6.1 Percent U.S. Unemployment Rate Marks Highest Level in Nine Years
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the "unemployment rate peaked to a level not seen since emerging from the last recession in July 1994 when the jobless rate was at 6.1 percent." And according to Leigh Strope of the Associated Press, "the jobless rate still is expected to move higher - to as high as 6.5 percent."
Meanwhile in the news today, George W welcomed Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso to the White House this morning.
They stood together in the Oval Office for a photo opp where .....
"He [Bush] praised him [Barroso] as a man of candor and honesty whose advice and friendship he values."
Barroso replied, "We'll stand by you, because I think that what you have been doing is really great achievement. We have won the war; now we all have to win the peace."
Apparently he forgot about the American troops that mistreated two Portuguese journalists during 72 hours of detention, denying them food and water and making them stand overnight in the cold. Luis Castro and Victor Silva of Radio Televisao Portuguesa (RTP) were accused of being spies when taken into custody. One of them was beaten, thrown to the floor and kicked after pleading with soldiers to be allowed to call his wife.
Such is life.........
Call of the wild
Each year, my parents drive down from Massachusetts and kidnap me for a long weekend. We always end up at a time share resort somewhere in Virginia.
The experience is reminiscent of Groundhog Day - that movie where Bill Murray finds himself reliving the same day over and over and over .....
We get up bright and early (yawn) because dad wakes up every morning at the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. We find a place to grab breakfast and out of respect for the folks I attend mass. If I go, I attend church services on holidays-only but figure it's better to go along than make a fuss. We pack the car, get on the road and kill 3 hours talking about sports, politics, the economy....
Dad likes to drive so we spend a half hour exploring the neighborhood (a.k.a. the town center), talking about sports, politics, and the economy. Then we find a suitable restaurant to eat breakfast. Back at the resort I take a long walk with mom while dad cooks. She fills me in on: what my cousins are doing, the trials and tribulations occurring to the people I went to high school with (and no longer remember), and finally my brothers. I look up and stare into the wide eyes of a baby deer standing at the edge of the woods. We return to the condo and over dinner my parents exchange innocuous comments. As the conversation progresses to financial matters, I bite my tongue and down another glass of white wine.
I'm exhausted. But if anything I want to walk around, maybe hike a mountain, lounge by the pool, read out on the patio. Find more deer. But Dad insists we all go for a ride in search of something he claims Home Depot doesn't sell and he must find. It'll be an adventure. Plus it'll be less expensive way out here. We drive and I ignore him as he talks about sports, politics, and the economy. Three hours later we end up at Loew's where he purchases the sought-after-item (that he could have bought anywhere in America). The clouds are rolling in. Over dinner we bicker about money and dad turns to me and mentions that I'd be much better off moving "home," living rent free under his roof, and getting back to a 'real' life.
I buy a one-way Greyhound ticket to DC (I despise the bus). I say goodbye. My parents look forlorn as the bus pulls away, leaving them somewhere in Virginia. I feel like crying but am not sure if it's because I'm:
1) disappointed that this weekend didn't turn out differently.
2) a coward and don't want to stick around for my parents' encore performances.
3) frustrated that we never talk about anything real until it explodes in a series of accusations and insults and vindictive verbal warfare.
4) wondering if 2004 will be the year that I stop caring.