Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Stuff

Happy 65th Birthday, President Clinton (what follows are remarks on behalf of the China Global Philanthropy Forum).

This was the last president under which this country thrived, experiencing genuine prosperity (Can't remember what it was like? I don't blame you; I barely can myself anymore - just Google it)...

...and it looks like Jon Stewart knocked 'em out again before going on vacation (speaking of missed economic opportunities - here is Part One)...

...and here is Part Two (wrapup here)...

...and I suppose thinking about Bill Clinton and the whole "economic prosperity lifting all boats" thing has put me in a '90s mood, and this was a bit of an anthem for yours truly back then (though the "means nothing at all to me today" line was debatable - apologies for showing a clip with that idiot Dennis Miller, but it's a good performance).

Bringing The Pain, Part 3

(Part 1 including the setup is here and Part 2 is here.)


As noted here, the jobless rate remained at 9.4 percent in June. However, as noted here from May…
George Stewart hears how North Idaho’s jobless rate is slowly improving, but he’d prefer to experience it.

The Rathdrum man walked away from job searching for a construction position at the Idaho Department of Labor on Friday feeling shut out.

“There’s still not a lot out there,” Stewart said. “If this economy is turning, I’m sorry, but I’m just not feeling it yet.”

Kootenai County’s jobless rate was 11.1 percent in April, down from 11.2 percent in March, according to a report released on Friday by the Idaho Department of Labor.
“The number of people in the labor force decreased as well as the number of unemployed, driving down the unemployment rate itself,” said Alivia Body, regional labor economist.

Body said local initial unemployment claims decreased by 100 in April.

The trends in job openings have steadily been in health care and administrative services,” she said. “However, seasonal employment has trickled in and, as the weather starts to turn, we will start seeing those seasonal jobs ramp up.”
Hopefully when the third-quarter numbers come out, that prediction will be realized.

Also, this tells us that state Repugs tried to block an unemployment extension in March (figures), and this tells us how Idaho “shortchanges the unemployed” with fees on debit cards that are apparently used to collect benefits. Further, the Idaho Department of Labor sponsored a class in June here to help people whose federal unemployment benefits have expired.


This takes us to “voices of the long-term unemployed” from Progress Illinois (and this tells us the following)…
Unemployment in Evanston and across Illinois soared in June, as more people, including many new college graduates, entered the labor force.

For Evanston the rate rose from 7.3 percent in May to 8.2 percent in June. That was even higher than the 8.1 percent level in June a year ago.

The statewide rate rose from 9 percent to 9.7 percent -- still below the 10.5 percent of last June.
As noted here, though, Dem Senator Dick Durbin and Repug Senator Mark Kirk have lobbied for the rail funds that Lex Luthor Scott pissed away in Florida in an effort to create jobs in the home state of our current president. And if Illinois can put the dough to work, it will lessen the burden on the federal government; it is one of the biggest borrowers from Washington to pay unemployment benefits (not surprising I guess given the total population, particularly around the Chicago area – here).

And from here…
Chicago Jobs with Justice is not the only organization to respond to the jobs crisis by organizing those directly affected by it. Unemployed people are building similar movements in Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Rhode Island and other states, according to Hurley and Bill Fletcher Jr., a longtime labor activist and co-author of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice. And UCubed, a project launched by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in early 2010, also aims to organize the jobless to create a “union of the unemployed” and demand a real economic recovery—exclusively through the Internet.
It’s gonna take “people power” to fix this in the end, as long as the Democrats in Washington keep trying to play nice with a political party that has utterly lost its mind.


As noted here from April…
Indiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percent in March to 8.5 percent, below both the national average and all neighboring states for the second month in a row, according to figures released Tuesday by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. In March 2010, Indiana’s unemployment rate was 10.6 percent.

Monroe County, whose nonseasonally adjusted rate for March dropped to 6.2 percent, has the fifth lowest unemployment rate among Indiana’s 92 counties.

Area counties also saw their nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rates drop in March: Greene, from 12.1 to 8.5 percent; Owen, from 10.6 to 8.6 percent; Morgan, from 10 to 9.1 percent; Lawrence, from 12.1 to 10.9 percent; and Brown, from 11.8 to 9.8 percent.

“We haven’t seen the (state) unemployment rate drop by 1 percent in a quarter since 1993,” said Mark W. Everson, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development, in a prepared statement. “We also saw solid job growth in March, particularly in the manufacturing sector.”
Hmmm, Mark Everson – I was wondering what had happened to this guy (here – first bullet).

Also, it looks like we have more “smoke and mirrors” here on unemployment from Gov. (and another former Bushie) Mitch Daniels (maybe the reason why he decided not to run for prez because he’d get called out for this stuff, instead of the supposed intrusion into his personal life as Smerky alleged here).

And from here…
Hundreds of thousands of Indiana residents are unemployed and underemployed. Although the state’s unemployment rate is slightly better than that of its neighboring states, a striking number of people here — a significantly greater percentage than in Illinois or Ohio — have simply left the work force altogether since the dawn of the recession.

For the second year in a row, Hoosiers ranked fifth nationally in personal bankruptcies, at 7.1 people per 1,000 residents. (Illinois came in 11th.) Indiana’s median family income is just 86 percent of that of the rest of the country.

Property tax caps, put in place over the past few years, offer relief to limping homeowners but have pushed school boards and city leaders, they say, into rounds of budget cutting and layoffs.
Well, it looks like the Genesis Casket Company may be hiring, as noted here (I’ll let you, dear reader, inject any symbolism you want into that).


When it comes to the Hawkeye State, it’s really impossible to discuss much of anything without noting also that state’s chief U.S. congressional numbskull, and that would be Repug Steve King of course; as noted here, he compared electricians, teachers and other workers to bushels of soybeans and corn.

And from here in a story in March…
DES MOINES, Iowa - Improved unemployment levels made Iowa ineligible for federal funds.

The U.S. government told Iowa Workforce Development that the state did not qualify for $14.5 million in benefits because Iowa's unemployment rate is improving, according to Rep. Lance Horbach, R-Tama, chairman of the House Labor Committee.

The funds would have extended unemployment benefits to about 7,000 Iowa workers who have been unemployed for more than a year, according to Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque.

Benefits would have been retroactive. The federal government looked at revised unemployment numbers. Those numbers showed the three-month rolling average had dropped to 6.1 percent unemployment.

"That's good news unless you've been unemployed for more than a year," Jochum said.
I couldn’t determine how many Iowans fall into that category, but if you want more jobless numbers for the state, here they are.

Also, this tells us that Iowa was due to close 37 state unemployment offices in July, though the Iowa City office will stay open (here…and here is a link to the Iowa jobs center – good luck, all those who qualify).

Update 9/17/11: I've said it before and I'll say it again - somebody has to elect these clowns (here).


This tells us that the state’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in July, which isn’t terrible. The problem, though, is that that gives Gov. Sam Brownback and his pals even more of an excuse to wage war on public sector employees (here) and cut back on unemployment benefits (here).

(And I’m sorry, but I must point out again the idiocy of electing governors like Brownback, Mary Fallin, John Kasich, Rick Snyder and Hosni Mubarak Walker by the voters of those states. Really, if these people had half a brain, what else did they think would happen?)

And as noted here…
Economic development and community leaders throughout western Kansas agree the challenges facing the region are four-fold: depopulation, few jobs, an aging population and drought.
But just remember that speaking of the climate crisis is “condescending elitism” according to Kansas Repug U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, as noted here (uh huh).


Another place where time has apparently stood still…

This tells us that the state’s newest senator, Rand Paul, lied in March (shocking, I know) when he said that public sector employees don’t contribute to their pensions and health care (like to know what his contributions are as a sitting U.S. Senator). And not to be outdone, his “mentor,” Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao himself, just loves himself those “stim” projects in his home state but hates them in DC (here).

Continuing, this tells us that Repug State Rep Lonnie Napier (Lancaster) and Dem (!) Greg Stumbo (Prestonburg) co-sponsored a bill to drug test welfare recipients, and…
Napier said he has no intention of drug-testing all of Kentucky's unemployed -- only those who receive "free handouts" from the state.
No, not much he doesn’t.

Oh, and by the way, this tells us that Kentucky’s preliminary unemployment rate fell below 10 percent in May for the first time in more than two years.

I kind of feel about this state the way I do about Florida – I’m sure a lot of good people live there, but man, does this state do nothing but elect lousy Repug politicians who do nothing but sell them out (for that reason, the state as a whole deserves very little of my sympathy).


The unemployment rate for the state was 8.2 percent last May, as noted here (and this tells us of a Raceland man who pled guilty to Katrina-related unemployment insurance fraud). Also, here is a list of job fairs in the state (some for September), and this tells us of the “summertime blues” for those employed on the Gulf Coast (this is about the only recent information I could find for the state).

I’ll try to pick this up again next week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday Stuff

Couldn't quite finish my post for today - hopefully tomorrow...

This young girl makes more sense here than most adults - so why is it absolutely no surprise that she and her like-minded friends have been targeted by Fix Noise?...

...and I like this tune, even if the video is a bit of a parody of that a-little-too-realistic creepy movie with Michael Douglas (and no, I don't condone the behavior in the film).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Stuff

(Hopefully back to posting tomorrow...)

A real all-timer of a "Worst Persons" by K.O. here - love the impression of you-know-who at the end...

...and this goes out to our beloved corporate media and others who insist on taking "Goodhair" Perry seriously as a presidential candidate (and in a related vein, I give you this and this)...

...oh, and by the way, go ahead and secede, you ten-gallon asshat...

Update 8/19/11: Interesting Perry investment here (and great catch by Think Progress)...

...and harking back to K.O. and Moon Unit Bachmann again, I think that, if the King were still with us, he would dedicate this to her.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Stuff

Hey, before anyone laughs at Professor "Space Aliens" Krugman, remember that we were once told we had to spend about a gazillion dollars because of a "missile defense gap," which made about as much sense (here - there was a lot about Bill Maher's summer finale that I ended up not liking, particularly from Sarah Palin's moviemaker, but world traveller Anthony Bourdain of The Food Channel Network also appeared and he pointed out how much of our infrastructure is a joke compared to other countries)...

Update 8/20/11: I think we have a completely accidental convergence of ideas here (you'd have to be a total idiot to take Fix Noise seriously).

...and I don't know about you, but I'm in the mood to rock out a bit.

Tuesday Mashup (8/16/11)

  • I give you Bernie Goldberg, of all people, trying to call out the civility police (here)…
    Well, if it wasn’t obvious before it sure ought to be now. The liberal media elite have gone around the bend and over the cliff. The Crazy Train they’ve been riding has finally crashed.

    And it’s all because of those nasty conservative Tea Party Republicans.

    The same liberal journalists who won’t call a real terrorist a terrorist can’t go 10 seconds without calling conservative Republicans terrorists. Or “Wahhabis,” as Chris Mathews described them on MSNBC.

    Or “Hezbollah,” as Tom Friedman described them in the New York Times.

    Or as ‘suicide bombers” as Tina Brown the editor of Newsweek described them on “Morning Joe.”

    And just in case you’re dense and still don’t get it, we can all thank Peter Goodman, formerly of the New York Times and now an editor at the Huffington Post, who didn’t mince words when he wrote: “They are acting like terrorists. Yes, terrorists.”
    Oh yes, such name calling is some impolite, isn’t it (here – and that’s assuming that Goldberg is “shooting straight” in his remarks at Fix Noise today, which is a highly dubious assumption, especially since he doesn't link to anyone).

    And on top of that, former Bushco flak Marc Thiessen tells us the following (here)…
    President Obama is reportedly gearing up to “kill” Mitt Romney in the general election…
    And when you click the link from Thiessen to Politico, you discover the following (the supposed attribution) …
    “Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,” said a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House.
    Got that? Politico printed a quote that should have been attributed to “a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House” by name (gee, that narrows it down to how many hundred people, I wonder?), which Thiessen promptly used to claim that Obama is “reportedly” gearing up to “kill” Romney.

    And that’s exactly the same as Goldberg defending the teabaggers from the oh-so-nasty name calling of that elite liberal media (though Goldberg has nothing to say about this).

    And that’s also exactly the same as Sarah Palin’s notorious “crosshairs” map that included the district of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

    Sure it is (and by the way, President Hopey Changey, I think a certain "prominent Democratic strategist" needs a visit to the woodshed...need to tighten up the message discipline a bit).

  • Update 8/17/11: Um, speaking of the Obama campaign, I wonder if anyone bothered to point out to this Ray Sandoval character that the "firebaggers" (huh?) have been pretty much ABSOLUTELY FREAKING RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING? (h/t Atrios).

    I can see that Number 44 is going to do his best to make the 2012 presidential campaign as competitive for the other side as possible.

  • Next, I give you the latest straw man from Bill Huizenga (here)…
    We didn't let the President take a single dollar from Social Security or Medicare benefits, or troop or veterans’ pay.
    Proof? Anywhere in sight? Bueller??

    This is typical for Huizenga who, as noted here (third bullet), took campaign funds from the family of Erik Prince, head of what was once called Blackwater. He also once suggested that US intelligence agents who claimed there were no WMDs in Iraq were terrorist sympathizers. Oh, and Huizenga, along with all of his other Repug pals in the House, voted for that horrific HR 3 bill from Chris Smith that attempted to redefine rape (dear God).

    And here are his latest misadventures (as I continue to say, somebody out there has to elect these clowns).

  • Further, The Daily Tucker haz a sad over the latest wingnut movie escapade to bomb at theaters, this one from a former half-term Alaska governor who quit her job to cash in on her celebrity (here)…
    Conservatives are up in arms that a film celebrating the Navy Seals who killed Osama bin Laden will hit theaters less than a month before the 2012 presidential election.

    Hollywood routinely produces left-of-center content, but a cinematic reminder of the Obama administration’s crowning achievement smacks of an unpaid political ad, a cinematic October surprise.
    Indeed, it’s just so awful when politicians use the arts to further their agenda timed for an election, isn’t it (a debatable claim anyway since it was the Navy Seals who got bin Laden and not Number 44).

    Remember that horrible Citizens United ruling by The Supremes? Anybody remember how that whole thing got started? It was over something called “Hillary: The Movie” produced by the Roger Stone group “Citizens United Not Timid” (get it?). The group created ads to promote the movie, but the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the commercials violated provisions in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (McCain–Feingold) restricting "electioneering communications" 30 days before primaries. So the group appealed the ruling to The Supremes, and the High Court of Hangin’ Judge JR ended up enshrining corporate “person-hood” once and for all, opening up the gusher of corporate cash into our political campaigns that, IMHO, will drown us all one day (absent congressional legislation in response, which I definitely don’t anticipate from the bunch in power at the moment).

    So basically, if I were a conservative, I wouldn’t bitch about how their movies are unpopular (though they are). One of their pieces of tripe has done far too much damage as it is.

  • Also, the following letter appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times yesterday…
    In U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's recent op-ed, "Overzealous state agency threatens Pa. jobs" (Aug. 8) he maintains that the Environmental Protection Agency goes too far in enforcing the successful Clean Air Act's health and safety standards that protect us from toxics and other pollutants.

    Apparently, Sen. Toomey isn't persuaded by the fact that EPA's clean air standards saved an estimated 160,000 lives last year alone, or that economic studies by the independent Economic Policy Institute and the Office of Management and Budget show that updated clean air standards actually create jobs by spurring clean energy technology investments.

    On the contrary, Sen. Toomey's idea for getting the EPA out of our hair with its life-saving and job-creating programs is to create more bureaucracy and gridlock in Washington, exactly what we don't need. He has introduced a bill to place more roadblocks in front of the EPA each time it issues rules enforcing the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws. That would mean that EPA enforcement standards, which already can take years to put in place and still more years to take effect, would drag on through a regulatory limbo even longer.

    Certainly the federal government must take into account the effects of environmental protections. But the Toomey plan would give industry lobbyists new opportunities to stop or water down steps to protect children, older Americans and communities from dangerous pollution. And it's part of an all-out assault by industry to strangle EPA's ability to enforce laws against polluters.

    To take one current example, Sen. Toomey and his industry allies are opposing new standards to reduce dangerous mercury and air toxics spewing from power plants and other facilities, doing their best to halt or at least drag out the process. Meanwhile, many of the more than 7 million American children suffering from asthma will remain at higher risk for asthma attacks, emergency room visits, or worse because they are breathing in these pollutants.

    Instead of coming up with new schemes to create more gridlock in Washington, Toomey should support the EPA's efforts to protect our children and create more clean energy jobs at the same time.

    State Rep. Steve Santarsiero
    Lower Makefield/Newtown
    Steve is “on the job” once more, and Toomey remains utterly wretched (and to contact our PA-31 state rep, click here).

  • Finally, last Saturday August 13th marked the 50th anniversary of the construction of The Berlin Wall, and in response, George Will gladly took the opportunity to bash President John F. Kennedy over it (here)…
    Fifty years ago, a metaphor became concrete. Beginning on Aug. 13, 1961, along West Berlin’s 27-mile border, the Iron Curtain became tangible in a wall of precast slabs of concrete. It came down 22 years ago, but the story of how it rose, as told in Frederick Kempe’s book “Berlin 1961,” compels an unflattering assessment of John Kennedy. His serial blunders that year made it the most incompetent first year of any presidency.
    As Wikipedia tells us here, the construction of the wall was the culmination of years of Communist brinksmanship on the issue of what to do about east and west Berlin; in 1948, Joseph Stalin instituted the Berlin Blockade, preventing food, materials and supplies from arriving in West Berlin (the “Berlin Airlift” followed, in which the U.S. participated with other countries). Stalin lifted the blockade, but movement from east to west Germany continued. In 1955, Stalin and the Soviet Union gave East Germany control over the movement of its population to West Germany, and in 1957, East Germany introduced a new passport law to stem the flow to the west, which actually ended up increasing movement out of East Berlin (including a “brain drain” of middle-class professionals).

    Am I going to tell you that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev didn’t sense weakness on Kennedy’s part from the Bay of Pigs fiasco and see an opportunity to build the wall? I’ll let historians decide that (a group that definitely excludes Will). What I am saying is that it’s typically ridiculous for a pusillanimous little toad like him to suggest that everything was just hunky-dory in East and West Berlin until JFK bungled everything.

    And 1961 was “the most incompetent first year of any presidency”? Really?

    As Wikipedia again tells us here, Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1st. Also, Alan Shepard became the first U.S. astronaut launched into space via the Freedom 7 rocket on May 5th (and on May 25th, Kennedy proclaimed our commitment to putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade). And for what it’s worth, Time Magazine named him Person of the Year for 1961.

    See, JFK really doesn’t have the benefit of an echo chamber to come to his defense the same way The Sainted Ronnie R does, so it’s up to filthy, unkempt blogger types such as yours truly to “pick up that mantle” (and speaking of Number 40 and milestones, he signed the first of his ruinous tax cuts into law on August 13, 1981 – just sayin’).
  • Monday, August 15, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    Hopefully back to posting tomorrow - we'll see...

    Also, want to know why unions matter? Check this out (more here)...

    ...and Robert Reich's hair is on fire, as it were, and rightly so, here (and President Hopey Changey is running out of time to get that whole "vision thing" on jobs and the economy - you can win over all the moderates and independents you want, but it doesn't make sense if you've given virtually nothing (hint: JOBSJOBSJOBSJOBSJOBSJOBS) to the core constituency that elected you)...

    ...oh, and here's another wingnut lie (more here)...

    ...and here's a late-summer number from some local kids - hope you like it.

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Sunday Stuff

    This should not have happened. It is an abomination that it happened at all, to say nothing of the numbers of times it has happened to our brave service people to date (and part of me would pay money to hear what those yammering idiots in Iowa would say about it, probably the same blather about "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here," etc. And eight deployments??!!).

    Oh, and by the way, the Democrats are hardly blameless here also, including Number 44...

    ...and shifting the mood, happy 70th birthday to David Crosby (sorry, no video).