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Thursday, Dec 08th

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Ancient History, Hot off the Presses

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Anything that happened yesterday is still news, while last month's headlines get sifted into the heap of modern-day discards.  If you want to reflect on the America of the 1940s -- or even the 1980s -- then you're obviously an archeologist on a mission.

Unless you're summarizing the most recent yak-fest -- the so-called presidential debates.  You remember:  The ones marketed by hucksters like cage matches from two new species only just now discovered in wildest Borneo.

You know:  The Distracted Professor versus the Gish Galloper Extraordinaire!

One way to reframe the lingering, post-event aftertaste:  You were watching a hot-air duel that could really have been broadcast skips on the chilled atmosphere from just after World War Two, colliding with torrid blasts from the Reagan era, when the hot air really got superheated and shoved around.

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The Conspiracy Widens

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Initial unemployment claims dropped by 30,000 last week to a four and a half year low. That's a lot of out of work people participating in the Muslim-Kenyan-socialist-anti colonial-fascist-liberal plot to destroy America by not filing for benefits in order to rig the unemployment number.

 

Layoffs are of course the result of employer action (quitting your job doesn't count), the employers that are, according to Romney, either lacking confidence (despite record profits and $5 trillion cash on hand) or going broke. Willard claimed in a stump speech that 1.4 million small businesses have filed bankruptcy, the real number is around 43,000. Willard was just having a Bain fantasy moment, even he hasn't destroyed that many businesses.

 

Leveraged Buyout Specialists like Mittens have destroyed 250,000 factories since Reagan de-criminalized the practice. This number doesn't include small businesses with under 50 employees that serviced the larger factories that the Pirate Capital operations like Bain have looted. Maybe Willard knows his career number really is 1.4 million, it's a little mental trophy he keeps. Just like any serial killer who keeps lockets of hair.

 

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Anybody Got a Golden Crowbar?

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There's nothing like a new survey on religion in America to boost hope on the one hand, then turn right around and immediately crush it in another.

For example, the number of people who express no affiliation with religion is now at its highest point, at almost 20%, or one in five Americans.  That figure's up 8% in just the last five years.

Before you head off to your coven or place of crystal meditation to celebrate the increase in those suddenly swooning to their senses, you should also know that 68% of the unaffiliated say they still believe in God.

Such is the history of the species:  Two sluggish, uncertain slumps forward, and one dazed, aimless bit of meandering back.

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Numbers are just a Theory

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The Numbers Deniers claim that the unemployment rate dropping below 8% is a vast government conspiracy orchestrated by the Muslim-Keyan-socialist-liberal-anti colonial-fascist in the White House. Their proof, the report was created using Arab 'numerals', we all know that real Americans would use Chinese made 'numerals' bought at Walmart.

 

To understand what is really going on requires some background, the initial jobs reports that come out each month are based on surveys, and are revised later as more data comes in. The job creation number is based on an employer sampling survey, and this number can be way off

from reality if the growth or decline is concentrated in a particular area.

 

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The Craziness of Keeping Sane

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If you've not noticed in this enchanting election cycle -- now heading into its eternal, unending, 19th year -- reality as we once knew it has dived into a hole somewhere, hiding out, on hiatus, with a shakily-lettered sign hung out that reads, "Go Away!"

While grim political candidates and their even-grimmer supporters are taking major psychotic breaks from reality, facts, and the truth, I'm content taking much smaller time-outs from this bat-guano-crazed world.

After the fever-dreams and sensory hallucinations of a long dizzy-dance with the flu, after all, it's good to be back on solid ground with the regular, everyday crazy stuff again.

Like pondering the world's most expensive shoe, a high-heeled number encrusted with more than a half million dollars of white diamonds stuck to it.  Sure.

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Counting with Count

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Big Bird was an Angry Bird today. He had his friend Count crunch the numbers and they don't add up. He counted 27, 27 big lies in Mr Romney's debate performance in just 36 minutes. Big Bird isn't happy that the bad man bullied his friend the nice Mr Lehrer either.

 

It makes Big Bird sad that 72 million people with pre-existing health conditions will lose their insurance if the bad man gets to be President. (72 million was a big number for Count to count) The bad man says that won't happen because he said so, but the bad man's own spokesman said right after the debate, it isn't possible for the bad man to do that, it would be up to states to do that. States that never did that before.

 

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Blue Honey and Blown Money

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Since when do bees make honey in various shades of blue and green?

Beekeepers in northeastern France were posing that most reasonable question lately, until they suspected their bees were eating the sugary waste from M&Ms -- those brightly colored, candy-shelled chocolates.

A biogas plant in Alsace is thought to be the culprit.  It deals with waste from a Mars chocolate factory.  Combine a harsh winter with a rainy summer, and the bees have had less time than usual for foraging, forcing beekeepers to set out sugar syrup for the bees.

The bees instead made a beeline for the waste chocolate shop.  A spokesperson for the British Beekeeper's Association said, "Bees are clever enough to know where the best sources of sugar are, if they are no others available."

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