Being a Republican can kill you; living in the same state with too many of them can kill you too

Originally published at: Being a Republican can kill you; living in the same state with too many of them can kill you too | Boing Boing


You can’t say that the death cult doesn’t deliver on its brand.


I’m guessing this is supposed to say 2008s?


then again…
but obviously, that isn’t the whole story today. how ohio became the red-hat state (not talking to you OSU buckwhatevers) is a story of decay and disenfranchisement of years of republican hegemony and gerrymandering. que no?

edit: no one box? sorry.


No—mid-1980s. “Mid-1908s” would be, like, May through July.

ALTHOUGH, in 1908, we would have been dominated by Republicans, because Republicans (think Taft) were (kinda, sorta) the good guys 100 years ago. Remember that a generation before, Ohio Republicans (Grant and Sherman) literally were the ones who beat Johnny Reb.

Then the good middle class Republicans became Democrats during the Depression, and the bad wealthy Republicans got a taste for malfeasance following Harding, and then the civil rights movement after the war drove them insane for some reason, then stars-and-bars began tragically appearing on Ohio pickup trucks, then The Apprentice was on for eight seasons, and here we are.


Yes, I’m aware of the general history of the GOP. I knew that was a typo, I just wasn’t sure if that was supposed to say 1980 or 2008. 1980 does make more sense.


Was not lecturing or taking a shot at you. Everything after the first sentence was just for {waves hand at nothing}.


I think the COVID pandemic (and it’s still around) proved that pretty definitively


“About a quarter of the people he buries are younger than him, as residents in this once-thriving coal town are dying earlier and earlier.”

This makes me wonder how much of this is a feedback loop - economically disadvantaged areas where traditional jobs disappeared were conservative-leaning to begin with, but as things declined people became ever-more Republican (because although the party has no solutions, they’re really good at coming up with people to blame for whatever’s going wrong). So it’s more a symptom than a cause (at least until covid hit), as the life expectancy drops due to deaths of despair and health problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse.

(The Republican narrative about urban areas being crime-ridden hell-holes makes me wonder if the narrative is being decided by urban conservatives who don’t spend much time in rural America. Or it’s rural Americans desperate to believe that the rest of the country is worse than what they’re going through, to make themselves feel better.)


gQp election year yard signs should have health warnings visible.


I think it is what I call “the remainder” problem. I first noticed it with churches/religious sects, but it holds for geography as well.

Basically, conservatism creates a feedback death loop: conservatives takes over an institution, and more liberal members leave, causing population and revenue to decline. The response is almost always to assume those people left because the institution wasn’t “conservative” enough, so it tacks even further right. More people leave, creating a panic whose only solution is to tack even further right. Until all that is left is core of bitter, angry, often insane conservatives who blame everything but their own intolerance for the collapse of their institution. Except for the leadership and the wealthy, everyone who stayed whether by choice or circumstance suffers.

Applies to churches, towns, counties, and states. Churches collapse, towns and counties get hollowed out. States are a little different, as they might collapse, but more often are subject to extreme partisan gerrymandering that takes incredible effort to overcome.


The article makes convincing cases for all these factors, but to use cigarette taxes as an example: Around 2000, all three states started increasing cigarette taxes. But by 2020, the tax rate per pack was $5.35 in New York, $2.60 in Pennsylvania, and only $1.60 in Ohio.

Really what this tells me is that Ohio should have fleeced its smokers a whole lot harder. Ohio’s death rate was 200 per 100,000 while New York’s was 75% of that of Ohio. Yet their tax rate was 333% higher.

It seems like a big take away is to monetarily punish people’s poor decisions and choices so you can use that money to benefit everyone else. If we taxed sugar at 100% of what it is now we might be able to move the need on obesity slightly, but there would be a lot more funding for things like heart disease and diabetes research.


Well, except for your misunderstanding of why some people become obese, there are taxes on soda in various parts of the US. NYC had one, and Cook County in IL are two I know about. Can’t find any data show what effect they had/have on consumption.


I doubt the Cuyahoga would play much of a role. For a distance perspective, we’re talking about the Gowanas canal to somewhere past Trenton, the Port of Long Beach to San Bernardino, or Miami International Airport out to south Palm Beach. To the extent Ashtabula is an environmental wasteland, you would want to look at their own shipbuilding industry

But really that Cuyahoga River fire has to be one of the most misunderstood environmental events out there. It was so iconic because it happened just as our cultural understanding of pollution was beginning to shift. Industrial rivers catching fire wasn’t new or unusual. If most people know the river’s name it probably had a fire at some point. We were a year before the first earth day, a couple of years after Silent Spring and the mayor at the time had run in part on an environmental platform (even after the fire water quality wasn’t his big environmental issue). The river then underwent decades of remediation, now being a popular spot for kayaking and fish caught in the river have been declared safe to eat for a few years now.


Give me liberty or give me death


They have a very peculiar definition of “liberty.” Death, however, is pretty consistent.


In this case, I think that the motto is, “Give my bigotry, and give me death.”


Yes, but I think the point was that maybe having a huge sugar tax might get someone (say me) to buy fewer cakes which is good, but even if it doesn’t the money from the sugar tax can be used to fund public healthcare. So even if you don’t get me to eat less cake you do get more money to help people that end up sick, even if you are wrong about the cause of diabetes you still can use that to help make it less painful to suffer from diabetes.

Although it may suffer from taxing sugar may drive people to other sweeteners, some of which may be less healthy then sugar. So if sugar costs go up but HFC does not many products will replace more sugar with HFC, and I think the evidence that HFC is worse for people then sugar is pretty strong even if the “HFC contributes more to diabetes then sugar” theory has yet to be proven we do know enough that it is super easy to believe that driving people from sugar to HFC is bad. We think aspartame is worse then sugar but have far far less evidence there (to the point that many doctors will tell you to cut out sugar soda and if you can’t replace it with water diet soda is likely better because the sugar is killing you now, the diet soda might kill you in 20 years…or maybe that is just something doctors of pre diabetic patients say). Honey is probably better for you than sugar, or maybe “about as bad”…

So the real problem with taxing things that might be health hazards is the possibility that you will redirect people from one hazard to a greater hazard. The upside of redirecting them with a tax is the tax can be used to fund care for people that suffer from the illness related to the hazard. Which is cold comfort if the policy gave you the illness, but actual comfort if it didn’t.


It’s certainly the thrust of the author’s point.
I’m not sure it’s actually the best relationship. Sure, it’s directionally correct, but feels oversimplified. I imagine there are much bigger contributors.

TFW you voted for “pro-life” politicians: