Sunday, June 27, 2010

Time to create a ‘Department of Louise.’

Post 514 - Here are this week's impressions and statistics:

I'm told that
- 50% of our health is related to our behavior
- 20% is related to our environment
- 20% is related to our genetics
- 10% is related to our access to health-care.

More than 400 million people worldwide are obese, including 72 million here in the U.S. Currently, 112,000 obese Americans die every year. Over the past decade, medical costs related to obesity have more than tripled to the point where they now account for almost 10 percent of U.S. annual health care spending. San Diego County lost $3 billion last year in obesity costs, including lost work productivity. The California Center for Public Health Advocacy reported that statewide, the California total came to $43 billion!

In America, we have a sick-care system, not a health-care system.

According to a study by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, married couples have intercourse about 66 times a year. But that number is skewed by young marrieds, as young as 18, who have sex, on average, 84 times a year.

There were 4.25 million births in the U.S. in 2008 – a two percent decline from 2007. A U.S. woman could expect to have 3.7 children in the late 1950s. A typical American woman expects to have 2.09 children today. A typical woman in Western Europe is expected to have 1.59 children today. Worldwide, a typical woman is expected to have 2.56 children.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that at least 10.8 million illegal immigrants are currently living in the United States.

Between 2008 and 2010 the share of voters who considered the Democrats too liberal surged from 39 percent to 49 percent, according to Gallup surveys.

Asked why she frequently doesn’t wear pants, Lady Gaga said, “My grandmother is basically blind, but she can make out the lighter parts, like my skin and hair. She says, ‘I can see you, because you have no pants on.’ So I’ll continue to wear no pants so that my grandma can see me.” Who knew?

Maybe checking out Lady Gaga is why men watch 32 minutes of television more than women do. In 2009, men spent three hours, six minutes a day watching TV, compared to two hours, 34 minutes for women.

On a really serious note, in international standing, America’s K-12 students are now 32nd in math, 10th in science and 12th in reading scores. Our weakness in K-12 catches up as applications to graduate school in the technical sciences are largely foreign born. Nearly 70 percent of engineering PhDs awarded in 2006 were to foreign born students, as were more than half the PhDs awarded in the physical sciences.

Many K-12 students don’t have role models with whom they identify because only 24 percent of teachers are men and only 17 percent are from a minority background.

Politicians in California are now trying to craft a balanced budget by cutting funds for education. For example, they're calling for a 20 percent cut in support for the University of California system on top of significant earlier cuts made in the past few years.

Some time ago, Dave Barry suggested that we create a ‘Department of Louise.’ Louise would be a sensible woman of a certain age and experience. Once legislators had passed a bill, she would have final say before implementation. Don’t you think it’s time the voters of California adopted Dave’s excellent recommendation?


Steve Erbach said...

Mr. Cotter,

The Department of Louise! And across the hall the Department of Two Guys Named Victor!

I've been trying to find that Dave Barry column online but without any luck. I suppose that it must be in one of Barry's books, but while I'm a fan I don't feel like buying 12 books to find one column!

Anyway, thanks for keeping the DofL alive!

Steve Erbach
Neenah, WI

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