atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#3608: My getting a job dropped unemployment by 0.4%!

Remember how it was 8.2% last week?

It's 7.8% now, baby! I got a job, so the recession is now over, right?

...

Did I not say the unemployment rate would be below 8% before November, regardless of reality? Did I not say exactly that?

I was not the only person making that prediction. "Rick Santelli's prediction that the Labor Department would, come hell or high water, manage to get the headline rate under 8% by election day has been validated."

And,
Yeah, this doesn't smell right. The household survey (the part used to calculate the unemployment rate, not official payroll growth, which comes from the establishment survey) shows a whopping 873,000 jobs added in September (seasonally adjusted).

How whopping? It's the best month of the millennium to date.

In fact, it's the best month since 1983 (excluding Januarys, which usually show crazy numbers, due to annual revisions, which is why they're removed from the chart).

That's just not remotely plausible. In the last 29 years, we've had 22 quarters of growth exceeding 5%. And never did the household job creation rate hit the ostensible peak we just experienced, with growth hovering in the 1-2% range.

We've either got a massively massaged seasonal adjustment in place, a drastic change in household survey methodology, or the number is real, the economy is booming, and ADP undercounted by 700,000.
In other words, the Bureau of Lies and Shenanigans has decided--just coincidentally, in an October before an election!--to change how they figure unemployment rates. Go ahead; ask them about it. The answer will be, "Eh? There's an election coming? Oh, so there is! Well, shucky darn! We totally forgot about that!"

I got that link from this AoSHQ post which goes on to point out that U6 remains unchanged.

And here's another AoSHQ post: "They revised job creation numbers for the past two months by around 40,000 per month. A commenter says they actually revised for the past three months, but I didn't see that last revision."

Karl Denninger demolishes the jobs figure.

Elizabeth Scalia simply does not believe them. I don't blame her; I don't either.

I'm completely unsurprised by this news. I knew the BLS would adjusterize and fiddleate the job numbers to get them under 8% before the election. I knew it the same way I knew the sun would rise today. I knew it, and I predicted it here, time and again.

Why would I be surprised when the Lying Liar in Chief tells his appointed cronies to lie?

* * *

Energy crisis in California. In the 1970s, when the inevitable result of price controls reared its ugly head, there were shortages and rationing, and it was an "energy crisis", so I think it's fair to call this one.
Gasoline station owners in the Los Angeles area including Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) are beginning to shut pumps as the state’s oil refiners started rationing supplies and spot prices surged to a record.
Right?

There hasn't been a new oil refinery built in the US for thirty years, even as demand for fuel has continued to rise, so our refining capacity has to run at 100% year round. Here's the kind of thing that happens when you have absolutely no spare refining capacity whatsoever:
“Product supply in California has tightened, especially in Southern California, due to refinery outages,” Bill Day, a Valero spokesman at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail.

Exxon’s Torrance refinery is restoring operations after losing power Oct. 1. Phillips 66 (PSX) is scheduled to perform work on gasoline-making units at its two California refineries this month, two people with knowledge of the schedules said. A Chevron Corp. (CVX) pipeline that delivers crude to Northern California refineries was also shut last month due to elevated levels of chloride in the oil.
A disruption in any refinery lasting more than a week or so causes disproportionately large dislocations.

And it's forcing small businesses out:
Low-P, a gasoline station in Calabasas, California, 30 miles west of Los Angeles, stopped selling unleaded gasoline Oct. 2 and ran out of high-octane and medium-octane fuel yesterday, John Ravi, the station’s owner, said by phone yesterday. Ravi said he posted an “Out of Gasoline” sign on each pump and took down the prices outside his shop.

“I can get gas, but it’s going to cost me $4.90 a gallon, and I can’t sell it here for $5,” Ravi said. “If you come here right now, I’ve got some diesel left. That’s all. My market is open, but no gas.”

“We’re going to start shutting pumps Friday,” Sam Krikorian, owner of Quality Auto Repair in North Hollywood, said by phone yesterday. “Gas is costing me almost $4.75 a gallon with taxes. There’s no sense in staying open. The profit margins are so low it’s not worth it.”
Okay? That's $5 per gallon gasoline right there at wholesale.

The people who are bitching the loudest about the high price of gasoline in California are likely to be the self-same ones who refuse to allow any new refineries to be built.
“The squeeze is on, and people are doing desperate things,” Bob van der Valk, an independent petroleum industry analyst in Terry, Montana, said by e-mail yesterday. “The mom- and-pop gas stations are having to close down from either not being able to obtain gasoline from their regular distributor or cannot afford the break-even price of almost $5 per gallon.”

***

Van der Valk called the price surge a “a short-term problem.” Wholesale costs should start falling as Exxon’s refinery returns to normal operations and other plants finish maintenance.
No, it's not a "short-term problem". The problem is there is no spare refining capacity anywhere in the United States and this is entirely the result of three decades of idiotic energy policy.

* * *

And, contrary to the title of this article, the high cost of energy is making the current recession worse.

* * *

Meanwhile, two articles about an "October Surprise".

Possibility the first: Obama's negotiated with Iran to get them to stop enriching uranium for a little while, so he can win the election. Obama wins because he gets to be President for life four more years, and Iran wins because they don't have to deal with a Republican in the White House.

Possibility the second: Obama orders air strikes on Libya. Obama wins because he looks like he's being tough on the people who killed our ambassador, and also like he is decisive and strong. Libya loses, but who cares about Libya? Certianly important Democrats don't care about a bunch of poor foreigners when there's an election at stake.

* * *

Daisy plants look nothing like pot. I mean, nothing. WTF.

* * *

NRA endorses the only Presidential candidate in the race who has actually banned guns. *sigh*

* * *

Karl Denniger also discusses just two flashpoints in the middle east right now. First, Iran is entering a hyperinflationary phase, which is never a good thing; and Syria and Turkey are at loggerheads.

* * *

Chicago politics are about as dirty as they get which is why I almost never comment on them. Why bother? No one needs to be told what a cess pool smells like.

But I'm linking that post because of something I want to quote:
In 1991, during their engagement to be married, top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, then serving as the deputy chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley, hired Michelle [Obama, neé Robinson] to a job in the mayor’s office.

“Michelle hated working for the city even more than she hated working at Sidley Austin,” Robyn [not her real name] told WND.

“At the law firm, she lasted so short of a time because they expected her to do work,” Robyn said. “At the City of Chicago, where she worked under Mayor Daley, Michelle had one of those ‘Jesse [Jackson] hires’ positions. These are patronage jobs where the recipients did nothing.”

Robyn claimed that while working for Daley, Michelle just collected a check, doing very little work.

“She sat at a desk and read the newspaper all day,” Robyn said. “Sometimes she read romance novel paperbacks. No one could say anything to her because she was a ‘Jesse hire.’ This meant if anyone did complain about her not working that Jesse Jackson would get mad at Daley over that, and there would be trouble.”
Emphasis mine. How horrible that someone giving her a paycheck actually expected her to do something to earn it? Those evil bastards! How dare they??

...but am I surprised by this? Not even. Jesse Jackson has a pretty good scam going in Chicago, and everyone knows it; it's not about civil rights or equal treatment, but about Jesse Jackson not having to work for a living and seeing to it (in the process) that his favored friends also don't have to work for a living.

All part and parcel of Democrat machine politics.

* * *

So now liberals are upset over Romney wanting to cut PBS funding. Do you know how much money Sesame Street makes? The owners of the IP rights to that show could practically pay for the entire PBS budget out of their pocket change.
As GOP Sen. Jim DeMint noted last year, franchises like Sesame Street “are multimillion-dollar enterprises capable of thriving in the private market. According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 — nearly a million dollars — in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, ‘Sesame Street’ made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales.”
WTF.

LeVar Burton is outraged! I suppose I can't blame him. Before Star Trek: The Next Generation, all LeVar Burton had was Reading Rainbow, and it paid his bills for years between his role as a young Kunta Kinte in Roots and his landing the gig on the Enterprise.

That latter role is probably where he learned how to ejaculate over-the-top rhetoric like this: "On behalf of America's children, I can't stay silent. I encourage you to join me in fighting this short-sighted and frankly mean-spirited attack on our children."

...cutting federal funding to PBS is hardly an attack (mean-spirited or otherwise) on our children...particularly when we're borrowing the money to pay for it FROM THEM.

* * *

Abolish the TSA now. A TSA worker appoints himself judge, jury, and executioner and "fines" a traveler $500 for complaining.

* * *

I have to agree, this is a bit much.

I have always cringed when people ostensibly on my side of the aisle resort to things like this. "For crying out loud, people! It's just a game!"

The people who go batshit over Harry Potter and the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment of Fantasia and Dungeons and Dragons don't seem to understand the difference between reality and make-believe, not even as well as a typical five-year-old does.

Now, this part makes sense:
David Sorensen, a spokesman for the Maine GOP, stood by the flyer in an emailed comment: "Referring to herself as 'lazy' and writing about how she has been playing World of Warcraft all day and has gotten nothing done at work, combined with the number of hours most World of Warcraft gamers spend playing the game (22.7 per week, on average) and the number it must have taken her to reach such a high level - all raise questions about her work ethic and her ability to devote her time and energy to serving the people of Senate District 25 in a mature and effective manner."
If she's incapable of putting aside the game in order to get her work done--work she is being paid to accomplish--that's something to discuss. But the stuff about being an assassin rogue and killing stuff as stress relief? That's typical gamer stuff.

$5 says that if she was spending 30 hours a week on boosting an athletic team, though, no one would be saying anything about it.

* * *

Brian Dunbar on postliterate society.

Post-literacy is an interesting phenomenon, and it's one I've touched on in my own SF meanderings.

Specifically, in my SF universe, after Man's second big war with an alien race, civilization begins to decline. The educational system decides that being able to read and write is a bourgois skill, not necessary for the averagely-educated, since natural-language verbal computer interfaces are ubiquitous, robust, and highly mature.

It was meant, I must say, as a jab at present-day educators who say that whole-word reading is the best way to teach reading because proficient readers read that way. In the 23rd century, these people decide that writing really isn't a necessary skill until one is in college, so it need not be taught much before high school...and the predictable outcome occurs. When the colonial government falls, one last text message is sent over the computer network informing the colonies of an impending network outage, and it's a masterpiece of spelling and grammar. (That was sarcasm.)

No, post-literacy is not a good thing.

* * *

And now, let's lighten things up with another home-brewed Garfield Without Garfield:



Sorry, everyone: Lemonzen gets to see these a day or so before anyone else does, and that was yesterday's. I'm really proud of today's, but y'alls will have to wait until tomorrow to see it.

* * *

So, IttyBit seems to have a bit more energy since I started feeding her baby food Wednesday night. I'm glad, because that shit costs $1.15 for a small jar. I'm going to have to find somewhere else to buy it.

But she eats it and seems satisfied, and seems a little peppier than she has been for a few weeks. It's so hard to tell with a cat, because SOP for a cat is approximately thus:
1) Eat
2) Sleep
3) Litter box
4) Sleep
5) Drink
6) Sleep
7) Repeat
Especially this cat. It's normal for me not to see her for most of the day, save meal times and when I go to bed, because she has three or four places around the house that she likes to go sack it in after breakfast and dinner, and none of them are places I frequent or where she's likely to be bothered.

Strange that you can miss a pet like that, but I will. *sigh*

* * *

Yesterday I finally picked up the RX refills I requested last week. I'd pondered taking the motorcycle, but decided against it; and on my way to Walmart, when it began raining, I was glad I had. I did see a guy and his girlfriend riding in the opposite direction on his bike and did not envy them one little bitty bit.

Besides the pills I also bought mouthwash and a hoodie. I bought the hoodie because I had not expected it to rain when I left the house. By the time I got to Walmart it was fain to soaking and the temperature had already dropped several degrees; I figured, "Well, I haven't bought a new hoodie for more than three years and they should have some decent ones for cheap."

It cost me $11, and it's a nice teal color. This'll be a non-work hoodie, because it's the newest one. I really had to search for it, though. They had some name-brand hoodies for $24, and a bunch of cheaper non-sip hooded sweatshirts; and when I found the generic fleece zip-up hoodies ("generic"--this one's Fruit of the Loom) and saw the teal ones I looked and looked for an extra-large. I was just about to give up when I saw one, though, and emerged triumphant.

It was $20 to refill my pills, but that's for a 90-day supply of the Paxil and a 60-day supply of the Xanax...and of course they last me a lot longer than that since I take half-tabs of the Paxil and don't use the Xanax regularly.

I got back to the Fungal Vale just in time for choir practice--in fact I had time to stop at the corner gas station and fill up the Jeep--before learning that choir practice had in fact been canceled because the choir director had a family emergency.

* * *

While shopping the other day I bought a bag of Tapatio-flavored Doritos. They're spicy, but good.

I also bought new light bulbs for the bathroom. There are four bulbs over the vanity and one has been burned out since before Mom died, and I never got around to replacing it. Well, another one burned out in the last week, so I decided I probably should buy some bulbs and replace them.

I also dusted off the still-good bulbs, and now it seems like the bathroom is extra-bright. Well, with 33% more light in thee than I'm used to, that shouldn't be all that surprising.

* * *

Tuesday, after leaving therapy, I saw a rainbow, and couldn't help thinking, "Oh, what does it mean?" Other than, y'know, God promising not to drown us all no matter how richly we may deserve it....

Then Tuesday night I saw a huge halo around the moon, and when I took the trash out last night I saw another one.

And it's been a couple of dreary and rainy days, too. Last night, when I went to take out the trash, I was surprised at how cold it had gotten in the space of a few hours. Probably it'll be chilly and rainy for a week or so, now, as it usually is in October.

Maybe I should make hot and sour soup for dinner tonight. That would be tasty, and nothing warms you up like a pot of "Chinese chili".
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