Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An era of new Star Wars films? Yes, please!

I just returned to the Internet today expecting to catch up on Hurricane Sandy twitter hashtags and facebook updates when lo and behold the most surprising news I could have ever expected in a million years (yes honestly) came to light - George Lucas has sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney and Disney plans on releasing a LOT of new Star Wars movies (one every two or three years). This is amazing news. I'm pretty much jumping out of my seat right now. I mean, I couldn't imagine a better fit. Yes, Disney makes some clunkers these days, but they also make some amazing movies, particularly the Marvel and Pixar divisions. You are telling me you don't trust those people with the Star Wars franchise? I do. Much more so than George Lucas himself, who, sadly, lost the feel for his own franchise decades ago. Who isn't excited about the possibility that we might be able to see a Joss Whedon directed Star Wars someday? Or Peter Jackson? Or Guillermo del Toro? Or Wes Anderson (okay, kidding about that one). This is joyous news.

I have to admit, there has been a massive, gaping hole in my heart since the last Star Wars movie was released. Anticipation of a new Star Wars world and a new set of movies has been intertwined with my childhood and my personal identity since I was a little kid. It didn't matter that the prequels were disappointing (they were). What mattered were the possibilities - the new storylines, the new adventures, the new characters. A massive piece of wonder and excitement died for me when that last movie ended. Not to get too dark (though remember this blog is "mostly fueled by anger and alcohol") but I really don't have a lot too look forward to in my life. It's the truth. Here's what I have to look forward to these days - new seasons of Game of Thrones and the next book in the George RR Martin series. If he can write it before he dies. That's it. That's what I had to look forward to. But now? Now, at least I have Star Wars again to look forward to. That's something. That's a start.

I think the most exciting opportunity a Disney/Star Wars collaboration permits is a Star Wars theme park. Like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Let me tell you, when this park opens, I will be there. This has to be a no-brainer for Disney right? [Wait, I wonder if I can get it built on Long Island?].

One thing I wonder about this collaboration is whether or not it allows Disney to relaunch the prequels. I am going to assume the answer is "Not while George Lucas is alive," but at some point I think re-launching the franchise around good actors, good dialogue, and "non-trade-war-related" plotlines is a must. The sad reality is, a lot of Star Wars fans are perfectly willing to pretend the prequels don't exist. So I don't see re-making those movies as a threat to canon. Most hard-core Star Wars fans ignore them anyway.

For now, Disney is (rightly) moving forward with chapters 7, 8, 9, so we can table the prequel discussion for now. The question is, what form should these sequels take? Alyssa Rosenberg, who writes for Think Progress and has read many of the books, has a smart take here. I have never read any of the Star Wars books (except for a stand alone book on the bounty hunters from Empire Strikes Back). Personally, I'm not sure Luke, Leia, or Han have a place in the new sequels. I think it might be time to bring in new characters and plotlines. God knows, the Star Wars world is rich enough. A clean break, with the new Disney team in place, might work best. I think it's massively important that the Pixar screenplay writers are brought into the Star Wars division. No studio has a better track record than Pixar (though Pixar-affiliated director Andrew Stanton swung and missed on the movie adaptation of John Carter, the book of which was a Star Wars antecedent).

I know some people are concerned about new Star Wars movies, having been disappointed by the prequels and arguing that they somehow taint Episodes 4-6. I can understand their skepticism. I mean, they probably think Disney, roll their eyes, and wait for a heavy dosage of children-friendly characters like (sigh) Jar Jar Binks. But to be honest, I just don't see that happening. There is no way that Jar Jar Binks (or his ilk) makes it through a Disney-run script read. Disney will certainly insist on child-friendly characters, but they'll do it a lot better than Lucas. And Disney clearly doesn't have a problem with edgy. I mean, Tony Stark anyone? Honestly, I am just not personally affronted like some people when a sub-par Star Wars movie is made. Even the shittier movies offer something new and exciting like the three best light saber fights ever! I can take them or leave them at my leisure.

In short, I am super excited for 2015 (the anticipated release date for the next Star Wars movie). This is like waking up and finding out Pearl Jam is going to make a Ten-inspired record. Or Radiohead is going back to it's Pablo Honey/The Bends roots. I couldn't have asked for better news. And really, you should get on-board too. I mean, at the very least we should get a kick-ass theme park out of this. Don't you want to take that ride with me?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Goodbye Islanders - Sort of.

As regional Long Islanders are well aware, recently Long Island lost its one and only professional sports franchise when the NY Islanders decided to relocate from Nassau County into Brooklyn. As you can imagine, I am both relieved and saddened by this development. Saddened because I, like all sentient human beings, take a perverse pride in rooting for my neighborhood sports franchise. And the Islanders really are (or were) the only major sports team to be based on Long Island. For readers outside of the NY metropolitan area, Long Island is customarily (though not geographically) assumed to be the counties of Nassau and Suffolk (I am a resident of the latter). The Islanders played in Nassau and both the County and the Town of Hempstead have been negotiating with Charles Wang, founder of Computer Associates and owner of the NY Islanders, on a new stadium for, well, I guess as long as I can remember - 10 years maybe? It certainly seems that long. At one point, it actually seemed like the Islanders were headed to Kansas City for sure (which would have been idiotic in the long-term but, as I've discovered, most of these franchise relocations are more influenced my hubris and personal pique than actual sound, financial planning). So it was with some relief to find out that the Islanders will be staying in New York, albeit further removed from my residence.

Ironically, though the Isles are moving further away from my home, I'm actually excited about the move, but not because Nassau Coliseum was some kind of decrepit shithole. It wasn't. Nassau Coliseum was a perfectly fine place to watch a live hockey game (which are massively improved in-person, more-so than any other sport). There really wasn't a bad seat in the house. But two things sucked about the Coliseum and both of these things are immediately remediated by the move to Brooklyn. One, there is nothing to do immediately in and around Nassau Coliseum. And no, I don't really count Hooters (which is turning into Bud's Ale House anyway). Two, there are no public transportation options to get to games. You have to drive to games which makes pre and post-gaming problematic. Now, with the move to Brooklyn, public transportation options are available (albeit, imperfect ones). That's a lot more convenient for me. And Brooklyn is an awesome place to hang out. So that's a massive upgrade there. I am very much looking forward to my first Isles experience at the Barclays Center.

However, I wanted to take this opportunity to once again bash owners who use their ownership of sports franchises as an opportunity to blackmail citizens, politicians, municipalities, and regional economic development teams for massive taxpayer-funded handouts for, what amounts to in essence, their extremely lucrative luxury items. I am a Islanders fan. I also, occasionally, find myself in a position where I can influence regional economic development. But there is no way I would have supported a taxpayer funded stadium for the Islanders in Suffolk County, even in (or especially in) the current economic climate. And Nassau was right not to either. Right now, there are a lot of fingers being pointed at Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray for allowing the Islanders to leave Nassau County. Bizarrely, few fingers were pointed at the citizens themselves who overwhelmingly voted down The Lighthouse Project voter referendum which would have redeveloped the area and constructed a new Isles stadium. And you know what - the citizens were right to vote down the proposal! Put simply, taxpayers shouldn't pay for stadiums. Period. See here. And here. And here. And here. And, well, I can do this forever.

“The basic idea is that sports stadiums typically aren’t a good tool for economic development,” said Victor Matheson, an economist at Holy Cross who has studied the economic impact of stadium construction for decades. When cities cite studies (often produced by parties with an interest in building the stadium) touting the impact of such projects, there is a simple rule for determining the actual return on investment, Matheson said: “Take whatever number the sports promoter says, take it and move the decimal one place to the left. Divide it by ten, and that’s a pretty good estimate of the actual economic impact.”
Building sports stadiums for billionaires is a suckers game and we should refuse to play. They are public handouts, pure and simple. I don't think corporate subsidies are all bad. Many of them are quite good actually. But tax and bond giveaways for sports stadiums are awful. Giveaways of this nature combine the worst components of a purely socialist system, a pure free market system and a purely oligarchy/corporatist system. It socializes the costs and risk at public expense while privatizing all of the profits. And these profits are funneled to a politically well-connected billionaire who wants free public money to sign and swap human beings like they are playing a real-life version of Baseball Stars.

Think of it this way. Let's say everyone's favorite asshole, Donald Trump, wants to build the world's largest, most luxurious yacht and he is going to dock this yacht at Chelsea Piers. He tells Mike Bloomberg that he will let the hoi polloi take guided tours at $25 a person on weekdays between 9a-5p. However, on nights and weekends, he retains ownership and he can take the yacht wherever he likes. He also gets a 6 month window at the end of summer to take the yacht around the world at his own leisure. Also, after ten years, he can permanently take the yacht to any other dock in the world and NYC gets nothing in return. He says he wants NYC to chip in $300 billion through a combination of cash, docking fee waivers, and tax breaks for this "tourist attraction." Trump also reserves the right to sell this yacht after ten years. Should NYC residents agree to fund this boondoggle? Of course not.

Or let's try a different fuckwit. Let's say conspiracy theorist Jack Welch wants to buy the Mona Lisa which he plans to exhibit in the Guggenheim Museum for three months in the fall and three months in the spring. Welch collects all Guggenheim entrance fees during that period. The rest of the time, he is free to exhibit the Mona Lisa around the country (of which he allowed to charge fees) or simply hang the Mona Lisa in his bathroom next to the shitter as he sees fit. He is also allowed to sell the Mona Lisa after fifteen years and he appropriates 100% of the subsequent value increase (which is pretty much guaranteed in an item of this nature). But he wants NYC to chip in half of its $768 million assessed value first. Should Mayor Mike agree to this deal? Of course not!

These might sound like absurd examples but they really aren't. These are the kind of deals sports owners demand and receive all of the time. And please keep this important point in mind - no major professional sports team in America, has ever, ever, been sold at a value lower than its purchase price. Professional sports teams might be the safest investment in world history, regardless of whether or not that franchise is running operating profits. Operating profits are really ancillary to a professional sports owners primary anticipation - which is to own and control the coolest, most amazing luxury item in the world. Ask yourselves - how much would you pay, out of pocket, to own and operate the NY Islanders? Or the Cleveland Browns? Or the Toronto Raptors? (intentionally picking terrible teams here). Hell, I'd take a $20,000 pay cut to own any one of those teams. So why should we give a shit if professional owners make any money on their franchises? The answer is, we shouldn't. Neither should we fall for the discredited argument that professional stadiums pay for themselves. Because they don't. Trust me, I wish it were so. I'd love to plant the Islanders in Ronkonkoma and watch my hometown blossom into the economic powerhouse I've always envisioned it to be. But the reality speaks differently. And as citizens, and decision-makers and policy analysts, we must acknowledge these realities. We just cannot allow ourselves to be blinded by rich bullies who don't give a shit about the municipalities they purport to adore.

So yes, in conclusion, I shall miss my Nassau-Suffolk Islanders. It was fun while it lasted. But I shall see them again someday. In Brooklyn. You know, when the world's most "unselfish" people agree to let them play hockey again...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Unilateral Disarmament

I think I may have touched on this topic before, but those readers familiar with my work know that I am not a fan of unilateral disarmament. Meaning things like, yes, I hate the fucking filibuster in the Senate, and I am a huge advocate of eliminating the filibuster altogether (none of the bullshit half-measures that have been proposed), BUT, if the Republicans re-take the Senate, the Democrats should not hesitate to use the filibuster at every given opportunity. Those are the rules of the game as they are currently written. So those are the rules we play by. When we change the rules, then we'll change our behavior. Not a second before that.

I bring this up in the context of Citizens United and Super-PAC money. I was reading this brief article on a debate between two candidates in a local state Senate race. The debate between these candidates, Democratic challenger Bridget Fleming and long-time Republican incumbent Ken LaValle, for some reason orbited around the influence of Super PAC money in the race. First let me point out that this is a pretty aggravating failure by the moderators since state senate candidates can't do ANYTHING about Citizens United or Super PAC influence. They just can't. We shouldn't be harping on this in a debate where time and access to the candidates is finite. I find it to be a massive failure of our media personalities when they continue to pepper candidates on policy issues they cannot possibly influence. We can't continue to give the public the impression that politicians can influence policies outside of their jurisdiction. These are the kinds of memes, when relentlessly (and falsely) perpetuated, ultimately undermine public confidence in government institutions. We come to expect specific politicians to fix all of our ills and inefficiencies when most politicians simply aren't empowered to enact the reforms we demand.

Anyway, what really grinds my gears in this article is actually a statement in the comment thread. Fleming, who rails against Super PAC influence in the debate, is accused of hypocrisy. I know, I shouldn't feed the trolls, but I just can't help myself:

True George, Ms. Fleming is noble. Although I am curious as to why she has been making so much hay about how evil Super PAC's are, yet she recently cashed $10,000 in checks from Super PAC's? Please explain, I'm sure there is a rational explanation - maybe she needs the money from evildoers to fight evil? Looks like a typical do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do situation. Very courageous indeed.
Let's be clear about something here. There is absolutely nothing (zero, zilch, nada) hypocritical about soliciting Super PAC money while railing against the Supreme Court decision that unleashed Super PAC contributions. The floodgates have been opened. Bridget Fleming cannot plug the dike by unilaterally refusing Super PAC contributions. Nor can any other candidate, Democrat or Republican. In fact, that type of religious purity would only have the opposite effect. It would continually reward the candidates that support the Citizens United decision and continually punish the candidates who oppose the decision.

Let me use a sports analogy to demonstrate. Many National League fans hate the Designated Hitter rule. No doubt, many National League Managers hate the Designated Hitter rule. However, the DH is here to stay, whether we like it or not. It would be pretty foolish (and indeed a fireable offense), if a National League manager refused to use a DH in an interleague game in an American League stadium. We don't expect, nor should we expect, the NL manager to send up his .154 hitting pitcher out of some misguided dedication to traditional baseball rules. The reality of the situation is that the game has changed. Like the 3-point line in basketball. Or the two-point conversion rule in football. We do not ignore rule changes because we do not agree with those rule changes. If we disagree with those rules, you need to fight to get a seat at the table so we can change the rules. We don't sit on the sidelines and whine and stomp our feet and say, "That's not fair!!!" We play the game by the rules as they are currently constructed. There is no hypocrisy here.  I repeat. There is no hypocrisy here!  It's merely an acceptance of reality. And any candidate who ignores these realities does so at their own political peril.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The value of human life and its policy implications

I have to admit, I don't really know how to calculate the value of a human life for purposes of policy analysis. And yet, the value of a single human life is fundamental to any of the cost-benefit calculations we need to construct optimal public policy.

For example, if I were to ask someone how much they would pay to save the life of someone close to them, the number would be incalculable. How much would you spend to have a parent back, or a spouse, a brother, a daughter? No number is too high - $10 million, $50 million, $1 billion. The number is unreliable and can't really be used for policy purposes. And yet, like I said, some value is necessary, particularly when evaluating environmental or healthcare policy. And the estimation of that value, the assumption if you will, ultimately makes or breaks any policy proposal. In short, the valuation of a human life has massive policy implications.

Fortunately, we don't ask people how much they would pay to save a human life because the numbers would be a) massively overstated when asked to save a close personal acquaintance and b) massively understated when it comes to saving the life of a random stranger. Think about it. If you could save the life of one human being in, say, Pittsburgh, who you'll never get to meet, for $50, would you cut the check? What about $500? Keep in mind. You'll never know or meet this person. What if the person lived in Shanghai? Beirut? Still writing that check? By the way, you should probably be aware that you can already do this. $100 bucks will feed 50 children for a month in Haiti. I'm pretty certain you can literally save someone's life for $50, somewhere in the world. The point of this exercise is not to guilt you into a donation (though if that happened, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing). The point of the exercise is to demonstrate how difficult it actually is to put a price on a human life. The EPA currently sets the price of a human life at $9.1 million. I actually think there is some validity in the current methodology, as explained in this NY Times article:

The current rise in the value of life is based on the work of Professor Viscusi, who wrote his first paper on cost-benefit analysis as a Harvard undergraduate in the early 1970s. He won a prize and found a career.
The idea he and others have since developed in a long string of studies is that differences in wages show the value that workers place on avoiding the risk of death. Say that companies must pay lumberjacks an additional $1,000 a year to perform work that generally kills one in 1,000 workers. It follows that most Americans would forgo $1,000 a year to avoid that risk — and that 1,000 Americans will collectively forgo $1 million to avoid the same risk entirely. That number is said to be the “statistical value of life.”
I actually like this method because it uses behavior (revealed preferences) rather than opinion (expressed survey preferences) to ground its findings. But here's the thing - is the value of a human life really $9.1 million? I just don't buy it. To me, it doesn't pass the smell test. I mean, there are probably thousands of things we can do, short of spending $9.1 million dollars, to save one human life. But we don't. Obviously the value we place on an ambiguous human life is substantially less than $9.1 million.

My problem with the $9.1 million number is that it seems so detached from reality. Playing around with the numbers, we could probably justify pretty much any public investment or regulation on those grounds. Want the public to pay to install metal detectors in movie theaters? Require roll cages on SUVs? Criminalize cigarettes? I can't think of a single public policy you couldn't justify on the basis of that $9.1 million number. It is so high it renders itself meaningless. Particularly when, as I pointed out earlier, I doubt the average citizen could honestly be roused to spend $50 to save the life of an anonymous stranger.

Like I said, I really don't know what the correct number should be. I do know it is difficult to execute sound public policy with such a widely inflated valuation. I'm just way to cynical to think that human beings value other human beings in this matter. Hell, we could provide universal healthcare in America and prevent hundreds of thousands of unnecessary, painful deaths each year for much less than $9.1 million per person, but God knows we won't do that - because of "Liberty" or something...

Anyway, since I don't want this post to be massively depressing and cynical, and to prove that there is a tiny, albeit dormant heart in this lumbering, dead soul of mine, here is a link to my charity of choice.

Monday, October 8, 2012

You don't have to be smart to be rich

Data Point #3,475,630,127 that there is no correlation between being wise or politically savvy and being obscenely rich. From the recent New Yorker article written by Chrystia Freeland and avocated by the man ("One-Percenter" Leon Cooperman) who recently wrote a letter comparing Obama to Hitler:

Now Cooperman is planning another political volley. With his Omega partner Steven Einhorn and fellow-billionaire Ken Langone, the co-founder of Home Depot, he has drafted a second open letter, which he hopes will be co-signed by a large group of self-made billionaires, and published as a newspaper advertisement in some swing states. Cooperman estimates that it will cost around a million dollars, a sum he says the group will split. “It’s going to be, you know, ‘We are the one per cent that came from the ninety-nine per cent, and we want to see more of the ninety-nine per cent move in our direction, but we fear the President’s policies discourage that from happening,’ ” Cooperman said.

Can I be the first to donate $5 to these guys to run this newspaper ad? I know I'm not one of the top 1%, but I want to do my part to fight encroaching communism too! I can't imagine a more convincing campaign ad then a hysterical, hyperbolic whine from the world's richest white men. I'll throw in $10 if they agree to include individual photos of themselves covered in flop-sweat, wearing ill-suited suits, and lighting cigars with $100 bills. We will will turn those swing state undecideds into Romney voters yet!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

How to Make A Dominant BLT - In Pictures

These are from my garden - Not bad for 10/7/12!
Assorted greens left over from a Suffolk County Farmland Committee Meeting
Wasabi Mayo is dominant! Highly recommended!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Everyone is talking about the infield fly ball rule these days so it seems like I should weigh-in with my own Swiftian Modest Proposal, except, I'm kinda, sorta, serious.

Apparently, while I was sorting through my DVR's backlog of crappy new ABC/CBS procedurals (I don't know why either), there was a rather epic umpire blunder in which the infield fly rule was called on a flyball that was eventually dropped 50-60 feet deep into the OF grass (video above). While the Atlanta runners on the bases advanced on the play, the fly rule call cost the Braves an out in the inning. Obviously we can't know for sure, but the outcome of the game may have run its course differently if the Braves are saved that out.

Now, I don't really want to question the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the playcall. Joe Posnanski, who's judgment is unimpeachable on subjects non-Joe Paterno related, seems pretty convinced it was the wrong call (the comment threads on his site are informative as well).

No, what I want to propose (I think?) is the elimination of the in-field fly rule entirely. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Is this guy smoking crack? [Answer: Recreationally only, and never to the point of addiction]. I mean, the infield fly rule serves a very obvious purpose - it prevents the intentional dropping of flyballs by infielders in order to turn double plays. And I say, "So what?". Why should ground balls lead to double plays but not infield pop-ops? They both represent failures by the batters. In fact, I would argue that an infield fly is a better job by the pitcher and a worse performance by a hitter and those performance should be rewarded and punished accordingly.  Would this lead to infield anarchy during infield flys? Uh, yes - and that's good! And strategic! And interesting! Think of all the game theory we can introduce into 2-3 seconds of an infield fly. Defensive players must consider the score of the game (game situation), speed of the runners on base, potential caroms of intentionally dropped balls, strength of their own arms, the quality of the on-mound pitcher, etc. Runners must consider all of these things in addition to the defensive player's perceived degree of craftiness. I mean, this could lead to all sorts of anarchy, bloopers, and botched players. And I mean that in a good way! Those things are fun (when not committed by my Yankees).

I realize my suggestion will probably be met with hostitility. But this hostitily is grounded in a baseline psychological preference for "how things are always done." But ask yourself this, if you were starting the game from scracth, why would you penalize hitters that hit a ground ball to the SS with runners on 1nd and 2nd anymore than you would punish batters that hit a pop fly to the SS with runners on 1st and 2nd. There really is no good reason to draw a distinction between these outcomes.

And hell, if we take that judgment call out of the umpires hands, we'll never have the scenario we had last night.

The Indie Rock Band Persona

I'm in the middle of reading an article about Grizzly Bear in New York Magazine and I'm reminded of the silly rule that indie rock bands can't admit to be famous, rich, or successful. To wit:
“Bands appear so much bigger than they really are now, because no one’s buying records. But they’ll go to giant shows.” Grizzly Bear tours for the bulk of its income, like most bands; licensing a song might provide each member with “a nice little ‘Yay, I don’t have to pay rent for two months.’ ”
“Obviously we’re surviving. Some of us have health insurance, some of us don’t, we basically all live in the same places, no one’s renting private jets. Come to your own conclusions.”

Listen. I don't want pick on Grizzly Bear - I like them, but they're pretty much a poor man's Radiohead. And in their defense, I unfortunately have met and have known MANY indie rock fans who will abandon bands once those bands gain popular, mainstream success. It's a weird mindset, but it's been going on for decades. It's not just a new hipster trend. Good Lord, look at what they did to Dylan!

But gosh, golly, gee wiz. Is song licensing really only getting Grizzly Bear two months of rent? Because if that is true, their agent is either criminally corrupt or criminally stupid. Perhaps both. That, or the band is living in the Barclays Center and renting multiple suites on a pay-by-the-day basis.And if they don't have health insurance, well, that is a choice that I highly suspect is more closely tied to be a young, dangerous rock star and probably has virtually nothing to do with the affordability of health care. If it IS an affordability-issue, I'm curious to see what happens when the Obamacare healthcare mandate kicks in. Will Grizzly Bear be forced to work part-time at California Pizza Kitchen in order to have access to health care benefits?

It's just weird to me that indie rock bands need to play these games. They are constantly apologizing for their rock stardom. Hell, why did you get into the game if not for the success. You can play other instruments if you're not interested in the money.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Unemployment Numbers and Conspiracy Theories

A quick post on today's unemployment numbers. According to job creator douchebag Jack Welch, "the fix is in" and the numbers were cooked!

Look, I think it's a good thing when these so-called non-partisan captains of industry like Trump and Welch expose themselves for the ratfuckers they are. It gives us the opportunity to undercut their image as unbiased wise old sages. Really they're just a bunch of lucky idiots who can't figure out the basic premise of their business model which should read, in short, that people NEED MONEY to spend on their products. Squeezing every last penny out of the middle and lower income classes, cutting their benefits, eliminating infrastructure investments and reducing their social services will not sell more dishwashers. The path to economic prosperity is not, as they suspect:
  1. Tax cuts for the rich
  2. ????
But anyway, the right-wing is convinced that Obama cooked the books in order to bring the unemployment numbers under 8%. There are two things I find funny about today's trendy conspiracy, which has obviously been given serious mainstream media attention, because, uh, um, the media is liberal? Or something?

One, it's funny that the Obama Administration and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which are, like, totally in cahoots with one another, are corrupt enough to game this month's job reports numbers, but apparently not smart enough, or not corrupt enough, to game the last two years of job numbers. Did it just occur to the "corrupt" Obama Administration to trick the job numbers now? Is it possible that David Axelrod only realized now that declining unemployment numbers might give the Obama campaign a boost? That seems like a pretty glaring oversight for a man considered to be somewhat of a campaign savant. And is 7.8% unemployment really some kind of magical number when it comes to re-election? I mean, that number still seems pretty bad to me. If this is the Obama administration cooking the books to win a presidential election, they are pretty fucking miserable at it. Better corrupt Democrats please!

Two, the consistent right-wing harping of today's "bogus" unemployment will only ELEVATE the amount of media attention paid to these numbers. Generally, who the hell pays attention to the monthly unemployment numbers? Nobody. But now, when everyone following the Twitters and the Facebooks and the color TVs are talking about unemployment numbers, and they hear, "Hey, the unemployment numbers are really good this month but the crazy Muslim socialist may have cooked the books," well they're just going to discount the crackpots and take away the message that the economy is slowly but surely getting better. These conspiracy theories may work on the true-believers, but they turn off the so-called independent swing voter (or so I'm told). All it really does is remind people that the economy is getting better and that the right-wing can get pretty fucking crazy. And that's not a particular welcome reminder for the Romney campaign.