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Tropical Diseases: The New Plague of Poverty

Poor people in America have gotten so poor they are being afflicted with really weird diseases previously confined to the third world. Tropical Diseases - The New Plague of Poverty - NYTimes.com
IN the United States, 2.8 million children are living in households with incomes of less than $2 per person per day, a benchmark more often applied to developing countries. An additional 20 million Americans live in extreme poverty. In the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, poverty rates are near 20 percent. In some of the poorer counties of Texas, where I live, rates often approach 30 percent. In these places, the Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality, ranks as high as in some sub-Saharan African countries. Poverty takes many tolls, but in the United States, one of the most tragic has been its tight link with a group of infections known as the neglected tropical diseases, which we ordinarily think of as confined to developing countries. Outbreaks of dengue fever, a mosquito-transmitted viral infection that is endemic to Mexico and Central America, have been reported in South Texas. Then there is cysticercosis, a parasitic infection caused by a larval pork tapeworm that leads to seizures and epilepsy; toxocariasis, another parasitic infection that causes asthma and neurological problems; cutaneous leishmaniasis, a disfiguring skin infection transmitted by sand flies; and murine typhus, a bacterial infection transmitted by fleas and often linked to rodent infestations. Among the more frightening is Chagas disease. Transmitted by a “kissing bug” that resembles a cockroach but with the ability to feed on human blood, it is a leading cause of heart failure and sudden death throughout Latin America. It is an especially virulent scourge among pregnant women, who can pass the disease on to their babies. Just last month, the first case of congenital Chagas disease in the United States was reported. These are, most likely, the most important diseases you’ve never heard of. . . .

August 17, 2012

A Detroit Lions Executive Might Lose His House Because The High School Built A Blue Turf Football Field It Can’t Afford

Oxford High is within Oxford Charter Township. Population 20,526 (as of 2010). If you include the village of Oxford as well, that bumps the population up to roughly 26,000. My mother-in-law lives in Oxford. I've been there many, many times. Call me crazy, but a $400,000 football field seems pretty expensive for such a small community. A Detroit Lions Executive Might Lose His House Because The High School Built A Blue Turf Football Field It Can't Afford
We told you last year about a Detroit-area high school that rubbed Boise State the wrong way after installing a $400,000 football field of blue artificial turf. Boise State said everything would be fine as long as they didn't refer to it as "blue turf." Turns out Oxford High School can't actually afford the turf to begin with, though that didn't stop them from installing it. Having only raised a quarter of the money necessary to pay the installation off, the AstroTurf company is due to come calling and may repossess the homes of five community members who put their houses up as collateral for the loan. One of those community members? Detroit Lions Senior VP for Communications Bill Keenist (who also serves on the Oxford school board).
*Thanks, James Miller*

Teaching Is a Sales Position

I continue to write a column for the Ann Arbor...