Wednesday, September 23, 2015
"TALLAHASSEE — Most out-of-work Floridians will never see a jobless benefits check from the state.
In fact, a report this week from the National Employment Law Project, a nonpartisan research group, puts the Sunshine State at the bottom of the nation, tied with South Carolina, in the percentage of unemployed people who actually receive state unemployment insurance.
From June 2014 to June 2015, just one in eight unemployed people in Florida received benefits, the report says. It appears to be a new low. Just six years ago, at the height of the recession, more than 30 percent of those out of work received weekly payments.
Critics blame the state for making it harder for the unemployed to qualify for benefits.
The number of Floridians on unemployment insurance has fallen dramatically in recent years in tandem with new requirements from the state. Adding to the problem: A new online system for unemployment claims was plagued with glitches.
Nationally, about 27 percent of jobless receive benefits, though that rate has fallen since the recession as well.
"Unemployment insurance is a basic lifeline for America's workers when they lose jobs through no fault of their own," said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), in a written statement. "Workers earn these benefits through their work histories, and like any insurance policy, the purpose is to help provide needed financial support when there is a catastrophic event — in this case, involuntary job loss."
One of the biggest hurdles to receiving benefits in Florida has been the rollout of CONNECT, an online filing system for unemployment, which cost $77 million to start in 2013. After the website launched, applicants experienced months-long delays in receiving benefits.
State audits have called for major changes to CONNECT, which is managed by the Department of Economic Opportunity, and lawmakers have taken them to task, as well.
The study's authors also point to a law passed in 2011 that requires those seeking benefits to routinely report information about their job search, which has accompanied a steep rise in people being disqualified from benefits for not following the proper procedure. The requirements are "among the most onerous in the country," according to NELP.
State Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, who sponsored the legislation, said changes were needed to encourage people to look for work while receiving benefits and to stop those who should be ineligible from earning benefits.
"(The law) hadn't been changed since the '30s," Detert said. "Our studies showed that people didn't even start looking for a job until two weeks before benefits ran out."
Asked to comment on fixing CONNECT glitches and access to benefits, Department of Economic Opportunity spokeswoman Jessica Sims said that the study doesn't paint a picture of the economy as a whole.
"The best way to assist someone who is unemployed is to create more opportunities for them to find a great job, and that's what we are focused on," she said.
Contact Michael Auslen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MichaelAuslen.
Study: Florida has lowest rate of unemployed who receive benefits 09/22/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 8:37pm] "
Sunday, May 10, 2015
The Planetary Society is preparing to launch a tiny satellite into orbit later this month as the first phase in testing a solar sail as a means of spacecraft propulsion — an idea that has been kicking around in the science (and science-fiction) literature for at least a century.
The satellite, LightSail, no larger than a loaf of bread, is contained within the somewhat larger Prox-1 satellite developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology. It is scheduled to liftoff aboard an Atlas V rocket on May 20.
The concept states that if a large enough, kite-like "sail" can be deployed in space, the pressure exerted by particles streaming from the the Sun (known as the "solar wind") could be used to push a spacecraft along, much the same way that a sailing vessel is propelled when heading downwind.
The first LightSail won't reach a high enough orbit to try out the sail in the solar wind, but it should be able to test the mechanism for deploying the 345-square foot tissue-thin Mylar sail. A mission set for next year should put a second LightSail in a high enough orbit to fully test the concept.
A decade ago, the Planetary Society, the non-profit founded by the late Carl Sagan and now headed by Bill Nye ("The Science Guy"), made its first attempt to launch a solar sail, but the satellite was lost when the Russian launch vehicle it was on failed to reach orbit."
Thursday, April 23, 2015
The unjustified death of Freddie Gray cannot go unchallenged. This is a call for non-violent civil disobedience across the nation. It is evident the Police are covering up what occurred in this case. A person's neck does not spontaneously separate from one's spine, the condition the Police left Freddie Gray in resulting in his death. I am outraged!
"Baltimore 25-year-old Freddie Gray died of a severe spinal cord injury after police arrested him.
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
Sen. Mark Begich, center left, and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, center right, listen to a brief on a ground-based interceptor missile silo on Fort Greeley, Alaska, June 1, 2009. Gates is touring missile defense facilities in Alaska.
Monday, January 26, 2015
A massive asteroid is set to safely pass Earth Monday. According to NASA scientists, the asteroid 2004 BL86 is approximately 1,500 feet across and will come closest to Earth at 11:19 a.m. ET.
The asteroid will be approximately 745,000 miles away - about three times the distance between the earth and the moon.
Experts at NASA's Near Earth Object Program believe the asteroid will not be visible to the naked eye. The asteroid is expected to be visible through small telescopes and strong binoculars.
The asteroid was discovered in 2004, and Monday's pass is believed to be the closest the asteroid will come to Earth for the next 200 years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.