More things that are stuck and constrained unnecessarily.
This article is completely unsurprising but also fascinating: Why the South has such low credit scores. (The maps are county-level, which I found interesting.)
1. Is it race? No, the parts of the south with the highest concentration of black people have the same credit scores as the parts with the highest concentration of white people. And both are far lower than their counterparts outside the south.
2. Is it poverty? No, when you match income levels and urban factors, and hold everything accountable, the south is far worse on credit scores than the north.
The Post then does the typically-NYT-dumb-baby-who-was-born-yesterday thing:
With the obvious factors ruled out, we were stumped. Until we called economist Breno Braga at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan D.C. think tank. Braga, who studies how credit-ratings data quietly determines so much about our lives, took about 16 seconds to diagnose the problem.
"The reason why credit scores are so low in the South has gotta be connected to medical debt, because that's the most common type of unpaid bill that people have," Braga said. And the South, he said, easily has the highest levels of medical debt in the country.
Medical debt may not be the only force behind the South's credit struggles, but it appears to be a key contributor. So where did it all come from? And why is it concentrated in the South?
So then they look at that.
3. Is the south just less healthy than everywhere else? Yes, but when you account for that, the medical debt is still through the roof.
I appreciate the thoroughness while rolling my eyes at the faux naivete. Brace yourself for the shocking conclusion:
A clue to the broader answer comes from a recent analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that medical debt "became more concentrated in lower-income communities in states that did not expand Medicaid" after key provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014.
what. My pearls.
Still, the county-level maps are really thorough and well done. It still blows my mind that Texas turns down $15.3 billion dollars every year in order to deny 1.75 million people medical care.
Gloop, Pooh, and Choo-choo
I don't want to overstate my delight, but E. Messily sent this link before I announced the theme of the week, "that every day we must discuss a figure whose girth exceeds their through-path": Spanish transport secretary resigns after new trains too big for tunnels.
"The search for, and approval, of the optimal solution when it comes to designing most spacious, modern, fast and efficient train possible, while also bearing in mind the singular rail infrastructure has not led to any wasteful use of public resources," the transport ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
The situation would have been worse, it added, had smaller trains been built that had failed to live up to travellers' expectations.
Worse? Maybe just different.
This Roald Dahl censorship thing is really uncomfortable. It is 100% true that he's very problematic at times and I'm not generally a purist. I edited heavily on the fly when reading them outloud to the kids. It also sounds like some of the choices veer into self-parody (like you can't fix the concept of Augustus Gloop in a body-positive way by swapping out the word "fat").
I am landing mostly in the supportive-camp, but I loathe the culture wars and opportunity for the right to snicker and have a field day.
(A lamer one of my OP titles, isn't it.)
A very basic blog post
Ugh, I need a new water bottle. This is the one I've bought twice before. I love the carabiner clip, but the kids break it. And it leaks if it's laying on its side.
I just want a metal or glass water bottle with a straw that doesn't leak. I also want to write the dullest post in the world. I'm sorry. Surely the next one will be better.
But in the meantime, can anyone point me to the water bottle I should get? My real question is, is the reason things like Stanley and HydroFlask and Yetis and all these dumb fads have risen to prominence that they are actually worth the cost, and I'll be happiest in the long run if I drop $50 on a water bottle?
Oh hunny, no.
E. Messily sends in Oh, bother: the Winnie the Pooh slasher movie is a bloody mess.
On 1 January 2022, the content of Milne's first story about the menagerie of philosophically inclined imaginary friends entered the public domain and legally threw open the reinterpretive floodgates. Artists far and wide could suddenly do whatever they pleased with or to Pooh, and director Rhys Frake-Waterfield wasted no time in lunging for the lowest-hanging fruit. He aims to scandalize with his intentional desecration of a kiddie icon, his stated goal nothing less than to "ruin everyone's childhood"....While the 1926 short story collection Winnie the Pooh may be up for grabs, Disney's representation of him will remain under copyrighted lock and key for nearly 40 more years, which mandated Frake-Waterfield distinguish his work from the genuine article clearly enough that no one could confuse them.
That means no catchphrases, no red-shirt-sans-pants ensemble, no head stuck in the pot labeled HUNNY while his legs wiggle helplessly behind him.
Not to be a cliché, but it's a slight relief that my grandmother - who took Winnie the Pooh's zen-nish utterances to be the height of charm-meets-philosophy - isn't alive to see this.
Guest Post - The Shell (and Everything Else) Crisis of 2023 (and 2024, and...)
Mossy Character writes:
Estonia estimates that Ukrainian forces are firing up to 7,000 artillery shells a day [...] the European defence industry is estimated to currently be producing a maximum of 25,000 shells a month.
The [US] Army is planning a 500% increase in artillery shell production, from 15,000 a month to 70,000 [...this] will take anywhere from 12 to 18 months [...] produce each month a minimum of 60 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles [...] Ukraine [...] needs 500 [...] every day.
The expenditure of cruise missiles and theatre ballistic missiles is just as massive. The Russians have fired between 1,100 and 2,100 missiles. The US currently purchases 110 PRISM, 500 JASSM and 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles annually, meaning that in three months of combat, Russia has burned through four times the US annual missile production.
Ukraine also needs a way to resupply its Soviet-made and domestically upgraded S-300 and SA-11 'Buk' SAM systems in both the anti-missile and battlefield anti-aircraft/counter UAV role. Eight months of high-intensity combat have consumed unprecedented and unforeseen quantities of interceptor missiles, and Western allies have few ways to supply more directly or indirectly. Western militaries have invested very little in production of medium- and shortrange GBAD systems since the end of the Cold War due to overwhelming air superiority in every conflict since then. This means that production is now having to ramp up from a very low level and existing inventories are too small to meet Ukraine's needs. This will make it impossible to replace the large number of remaining S-300, SA-11, SA-15 'Tor' and SA-8 'Osa' systems operated by Ukraine directly in the medium term, let alone expand coverage.
Heebie's take: That's a lot. All I can think to say is something like, "Wars are a terrible way to resolve conflict," or "boy, as a species we allocate a whole lot of power to some really terrible people sometimes."
Check Ins, Reassurances, and Concerns, 2/18
This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.
Episode Kobe fifty three