It would soon pass, he predicted, confidently.

That could still happen; but it might not. We are now less than a year from Election Day 2016, and roughly six weeks away from the Iowa Caucuses on February 1st. Already, a fair amount of heretofore conventional wisdom is being cast in the never gonna happen category. That is to say, Jeb Bush who just a few months ago was thought to be nearly a lock for “Nominee-in-waiting,” is now viewed as the guy who displaced “W” as the least capable, and most unready for Prime Time Bush. Who saw that coming?

So, while there is still time for the erstwhile GOP Cognoscenti to act out its cream imitation, and rise to the top, a number of operatives in GOP inner circles are getting a little nervous. They are, apparently, concerned that a guy who gets his military intel from “the TV shows,” a guy who asserts that the pyramids were grain silos built by Joseph, and a woman whom one of those guys claims drove her company into a disastrous tailspin, from which it still has not recovered, are all at, or lurking near the top of GOP polls.

Meanwhile, to counter this, we are hearing some in the GOP brain trust have embraced a brilliant, OK, an idea; Let’s go get Mitt. You remember Mitt, right? Just in case you don’t, here’s a quick 10-point primer to prick your memory.

During the dog days of the GOP 2012 Presidential Campaign, when Willard Mitt Romney was in the thick of it, he said some interesting things. Among them:

  1. On Fox News, the reason he did not talk about the troops – “You don’t go through a laundry list; you talk about the things you think are important.”
  2. On NASCAR – mocking a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos – “I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks.” Also, trying to everyman it, Romney said, “I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”
  3. The infamous 47% comments – “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
  4. On his disdain for social programs; not concerned about the very poor – “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.”
  5. He earned a round of pants on fire fact checks for falsely accusing Obama of apologizing for America, after being caught on tape promising his wealthy donors that if there were an “opportunity” like a hostage situation he would “take advantage of it”. – Romney wrote in an email within hours of the attacks but embargoed until midnight so as to avoid looking like he was taking advantage of a tragedy, “The Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Later he went on about Obama’s imaginary apology tour, forgetting that it was he who had been forced to apologize in Britain over the summer.
  6. His Olympics gaffe, in which he suggested Britain was not prepared for the games – “You know, it’s hard to know just how well it were turn out- will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the- private security firm not having enough people- the sup- supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging. Because in the games, there- there are three parts that makes games successful.”
  7. His rationalization for why his sons were not fighting for the country“One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected.”
  8. Syria is Iran’s route to the sea – Romney said (again), “Syria is Iran’s . . . route to the sea.”
  9. Describing the withdrawal of the troops from Iraq – “It is my view that the withdrawal of all of our troops from Iraq by the end of this year is an enormous mistake, and failing by the Obama administration. The precipitous withdrawal is unfortunate – it’s more than unfortunate, I think it’s tragic.”
  10. The memorable binders full of women – “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks,” and they brought us whole binders full of women.”

The Mitt 2012 era was so bad, the Republican National Committee (RNC) convened and drafted a plan to make sure the Party never-ever found itself in such a woeful position again. The head of the RNC put it this way:

“I don’t think you can draw any quick conclusions other than the fact that we lost and we know that. But in order to get back in the game, you’ve got to look at and do a full autopsy of what happened.”

Mr. Priebus noted that the Party would dive deep into analysis of the election, and devise a four-year game plan intended to ensure that they avoid the mistakes of 2012. At that time many Republicans called for a “bigger tent” Party, one that will be more representative of our changing demographics. I suppose they deduced that among the reasons President Obama secured victory included winning among these groups:


     Black – 93%

     Hispanic – 67%




     Age 18-29 – 60%

     Age 30-44 – 52%


     Self-Identified Gay – 76%

     Income Under $30,000 – 63%

     Income $30,000$49,000 – 57%

Given the numbers above, The Trump/Carson position on building a wall, and Mrs. Fiorina’s attacks on Planned Parenthood do not appear to bode particularly well for shoring up key areas in which the Party’s Flagship Team missed the boat in 2012. However, the GOP obviously devoted a significant amount of mental capital to contemplating the return on investment (or lack thereof) in the politics of hate, derision, and various and sundry slurs.  Now all they need to do is get their full complement of players on board. Who knows; perhaps this time around, Mr. Romney is that guy.

I doubt it!

The new and improved GOP, coming your way…Rise of the Phoenix: Romney 2016?” I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.blogspot.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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“The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month!”

It’s time to Break It Down!

Six years ago, I wrote a post in recognition of Veteran’s Day, and the service personnel we as a nation honor on that day. In 2009, as is the case this year, Veterans Day falls on Wednesday, and as such, the stars aligned perfectly for this week’s blog. As our nation continues to grapple with conflict overseas, I decided to edit/re-post the Veteran’s Day 2009 Edition of “Break It Down!”

It’s worth noting that while our fighting forces officially exited Iraq in December 2011, we still have military personnel there.  Our forces are expected to leave Afghanistan (the other hotspot referenced in the initial post) by 2016.  Also, for the record, we have a variety of personnel in Iran, Syria, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Yemen…lest you think the world is a peaceful place.

Enjoy your day, and if you have yet to take the opportunity to thank a Veteran, reach out and do so at some point today. Moreover, for my part, to all of you who are Veterans, “Thank you for your service.”

Many of you know, or at least faintly recall that I frequently alter the blog format to integrate holiday traditions into the discussion. Often holidays are expanded by days away from work, long weekends, travel, and a host of leisure activities. In those cases, I prefer to scale back in recognition that aside from road map directions, GPS instructions, and the like, very little reading will be taking place.

As most Americans know, today is Veterans Day. At a time when the United States is engaged in twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and working fervently to ease tensions in a trio of other hot spots, including Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea, American service men and women are regularly front and center. The unfathomable horror visited upon soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas last week makes the value and vulnerability of one of our greatest resources resonate even more palpably. But what do we really know about this day that has been set aside to honor real American heroes and sheroes?

Well, first, Veterans Day is not Memorial Day, and vice-versa. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day is intended largely to honor Living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty. Memorial Day honors those veterans who died in the service of their country, particularly those killed in combat, or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.

We also know that Veterans Day is a different kind of federal holiday. With the exception of Sundays, it falls on its actual date. In 1968, Congress approved the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This law, which took effect in 1971, amended the observance of certain federal holidays so that Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day would be observed on Mondays instead of fixed dates.

Congress passed the Act to increase the number of three-day holiday weekend for federal employees. After a loud and persistent outcry from Veterans and Veterans’ groups, who argued the historical significance of November 11th was compromised by the change, Veterans Day observance was returned to November 11th in 1978.

So how did this affinity for November 11th come about? As with many historical facts, it evolved. Veterans Day began as Armistice Day. The significance of Armistice Day is that it was the day of the signing of the Armistice that terminated World War I (WW I). In effect, WW I ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. That was when the Germans signed the document, ending hostilities that had begun in 1914. President Woodrow Wilson subsequently proclaimed the first Armistice Day, November 11, 1919.

WW I was deemed The Great War, and was thought by many, at the time, to be “The War That Ended All Wars.” It was, as the numeric designation suggests, the First World War. Of course, more wars would ensue. There was World War II (WW II), later the Korean Conflict, and then Vietnam.

In 1953, a storeowner in Emporia, Kansas, Al King, launched an idea to honor all Veterans, not just those who served in WW I. The idea took root, sailed through Congress, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law May 26, 1954. Congress amended the Act November 8, 1954, changing Armistice to Veterans, and thus it has been ever since.

So today, especially around “The 11th Hour of This 11th Day of the 11th Month,” to augment a popular bumper sticker, “If you can read this, thank a teacher…and a veteran!

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.blogspot.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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More White People Are Dying: Newsflash – It’s Not President Obama’s Fault!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Certain groups would have you believe the scourge of black initiated violence is responsible for virtually every negative trend in this country. This applies, especially, to developments that lead to increased mortality rates. If you are a consumer of Right Wing talk radio, or cable news, or dare I say, a number of the GOP Presidential candidates’ spiels, you will hear it suggested that blacks, particularly those ensconced in urban areas are engaged in wonton drug use, hyper gang violence, and random killing sprees. I sometimes wonder if all of what they say is true, how could there possibly be anyone left to buy drugs, join gangs, and/or execute the incalculable numbers of murders we are constantly reminded occur on a nearly daily basis.

Nobel Laureate, Angus Deaton and his wife, Anne Case, both Princeton economists, received international attention for their research, which was published earlier this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). According to the study, since 1999, we have been experiencing a significant spike in the death rate for a large group of middle-aged whites in the United States. The rise in death rates was accompanied by an increase in illness.

However, their work was not immediately received with robust approval. Before presenting it to PNAS, they submitted it to two prestigious medical journals, both of which rejected the study.

First, they tried to get it published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). According to Deaton, who was interviewed while attending a conference, sponsored by Princeton University, on Ebola and global public health in Dublin:

“We got it back almost instantaneously. It was almost like the e-mail had bounced. We got it back within hours.”

Next, Deaton and Case tried the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), after framing their work in the form of a two-page “Perspective” summarizing the alarming trend they had discovered in government mortality statistics. Two tries, two rejection notices. According to Deaton, the NEJM said that their work does not explain why the historically anomalous surge in mortality occurred. He compared that response to calling the fire department to report that your house is on fire:

“And they say, ‘Well, what caused the fire?’ And you say, ‘I don’t know,’ and they say, ‘Well, we can’t send the fire brigade until you can tell us what caused the fire.’”

Staff members at both Journals were reluctant to offer any details surrounding their respective responses to the study. Ms. Jennifer Zeis, media relations manager for the NEJM, said via email that the NEJM could not comment on the fate of any submissions because “The publication process is confidential.” Similarly, Jim Michalski, a spokesman for JAMA, also cited the journal’s confidentiality policy. “We can neither confirm nor deny whether an author has submitted a manuscript for review, or why a manuscript may have been rejected, also conveyed through an email.

The study’s findings apply to the mortality rate for white men and women ages 45-54 with less than a college education. The death rates for this group, based on the results of the study increased markedly between 1999 and 2013. The most likely drivers for this increase are thought to be problems with legal and illegal drugs, alcohol, and suicide. Deaton said of the causality:

“Drugs and alcohol, and suicide…are clearly the proximate cause. Half a million people are dead who should not be dead. That is about 40 times the Ebola stats. You’re getting up there with HIV-AIDS.”

Prior to the time frame cited in the study, death rates for the group had dropped steadily, and at an even faster pace. Historically, increases in mortality rates for any large demographic group in advanced nations, which “Exceptional America must surely be, have been virtually unheard of, with the notable exception of Russian men after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Undoubtedly, this overarching trend narrative is at least in part, the reason that JAMA and the NEJM were less than embracing of the Case’s study and findings.

Since at least 1970, Americans and residents of other wealthy countries have generally enjoyed longer and healthier lives, as smoking has declined, better treatments have been developed and preventive measures and lifestyles changes have had a substantial impact.

The findings of this study could have far-reaching implications as the surviving members of this sizable population segment continue toward retirement and Medicare eligibility. A more sickly population, less able to prepare for the costs associated with old age will place an increasing burden on both society at-large and federal programs.

Such a reversal has not been seen in blacks or Hispanics or among Europeans. The study points specifically to a surge in overdoses from opioid medication and heroin, liver disease and other problems that stem from alcohol abuse, and suicides.

Upon reflection, Deaton noted that he understands the related research will be subjected to political commentary, including that of a conservative Web site’s analysis that blamed President Obama for a trend that began during Bill Clinton Presidency. According to his resulting analysis:

“There is a widening between people at the top and the people who have a ho-hum education and they’re not tooled to compete in a technology economy. …Not only are these people struggling economically, but they’re experiencing this health catastrophe too, so they’re being hammered twice.”

Jonathan Skinner of Dartmouth College, another economist who reviewed the study for PNAS and co-authored a commentary that appears with it, used very similar words to summarize the findings:

“An increasingly pessimistic view of their financial future combined with the increased availability of opioid drugs has created this kind of perfect storm of adverse outcomes.”

Skinner also went on to say:

“This is the first indicator that the plane has crashed. I don’t know what’s going on, but the plane has definitely crashed.

“High school graduates [and] high school dropouts [are] 40 percent of the population. It’s not just the 10 percent who didn’t finish high school. It’s a much bigger group.”

Deaton and Case examined death rates for other developed nations, as well as for U.S. blacks and Hispanics as they continued their steady decline of recent decades. Whites in other age groups between 30 and 64, and more educated whites also had lower death rates. However, the other age groups did also experience substantially higher death rates from drug and alcohol overdoses, suicides, chronic liver disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.

David Weir, director of the health and retirement study at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, noted that while the death rates for African Americans continues to be greater than that for whites, the reversal among whites is shocking because of the advantages they enjoy. He added:

“Typically, socioeconomic circumstances gang up on African Americans, who have lower education, lower incomes, and race all working against them. In this case, that’s not happening.”

Weir surmised that economic insecurity, the decay of communities and the breakdown of families probably have had some impact on death and illness rates, in addition to the nation’s opioid epidemic and the factors the authors identified. Yet, he counters, the study clearly shows they are not the result of diseases such as lung cancer or diabetes, which are declining and increasing slowly, respectively. He interjected:

“I think it has to have something to do [with] the pain underlying it, both physical and psychic. That is the age when people have their midlife crisis…I think it has to do with that stage of life, and physical ailments do start to accumulate at that age. This paper really is a question, not an answer.”

Angus Deaton was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on individual consumption choices. He has long studied measures of well-being, health and pain. He and Case authored a paper in June that found reports of physical pain “are strongly predictive of suicide in many contexts” and that reports of pain are increasing among middle-aged Americans.

Their findings have been corroborated by other research, including a report from the National Heroin Task Force established by the Justice Department, which puts the number of overdose deaths from legal and illegal drugs at 110 every day. The heroin death toll has quadrupled in the decade that ended in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry last year reported that 90 percent of the people who tried heroin for the first time in the last decade were white. Three-quarters said they were introduced to heroin through the use of prescription drugs.

In January, the CDC reported that an average of six people die every day because of alcohol poisoning and that 76 percent are ages 35 to 64. Three-quarters are men. But just last week, researchers reported that the U.S. death rate for all causes declined 43 percent between 1969 and 2013, from about 1,279 per 100,000 people to about 730. The rate of death caused by strokes, heart disease and cancer all declined significantly, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

As you reconcile the veritable cornucopia of data that support the findings in this post, do not fail to appropriately integrate and consider the degree to which these maladies precede the Age of Obama, as well as the disproportionate involvement of, and impact on white folks rather than black folks. Why? Because the next time you hear some ill-informed member of the media, the GOP, or perhaps your family spout off about either the role of President Obama in the decline of life as we know it, or the failure of blacks to respect life and authority, play this study like a high trump card in a game of Spades, complete with theatrics and histrionics. So there you have it“More White People Are Dying: Newsflash – It’s Not President Obama’s Fault!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post: