Rigging the unemployment numbers. There was a lot of pointing with pride last week when the Labor Department announced that unemployment in the United States had fallen from more than 9 percent to 8.6 percent. What the Barack Obama apologists didn’t mention, however, was that the numbers improved not because 120,000 new jobs were created; that would barely move the meter. No, what caused the drop was that 315,000 people stopped looking for work. Heck, if the White House could persuade all of the unemployed to quit applying for jobs, unemployment would fall to 0 percent.
It ain’t working for me. In its report on the joint action by the world’s central banks to bail out Europe (the subject of today’s Straight Talk column), The Wall Street Journal ran this top-of-page-one headline: “Central Banks Move to Calm Fears.” The news didn’t calm any of my fears. Did it calm yours?
The TSA identifies a new terrorist threat. A 17-year-old girl was yanked from airport security last week as she tried to fly home to Jacksonville, Fla., from Virginia. The TSA had detected an ominous threat to her fellow passengers: Her leather purse was decorated with an ornamental pistol. How anyone could see a potential threat in an embossed leather gun is beyond me. But then, as one reporter observed: “Tyranny is stupid, too.”
They put up how many Christmas trees? If you can get anywhere near Asheville, N.C., this holiday season, do yourself a favor and go see the Biltmore House. With 250 rooms, it is the largest privately owned mansion in America. To say it is spectacular is an understatement. George Washington Vanderbilt’s descendants really outdo themselves at Christmas time. The decorations inside include 57 Christmas trees, including a majestic Fraser fir that is 34 feet tall.