It’s too hot to think.  So here’s what I’m reading.

The Dilbit Disaster: Inside The Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of.  Three months after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, an oil spill occurred in southwestern Michigan.  This remarkable piece of long-form journalism tells the story of an unprecedented pipeline burst, the events leading up to it, and the aftermath.  Witness the effects of decades of deregulatory delirium and loophole lunacy—and consider what will happen when the same understaffed, underfunded and de-fanged environmental and public health agencies have to deal with a nuclear incident on this scale.  (Not if. When.)

States With Most Obesity Oppose Obamacare The Most.  As it turns out, “Harvard’s Jeff Frankel has shown that the greater the index of obesity in a state, the more likely they are to oppose the health care act.”

States with some of the highest rates of obesity, such as Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama, were among the most strongly opposed to the health care act, and also the most likely to benefit from it.

Two explanations that Frankel postulates are 1) ignorance of what the new law does, and 2) pure and simple partisanship…

Two explanations that Iris postulates are 1) Conservative Personality Disorder makes you fat, and 2) excess fat increases your CPD risk.  Here’s a data point:  I oppose Obamacare, and frankly I could stand to lose a few pounds.  (OMFG – for every dessert I consume, am I doomed to become more conservative?  The…horror…!)

There is, of course, another alternative hypothesis:  obese people in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama oppose Obamacare because they, like me, are single payer advocates.  They agree with me that the law is at its very core conservative, and thus entrenchment and endorsement of a system that elevates private profit over human health. These wise Americans are just not going to accept anything less than Medicare for all!  Unfortunately there is exactly zero evidence in support of this hypothesis—and doubly unfortunately, the Palace Lab lacks the funding and staff needed to investigate the matter fully in double-blind, placebo controlled clinical studies.  We do, however, offer a free graphic for our compatriots in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama, and anyone else who has any sense.  Oops!—I mean who has any concern for health care.  Or the deficit.  Or both.  Or human suffering in the world’s richest democracy.  Or whatever.

“Medicare for All”
© Iris Vander Pluym (2012)
(Oil on canvas)
30 ft. x 50 ft.
minimum bid: $10,000,000.00

Actual Medicare for all?  Minimum bid: $400 billion (per year).  This is the amount that streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer would save, but instead it goes into the pockets of for-profit insurance companies and their shareholders.  It’s enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality health care coverage for all Americans.

Kurt Vonnegut’s address to the graduating class at Bennington College (Vermont), 1970.  Wit and wisdom for the ages (h/t SJ):

One trouble, it seems to me, is that the majority of the people who rule us, who have our money and power, are lawyers or military men. The lawyers want to talk our problems out of existence. The military men want us to find the bad guys and put bullets through their brains. These are not always the best solutions – particularly in the fields of sewage disposal and birth control.

“Hey, Corporal Vonnegut,” I said to myself, “maybe you were wrong to be an optimist. Maybe pessimism is the thing.”
I have been a consistent pessimist ever since, with a few exceptions. In order to persuade my wife to marry me, of course, I had to promise her that the future would be heavenly. And the I had to lie about the future again every time I thought she should have a baby. And then I had to lie to her again every time she threatened to leave me because I was too pessimistic.
I saved our marriage many times by exclaiming, “Wait! Wait! I see light at the end of the tunnel at last!”

I could literally paste bon mots from that speech all day, but you know what?  It’s too hot. Just go read the whole thing—and try not to exert yourself too much when clicking that link.

The Palace wishes its many tens of loyal readers in the U.S. a safe and happy Fourth of July.  And for all you non-USAins in functional democracies?  Have a nice Wednesday, and enjoy your universal health care.

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