Between the unending bad news from Gulf, the the Hamas/Israeli flotilla showdown, and N. Korea threatening war
, it seems like we could all use a little good news. So this being a Friday, let's try to start the weekend with some happier thoughts...
Despite the horrific environmental nightmare occurring in the Gulf, there is some good environmental news to report. The EPA has set new limits on sulfur dioxide
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday set a new health standard that coal-fired power plants and other industries will have to meet on sulfur dioxide, a pollutant that triggers asthma attacks and causes other respiratory problems.
The EPA set the new standard within a range that an independent panel of scientists suggested. This marks the first time the standard has been changed since the original one was issued in 1971.
The new rule sets the amount at 75 parts per billion over a one-hour period, a level that's aimed at protecting people who go outdoors from short-term exposures. The EPA said that even brief exposure could create health problems, especially for children, people with asthma and older people.
This shows that everyone claiming the virtues of the oxymoronically-named "clean coal" will have to actually clean up their emissions.
Although it's not legally gay marriage, NYC is offering couples the opportunity to have a city hall gay wedding
. It won't be legally recognized in NY state, but should be recognized in other states that allow gay marriages. And - if NY state does move to recognize them, you'll already be set.
Elsewhere in the country, the economy continues to improve
Data released on Thursday has shown that the US economy is continuing to grow, with both factory output and the services sector still expanding.
US factory orders increased 1.2% in April, said the Commerce Department, led by a big rise in orders for commercial aircraft.
The Institute of Supply Management said service industries grew in May for the fifth month in a row.
US economists are now awaiting Friday's release of May's unemployment data.
This is expected to show that while the US economy added about 500,000 jobs last month, unemployment remained at just under 10%.
The reason for this apparent contradiction is that more people are starting to look for work as the economy continues to recover, thereby boosting the size of the overall labour force.
Finally, one bit of "why is that good news?" - GW Bush admits his administration water boarded
suspects. Why is that good news? Because it means he's admitted to committing a war crime and can now be prosecuted. Will he? His Secret Service detail will expire in 2018. Surely some motivated bounty hunter will be willing to deliver him to The Hague to face trial.
It's Friday, ya bastahds. Happy thoughts...