Friday, December 05, 2008

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) I guess Ileanna punk'd herself.

2) Senator Chris Matthews. It sounds about as appealing as sock soup.

3) There may be more to come from India.

4) Zimbabwe really is falling apart.

5) Last month, it hurt to be a retailer.

6) Maybe we should ask for a recount for McCain after all? "Change" means "think different," Mr President-Elect.

7) Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh! You'll wake the neighbors!

8) I may move to Australia just to run for office!

9) The worst hotel in the world.

10) This historical figure would hate Sarah Palin.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Another Day Older And Deeper In Debt

It really does feel like toting sixteen tons, this past year.
My thanks to Katrina for noting that, indeed, today is my birthday. I got the greatest birthday present I could have imagined..well, almost but it was very close...precisely a month ago:
So thank you all for that.
It's been an odd year, to put it very mildly: skin cancer, plastic surgery, a crazed mother, MRSA, an economic collapse, an election, and 2009 has already thrown down its marker to try to top this past year.
It's not going to be pretty, not for all of us, not for the world, and not for me personally. That's not to say all news is bad, of course. We did elect Barack Obama, which tells me people across the country are waking up after the Bush years and realizing we just threw a party we could neither afford nor could keep away from the punch bowl. Now comes the hangover, but in hangovers can come some good, like making a note not to do that again.
And we won't. For a while. I hope the next time we do something this stupid, I will have shuffled off the mortal coil. It seems pretty certain that will be the case. I recall growing up with stories of the Depression, so the generation after mine probably skipped those stories and now they'll have their own to tell their children and grandchildren. Figure at least a half century before we allow human avarice to overcome our sense of mortality.
Most news, good or bad, is an illusion. As the saying goes, it's never as good or bad as it seems. In all good news, there are the seeds of its own demise, likewise in bad news the seeds of new hope. All births result in death. All deaths, in births.
Forgive me. I'm a bit melancholy at the moment, but as I face a few facts-- I have more days behind me than in front, we have elected a President who is younger than me for the first time-- I'm struck by how lingering and looming my mortality is, and how little I truly have accomplished.
I've not finished writing a book yet...started a dozen or so and even have one outlined to completion, but never finished one. I've not run for public office to truly try to help people who need it. I could, but I won't because I have too many skeletons.
I feel underappreciated.
Not by you guys, no way. Not even by the trolls who fester and pop up every so often here and in other places online. My "family" here is wonderful, and I love you all for that.
I feel underappreciated by myself. At my very core is this interior monologue that's saying to me "you can do better, so why won't you?"
Indeed, why not? To quote RFK: "Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?"
I dream the dream. I ask the question. Yet I find myself lacking the strength to carry out the answer.
Funny thing about it is, I'm a hypercompetitive person. I was the kid on the other team you never wanted to play against, because I would find a way to beat you for my team's sake. I was the goalie who could lose his mask and glove and risk breaking his wrist to catch a puck, or the quarterback who limped out on a bad knee or broken toe, all of which I've done and all of which I'm paying the price for now. So why not for me?
Enough introspection. Where's my fucking cake????

Happy Birthday, Actor212!

May you be Healthier, Wealthier, and Wiser!
Or at Least Two Out of Three.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hump Day Comedy Blogging

Hump Day Comedy Blogging

Controlling cat is controlling

Worse Than Anticipated

There are some eye-opening tidbits in the latest private sector jobs report:

NEW YORK ( -- The U.S. economy shed a quarter-million private-sector jobs in November, according to a payroll processor's report that was worse than economists expected.

Non-farm private employment fell by 250,000 jobs from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the ADP National Employment Report.

The report was expected to show a decline of 200,000 jobs in November, according to a consensus of economist projections compiled by

The goods-producing sector lost 158,000 jobs last month, its 24th consecutive month of decline, according to the report. This includes 118,000 positions in manufacturing and 44,000 construction jobs.

The service industry shed 92,000 jobs, its second month of losses since the ADP reports began tracking employment in 2002.  

So you can see, this recession has been a long time coming and very slow to develop, like a really really bad flu. And it will take a long time to work its way through the system.
It's very unusual for a jobs report to be 25% understated from predictions, in either direction. These folks usually have a pretty good idea what's going on in the marketplace. My suspicion is a lot of business-owners just tossed the keys on the bank manager's desk and said, "Here, you deal with this."
It's not a whole lot different walking away from a business than it is walking away from a house, to be sure.
Note too that for seven years, the service sector has added jobs every month except one (have to look that up), until last month. And keep in mind that this is just ahead of the Christmas season, when retailers normally hire both temps and permanent workers. The fourth quarter is when retailers justify their 2009 budgets.
This report differs from the "official" jobs report, because it ignores government jobs. When Bush expanded the Department of Homeland Security, in effect, he created a mask for the really horrendous employment numbers of the manufacturing sector of private industry, banking heavily on the snapshot reporting of not only the network news organizations, but of the business channels as well.
After all, when was the last time you heard Brian or Katie or Charlie say anything more than "The jobs report came out today and the unemployment rate is..."?
Possibly someone on CNBC (forget FOX Business News) will invite a contrarian on to discuss the numbers who will point out that private sector hiring is lagging. Maybe. And that's usually in the middle of the day when everyone is watching the ticker.
So when someone tells you this recession is a product of the subprime meltdown and the credit crisis, keep this article in mind. This thing has been a long time coming and is developing very slowly, and will take a long time to work its way thru the belly of the beast.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Blind Leading The Blonde

I don't normally point a finger at right wing nutcases, since we on the left have our own set to deal with, but, while the overt point regarding Barack Obama's election is made, the undercurrent of nastiness from this odious little creep is rather fragrant:
Talking with correspondent John Yang, who was covering the Obama side of the story, Witt conceded that while "you certainly can't expect things to change on a dime overnight....There had been such a global outpouring of affection, respect, hope, with the new administration coming in, that precisely these kinds of attacks, it was thought — at least hoped — would be dampered down. But in this case it looks like Barack Obama is getting a preview of things to come."
It almost seems like a parody of liberals' blind worship of Obama to actually expect that The One's election would mean terrorists hanging up their bomb belts, peace around the world, lions lying down with lambs, and so forth. For his part, Yang delicately pointed out the more valid concern that "the enemies of the United States, those who don't care for the United States no matter who's leading it, would try and test the United States" during the transition from Bush to Obama.
True, Witt made a really dumb statement, the kind of statement one makes when one has dead air to fill and a dead head to fill it with. And I mean no disrespect by "dead head". We all hit a point in our lives when for various reasons, we can't come up with a cogent way of phrasing something.
But Noyes is annoying in assuming that Witt is a "liberal" just because she works for MSNBC, which admittedly has a more liberal bend than FOX News or even the Volkischer Beobachter of Hitler, which I think is slightly more liberal than Hannity.
Indeed, one can make a strong case that in fact Witt is a right-winger and making this comment in a subtly sarcastic tone.
More likely, one can make the truer case, which is that Witt is an idiot. An idiot who swallows right wing talking points whole.
Something I suspect Noyes wishes she would do more often, but I digress.
I can imagine Rush Limbaugh sneering this whole meme, almost word for word: "[Now, friends] you certainly can't expect things to change on a dime overnight....There had been such a global outpouring of affection, respect, hope, with the new administration coming in, that precisely these kinds of attacks, it was thought — at least hoped — would be dampered down. But in this case it looks like Barack Obama is getting a preview of things to come."
Which given Witt's track record sounds more like what she intended that what Noyes is spewing out his ass.

Monday, December 01, 2008

An Emotional Choice

If this story is true, then I will never vote for Hillary Clinton for Senator again:

WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton passed on becoming boss of the superpowerful Senate Appropriations Committee to pursue the more prestigious secretary of state job with President-elect Barack Obama, the Daily News has learned.

As chairwoman of the panel that controls the nation's purse strings, Clinton could have pumped billions in federal dollars into the Empire State.

Instead, as Obama continues to piece together his cabinet, Clinton is poised to become the third female secretary of state, following Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice.

Of course, I make that threat tongue-in-cheek.

This offer was made in part because, as the article goes on to state, Sen. Edward Kennedy did not want Hillary on his health care taask force.
I guess his ego was a bit too large to fit in the same room as Hillary's.
Not to begrudge Kennedy a thing. I would have done the same thing if nearly all of my adult life I had been pursuing an agenda on a signature piece of legislation, and after all, this is likely his last turn as the Liberal Lion of the Senate. Why share the spotlight?
Hillary's celebrity would have, of course, both assisted the cause and distracted attention from the legislation. That might not be a bad thing in a nation that may not quite be ready for national health care.
It is interesting that Hillary would turn down a chance to skip way ahead of the crowd in the Senate in order to re-plow ground that's been turned over twice already. I think I know why.
She intends to be the Secretary of State credited with ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and bringing peace to that corner of the Middle East. By extension, she could end terrorism as we in America know it.
Let's face facts: she has a certified ace in the hole in husband President Clinton here. He has credibility amongst both the Israelis and Palestinians and her own "cred amongst Jews" is very high. After nearly eight years of intense and delicate negotiations, Bill Clinton set the bar for peace in the Middle East at an attainable level with the Camp David talks with Ehud Barak, who paid a hefty price for not bringing home an accord with Arafat (I won't get into a discussion of the finer points of the talks, other than to say that Arafat was handed the world on a platter and decided he'd rather check out the buffet first).
So certainly Hillary Clinton could make a mark, an indelible mark, on the history of the world and in the same motion, tweak the noses of folks who thought she wouldn't be an effective president because she couldn't bring about change.
So, Appropriations is a powerful post and in that seat, she could have effectively assisted New York state in overcoming what is amounting to "Ground Zero" of the Bush Depression. She could have been any one of a number of senators who have held that seat (most recently, Sen. Robert Byrd and disgraced Sen. Ted Stevens) and brought home so much pork, she contracted trichinosis.
Or she could wave goodbye to all that, and move on to bigger and better things.
Now does anyone doubt Hillary's reasons for wanting to be SoS?