economy

Oh No And Hooray, It's Another Strong Jobs Report! This Is Excellent Terrible News For Joe Biden!

Nonfarm payrolls up by 223,000 in December, better than predicted.

Another first Friday of the month, and another jobs report from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the final monthly jobs report of 2022, the economy added 223,000 nonfarm jobs in December, making 24 straight months of jobs gains. The unemployment rate also dropped two tenths of a percent, to 3.5 percent, the lowest point it had reached prior to the pandemic.

As part of its special 43-page year-end assloads of data and methodology report (the monthly reports are usually just two or three pages), the BLS even led off with a couple of charts showing unemployment going way up in spring 2020 and then declining, and monthly job gains going the other way: Off a cliff, then finally, by summer of 2022, back to pre-pandemic levels, and since then, a little higher.


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Crime

Dipsh*ts Charged In Christmas Attacks On Four Washington Substations

If white guys take down the power grid, that makes them white power terrorists, right?

Two men from Puyallup, Washington (it's pronounced "pew-AL-up," you're welcome), were arrested Saturday night for alleged attacks on four electrical substations in Washington's Pierce County, knocking out electricity to more than 17,000 people on Christmas and causing more than $3 million in damage. Two of the substations may take as long as three years to repair, requiring the utility company to use mobile transformers until the work is finished.

Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, were charged in federal court Tuesday with conspiracy to damage energy facilities, and Greenwood also caught charges of possessing unregistered firearms. When Greenwood was arrested, he was found with an illegally modified short-barreled rifle with a homemade silencer, as well as a short-barreled shotgun, neither registered as required by law.

In the Justice Department press release announcing the charges, US Attorney Nick Brown noted,

We have seen attacks such as these increase in Western Washington and throughout the country and must treat each incident seriously. The outages on Christmas left thousands in the dark and cold and put some who need power for medical devices at extreme risk.

In North Carolina, you'll recall, three power substations were shot up on December 2, leaving some 40,000 homes without power. There's been speculation those attacks may have been related to protests against a drag show, but while bigots were delighted the show was cancelled, no conclusive proof of a connection. (There have been many more recent substation attacks, but that's the one we've covered so far.) Nobody's been arrested in that case, because apparently the attackers were at least marginally smarter than Greenwood and Crahan, who were identified by cell phone data. Don't take your cell phone along while committing federal crimes, kids. Or rather, please do.

We're at least fairly certain that no drag queen story hours were planned in Pierce County for Christmas morning, so there's that.

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New Years Eve

2022 In Energy And Climate: The Transition Is ON

Stupid old humanity may build itself a chance.

Climate and energy stories are always about numbers, so let's start this review of 2022 with a fairly small one that should give you hope: Nine. That's nine percent, and according to polling by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, it's the percentage of Americans who are "dismissive" of the reality of climate change: They "believe global warming is not happening, human-caused, or a threat, and most endorse conspiracy theories (e.g., 'global warming is a hoax').” Just nine percent. That's roughly the percentage of Americans who think Elvis is still alive or that the Holocaust never happened. But because they make so much noise, spreading their denialism at every opportunity, most people would assume the number is a lot higher.

The poll also identified another 10 percent as "doubtful" of climate realities; these folks may say it's happening, but "do not think global warming is happening or they believe it is just a natural cycle. They do not think much about the issue or consider it a serious risk." I think that probably describes most Republicans apart from the all-out cranks, and it's very bad news that many members of those two groups are in positions of political or economic power, of course. But here are the other good numbers from the poll:



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Class War

Oh No, Billionaires Have Lost So Many Billions Lately, How Will They Live It Is Quite Sad, Etc.

Will no one weep for Elon? Like, other than his weird Twitter sycophants?

The world's billionaires, who mostly got even richer during the pandemic while other people struggled, are having a rough year in 2022, according to a story in Forbes. Globally, billionaires have lost nearly $2 trillion, leaving them having to order slightly fewer options on their Maybachs and Bentleys, or perhaps shortening their annual peasant-hunting vacations on their private islands. Forbes says the criminally rich have been "rocked by 12 months of shaky stock markets, war in Europe and rampant inflation." Darn right inflation affects the very wealthy. Superyacht fuel has gone way up. And Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been bad for billionaires. This is indeed tragic.

As a group, the planet’s billionaires have lost $1.9 trillion in 2022, according to Forbes’ estimates, with their collective wealth dropping from $13.8 trillion on New Year’s Day to $11.9 trillion on December 9. The number of billionaires has fallen too, from 2,671 to 2,523, per Forbes’ real-time tracker, as high-profile moguls like Sam Bankman-Fried, Kanye West and Rivian founder RJ Scaringe have dropped from the ranks.

Oh. We would find that Jerry Seinfeld eating popcorn and saying "That's a shame" GIF, but apparently it's out of our price range.

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