5:00pm November 3, 2011

Unemployment Groundhog; Occupy Justin Bieber; CNN’s BiA Flop


Groundhog Day for Unemployment Numbers

Tomorrow the new unemployment numbers are going to be released. Economic insiders predict that while the number of jobless claims have gone down – with over 100K jobs added, unemployment will stay at a painful 9.1%.

The stagnation of the current unemployment numbers are not baffling when you consider that state level government cuts mixed with layoffs are still happening despite upticks in some service sectors prior to the holiday season. However, what is most compelling about this new report is the redefinition of predictions about unemployment and jobless claims heading into the next year. The Fed is predicting about 8.6% unemployment throughout 2012 which is higher than their initial rosy prediction of 7.8% unemployment from just a couple of months ago (One wonders if they include possible disruptions from the Super Committee being unable to find a compromise). In the real world this is bad news because it means that the vast majority Americans will still be in this economic muck for another year, but in the world of campaign politics this is shockingly good news for Democrats. If Obama manages to get a steady drop in unemployment for consecutive months, and into the mid 8’s he’s probably going to get re-elected. Mitt Romney better hope that Super Committee scuttles any plan for recovery or his chances might be getting pretty slim.

Occupy Justin Beiber

I know that the biggest thing out of the Justin Beiber-verse right now is the fact that 20 year old fan Mariah Yeater is claiming he’s her baby daddybut “The Bieb” might be the cause of something even more significant across the pond, according to a recent report in the Christian Science Monitor.

Spain is like many nations across Europe over the last half decade. Center right politicians have come to power initiating austerity measures and cutting back on social services and benefits that were once seen as the standard in European life. The consequences of this are unprecedented levels of unemployment, and a shredding of the social safety net. In the case of Spain 44% of young people are without work, which has led to protests and demonstrations all throughout the year. This May, after a protest in the public square of Madrid, a group of students decided to camp out overnight to discuss future plans and demonstrations to fight impending government cuts. Police quickly came on the scene and forced all 40 students to move, sometimes in a less than gentle manner. The kicker is that just a few nights before, a whole throng of students was allowed to sleep in the public square in order to get in line for Justin Bieber tickets – the cops had no problem with that. Then, via Twitter, the cry went out: “We can sleep on the square for Bieber tickets, but not to discuss our future.”

With that as an unlikely rallying cry the “Occupy Spain” movement went viral, got serious and now has spread all across Europe. Imagine a silly little Pop singer from Canada becoming the catalyst for a nationwide movement for equity and fair government. Un-Belieb-able! http://belieber.com/

CNN’s Black in America: Tech-Racist Edition

*Sigh* I have never been a big fan of CNN’s “Black in America” series.

Soledad O’Brien gets props for putting the programs together, and CNN gets an equal number of props for actually dedicating journalism squarely on one of the largest and most influential minority populations in America. However, the execution of the programs has often left me less than impressed, and in some cases outright offended. CNN’s Black in America notoriously lacks context, failing to explain why larger forces and policies of the majority have influenced the current state of Black America as well as spending a little too much time with episodic stories and failing to share a larger narrative.  With that being said, the newest episode of the series will premiere in November and will focus on African Americans in the tech industry, and already we’ve got some problems.

Michael Arrington, the owner/editor of the influential blog TechCrunch was interviewed and claimed that he knew no African American internet entrepreneurs and then went on to babble some garbage about meritocracy, skill sets, and all of the other buzz words used to exclude non “traditional” people out of silicon valley. As far as Arrington and many others in the tech industry are concerned, Silicon Valley is for Asians and nerdy white guys, (college degree not needed) so long as they have the right look and fit the profile you can always become part of the team. Really Michael, you don’t know of any African American tech entrepreneurs? I’m a bit of a luddite, but even I know of Omar Wasow, who invented Blackplanet, considered the granddaddy of social networking sites. BP was up and running with over 6 million unique viewers a month in the late 90’s almost a FULL decade before Facebook came online.  This guy was on Oprah and National Public Radio. While it’s not surprising that a white journalist pretends to know nothing about Black people it does shock me that at least, so far, CNN hasn’t blown up his spot in their upcoming show.

Dr. Jason Johnson, Politic365’s Chief Political Correspondent, is a professor of Political Science at Hiram College in Ohio and the author of the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell. Read more at www.DrJasonJohnson.com and follow him on Twitter @DrJasonJohnson


About the Author

Jason Johnson
Jason Johnson


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