A Hopeful Prophecy


Animal Nuz #194 (detail)

Round and round in circles; when do we get to breathe clean, fresh air? The carousel is vicious; each pass brings greater distress.

I don’t know, is that too dramatic?

The problem, of course, is simply that life is unpredictable. Heh. Simply. Unpredictable.

Yet, for all the things that are genuinely predictable, something about politics is problematic. Setting aside the cyclical examinations of what went wrong, both in the internal and public polling, the nature of politics seems to openly and proudly defy the punditry.

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A New View of Austerity?


When it comes to things that bear repeating, thankfully there are bloggers to do the job. After all, if the point doesn’t communicate the first few times, only saturation will suffice. What? Okay, not exactly, but still, there are some things that shouldn’t require such repetition. To wit, Steve Benen:

When a nation tries to recover from an economic downturn, there are a variety of things policymakers have no control over. After the Great Recessions, for example, neither the White House nor Congress could control the Eurozone crisis, a natural disaster in Japan, or unrest in the Middle East.

It’s an unpredictable world with inter-connected economies and volatility often lurking just out of sight. But this realizations only reinforces a lesson congressional Republicans have forgotten: U.S. policymakers should, at a minimum, not make matters worse.

Consider, for example, what unemployment would be if government weren’t trying to create jobs and lay off public-sector workers at the same time.

He’s actually pointing to Phil Izzo’s blog post for The Wall Street Journal, which makes a point that ought to be familiar to all by now:

Federal, state and local governments have shed nearly 750,000 jobs since June 2009, according to the Labor Department‘s establishment survey of employers. No other sector comes close to those job losses over the same period. Construction is in second worst place, but its 225,000 cuts are less than a third of the government reductions. To be sure, construction and other sectors performed worse during the depths of the recession, but no area has had a worse recovery.

A separate tally of job losses looks even worse. According to the household survey, which is where the unemployment rate comes from, there are nearly 950,000 fewer people employed by the government than there were when the recovery started in mid-2009. If none of those people were counted as unemployed, the jobless rate would be 7.1%, compared with the 7.7% rate reported on Friday.

What’s that? Well, it’s one of those weird issues that stays in the background no matter how important it actually is, regardless of how often it is actually thrust into the spotlight.

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Jesus and the right-wing evangelical


A new twist on an aging joke. I recall there was a David Horsey cartoon published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in advance of the 1996 election that ran along these lines. The Emerald City’s Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist aimed at gubernatorial candidate Ellen Creswell and her evangelical support bloc at the time.

A tip of the hat and my thanks to anyone who can come up with that panel. I found this latest twist via Savage at Slog via Andrew Sullivan. Enjoy. (Or not.)

No one loves you like a mother ….


Ye gads, that’s mean. At least, if you don’t get to have a mother. But it really does feel true. I’m thirty-four, and generally have made a wreck of my life, and my mother stands by me like no one else can. My mother is the embodiment of life’s blessings.

And in the beneficence of my mother’s faith, I share at least something in common with Christian supremacist, former POW, and GOP presidential candidate Senator John McCain. At 95, Mrs. McCain appears a dignified presence, as well as a modern woman who is not afraid to show a little knee. And she can still make her son squirm.

CNN.com’s Mark Norman reports for the Political Ticker:

When asked about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s experience by Hardball host Chris Matthews, Roberta McCain, who’s campaigning in New Hampshire with her son at the age of 95, said “as far as the Salt Lake City thing, he’s a Mormon and the Mormons of Salt Lake City had caused that scandal. And to clean that up, it’s not a subject.”

Romney was selected to head up the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games after a bribery scandal tarnished the Games.

Sen. McCain and his mother, Roberta, prepare for their interview with Chris Matthews from a New Hampshire hotel room.  (AP)

The elder McCain’s remarks left the Senator stumbling. “The views of my mother are not necessarily the views of mine,” he advised.

Mrs. McCain replied, “Well, that’s my view. You asked me.”

Tsk, tsk, Senator. Don’t talk back to your mother. (What? I couldn’t resist.)

After a commercial break, Sen. McCain further tried to distance himself from his mother’s comments.

“Could I just reemphasize one point? I think Mormons are great people. I think it should in no way be a factor in consideration or lack of consideration for Governor Romney,” he said. “I think it should never be a consideration and I know he will be judged on his record. He’s a fine and decent man and a family man.”

Oooh. Ouch.

Strangely, I think this episode does him some good. As liberals question his age and conservative outlook, I think it humanizes the candidate to show him fidget like a young boy still struggling to walk outside his mother’s shadow.

Mitt Romney: No freakin’ way!


No.

Really?

Oh, come on. Seriously?

Every once in a while, you come across something that you don’t want to believe is true. Neil Swidey and Stephanie Ebbert, from their Boston Globe profile of GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney:

Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family’s hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack. He’d built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog ….

…. As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. “Dad!” he yelled. “Gross!” A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.

What? What punch line can I write here? Wonkette’s Ken Layne came up with the obvious. In fact, two obvious ones.

• • •

And while I’m still on the subject of Wonkette and Ken Layne, I really do want to stress that I have nothing against him (so far); sometimes jokes miss.

But the folks over at Wonkette are more diligent than I, so I owe them at least that acknowledgment. I mean, really, I wouldn’t have noticed the “vanilla steamer” bit.

Someone needs to be obsessed with Mitt Romney’s homoerotic correlations. Thanks, Ken.