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BeyondGeography

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Gender: Male
Hometown: NY
Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 11:41 PM
Number of posts: 36,530

Journal Archives

People in their 70s can struggle with new tasks, research shows

For people in their mid-70s such as myself, the 2020 presidential campaign is an oddly personal experience. Among the front-runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations are two men our age (Joe Biden, 76, and Bernie Sanders, 77) and another just a few years behind us: Donald Trump, 72, the oldest man ever elected president. If Trump had lost in 2016, Hillary Clinton, at 69, would have been the second-oldest person ever elected.


Is this okay? Can politicians our age be effective presidents?

...Studies of old people conclude that between 16 percent and 23 percent of Americans over 65 experience some form of cognitive impairment. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that these subjects performed worse than others on tasks involving working memory — the ability to remember information while manipulating it, as when calculating the tip on a restaurant bill — and that they’re more impaired when those tasks become more complex. Older adults also have difficulties with tasks that require dividing or switching attention, like cooking while chatting on the phone. On tests of reasoning, memory and cognitive speed, the average scores for adults in their early 70s were near the 20th percentile of the population, whereas the average performance for adults in their early 20s was near the 75th percentile. A Mayo Clinic study of 161 cognitively normal adults between 62 and 100 years of age showed that declines in learning ability closely track the passage of time. “Research has shown that concept formation, abstraction, and mental flexibility decline with age, especially after age 70, as older adults tend to think more concretely than younger adults,” according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who surveyed several studies. I would hope that impaired executive functioning is not the sort of torture Americans want their president to suffer.

...Any given human could function at a high level well into his or her dotage. But these are outliers. The overwhelming majority decline. This happens to different people at different ages, but scientists have established that decline accelerates with advancing age: In a study by the University of Virginia, adults between the ages of 61 and 96 showed a decrease in cognitive speed twice as great as adults under age 60, and a drop-off in memory four times as great. Memory loss causes “slowed processing speed, reduced ability to ignore irrelevant information, and decreased use of strategies to improve learning and memory,” according to the University of Alabama’s meta-study.

More at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2019/04/09/feature/research-says-septuagenarians-struggle-with-new-tasks-thats-bad-news-for-several-2020-candidates/
Posted by BeyondGeography | Sun Apr 14, 2019, 10:50 AM (72 replies)

Warren hits it out of the park

Over three days a steady stream of presidential candidates — including Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and Sens. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) — have appeared at the convention of the National Action Network, headed by Rev. Al Sharpton, to make their case. It was obvious the candidates had been advised to come with proposals that would interest African Americans.

...And then there was Warren, who was greeted as a rock star and supercharged the audience. As those who care about policy know, she’s got a bucketful of proposals — on Big Tech, on taxes, on housing, on ethics and more. On Friday, however, she did something smart, namely focus largely on one topic with depth, data and personal biography.

Her topic was affordable child care. The issue affects African Americans on both ends: Its lack of availability affects black parents disproportionately, and child-care workers, horribly underpaid, are disproportionately nonwhite. Warren made child care personal, telling of her own struggles and the times her education and career were nearly derailed.

She shared how, in desperation and in fear of having to quit teaching for lack of child care, she called her Aunt Bee and began to sob. “Then Aunt Bee said 11 words that changed my life forever. ‘I can’t get there tomorrow, but I can come on Thursday,‘” she said to warm applause and knowing laughter. “Two days later, she arrived at the airport with seven suitcases and a Pekingese named Buddy — and she stayed for 16 years.”

She added, “Now, if every working mom in the country had an Aunt Bee, we’d all be good. But that’s not the case. I know how lucky I was to have Aunt Bee save the day. But think about all the moms in America who don’t have an Aunt Bee.”

And with that she had the audience in the palm of her hand. She spelled out her comprehensive plan (expanding the existing health-care system, increasing the pay of child-care workers), paid for with money to spare by a wealth tax (2 percent on net worth over $50 million).

More at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/04/05/warren-hits-it-out-park/?utm_term=.c78e74996adc
Posted by BeyondGeography | Fri Apr 5, 2019, 06:04 PM (40 replies)

Braden Holtby won't visit Trump's White House

The Washington Capitals will celebrate their Stanley Cup championship from last season at the White House on Monday, but goalie Braden Holtby won’t be among the attendees.

Joining forward Brett Connolly, who said Monday he was turning down the invitation, Holtby said Friday he was “respectfully declining” the invite.

“My family and myself, we believe in a world where humans are treated with respect regardless of your stature, what you’re born into,” said Holtby, a noted LGBTQ rights advocate. “You’re asked to choose what side you’re on, and I think it’s pretty clear what side I’m on.”

More at https://nypost.com/2019/03/22/capitals-braden-holtby-picks-side-wont-visit-trumps-white-house/
Posted by BeyondGeography | Fri Mar 22, 2019, 02:42 PM (9 replies)

Elizabeth Warren shows what she's made of

As you watch each of the Democratic candidates, this question looms: How would she or he fare in a debate with Donald Trump?

My conclusion after seeing Senator Elizabeth Warren in CNN’s Monday town hall meeting in Mississippi: She’d clean his clock. Warren is smarter, better informed, and every bit as tough. And given how much of Trump’s case for reelection is based on false premises, Potemkin Village pretensions, and outright lies, she’d take him to town.

...With Warren, who at this stage of the campaign is vying with Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, the other question is this: Would she be a better, more effective, and connective candidate than Sanders? There too, I think she made important impressionistic progress with her town hall performance.

...Some are already putting the Massachusetts senator on the politically endangered list because she’s trailing Sanders in New Hampshire, a neighboring make-or-break state for both of them. It’s far too early for that, however.

As we saw in Massachusetts when Warren first burst upon on the scene, she is talented and substantive, with a certain wonkish charisma about her. As others have noted, she’s emerged as the policy-proposing pace-setter in a very large field. From her plan for a tax on the total assets of the exceedingly wealthy to her call to break up big tech companies, to her proposal for universal child care and for spending billions on housing, she has defined her candidacy in a way that lets everyone know what she’s about.

And that’s not a bad place to be at this stage in the campaign.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/03/19/elizabeth-warren-shows-what-she-made/elfeAsSe9zYnt5IZxCledO/story.html

Posted by BeyondGeography | Wed Mar 20, 2019, 08:52 AM (4 replies)

Leontyne Price, for your Saturday opera fix

Price, one of the greatest sopranos ever, is still with us; she turned 91 last month. Here’s the full last scene from Aida, her signature role, filmed in 1985, the year she retired:

Posted by BeyondGeography | Sat Mar 16, 2019, 05:12 PM (4 replies)

Philippe Reines: Stop drawing the wrong lessons from 1998

I’m paraphrasing, but there’s no other way to read this. It’s a myth that impeaching Clinton was a net loss for Republicans and Democrats are now in a much better position than the R’s were in 1998 because the case for impeaching Trump is considerably more credible:

...There are many reasons for Democrats to contemplate impeachment today that go beyond politics. Substantial evidence has already emerged showing that the president has abused his office to the detriment of the American public. That evidence deserves a thorough and transparent airing in Congress, arguably the only venue available for trying a sitting president.

Still, as pundits never tire of saying, impeachment is a political process, not a legal one — and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Chuck Schumer are right to wonder whether it make sense to seek impeachment , especially given the unlikelihood of enough Republicans breaking ranks in the Senate. On Monday, Ms. Pelosi said that, for now, Mr. Trump was “not worth” the cost of impeachment to the country.

But impeachment is worth it, politically, and not just because of what history shows us. If anything, Democrats are in an even better position than Republicans were in 1998 to benefit, or at worst not suffer, politically.

For one thing, 22 Republican senators are up for re-election in 2020, against just 12 Democrats. Especially if the public support for impeachment continues to grow, a Republican vote to acquit the president could tip at least a few vulnerable Republican seats.

Also, one reason people think the Republicans suffered for 1998 is that everyone knew, then and later, that it was a crassly political move — Mr. Clinton’s lapses, however you judge them, were personal, not the sort of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that impeachment is intended to address.

Most voters today, whether they support Mr. Trump or not, will probably see a potential impeachment against him differently. Especially as the evidence mounts, reasonable people will more and more conclude that the Democrats are doing their civic duty by pursuing impeachment (and those who disagree probably wouldn’t vote Democratic anyway).

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/13/opinion/clinton-impeachment-republicans-trump.html




Posted by BeyondGeography | Wed Mar 13, 2019, 07:15 AM (13 replies)

Sarah Sanders 'glad' Pelosi not keen on Trump impeachment

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/433716-sarah-sanders-glad-pelosi-not-keen-on-trump-impeachment

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday encouraged Democratic lawmakers to "get on board" with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after the House leader largely dismissed the possibility of impeaching President Trump.

"I‘m glad that she sees what the rest of us see and that there’s no reason, no cause for impeachment," Sanders said on "Outnumbered" on Fox News. "The president’s done an incredible job in his first two years in office. The country is better than it's been in decades."

Sanders suggested that Democrats were resorting to impeachment as an "excuse" for the party's defeat in the 2016 presidential election.

“I think it’s time for other Democrats in Nancy Pelosi’s party to get on board, start doing what they were elected to do, do their jobs and quit trying to focus so much on making excuses for the historic loss that they suffered in 2016," she added. "Let’s work with the president and solve some real problems."
Posted by BeyondGeography | Tue Mar 12, 2019, 01:27 PM (2 replies)

A top Democrat disagrees with Pelosi, says impeachment proceedings 'inevitable'

Washington (CNN)A high-ranking Democrat broke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday, saying he supports impeaching President Donald Trump and believes impeachment proceedings are inevitable.

"To me it's not a question of 'whether,' it's a question of 'when,' and probably right now is not the right time, but I think at some point it's going to be inevitable," Rep. John Yarmuth told CNN's Erin Burnett on "Erin Burnett OutFront."

The comments put the Kentucky Democrat, who's the chairman of the House Budget Committee, at odds with Pelosi, who said she does not currently support impeaching Trump even though she believes he is unfit to be President, according to a Washington Post magazine interview published Monday. The issue has divided congressional Democrats.

"I'm not for impeachment," the California Democrat said, adding, "Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he's just not worth it."

Yarmuth said there is "validity" to Pelosi's point, "and I respect that, and ultimately it's going to be her call." But, he said, "I believe that the impeachment power is in the Constitution for a reason, and if we don't use it, then it becomes meaningless, particularly when you have a President who has committed crimes while in office, who has abused the power of his office, and many other reasons why I think he's committed impeachable offenses."

...Yarmuth said he is not sure if there are currently enough Democrats to vote for impeachment. He doesn't think impeachment can be a "political calculation," but has to be instead a "recognition of constitutional responsibility."

More at https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/11/politics/democrat-nancy-pelosi-impeachment-john-yarmuth-cnntv/index.html
Posted by BeyondGeography | Mon Mar 11, 2019, 09:19 PM (18 replies)

Matthews: Isn't there a duty to act on impeachment?

Video at link:

https://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/matthews-isn-t-there-a-duty-to-act-on-impeachment-1456110148001
Posted by BeyondGeography | Mon Mar 11, 2019, 07:27 PM (0 replies)

Pelosi impeachment opposition catches Dem leaders off guard; Hoyer demurs

Heading into weekly leadership meeting, most top Democrats say they had not seen speaker comments

House Democratic leaders on Monday were caught off guard by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments to the Washington Post declaring her opposition to impeaching President Donald Trump.

“I didn’t see it. I don’t know what she said, but I’ve got a feeling it’s the same thing I’ve been saying,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said, referring to his past statements that he did not think Democrats should make a judgement on impeachment before seeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s report.

When Roll Call told Hoyer that Pelosi was more definitive in her interview with the Post, saying she was making news in saying she’s not for impeachment because it’s too divisive, Hoyer was surprised.

“Well, I don’t know I want to be that definitive,” the Maryland Democrat said. “I’ve said all along it depends what information comes out, but neither of us have been for impeachment at this point in time.”

Most Democratic leaders, speaking with reporters as they headed to their weekly leadership team meeting in Pelosi’s office Monday, said either that they had not seen the speaker’s comments to the Post or that they wanted to wait to comment until after speaking with her at the meeting. That included House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, Vice Chairwoman Katherine Clark and Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse, one of two freshman class representatives to leadership.

None of the leaders seemed to have a heads up that Pelosi was going to come out in opposition to impeachment. Some were skeptical that her comments were intended to be a definitive decision on the matter.

“I’m not sure she’s ruled it out,” Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman David Cicilline said. “I’ve not seen the comment. That would be hard for me to believe it.”

More at https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/i-dont-know-i-want-to-be-that-definitive-pelosi-impeachment-opposition-catches-democratic-leaders-off-guard
Posted by BeyondGeography | Mon Mar 11, 2019, 06:30 PM (1 replies)
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