U.S. economy slowing:
American firms added fewer workers than forecast in May, a sign job growth is struggling to pick up, according to data from a new private report based on payrolls. Reuters and Bloomberg News cited figures from ADP Employer Services showing that employment increased by only 38,000 last month, the smallest increase since September, from a revised 177,000 in April. The Bloomberg News piece cites Eric Green, chief market economist at TD Securities in New York, who told clients that, “The weakness reflects a general slowdown and turn in sentiment that set in with the sharp rise in energy prices, disruptions from Japan, and to a lesser extent risk aversion stemming from the Greek fiasco.” Reuters cites economist Tom Porcelli, who says that, “This only adds fuel to the argument that the slowdown story is here in the U.S.
What are we waiting for?
The global research director for General Electric Co. says that, given recent innovations, solar power may be cheaper than that generated by fossil fuels and nuclear power within three to five years. “If we can get solar at 15 cents a kilowatt-hour or lower, which I’m hopeful that we will do, you’re going to have a lot of people that are going to want to have solar at home,” according to GE’s Mark M. Little, cited by Brian Wingfield of Bloomberg News. According to Wingfield, GE announced in April that it had boosted the efficiency of thin-film solar panels to a record 12.8 percent. Improving efficiency, or the amount of sunlight converted to electricity, would help reduce the costs of solar power without relying on subsidies, Wingfield says.
A woman’s right to choose:
The Legislature’s new Republican majority is continuing its push to eventually outlaw all abortions in Alabama. Two bills to further restrict abortions in the state passed a House committee Tuesday and moved closer to final passage by the Alabama Legislature, according to the Associated Press. The House Health Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that says life begins when an egg is fertilized and implanted in the womb. Senate sponsor Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, said he believes that life begins when the egg is fertilized. Another bill passed committee allowing Alabama to opt out of provisions of federal health care legislation that would provide abortion funding. A House-passed bill to ban abortions after a woman has been pregnant for 20 weeks or more is expected to be introduced next week in the Senate.
‘Bama and Auburn fans on common ground:
According to Glenn Guilbeau of The Monroe News Star, the recent tornadoes may have softened the hatred between Alabama and Auburn football fans.The piece cites as one example the “Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa” Facebook page on which Auburn fans can learn how to help storm victims in the home of their hated rival. Even the head coaches are speaking out for unity. “It’s not about an Alabama or an Auburn thing,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Tuesday at Southeastern Conference spring meetings. “It’s the state has been devastated. This is real life. This is not about a game.” According to ‘Bama head coach Nick Saban, “Regardless of your school or your passion or whatever, there’s the entertainment of sports and its importance to so many people. But we also like to keep things in perspective. This is about people.”