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Yesterday I got the other back tooth yanked!

So, two down, two to go! This was the molar below the cracked molar that I already had pulled, and I paid 5000 baht ($166) as opposed to 1500 baht ($50) to have it removed, because it wasn't a simple extraction.

These two teeth never did have a proper bite, and they were difficult to clean, so as the Thais said, they were "useless," only good for collecting particles of rotting food. The two back-most molars on the other side are just the same (though not cracked) so I'll get rid of them, too. I didn't do that on this visit because, basically, I didn't want a whole mouth full of blood and I wanted to be able to chew on one side. So I guess I will just have to come back. Awwww! Read below the fold...

Apparently, this is real

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Will there be double-digit price increases in 2015, or will there be even crappier plans?

Insurance industry insider Bob Laszewski writes:

To properly price the exchange health insurance business going forward the carriers have to sharply increase the rates. A senior executive for Wellpoint, which sells plans in 14 Obamacare exchanges, is quoted in a Reuters article telling Wall Street analysts there will be big rate increases in 2015, "Looking at the rate increases on a year-over-year basis on our exchanges, and it will vary by carrier, but all of them will probably be double digits."

If the health plans do issue double digit rate increases for 2015, Obamacare is finished.

There are a ton of things that need to be fixed in Obamacare. But, I will suggest there is one thing that could save it.

Crapify the plans! Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Obama claims 6 million sign-ups, but as usual the numbers are soft

KHN:

The Congressional Budget Office originally estimated that 7 million people would sign up for the exchanges by the end of the enrollment period. After computer problems botched the Oct. 1 rollout, the CBO revised that estimate down to 6 million. Federal officials have said they do not yet know how many people who have enrolled have paid their first month’s premium. Insurance industry officials have reported that about 70 to 80 percent of enrollees have paid.

So, the lowballed 6 million figure is really 6,000,000 * 80% = 4,800,000. But KHN misses the key point! Read below the fold...

Occupation at the University of Southern Maine

Make The Real News Network:


More at The Real News

Duke Energy coal ash dump spill coats 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge.

An ugly story from North Carolina:

The nation's largest electricity company has been under intense scrutiny since a massive February 2 spill at a coal ash dump in Eden coated 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge. The ash, which is a byproduct left after coal is burned to generate electricity, contains toxic chemicals including arsenic, lead and mercury.

Read below the fold...

They love their carbon tax in Vancover, British Columbia

Worthwhile Canadian initiative, the round bacon-eating Communists. Atlantic Cities:

Suppose that you live in Vancouver and you drive a car to work. Naturally, you have to get gas regularly. When you stop at the pump, you may see a notice like the one below, explaining that part of the price you're paying is, in effect, due to the cost of carbon. That's because in 2008, the government of British Columbia decided to impose a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, enacting what has been called "the most significant carbon tax in the Western Hemisphere by far."

A carbon tax is just what it sounds like: The BC government levies a fee, currently 30 Canadian dollars, for every metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions resulting from the burning of various fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and, of course, coal. That amount is then included in the price you pay at the pump—for gasoline, it's 6.67 cents per liter (about 25 cents per gallon)—or on your home heating bill, or wherever else the tax applies. (Canadian dollars are currently worth about 89 American cents).

Sure, the tax may cost you if you drive your car a great deal, or if you have high home gas heating costs. But it also gives you the opportunity to save a lot of money if you change your habits, for instance by driving less or buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle. That's because the tax is designed to be "revenue neutral"—the money it raises goes right back to citizens in the form of tax breaks. Overall, the tax has brought in some $5 billion in revenue so far, and more than $3 billion has then been returned in the form of business tax cuts, along with over $1 billion in personal tax breaks, and nearly $1 billion in low-income tax credits (to protect those for whom rising fuel costs could mean the greatest economic hardship). According to the BC Ministry of Finance, for individuals who earn up to $122,000, income tax rates in the province are now Canada's lowest.

Well, none of this will happen here because markets. Read below the fold...

Maine Green Asher Platts beats back Dem attempt to challenge his ballot signature

Great! Bangor Daily News:

PORTLAND, Maine — A longtime Portland Democrat said Wednesday afternoon she will no longer challenge the state Senate candidacy of Asher Platts, a local Green Independent Party leader.

Anya Trundy, who worked for the Maine Democratic Party for several years before 2010, filed an official challenge with the Maine secretary of state’s office earlier in the week, arguing Platts did not gather enough valid signatures for a spot on the November ballot.

But late Wednesday, just hours after local Green Party representatives began publicly claiming their candidate was the victim of “dirty” political maneuvering, Trundy withdrew her challenge.

“Information has come to light [yeah, through press releases, radio shows, and Facebook] that Asher Platts has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, for that reason and given this new information, I’m withdrawing my request,” Trundy said in a statement distributed by the Maine Democratic Party.

Platts — a writer, podcaster and T-shirt maker who has gained a loyal following under the name “Punk Patriot” — is running against District 27 incumbent Justin Alfond, the Democratic Senate president, and Republican Peter Doyle.

Making Trundy Alfond's cat's paw, right? Read below the fold...

Nobody ever goes to jail

This one chart shows why Daily Kos is your deadly enemy

They're dragging the Democrats right. No wonder we've got to keep fighting about Chained CPI, austerity, more wars, and RomneyCare (and Medicare for All isn't even on the table).

Read below the fold...

DCCC: "Throw in the towel"

I get letters:

I'm so glad I'm on the DCCC mailing list. Maybe this time I'll get a pony. Read below the fold...

The Democrats are indeed "doomed"

I get letters:

Great subject line: "Doomed." I love it! But there is so much else to love in this letter.... Read below the fold...

My trip to the south of Thailand

More on my train ride down to the South:

It's going to take me a bit to process this trip -- now coming to an end, something in itself to process -- but here are some quick and random thoughts. Let's start with a lousy picture:

Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Jon Walker discovers that rentiers charge rent

FDL:

[T]his working paper from Mark Duggan, Amanda Starc, Boris Vabson is about Medicare Advantage I think its provides some insight into the core problem with the entire design of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion. It looks at what was the result off the government overpaying for seniors in Medicare Advantage, which is an exchange where seniors shop for subsidized private insurance. From the summary:

Our results demonstrate that the additional reimbursement leads more private firms to enter this market and to an increase in the share of Medicare recipients enrolled in [Medicare Advantage] plans. Our findings also reveal that only about one-fifth of the additional reimbursement is passed through to consumers in the form of better coverage. A somewhat larger share accrues to private insurers in the form of higher profits and we find suggestive evidence of a large impact on advertising expenditures.

If you spend a lot of money on a Rube Goldberg [hat tip, DCBlogger] system with middle middlemen some benefits will trickle down to regular people but huge amounts of money will be eaten up in profits and waste.

I don’t doubt the Affordable Care Act will actually help some people, but at an exorbitantly inflated price because of how inherently wasteful the design is. This creates a needless burden for all taxpayers and premium payers on the exchanges.

If only we had known this when ObamaCare was being passed! Read below the fold...

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