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Old 07-23-2014, 05:00 PM   #21
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Much, much better. I might also pose that even people are somewhat better than they once were. The world, and the developed world particularly, has become a safer and safer place over the last 40-60 years. Violent crime has dropped dramatically and children are actually probably far safer today than they ever have been - and not because they live such sheltered lives. I agree that the media (and even some of the organizations charged with 'protecting' us) would have us believe that we live in a much more dangerous place than we actually do.
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:40 PM   #22
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Hard to be objective about this question. The modern conveniences and medical advances make this an easy question to answer as yes "for me"!!! Unfortunately so many of the comforts us relatively wealthy folks enjoy have come at the expense of other people and the health of our planet. Ask me if I am optimistic that the average person born today. Will they have as good a shot at fairness, justice and a long healthy life as I have. I can only feel profoundly concerned. Not a clue how to answer that one.
I hear you. Just today, my experience had me wondering the same thing. In fact, I am utterly heart broken after this experience today. I rented a house to an elderly couple, in their upper 70s with obvious disability because they desperately needed to move from the rental which was foreclosed even though they paid their rent every month. They are low income and for most of their lives were part of the working class. They had no one but themselves to rely on and it was the blind leading the blind situation. In fact, I had to go beyond being just a landlord to help them get settled. My life at their age (if I am lucky) would be so different given the resources I have. I couldn't help but wonder why people who have worked so hard and given so much to society would have to end up in a situation like this with virtually no support and no resources. They were renting a house in a low income neighborhood with little to no amenities for older people. I felt sad for them all day.
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:53 PM   #23
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I hear you. Just today, my experience had me wondering the same thing. In fact, I am utterly heart broken after this experience today. I rented a house to an elderly couple, in their upper 70s with obvious disability because they desperately needed to move from the rental which was foreclosed even though they paid their rent every month. They are low income and for most of their lives were part of the working class. They had no one but themselves to rely on and it was the blind leading the blind situation. In fact, I had to go beyond being just a landlord to help them get settled. My life at their age (if I am lucky) would be so different given the resources I have. I couldn't help but wonder why people who have worked so hard and given so much to society would have to end up in a situation like this with virtually no support and no resources. They were renting a house in a low income neighborhood with little to no amenities for older people. I felt sad for them all day.

Maybe lower their rent?
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:59 PM   #24
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While I agree that progress has been made in medicine in the past, I see that trend slowing considerably. The concentration by big pharma on products that must be consumed every day for the rest of one's life mean that true cures are no longer being sought. Novo Nordisk used to have a slogan that indicated that they wanted to cure diabetes. Ha! That would put them out of business. What they really want is to treat diabetics (prolong suffering as long as possible to maximize profit). That's just one example. There are hundreds of studies that are going unfunded because the treatment drug is off patent or a cure would destroy an existing business model.

But besides that, everything else is better, hehe!
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:04 PM   #25
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While I agree that progress has been made in medicine in the past, I see that trend slowing considerably. The concentration by big pharma on products that must be consumed every day for the rest of one's life mean that true cures are no longer being sought. Novo Nordisk used to have a slogan that indicated that they wanted to cure diabetes. Ha! That would put them out of business. What they really want is to treat diabetics (prolong suffering as long as possible to maximize profit). That's just one example. There are hundreds of studies that are going unfunded because the treatment drug is off patent or a cure would destroy an existing business model.

But besides that, everything else is better, hehe!
And I thought I was cynical...
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:23 PM   #26
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I agree there is no reason to get political in this discussion. The root issue that could easily polarize people in this thread is perspective. For the many poor, literally and figuratively, people living with marginal nutrition and minimal medical care in overpopulated third world conditions throughout the world this entire thread would seem crazy. They have not benefited much from the advances almost all of us have. In a similar manner the many unemployed workers in the USA who have had their manufacturing jobs outsourced for purely economic reasons might have a less rosy perspective. That is not political at all.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:51 PM   #27
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Yes,
My home is better constructed i.e. more energy efficient
Bed is better than straw
My car is safer
I have a computer and everything that brings in the way of instant communications and knowledge
My food is safer and more plentiful
My clothes, I think, are more durable, and cheaper
TV - may disagree, but for me a plus in the entertainment column
Medicine - beat to death already
Air transportation - just depends how you defines 'use to be'
Washing machine
Microwave
Dishwasher
My dog has better medicine

I'm RETIRED! THATS A BIG ONE!

I just finished the HBO series on John Adams. I don't see much change in politics.

So yes, I think we are way better off today. Problems, sure, but overall, I think it will just get better.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:56 PM   #28
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Medicine is way better. I often think about how I would have lost my beautiful daughter if it was not for antibiotics.
I am named after my mom's youngest brother, who died at the age of three from an infection he got from a scraped knee. A shot of penicillin would probably have fixed him right up. Little wonder antibiotics were called "wonder drugs".
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:16 PM   #29
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I am named after my mom's youngest brother, who died at the age of three from an infection he got from a scraped knee. A shot of penicillin would probably have fixed him right up. Little wonder antibiotics were called "wonder drugs".
And, since I'm having a really bad day, I'll continue my rant...

Now that we have overused those "wonder drugs", if you get methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in that scrape now, you may just be pushing up daysies because there's been almost no investment in narrow spectrum antibiotics (you don't need to take one every day for the rest of your life, so there are better profits elsewhere). And the big seller broad spectrum antibiotics are killing off the microbiome that evolved with us and presenting us with ever higher incidences of diseases like diabetes and autoimmune diseases. Read "Missing Microbes (Blaser)" if you want the full rundown.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:31 PM   #30
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Maybe lower their rent?
It's very low considering what they are getting.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:34 PM   #31
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I agree there is no reason to get political in this discussion. The root issue that could easily polarize people in this thread is perspective. For the many poor, literally and figuratively, people living with marginal nutrition and minimal medical care in overpopulated third world conditions throughout the world this entire thread would seem crazy. They have not benefited much from the advances almost all of us have. In a similar manner the many unemployed workers in the USA who have had their manufacturing jobs outsourced for purely economic reasons might have a less rosy perspective. That is not political at all.
So true but I assume we are talking about developed economies because in most ways they third world is very much as it has always been.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:11 PM   #32
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For all the prophets of doom and gloom, who go on and on about how horrible life is today, I hereby present you with -- the 70s. By far the worst decade I ever lived through. Things are far better now.


THE 1970s – a survey of the headlines
1970 – when the decade opens, the US is still engaged in the Vietnam War, which had killed 49,000 Americans and had riven the country.In May, the U.S. invades Cambodia, sparking riots across the country.Among other events, 4 students are shot to death by the National Guard at Kent State University in Ohio and 15 killed at Jackson State University in Mississippi.Subsequently, 100,000 people protest the war in Washington DC and the “Hardhat Riot” occurs in NYC.9000 more Americans would die before the war ended.
The Clean Air Act is passed, but the air is still dreadfully polluted.I personally recall the impenetrable haze, punctuating by the gas flares of the refineries, driving through the Meadowlands in NJ.
The TV news is filled with pictures of starving Biafran children with swollen bellies, as the civil war in Nigeria draws to a close.That news alternates with the gruesome reports from the Manson Family trial in California. In September, the Black September Group in Jordan hijacks and blows up 4 airplanes. The Baeder Meinhof Gang and Red Army Faction in Germany and the Red Brigades in Italy continue their campaign of terror, with kidnappings, murders and bank robberies. A cyclone hits Bangladesh and 500,000 people are killed – perhaps the most lethal natural disaster in history.
The inflation rate in the US is 5.7%.If you want to buy or sell stock, you pay a fixed (high) commission.There is no such thing as discount brokers until after 1975.

1971 – the country learns the horrifying details of the My Lai massacre as Lt. William Calley goes on trial.In May, 500,000 people gather in Washington DC and 125,000 in San Francisco to protest the war. The Pentagon Papers are published and the public learns of US government duplicity. Race riots occur in Camden NJ and there is a violent takeover of Attica prison in New York.Violence increases as “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland take hold. There is also a war between Pakistan and Bangladesh. President Nixon ends the Bretton Woods system by ending US dollar convertibility for gold.Wage, rent and price freezes are implemented.The US inflation rate is 4.4%.

1972 – the Troubles continue in Northern Ireland, including riots at the Maze prison.Bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong resumes and Haiphong Harbor is mined by the US.Thomas Eagleton is driven from the Democratic ticket because it is reported he was once treated for mental illness. Palestinian terrorists murder 11 Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympics in Munich as the world watches in horror.There is a race riot aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.With the return of the Apollo 17 mission, the US gives up on manned space exploration. There is a smallpox (a disease that no longer exists) epidemic in Yugoslavia. After decades of abuse of our nation’s waterways, culminating, most notably, in the Cuyahoga River being so polluted that it caught fire in 1969, the Clean Water Act is finally passed.The nation’s rivers and lakes are so heavily polluted that the task is daunting indeed.The U.S. inflation rate is at a decade low of 3.2%. The DJIA reaches a high of 1067 at the end of the year.It will not see this level again until 1983 in nominal terms, and not until 1993 in real terms.

1973 – The American Indian Movement occupies Wounded Knee.The Watergate scandal erupts into the public consciousness.Piece by piece, the public learns about lawlessness at the highest levels of government.The Saturday Night Massacre occurs in Washington when Nixon fires his attorney general and the deputy attorney general because they won’t call off the special prosecutor.Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns for wrongdoing unrelated to Watergate.The US sponsors a military coup in Chile, which overthrows and kills the legally elected president, Salvador Allende.In October, the Yom Kippur War erupts in Israel.US nuclear forces go to Defcon 3 (i.e. – ballistic missile submarines head for their launch points, SAC planes are manned and ready for takeoff) and the world is closer to nuclear war than it has been since the Cuban Missile Crisis.The Arab oil embargo ensues and gas lines become a common sight in the US.The US inflation rate nearly doubles, jumping to 6.2%.The country begins a brutal 2 year recession that will see the US economy contract by 2% per year.

1974 – there is a rash of destructive tornadoes in the central US, the worst in 40 years.The Symbionese Liberation Army is on the loose with Patty Hearst in California.In Northern Ireland, the deadliest bombings yet occur.President Nixon resigns from office as a consequence of his impending impeachment over the Watergate scandal, the first US president to ever do so.Turkey invades Cyprus.The inflation rate nearly doubles again, rising to 11%. The DJIA drops to 570 in December, nearly a 50% loss from the peak.

1975 – the Vietnam War finally ends, as Saigon falls the North Vietnamese.The searing image of a helicopter on the roof of the U.S. embassy cements the ignominy of the US abandonment of the South.The Khmer Rouge take over Cambodia and genocide ensues.US Marines are abandoned to their fate in the Mayaguez incident.The Red Army Faction takes over the German embassy in Stockholm. There are two assassination attempts against President Ford.Both the president and vice president elected in 1972 are gone.New York City is on the verge of bankruptcy.The inflation rate this year is improving, and now only 9.1%.

1976 – The US enters the bicentennial year in a subdued mood.There is an enormous race riot at a Florida high school.Divisive public debate erupts over the fate of Karen Ann Quinlan, a NJ woman who lies in a coma after a drug overdose.Legionnaire’s disease erupts at a convention in Philadelphia.The US inflation rate drops to only 5.8%; it will not be this low again for the rest of the decade.The unemployment rate hits 7.7%.

1977 -- President Carter pardons Vietnam draft dodgers, infuriating many Americans.There is a terrible plane accident at Tenerife in the Azores, killing almost 600 people.There is a massacre in Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 34.The New York City Blackout occurs, resulting in 25 hours of rioting and mayhem, highlighting the city’s troubles.The Son of Sam (aka “.44 cal. killer”) terrorizes a weary city through a long hot summer. The US inflation rate is 6.5%.

1978 – Winter brings a gigantic blizzard that disrupts travel and close roads in many Northeastern states.There is a gigantic oil spill from a grounded tanker, the Amoco Cadiz, in France.The Red Brigades kill former prime minister Aldo Moro in Italy. 918 people commit mass suicide at the Jonestown Temple in Guyana.The U.S. Supreme Court rules, in Univ. of Cal. Regents v. Bakke, that racial quotas for college admissions are unconstitutional, setting off a firestorm of debate that continues to this day.The world’s first “test tube baby” is born in the UK, also setting off a firestorm of debate that continues to this day.Two Roman Catholic Popes die, and there are three popes in one year.Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated in San Francisco.Cleveland, Ohio becomes the first major American city to go into default since the Great Depression.The US inflation rate rises to 7.6%.

1979 – A disturbed teenager (Brenda Spencer) in San Diego opens fire at an elementary school, shooting two teachers and eight students.The Iranian Revolution occurs and the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is seized.The 53 American diplomatic and military personnel seized in Tehran will be held until 1981. There is an associated oil crisis and gas lines return to the US. There is a blowout at the Ixtoc oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, and 176 million gallons of oil are spilled. The Sandanistas seize power in Nicaragua.The IRA kill Britain’s Lord Mountbatten.The Grand Mosque in Mecca is taken by militants and recaptured by French commandos.250 are killed and 600 wounded.Millions of people fear for their health and safety after a nuclear meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Harrisburg, PA. The US inflation rate hits 11.4%. President Carter gives his famous “malaise” speech to cap off a troubled decade.
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Old 07-24-2014, 04:22 AM   #33
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What, in your view, has gotten worse in the last 40 years?
Since you asked: https://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM

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One complaint is the rise of terrorism/hate around the world - and no sign of it ending. There have always been problems and brutality, it just seems so much more complicated now.
The insidiousness and the ability for small efforts to "pay off" in great harm.
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:25 AM   #34
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Since you asked
How about a short description instead of a link?
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:12 AM   #35
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Everything is relative, and it is what it is.

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The World Is Too Much With Us
BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1802)
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:17 AM   #36
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It's that distribution of wealth in America clip.

Most viewers of that video don't get into the methodology, but if they did, they'd find that the poll had people imagine that they'd be randomly assigned to a quintile of various countries where the population of each quintile was different. The US, having a large bottom quitile seemed too risky for poll takers and they had been "anchored" with the flat 20% that they figured they shouldn't stray too far from. So many of them took the next choice (ho hum). Wealth distribution is not random; if you value education and hard work, you have a better chance of not ending up in the bottom quintile, so the straw man that you get randomly dropped into a quintile is invalid in the first place.

So while I agree that CEO pay, for instance, has gone off the charts crazy, and would be something that has not got "better", in the context of this thread, I don't agree that socialism is "optimal" because one question on a poll (that made it easy for the respondants to give "the right answer") says so.
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:49 AM   #37
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Definitely better now.

Before the industrial age preparing a meal was a huge endeavor. Hike to your nearest water source for a pail of water. Strain out any leaves or other dirt. Split firewood. Start a fire. Cook over fire.

Two minutes in the microwave is so much better.
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Old 07-24-2014, 09:08 AM   #38
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I won't offer an opinion on distribution of wealth lest Porky is hovering, but I do think there is a flaw in how it's often presented. There is a strong correlation between wealth and age. I was in the bottom quintile until my late 20s, but in the top quintile when I turned 50. So a better representation would account for age.
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Old 07-24-2014, 09:09 AM   #39
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So true but I assume we are talking about developed economies because in most ways they third world is very much as it has always been.
I disagree. Think of the millions of people in India who hold high tech jobs that didn't exist in their country a generation ago.
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Old 07-24-2014, 09:13 AM   #40
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I'll agree with sengsational that it is a problem that pharmaceuticals have a higher business interest in ongoing treatment than they do cures. But I don't think that quite fits the premise of today being worse than some 50 years ago, when we may not have had a treatment or a cure.

And that's an area that I think maybe the government needs to step in to address.


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What, in your view, has gotten worse in the last 40 years?
Since you asked: https://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM ...
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It's that distribution of wealth in America clip. ...


Ahh, OK then, I think bUU found an area that is worse than 40 years ago. We have far more whiners today!

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