Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stuff These In Your Stocking and Smile!

BREAKING NEWS ......  Hurrah! Santa just found another gift at the bottom of his sack! Right after I wrote this posting, the news came that the GOP in the House has caved in and agreed to extending the paycheck tax cut and unemployment compensation. This is wonderful good news for those who desperately need the money and for an economy that is on the mend. But it doesn't wipe away the bad rap deserved by the Tea Party Congress. Scaring people is not nice! No one will forget what nasty and callous guys these GOP House members really are.
Lots of good news this holiday season! So let's rejoice before we have to go back to contemplating the Grinchy GOP lineup for the Iowa caucuses. Take a moment and stuff these goodies in your stocking.

Top of the news is that President Obama's poll numbers are up significantly from a couple of months ago. He now has a favorable job performance rate of 49%! This is a six-point gain, and even his prior 43% was incredibly good for an incumbent when unemployment is still high. Even more surprising is that he beats the GOP as "most trusted" on managing taxes. Yes, TAXES! That's historically been the GOP stock in trade.

More good news. Obama's climb in favorability shows that his theme of fighting for the middle class and for fairness in taxation is working. He's taken off the gloves and, so far, is keeping them off. Let's hope he sticks to this theme. Repetition is the heart of effective campaigning.

More good news. One major poll shows Obama beating Romney by about 6 points nationally. The other would-be GOP nominees do a lot worse in a match-up. Until now, polls have shown Romney and Obama as a tie.

More good news. Claims for unemployment compensation are down yet again. This week's drop beat all expert expectations, and the number of claims hasn't been this low since  -  GET THIS!  -   April 2008. Since there has been a string of these lower numbers, there's some indication that another drop in the unemployment rate may be coming at month's end. (For those of you who have asked: Yes, these figures are seasonally adjusted so that temporary retail hires for the Christmas season don't falsely skew the tally.)

More good news. New housing starts went up last month, to the astonishment of experts.

More good news. Consumer confidence is improving.

More good news. For once, the media is telling it like it is, blaming the GOP House for stalling the  extension of unemployment benefits and, by blocking the paycheck tax break, taking $1000 out of every working person's pocket. Usually the media bends over backward to be "balanced" and blames both parties even when it's the GOP which is preventing things from getting done. Not this time! Did you ever think you would bless the Wall Street Journal? Its recent editorial tells the GOP to stop screwing around and immediately abandon a position that is stupid, stubborn, and killing the Republican brand. With the WSJ screaming like that, the rest of the media had to tell it like it really is.

More good news. For once, the White House PR people are being clever. They have invited people to post what the loss of that payroll tax break will mean to them and their families. And the media is publicizing the postings. Things like, "That's the money for my insulin." It's sad about the insulin, but this is the kind of reality that may pressure the House GOP to stop being Scrooge.

More good news. The GOP circular firing squad goes on shooting. Boy, do they ever! Romney and Paul blasting Gingrich. Bachman attacking Paul. Santorum squeaking at everybody. With all the footage the GOP candidates are running against each other on Iowa TV, the Democrats' ads for 2012 are being put together for them.

More good news. Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson has just announced he is a candidate for the Libertarian Party nomination for president. Sure, you never heard of him when he was running for the  GOP nomination, but now you'll hear even less of him. On the other hand, he'll be there to challenge Ron Paul when the latter gives up hope for the GOP spot and bounces over to his real home in the Libertarian Party. Gosh, I hope the media gives us at least some samples of the two frothing at each other about who can better demolish the government and reinstitute the 19th century. And let's hope the Libertarian syphones votes from the GOP in the general election.

More good news. Americans Elect, a bunch of shadowy political has-beens and financially flush but anonymous donors, is being scrutinized critically by the Huffington Post and a few other outlets. About time. This group of would-be kingmakers has qualified itself on the ballots of twelve states, including California as of today. They say they are not a political party, but how is a not-political-party on a ballot? I don't know. They say they are the means by which "ordinary Americans" can directly pick a candidate for the presidency and ignore the offerings of our two major parties. This isn't true. The candidate will actually be chosen by the organization's Board of Directors, according to the fine print unearthed by Huffington. But more on this another time. Meantime, treat yourself to a read of the Huffington piece by Peter D. Rosenstein.

More good news. It's days old. I've written of it before. But it is still good news.

The troops are out of Iraq and coming home for the holidays!

And that's the best news of all!

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