December 05, 2005
What really chaps my ass, of course, is that if George Bush had been doing his job, checking the soil substrates under the levees, this never would have happened. We expected him to protect the country from disasters, and this is the one of the biggest disasters ever to hit the country. Yet where was George? Not taking soil cores, doing sonar analysis,or analysing soil samples in the lab--that much is clear. What the hell does he think we elected him for? Did he even make a cursory examination of the 17th street levee? I demand a special prosecutor to investigate why our president was not performing geological surveys of New Orleans in the days before hurricane struck.
December 02, 2005
Earlier this morning we learned that the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in November, beating the expected mark and posting the highest number in four months. Over the past year nearly 2 million jobs have been created -- and nearly 4.5 million jobs have been added since May 2003, when the job market began its turnaround. The unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent -- below the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. The Labor Department report shows that the American economy not only remains resilient in the face of two major hurricanes that did enormous damage to the Gulf Coast region but that, in fact, the economy continues to grow at a remarkable rate.
Today's job figure is not the only encouraging news on the economic front. Here are a few other recent economic data points that underscore that the American economy is a wonder of the modern world:
Â· The U.S. economy grew at a robust 4.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the best rate in more than a year. Economic growth has been remarkably steady and strong over the past two-and-a-half years -- and the economy has now grown 3.3 percent or more for 10 straight quarters.
Â· Gas prices have dropped 30 percent since September (from $3.07 per gallon to $2.15 per gallon).
Â· Inflation was lower than projected. The consumer price index rose at a 3.6 percent annual rate, and core inflation was at its lowest level in more than two years.
Â· Consumer spending increased 4.2 percent in the third quarter, beating the estimated mark and setting the fastest pace since the end of 2004.
Â· Business spending on equipment and software grew by a 10.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter.
Â· Sales of single family homes showed the biggest one-month gain in more than 12 years, increasing by 13 percent in October.
Â· Orders for durable goods showed the largest increase since June of 2000, increasing by 3.4 percent in October.
Â· Consumer confidence soared. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence rating increased by 13 points to 98.9 for November. The University of Michigan's Consumer Confidence index also rose, growing by 7 points.
Â· Yesterday the Dow Jones industrial average closed within 90 points of 11,000, a level the Dow hasn't hit since June 2001.
How can you possibly spin this as bad news? Hmm. Let's give it a try:
- The sluggish stock market continues to inch upward, finally reaching a point not seen since early in Bush's first term. The Dow shows resilience despite Bush's handling of the economy.
- Increases in new jobs reflect the fact that most Americans have finally settled for low-paying jobs without benefits, as that's all that they can find
- The 4.3% growth in the economy is probably a temporary spike driven by the upcoming holiday season, and will likely recede to previous, non-inspiring numbers
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