Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Meeting Noam

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Socialist Responds

The Nation is running a series of respones to the economic crises by self identified Socialists. Here's a small exerpt from one today, responding to the current meme that "we are all socialists now":

"Besides, it wasn't supposed to happen this way. There was supposed to be a revolution, remember? The socialist idea, prediction, faith or whatever was that capitalism would fall when people got tired of trying to live on the crumbs that fall from the chins of the rich and rose up in some fashion--preferably inclusively, democratically and nonviolently--and seized the wealth for themselves. Such a seizure would have looked nothing like "nationalization" as currently discussed, in which public wealth flows into the private sector with little or no change in the elites that control it or in the way the control is exercised. Our expectation as socialists was that the huge amount of organizing required for revolutionary change would create an infrastructure for governance, built out of--among other puzzle pieces--unions, community organizations, advocacy groups and new organizations of the unemployed and nouveau poor."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Make the Best of It

-Bad Religion, "New America"

"Weve got to start to build
Progress and implement
For when we take our fill
And never pay the price
We only build ourselves
A fleeting, false paradise"

A reader writes to Andrew Sullivan:

"I’m a public school teacher and a mom. My husband’s small repair business is closing and our roof is leaking. Because we can’t afford new clothes or toys for our preschooler, we’re getting together with neighbors and hosting a swap meet. Everyone’s bringing old (but wearable) toys, books, and clothes, and without exchanging a single penny, we’ll all be pouring out our bags of stuff and “shopping.” With a coffee pot running and our kids running around, it’ll be one way to celebrate being poor together."

Unemployment Blues

-Mike Anderson, "Unemployment Blues" Real Country

This blog took the past few days off for travel and laziness-related reasons. Travel? Oh yes, travel. Headlining in Buffalo and Toronto was really fun. The crowds were great at both places, and doing 45 minutes onstage was challenging, but not as difficult as imagined.

But now we're back, and we've got some horrible horrible news for you, the reader who was refreshing this website furiously for the past several days, screaming, "where is my under-analyzed news! I want some shoe-horned-in jokes!" Sorry to keep you waiting, lunatics. And the jokes are not shoe-horned in, they are crafted and recrafted to fit perfectly both in tone and structure with the piece at large, like a fart ballooning the seat of a man or woman's slacks. Seamless.

So, yeah, here's today's horrible, horrible news, thanks to the heroic and inspiring work of the Planet Money team over at NPR. They write:

A quick outtake from our podcast interview with economist Howard Rosen:

"Today we learned that there are 12.5 million people who are unemployed, and we have another 8.6 million people who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs. Now, you're talking about 20 million people in this country who are either unemployed or underemployed. I don't want to freak out people, but the unemployed number, we start talking about 15, 16 percent."

Rosen notes that the government typically revises unemployment figures. For now, the broadest measure of unemployment stands at 14.8 percent.

Haha, yay, no one has any fucking jobs or disposable income, great, so long headlining work! because no one can even put gas in their car, even though it costs about as much as the price of bottled water.

[The link above is to a website called "Gas Buddy," which is also what we call our roommate Elliot. The specific map is called the "gas temperature map," which is objectively speaking the funniest map name ever. "Today's gas temperature is a sweltering 98.7 degrees..."]

Here is Andrew Leonard's take on the unemployment numbers for the past three months:

"That's nearly two million jobs lost in just three months. One could, I suppose, look for a glimmer of hope in the fact that the 651,000 jobs lost in February is lower than the revised number of jobs lost in December and January. But if these February numbers suffer a similar revision when March's figures come along, we could be looking at over 700,000 jobs lost in February, the shortest month of the year."

Literally, the only good news anyone (us) can find is that spring is around the corner, which means low-cut shirts and cleavage, unless women had to sell all their spring-wear to survive the brutal winter, in which case this blog declares: GREAT DEPRESSION II HAS ARRIVED!