Saturday, July 24, 2010

How Hot Is It?

Looks like a horrible summer all around the globe:

- 71 drown in a single day in Russia: "71
people drowned in Russia in a single day, officials said on Tuesday, as many sought relief from a prolonged heatwave by jumping into lakes and rivers. ... Russia has seen a prolonged heatwave with temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius in Moscow on Saturday. Almost 2,500 people have drowned already this year, 1,244 of them in June alone. So far in July, the toll stands at 689. The Interfax news agency said that in recent weeks Mondays had proved by far the most lethal day of the week for swimming in Russia this summer, with 52 also killed on Monday, July 12."

- Sizzling summer shrinks spuds in Germany

- Global rise in heatwaves: "
According to the study, the frequency of "heatwave days" will jump from an average of two days per summer during 1961-1990 to around 13 days for 2021-2050 and 40 days for 2071-2100.

- Baltic Sea turns into tropical stew: "
A blue-green algae bloom the size of Germany has formed in the Baltic Sea, threatening marine life and even posing a danger to humans, authorities warned this week.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's Wrong With Getting Unemployment Pay?


Not one thing - and thankfully the Senate today squeaked out a bill to continue payments to 2.5 million jobless Americans. The money - $34 billion - will be quickly spent, yes, but that also means recapturing cash in local economies via spending and local taxes, and reductions in other assistance programs like food stamps and other safety net programs are a likely byproduct too.

And it really galls me that the Republican leaders like Sen. Mitch McConnell who approved and cheered the $700 billion TARP bailout for business, won't extend debt one more penny for unemployment paychecks. We all know that the vast majority of jobless weren't half-assed workers - they were loyal employees dumped in a horrible economic disaster.

I know - and so do all those who receive those checks - that it isn't meant to be a permanent replacement, and it usually is just enough to keep lives together. But I absolutely think the millions of people still jobless deserve some extra time and payment. And it's a great incentive for better governing when the costs and the voices from a battered economy are loud and long.