1. The slow descent towards bankruptcy for Oklahoma and Kansas
both Oklahoma and Kansas have been electing Republicans to office in record numbers over the last 10 years. However, the GOP message of fiscal discipline does not seem to be doing either state much good. They have steadily increasing levels of debt. In the case of Oklahoma, the state’s credit rating has been downgraded recently, as its debt hit the #900m mark. The failures in OK seem to be that revenues have fallen significantly below predictions. This is an analysis of the stare’s finances. Kansas has also seen its debt rise, as the policies of Governor Sam Brownback of heavy cuts in taxation have failed to generate enough economic activity.

2. When you lie and get caught, people start digging
Mark Chelgren, the GOP state senator from Ottumwa who was caught falsely claiming to have received a business degree from a Sizzler steakhouse franchisee, also founded a gun manufacturing company despite a 2006 disorderly conduct conviction.
When you are found guilty of lying to the public, and people start digging, all of your deceits can be exposed. I am seeing a pattern here.

3. The opioid resurgence in the USA
Perceptive commentators such as Chris Arnade and J.D. Vance have written about the explosion of drug addiction in rural American communities.
This is not a new phenomenon. In a previous married life, I had in-laws living in Gladewater TX, and the Fire Department there was regularly called to the scene of meth lab explosions. It was always the same story – massive damage to the kitchen, a strange gray-white deposit all over the place, and a complete inability of the house occupants to remember exactly what it was that they were cooking when the explosion occurred.
Meth addiction is common throughout rural Texas, but especially so in East Texas, where the predominance of forest provides plenty of below-canopy hiding space for drug manufacture and distribution.
This article puts the whole addiction phenomenon into context. Effectively, as per Chris Arnade’s back row/front row analogy, the front row folks get addicted to Oxycontin, while the back row folks end up addicted to heroin, Fentanyl, and meth.
I have some issues with the article, especially it’s implied endorsement of 12 Step programs, which, despite their pervasiveness and popularity, have next to no scientific evidence to back up their claims of efficacy.


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