The northwest U.S. has had more than it’s fair share of extreme weather and its after-effects this winter. Record rains and heavy snowpack have given way to flooding rivers and avalanches as more rain has fallen during a warm spell. These kinds of events are the kind that are forecasted to occur more often as our climate changes. Climate models for years have indicated that extreme weather events of all kinds would become more prevalent: extended periods of drier conditions interspersed with events and seasons that would see record rain fall, among others. The economic impact in Washington state alone this week was millions of dollars per day in stalled transport of goods and widespread seclusion of communities by floodwaters and avalanches. It’s not just a case of a mm or two of rising sea levels (so far!). There are and will be real-world economic impacts as a result of the forcing we’ve already put into the climate system. Those impacts will grow in scope the longer the deniers/delayers hold the country back from taking action.
The preliminary unemployment numbers for December came out this morning. The narrowest reading of unemployment is reported at 7.2% now, the highest level since 1993. It is no mistake that the two highest levels of unemployment come at the end of long-term Republican control of the economy. Con economic policies have demonstrated how badly they fail time and time again. Over 3.6 million jobs have been lost since Dec. 2007, and it wasn’t like Bush was effective at creating them before then. Bush presided over the lowest rate and amount of job creation since WWII. Now, a large portion of those jobs have been lost again. I will point out that the more accurate unemployment number (U6) stands at 13.5% now.
Paul Krugman asks if we’re prepared to act decisively in the face of the 2nd Great Republican Depression.
In the comic relief department, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin lashed out again at the mean ol’ media for … supposedly treating her badly during her time as VP nominee. Yes, Sarah, it’s the media’s fault you had no coherent policy stances and were frighteningly unaware of the most visible domestic and foreign policy issues of the day – issues you would have had to deal with had you been elected. Sarah is practicing what other Cons have done for years: she’s trying to play the refs now so they’ll treat her with kid gloves in the future. It must have been quite the shock to step out of her protective little bubble of intimidation and influence in Alaska to realize how very little she means to larger, national affairs. She’s connecting to her extremist base by whining that she’s the victim of something. Most extremists feel this way. So at least she has company. Her complaint about bloggers is especially humorous – I don’t remember a similar amount of outrage when Drudge tried to tie manufactured rumors to Obama. In fact, she chose to use those unsubstantiated rumors in her stump speeches. Obama and Biden did not reciprocate – they aggressively debated her and McCain’s policy proposals. The American people overwhelmingly rejected candidates that were willfully uncurious and nonserious about governing. There was no media bias against McCain or Palin in the 2008 election. A large body of negative press was generated about Obama’s and Biden’s handling of affairs and policy proposals. The American people made a decision. I don’t expect an extremist like Sarah Palin to understand the difference.