Workin' in a Coal Mine

December 23, 2009 - 7:17 AM
If you are looking for a last-minute Christmas gift -- or a post-Christmas gift to deal with that person you now realize you under-gifted -- I'd like to recommend two books.
En Route London, England
 
If you are looking for a last-minute Christmas gift -- or a post-Christmas gift to deal with that person you now realize you under-gifted -- I'd like to recommend two books.
 
The first is by long-time pal and ally, Craig Shirley. The title is "Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America." It is a close examination of the 1980 Presidential campaign and is the book Teddy White would have written had he the time, dedication, and access to documents and people that Craig has had.
 
"Rendezvous with Destiny" is a fascinating look at what can be accomplished if you are comfortable with your values and stick with them no matter what the "experts" tell you. It is the perfect gift for a Reagan fan, or someone who hasn't yet realized they should be a Reagan fan. 
 
The second book I want to recommend is a coffee-table book (I'll wait until you get the Cosmo Kramer vision out of your head) by Jennifer B. Pickens. The book is titled, "Christmas at the White House" and contains photos and commentary of and about White House Christmas decorations from JFK to GWB.
 
This is a wonderful book which will be displayed on the table next to the Christmas tree for decades to come.
 
On CNN Monday afternoon there was a great deal of wailing, keening, and rending of flesh over the fact that members of the United States Senate were going to have to work on Christmas Eve to vote on final passage of their version of health care legislation.
 
I suggested that we stop crying crocodile tears because as a rule Senators only work three days a week and that's just the weeks that they are actually in session. If they had planned ahead they could have started working five days a week last April and been out of here by Thanksgiving.
 
"It ain't," I said affecting that common touch which endears me to you nearly as much as my daily typos, "like working in a coal mine or driving a cross-country truck."
 
I didn't say on the set, but wish I had, that there are some 15 million people who would love to have to work on December 24, or December 26 or any other day. They are among the 15 million Americans who are unemployed and will not be helped one bit by the Senate, House, or Administration version of health care reform.
 
If the GOP were presiding over double-digit unemployment, the SEIU, AFL-CIO, UAW, and maybe the NFL and UNICEF be screaming about the fact that the poor, overworked members of the Senate were totally unconcerned about the unemployment rate in America at Christmas time.
 
Speaking of unemployment, two data points to make your Christmas a little merrier: First, the states are running out of unemployment insurance money and second, the third quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers have been restated - downward.
 
The Washington Post had a front pager highlighting the fact that 40 (that would be 80 percent) of the 50 states in the Union will run out of unemployment funds over the next two years and will have to borrow $90 billion from the USG to pay for benefits.
 
According to the piece by reporter Peter Whoriskey: "The shortfalls are putting pressure on governments to either raise taxes or shrink the aid payments."
 
Oh … I get it now. Obama said he wouldn't raise taxes on middle class Americans. But between unemployment benefits and the health care bill which, remember, loads states up with new, largely unreimbursed, Medicaid liabilities (except for Nebraska which will not have to pay because Harry Reid needed Ben Nelson's vote) states will have to raise taxes which Obama will claim does not violate his pledge.
 
Ya gotta love these guys.
 
On top of that, the Feds restated the third quarter GDP numbers which shows the economy didn't grow quite as quickly as had been reported, thus, it is not likely that unemployment will ease as quickly as we have been promised.
 
According to Reuters: "The main factors behind the downgrade were that consumers didn't spend as much, commercial construction was weaker, business investment in equipment and software was softer and companies cut back more on their stockpiles of goods."
 
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
 
Workin' in a coal mine, goin' down, down, down…
 
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the stories above, plus a link to the lyrics of, "Workin' in a Coal Mine" and a GREAT Mullfoto contributed by Mullpal Bill Fitzpatrick. Also a Catchy Caption of the day which isn't worth your wasting your scroll-down muscle on.