How the news media dealt with — or failed to — the links between this spring’s severe weather and climate change:
On April 14, a massive storm swept down out of the Rocky Mountains into the Midwest and South, spawning more than 150 tornadoes that killed 43 people across 16 states (Capital Weather Gang, 4/18/11). It was one of the largest weather catastrophes in United States history—but was soon upstaged by an even larger storm, the 2011 Super Outbreak that spread more than 300 tornadoes across 14 states from April 25 to 28 (including an all-time one-day record of 188 twisters on April 27), killing 339 people, including 41 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN, 5/1/11).
Ensuing weeks saw Texas wildfires that had been burning since December expand to consume more than 3 million acres (Texas Forest Service, 6/28/11; CNN, 4/25/11), plus record flooding along the Mississippi River, which couldn’t contain the water from April’s storms on top of the spring snowmelt. On May 22, a super-strong F5 tornado killed 153 people as it flattened a large part of Joplin, Missouri (National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, 5/22/11) ; in the first two weeks of June, a heat wave broke temperature records in multiple states, and the Wallow fire became the largest in Arizona state history (Washington Post, 6/14/11).
It was an unprecedented string of severe weather: By mid-June, more than 1,000 tornadoes had killed 536 people (NOAA, 6/13/11), nearly as many deaths as in the entire preceding decade. And it was only natural to ask: Were we seeing the effects of climate change?… [read more]
Answer: Or what.
So Nassau County held its vote on the $400 million New York Islanders arena plan yesterday, and for team owner Charles Wang things went about as well as … it’s tempting to say “as well as a typical Islanders game,” but that’d be cruel. In any case, the final vote was 57-43% against funding a new arena (plus a new minor-league baseball stadium for an as-yet nonexistent Atlantic League team) with a 4% property tax hike, one that just might have been illegal… [read more]
My article on, well, why mayors love sports stadiums is out in the new special sports issue of The Nation, guest-edited by the inimitable Dave Zirin — unfortunately, it’s behind the web paywall, so unless you’re a subscriber you’ll need to buy an actual copy to read it.
Much of the rest of the issue is online for all, though; check it out, if only to admire me sharing a table of contents with Noam Chomsky, John Sayles, and Mark Cuban.
A quick fact-check of yesterday’s much-hyped state comptroller’s report declaring Coney Island to be booming:
Yesterday state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a report on economic development in Coney Island and Brighton Beach, and declared the two Brooklyn communities to be “back as dynamic neighborhoods where New Yorkers can come to live, work and play,” with job growth far exceeding that of the city as a whole.
DiNapoli’s press statement was quickly snapped up by numerous city news outlets, with the Post’s headline typical: “Report shows huge gains in jobs, population gains for Coney Island.”
It was an odd moment for anyone who’s actually been to Coney Island lately, since there are few obvious signs of a massive renaissance… [read more]
With just one week to go before the New York Islanders arena referendum, New Yorkers are beginning to take notice that there’s a team called the Islanders, and they’re having some kind of arena referendum:
Today’s Daily News features an editorial on next Monday’s New York Islanders arena vote, which is notable for a couple of reasons: One, it’s a rare acknowledgment by the New York media that there is, indeed, a sport known as hockey; and two, it’s an even rarer admission that there’s another hockey team in the area in addition to the Rangers and that one in New Jersey that wins Stanley Cups every so often, a team that otherwise survives in New York sports lingo only in the archaic expression “Potvin sucks!”… [read more]
If you didn’t get enough on how tough it can be to apply for public benefits in New York City in my recent City Limits magazine story, here’s a new article on a report saying it’s doubly tough if you’re a teenager or young adult:
It’s a story that’s repeated itself several times now under the Bloomberg administration: A leading New York social services agency issues a report harshly criticizing the Bloomberg administration’s welfare policies as inappropriate for many poor New Yorkers, and ineffective at moving people into economic self-sufficiency. City officials respond by insisting that the study is flawed, and that the city’s “Work First” model has been a success at connecting low-income New Yorkers with employment.
The latest study, “Missed Opportunity,” was issued jointly last month by the Community Service Society (owner of City Limits) and the Resilience Advocacy Project to investigate how young applicants for public benefits are handled by the city Human Resources Administration, which manages public benefits. Their answer: poorly… [read more]
And one more from the City Limits extravaganza (which is now optimized for you to read through start to finish online, beginning here). This is a companion piece that didn’t make the print magazine for space reasons, profiling a Hunter College student who’s stuck in low-wage work thanks to her country of birth:
Like many students at Hunter College, C. is in her mid-20s, is working on her degree after several years in the work world and commutes to class from a shared apartment in Queens. But she stands out in one way, though it’s not one she goes out of her way to mention to classmates and teachers.
“I would love to be able to tell people, ‘You know, I’m undocumented,’ ” she says, “because I think it would shock them. My accent is not too strong. I’m young. I’m going to school. They would never characterize me as undocumented. The problem is, I am.”… [read more]
I know that U.S. media outlets like to interpret everything in terms of impact on the business climate, but this (lead story as appearing on Google News right now) is ridiculous:
I’m happy to report that contrary to what I said yesterday, my entire article profiling low-income New Yorkers and how they make ends meet is now available online via the City Limits website. You can find links to all six sections here, or if you prefer individual links to each chapter, be my guest:
- The Poor Have Numbers. Do They Count?
- Even Entrepreneurs Need Food Stamps
- From Blue-Collar to the Welfare Line
- One Woman’s Plan to Beat Poverty
- Sharon’s Homework: Self-Sufficiency
- What Would Help Poor New Yorkers? Take Your Pick
You can also still order a print or electronic copy as well, but the new issue isn’t in the ordering system just yet. So if you want to see all the nice charts and photos, just hold tight and I’ll post an alert when your money is good here.