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Monday, Mar 30th

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Editorial

Sailing Lessons for Landlubbers

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Brace for impact, sound the collision klaxon -- prepare to be rammed by unwieldy metaphors and unpleasant facts.  The frothing pundit class will be holding forth and spouting -- thar they blow! -- issuing more sailing lessons for landlubbers, providing more tactless tutoring in tacking, more analysis for our continued paralysis.

(As warning labels go, this is the maximum alliteration and safe warning that can be provided at this time, without handing out helmets, and installing handrails, safety straps, and emergency oxygen masks.)

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You can herd Donkeys, with a big enough stick

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In an interview with PBS News Hour, Bill Clinton completely walked back his comments about Obama criticizing Bain being inappropriate. He said today, [about making Bain an issue being wrong] "Not necessarily. It depends on the facts of the case. That's what I tried to say in the CNN interview. The equity business can be good if you - I've got a friend who buys failing companies, and he tries to turn them around. And he's turned a bunch of them around, but not all of them. So sometimes he tried and failed. The effort was honorable. That's a good thing.”

Yeah right, he said that guy was “Romney” in the CNN interview, but now you are to think he means some other (private equity pirate), but you notice that Slick Willy didn‘t actually say that.

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The Chickens are Naked, and Proud

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The Dow fell like a rock today, the reported reason for this was the Wall Street banks' exposure to Spanish bonds. But it was industrials like Alcoa and Caterpillar that were the big losers followed by the oil companies, and only then the banks. Oil company profits are expected to decline with the falling price of gasoline as if they didn’t still have a monopoly.

Companies like Caterpillar are locked in major labor disputes where they are attempting to strip the benefits from so-called second tier union employees. These are people hired since Reagan broke the unions. They typically receive in the neighborhood of $11/hr plus benefits. In Romney land, these benefits have to go. The hourly wages these workers receive are the same, or less than the minimum wage of 25 cents/hour (adjusted for inflation) that workers got under the New Deal in 1938. Union wages were several times that then, but not in our brave new world of unregulated capitalism.

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Failure of Memory

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So here we are:  Arrived safe and sound at another, formerly-sacred, national holiday -- one more red-letter day reduced in status by many Americans as just one more blip on the radar of Super Inventory Clearance Furniture Sales.

If we still have jobs, cars, and money for gas, we celebrate the holiday by herding ourselves onto the nation's highways in the style of massed wildebeest migrations, trying to eke out two days and two nights away from wherever it is we usually hang our hats.

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, as it was originally known, used to be time set aside by everyone to take a moment to remember those who died in military service to the country.

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CAUGHT RED HANDED

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By Bev Harris, founder of BlackBoxVoting.org

Four hundred and eighty-eight voters, every one of them in the Tennessee district of US Rep Steve Cohen (D-09), all but four lifelong Democrats, and nearly all Black, had their voting history erased by Shelby County election workers, setting them up for purge from the voter list.

To alter voting histories for a selected set of voters, putting them at risk for strategically selected purge, is to demean them, to treat them as if they have less worth as human beings than they do. And to demean them is to wrong them. What Shelby County's election staff has done, in altering the records, is morally wrong.

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About that Hope and Change...

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I've been thinking some -- stewing, really -- trying to get beyond my own reactions to the moment-to-moment outrages, disastrous pratfalls, and assorted, sordid fits characterizing signs of life in our culture and society.

Any number of daily afflictions work us like racehorses at finish lines, galloping us into short attention spans, no time to fix anything, barely enough time to keep track of even half of what's sliding sideways underfoot.

Closely observing politics and its practitioners is a game surely not for the weak-hearted, even less so when the stakes are highest, and the entire country seems to be riding a betting line of poor odds.

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We could be just like Greece

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Initial jobless claims were unchanged for the week, suggesting that jobs continue to be produced albeit at a slow pace. We have recovered more jobs than were lost in private sector from the Bush crash, even in “slow“ months. Obama can take credit for half again what was Bush‘s average month before the crash. If you include the jobs Bush lost at the end (including the early months of Obama‘s term), Bush’s average month was zero new jobs created.

The problem is that Red States have laid off 700,000 teachers, social workers, cops, firefighters and bridge inspectors. This probably killed another two million more private sector jobs that would have produced supplies used by these government workers, or would have benefited from the workers’ spending. Trickle down from the top doesn’t work, but you can drain the economy from the bottom.

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