The unemployment statistics are looking rosier than before, because people who have given up on job searches, or whose unemployment benefits have been exhausted, are no longer counted among the unemployed. The unemployment rate is calculated based on active unemployment claims, not a census of the population actually out of work.
In Gitmo, the Department of Defense is saying that the number of prisoners who are refusing food has dropped from a high of 84 in December of 2005 to a low of 4 as of February 9, 2006. However, according to a New York Times story, (“Tough U.S. Steps in Hunger Strike at Camp in Cuba”) the reason the count has dropped is because the prisoners on the hunger strike have been subjected to measures such as strapped into “restraint chairs” and being force-fed, or
“other measures used to dissuade the hunger strikers included placing them in uncomfortably cold air-conditioned isolation cells, depriving them of "comfort items" like blankets and books and sometimes using riot-control soldiers to compel the prisoners to sit still while long plastic tubes were threaded down their nasal passages and into their stomachs.”___________________________________
On a blog related note, during a press event about the NSA wiretapping controversy Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill) took a question from blogger Paul Mirengoff of Powerline. Durbin listened to the “ehh, Ummms, wells” from Mirengoff (you know, all those habits that the discourse and public speaking instructors try to drill out of would-be speakers and reporters), recognized a GOP talking point and called it exactly like it was, and was as responsive as deserved to a Paul Gannon-wannabe. (You can see the actual video snippet at Crooks and Liars).
To me it looked like Sen. Durbin had told Mirengoff to, effectively, go home and study up on how the big boys play. Yet Instapundit seems to think that Mirengoff was effective and cogent, because they were “you know, questions,” and that repeating talking points was apparently to be considered “very challenging questions.” Of course, PowerLine seems to think that Mirengoff is the second coming of journalism in the “New Media.” (See “Durbin Encounters the New Media” and “When Bologna met Grinder”)
Thanks to Suburban Guerrilla for the pointer to the unemployment notice from Marketwatch and to Body & Soul for the pointer to the NYT story about Gitmo’s new buffet dining plan.