Brother, can you spare a dime

The multitrillion-dollar patchwork of federal and state relief programs has not kept bills from piling up or prevented long lines at food banks. But it has mitigated the damage. Now the expiration of those programs represents a cliff that many Americans and the economy are hurtling toward.

The $1,200 checks are long gone, at least for those who needed them most, with little imminent prospect for a second round. The lending program that helped millions of small businesses keep workers on the payroll will wind down if Congress does not extend it. Eviction moratoriums that are keeping people in their homes are expiring in many cities.

And the $600 per week in extra unemployment benefits that have allowed tens of millions of laid-off workers to pay rent and buy groceries will expire at the end of July…

RTFA. Every spare economist can make a buck, right now, forecasting a quick revival of our economy. Some don’t.

Thank you to Barry Ritholtz‘ for the link to the 538 post…and the late Jay Gorney for being a helluva musician and composer.

When will it end? 20 children, 6 adults, shot down in an elementary school!

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Allison Joyce

CBS News is reporting that 27 people including numerous children have been killed along with the gunman after a shooting inside a school in Newtown Friday morning.

The scene is being called ‘atrocious’ inside Sandy Hook Elementary School…

According to CBS News, the gunman, who is believed to be 18 to 20 years old, got into an argument with people at the front office at about 9:41 a.m. People have to be buzzed in before entering the school and there is a camera to view whoever is entering the building.

State police said this is one of the worst shootings emergency officials have seen in a long time.

The children inside the school have been evacuated to the nearby Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department and reunited with some of their parents at this staging area.

Connecticut has called surrounding states for more medical examiners because they do not have enough to conduct autopsies.

Standing up for good sense, for regulation, for simple procedures to manage access to firearms is long overdue.

I’ve been a gun owner for years and still am – both handguns and long guns. There is no problem passing through a procedure which at a minimum evaluates a purchaser for criminal background, for mental instability, for being a danger to society. That doesn’t take a lot of data mining.

I absolutely reject all the stupid political rationales for existing loopholes, the silliness that guarantees profits before the lives of innocent people. It’s time for ordinary citizens to reject the fanatics who make unregulated gun ownership a religion.

It’s time, now.

F.D.A. to increase oversight of medical radiation

With evidence mounting that radiation exposure from medical scans is a growing public health issue, the Food and Drug Administration is taking action.

The agency says it’s got a “three-pronged approach” to reducing unnecessary exposure to X-rays during exams, such as CT scans and angiograms:

Encourage safe use of medical imaging devices, including stronger safeguards against dangerous doses;

Help doctors make better decisions by making patient doses easier to see and record in medical files;

Empower patients with better information and tools to track their doses, such as a personal dose card.

FDA’s goal “is to support the benefits associated with medical imaging while minimizing the risks,” said a statement quoting Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the agency’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health…

Last week, the National Institutes of Health said it would take steps to standardize recordkeeping of radiation doses at its own hospital, a move that could set a standard for others to follow.

Uh, why did this take so long?

If you care to read through the agency’s report, it’s over here.