Walker improves jobs grade from F to D+, runs home to brag

Half.

It’s not a word that inspires confidence. And when you enter the arena with big ideas and a big swagger, guaranteeing nothing less than a big performance, reaching half your goal can only be considered a big fail. Quick, name one person who reached half his goal (er, fulfilled half his promise) and then issued a statement about what a wonderful job he’d done.

Only one comes to mind: Scott Walker.

The new national jobs numbers came out late last week, and there was some good news for Wisconsin. Our rate of private-sector job growth came in at 1.4%, vaulting us from 44th in the nation to 33rd. The report, which was based on the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (the most accurate measure of job creation), also revealed that total job growth — including private- and public-sector jobs — was 1.2%, which earned our state a tie for 31st in the nation.

That was the good news. The bad? Our rate of private-sector job growth (1.4%) still badly trails the national rate (2.3%) and is about the same as it was over the last two years (1.5% and 1.3%, respectively). We’re also lagging behind our neighbors, including Michigan (2.5%), Indiana (2.3%), Minnesota (1.7%), Ohio (1.6%), and Iowa (1.5%). We’re about tied with Illinois (1.4%). If those were the Big Ten football standings, state Republicans would be vomiting their large intestines right about now, but somehow they think those rankings are acceptable when it comes to job creation.

Gov. Walker tweeted his reaction to the latest jobs report: “Job numbers show good progress. Data is for all of 2012, including first half of year before recall. Now we need to build off momentum.”

Translation: Look, Ma, I got a D! Break out the Coors Party Ball!

Also note the sly bit of excuse-making — “including first half of year before recall.” In other words, the recall — which suddenly fell out of the sky like a bizarre frog plague and had nothing at all to do with Walker’s divisive leadership — can entirely explain our state’s inability to improve its job-creation ranking since Scott Walker decided to devote his full attention to it.

Of course, that brings us back to half. As of this writing, Wisconsin is on pace to create about half as many jobs as Scott Walker promised it would in his first term. In Walker’s first two years in office, Wisconsin created 62,000 jobs, a little less than half the number needed to keep pace with his promised 250,000 by the end of 2014.

Make no mistake about it: That 250,000 number — not Rebecca Kleefisch — is now his running mate.

Unless he has an October 2014 surprise planned in which he reveals there’s a secret underground mine in Rhinelander where 130,000 runaway orphans are currently extracting iron ore for a giant statue commemorating the state’s first forced transvaginal ultrasound, I don’t think he can make it. (I kid the north woods. It’s not so bad. After all, I’m from Manitowoc, whose chief exports as of this writing are Cher-Make natural casing beef wieners and Manitowoc residents.)

In short, the latest jobs report is good news, at least by the half-assed standards we’ve come to expect. Let’s just hope we don’t slide again in the rankings like we have in the recent past.

(Continued)

 

GOP extinction watch

Since I first commented on the Republican Party’s determined effort to douse itself with gazelle musk, strap on a pair of antlers, and run naked through the lion paddock at the San Diego Zoo, the United States Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act.

I’ve argued before that the anti-gay forces have already lost the game and the best they can hope for now is to pad their stats during garbage time. But does anyone remember the heroic touchdown drive a team makes at the end of a game when it’s already down by four scores? Not hardly.

But that’s not stopping some of the GOP’s leading lights from launching a full-scale retaliatory assault in the wake of SCOTUS’ ruling. For instance, my all-time favorite biblical literalist, Michele Bachmann, said this:

“For thousands of years of recorded human history, no society has defended the legal standard of marriage as anything other than between man and woman. [Emphasis mine: Note the singular.] Only since 2000 have we seen a redefinition of this foundational unit of society in various nations.”

Of course, this is unequivocally false. For example, many, many societies have sanctioned polygyny, which has allowed great, pervy men throughout history to have as many wives as they pleased. It’s a bad idea, because it has traditionally left a large segment of the male population with nothing to do but whatever the ancient Sumerian equivalent of playing Grand Theft Auto and doing Jäger bombs was. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

Exhibit A in proving Bachmann has no idea what she’s talking about: ancient Israel, which more than likely provides the template for the congresswoman’s personal utopia. King Solomon, for his part, had 700 wives and 300 concubines, which sounds awesome until you really consider the implications. (For instance, I’m assuming I could add the 700 wives to In Business’ group health plan, but the 300 concubines would likely have to seek coverage through a federally operated exchange. Thanks for nothing, Obamacare.)

So not only is Bachmann on the wrong side of history and doing her darndest to alienate young people and destroy the GOP’s brand, she has absolutely no idea what she’s talking about, even with respect to her own religion.

So yeah, keep up the good work, Michele.

And now, with apologies to Jon Stewart (and the more than capable John Oliver, who’s hijacked The Daily Show for the time being), your moment of Zen:

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