Monday, August 9, 2010

The current state of things.

Post 538 - Here's another set of data reported in the past week. Seems like the rich continue to get richer and the poor continue to get poorer. So, what else is new?

Some 16.5 percent of America’s workers are now either unemployed and trying to find a job, involuntarily working part time, or have stopped looking for work altogether. That figure doesn’t include the many Americans who’ve had to settle for jobs for which they are overqualified.

Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of software maker Oracle Corp., topped the list of best-paid executives of public companies during the past decade, receiving $1.84 billion in compensation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of CEO pay.

One of the most famous sub-categories of specialty lines insurance is body part insurance. Plenty of people have heard the stories of singers like Bruce Springsteen or Celine Dion ensuring their voices (or vocal chords) or actresses like Heidi Klum, Tina Turner and Betty Grable insuring their legs. Sometimes the performer takes the initiative, while in other cases it may be a company doing so - as in the case of Heidi Klum. Braun, now part of Procter & Gamble, took out the policy when Ms. Klum signed on as a celebrity promoter.

Jeanne Louise Calment (21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997) had the longest confirmed human life span in recent history, living 122 years and 164 days (44,724 days total). In 1965, aged 90 years and with no heirs, Calment signed a deal to sell her former apartment to lawyer AndrĂ©-François Raffray, on a contingency contract. Raffray, then aged 47 years, agreed to pay her a monthly sum of 2,500 francs until she died. Raffray ended up paying Calment the equivalent of more than $180,000, which was more than double the apartment's value. After Raffray's death from cancer at the age of 77, in 1995, his widow continued the payments until Calment's death.

Today, adults consume more than 3,400 mgs of sodium on average a day, not including salt used in cooking or sprinkled on food from a shaker. This is more than twice the amount recommended for most people, according to a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middle-aged men are eating on average about 54% more salt today than in the early 1970s; for women, consumption has jumped 67% in that time.

Sen. John Kerry bought and housed his $7 million yacht in Rhode Island instead of Massachusetts, where he’s the senior senator and champion of higher taxes on the rich, thereby avoiding some $437,500 in state sales tax and an annual excise tax of about $70,000. Howard Metzenbaum, the former Ohio senator and liberal supporter of the death tax, chose to change his official residence to Florida just before he died because Florida doesn’t have an estate tax while Ohio does.

Rich married men who are approaching retirement have the highest self-esteem, according to scientists. Confidence is lowest among young adults but increases with age until it peaks around 60. Then retirement and failing health cause a decline in self-regard, researchers have found. A study published by the American Psychological Association looked at 3617 people aged 25 to 104 between 1986 and 2002 and rated how their self-esteem changed. Women were less confident than men, only catching up in their 80s or 90s. Those with better education, income, health and employment status were also likely to report higher levels of self-esteem, especially as they aged, the study found. "It’s possible that wealth and health are related to feeling more independent and better able to contribute to one's family and society, which in turn bolsters self-esteem," said study leader Ulrich Orth. Participants were asked to rate their agreement with statements such as "I take a positive attitude towards myself." They were asked about their ethnic background, education, income, work status, relationship satisfaction, and whether they had experienced stressful events. People in happy relationships had higher levels of self-esteem, but experienced the same drop in confidence when they passed 60 as those in unhappy relationships.

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