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What Dave said. Boy, I wish Dave Johnson was a Times columnist, instead of David Brooks.


I was reading the different reactions to yesterday’s quake, and I have to say, the last thing I thought was that it was a terrorist attack. I immediately thought “WTF, an earthquake?”


So they fudged it:

Partisans will surely find things to love and hate about CBO’s updated economic outlook. It projects that the 2011 deficit will be lower than the last two years’ deficits, but still near record highs. It forecasts a slow but steady economic recovery over the next six years. And it makes clear that the country’s medium-term fiscal imbalances are manageable unless lawmakers decide to screw things up.

But there’s also a major, major caveat.

“CBO initially completed its economic forecast in early July, but it updated the forecast in early August to reflect the policy changes enacted in the Budget Control Act [the debt limit deal],” the report reads. “However, the forecast described here does not reflect any other developments since early July, including the recent swings in financial markets, weakness in certain economic indicators, and the annual revision to the national income and product accounts. Incorporating that news would have led CBO to temper its near-term forecast for economic growth.”
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Here’s how not to begin an editorial about the departure of an arrogant and divisive “public servant” who hung on until the school district and anonymous donors gave her $905,000 to go away…

School daze

Four days a week? Thank you, Republican party!

A South Dakota school district has joined the march toward a four-day school week to save money.

The Irene-Wakonda district figures it can save $50,000, or the equivalent of one teacher, by running classes Monday through Thursday and stretching each day by about 30 minutes.

“Children are pretty resilient,” district Superintendent Larry Johnke told the Star on Tuesday. “Time wise, there’s not a lot of difference. We did our research and found test scores have not gone down in places that have a four-day week.”

The 300-student Irene-Wakonda district lost of a chunk of its $2.3 million budget from the state and had already cut events, an art program and two coaches.

“In this financial crisis, we wanted to maintain our core content and vocational program, so we were forced to do this,” said Johnke.

The rural school district joins about 120 in 21 American states that have sliced a day off the school week to save money. A growing trend over the last decade, accelerated by the U.S. recession, the four-day school week tends to crop up in smaller, rural districts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Cat 3

Expected to be Cat 4 by tonight:

Irene is forecast to move to the northwest, passing over all of the Bahamas by Thursday evening, then curving to the north. Irene then makes landfall in the US near or at the Outer Banks Saturday afternoon, then traveling along the mid-Atlantic coastline of the US. After Saturday, Irene may pose a threat to Long Island and the New England coastline. However, NHC is quick to remind us that the average forecast error for day 4 is 200 miles, so don’t stop your hurricane preparations if you aren’t in the immediate area of landfall. It is also important to note that the windfield of Irene is expected to be large, affecting areas distant from the immediate track of Irene’s center. Tropical storm forces winds are expected to be found out to at least 150 miles away from Irene’s center on Friday afternoon.

New rules

For flyers. These should help!

The war on the poor

Jeff Madrick on Countdown:


Let’s see. I live three blocks from the Delaware River and the ground is already saturated from a week of rain… should be fun! They’re predicted a second landfall in NJ for Sunday:

(CNN) — The entire eastern coast of the United States should prepare for Irene, a large and dangerous hurricane churning northwestward over the tropical waters of the Caribbean, the nation’s emergency chief warned Tuesday.

At 8 p.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said the winds in Irene remained unchanged from its previous update, at 90 mph, making the storm a Category 1 hurricane. However, the reduction is expected to be only temporary, and Irene is still forecast to become a Category 3 event, a major hurricane, by Wednesday night or Thursday, the center said.

Irene was moving through the southern Bahamas and will pass very near or over the Turks and Caicos islands later Tuesday night, CNN Senior Meteorologist Dave Hennen said early Tuesday evening.

The storm could threaten the North Carolina coast on Saturday and is likely to continue to be a hurricane all the way into New England as it moves along or over the northeast coast, Hennen said.

Widespread damage is possible from coastal Carolina all the way up to the Canadian Maritimes, including the major cities of the Northeast, Hennen said.
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Maybe we’ll have our own nuclear disaster instead of having to import them from Japan! I wonder if they also designed these for a 5.8 earthquake followed in the same week by a hurricane?

The magnitude 5.8 earthquake that shook the East Coast on Tuesday was centered near a nuclear power plant, raising concerns that the facility could have been damaged.

North Anna Power Station, located about 10 miles from the epicenter, is running its safety systems on backup generators after the quake knocked out the plant’s outside power source.

[…] McIntyre said the NRC was closely monitoring the situation at the plant, which is owned by Dominion Power. An NRC resident inspector has been working with power company officials to inspect the facility and its complex systems for any cracks or other damage. So far, he said no damage had been found.

The quake hit along a fault in the Appalachian Mountains that has seen modest seismic activity in the past.

The North Anna plant reported an “alert” after the quake struck. An alert is the second most serious of four status positions for a nuclear plant.

The other 10 plants on the East Coast are listed in the least serious stage of warning, reporting an “unusual event,” and are generating electricity and operating normally, McIntyre said. An unusual event triggers an immediate inspection for cracks, he said.

The North Anna plant was designed to withstand a 5.9 to 6.1 quake.

The quake came “uncomfortably close” to that maximum, said Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that advocates stronger regulation of nuclear power.

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