Two things for your Friday reading: 

The South Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

1. 8 interesting factoids about the American South and Southwest, which reveal how stubbornly poor it is, and how people continuously vote against their own self-interests. Are taxes lower there? Probably. But as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  If you like poverty, crappy schools, and bad healthcare, the South might be for you!


2. There is a dangerous trend among some parents to withhold from their children disease-preventing, life-saving vaccinations. It’s a weird intersection of pseudoscientific holistic natural gobbledygook with the completely discredited mythology that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they’re designed to prevent. (For instance, a lie was spread for years linking the MMR vaccine with autism. It wasn’t true.)

The anti-vaccine crowd may think they’re only making a decision for their own family. In fact, they’re threatening to make the rest of us sick. Refusing to vaccinate your children means you are contributing to a worsening public health crisis. There is no denying it, and there is no point in sugar-coating it.

I hope the anti-vaccine movement somehow loses steam. Perhaps America will take note of the return of long-gone illnesses and will stop treating vaccine denialism as a viewpoint worth considering. Perhaps vaccine-refusing parents will consider whether it’s worth the anxiety of knowing that a person who coughed in their grocery store two hours earlier could infect their kids as they do the week’s shopping together, and will reconsider their choices.

The point of vaccines isn’t just to protect your kid from unnecessary disease – it’s a public health matter designed to rid society of these diseases altogether. Some of these vaccines lose their potency over time, but it didn’t matter so long as the diseases themselves weren’t reintroduced into society thanks to 100% vaccination. 

If you think your kid isn’t strong enough to overcome the non-existent effects of a vaccine, what makes you think your kid is strong enough to overcome mumps, measles, or some other 19th century disease? 


  • TeoPhyllo Stevenson

    It’s completely idiotic to roll up all states in the South and Southwest into one big lump. The Southwest is completely different from the South, and even bordering states have distinctly different good and bad points. You could even say the same between Maine and Massachusetts for that matter. Ignorant.

  • I’m a big fact-check guy. Most of Salon’s points are true. The latest Republican endeavor to make down-up is how federal money is disbursed. The fact is southern states take in a lot more federal money than they send, with the opposite being true for northern states. But Republicans, never to let facts get in the way are claiming just the opposite. And they will say it enough times and people will start to believe it.

    • What I find most distasteful about today’s GOP/tea party is that there’s a point where they have to know what the actual truth is before they choose to change it to suit their agenda. I know both sides will do this, but the degree to which the right does it these days is outrageous, especially when you consider how often they tout their “moral” superiority to everybody else.

      If you have to lie and misrepresent the truth to justify your position on an issue, then your position is bullshit.

  • Buffalo isn’t exactly short on poverty, crappy schools or bad health care.

    At least after I moved down south, I stopped having to deal with blizzards in the middle of March.

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