P.S. If you feel that anti-gay discrimination is too serious to joke about (and it is, in some places): then please re-think your willingness (if any) to excuse Islamist dictatorships, and/or your opposition to gun rights.
Something strange happened with the latest jobs report. A few lamestream press outlets woke up from their Obama-induced daze long enough to recognize that although the unemployment figure is purportedly lower than it was in March, and lower than it has been in some time, things don’t seem quite right with the numbers. Just seeing them grapple with the data and begin to recognize its implications has brought on my latest instance of Obamacare Schadenfreude.
Let’s begin with the National Journal. Today its website ran a story entitled “Forget the Unemployment Rate: The Alarming Stat Is the Number of ‘Missing Workers.’” The story begins by summarizing the “unexpected” state of affairs:
The federal government’s latest snapshot of the unemployment rate offered few bright spots Friday. The economy added 165,000 jobs in April—slightly better than March’s revised number of 138,000 jobs. Unemployment went down one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.5 percent; and health care, retail trade, and the food-services industry added positions.
The glaring caveat to this jobs report is the huge number of Americans who remain out of the workforce. Called the “labor force participation rate” in wonkspeak, that number held steady in April at 63.3 percent—the lowest level since 1979.
The story goes on to speculate about the causes behind the decreased labor force participation rate, explaining that some of the number–but by no means all–can be explained by the fact that the first of the baby boomers have now reached retirement age. The article says that beyond retirees, “Roughly 3 million to 5 million of them left because they could not find jobs, economists estimate.”
But the article doesn’t stop there. It recognizes that decreased labor force participation has serious economic implications for government because it decreases revenues coming in from taxes. Suddenly, in other words, the decreasing labor force in the United States is much more of a matter of concern than it was a year ago when Obama was facing re-election, because it doesn’t bode well for the future of the economy or the budget (something that conservatives have been pointing out for years):
If these workers do not return to the labor market, their absence may alter the country’s budget picture. “One of the biggest problems we face with the baby-boomer bulge in retirement is having enough workers behind them to pay their bills,” says Harry Holzer, a professor at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute.
Missing workers can translate to a decrease in tax revenue, coupled with an increase in the use of government benefits, such as food stamps and disability insurance. The number of Americans collecting food stamps hit a high of 47.8 million people in December 2012. A similar spike has occurred in enrollments for the Social Security disability payments.
Since the start of 2007, the percentage of Americans in the labor market has dropped from 66.4 percent to 63.3 percent. In the 1970s and 1980s, the number of working Americans grew—because of the dramatic increase in women holding jobs outside of the home.
Nancy Cook ends her article by quoting a very optimistic prediction that unemployment will eventually fall to around 5.5% by 2017, but then she notes, ominously, “Only then can economists gauge if people have left the workforce because of the downturn in the economy, or if they’ve left forever because the economy fundamentally changed. If that’s the case, the U.S. officially will become a place where the labor market has little use for millions of Americans.”
The National Journal article, though, isn’t the only such piece by a lamestream press outlet today. None other than the Gray Lady herself suddenly woke up and noticed the missing workers: (more…)
Back in 2004, James Piereson coined the phrase “Punitive Liberalism” to describe a particular malady common in the days of severe Bush Derangement Syndrome. James Taranto introduced many of us to the idea when he wrote:
Writing in The Weekly Standard, James Piereson offers a useful addition to the American political glossary: “punitive liberalism.” This “bizarre doctrine,” which found its fullest expression in the presidency of Jimmy Carter, holds that “America had been responsible for numerous crimes and misdeeds through its history for which it deserved punishment and chastisement.” Those who disagree “were written off as ignorant patriots who could not face up to the sins of the past.” (Hat Tip: Ace; the original version of Taranto’s piece is only available currently at the Wayback Machine)
It is with some trepidation, therefore, that I describe some symptoms I have been experienced with increasing frequency over the last few months.
I first noticed the condition when I read, a few weeks after the election, that the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania was cutting “the hours of 400 adjunct instructors, support staff, and part-time instructors to dodge paying for Obamacare.”
“It’s kind of a double whammy for us because we are facing a legal requirement [under the new law] to get health care and if the college is reducing our hours, we don’t have the money to pay for it,” said adjunct biology professor Adam Davis.
My reaction? When I read that, I could hear (to borrow a phrase from Taranto) one of the world’s tiniest violins playing in the background. I actually laughed and felt relieved about something in the political world for what may have been the first time since the disaster known as the 2012 Presidential Election. Yes, I thought, even the leftists in academia will not manage to avoid paying for the mess that is Obamacare, and it will cost some of them far more than they imagined.
Then just a few days ago, I had an even stronger reaction when I heard that some unions were petitioning the administration for special subsidies to defray the high cost of insurance under Obamacare. Rick Ungar writes in Forbes:
Unhappy that important improvements in insurance benefits resulting from the healthcare reform law will now cost employers with union workers a bit more—improvements such as no longer permitting insurance policies to place the yearly and lifetime caps on benefits that leave beneficiaries high, dry and broke should they suffer a serious and expensive illness—some labor unions are now asking the government to change the rules to allow low-earning union workers access to the government subsidies so that their employers will not be disadvantaged when competing with companies who have non-union employees.
Yes, you read that correctly. Becket Adams at the Blaze elaborates further:
No, really, union heads are acting like no one warned them that costs would go up.
“We are going back to the administration to say that this is not acceptable,” said Ken Hall, general secretary-treasurer for the Teamsters.
“I heard him say, ‘If you like your health plan, you can keep it,’” said John Wilhelm, chairman of Unite Here Health, the insurance plan for 260,000 union workers. “If I’m wrong, and the president does not intend to keep his word, I would have severe second thoughts about the law.”
Why? Why? Why didn’t anyone tell these leaders about the costs associated with “Obamacare”? (more…)
Romney & Ryan talk about the economy
Obama & Co BS about Big Birds, binders & a TV actress’s first time
Obama & Co BS about Big Birds, binders & a TV actress’s first time
Yesterday, the Obama campaign release a “creepy” ad where some tattooed actress compared voting for Obama to having sex. Today, Mitt Romney is giving a speech on the economy in Ames, Iowa. This follows Paul Ryan’s “serious and substantive speech at Cleveland University” on Wednesday.
I’m with Ace on this one; it’s neither funny nor cute, nor persuasive, “unless you think the important issues in this campaign are Binders Full of Birth Control“:
It underlines the essential triviality of Obama and his Government Client & Upper Upper Class White Voter agenda. There is nothing to his campaign except very small social-progressive appeals to people who are simply not affected by the economy, whether they are too poor to notice a bad economy, immunized from the economy by being a government worker, or so rich they have nothing at all to fear from a bad economy.
Conservatives are having a field day mocking this bizarre ad as they, are having a field day mocking another juvenile Obama utterance, as Ed Driscoll deadpans on Instapundit, “SHOVEL-READY JOB: Conservatives hijack president’s ‘bullshitter’ remark via #bullshitter Twitter hashtag.”
Sister Toldjah finds the juvenile remark telling:
You know what? I know a POTUS has to deal with a lot of stress and has to blow off steam, and sometimes cursing is a part of that, but – dang it – Presidents are role models for kids and language like this should be left behind closed doors. It’d be one thing if this was an unintentional hot mic moment or if he were speaking out of frustration and in the heat of the moment cursed, but it’s not. He said this knowing it had the potential for being published, knowing that teenagers read this unabashedly left wing magazine. (more…)
Michelle Malkin has more.
Methinks it was a typo. Or a Freudian Slip. Still it’s amusing.
As diligent readers of this blog know, I have changed my opinion of Ann Coulter in recent years. I used to think that she was a right-wing bomb thrower, saying outrageous things merely to get a name for herself. But, when I met her, I put her “outrageousness” into context.
What Ann does, I wrote last April, “is just throw the left’s broadsides on conservatives back at them, returning with a playful smile what lefties send out with a self-righteous scowl. She mocks in good fun and to make a point.” Read the whole post for an insight into my shifting views of this conservative diva.
In short, I began to appreciate this particular diva by putting her comments into a cultural context. Today, Mickey Kaus also takes a broader view of this conservative, finding “More evidence for [his] contention that Ann Coulter is really quite sensible if you don’t provoke her with liberal BS.: Here is a passage from her recent column on taxes and spending:”
As Reagan explains a little farther in his autobiography: He did accept tax hikes “in return for [the Democrats'] agreement to cut spending by $280 billion,” but, Reagan continues, “the Democrats reneged on their pledge and we never got those cuts.” Maybe that’s why Republicans won’t agree to raise taxes in exchange for Democratic promises to cut spending.
For Americans who are unaware of the Democrats’ history of repeatedly reneging on their promises to cut spending in return for tax hikes, the Republicans’ opposition to tax increases does seem crazy. That’s why Republicans need to remind them. [E.A]
Read the whole thing. H/t Instapundit.
Saw this on Jimmy LaSalvia’s Facebook page. We’ve all met guys like this short’s protagonist.
A reader alerted me to the latest episode of South Park which takes on #OWS, linking this post where Christian Toto offers a summary of the episode, including this line from Cartman, “Don’t you get it, Mom? People voted for Obama, and now that everything sucks they have to blame me!”
Shouldn’t these folks be #Occupying the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
NB: Oops, inadvertently published this piece before I was done writing it, so delayed the publication as I was editing.
Just caught this on a friend’s Facebook page:
I do not like this Uncle Sam, I do not like his health care scam. I do not like these dirty crooks, or how they lie and cook the books. I do not like when Congress steals, I do not like their secret deals. I do not like ex-speaker Nan, I do not like this ‘YES WE CAN’..I do not like this spending spree, I’m smart, I know that nothing’s free. I do not like their smug replies, when I complain about their lies. I do not like this kind of hope. I do not like it. Nope, nope, nope!
To which I offered this rejoinder:
Did you write this on your own? Or did you post it as a loan? It is cute and wise and smart and short; about a plan we must abort. The government has grown too big, I say, in this and that and every way. We must reduce its size, my friend, or this great debt will never end!
When I was challenged about job creation, I then offered this:
And there are fewer jobs, I say, because the government keeps getting in the way. They increase the cost to hire and grow, the permit process is way too slow. Let’s trust the market, not the state; more spending fails at any rate. People know best how to run lives; that’s how new jobs come and our economy thrives.
FROM THE COMMENTS: Our reader Kurt helped track down the source of the first block quote above:
I found a version of it from March 2010 at this link. That seems to be the oldest one so far, as the others I found came from August or September of last year. That one also credits it as coming from facebook. The headers for this version date it to July 2009. Narrowing Google searches by date produced a number of postings from July and August 2009 on MySpace. I would guess it was probably first sent around via e-mail and posted on facebook around June 2009.
There are many tributes that one can offer the late great Lucille Ball, but the greatest is perhaps the simplest: she made makes us laugh.
She may have geared her humor to audiences in the 1950s, but when we watch the reruns, even though our mores have changed, her antics still delight and amuse us. We still laugh at Lucy. As Marlo Thomas put it:
And we loved her for the most basic of reasons: We trusted her. We knew if we showed up on Monday nights, she’d pay us back in laughs.
Whether she was plucking chocolates off a conveyor belt and stuffing them in her mouth, or vigorously stomping in a vat of grapes, or lighting a putty nose on fire –while it was attached to her face — Lucy’s mission was always the same: to see the laugh all the way through. She was like an Olympic gymnast, who practices tirelessly, executes to perfection and always lands on her feet.
As Roger Rabbit put it, “A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it’s the only weapon we have.” Indeed. How many people found a dark day brightened by a half-hour of Lucy’s humor? (Or have he antics make a good day even better?) How many times have we turned to Lucy (or other funny folk) as a respite from the struggles of a human life?
And this woman pioneered a new means to bring laughter to millions of homes. She helped define the modern sit-com. In developing her unique brand of physical comedy, she may have drawn on vaudeville schtick, but she made it made it work for (what was then) a new medium. As she was influenced by the silent start Harold Lloyd, countless comedians (and comediennes) have been influenced by her.
The woman whom we remember for making us laugh had not set out to be a comedienne, but to be a Broadway star. Only in her late 30s, after suffering many setbacks did she realize that that was her purpose in life — to make people life — and she pursued it with passion, determination, imagination and effort. May we all such realizations and pursue them as did Lucille Ball.
Because of the craziness of this past week, a visiting nephew and a visiting father, I somehow got my dates messed up. I had planned on celebrating this centennial of Lucille Ball’s birthday today, Sunday, August 6, only looking up at my calendar yesterday afternoon to realize that it was indeed, Saturday, August 6 so Sunday would be the 100th anniversary of Lucy’s birth plus one day.
In honor of that great lady, I tracked down a few videos honoring her. Here, the Gipper offers a tribute to the woman who made millions laugh.
Note how at about 0:46 into the video when Mike Wallace asks Ronald Reagan what made Lucy so special, the great man replied, “I don’t know that I can answer that. You just accepted it and reveled in it, but you didn’t try to get down and analyze what she could do. But, it just was peculiarly hers and her way. I don’t know of anyone you could compare her to.”
What a great way to appreciate a great artist. You don’t analyze how they do it; you just delight in how well they do it, that they make us laugh or cry — or just plain feel more alive and better connected to the universe and those around us.
Reader Peter Hughes alerted me to Ann Coulter’s latest column, one of the simultaneously funniest and most insightful commentaries on current events I’ve read all year. Currently finishing her next book and is thus
. . . only able to catch bits and pieces of the news this month, but, based on what I’ve heard from the mainstream media, I’m pretty sure the conservative movement is now being led either by Jared Loughner or GOProud’s president, Chris Barron.
Pretty much sums up their coverage of the first six weeks of this year. A deranged Tea Party member shot up a rally featuring a Democratic Congresswoman while CPAC is all about GOProud. Then, she joins Sarah Palin, albeit in a much different tone, in welcoming gay conservatives into the movement:
No, we don’t generally care for identity politics of any sort, much less hearing about people’s sex lives, even Nino Scalia’s. (And judging by the number of children he has, it’s pretty active.) Conservatives believe in individual rights, low tax rates, fighting terrorism and punishing criminals — so do gays! They also happen to believe Judy Garland was the most underappreciated and misunderstood person in the history of show business. I don’t think most gays care about gay marriage; they like going to the gay marriage meeting because it’s a good way to meet other gays.
Read the whole thing.
But, alas it’s true. Leslie Nielsen, who began his career as a serious dramatic actor, but it is best known for his humorous work in such Zucker Brothers classics as Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies where he played “the bumbling detective” Lt Frank Drebbin, “died on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. . . from complications from pneumonia.” He was 84.
What better tribute can I offer to a man who brought much laughter than a taste of his work:
As we enter the holiday season, what better way to remember this man than to share the gift of laughter. His movies stand the test of time — and make great gifts.
So writes Michelle Malkin in describing the floral arrangement Sharron Angle sent Joy Behar. You see the day the TV talker delivered a mean-spirited rant against the Nevada Republican, the candidate had a “banner day fundraising” raking it $137,000.
Behar repeatedly called Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle a “bitch” on the air yesterday, and told her to “go to hell,” for the release of a political advertisement the ladies of The View saw as racially charged.
“You know what I’d like to see her do? I’d like to see her do this ad in the south Bronx. Come here, bitch! Come to New York and do it,” Behar said.
Michelle alerts us to Elizabeth Crum’s post on NRO Battle ’10:
In response to Joy Behar’s vicious remarks on The View, the Angle campaign sent a lovely flower arrangement with a note enclosed.
“Joy, Raised $150,000 online yesterday. Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Sharron Angle”
There was a brief moment when I really did think that Obama might upend American politics, helping forge a permanent Democratic majority. I was largely impressed with the way he conducted his transition and thought that he would tack to the center and so marginalize a (then-)dispirited Republican base.
But, when he showed no sign of scaling back the “stimulus” cooked up in the back rooms of Democratic congressional offices, I began to sense that he might be more of a transitional than a transformational figure, foisting (far) left-of-center policies on a center-right nation. Considering that Democrats are, by and large, not campaigning on the legislative initiatives of the past two years, it seems they now realize how out-of-step his agenda is with the mood of the nation — yesterday, Glenn Reynolds linked a Rasmussen poll finding that “Only 25% Prefer a Government With More Services, Higher Taxes“.
No wonder Democratic attacks are becoming increasingly personal. It’s the only tactic that might work in the current climate. Indeed, Ed Morrissey poins out, citing a Howard Kurtz piece in the Daily Beast, “those highly personal attacks are more the norm than the exception“.
Maybe it’s not just a campaign tactic, maybe as P.J. O’Rourke opines, “They hate our guts“:
They don’t just hate our Republican, conservative, libertarian, strict constructionist, family values guts. They hate everybody’s guts. And they hate everybody who has any. Democrats hate men, women, blacks, whites, Hispanics, gays, straights, the rich, the poor, and the middle class.
Democrats hate Democrats most of all. Witness the policies that Democrats have inflicted on their core constituencies, resulting in vile schools, lawless slums, economic stagnation, and social immobility. Democrats will do anything to make sure that Democratic voters stay helpless and hopeless enough to vote for Democrats.
So, that’s why they pushed an unpopular agenda. They don’t love us so much as they love power. Read the whole thing.
Walking to Matthew Berry’s debate tonight, I passed a car sporting these bumper stickers in deepest blue Arlington.
Something tells me that one would have earned a large grin from my co-blogger.
So, what did y’all think? I missed it. Had made enough progress in my dissertation that I treated myself to a fun movie about training your dragon or something. A lot of fun. Good score. Fun animation.
Missed Betty White on Saturday Night Live. So, a reader suggested a do an open thread. As per his suggestion, here it is.