It’s good to be back with you, Animals, taking up the pen as your guest-blogger for the next two days. Thanks to Ed Kilgore for the invitation.

It promises to be another steamy weekend in your nation’s capital, though not quite so boiling as when the mercury hit the 104 mark on Capitol Hill last Sunday, sparking a brown-out that cost the houses on my block their air conditioning for a few hours. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the fate of the many area residents who lost their power for up to seven days in the wake of a storm that would have once been prefaced by the adjective, “freak.”

If there’s any good news to be had out of the raft of severe weather the nation (and, indeed, the world) has been experiencing, it’s that the apocalyptic quality of the droughts, floods, wild fires and east-coast tornados appears to be putting a dent in the climate-change-denying industry.

A poll released yesterday by the Washington Post and Stanford University shows that 55 percent of respondents think the government can do something substantial to stop climate change, and only 20 percent want to prevent the government from regulating greenhouse gases.

Even more cheerful is the news that a mere 12 percent think that measures the government would take to stem climate change would make their lives appreciably worse. (Were it not for the incandescent bulb worshippers in the Tea Party, that number could be appreciably less.)

On a related note, the Washington Post reports that a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determined that atmospheric changes wrought by the burning of fossil fuels rendered the 2011 Texas heat wave “20 times more likely to occur compared with conditions in the 1960s.”

All things being political, the Post also asked respondents to rate the presidential candidates on climate change:

Americans make a clear distinction between the two main presidential candidates this year on the issue. Nearly half perceive that President Obama wants a “great deal” or “quite a bit” of government action on global warming. Far fewer — 11 percent — say the same of Republican Mitt Romney.

In other weather news, there’s a giant storm on the sun, and’s throwing a ball of energy this morning — not a dern thing the government can do about that (except take some excellent pictures).

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