Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Last Call

As you probably expected if you followed the weather news this year or live in the continental US and experienced it yourself, 2012 is now in the books as the warmest year on record.  The staggering piece of news here is that the old warmest year on record, 1998, was beaten by a full degree.

The warmest weather compared to average was concentrated in the central part of the U.S. but was so pervasive that only coastal sections of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska had average or below average temperatures. In the contiguous U.S., every state had above average temperatures. Nineteen states had their warmest year on record and an additional 26 states had one of their top 10 warmest years.

2012 contributed to a streak of 16 consecutive months of above average temperatures over the U.S. that started in June 2011.

“That has never occurred [before in U.S. climate records] and is clearly symptomatic of a changing climate,” NCDC’s director Tom Karl said.

The year began very warm with the fourth mildest winter on record followed by a record-setting spring, more than five degrees above average.

The early warmth produced a “tremendous green-up” in corn and soybean growing areas of the Midwest and farmers planted their crops as early they could, Karl said.

But this backfired as temperatures continued to climb and rains diminished. July was the hottest month ever recorded in the U.S. and the summer overall ranked second warmest on record.
“An estimated 99.1 million people experienced 10 or more days of summer temperatures greater than 100°F, nearly one-third of the nation’s population,” NCDC said.

And not only was 2012 the hottest year on record, it was one of the driest.  Enjoy folks, you'll be wishing for 2012's "cool" temps ten years from now.

The Right Kind Of Payback On DADT

Yet another example of social justice that would never have happened under Presidents McCain or Romney:  the Pentagon is giving full back pay to servicemembers discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

In a landmark settlement, the Pentagon has agreed to give full back pay to U.S. service members who were discharged due to their sexual orientation under the military's “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
The payouts will be granted to service members dismissed from the military under the now-repealed policy on or after November 2004.

“This means so much to those of us who dedicated ourselves to the military, only to be forced out against our will for being who we are,” former Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Collins said in a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit.

Under "Don’t ask," service members who were honorably discharged automatically had their separation pay cut in half.

The ACLU of New Mexico sued the Pentagon on behalf of 181 service members who were dismissed under the policy to recover their full pay. Each solider, sailor, airman and Marine in the case will receive, on average, a payout of $13,000, the ACLU said.

The Defense Department will pay a total of $2.4 million to the plaintiffs.

It's the least we could do for these folks, in a federal job where they were fired for even suggesting they were LGBT.  It was nonsense when Clinton proposed it, and the country finally caught on to what an ingrained policy of discrimination meant for the federal government.  The rest of the country (and especially this President) is coming around, thankfully.

No doubt we'll be hearing about Republicans screaming to cut the defense budget now, right?

The Weight Of Finali-Tea

When even Rasmussen has the Tea Party in the single digits among Americans, you know the movement is dead.

Views of the Tea Party movement are at their lowest point ever, with voters for the first time evenly divided when asked to match the views of the average Tea Party member against those of the average member of Congress.  Only eight percent (8%) now say they are members of the Tea Party, down from a high of 24% in April 2010 just after passage of the national health care law. 

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 30% of Likely U.S. Voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party. Half (49%) of voters have an unfavorable view of the movement. Twenty-one percent (21%) are undecided.

And yet the GOP is scrambling to serve the whims of 8% of America at the expense of the other 92% of us.  Sounds like the death knell of a fringe party to me.


Related Posts with Thumbnails