Black infant mortality

posted by sena on

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The NYT writes
Precisely why the black infant mortality rate is so high is a mystery that has eluded researchers even as the racial disparity continues to grow in cities like Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Boston. 
In Pittsburgh, where the unemployment rate is well below the national average, the infant mortality rate for black residents of Allegheny County was 20.7 in 2009, a slight decrease from 21 in 2000 but still worse than the rates in China or Mexico. In the same period the rate among whites in the county decreased to 4 from 5.6 — well below the national average, according to state statistics. ...

And the article goes on, in the standard fashion, to talk about the black-white gap from various perspectives. 
Recent studies have shown that poverty, education, access to prenatal care, smoking and even low birth weight do not alone explain the racial gap in infant mortality, and that even black women with graduate degrees are more likely to lose a child in its first year than are white women who did not finish high school. Research is now focusing on stress as a factor and whether black women have shorter birth canals.

My guess would be that the differences would be part nature, part nurture. The nature side looks to me like at base, an r-K differential. The nurture side, however, needs investigating because matters could be improved. For example, what is the role of STDs?

The problem with most conventional thinking about racial differences is what I call the midget-giant gestalt issue, after the time when I was at UCLA and I saw a midget talking to a normal sized guy. But then a second midget walked up and I suddenly realized the midgets were six-footers and the normal sized guy was 7'-4" 290 pound basketball player Mark Eaton. 

Similarly, American race discourse is obsessed with black-white comparisons, which often don't get very far for lack of a third party to provide perspective. 

Thus, a table accompanying the article shows that the infant mortality rate among Hispanics is slightly lower than among whites, much less among blacks. (Click on the table above to see more columns.) That poor Hispanics have much, much lower infant mortality than poor blacks is not a new development.  I noticed that back in the early 1990s. But there is no reference in this 2011 article to Hispanics. You would think that this would be a key avenue of research because Hispanics have, evidently, found cheap ways to have healthy babies.

There are now 50,000,000+ Hispanics in the U.S. We're not supposed to notice their failures. Can we at least notice their successes? 

Obama's latest war

posted by sena on

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From Reuters:
President Barack Obama said on Friday he was sending about 100 U.S. military advisers to Uganda to support central African allies pursuing Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, and other rebel commanders. ... 
"Subject to the approval of each respective host nation, elements of these U.S. forces will deploy into Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo," he said.

The Bush Administration sent 17 unarmed advisers to Uganda, but Obama is sending 100 armed soldiers. It seems as if Uganda -- Yoweri Museveni, Proprietor (since 1986) -- is pretty good at invading the Congo, but not so hot at putting down a rebellion led by a dim-witted lunatic.

The War Nerd, John Dolan, profiled America's newest enemy, the Lord's Resistance Army, back in 2002:
This week I’m honoring some great Christian killers: the Lord’s Resistance Army of Uganda. These kids — and they are kids, mostly 13-16 years old — get my vote for funniest army on the planet. ... 
There was another, way crazier and more fun: Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Little Joseph came from a very devout Christian family: his aunt Alice founded the LRA and passed it on to him when she died. Aunt Alice started some of the great traditions of the LRA, like telling your troops that if they just wore her special amulets, bullets won’t hurt them. Aunt Alice had everybody in the LRA believing God hisself would be their kevlar vest. This turned out to be untrue, but there was a great escape clause: by the time the chumps found out the amulets didn’t work as advertised, they were DEAD! Now that’s the way to run a complaint department” Thousands of satisfied customers and dissatisfied but uncomplaining corpses. ... 
People won’t see this — won’t see how simple and practical the African style of warfare really is. The LRA is at war with the Ugandan Army, but it’s war Central-Africa style. We’re not talking Gettysburg or Verdun here. The idea isn’t to have big battles but to sneak up on an enemy village and kill all the civilians, take their livestock and steal their stuff.

Mr. Anon comments: "It takes a child to raze a village."
Reporters like to call this “insane,” which is crap. Which would you rather do, get sent off to another continent to fight heavily-armed opponents (war Western-style) or kill the neighbors who wake you every damn morning with their stupid lawnmower (war African-style)? Especially if you can see they’ve got a nice DVD player in there? Personally, I’d much rather kill the neighbors and steal their stuff. And if they’ve got a daughter just hitting puberty — well, that’s just gravy.

I hope the Department of Defense has gotten the malaria drug issue straightened out. Over the last decade, Marines sent to Liberia tend to get malaria at very high rates. There had been complaints about the side effects of the prophylactic drug they are supposed to take, and some think they are skipping it.

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