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Still needs help

Still hanging by a thread. Can you help?

Figures

States will use mortgage settlement money to plug holes in their general budgets — instead of helping homeowners.

Third Stone from the Sun

Your people I do not understand
So to you I must put an end
And you’ll never hear surf music again

Education divide is not about race

It’s about class. Will the New York Times ever understand the difference? Right-wing experts, as usual, on tap!

Shock doctrine

Why what’s happening in Greece is bullshit.

Suggestions?

For Valentine’s day – what are your favorite love songs? What are the memories that go with them? Don’t be shy, share with the rest of us!

‘The thermometer’s broken’

Of course, if it wasn’t coming from a company that has already lied, exaggerated or miscontrued so much important information, we could listen to their suggestion of a broken thermometer with a straight face:

Concern is growing that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan is no longer stable after temperature readings suggested one of its damaged reactors was reheating.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said the temperature inside No 2 reactor – one of three that suffered meltdown after last year’s earthquake and tsunami – may have reached 82C on Sunday.

Tepco said there was no evidence that the melted fuel inside had reached criticality. The utility reportedly increased the amount of cooling water being injected into the reactor along with a boric acid solution, which is used to prevent the fuel from undergoing sustained nuclear reactions.

Confirmation that the temperature has risen above 80C could force the government to reverse its declaration two months ago that the crippled plant was in a safe state known as cold shutdown.

Cold shutdown is achieved when the temperature inside the reactors remains below 100C and there is a significant reduction in radiation leaks. Given that Tepco assumes a margin of error of 20C, the actual temperature could have risen to 102C.

Plant workers are unable to take accurate readings of the temperature inside the damaged reactor because radiation levels are still too high for them to enter and examine the state of the melted fuel, which is thought to be resting at the bottom of the reactor’s pressure vessel.

The result has been a series of wildly different readings: two other thermometers positioned at the bottom of No 2 reactor showed the temperature at 35C, local media reported.

Tepco said it did not know the cause of the apparent temperature rise, but speculated that it might be due to problems with the supply of coolant or a faulty thermometer.

“We believe the state of cold shutdown is being maintained,” said Junichi Matsumoto, a company spokesman. “Rather than the actual temperature rising, we believe there is high possibility that the thermometer concerned is displaying erroneous data.”

Middle class in decline, in denial

Decent, informed people everywhere (not only in Occupy Wall Street) should be shouting this question: When are you suckers going to wake up? More here.

Cheaper

I know so many people who need medical care right this minute and aren’t getting it that I literally can’t keep track anymore. Let’s put it this way: By the time a TV network is holding a sweepstakes where the grand prize is a trip to New York for … a colonoscopy, you know paying for tests and treatment is on everyone’s minds. That’s why it’s just so crazy that the GOP and their mindless minions are so fixated on ripping away the Affordable Health Care Act. It’s not only needed, it will save a lot of money:

The concept of support for universal health care is taboo among Republicans who scrutinize the Affordable Care Act — dubbing it the “Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” — and call for its repeal. But a new UC Irvine study challenges the GOP argument that the health care law is too costly, with data illustrating that health care costs on the whole fall when poorer, uninsured patients are provided with insurance.

“In a case study involving low-income people enrolled in a community-based health insurance program, we found that use of primary care increased but use of emergency services fell, and — over time — total health care costs declined,” David Neumark, a co-author of the study, said in a release accompanying the findings.

The study — which focused on uninsured people in Richmond, Virginia who fell 200 percent below the poverty line — found that over three years, health care costs fell by almost 50 percent per participant, from $8,899 in the first year to $4,569 in the third after they received insurance. Participants who enrolled in health coverage made fewer trips to the emergency room, which are notorious for running up patient bills. Instead, insured participants went for more primary care visits.

“A lot of the debate about health care reform surrounds the issue of whether we’re setting up something that’s going to cost us more by increasing use of medical services or something that will cut costs through more appropriate and timely use of medical services,” Neumark said in the release. “[O]ver time, costs can be reduced through increased use of primary care and reductions in emergency-department visits and hospital admissions, but it may take several years of coverage for substantive savings to occur.”

Health care spending in the U.S. has been on the rise for years. Americans spent more than three times on health care in 2008 than they spent in the 18 years before, according to a Kaiser report.

Low-income, uninsured individuals tend to rack up exorbitant health-care bills because they often rely on emergency room visits instead of primary care. In the long run, these bills are paid by taxpayers. The Affordable Care Act “is set to extend Medicaid benefits to about 16 million uninsured, low-income adults and children by the end of 2014,” according to the study.

Greece is burning after banker bailout vote

Live ενημέρωση: Φωτιές - Αθήνα (φώτο via / @hkoutso) ... on Twitpic

100K in the streets.

More about the troika’s demands on Greece, which include gutting of labor law and collective bargaining agreements – in other words, Scott Walker comes to Athens:

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2012/2/12/8913/17655

Via email:

Greece has essentially been invaded and conquered by foreign powers who are looting the country while everyone else suffers. Except this time, instead of Nazi paratroopers landing in Athens, the same result has been achieved using the markets, the EU and the IMF, and collaborationist elements of the Greek political system.

And they’re coming for the rest of us next.

Marshall Auerback: Default is better than this deal.

Anonymous has taken down the government and police websites.

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