05 December, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Every day in every way, Cons get more and more ridiculous.  And every day, there's a new opportunity for them to demonstrate their dumbfuckery.  Why, take today's jobs report, which is much better news than expected:
Waiting for the monthly job numbers to be released this morning, I saw the New York Times homepage run a headline that said the "economy shed 11,000 jobs in November." I assumed, in all sincerity, it was a typo.

After all, there were plenty of estimates on what to expect. The most optimistic number I saw was 130,000 job losses; the most pessimistic was 169,000 job losses. A total of 11,000 losses just didn't seem realistic.
The United States economy shed a surprisingly few 11,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 10 percent, from 10.2 percent in October, the Labor Department said Friday. [...]
The pace of job loss has been declining since a peak in January, and some economists say they expect a turning point to come in the late spring or summer, with employers finally adding workers as a recovery takes hold.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised estimates from September and October, and both were better than previously thought.


Once more, here's my homemade chart, showing job losses by month, starting in January 2008, a month after the recession began.


Notice how small that bar is on the far-right side of the chart? Does it seem hard to see? That's a good thing.

Cons are going to have a hard time spinning that one.   True, it's not no losses, and it's not growth, but it's also roughly 100,000+ more people employed than otherwise expected.  We can't throw a party just yet, but a modest round of drinks is certainly warranted.  And we'd not be sipping it had the Cons had their way:
But given the developments, it's not too soon for the rest of us to acknowledge the Republicans' track record of uninterrupted failure.

The GOP said the stimulus package would fail to create jobs. We now know the Republicans were wrong.
The GOP said the recovery efforts would fail to generate economic growth. We now know the Republicans were wrong.

The GOP said the stimulus "failed." We now know the Republicans were wrong.

The GOP said the government should cancel unspent recovery funds. We now know the Republicans were wrong.

The GOP said tax cuts are more effective at stimulating the economy than government spending. We now know the Republicans were wrong.

Every step of the way, facing an economic catastrophe, Republicans claimed to know the best way forward. And every step of the way, they were pointed in the wrong direction. The strength of the recovery remains to be seen, but the only reason we're even able to talk about the possibility of a recovery is that Republicans had no control over the levers of power when decisions were made at the height of the crisis. America has been through a lot this decade, but the country can take some solace in the fact that when the economy was on the brink of wholesale collapse, Republicans were in the minority.

And let's not forget that the track record of uninterrupted failure goes back quite a while. The GOP said Bush/Cheney economic policies would work wonders for the country, create millions of jobs, prevent a recession, and keep the budget balanced. The GOP also said Clinton/Gore economic policies would be a disaster.

In light of all that, Cons would be well-advised to shut the fuck up about the economy.  Every flapping of their yaps only gives them that much more opportunity to demonstrate spectacular ignorance.  Yet, it appears, Cons like John Boehner just can't help themselves.  Here he is flatly contradicting both himself and reality:
Some Democrats in Congress have been considering a new $300 billion jobs bill. Lawmakers “are calling for extending aid to the unemployed, infrastructure spending, a hiring tax credit and increased small business loans.”

Last night on CNBC, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) attacked the idea. “All they want to do is grow the size of government. Government doesn’t create jobs!”


It’s odd that Boehner would claim that “government doesn’t create jobs” because in July, he released a statement praising the stimulus for creating jobs:
The stated intent of the so-called stimulus package was to create jobs, and certainly a $57 million slush-fund studying projects did nothing to achieve that goal. With Ohio’s unemployment rate the highest it’s been in 25 years, I’m pleased that federal officials stepped in to order Ohio to use all of its construction dollars for shovel-ready projects that will create much-needed jobs.
Moreover, Recovery.gov estimates that the stimulus has saved or created just over 17,000 jobs in Boehner’s home state, and Ohio.gov notes that “an estimated 21,257 jobs will be created or retained through these [transportation] stimulus projects” alone.

That's stupid enough, but it appears Boehner's in the mood for toe jam, and so he opens wide for another taste.  Here he is showing his confusion between past, present and future:
Every month, we get a new report on unemployment, and every month the various political players put their own spin on what they'd like the public to believe. When it comes to Republicans, the worse the results, the more aggressive the finger-pointing.

But with today's report offering better-than-expected news, GOP leaders seem to have been caught off guard. For example, John Boehner's economic arguments are consistently ridiculous, but today broke new ground.
"After yet another month of job losses, it's clear that one question President Obama is sure to get on his 'listening tour' is: 'Where are the jobs'?" says House Minority Leader John Boehner, in a statement.
While the Republican from Ohio says the decrease in the unemployment rate is encouraging, he says "anyone who views today's report as cause for celebration is out of touch with the American people, especially when Washington Democrats' policies -- whether it's a government takeover of health care, a national energy tax, or 'card check' -- are already costing jobs and will pile even more debt on our kids and grandkids."
Um, no. In order for a policy to be "already costing jobs," the policy has to exist first. Boehner wants to blame health care reform, cap and trade, and EFCA for job losses, but health care reform, cap and trade, and EFCA haven't passed yet.
I have no idea why people listen to this man, aside from the obvious entertainment value.

Speaking of entertainment, it appears Glenn Beck's having some difficulties on that front:
Last night, Fox News host Glenn Beck premiered his new live show based on his book The Christmas Sweater, which was simulcast to hundreds of movie theaters across the country. Sponsor Fathom Events called it a “once in a lifetime event,” during which “Glenn will tell you about the real life events that inspired him to write” the book, play clips from his 2008 national tour, and “share stories of the overwhelming response he received.” Despite heavy promotion on Beck’s radio and TV shows, and in-theater trailers, ticket sales were weak in major cities: Beck sold only 17 tickets in Boston, another 17 in New York, and just 30 in Washington, DC. Raw Story reports that, while sales were better in more conservative areas, even Seattle — which is near Beck’s hometown — couldn’t muster a strong crowd...


Blogger Joseph Childers reports that the production value looked “cheap,” and “the bulk of the evening consists solely of Glenn Beck acting out every role in his hokey story, with only his limited repertoire of accents and pantomime filling out the ‘cast’.”

And who wouldn't want to pay $20 for that, right?

Methinks Beck's spent too much time fleecing his sheep.  There's very little fleece left for him to shear:
By some estimates, Beck takes in about $18 million a year, but he keeps creating new reasons to get his minions to give him more of their money. (He couldn't even hire actors for this Christmas show?)

Steve M's recent assessment continues to ring true: "So now we see what Glenn Beck really is: He's basically a televangelist. A huckster. A late-night pitchman selling seminars and book/DVD/audio combo packages that will allegedly help you get rich through flipping real estate. A human-potential-movement cult leader who promises life breakthroughs in exchange for participation in costly 'religious' or 'therapy' programs."

Overexposure is a terrible thing.  In this case, a terribly funny thing.

And, finally, it appears our institutions of higher learning are in need of an edimicashun:

Heckuva seminar, Brownie!

Michael Brown, the much-ridiculed former FEMA director who became a symbol of the Bush administration's disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina, has landed a new gig: teaching a law-school class on the Patriot Act next spring.

What, are they jealous they couldn't get Gonzo?

Words fail.  No wonder our political discourse is so fucked up.  Maybe U of D can call upon Boehner to teach economics next.  It would at least be more entertaining than Beck's Christmas special...

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