I’ve the urge to write a bit but don’t feel like holding forth for an extended period on any one subject, so allow me to do an entry of bite-sized (dare I say blog-like) bits.
* Turns out that the best place to live in Ohio is my own Dayton-Springfield metropolitan area, according to this book. It’s ranked 41st nationally, just one notch below New York City. While I feel a vague bit of pride that my putative hometown is only barely beat out in terms of overall livability by the Capital of the World, I do have to wonder how this book developed its methodology. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Dayton quite a bit, but it seems, well, skewed.
I’m rather more positive about the idea, however, that I live in the best area in Ohio. This, I can live with — and, of course, I do. And while #41 doesn’t seem like a very high number, the book ranks more than 430 metropolitan areas in the US and Canada. So looking at it like that, Dayton is in the top 10% of places to live in North America! I feel so boosterish just saying that. And yet for all that I can’t con people into coming out to visit. Hmph.
Incidentally, there’s an article on the Dayton Daily News site about this, but the DDN just changed its site to require registration, and it’s one of the more invasive registrations I’ve seen: It requires an e-mail address, your home address, your phone number and asks you to post your household income. So, I won’t bother with the link. It also makes me wonder who at the DDN was high enough to think this was a good idea; the DDN is a fine newspaper (and I don’t just say that because it runs my DVD column), but the content is not strong enough to justify most people telling its Web site how much they make or giving up their home number. I mean, I didn’t provide either, and for my home address, I wrote “123 You Should Know You Send Me Checks Lane.” It’s ridiculous.
* So, the economy added 308,000 jobs in March — and yet the unemployment rate went up. That’s a neat trick. I wonder how that works or doesn’t work, as the case my be (Note: It’s been explained in comments how these two seemingly contradictory data can exist in the same universe). Bush is of course touting the job add as proof his economic plans are working, although not surprisingly I don’t hear much from him about that unemployment uptick. Perhaps his advisers haven’t explained it to him yet. It’s also worth noting that if the economy adds 300,000 a month through to election day, Bush is still in the hole for his presidency in terms of job growth. Add that to his big-ass deficits, and I still rather easily come to the conclusion that I’d trust a five-year-old with a flame thrower than Bush with the economy.
The GOPers are intimating that Kerry’s moves would wreck the economy, but you know, the economy’s already been sort of wrecked, hasn’t it. Here’s my thinking: The guy who drove the economy into the wall in the first place doesn’t get to drive anymore. Let’s also recall that while the most recent GOP president expanded deficits and lost jobs, the most recent Democratic president reduced deficits and then ran a surplus and added tons of jobs. If we’re just going by party record, the vote is pretty clear.
Now, also to be clear, I should note that I think Kerry’s plan for 10 million jobs in four years is a large portion of hoo-hah. But Kerry’s hoo-hah doesn’t have a four-year track record of hemorrhaging jobs working against it, as Bush’s hoo-hah does. In other words, if you believe Kerry can add 10 million jobs in four years, you’re hopeful. If you believe Bush can add jobs given four years of trashing the economy and millions of job losses, you’re brain-damaged.
* Speaking of fiscal responsibility, Krissy finished up our preliminary tax stuff — now we hand it over to the accountant to gussy it up and ship it off to the IRS. 2003 turned out to be a pretty decent year for us: Income up about 40% from 2002 (although still down slightly from 2001, which is on record as being our Best Year Yet). As a result, however, we might end up owing on taxes this year, since our estimated taxes were based on our previous year’s income. This is the thing about being a freelance writer: Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down.
I was mildly surprised our income went up as much as it did because honestly I thought I was making about the same as I was the year before. But then again, this was the year I also pretty much stopped looking at the checks; I just sign them over to Krissy and she does the rest (note to people who owe me money: Don’t think this means you can get away with anything. If you send us a penny less than what you owe us, Krissy will hound you unto the ends of the Earth. I’ve seen her do it. It’s not pretty). I suppose this means if she wanted to, Krissy could rob me blind. But, you know. I know where she lives. I think I’m safe.
* Poor Colin Powell. That’s all I’m going to say about that whole “Whoops, I guess our WMD information was totally unreliable after all” episode this weekend. It’s sad for Powell, because I believe that Powell is a guy with a substantial amount of personal integrity, and the Bushies have done a fine job of taking him down with them in the personal integrity department. Now, yes, Powell didn’t have to accept the job of Secretary of State, but on the other hand how was he to know he’d be working with such inept people?
Look, I know that the people in the White House can never, ever say that the real reason we went into Iraq was because Saddam tried to put the hit on Dubya’s dad. But can the rest of us just stop pretending it was anything more than that? Please? And remember, I supported going into Iraq (on the grounds that Saddam was about 12 years past his expiration date), so I don’t think I can just be written off as another liberal whiner on this point. I supported our president’s decision to go to war on Iraq. I had absolutely no illusions as to why he decided to do it. Indeed, I submit that had 9/11 never happened, we’d still have had tanks trundling through Baghdad one way or another — because Dubya would have found a way to make it happen. It was personal. Saddam was dead meat as soon as the Supreme Court gave Dubya the keys to the White House. Please, please, please let’s all just agree on this so we can move on.
Oh, I know. So many of you won’t. Either you honestly believe that Saddam had something to do with Osama bin Laden’s crew of Islamist nutbags, or you’ve decided the wrapping Dubya’s grudge match against Saddam around the righteous cause of the War on Terror is necessary for whatever pissant Machiavellian realpolitik reason you’ve bubbled up from the dank rationalization centers of your brain. Personally I’d prefer the latter to the former, as it would indicate you weren’t stupid/ignorant/gullible, merely a willing tool — and let’s remember that tools can be worked with (that’s what tools are for). But neither is all that good.
War on Terror — one thing. War on Iraq — another thing entirely. Would that more people had figured that one out. And to come round to Colin Powell again, would that he worked for a White House that didn’t require him to piss away his personal moral authority smushing them together. Powell is better than the Bushies deserved. I somehow doubt the Bushies know that, but I figure Powell does.