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BLS Jobs Report, January 2011: What a mess!

[Warning: If you thought my previous job posts were dense, then my advice is run from this one. It involves many changes that the BLS has made and a significant correction in my own calculations.]

Otherwise jump in.

The big news in today's job report that will be hyped in this report is that unemployment fell 0.4% from 9.4% to 9.0%. The bad news is that this decrease is meaningless. It is the result of the BLS playing with their numbers for a second straight month, not people finding jobs. Although it comes from a different data series, the weak 36,000 growth in jobs reflects this fact. Read more about BLS Jobs Report, January 2011: What a mess!

Because It's So Easy


That's the answer. The question is why do I kick around firedoglake? It appears they have a new plan:

When Craig Newmark of Craigslist predicted last October that NPR would be a “dominant force” in news in ten years because of its membership model, a lot of people were surprised. But behind the scenes at FDL, we had collectively come to the same conclusion

So their business plan is to go the membership route. This might have merit if fdl can produce a good enough product that a sufficiently large membership is willing to support financially. Read more about Because It's So Easy

Even Further Thoughts on the Filibuster

I suppose you could say that it is irrelevant whether the filibuster stays or goes. We will have corporatist government either way. Filibuster reform assumes our system can be fixed. But our system, like everything else, has been stolen to serve the interests of a few. If we could fix things, we would not eliminate the filibuster. We would eliminate the Senate. Read more about Even Further Thoughts on the Filibuster

Thoughts on Failure to Eliminate the Filibuster

The Senate has become one of the largest obstacles to democratic government in the country. Its structure flies in the face of the concept of "one man, one vote", that is that all voters should count the same. There are small snippets of the East Coast, like Rhode Island, Delaware, and Vermont, that get two Senators whereas very populous neighbors, like New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey get the same number. Clearly, the votes of the citizens of small states count more than those in large ones. But at least someone lives in them. Read more about Thoughts on Failure to Eliminate the Filibuster

Jobs, Investment, and a Fed Report

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. The following is from the January 14, 2011 G17 Fed report on industrial production and capacity utilization.

This is not the whole economy. Industrial production is what we make. It isn't just manufacturing, but mining and utilities. Capacity is how much we could make, and utilization is the ratio of these two. It tells us how much slack there is in the industrial side of our economy. Note that in practical terms 90% is about as close as we come to "full" capacity. Read more about Jobs, Investment, and a Fed Report

Wages, Unions, and Two New BLS Reports


The Bureau of Labor Statistics came out with a couple of recent reports (here and here). I thought I would discuss a few of the items that struck me as interesting.

In the 4th quarter of 2010, the seasonally unadjusted median wage for full time wage and salary workers was $752/week. This was up from $748/week in the 4th quarter of 2009 or 0.5%. The bad news is that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) which likely understates inflation was up 1.3% in 2010. So the working public actually fell a little further behind in 2010. Read more about Wages, Unions, and Two New BLS Reports

Nelson v. NASA: All Your Information Are Belong to Us


On January 19, 2011, in Nelson v. NASA, the Supreme Court decided 8-0 in an opinion written by Samuel Alito that any government employee, even those who do not work with classified materials must submit to intrusive background checks. Read more about Nelson v. NASA: All Your Information Are Belong to Us

Lawrence O'Donnell is an idiot, but I repeat myself.

I had been meaning to write on this earlier today but I spent a good chunk of the day writing on a different topic that I will put up in a post in a few minutes, and then there was snow to shovel, you know how it goes.

On January 19, 2011, I had the misfortune of catching a small section of Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC. He was discussing a new poll out with that other Washington sage Chuck Todd. I think their take home was something on the order of shooting a Congress member now and then is good for Obama's approval ratings. If I were a Congress member listening to these two, I would be concerned, just saying. Read more about Lawrence O'Donnell is an idiot, but I repeat myself.

Another View of the Shootings in Tucson


We need to step back and understand some cold harsh truths. Giffords is part of our kleptocratic Establishment. She was pro-guns, anti-immigrant, and voted for Obamacare, in other words a pretty standard conservative corporatist Democrat.

The rhetoric of right wing media stars and politicians is more inflammatory than that of their Democratic counterparts, but this is because they play to different audiences. Different lies told different ways for different bases. Democratic and Republican infighting is bitter but it is not over substance but the division of spoils, prestige, and privilege. Giffords was a casualty in this conflict. Read more about Another View of the Shootings in Tucson

Revising Your Problems Out of Existence: The December Jobs Report

Got an unemployment rate of 9.8%? Political optics on that look bad? Let me play with the numbers. I'll call it a year end revision. I've been doing them for years. Well not quite this early but can't hurt, can it? There, 9.4%, hardly a problem at all, right? OK, maybe still a little problem. Maybe the rubes won't buy such a big drop on a gain of only 103,000 jobs for December, but then again they are rubes. So it might work. Try it. Read more about Revising Your Problems Out of Existence: The December Jobs Report

Whoop-de-doo, Pelosi Has No Regrets


On her last day as Speaker, Nancy Pelosi said she had no regrets. That she doesn't says so much.

We say it all the time, but it bears repeating. Obama is a conservative corporatist. He was always going to betray those who elected him, but he never would have accomplished so much of his conservative agenda without the active support and connivance of every Democrat in Congress, and most especially the Democratic leadership there. Read more about Whoop-de-doo, Pelosi Has No Regrets


I still glance through FDL to see what topics are being covered. I found this promoted diary by Rohan Jayasekera on the My FDL page. Jayasekera is one of these David Horowitz types who started out on the left as an opponent of censorship but then involuted into his own opposite. In his diary, he basically recycles an Administration argument that Wikileaks has put lives at risk. Whose? Well according to Jaysekera mouthing an argument fed him by a US diplomat, those of human rights activists in repressive countries who talk to US consular officials. Read more about Jayasekera

More Establishment Blather From Krugman


Paul Krugman can be a remarkable dumb fuck when he wants to be. You see as a classical economist, he has been trained to interpret markets in terms of supply and demand. Speculation when it occurs only happens at the margins. It is either transient or insignificant to larger forces.

This time around Krugman invokes global scarcity and global recovery to explain why commodity prices have been surging. He tells us we live in a finite world, sounding a lot like that other Times airhead Thom Friedman when he does. It all sounds so plausible, at least if you don't look at it too closely. If you do, it comes across as the dimwittery that it is. Read more about More Establishment Blather From Krugman

Obama Met With "Liberal" Economists Just Before Lambasting the Left at His Tax Deal News Conference

I just heard that shortly before his official announcement of the tax cut deal with Republicans Obama met with a group of "liberal" economists. Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Jeffrey Sachs, Alan Blinder and Robert Reich. With Obama at the meeting were Austan Goolsbee and Jared Bernstein. The meeting was apparently less about them sharing their views with him and more about him trying to sell the tax cut compromise to them. Read more about Obama Met With "Liberal" Economists Just Before Lambasting the Left at His Tax Deal News Conference

At What Point is Credibility Lost?

Today the Senate agreed with the motion to concur in the House Amdt. to the Senate Amdt. with Amdt. No. 4753 to H.R. 4853, the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010, Part III. Really everything that is wrong with the Congress and our political process can be found right there because the common name for what the Senate passed is Obama's tax cut deal with the Republicans. It was a major victory for looters, corporatists, and kleptocrats. Read more about At What Point is Credibility Lost?


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