You’d have to hope they don’t have too much self-awareness though
The implications of that and so forth
Hi. Hello. Yearly subscribers who would like to try a six months paid subscription to Foreign Exchanges by Derek Davidson and/or Forever Wars by Spencer Ackerman for free please reply and let me know and I’ll set it up. Also let me know if you’d like access to the Discontents Discord channel. Thanks for being here as always. Ok here’s today’s thing.
I’d like you all to join me in sending prayers up for the big man.
Whatever the content of those prayers happen to be is none of my business.
I believe I mentioned this before but when I was an intern in DC in college they brought us over to meet Thomas due to he was an alumni of my school and we all went in there and stood around in our little junior professional outfits and ill-fitting suits and I think we were meant to be impressed by the majesty of it all and to become inspired to go on to do great things ourselves one day (sorry) but in reality we just shook his hand and took a picture and then were like well what are we doing next? Will there be lunch? It doesn’t matter how powerful a guy is you’re meeting you’re still going to be preoccupied with lunch. He barely even said anything in my memory. No big speech from the coach type moment. None of that go out there and get them lads shit. He barely even says anything on the court either so that makes sense in retrospect. To be honest I don’t really remember what I was thinking probably something like this fucking guy. I didn’t know shit at the time about anything I could barely find my own ass but I did know that. This fucking guy.
There were a couple of interesting stories published since I last checked in with you nice people on topics that are squarely in the Hell World wheelhouse that I want to highlight today.
This one from Teen Vogue on the absurd cruelty of student loan interest was quite good in particular. It goes like this in part:
Musician and zoologist hopeful William Criel took out almost $55,000 in federal and private student loans to attend Oakland University in Michigan. Since graduating a few years ago, Criel tells Teen Vogue, the interest rates on his loans have ballooned his balance to nearly $70,000. Despite working several part-time jobs and being on an income-driven repayment plan, Criel can’t afford to make regular monthly payments; even when he can, it isn’t enough to get past his interest.
“I wasn't making a large enough payment to touch the principal,” says Criel. “I was literally making payments on the interest just to prevent as much of it from building up. When you start with almost $55,000 and you're barely paying off half the interest every month, you get to the mentality — it's like, what's the point?”
Why is it young people aren’t buying homes and starting families again?
According to one 2019 analysis from economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 2005 graduates had repaid less than 40% of their outstanding loan balance a decade after graduating. For 2010 graduates, they had repaid just 9% of their overall balance five years after graduating. Not counting private loans, the country’s federal student debt burden was just under $1.5 trillion when the study was conducted; now that number sits at just over $1.6 trillion.
“Do people truly not understand and just believe that we have a whole generation of people that are just lazy and incompetent?” says Criel, who is now 29. Like roughly 42% of full-time students and more than 80% of part-time students, Criel also worked while going to school. “If you gave us any modicum of respect whatsoever, you would believe us when we told you it was this bad — but you don't.”
Let me just uhhh check real quick where my balance is with Navient at the moment.
That’s after regular monthly payments for like twenty two years. Not bad! Gonna pay this baby off just in time for retirement. Just kidding I’m never going to be able to retire.
A lot of you are in the same boat of course. You may remember this Hell World on the topic where a bunch of you chimed in about how you cannot dig yourself out from under the avalanche of interest no matter how much you try.
Good news for anyone struggling financially at the moment though because Bloomberg is out with some great advice for anyone who happens to make under $300,000 a year. Not sure how many of us here that applies to.
Yes this is obvious hate-click bait and just the latest in a long line of articles like this encouraging poor people to tighten their belts but I’m mentioning it here because it’s got a few truly imaginative variations on the form that bring things to a whole new level.
Here’s some of the great advice contained therein:
Take the bus
Eat lentils and beans for dinner
Let your dog die
Yes that last one there is for real. Teresa Ghilarducci (economist in bio) explains:
If you’re one of the many Americans who became a new pet owner during the pandemic, you might want to rethink those costly pet medical needs. It may sound harsh, but researchers actually don’t recommend pet chemotherapy — which can cost up to $10,000 — for ethical reasons.
It’s not only sound financial advice she explains it will also help your brain.
Try to be as flexible and creative as possible. Scientists tell us our brain plasticity will improve by trying novel things. There's an advantage to mixing up what you consume to cope with unusual price spikes: You become more resilient as you create a locus of control and interrogate your habits.
Interrogate your habits. No more Netflix or living pets for you losers.
Speaking of finance brain what the fuck is going on here?
The way we handle dental care in this country is of course another issue that gets right up my fucking asshole. The Washington Post recently reported on the story of a dentist who got caught fucking with his patients’ teeth unnecessarily so he could charge them more for work they didn’t need. In short he did the one thing we all sort of suspect our dentist is always doing.
Scott Charmoli’s patients’ teeth were just fine, but fine wasn’t making him enough money.
So the dentist in Jackson, Wis., drilled into and broke his patients’ teeth in order to charge them for fixing the damage he’d caused, according to federal prosecutors. By doing so, Charmoli went from pulling in $1.4 million and affixing 434 crowns in 2014 to raking in $2.5 million and performing more than 1,000 crown procedures a year later.
On Thursday, following a four-day trial, Charmoli, 61, was convicted of five counts of health-care fraud and two counts of making false statements about his patients’ treatment. He’s scheduled for sentencing in June, when he’ll face up to 10 years for each of the health-care-fraud counts and a maximum of five years on the other two convictions.
Charmoli had assets worth more than $6.8 million at the end of 2020 and owned vacation properties in Wisconsin and Arizona, according to prosecutors, who allege he billed more than $4.2 million for crowns between 2016 and 2019.
Starting in 2015, Charmoli badgered his patients into getting crowns they didn’t need, federal prosecutors alleged. After intentionally damaging their teeth, he submitted pictures and X-rays to insurance companies as “before” photos to justify the treatment required to fix the damage he’d just done.
One of those patients, Todd Tedeschi, testified that Charmoli persuaded him to get two crowns during one sitting, even though his teeth seemed fine, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“It seemed excessive, but I didn’t know any better,” Tedeschi said. “He was the professional. I just trusted him.”
More on dental care from me here and here.
And then there was this development on the matter of what’s to be done about the state of South Carolina simply needing to kill its citizens. Turns out the firing squad is back baby. As the AP reported:
South Carolina has given the greenlight to firing-squad executions, a method codified into state law last year after a decade-long pause in carrying out death sentences because of the state’s inability to procure lethal injection drugs.
According to officials, the death chamber now also includes a metal chair, with restraints, in the corner of the room in which inmates will sit if they choose execution by firing squad. That chair faces a wall with a rectangular opening, 15 feet away, through which the three shooters will fire their weapons.
State officials also have created protocols for carrying out the executions. The three shooters, all volunteers who are employees of the Corrections Department, will have rifles loaded with live ammunition, with their weapons trained on the inmate’s heart.
A hood will be placed over the head of the inmate, who will be given the opportunity to make a last statement.
Being shot does sound like it’s perhaps quicker and “more humane” than slowly being poisoned or electrocuted to death but perhaps which specific manner of state sanctioned murder is nicer than the others shouldn’t be the issue at hand?
Over the summer I published this great piece by Paul Bowers on the death penalty issue in South Carolina and around the country including a new interview with Mr. Death himself Fred Leuchter. I’m hoping to have Bowers join us again later this week for a follow up piece.
I forget if I said this or not but I’ve been working on a project that I hope will turn into a book of short stories and/or prose poems(?) or whatever. The other day I shared the one about the grackle. Here’s another one down below the paywall for paid subscribers to read if you like.