Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekly Facts Rodeo

The Weekly Facts that shape our world begin with India, where energy is powering tens of millions to escape poverty and reshaping world commodity markets but:

1. Seventy-five per cent or about 800 million Indians still survive on about $2 per day. Growth in global energy demand is centered in India and China as those nations lift more than 1 billion people out of grinding poverty. Energy demand in the USA and Europe by contrast is now stable or even declining, as energy efficiency advances keep pace with modest economic growth.

2. Back in the USA, a record 46.2 million people in 2010 had incomes below the US poverty level and 20.5 million people or 6.7% had incomes below 50% of the poverty level. Families at 50% of the poverty level are living on about $30 per day.

3. Of Americans between the ages of 26 and 64, 19.9% are without health insurance at any one time. Medicare provides health insurance to the elderly, and those below 26 can be on the health insurance of a parent if a parent has health insurance, as a result of the health insurance reform passed in 2011.

4. A major cause of high health care costs and high health insurance premiums is smoking. Each year just 6.2% of smokers are able to kick the habit. Many more try but fail.

5. Coach K wins 902 and ties Bobby Knight for coaching wins. Duke plays Michigan State on Tuesday in Madison Square Garden. Both the Duke Lacrosse affair that began with a team party involving strippers and the horrendous scandal at PSU that ended coach Paterno's career are reminders to all that wins and losses matter little compared to what happens off the field. In our sports culture, the seduction of victory can cause coaches, players, parents, fans to forget what builds or destroys lives. With proper perspective, sports are a positive, fun, healthy force in lives.

6. Steelers roll in a big game, and the Eagles look like a team that does not want to play, sticking a fork in themselves, virtually ending their season, absent a miraculous turn around.

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