Article 43

 

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Welcome

Welcome to article43.com - a memorial to the layed off workers of (PRE SBC MERGER) AT&T, and the disappearing MIDDLE CLASS citizens of America.  It is NOT endorsed or affiliated with AT&T or the CWA in any way.

This sticky post was written the day we appeared on the internet in 2004.

In addition to INFORMATION, resources and opinion for former AT&T workers DEALING WITH the EFFECTS OF LAYOFF and looking for meaningful employment, some articles here are meant to bring into awareness the LARGER PICTURE of corporate dominance of the UNITED STATES’ political and economic policies which brazenly DISREGARDS, disrespects and EXPLOITS worker, citizen and HUMAN RIGHTS under masks like FREE TRADE and the PATRIOT ACT - resulting in a return to a society of very rich and very poor dominated by a few very rich and powerful - whose voices are anything but - for the people. If left UNCHALLENGED, the self-serving interests of those in control may result in the end of DEMOCRACY, the end of the middle class, irreversible ENVIRONMENTAL damage to the planet, and widespread global poverty brought on by exploitation and supression of the voices of common people EVERYWHERE, while the United States turns into a REINCARNATION of the ROMAN EMPIRE.  Author Thom Hartmann shares some history and outlines some basic steps to return our country to “The People” in his two articles TEN STEPS TO RETURN TO DEMOCRACY and SAVING THE MIDDLE CLASS. I support CERNIG’S idea for a new POLITICAL MOVEMENT - if not a revolution to cleanse our country of the filth ruling it - as we EVOLVE into a GLOBAL community - assuming we learn the THE LESSONS OF OUR TIME and don’t DESTROY CIVILIZATION first.

Everything here can be viewed anonymously.  Inserting or commenting on articles requires a free user account (for former AT&T employees with a real, non throw-away, email address.) Requests to the new user registration page are redirected to BLOGGED DOT COM’S site because most new signups I get are from COMMENT SPAMMERS and their ilk, so if you want to contribute, contact me through email, phone, or some other way.

There’s no third-party scripts here like privacy-eroding WEB COUNTERS, hidden datamining widgets like Pay-Pal donation boxes, or AMAZON DOT COM tracking stuff.  The RSS feeds are pulled by the server, and have no relation to anything you may be doing here.  Standard Apache WEB LOGS of info like IP, and pages visited are rotated every few days, and used internally to check the web server’s performance.  Logs of suspicious activity may be shared with law enforcement, or other ISPs, to deal with troublemakers.  Nothing here is for sale, and donations are not solicited.

If you get an email that claims to be from somebody here that’s anything but a request to post your article, or report suspicious activity (like logs sent to an ISP to report an attack) - it’s SPAM. I do not, and will not - ever - join the junk mail sender community. There are no mechanisms to prevent anyone from forging anyone elses email address in a “from” or “reply-to” mail header. For those of us whose email addresses are fraudently used, the best we can do is filter out NDR REPORTS.

Per U.S.C. COPYRIGHT LAW - TITLE 17, SECTION 107, this not-for-profit site may reproduce copyrighted material not specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such articles will either have a web link to the source, home page, and/or show credit to the author.  If yours is here and you have a problem with that, send me an EMAIL, and I’ll take it off. Stuff I wrote carries a CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE permitting non-commercial sharing. In addition, this site’s owner forbids insertion and injecting data of any kind - especially advertisements - into ours by any person or entity.  Should you see a commercial ad that looks like it’s from here, please report it by sending me a tcpdump and/or screenshot in an EMAIL, then READ UP about how the PARTNERING OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS and companies like NEBUAD are DESTROYING INTERNET PRIVACY

Resumes of layed off AT&T workers are posted for free HERE.

Information on the Pension Class Action Lawsuit against AT&T is HERE.  More pension-related articles are HERE.

Links to some Telecom companies’ career pages are HERE.

Click HERE to learn a little about Article 43 and why I loathe the CWA.
Click HERE or HERE to learn what the CWA did when given a chance to do the right thing.
Click HERE for a glimpse of undemocratic and hypocritical CWA practices.
Click HERE for an article on Corporate Unionism.
Click HERE for an article of AFL-CIO’s undemocratic history.

If you’re looking for telco nostalgia, you won’t find it here.  Check out THE CENTRAL OFFICE, BELL SYSTEM MEMORIAL, MUSEUM OF COMMUNICATIONS, TELEPHONE TRIBUTE, and THE READING WORKS websites instead.

This site can disappear anytime if I run out of money to pay for luxuries like food, health care, or internet service.

Discernment of truth is left to the reader - whose encouraged to seek as much information as possible, from as many different sources as possible - and pass them through his/her own filters - before believing anything.

...the Devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men…
- Fox Mulder, X Files

No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.
- John F. Kennedy

Today my country, your country and the Earth face a corporate holocaust against human and Earthly rights. I call their efforts a holocaust because when giant corporations wield human rights backed by constitutions and the law (and therefore enforced by police, the courts, and armed forces) and sanctioned by cultural norms, the rights of people, other species and the Earth are annihilated.
- Richard L. Grossman

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
- Albert Einstein

He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
- Aquinas

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately.
- Benjamin Franklin

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.
- Albert Einstein

Solidarity has always been key to political and economic advance by working families, and it is key to mastering the politics of globalization.
- Thomas Palley

As we head into the next depression, fueled by selfish corporate greed, and a corrupt, SOCIOPATHIC US government, MIKE WHITNEY wrote a solution in 2007 that makes a lot of sense to me :

The impending credit crisis cant be avoided, but it could be mitigated by taking radical steps to soften the blow. Emergency changes to the federal tax code could put more money in the hands of maxed-out consumers and keep the economy sputtering along while efforts are made to curtail the ruinous trade deficit. We should eliminate the Social Security tax for any couple making under $60, 000 per year and restore the 1953 tax-brackets for Americans highest earners so that the upper 1%-- who have benefited the most from the years of prosperity---will be required to pay 93% of all earnings above the first $1 million income. At the same time, corporate profits should be taxed at a flat 35%, while capital gains should be locked in at 35%. No loopholes. No exceptions.

Congress should initiate a program of incentives for reopening American factories and provide generous sufbsidies to rebuild US manufacturing. The emphasis should be on reestablishing a competitive market for US exports while developing the new technologies which will address the imminent problems of environmental degradation, global warming, peak oil, overpopulation, resource scarcity, disease and food production. Off-shoring of American jobs should be penalized by tariffs levied against the offending industries.

The oil and natural gas industries should be nationalized with the profits earmarked for vocational training, free college tuition, universal health care and improvements to then nations infrastructure.

Posted by Admin on 09/05/04 •

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Your MRI

image: hippa

Maybe this explains why:

The treatment consent form included text that gives the hospital the ok to share any medical and personal information with any third party they wish, without restriction.
- Florida Hospital insists I let them do whatever they want with my medical records

Millions of Americans Medical Images and Data Are Available on the Internet. Anyone Can Take a Peek.
Hundreds of computer servers worldwide that store patient X-rays and MRIs are so insecure that anyone with a web browser or a few lines of computer code can view patient records. One expert warned about it for years.

ByJack Gillum, Jeff Kao and Jeff Larson
ProPublica
September. 17, 2019

Medical images and health data belonging to millions of Americans, including X-rays, MRIs and CT scans, are sitting unprotected on the internet and available to anyone with basic computer expertise.

The records cover more than 5 million patients in the U.S. and millions more around the world. In some cases, a snoop could use free software programs or just a typical web browser - to view the images and private data, an investigation by ProPublica and the German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk found.

We identified 187 servers - computers that are used to store and retrieve medical data in the U.S. that were unprotected by passwords or basic security precautions. The computer systems, from Florida to California, are used in doctors’ offices, medical-imaging centers and mobile X-ray services.

“It’s not even hacking. It’s walking into an open door,” said Jackie Singh, a cybersecurity researcher and chief executive of the consulting firm Spyglass Security. Some medical providers started locking down their systems after we told them of what we had found.

Our review found that the extent of the exposure varies, depending on the health provider and what software they use. For instance, the server of U.S. company MobilexUSA displayed the names of more than a million patients all by typing in a simple data query. Their dates of birth, doctors and procedures were also included.

Alerted by ProPublica, MobilexUSA tightened its security last week. The company takes mobile X-rays and provides imaging services to nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals, hospice agencies and prisons. “We promptly mitigated the potential vulnerabilities identified by ProPublica and immediately began an ongoing, thorough investigation,” MobilexUSA’s parent company said in a statement.

Another imaging system, tied to a physician in Los Angeles, allowed anyone on the internet to see his patients echocardiograms. (The doctor did not respond to inquiries from ProPublica.)

All told, medical data from more than 16 million scans worldwide was available online, including names, birthdates and, in some cases, Social Security numbers.

Experts say it’s hard to pinpoint who’s to blame for the failure to protect the privacy of medical images. Under U.S. law, health care providers and their business associates are legally accountable for securing the privacy of patient data. Several experts said such exposure of patient data could violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, the 1996 law that requires health care providers to keep Americans’ health data confidential and secure.

Although ProPublica found no evidence that patient data was copied from these systems and published elsewhere, the consequences of unauthorized access to such information could be devastating. Medical records are one of the most important areas for privacy because they’re so sensitive. Medical knowledge can be used against you in malicious ways: to shame people, to blackmail people, said Cooper Quintin, a security researcher and senior staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights group.

“This is so utterly irresponsible,” he said.

The issue should not be a surprise to medical providers. For years, one expert has tried to warn about the casual handling of personal health data. Oleg Pianykh, the director of medical analytics at Massachusetts General Hospital’s radiology department, said medical imaging software has traditionally been written with the assumption that patients data would be secured by the customer’s computer security systems.

But as those networks at hospitals and medical centers became more complex and connected to the internet, the responsibility for security shifted to network administrators who assumed safeguards were in place. “Suddenly, medical security has become a do-it-yourself project,” Pianykh wrote in a 2016 research paper he published in a medical journal.

ProPublicas investigation built upon findings from Greenbone Networks, a security firm based in Germany that identified problems in at least 52 countries on every inhabited continent. GreenboneҒs Dirk Schrader first shared his research with Bayerischer Rundfunk after discovering some patients health records were at risk. The German journalists then approached ProPublica to explore the extent of the exposure in the U.S.

Schrader found five servers in Germany and 187 in the U.S. that made patients’ records available without a password. ProPublica and Bayerischer Rundfunk also scanned Internet Protocol addresses and identified, when possible, which medical provider they belonged to.

ProPublica independently determined how many patients could be affected in America, and found some servers ran outdated operating systems with known security vulnerabilities. Schrader said that data from more than 13.7 million medical tests in the U.S. were available online, including more than 400,000 in which X-rays and other images could be downloaded.

The privacy problem traces back to the medical professions shift from analog to digital technology. Long gone are the days when film X-rays were displayed on fluorescent light boards. Today, imaging studies can be instantly uploaded to servers and viewed over the internet by doctors in their offices.

In the early days of this technology, as with much of the internet, little thought was given to security. The passage of HIPAA required patient information to be protected from unauthorized access. Three years later, the medical imaging industry published its first security standards.

Our reporting indicated that large hospital chains and academic medical centers did put security protections in place. Most of the cases of unprotected data we found involved independent radiologists, medical imaging centers or archiving services.

One German patient, Katharina Gaspari, got an MRI three years ago and said she normally trusts her doctors. But after Bayerischer Rundfunk showed Gaspari her images available online, she said: “Now, I am not sure if I still can.” The German system that stored her records was locked down last week.

We found that some systems used to archive medical images also lacked security precautions. Denver-based Offsite Image left open the names and other details of more than 340,000 human and veterinary records, including those of a large cat named ԓMarshmellow, ProPublica found. An Offsite Image executive told ProPublica the company charges clients $50 for access to the site and then $1 per study. ԓYour data is safe and secure with us, Offsite ImageԒs website says.

The company referred ProPublica to its tech consultant, who at first defended Offsite Images security practices and insisted that a password was needed to access patient records. The consultant, Matthew Nelms, then called a ProPublica reporter a day later and acknowledged Offsite ImageҒs servers had been accessible but were now fixed.

“We were just never even aware that there was A POSSIBILITY that could even happen,” Nelms said.

In 1985, an industry group that included radiologists and makers of imaging equipment created a standard for medical imaging software. The standard, which is now called DICOM, spelled out how medical imaging devices talk to each other and share information.

We shared our findings with officials from the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance, the group that oversees the standard. They acknowledged that there were hundreds of servers with an open connection on the internet, but suggested the blame lay with the people who were running them.

Even though it is a comparatively small number,Ӕ the organization said in a statement, it may be possible that some of those systems may contain patient records. Those likely represent bad configuration choices on the part of those operating those systems.Ӕ

Meeting minutes from 2017 show that a working group on security learned of Pianykhs findings and suggested meeting with him to discuss them further. That ғaction item was listed for several months, but Pianykh said he never was contacted. The medical imaging alliance told ProPublica last week that the group did not meet with Pianykh because the concerns that they had were sufficiently addressed in his article. They said the committee concluded its security standards were not flawed.

Pianykh said that misses the point. ItԒs not a lack of standards; its that medical device makers donҒt follow them. Medical-data security has never been soundly built into the clinical data or devices, and is still largely theoretical and does not exist in practice,Ӕ Pianykh wrote in 2016.

ProPublicas latest findings follow several other major breaches. In 2015, U.S. health insurer Anthem Inc. revealed that private data belonging to more than 78 million people was exposed in a hack. In the last two years, U.S. officials have reported that more than 40 million people have had their medical data compromised, according to an analysis of records from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Joy Pritts, a former HHS privacy official, said the government isn’t tough enough in policing patient privacy breaches. She cited an April announcement from HHS that lowered the maximum annual fine, from $1.5 million to $250,000, for whats known as “corrected willful neglect” - the result of conscious failures or reckless indifference that a company tries to fix. She said that large firms would not only consider those fines as just the cost of doing business, but that they could also negotiate with the government to get them reduced. A ProPublica examination in 2015 found few consequences for repeat HIPAA offenders.

A spokeswoman for HHS Office for Civil Rights, which enforces HIPAA violations, said it wouldn’t comment on open or potential investigations.

“What we typically see in the health care industry is that there is Band-Aid upon Band-Aid applied to legacy computer systems,” said Singh, the cybersecurity expert. She said it’s a “shared responsibility: among manufacturers, standards makers and hospitals to ensure computer servers are secured.

“It’s 2019,” she said. “There’s no reason for this.”

How Do I Know if My Medical Imaging Data is Secure?

If you are a patient:

If you have had a medical imaging scan (e.g., X-ray, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, etc.) ask the health care provider that did the scan - or your doctor - if access to your images requires a login and password. Ask your doctor if their office or the medical imaging provider to which they refer patients conducts a regular security assessment as required by HIPAA.

If you are a medical imaging provider or doctor’s office:

Researchers have found that picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) servers implementing the DICOM standard may be at risk if they are connected directly to the internet without a VPN or firewall, or if access to them does not require a secure password. You or your IT staff should make sure that your PACS server cannot be accessed via the internet without a VPN connection and password. If you know the IP address of your PACS server but are not sure whether it is (or has been) accessible via the internet, please reach out to us at “medicalimaging at propublica.org.”

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Posted by Elvis on 09/18/19 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Dying America
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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Suicide Redux

image: causes of death 2017

Researchers say there’s a simple way to reduce suicides: Increase the minimum wage

By Andrew Van Dam
Washington Post
April 30, 2019

Since 2000, the suicide rate in the United States has risen 35 percent, primarily because of the significant increase in such deaths among the WHITE population.

There are hints that these deaths are the result of worsening prospects among less-educated people, but there are few immediate answers. But maybe the solution is simple: pursue policies that improve the prospects of working-class Americans.

Researchers have found that when the minimum wage in a state increased, or when states boosted a tax credit for working families, the suicide rate decreased.

Raising the minimum wage and the earned-income tax credit (EITC) by 10 percent each could prevent about 1,230 suicides annually, according to a WORKING PAPER circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research this week.

The EITC was designed to boost the wages of low-income workers, particularly families with children. Many states have supplemented or expanded the credit.

Raising the minimum wage and increasing the tax credit help less-educated, low-wage workers who have been hit hardest by what are now known as DEATHS OF DESPAIR according to the analysis of 1999-2015 death data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by University of California at Berkeley economists Anna Godoey and Michael Reich, as well as public-health specialists William Dow and Christopher Lowenstein.

Deaths of despair, a phrase popularized by Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton in a pair of widely cited 2015 and 2017 papers, typically refers to rising death rates among middle-aged white non-Hispanic Americans.

In 2017, Case and Deaton wrote that those rising death rates can be attributed to “drug overdoses, suicides, and alcohol-related liver mortality particularly among those with a high school degree or less.”

To evaluate how policy choices could affect those deaths, the Berkeley team identified states that had raised their minimum wage or EITC between 1999 and 2015. They also included states whose wages were affected by federal minimum-wage increases. The researchers then measured the change in the rate for such deaths before and after the policies took effect.

To control for national trends, they compared the changes with states that hadn’t changed their minimum wage or EITC.

The researchers looked at suicides and drug overdoses. Unlike degenerative liver disease linked to alcohol abuse, those events can be connected to a single point in time.

The team found little change in drug overdoses, whether intentional or accidental, after the new policies took effect. This falls in line with the growing consensus that, unlike other deaths of despair, drug overdoses probably are linked to increased availability of addictive (and lethal) drugs.

But the number of suicides that weren’t related to drugs dropped noticeably. Among adults without a college education, increasing the EITC by 10 percent appears to have decreased non-drug suicides by about 5.5 percent. Raising the minimum wage by 10 percent reduced suicides by 3.6 percent.

“When they implement these policies, suicides fall very quickly,” Godoey said in an interview.

Although raising the minimum wage led to an immediate decrease in suicides, raising the EITC had a delayed effect, resulting in fewer suicides the following year, once the tax change came into force. In both cases, it appears as though taking home more money had a positive effect.

The effect was strongest among young women and others who were most likely to have minimum-wage jobs. Among men, black and Hispanic Americans saw the largest effect.

A March study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also found that a one-dollar increase in the minimum wage was associated with a 1.9 percent decrease in suicides, and that the association was strongest between 2011 and 2016, the most recent year studied.

Leading minimum-wage scholar Arindrajit Dube of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who shows in a forthcoming publication in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics that higher minimum wages increase incomes for the poorest families, said the two studies provide important additional evidence on the possible impact of a higher minimum wage on the standard of living - or living at all.

The scholars are contributing to a larger body of work that links health, particularly mental health, with economic policy and outcomes.

In a 2014 analysis in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, William Evans of the University of Notre Dame and Craig Garthwaite of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management found that mothers who received a higher EITC reported better mental and physical health.

In a paper to be published in American Economic Review: Insights, David Autor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, David Dorn of the University of Zurich and Gordon Hanson of the University of California at San Diego drew on data from between 1990 and 2014 to find that the death rate among men tended to rise in cities where jobs were vanishing because of competition from cheap foreign goods.

SOURCE

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Economic hardship tied to increase in U.S. suicide rates, especially in rural areas

By Melissa HealyStaff Writer
LA Times
Sep. 6, 2019

Whether they are densely populated or deeply rural, few communities in the United States have escaped a shocking increase in suicides over the last two decades. From 1999 to 2016, suicide claimed the lives of 453,577 adults between the ages of 25 and 64 enough to fill more than 1,000 jumbo jets.

Suicides reached a 50-year peak in 2017, the latest year for which reliable statistics are available. The vast majority of those suicides happened in the countryגs cities and suburbs, where 80% of Americans live.

But a new study shows that the nations most rural counties have seen the toll of suicide rise FURTHEST AND FASTEST during those 18 years.

The new research ties high suicide rates everywhere to the unraveling of the social fabric that happens when local sports teams disband, beauty and barbershops close, and churches and civic groups dwindle. But in rural counties, especially, it finds a powerful link between suicide and economic deprivation a measure that captures poverty, unemployment, low levels of education and reliance on government assistance.

The study also finds that in counties where health insurance is lacking, and in those where military veterans represent a larger proportion of the population, suicide rates were higher over the 18-year period studied.

And in all but the most rural counties, the more stores there are selling firearms, the higher the suicide rate ח a finding that underscores the risk that goes hand-in-hand with having easy access to guns.

At a time when surging suicide rates have contributed to a sustained decline in life expectancy in the United States, the study results suggest that efforts to rescue Americans from SELF-DESTRUCTIVE DESPAIR must focus on combating loneliness, revitalizing downtrodden communities, broadening access to healthcare and narrowing access to guns.

And it suggests that economic decline in the nations rural outposts has generated a hopelessness that must not be overlooked.

“Suicide rates in rural counties are especially susceptible to deprivation,” a team led by researchers from Ohio State University wrote in Friday’s edition of the journal JAMA Network Open. “Rural counties present special challenges and deserve targeted suicide-prevention efforts.”

Whether they are densely populated or deeply rural, few communities in the United States have escaped a shocking increase in suicides over the last two decades. From 1999 to 2016, suicide claimed the lives of 453,577 adults between the ages of 25 and 64 enough to fill more than 1,000 jumbo jets.

Suicides reached a 50-year peak in 2017, the latest year for which reliable statistics are available. The vast majority of those suicides happened in the country’s cities and suburbs, where 80% of Americans live.

But a new study shows that the nation’s most rural counties have seen the toll of suicide rise furthest and fastest during those 18 years.

The new research ties high suicide rates everywhere to the unraveling of the social fabric that happens when local sports teams disband, beauty and barbershops close, and churches and civic groups dwindle. But in rural counties, especially, it finds a powerful link between suicide and economic deprivation - a measure that captures poverty, unemployment, low levels of education and reliance on government assistance.

The study also finds that in counties where health insurance is lacking, and in those where military veterans represent a larger proportion of the population, suicide rates were higher over the 18-year period studied.

And in all but the most rural counties, the more stores there are selling firearms, the higher the suicide rate a finding that underscores the risk that goes hand-in-hand with having easy access to guns.

At a time when surging suicide rates have contributed to a sustained decline in life expectancy in the United States, the study results suggest that efforts to rescue Americans from self-destructive despair must focus on combating loneliness, revitalizing downtrodden communities, broadening access to healthcare and narrowing access to guns.

And it suggests that economic decline in the nationגs rural outposts has generated a hopelessness that must not be overlooked.

Suicide rates in rural counties are especially susceptible to deprivation,Ӕ a team led by researchers from Ohio State University wrote in Fridays edition of the journal JAMA Network Open. ғRural counties present special challenges and deserve targeted suicide-prevention efforts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that the age-adjusted suicide rate rose from 10.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 1999 to 14.0 per 100,000 in 2017 - a 33% increase. SUICIDE IS NOW THE TENTH LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR PEOPLE OF ALL AGES IN THE UNITED STATES. While rural counties have long led urban ones in suicide rates, the gap became even wider during those years.

Across the country, the new study found that counties whose suicide rates exceeded the national average by the greatest amount tended to be in Western states (particularly Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming), in Appalachia (including Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia), and in the Ozarks (Arkansas and Missouri).

A time-lapsed series of snapshots of suicide rates since the turn of this century reveals a spreading geography of despondency thats broken up by just a few islands җ virtually all of them urban where suicide rates have risen only moderately.

In a series of maps, elevated suicide rates first appear from 2002 to 2004 in pockets scattered across the American Southwest, the inter-mountain West, Appalachia and the farthest reaches of Alaska.

By 2008 to 2010, above-average suicide rates darkened much of the mountainous West and extended across Oregon and Northern California to the Pacific Coast. And they gained a solid foothold in the Midwestern heartland and in counties of the industrial Upper Midwest.

By 2014 to 2016, increased suicide rates spread across the vast expanse of the American West, sparing only most of the counties hugging the California coast from Sonoma County to San Diego. They also covered the industrial Midwest and appeared in rural counties in southern Mississippi and Louisiana, the mid-Atlantic states and New England.

Danielle L. Steelesmith, the studyגs lead author, said the findings on guns warrant further scrutiny. But she noted that this isnt the first time researchers have seen that where access to firearms is greater, so too is the number of suicides committed with a gun.

The exception was in the 20% of counties classified as rural җ those lacking a town with a population greater than 2,500. Steelesmith said the fact that the density of gun shops there was not linked with an increase in suicide risk may reflect a central fact of rural life: Most homes already have a gun, so the availability of a gun retailer may not necessarily increase gun access.

But in counties that include towns larger than 2,500, the added access that comes with more gun shops may make a difference.

ItӒs relatively small as an association, Steelesmith said. ԓIn a large metropolitan county, one additional gun shop would increase suicides by one to two people. But at the national level, thats potentially a lot of people.Ҕ

The new analysis helps explain why suicides, drug overdoses and other so-called deaths of despair have ravaged rural white populations while touching more lightly upon African Americans and Latinos, said Brookings Institution research analyst Carol Graham.

In more metropolitan counties, the long-entrenched poor including communities of color ח appear able to fend off despair by accessing shared resources like city parks, neighborhood barbershops and community churches, and by tapping into the social networks that have sustained them through generations of hardship, Graham said. Plus, they are closer to a wider range of employment opportunities.

Even in rural counties dominated by minorities, such shared institutions have long existed, helping blacks and Latinos to weather long-standing poverty, she said.

In rural counties hollowed out by more recent economic decline, the shared communities of religious congregations, Grange meetings and even high school football games have dwindled. And as residents fled, those left behind have become increasingly isolated from one another, said Graham, who studies the geography of happiness and despair as well as the social, economic and political factors that contribute to population health.

These are the places that used to be thriving rural places, near enough to cities and manufacturing hubs,Ӕ she said. TheyӒre places that accord with a stereotypical picture of stable blue-collar existence and a quite nice existence ח for whites in the heartland.

With the collapse of extractive industries such as coal mining, the departure of manufacturing jobs, and a strapped agricultural economy, “these communities just got flipped on their head,” Graham observed. “And the people in those places became unhinged. You’d have a sense of places where everything has left. And among those who stay, you see no optimism for the future.”

Steelesmith said that one of the studys findings - that social capital 0 in the form of clubs, churches, schools and group activities was associated with lower rates of suicide offers hope to rural populations reeling from economic deprivation.

Maintaining friendships and building connections with others “are something that residents can do themselves,” she said.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/17/19 •
Section Dying America
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Monday, September 09, 2019

Book: I’m Not Done

book-im-not-done.jpg a;t=image: book im not done

Is Ageism the Last Socially Acceptable Ism? A New Book Argues Yes

By Nicole Cardos
WTTW
April 25, 2019

As many as 25,000 complaints claiming age discrimination have been filed each year since 2008, according to the U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION.

That’s one of the reasons why PATTI TEMPLE ROCKS, a senior partner and head of client engagement at marketing agency ICF Next, calls ageism the last socially acceptable “ism” in our culture.

“We should talk about it. It’s the one ‘ism that will ultimately affect us all,” she said. “We’re all going to get old, were all going to age.”

Temple Rocks makes the case for increased awareness about ageism and age discrimination in her new book, I’M NOT DONE: IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT AGEISM IN THE WORKPLACE

The book details stories of employees in their 40s, 50s and 60s who’ve experienced ageism in the workplace, and tips for business leaders who wish to address it.

Temple Rocks joins us in discussion. 

Below, an excerpt from “I’m Not Done”

Chapter 4: The Dollars & Sense of Ageism in the Workplace

The other type of age discrimination claim turns on wrongful termination. Wrongful termination isn’t always a clearly identifiable firing or layoff. More commonly, its the “make them so miserable they will quit” approach, which I’ve discussed previously. This can take many forms, such as excluding an older worker from some meetings all of a sudden, giving younger workers plum assignments, better sales territories, or better technology, and making an older worker feel forced to accept a role that isn’t a good fit. If there is a pattern of such behavior, it can be interpreted as age discrimination.

Employers take this approach because they don’t want to fire the older worker and hope that either the older worker will solve the problem for them by quitting. Sometimes they use the “miserable job” as a place to put a worker they deem disposable. More often than not, this is an older employee. One gentleman I spoke with had this happen to him; in the back of his mind, he knew the company wanted him to leave for financial reasons, but he needed the job. As such, when he was asked to take the “miserable job,” he said yes. After many months, he asked for a change, and he was told by HR, “Well, you lasted a lot longer than we thought you would!” That was followed by HR telling him there was no other suitable role, so they would accept his resignation.

This type of ageism is often preceded by psychological damage and general diminishment of the person. Back to my ever-so-wise attorney friend Sue Ellen, who observed:

All of sudden, once-valued employees feel less valued they are forced into a role that no longer utilizes their strengths, they aren’t invited to key meetings, they are literally and figuratively being muted if not silenced, and it can become a self-defeating cycle because the natural reaction when this happens is to doubt yourself when in reality nothing has changed about your abilities as much as the organization’s natural inclination to gravitate towards the next shiny thing. And once that starts to happen to someone it can really wear them down, so this idea of leaving either voluntarily or not - starts to sound like a plausible idea.

This is essentially what is meant by the infamous phrase “put out to pasture,” and it happens much more often to older workers. They are just not involved in the way that they used to be involved, so it becomes this self-defeating cycle of yuck. Because if you’re not in the thick of things, your opinions are not going to be as well-informed. Then when you do get the chance to participate or give an opinion, it might not be as savvy or as spot-on as it used to be because you have started to doubt yourself and your ability to deliver value.

As humans, we are at our happiest when we feel involved, valued, and needed. When you no longer feel that in your workplace, particularly as an older worker who has been invested in a career for 30 or 40 years, it feels almost like a loss of identity. It’s almost like the stories you hear of one spouse dying followed quickly by the other. And after interviewing dozens of people, I can confirm that it hurts. A lot. Their hurt was palpable in each and every one of my interviews.

It’s a real ego blow to be treated this way. It’s hurtful. These are people who have spent most of their careers being highly valued, and then they all of a sudden get to a place where they start to wonder, when did I become invisible?

I think that’s partly why I opted to move on when I experienced this myself. I got some really good advice from a senior-level recruiter who I’ve known for a long time: he said, “The minute it [staying in the job] starts to erode your self-confidence, you have to get out of there.”

“I’m blessed with a fair degree of self-confidence, and it’s a lot easier for me than I think it is for a lot of people. I was also in a position where I could quitthat’s not true for everyone.”

Age discrimination also takes a heavier toll than other forms of discrimination on the health of victims. Boomers who want to keep working often need the income and health insurance that comes with full-time employment. Taking that away from them places a greater burden on public resources. In a statistic that shocked and horrified me, according to the AARP, those who lose their jobs past age 58 are at the greatest health risk, and on average, lose three years of life expectancy if they dont find another job.

A work study conducted by AARP in 2017 found that age is the leading reason for negative treatment by an employer. Participants were asked: “Thinking about how you are personally treated in the workplace, would you say the following generally caused your employer to treat you better, worse or no differently: age, race/ ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, veteran status? Notably, age was the leading reason, and it was nearly double race and more than double gender. This underscores the negative psychological and physical effects experienced by older workers subject to age discrimination.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/09/19 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Friday, September 06, 2019

Call Center Worker Survey

inage: call center blues

The folks at PROPUBLICA are doing a story of those of us that work in CALL CENTERS:

We’re doing some research into what it’s like to work at customer service contracting firms

Tell your story HERE

Posted by Elvis on 09/06/19 •
Section General Reading
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