NOW EVERYBODY AGREES THAT WE’VE WARMED OURSELVES TO DEATH. WELL, EVERYONE WHO MATTERS ANYWAY: “More than a million homes and businesses along the nation’s coasts could flood repeatedly before ultimately being destroyed. Entire states in the Southeast and the Corn Belt may lose much of their agriculture as farming shifts northward in a warming world. Heat and humidity will probably grow so intense that spending time outside will become physically dangerous, throwing industries like construction and tourism into turmoil. That is the picture of what may happen to the United States economy in a world of unchecked global warming, according to a major new report being put forward Tuesday by a coalition of senior political and economic figures from the left, right and center, including three Treasury secretaries stretching back to the Nixon administration. At a time when the issue of climate change has divided the American political landscape, pitting Republicans against Democrats and even fellow party members against one another, the unusual bipartisan alliance of political veterans said that the country — and business leaders in particular — must wake up to the enormous scale of the economic risk. ‘The big ice sheets are melting; something’s happening,’ George P. Shultz, who was Treasury secretary under President Richard M. Nixon and secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, said in an interview. He noted that he had grown concerned enough about global warming to put solar panels on his own California roof and to buy an electric car. ‘I say we should take out an insurance policy.’” (via New York Times)
ON PAID SICK LEAVE AND BASIC HUMAN DIGNITY
AGAIN: “As the White House convenes its summit on the issues facing working families this week, it’s easy to feel discouraged. The proposals topping the agenda–paid leave, flexible work, childcare–are all great ideas. The problem is they’re the same great ideas advocates have been suggesting for years—decades, even. Sure, there’s been more recognition of the need for early education. And it’s huge that, over the past ten years, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have instituted state paid family leave programs. But the United States still lags behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to making life more livable for working families. Though there’s been some progress, it’s achingly slow. There is one front on which the work/life war has been escalating in recent years, however, one issue that has regularly bubbled over into legislative activity and news stories, while the rest have continued to simmer: paid sick days. Proposals allowing workers to earn paid time off to use when they’re sick or caring for a sick child have whipped through city councils and state legislatures. Paid-sick-leave laws have passed in the State of Connecticut as well as the District of Columbia; in Portland, Oregon; Newark, New Jersey; Jersey City; San Francisco; Seattle, and New York City. After Bill de Blasio became mayor of New York, a strengthened version of the law passed there. According to the mayor, it covers an additional 500,000 workers. Even in some places where proposals to make employers provide paid sick leave haven’t yet become law (Florida, California, Vermont and Massachusetts, among others) paid-sick-leave proposals have set off fiery battles that are clearly about much more than a little time off. With battles looming in almost two dozen cities and states nationwide, proponents have set the course for progress on other work/life issues, explaining that paid-sick-days legislation is a matter of basic dignity. Meanwhile, the fight over these bills has become a fight about the nature of democracy.” (via American Prospect)
PANIC IN DETROIT!: “Desperate calls for help from the United Nations aren’t just for war-torn and developing nations anymore. The city of Detroit—a city that has been on the brink in many ways—in an effort to balance its books, has begun shutting off water access to city residents behind on their payments. While that may seem like what happens to anyone when they don’t pay their bills, Detroit is a unique case—nearly half of the 323,900 residents who use the utility are delinquent, according to the Detroit Free Press. To make matters worse, Al Jazeera America reports, Detroit’s average monthly water bill is nearly double the national average of $40. The Detroit City Council approved a 9 percent hike last week. In response, a coalition of activist groups in the city have appealed to the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights for relief. Here’s what they’re hoping for via Think Progress: ‘We are asking the UN special rapporteur to make clear to the U.S. government that it has violated the human right to water,’ said Maude Barlow, the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and a key member of the coalition that put the report together. In addition to creating international pressure to stop the Detroit shutoffs, Barlow said, the UN’s intervention could lead to formal consequences for the United States. ‘If the US government does not respond appropriately this will also impact their Universal Periodic Review,’ she said, ‘when they stand before the Human Rights Council to have their [human rights] record evaluated.’ (via Slate)
SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE GAY! WITH FRIENDS LIKE TONY ORTIZ, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES? “Orlando waded into the gay-marriage debate Monday when a divided City Council voted to file a court brief opposing Florida's same-sex-marriage ban approved by voters in 2008. The filing puts Orlando on the opposite side of a legal battle in which Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has pledged to defend the state's constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage against several pending lawsuits. Though the city is not party to any of the cases now pending in state and federal courts, Mayor Buddy Dyer sought permission from the City Council on Monday to file a friend-of-the-court brief arguing in favor of same-sex marriage. The council approved that request in a 5-2 vote. Commissioners Jim Gray and Tony Ortiz, the council's two Republicans, voted no. Gray said it's an issue that doesn't belong before the City Council. Ortiz said his east Orlando district is "very conservative." "I have a lot of gay and lesbian friends and I would put my life in front of a bullet for them," Ortiz said. "But there are issues that transcend more than just a vote of the City Council, issues that have to do with spirituality." Ortiz's explanation angered Commissioner Patty Sheehan, who is gay. ‘It's so important to be able to love the person of your choice and have that respected by your state and federal governments,’ Sheehan said. "Anybody who stands for discrimination can't just say they have gay friends.
Equality is for everyone, not just who you decide to be friends with." (via Orlando Sentinel)
YOU DON’T KNOW HOW BAD [WE] GOT IT: