651,000 US Jobs Lost in February; Unemployment Rate Now at 8.1%

by matttbastard

Yep, it’s that time of the month again, kids:

U.S. employers axed 651,000 jobs in February, pushing the unemployment rate to its highest in 25 years, as companies buckled under the strain of a recession that is showing no signs of ending, according to a government report.

[…]

The Labor Department on Friday said the unemployment rate surged to 8.1 percent in February, the highest level since December 1983. That was above market forecasts for a rise to 7.9 from January’s 7.6 percent.

Oh, and about the figures for December and January:

January’s job cuts were revised to show a steep decline of 655,000, while December’s payrolls losses were adjusted to 681,000, the deepest since October 1949. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the economy has purged 4.4 million jobs, with more than half occurring in the last 4 months.

Y’know, at this point, I might as well just do up a template for posts on the monthly US job figures report.  The latest numbers always seem to be the highest in umpteen years, with a swift recovery less likely than the possibility of Keith Olbermann STFUing about Rush Limbaugh any time soon. (Dude? Seriously? STFU about Rush Limbaugh.  The obsession has going beyond grudgewank, beyond drama-humping, to fucking pathological.  You need help–a 12 step program of recovery, to quote the best RNC chair EVA.)

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Olbermann: Alex Rodriguez Inducted Into The Apology Hall Of Fame!

by matttbastard

I really don’t give a toss about the A-Rod steroid controversy.  Am far more curious why Washington Post reporter Michael A. Fletcher felt the matter was of such national import that he asked the freakin’ POTUS for a response during Monday’s prime time press conference.

As O-Dub put it:

We’re in the middle of a fiscal crisis, two wars, and numerous other national and international issues. A-Rod could shoot up heroin, snort cocaine and disrobe during the all-star game and it would be immaterial.

Still, I couldn’t resist posting the following montage, a fitting tribute to the many insincere career-salvaging expeditions embarked upon by disgraced public figures over the years.

Watch it:

On a related note, I will never, ever tire of Jimmy Swaggart’s iconic tearful confession–even if the nostalgic indulgence in schadenfreude simultaneously resurrects the unfortunate image of him getting a blowjob in sweatpants.

My sincere apologies if any of you were eating while reading that.

(video courtesy CSPANJunkie)

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Read These Now

by matttbastard

Kinda sorta overdid it last night while celebrating a friend’s birthday.  Think I might have sprained my cognitive muscles at some point not long after last call.  So, in lieu of doing any heavy mental lifting myself, I instead suggest you check out the following (lots of good reads over @ Natalia’s place, too):

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Slacker Friday: NIE Miscellania

by matttbastard

It’s back and lazier than ever! Alas, this (long belated) edition will have to be the slackest motherfucker ever, since yours truly just got called into work early. Mea culpa–sometimes meatworld obligations have to trump blogging.

(h/t Dave @ The Beav, who also provides a transcript of Olbermann’s incindiary commentary)

Despite some recent assertions that military action against Iran is no longer an option, or that certain “moderate” officials are successfully pushing back against the hawks in the White House, Matthew Rothschild thinks war is still the #1 plan for the administration:

The 2006 U.S. National Security Strategy says point-blank that “we face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran.”

And its discussion of this challenge is not limited to the issues of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

“As important as are these nuclear issues, the United States has broader concerns regarding Iran,” the document states. “The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel; seeks to thwart Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq; and denies the aspirations of its people for freedom. The nuclear issue and our other concerns can ultimately be resolved only if the Iranian regime makes the strategic decision to change these policies, open up its political system, and afford freedom to its people. This is the ultimate goal of U.S. policy.”

The United States won’t be able to attain that goal while Ahmedinejad is in power, and beyond that, while the mullahs are in power.

In essence, the National Security Strategy commits the United States to regime change in Iran.

And Congress, thanks to that resolution Hillary Clinton signed on to, has already designated Iran as an enemy at war with the United States, since it states that Iran is waging a “proxy war” against our forces in Iraq.

It very well may be that the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon convinced the propaganda peddlers in the White House that they can’t make the sale on Iran’s nuclear threat. Instead, they’ll hype—in fact, they’re already hyping—Iran’s role in Iraq.

Case in point: see this frame-shifting dispatch from citizen propagandist Bill Roggio, which also serves as evidence of Dan Bartlett’s recent admission re: the relationship between the Bushies and winger bloggers in action:

I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.

Elsewhere: John “Surrender is not an option” Bolton exposes the ‘flaws’ in the NIE (shorter: “Buy my book or teh terrorists win!”); Dan Froomkin rounds up the many, many Iran-related lies that have been peddled by the Bush administration. (h/t Godammitkitty @ Bread and Roses).

Finally, check out this must-read Tomgram from Dilip Hiro (h/t verbana-19) on how the USian empire, as Tom Engelhardt puts it in his as-per-usual link-laden introduction, “now finds itself on the losing end of an ever more humiliating zero-sum game with a relatively minor power.”

Happy Friday!

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