Unknown in January 2009 to newly elected President Barack Obama, and to everyone else, was that figures not yet compiled for the last quarter of 2008 would show an economy that had been shrinking at an annual rate of 3 percent. And not known until many months after that was that the 3 percent figure would be a mistake. As data came in, the figures were revised. The economy had actually been in a free fall of 9 percent. An economy contracting at a 9 percent rate is a very big deal. Deregulation, massive financial fraud, and a discredited economic policy were the root causes.
In the last quarter of 2012, the economy shrank again. This time the initial figures show one tenth of one percent. The trade deficit turns out to be far less than expected, so most experts think revisions will show that one tenth percent shrinkage is actually growth: very small growth, but growth. Still, the initial one tenth contraction is what was announced at the end of January, so that's what those who pay attention have noticed. The main causes of the slowdown have been a 22 percent reduction in defense spending; a massive layoff of such government workers as teachers, police officers and first responders; and a substantial reduction in business inventory.
The Heathen Republican joins, by proxy quotation, the joyful conservative glee at national economic pain. But Heathen also adds a peculiar conspiracy. It seems President Obama did not speak at all about the one tenth of a percent in his Inaugural Address, which occurred over a week before he, or anyone else, knew about the economic data which had not yet been calculated. I suppose you could call it a sort of telepathic coverup. Election loss has an unsettling effect on some minds.
Last Of The Millenniums explains one reason Republicans oppose renewing laws to protect women against violence. It's because conservatives want to protect white people against Native Americans. General Custer is unavailable.
Conservatives have been after President Obama's choice as Defense Secretary, conservative Republican Chuck Hagel. The main stated reason has been some sort of convoluted blame for Benghazi, but John McCain let slip that it was actually because Hagel had turned against the Iraq war, and criticized "his own people." His own people turn out to be Republicans, which is disappointing to those of more ecumenical disposition: shouldn't all us be his people? But that is not the only reason. Max's Dad reacts as conservatives attack Hagel for his association with a fictitious group. I suspect a conservative plot to put satirists out of business with public positions that cannot be parodied.
News Corpse also covers Hagel's ties to that fictional group, and the amazing reaction of the breitbart.com writer who broke the false story. He stands by his piece, which he also acknowledges to be phony. It's the tabloid standard: I didn't say it was true, I only said there were sources who said they talked with someone who said he heard it was true. Such is the current state of contemporary conservative thought.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite fame captures the moment as Senator McCain sternly lectures a woman whose son had the poor judgment to be among those murdered in an Aurora, Colorado, theatre. A conservative audience cheers him on. Take that, lady. Pretty much the direction of the GOP, I believe.
Jack Jodell, friend of the working blogger at THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST, makes the case for compulsory national service. I'm not quite seeing a burgeoning movement here. On the other hand, I didn't think, at the time, that Obama had lost his first debate to Romney.
Conservative James Wigderson has more on his favorite crazy Wisconsin sheriff. Seems the sheriff was interviewed by a local wingnut, found the interview reported by a mainstream journalist and got a little irked by the coverage. James seems amused.
In addition to his hyper-talented writing, Vincent of A wayfarer's notes also has a keen eye for discovering off-the-beaten-path literary ability in others. He finds, and posts, a short piece of fiction about a train ride of an anti-Indian bigot who resents that he is, himself, a son of India.
- Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot goes poetic in his explanation of why engineering is a fun and joyful profession. It really is a beautiful piece. Warning: If you click the link, you may end up wondering how to join.
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You crack me and the Heathen Republican up.
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