Friday, April 3, 2009

Some Friday fun...

Unfortunately the jobs picture looks neither good nor fun today, reports the AP:
"The nation's unemployment rate jumped to 8.5 percent in March, the highest since late 1983, as a wide swath of employers eliminated 663,000 jobs. It's fresh evidence of the toll the recession has inflicted on America's workers, and economists say there's no relief in sight. If part-time and discouraged workers are factored in, the unemployment rate would have been 15.6 percent in March, the highest on records dating to 1994, according to Labor Department data released Friday."

Experts suggest things may not improve much until 2010.
If you read a little further in the article, you find some mild editorializing by a perhaps pro-Obama AP writer:
"To brace the economy, the Fed has slashed a key bank lending rate to an all-time low and has embarked on a series of radical programs to inject billions of dollars into the financial system. And the Obama administration had launched a multi-pronged strategy to turn the economy around. Its $787 billion stimulus package includes money that will flow to states for public works projects, help them defray budget cuts, extend unemployment benefits and boost food stamp benefits. The administration also is counting on programs to prop up financial companies and reduce home foreclosures to help turn the economy around. Still, skittish employers announced more job layoffs this week."
Yes, gosh, look at all the wonderful things the Obama folks are trying to do. Damn those "skittish" employers--how dare they focus on their own bottom lines...

Meanwhile, still in Europe, President Obama makes a speech in Strasbourg, addressing U.S. relations with Europe:
"Welcomed with thunderous cheers, President Barack Obama pledged on Friday to repair damaged relations with Europe, saying the world came together following the 2001 terrorist attacks but then "we got sidetracked by Iraq." "We must be honest with ourselves," Obama said. "In recent years, we've allowed our alliance to drift."
Translation: once again, there are problems, but they're all Bush's fault.
This administration needs a new song.

Michael Ledeen today speculates, not without evidence, that Israel could be preparing to attack Iran's nuclear capacity. Obviously such an attack would stir up the international stage quite a bit. I think a key point to ponder is this: it's not just that we should not blame Israel for acting, if they believe an Iranian attack on them is coming. We should also expect the Israelis to get the job done (they've done it before)...and if/when they do, reducing Iran's military power is certainly in the American interest.

Here's an interesting piece from The Politico on the Obama administration's use of polling.
The writer hastens to ease the blow on Obama, who during the campaign denounced excessive use of polling; he's "no Clinton", he writes (Clinton met with pollsters frequently and endlessly pored over the data). And yet...Obama said his administration would be oh, so different. No, he doesn't meet directly with pollsters. Yet his top political aide David Axelrod is in frequent contact with them and gets Obama the numbers; and, more importantly, the Obama team allows its message and the verbiage it uses to be shaped by polls (people love the word "reinvestment," polls show, so the Obama folks use it.) That smacks of Clintonism to me, and certainly doesn't reflect a significant break with the past.