Personal incomes fell in July by 0.7%. Remember, inflation in June was over 9%. Americans had 10% less buying power than they did before. Republican economics at work!
FAA computer practices leave quite a bit to be desired. Two computer centers are supposed to operate for the entire country?! Similar systems in different industries require multiple redundancies. The FAA has also had many problems with adequately staffing properly trained air traffic controllers. That’s a trend that started under St. Ronnie Reagan’s union busting days. Republicans argue that investing in new technologies would require (gasp!) raising taxes. Because crashing planes and a crippled air system are so much more desirable.
Union members make more and have better health insurance. Their wages and benefits are part of the reason why corporations and their Republican lackeys have always attacked unions so viciously.
The Arctic becomes an island. For the first time in recorded history, the Arctic ice sheet can be circumnavigated. This year’s 2nd lowest ice extent (so far) on record means it will take quite different conditions to build the pack back up to the 1979-2000 average. What’s left is thinner and weaker than before.
EPA emission limits are rejected by a federal appeals court. It is absurd to think that the EPA should be able to limit what emission targets states can set for themselves, as long as they aren’t higher than the federal standard. This decision is yet another slap in the face to the Bush-friendly EPA managerial appointments. Not that that will stop them from continuing to act like a-holes for the next 120 days.
Marilyn Musgrave wants more debate time with challenger Betsy Markey, who has led in polls since May for the CO-04 seat. This is a direct reversal of the 2006 race when Musgrave refused to debate challenger Angie Paccione as she led in polls all the way to election day. Don’t give her any chance, Betsy!
The Space Shuttle program could be extended past the currently planned retirement date of 2010. NASA is rightfully concerned that the U.S. would then have no platform to get astronauts to the ISS and Low Earth Orbit until the Orion capsule’s planned 2015 service entry. One of the things Iraq has shown us is that projects and policies aren’t about available money, they’re about political will. There is no reason for NASA to be beholden to an increasingly contentious Russia for passage to a space station that American taxpayers mostly paid for.
Oil prices down and this is the money quote:
Stocks slumped more than $7 a barrel Tuesday morning as investors bet that the damage from Gustav was not as bad as had been feared. Prices also dropped due to the stronger dollar, which makes dollar-traded commodities cheaper for overseas investors. Additionally, investors continued to bet that global demand for oil is waning.
Isn’t it nice to know that we’re getting gouged at the pump while Wall Streeters bet on this and that and the other thing? Also note that oil prices have fallen 25% off their high of $147.20 on July 11. Has American demand fallen by 25% this year? Has American supply risen by 25% this year? Nope. More importantly, global demand has in no way fallen this year. Neither has global supply. Republicans keep talking about the “free market” and how it will lower oil prices. Those prices weren’t supported by market fundamentals. They were propped up by speculators that have been scared off by the threat of regulation introduction by the Democratic Congress. The lesson: Republicans cause oil and gas prices to rise; Democrats cause oil and gas prices to fall.
Will future Gulf landfalling hurricanes weaken like Katrina & Gustav? Joe Romm argues that with much warmer future oceans (based on a business as usual approach), hurricanes moving across the Gulf may not have to contend with cooler sea surface temperatures closer to land. That would mean more devastating storm damage as storms would maintain some or much of their open-water potency. Also of concern: warmer Mississippi waters and warmer delta waters that would allow stronger hurricanes to affect more areas inland from the Gulf.