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Ain't No Cure for the Summertime Blues

Tucsonans may need to get their swamp coolers up and running earlier this year--or maybe make that long-planned switch to AC.

Researchers with the UA's Climate Assessment for the Southwest predict that temps will be hotter than normal between March and August. Also: You know those predictions that we were going to get more rain this year? Not so likely anymore, which means the drought is likely to persist.

In related global-warming--er, climate-change news: Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano signed a pact this week with the governors of California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington to cut back on greenhouse-gas production, which even the Bush administration has finally conceded may be a problem. Still to be determined: How exactly the state will go about accomplishing that goal.

But we'd better get to work on it, according to UA planetary professor Robert G. Strom, who is warning in a new book, Hot House: Global Climate Change and the Human Condition, that if the world does not start cutting back on greenhouse gas, average temps will be rising at least 2 degrees Celsius.

"Global warming is a very serious problem that requires immediate world action," Strom told the UA News Service. "It is hard to understand that the really serious consequences will happen not to us, but to our grandchildren. If we do too little, they will get what we deserve."

A final note: Al Gore won the best documentary Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, his global-warming PowerPoint presentation. The following day, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research sent out a bulletin revealing that Gore spends more in one month on electricity than the average American spends in a year. The organization said Gore spent more than $30,000 on electric and gas bills for his Nashville mansion in 2006.


War Stories

State Rep. Jonathan Paton returned to Tucson after a six-month stint in Iraq. Paton volunteered to be called up from the Army Reserve for the mission, which involved traveling across the war-torn country helping brigade combat units target insurgents.

"The unit I was with had technology that would make intelligence analysis go 50 times faster," says Paton, who won re-election to the House while he was in Iraq and was officially sworn into his second term at the Legislature this week.

Paton still has a chance to sponsor some legislation, because his seatmate, Rep. Marian McClure, has sponsored 10 bills that Paton can paste his own legislation into through the magic of strike-all amendments.

"I'm anxious to get back to work at the Capitol," Paton says.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl also recently returned from a brief tour of Iraq, where insurrectionists have started using chlorine to give their bombs a hint of chemical weaponry.

Not so surprising: Kyl supports the Bush administration's plan for a troop surge; Giffords opposes it.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. John McCain continued his criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war, saying that now-departed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was "one of the worst" defense secretaries in the history of the country.

"We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement--that's the kindest word I can give you--of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war," McCain said while campaigning in South Carolina, according to The Associated Press.

Vice President Dick Cheney told ABC news that Rumsfeld was a "great" secretary of defense and that McCain was a big ol' flip-flopper.

"John said some nasty things about me the other day, and then next time he saw me, ran over to me and apologized," Cheney told ABC. "Maybe he'll apologize to Rumsfeld."


Death at the Parade

Five-year-old Brielle Boisvert was killed in a horrific accident in this year's rodeo parade, when the horse behind the one she was riding spooked and crashed into her. Preliminary autopsy results released by the Pima County Medical Examiner show that Boisvert died from internal bleeding after she fell from her horse and was run over by a wagon. Police were still investigating the case as of press time.

Boisvert's death has prompted a review of enforcement of the rodeo parade's safety regulations.

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