Day: December 26, 2014

A global conspiracy of health

By MICHAEL GERSON In the category of stunning, heartening, woefully underreported good news: In 2000, an estimated 9.9 million children around the world died before age 5. In 2013, the figure was 6.3 million. That is 3.6 million fewer deaths, even as population increased by about 1 billion. Shout it from the rooftops. Or, more topically, paste it to the posterior of a celebrity. Put Dianne Feinstein in charge of keeping it a secret. There are a variety of reasons for increased child survival, including improved prevention of malaria and HIV. But according to a recent report in The Lancet, about half of these gains came from reductions in pneumonia, diarrhea and measles — diseases addressed by vaccination. We are seeing the continuation of what is perhaps the single greatest scientific contribution to human well-being: the artificial preparation of the immune system to ward off bacteria and viruses. The provision of vaccines is a particularly clear instance of what economists call a global public good. A tetanus shot, for example, is a very good thing for the individual getting it; he or she doesn’t end up with lockjaw. But it is not, strictly speaking, a public good. Only the treated person benefits. The broad provision of the pneumococcal vaccine, in contrast, creates herd immunity and reduces anti-microbial resistance. The circulation of pneumonia in children is diminished, helping protect the...

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The duck that roared

By E.J. DIONNE JR. Politics in a democracy is a team sport that leans heavily on individual high performers. This explains the paradoxical closing of President Obama’s most difficult year in office. He ends 2014 in surprisingly buoyant spirits, having proved that he still has the power to push policy in new directions in foreign affairs and on issues ranging from immigration to climate change. But his underlying political position is weaker, meaning that Obama and his aides are aware that changing the trajectory of the nation’s debate and the fortunes of his party are among his primary obligations over the next two years. Just as Ronald Reagan’s legacy was secured by the presidential victory of George H. W. Bush in 1988, so does Obama need a Democrat — at the moment, this would seem to be Hillary Clinton — to win in 2016. In the short run, Obama has demonstrated that the term “lame duck” has its limits. Over the seven weeks since the Democrats’ pummeling in November’s midterm elections, the president has moved forcefully to show he will use all the power he still has. He used executive action to legalize the situations of up to 5 million undocumented immigrants and in doing so created a political problem for Republicans. They are split on the immigration question and will greatly weaken their ability to appeal to Latino...

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Albertsons to become Haggen store in Keizer

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Pretty soon Keizer will no longer have an Albertsons. That’s because the grocery store located at 5450 River Road N will become a Haggen sometime in 2015. Haggen Food and Grocery was started in Washington in 1933 and currently has 18 locations. Florida-based Comvest Partners purchased a majority stake of the company in 2011. Albertsons and Safeway underwent a merger earlier this year, with the agreement to sell 168 stores to acquire merger approval as part of AB Acquisition LLC agreeing to buy Safeway for $9.4 billion. Haggen is acquiring 146 of those stores, including the Albertsons in Keizer that opened in 1985. The Safeway in Keizer will be unchanged. Darren Dye, store manager at the Keizer Albertsons, referred questions to Dennis McCoy, Communications and Public Affairs manager for the Idaho-based company. McCoy said shoppers won’t notice much difference. “Under the terms of the purchase agreement, Haggen has agreed to hire all store employees upon the close of the Albertsons/Safeway merger,” McCoy said. According to a news release from Haggen, the company will convert all acquired stores to the Haggen banner “in phases during the first half of 2015” after the transaction closes. However, a certain time was not specified for individual stores. “I don’t have a more specific timeline for the Keizer location at this time,” McCoy said. Deborah Pleva, an associate...

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Progress in KYSA, KLL talks

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Keizer Youth Sports Association (KYSA) and Keizer Little League (KLL) are still two entities. However, signs point to a renewed effort to merge the two youth sports groups. One such sign: the two groups won’t both be offering softball programs in 2015; only KLL will be doing so. “We did vote as a board last week and voted to give softball to Keizer Little League, effective for 2015,” new KYSA president Andrew Copeland said on Monday. “When we go to register, we will include that information. I think it will work for both organizations. It’s better for the community to have a larger rec league. All parts of softball will go to KLL. KYSA will not be running a softball program at all.” Jamie Vasas, a KLL board member who also serves as the KLL webmaster in addition to helping with other issues, confirmed that is the case. “It sounds like that is what is happening,” Vasas said on Monday. “That’s what KYSA voted on. It sounds like KLL is doing all the softball. Everyone who signs up for softball for rec will have to do it under KLL. We always offered softball. Last year KYSA offered softball and so did we. They are not offering it this year. It was nothing we told them to do.” Vasas is estimating at least 200...

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