RIP Elijah Cummings

Representative Elijah Cummings passed away yesterday at the age of 68.

Cummings had been absent from Capitol Hill for about a month as he recovered from an unspecified medical procedure. But he had been beset with a variety of physical ailments for the past few years, and often used a walker or a wheelchair to get around Capitol Hill and his Baltimore-based district. His last roll call vote was on Sept. 11.
No cause of death was announced.

Cummings was the Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. He was first elected in 1996, taking the seat vacated by Rep. Kweisi Mfume when Mfume left to become the President of the NAACP.

I've read a lot of accolades for Cummings today -- I like this one:

“Elijah always fought for the little guy, working across the aisle on health care issues, prescription drugs and the importance of education as a way to open doors for every child, regardless of income.

RIP Elijah Cummings. It was always a pleasure listening to you speak.

< Democrats Debate | Trump Insists He Captured ISIS >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Very sad (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 06:56:40 AM EST
    I was surprised he was only 68.  

    Baltimore mourns. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 10:42:13 AM EST
    Even the rats.

    ... in Congress will no doubt have humongous shoes to fill, as eminently befitting a true giant of the U.S. House of Representatives. When I close my eyes and envision a congressional committee chair, the image of Elijah Cummings comes immediately to mind, he was such a natural fit for the job. When others would lower our political expectations, he raised the bar. Whenever he spoke, particularly if it was in admonition of something or someone, he made many of us want to be better persons. The announcement of his passing early this morning literally took my breath away for a moment. He was a good and decent man during a time when we've really needed them.

    Wow! From CNN: (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 06:42:34 PM EST
    "In one of his last official acts before his death, the late House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings signed two subpoenas for documents related to a temporary end to a policy change that allowed some immigrants with severe health issues to remain in the US. Hours before his passing, staffers drove the subpoenas to Baltimore for Cummings' signature, said a Democratic committee aide. [...] The subpoenas were delivered to [USCIS and ICE] on Wednesday afternoon."

    Even at the very end of his life, Rep. Cummings showed us what responsible political leadership looks like.



    Young as he was (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Towanda on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 07:34:26 PM EST
    -- at least to some of us -- Cummings was the son of sharecroppers who, until only a few years before his birth, worked on the same lands where his ancestors were slaves.

    A reminder of how close in time, even in this new millennium, those times -- of slavery, of sharecropping as a form of indenture -- are for many in this country.

    Elijah Cummings was a man of great dignity (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by hilts on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 10:00:13 PM EST
    and I mourn his loss. Unlike many of his Congressional colleagues, he was an extremely eloquent speaker. I regret that Cummings won't leave to see Trump's removal from office.

    Apparently (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by CST on Fri Oct 18, 2019 at 09:24:54 AM EST
    69 years old is the average life expectancy for a black man in America.   Which I only know because Cummings made that point when asked about running for Senate.

    I wonder how much of that is due to the stress of being a black man in America.

    Elimination of racial and (none / 0) (#15)
    by KeysDan on Fri Oct 18, 2019 at 12:32:46 PM EST
    ethnic inequalities should be a public health priority. Many historical, social, economic, physical, and biological risk factors shape the life course of Black men and contribute to their increased rates of premature morbidity and mortality.

    I agree that stress is among risks associated with being a Black man in America.  Life expectancy and other health outcomes are affected by exposure to a range of risk factors during critical periods of life. These exposures bring an increased disease risk and have cumulative negative effects on body systems.

    And, the risks (and the need for good prenatal care) start before birth, with consequences such as low birth weights. The infant mortality rate for white infants is in the range of 5.2/1000, whereas, for Black infants, it is 11.5/1000.


    Medicare for all won't help much. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Oct 19, 2019 at 07:20:08 AM EST
    The black male murder victimization rate is a significant driver of that lower life expectancy.  I did not hear any of the Dem debaters addressing the drug gang violence that is the root cause for much of it.

    Researchers at Boston University (none / 0) (#24)
    by KeysDan on Sat Oct 19, 2019 at 02:05:46 PM EST
    School of Medicine and School of Public Health found the discrepancy is driven by substantially higher homicide rates among blacks to age 20.  The total life expectancy loss is attributable to firearm assault (3.41 years for black Americans and 0.51 years for white Americans.)

    Life expectancy loss attributed to firearm-related suicide was much higher among white Americans.  

    The Democratic candidates did discuss various approaches to gun control and safety.  While a partial aspect of "root causes", it is a step in the right direction.

     Access to health care, Medicare for All, or other approach, may also, in part, help to address this societal problem.  The AMA has found that households with firearms exhibit an increased risk of homicide, suicide and accidental firearms death of a household member.  Patient Counseling can help in areas of mental health and suicidal ideation.

    Education and counseling patients on firearm safety as a part of child-proofing, such as gun safety locks, storage, and separation of firearms from ammunition, is particularly important for pediatric gun safety, so as to reduce infant and child firearm morality.

    At a broader view, the gains made, generally, over the past 100 years (e.g. clean air/water, sanitation, refrigeration, public education, vaccines, life-saving drugs, management of chronic disease) are in jeopardy. And, in fact are being eaten away. A small decrease, but a statistically significant one.  Key contributors are suicides and drug overdose/opioids.  And, in rural areas it is in the range of 2 times the rate for urban areas.   The entire matter affecting the country is an urgent public health matter.


    And the trend is goung in the right direction (none / 0) (#25)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Oct 19, 2019 at 08:31:00 PM EST

    Firearm homicides are down to almost half of what they were in the 90's.  

    As an aside.  The stats you mentioned would have been more informative if they also had stats on the other forms of homicide.


    According to the CDC (none / 0) (#16)
    by RickyJim on Fri Oct 18, 2019 at 01:03:44 PM EST
    The figures for life expectancy for 2014 are:

    Native Americans: 75.06 years
    African Americans: 75.54 years
    White Americans: 79.12 years
    Hispanic Americans: 82.89 years
    Asian Americans: 86.67 years



    3.6/1000 according to the CDC.

    Women generally live longer (none / 0) (#18)
    by CST on Fri Oct 18, 2019 at 02:01:40 PM EST
    That statistic was men.

    Good point. (none / 0) (#19)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 18, 2019 at 02:23:32 PM EST
    According to the CDC life expectancy in 2017 for non-hispanic black men is 71.5, non-hispanic white men is 76.1.

    Same chart from 2006 (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Fri Oct 18, 2019 at 02:33:08 PM EST
    Was 69.5

    Not sure when he gave that quote, but still,  not very high.


    Indeed, low compared to everyone else. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Oct 18, 2019 at 02:38:50 PM EST
    Interesting also that Hispanics fare better than both blacks and whites.

    Black men (none / 0) (#21)
    by KeysDan on Fri Oct 18, 2019 at 02:37:16 PM EST
    have the lowest life expectancy of any demographic group in the US.  The rates in the referenced link appear to be a cohort of Black men and Black women, who, depending on the reporting year, live about, on the average, four years longer.

    He will be missed. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 07:33:37 AM EST
    Too young.

    More than five years younger (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 08:31:43 AM EST
    than the putative President, or than many of the presidential candidates.

    The age I will be (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 08:40:10 AM EST
    In a couple of weeks.

    Nancy just did a tribute before everything else (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 09:58:51 AM EST
    She looks and sounds like a president.  While he tweets thoughts and prayers.

    I can NOT be the only one thinking that.

    Could happen (none / 0) (#12)
    by MKS on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 09:13:05 PM EST
    With all the strange things going on.

    Representative Cummings (none / 0) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 04:05:28 PM EST
    an advocate for human rights and a fighter for the people of his district. When TL commenters  conjectured about possible running mates for Secretary Clinton, I suggested Mr. Cummings. He would have been a great choice. Of course, I did not know of his health issues.

    he will be missed (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Oct 17, 2019 at 04:20:14 PM EST
    that is for sure.

    I gotta turn (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Oct 25, 2019 at 04:39:30 PM EST
    And today, long-serving (recently retired) (none / 0) (#27)
    by Peter G on Sun Oct 27, 2019 at 03:53:24 PM EST
    Representative John Conyers of Detroit, founder of the Black Congressional Caucus, has also died, age 90.