Sunday, July 18, 2010

Last Call

Me, Friday night on the BP oil "cap":

 In other words, unless you believe that the oil under the ocean is depleted to the point where the pressure's gone (and yet had enough pressure to spew tens of thousands of gallons of oil, 24 hours a day for 87 days) there's another leak out there somewhere in the pipeline.  Odds are very good now that by capping this wellhead, that pressure is now be transferred to the leak point or points, and it's in the process of ripping them open wider too, meaning all the oil being capped here is coming out, we just can't see it because it's under a mile of ocean somewhere.

Adm. Thad Allen, tonight:

Tests relating to the recently recapped oil well in the Gulf of Mexico have detected a "seep a distance from the well," Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said in a letter to a BP official.

And with that, I bid you all good evening.

Tea Bag Time Machine

The main difference between Liberals and Conservatives, or at least what passes for each group today anyway, is that Liberals believe that the conservative policies of the last 30 years are a failure and that they coutry should move forward from them.  Conservatives on the other hand think the last 80 years of liberal policies, including civil rights, are failures and want to take the country back to before the New Deal, the Great Society, and the Civil Rights Movement.

Case in point:  the Raleigh, NC school board believes Brown vs. Board of Education has now outlived its usefulness.

Immediately after taking office, the new 5-4 majority began dismantling the old diversity plan. The response was equally immediate. In February, Superintendent Del Burns - who started as a special education teacher in 1976 and had led the district since 2006 - resigned.

"It is clear to me that I cannot, in all good conscience, continue to serve," he said.

Supporters of the old assignment policy sued to have the board's March 23 vote overturned, alleging open meetings violations. A judge dismissed the suit, but the plaintiffs have appealed.

On June 15, when the board rejected Barber's demand for 45 minutes to address the full panel, he and three others occupied the board chamber. The only way they would leave, they said, was in handcuffs.

Police obliged.

Following their release, the newly dubbed "Raleigh 4" published an open letter titled "Thoughts While we were Being Handcuffed, and Processed at the Wake County Jail on June 15 after Engaging in an Act of Nonviolent Civil Disobedience" - a direct allusion to Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous 1963 "Letter from Birmingham Jail."

"There is a tragedy unfolding in Wake County, but it is not confined to Wake County ... ," the letter read. "The shadow of resegregation is falling across the state of North Carolina and the nation."
The Teapublican argument goes like this:  since taxes pay for schools and all schools (except my child's school) are complete failures, and teachers are all incompetent parasites (except for my child's teacher) with corrupt unions, and the school district has no authority to tell my child what they should or should not learn, why should we pay for busing to integrate schools anymore?  Screw it.  Let them rot in their own urban hellholes!

Seems to me busing is more important that ever since the white flight out of the urban centers into the suburbs, and even more so since the second white flight from the suburbs to the exurbs.  But that requires money, and of course since government is purely evil (except for roads, cops, firefighters, schools, and the military) why should we care?

It's the Entitlement of the Taxpayer.  We've got a whole bunch of crazy loud people who disagree that government should be doing anything, let's stop them from doing it.  There's no racism in 2010 (except for those people saying there's racism, I mean where's the National Association for the Advancement of White People?) so we don't need civil rights and busing and affirmative anything and I am a taxpayer and you work for me dammitLOUD NOISES!

More and more people have decided that since government doesn't do 100% of what they believe it should be doing (or not doing) then it shouldn't work for anybody.

Busing is too hard.  Let's cut taxes!  That's government...conservative style.

Republicans Still Think You're A Moron

On Tuesday, Carte Goodwin, of the coal-rich state of West Virginia, will be seated as the 100th U.S. Senator. On the same day, the Senate will pass an extension of unemployment benefits, utilizing Goodwin to break a Republican filibuster. Now, you might think that the fact that all but one Republican in the Senate has been supporting a filibuster of this bill means that the Republicans oppose it. You'd be wrong.

On CNN's "State of the Union," the leader [Mitch McConnell] beat back comparisons of deficit spending in the George W. Bush administration. 
"They've taken the deficit as a percentage of GDP from 3.2 percent to almost 10 percent in a year and a half," McConnell said of the Obama administration.
"Somewhere in the course of spending a trillion dollars, we ought to be able to find enough to pay for a program for the unemployed," he said.
"If we can't pay for a program like extension of unemployment insurance that virtually every member of the Senate -- I think, in fact, every member of the Senate wants to extend, then what are we going to pay for? When do we start?"
Republicans think you're not paying attention to them blocking this bill not once, not twice, but 3 times.  Republicans think you're stupid enough to believe them when they say the deficit is causing all of our problems and the deficit is 100% Obama's fault.  And the best part is our "Liberal Media" refuses to call the Republicans out when the go on air and lie like fiends.

Republicans think you're stupid, you're not paying attention, and that you're too depressed to vote or even to give a damn about your country anymore.  They're counting on it.

Real Unemployment, Surreal Numbers

One of the real dangers of the Dems sitting on 9.5% unemployment and acting like it's the new normal is that nobody believes the unemployment rate is just 9.5%.  The reality of the workforce is that with the millions of underemployed who are being forced to cut hours, work contract jobs or work just part time, and the long-term unemployed who have "left the workforce" and have "stopped looking for work" the reality is much, much worse than 9.5%.  It's really more than twice that.

Raghavan Mayur, president at TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, follows unemployment data closely. So, when his survey for May revealed that 28% of the 1,000-odd households surveyed reported that at least one member was looking for a full-time job, he was flummoxed.

"Our numbers are always very accurate, so I was surprised at the discrepancy with the government's numbers," says Mayur, whose firm owns the TIPP polling unit, a polling partner for Investors' Business Daily and Christian Science Monitor. After all, the headline number shows the U.S. unemployment rate today is 9.5%, with a total of 14.6 million jobless people.

However, Mayur's polls continued to find much worse figures. The June poll turned up 27.8% of households with at least one member who's unemployed and looking for a job, while the latest poll conducted in the second week of July showed 28.6% in that situation. That translates to an unemployment rate of over 22%, says Mayur, who has started questioning the accuracy of the Labor Department's jobless numbers.
Now this fiddling with Labor Department numbers has been going on for a long time now.  It's not just Obama, but Bush and Clinton too.  The Labor Department changed its formula back in 1994 to do more mathematical modeling and less actual counting. 
The Labor Department does have an estimate of all this, and it's called the U-6. (The official unemployment rate is called U-3.)  That U-6 number, the "Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force" still only comes out to 16.5% for June.  Now, that's bad enough, but Mayur's polls here are showing that the real U-6 is 22% or more, maybe 40% higher than it really is.

Americans instinctively know something is very, very wrong.  The more people you know, the more worried you are.  Your sister's kids can't find a summer job.  The guy across the street's been looking for a job for nine months and is taking care of the kids and doing carpool now while he prays his wife doesn't get downsized.   Your best friend dodged yet another layoff wave downtown.  Cousin Jane's been out of work since last summer when they closed the plant.  The Andersons left the neighborhood three months ago and have moved back in with her mother, their house joining the other six for sale signs on the block.  Chuck from school joined the military because nobody else was hiring, and he just hit 40.  You don't feel guilty when Paula from church tells you she was at the food bank (because you were there last week) but you do feel a twinge when she apologizes for not having you over because "the apartment they live in now is a lot smaller than the house was."

Needless to say, nobody's buying that 9.5% number anymore.  Subconsciously they know it's much, much worse.  

And they know that Republicans are telling them "Sorry we can't help you, we need to cut the deficit.  We're broke too."  And they know that the Democrats are nodding their heads sadly and saying "Gosh they're right, we have to tighten our belts too."

And they ask themselves "Why did I vote for Obama and the Democrats again, anyway?"
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