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Showing posts from October, 2010

Jon Stewart's Closing Remarks at the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear

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I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or at passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do.

But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

But unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

There are terrorists and racists and Stalinis…

If The Tea Party Wins, America Loses. Vote.

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60 Minutes - The 99ers

Even after an extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, many of those about to go off the program are in a quandary. Scott Pelley talks to some of them in Silicon Valley.

60 Minutes Preview: Unemployment and the 99ers

Even after an extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, many of those about to go off the program are in a quandary. Scott Pelley talks to some of them in California's Silicon Valley. Sunday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m. ET/PT.

White House White Board: CEA Chair Austan Goolsbee Explains the Jobs Trends

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It's nice to see how Steve Benen's "Bikini Graph" has taken on a life of its own. Edward Tufte would be proud.

Save The Lifeline for America

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And Now For Something Completely Different

I came across this tweet in my stream, and went over to read the linked article. It seems the reporter in question, Lachlan Markay, made a hash of things by referring to a ThinkProgress article on the Chamber of Commerce and foreign funding of campaign advertising as"a salacious, factually-erroneous report on a highly partisan left-wing blog""Salacious" is a sinful-sounding word - all that sibilance just slithering around like that. But what does it mean?Salacious: 1. lustful or lecherous. 2. obscene; grossly indecent. Synonyms: 1. lewd, wanton, lascivious, libidinous. 2. pornographic.I tried to find examples of the most salacious, the most lecherous, the most obscene language I could find in the article. I really tried. Unfortunately, it's all safe for work:"the Chamber is likely skirting longstanding campaign finance law""Under the manufacturing policy goal, USIBC boasts that it 'can play a helpful role in guiding U.S. companies to India, w…

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The Nessie Chart for September

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics has just published the Employment Situation Report for September. Coupled with the JOLTS report for August, we see little change in the job market:The job seekers to job openings ("Nessie") ratio has improved fractionally, moving down to 4.6423 from 4.6479 - the ideal number would be 1.0The civilian employment to population ratio (EMRATIO) remains unchanged at 58.5% - versus 63% before the recessionThe number of 99ers has worsened, moving up to 1.471 million from 1.459 million

Same As It Ever Was

On tonight's Rachel Maddow show, EJ Dionne referred to this story as one the late Senator Fritz Hollings used to tell. A little Googling turned up a source from 1988:
A veteran returning from Korea went to college on the GI Bill, bought his house with an FHA loan, saw his kids born in a VA hospital, started his business with an SBA loan; got electricity from TVA and, then, water from a project funded by the EPA. His kids participated in the school-lunch program and made it through college courtesy of government-guaranteed student loans. His parents retired to a farm on their social security, getting electricity from the REA and the soil tested by the USDA. When the father became ill, his life was saved with a drug developed through NIH; the family was saved from financial disaster by Medicare. Our veteran drove to work on the interstate, moored his boat in a channel dredged by Army engineers, and when floods hit, took Amtrak to Washington to apply for disaster relief. He also spe…

BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover – August 2010

"There were 3.2 million job openings on the last business day of August 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The job openings rate was unchanged over the month at 2.4 percent. The hires rate (3.2 percent) and the separations rate (3.2 percent) were little changed. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector by industry and geographic region."Job Openings"The number of job openings in August was 3.2 million, which was little changed from July. Although the month-to-month change is small, the number of job openings has risen by 863,000 (37 percent) since the most recent series trough of 2.3 million in July 2009. (See table 1.) This trough immediately followed the end of the recession in June 2009 (as designated by the National Bureau of Economic Research). Even with the gains since July 2009, the number of job openings remained below the 4.4 million jobs open when the rece…

A Modest Proposal

Resolved: That the nation's unemployed pay for renewed tax cuts for the nation's high-income earners.The term "modest proposal" was popularized by Jonathan Swift, who argued in a satirical essay that the Irish should sell off their "surplus" children as food.I'd like to offer a proposal that may sound just as satirical, but is based in sound dollars and cents.We know that Senator Stabenow brought S. 3706 to the Senate floor, just as she promised to. She submitted a discharge resolution that failed to gain unanimous consent, thanks to the objection of Senator George LeMieux (R-FL). His objection?"we need to know what it's going to cost, we need to know how we're going to pay for it so we don't put this debt on our children and grandchildren."Those are fine enough words from the Senator, but they tend to lose their rhetorical strength when Republicans in the Senate are willing to fight for renewed tax cuts for incomes over $250,000, …

Time To Put Our Heads Together

Now that we've been energized by the One Nation March, it's time to talk about what's next.For us as 99ers, there are decisions to consider: stay home? Vote? For who?There's strategy to consider: S. 3706 isn't dead, but it is still in committee - how do we get it back onto the Senate floor for a vote?And then, there's the calendar: November 30th is the last day for emergency unemployment compensation for people who still receive that benefit. Come December 1, those people may, unfortunately, be joining our ranks.Here's an open thread - let's put our heads together and put some good ideas on the table.

Debt: Congress Or The President? (with updates)

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Who is responsible for the national debt? Or, to ask another way, who is the more fiscally conservative party, Democrats or Republicans?

To answer, I've put together three charts. Each looks at debt as a percentage of GDP, based on the following formula:

Gross Federal Debt
- Debt Held By Government Accounts
- Debt Held By The Federal Reserve System
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= Debt Held By The Public
Colors represent the majority party: blue for Democrats, red for Republicans.

There was a split Congress from 1981 to 1987: the Senate had a 7-8 seat Republican majority while Democrats held the House of Representatives.

From 2001-2003, each party held 50 seats in the Senate. Vice President Dick Cheney, as the tie-breaking vote, puts those years in the Republican column.

From 2007-2009, each party held 49 seats, but the two independent Senators caucused with the Democrats, putting those years in the Democrats' column.

Remember that Federal budget…