On today's links: Eugene Robinson is a columnist for the Washington Post, and always has something interesting to say. Mark McKinnon is a Republican strategist who helped Sarah Palin get ready for her Vice Presidential debate. Sarah Kagan was an advisor to Gen Stanley McChrystal's staff on Afghanistan, and writes a lengthy piece on why we aren't winning right now. Right now the Pashtun Taliban are outsmarting us and aiming at stopping Afghan citizens from joining the police or exercising their right to vote...
The latest word out of Iran is that any action that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tries to do is getting protested by either fellow conservatives or the dissenters. His latest move, firing the Intelligence minister and 20 employees who did not support his harsh crackdown on protestors, replacing them with dummies from the Revolutionary Guard, as reported in the NY Times: "About 200 conservative Iranian lawmakers signed a letter on Monday calling on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to consult them about cabinet appointments, the latest sign of a struggle among hard-liners that may limit the president’s political clout as he moves to form a new government in the coming week.
Yesterday the chief financial reporter for the NY Times, Floyd Norris, wrote in his blog: "There are clear signs that world economy is turning up, or at least not sinking further, but today’s jobs report is not a bright spot. The unemployment rate went down, from 9.5 percent to 9.4 percent, but that is statistically unimportant given the sampling error in the household survey. In any case, it fell not because more people said they had jobs — employment was down in that survey — but because fewer people were still looking for work."
With the disappearance of so many small businesses, the job market will not recover any time soon. Once they go out of business, the folks who started them don't have the money or the will to begin again. The next item that will be written a lot about soon will be the depression in the commercial real estate market. Take a drive around the town you live in for an hour and count the number of empty storefronts or office buildings, I think the number will shock you. My sister and I needed some flowers the other week, located the address of the ones nearest where we live, and went to find a nice place. Every shop that we went to had closed and she ended up buying some flowers at the local Safeway... Restaurants are shutting down and there are very few mom and pop stores left, and this is a pretty large city. We've had almost all of the computer related firms like Intel leave, and the local chamber of commerce is desperately trying to entice others to take their place. I've just lost half of my monthly income and I've joined the ranks of job seekers, and it is looking bleak and quite depressing...
late night jokes:
"This is a weird story. Someone recently tried to sell an Xbox that was autographed by Sarah Palin for $1.1 million. Yeah. Unfortunately, the Palin Xbox kept quitting in the middle of every game." --Conan O'Brien
"Hey, yesterday, did you hear this? Computer hackers managed to shut down Twitter and my favorite, Facebook, for several hours. In a related story, yesterday American productivity jumped by 159%." --Conan O'Brien
"I can't believe he said this -- on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh recently said, 'Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, ruled by dictate.' Yeah. So folks, it took a while, but Obama has finally won over Rush Limbaugh." --Conan O'Brien
"Have you seen what's going on with these town halls? I don't want to say they're out of control. But they're starting to show them on ESPN. I haven't seen old white people this upset since they canceled 'Murder, She Wrote.'" --Bill Maher
"No, I'm serious, they are giving angry mobs a bad name. ... And these people, I'm sorry, they are not the best-informed group of screaming people I've seen in my life. Exit polls show that half these people think they're bidding on a tractor." --Bill Maher
"And now, there's actual fist-fights that are breaking out in the town hall meetings. And I have to say this, if you get injured while fighting against health care, you have to lie there and bleed. You just do. I'm sorry." -Bill Maher
"I saw a thing on YouTube, a town hall meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas. And a woman from Brockside, Arkansas, stood up. She was weeping about the threat of socialism. You know what, lady, Brockside, Arkansas, doesn't have capitalism yet. Your idea of health care is leeches and moonshine and you're worried about socialism? Oh, Lord." -Bill Maher
"But Obama's getting pissed at this. I don't blame him. He's getting testy. He said, 'If I wanted to hear endless hours of babbling from the aged, I'll ask Joe Biden a yes-or-no question.'" -Bill Maher
"Today was his 200th day in office. Barack Obama has been -- wow, he made it. And he said he still loves the job as much as ever. And he loves it so much, he's thinking about finally doing it and becoming an American citizen." -Bill Maher
"Bill Clinton has still got it. He's still got it. He does! You think it's easy to pick up two chicks in North Korea? But he did. And he brought them home." -Bill Maher
"I thought also the biggest news flash of the week: Sonia Sotomayor is now on the Supreme Court. The Senate confirmed her. She will be -- I thought this was interesting -- sworn in on Saturday by Chief Justice John Roberts. And that is progress: a Hispanic woman having a white man come in on Saturday." --Bill Maher
"Despite losing 200,000 jobs in July, the unemployment rate dropped from 9.5% to 9.4%. I think that means a lot of people got hired to work at the unemployment office." --Jimmy Fallon
"But that small drop's not enough for Obama. To get that number down even further, he's promised to find Paula Abdul a job." --Jimmy Fallon