Waiting on the Supremes

The sense I got at various Dept of Health meetings is that the stakes are very high. A lawyer who specializes in health care said that this will be the biggest decision since Brown v. Board of Education, the decision that mandated access to public school for all America’s children. There are people who dedicate their career to making health care available to all. A few months ago they could not imagine the Affordable Care Act being undone, but today anything is possible.

The crisis will eventually force reform. Crowded emergency rooms, exploding costs and preventable suffering and death are today’s reality. Patients are not consumers, health care is a public need and good– not a venue for profit.

However this plays out, we will not give up. The life you save may be your own. I’m off to work another day in health care, hearing and seeing firsthand the consequences of our fractured ‘system’ and trying to make it work.

Nora Ephron

She lived a long and full life, but she would have found lots to do with a little more time. I’ll miss her.

Two things I remember her for. One is that, thanks to her, no one will be able to think of award-winning investigative journalist, Carl Bernstein, without recalling the phrase ‘capable of having sex with a venetian blind.’ If a man is foolhardy enough to marry a writer and break her heart, he can end up with a bad case of ‘Heartburn’.

Another thing, about ten seconds of the movie, ‘Michael’. William Hurt, playing a reporter, is walking through the streets of NYC in the wee hours. A couple of guys with Spanish accents walk up to him. They ask him if he needs help with his car. He says no thanks. And that’s all that happens.

In a Hollywood that has trouble making a movie without gratuitous wrenching emotion– of the violent or sentimental kind, that small moment struck me as original and even kind of brave.

I’ll miss Nora Ephron, but she really lived, and that’s the best anyone can do.

Rhode Island made the list. I’m not proud.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Which states lead the nation is fiscal unfairness to poor children and their public schools?

Bruce Baker, the invaluable social scientist from Rutgers, the one who has actually taught in schools, has figured it out by analyzing Census data.

Bruce has a terrific blog, where he asks important questions and has the data to support his answers. I wish that every corporate reformer would read him. You should too.

These are the states that are most unfair to poor children and their public schools:

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Nuclear Risk in Japan

Japan is on track to re-start two nuclear plants despite warnings…

Seismic modeling by Japan’s nuclear regulator did not properly take into account active fault lines near the Ohi plant, Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a seismologist at Kobe University, told reporters.

“The stress tests and new safety guidelines for restarting nuclear power plants both allow for accidents at plants to occur,” Ishibashi told reporters. “Instead of making standards more strict, they both represent a severe setback in safety standards.”

Experts advising Japan’s nuclear industry had underestimated the seismic threat, Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a tectonic geomorphology professor at Tokyo University, said at the same news conference.

“The expertise and neutrality of experts advising Japan’s Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency are highly questionable,” Watanabe said.

After an earthquake in 2007 caused radiation leaks at reactors north of Tokyo, Ishibashi said Japan was at risk of a nuclear disaster following a large earthquake, a warning that proved prescient after Fukushima.

The neutrality of nuclear industry experts is highly questionable everywhere. The damaged nuclear plants at Fukushima are still hot, and the danger continues. As Germany moves to other energy sources, Japan has a chance to change course. In the best case, the world will move beyond large, centralized polluting power sources and wasteful consumption before the next inevitable tectonic shift.