Writings and observations

carlson
NW Reading

Here’s an example of why looking at a single economic statistic doesn’t often tell the whole story. From the Idaho Department of Labor:

Fewer people seeking available jobs was enough to nudge Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down a tenth of a percentage point to 7.4 percent in August.

The loss of 2,600 workers from the state’s labor force – the first July-August decline since 1980 – offset an increase in hiring by Idaho employers at a rate just above their recession-era average,

August’s jobless rate was the lowest in over three years, but it was also the third straight month Idaho’s labor force has contracted. The loss of more than 5,500 from the workforce through the summer – the largest three-month exodus of workers on record – left the labor force at its lowest level since January.

Nearly 1,100 fewer people were working in August than July, the second straight month employment has dropped after rising steadily for the previous year, and almost 1,600 more workers left the ranks of the jobless, dropping the number of officially unemployed Idaho workers to just over 57,000.

Although the national unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a point to 8.1 percent, Idaho’s one-tenth reduction keeps the state rate below the national rate for 11 years.

Nonfarm jobs, which account for over 90 percent of Idaho’s employment, continued to run 1.1 percent ahead of a year earlier and were up a third of a percentage point from July to August, reflecting the persisting, albeit slow, recovery from the recession. While the state’s service sector is approaching pre-recession job levels, the production side of Idaho’s economy remains at 1993 levels. More than 1,000 manufacturing workers were idled in primarily seasonal food processing layoffs during the month.

Still, there were 17,000 more people working in Idaho in August than a year earlier and 11,000 fewer unemployed. In the past 13 months, the jobless rate has dropped from a recession high of 8.9 percent to 7.4 percent. Only five other states – Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Nevada and Mississippi – have posted greater declines.

The state’s declining labor force has played a role in driving Idaho’s jobless rate lower in recent months, but employers may be picking up their hiring. Businesses report hiring 18,400 workers in August – most to replace workers who retired, were fired, found other jobs or left for some other reason – matching the average August new hires during the economic expansion from 2003 through 2007.

For the second month in a row, the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C. business think tank, estimated fewer than five unemployed workers for every two job openings posted in Idaho, the lowest ratio since late 2008. At the peak of the recession in late 2009, there were nine unemployed workers for every two job openings posted in the state.

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Idaho Reading

rainey
Barrett Rainey
Second Thoughts

You. Fox News viewer. You who no longer get your “news” anywhere else. You folks who call yourselves true Republican “conservatives.” Listen up. Listen carefully. This is just for you.
IT’S NOT YOUR NEWS ANYMORE! Faux News is no longer reporting the “news” for true Republican “conservatives.” None. Zip. Nada.

This is not my message. It’s actually from Frank Rich of New York Magazine – a man made of much sterner stuff than I. Frank Rich – a most respected journalist for many a year – did something few of us with little patience for the phony faux-journalistic outpourings of Rupert Murdoch’s little Republican talking points factory could ever do.

Frank Rich immersed himself in seven days of nothing but right wing media – written and broadcast. He read and listened to everything he could find to the exclusion of normally accepted newspapers and broadcasters. Even the I-Net. From responsible conservatives like George Will and David Brooks to the flatulent Rush and others further out there who believe “true conservatives” use only tinfoil as a head cover. He spent an entire week buried in a range media output from solid information to fearful paranoia.

And you know what he learned? The one overriding insight he gained from such mental depravity? Listen up, Fox believer.

Frank Rich learned Faux News is not broadcasting “true conservative stories,” not dealing with “true conservative facts” and seems to be ignoring the real issues of concern to real conservatives.
Rich found denizens of the conservative forest are talking to others in the trees about massive federal debt and how to reduce it – their desires for real immigration reform – putting some Wall Street types in jail for nearly sinking our national economy – beefing up the military – gaining control of state governments – and other issues seldom found on Fox in any detail.

Most of all, the folks out there aren’t talking much about Mitt Romney. Rich found sizeable evidence “true conservatives” have written off Romney and are looking for more information about this year’s congressional and state races. They’ve conceded the next four years to Obama and want to find someone better than Romney to get behind in 2016. They want that search to start – today.
If your digestive system will handle it, settle down in front of your TV for a couple of hours with Fox. A good sour mash whiskey helps. Listen to the verbal chaff from the talking hand puppets. Make a list of what they’re chatting about, who they’re talking about and how many times you hear the name “ Romney.”

Then compare your list to what Rich says folks are really talking about in the REAL conservative world.. What you’ll find – as Rich did – is very little of the former and a lot of the latter.

Especially a lot of Romney/Ryan on Fox. You won’t find much detail about what real conservatives are saying, subjects local Republican cental committees are dealing with or conservative efforts to find a new presidential candidate. Now. Today.

Several national surveys by respected institutions have shown Fox viewers are poorly informed about real issues, are getting faulty information to reinforce the skewed views of the far right, have little accurate information about foreign affairs, and tend to believe “facts” that aren’t true. Now, it seems, even those real world subjects the true conservatives are talking about are being avoided by their trusted voice.

Rich and others have discovered the secret of Fox News. The real reason for its existence. To be a megaphone for the views of Rupert Murdoch. That’s really all it is. And, as we’ve learned about the operation of Mr. Murdoch’s British newspaper empire, the lengths to which he will allow his people to go to pursue his personal outlook on life. Even if they have to break the law or manufacture “facts.”
As a near-lifetime member of the media, I’ve long hammered Fox for a lot of things – for what I believe are good and professional reasons. But I’ve missed something. Something Frank Rich discovered by sealing himself off from the real world for seven days and existing on a diet of right wing propaganda while avoiding the Kool-aid.

Fox is not only untrue to honest facts in its skewed presentations, it’s also untrue to the audience that has long believed it to be the banner carrier of their political outlook. Its own base. And now, Frank Rich has discovered it’s lying – even to them! It’s serving only the guy who signs the paychecks.

Well, there you have it, my Fox friends. That’s the way it is. Your favored media bastion of all things conservative is no more real than Disneyland.

How about it? Want to grab a glass, an ice cube or two and spilt the rest of that bottle of sour mash?

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Rainey