Statistics can be deceiving. Statistics can mask truth and disguise falsehoods. Presenting statistics is an art form, for the manner of presentation, down to the color palette used can imply much that the numbers cannot.
Take for instance this "unemployment map" provided by The American Observer. Look at it now; play it through to the end.
Did you notice that 8.5% and 10+% unemployment is represented in the most somber dark purple and black? Did you follow your own county and miss what was happening elsewhere? Did you wonder about the wide open spaces shown out west? Did you remember that we now have an average national unemployment of 10.2%? Do you still think the map was biased or slanted one way or another?
Of course it is biased. Its colors are intended to give you a "worst case" impression of the relentless loss of jobs across America. It is as if darkness falls across the face of the land. But has it? What about the real statistics that indicate pockets and regions of 17% unemployment and 30% unemployment among Black American males? What color is left to show the despair in these precincts? And what do these statistics mean? Do they show a two pound roast chicken on the Thanksgiving table instead of a twenty pound golden brown turkey? Do they show what will happen at Christmas?
The sad fact is that unemployment, however unpleasant it is to conceive and behold, is increasing and Obama's government is doing precious little at the bully pulpit or through Congress to turn this around. Yes, I know the economic stimulus package has brought about new optimism in housing and automobile sales, but you cannot eat optimism or wrap it up and put it under the Christmas tree.
Paul Krugman and a host of others are quite clear that we are not only headed in the wrong policy direction, but that it is already too late to prevent agonizing years of continued unemployment. It seems that Advisor Summers and Secretary Geithner believe that the market will produce the needed jobs and that their duties as stimulus wielders are over. They are obviously wrong.
But, disaffection with Obama and his crew is beginning to get down close to the bone. Maureen Dowd is beginning to call it like she has been seeing it for the past few months. There seems to be a serious problem at the very top. Yes, of course, Larry Summers is an arrogant person, and Tim Geithner a conspicuously opportunistic parasite, and Rahm Emanuel a profane, cynical, arrogant martinet and bully, but Barack Obama is beginning to be discerned among the shadows of this cave, and the apparition is not pleasant.
Both Dowd and Frank Rich let loose this past Sunday with columns about the tone-deafness of the Obama administration and indeed the Washington punditocracy. Palin and by extension Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly and the rest of the Fox propaganda machine represent a reality in American life, a reality not far removed from the unemployment map you saw. Dowd and Rich wrote about Sarah, and truthfully, Sarah is the graceful side of a pure seething anger right now. She appeals to every wound--real and imagined--suffered since the Great Society, since Rowe v. Wade, since Vietnam, since 9/11, since Affirimative Action, ... you name it. Change came and people were jostled, hurt, maimed, and soldiers killed ... and the anger about this is very, very real.
Obama will soon present his "plan" for Afghanistan and we all know that 30,000 more troops will be sent into that country to ... what? ... defeat the Taliban for once and for all? Is that really possible? Where are these troops going to come from without a draft? How many deployments and how long can we and our troops stand this?
These are not the jobs we want and need. Main Street jobs is the key, but Obama and his crew have done virtually nothing directly to create jobs. I am telling you now that this will back up on him and us, and the devil take the hindmost!