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Spilled Milk: Strangers On A Train

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This post is the tenth in a series of Spilled Milk columns by Emmy Award-winning writer and producer William Lucas Walker that chronicle his journey through parenthood. Spilled Milk, which originates in The Huffington Post, appears on these pages every Saturday.


Did you know September was Grandparents Month? Neither did I. And now it’s over, so if you have kids in the house and parents who are breathing, you blew it big time.

God will smite you, as he does nonobservant Jews and sex fetish bloggers. Unless you do something about it, pronto. I suggest you follow my lead, drop what you’re doing, and get those kids on the phone with Granny. Now. Even if she’s dead. It may confuse the kids, but tell them she’s listening. Because if she’s anything like mine, she is.

If you yourself are lucky enough to still have living grandparents, you’re way younger than I am and I hate you. But not enough that I want to see you smited. Hitch up your skinny jeans and call them. Tell them that due to a glitch in the Mayan calendar, this year Grandparents Month has been extended through October.

Canny Nana’s won’t be fooled. Especially if they own a Mayan calendar. If you’re dealing with one of these, she may say she knows you’ve been busy in that sweet voice of hers, but trust me, your failure to contact her by midnight on September 30 means you’re out of the will. Here’s what you do: Apologize for your outrageous neglect, atone by asking what her doctor no longer allows in her diet, then Fed-Ex it to her before 2 p.m. In bulk. Godiva chocolates, bourbon, premium crack, whatever it is, just get it in the mail. It may not restore your full inheritance, but it’ll remind her why she prefers you to her kids. And that’s worth something.

Unless they’ve had the misfortune of grand-spawning the Antichrist, I’m told that becoming a grandparent is one of the great gifts of later life. It wasn’t, however, a concept Kelly and I had ever given much thought to, especially in the early, heady days of our relationship, pre-kids. Until we met a couple of strangers. On a train.

I love presents, and on our very first Christmas together, two months after we began dating, Kelly gave me hands-down the best one I’ve ever received, saving it for last. He offered a small box. Removing the lid, I found the inside lined with cotton and dotted on either side with tiny triangles cut from green construction paper. Laying across the cotton, among the triangles were two tiny, parallel pieces of wire. I was mystified, but strove for diplomacy.

“I love it.” Then, “Give me a clue.”

“It’s a diorama.”

“A diorama. Right. I can see that.” An awkward beat.

“I’m granting your wish,” he said.

I stared at the two wires. “For… braces?”

“Okay, so art’s not my strong point,” his voice growing a tad impatient. “The wires are supposed to represent a railroad track.” He waited for me to get it.

“Right, of course… And the green triangles?”

“Trees. They’re trees, in a snowy forest.”

“Of course. Snow. The cotton.”

“Don’t you remember when you gave me that questionnaire before our first date and one of the questions was what’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to do but never have, and I told you I would answer all the questions if you answered them too, and we swapped?”

It’s true. I gave him a questionnaire before our first date. I was in the middle of trying to make a baby. With my second egg donor and second surrogate. As a single man in his forties focused on becoming a father before it was too late, I had to stay on my game. I didn’t have time for a fly in the ointment, even if he was a hot fly. I needed answers.

“Yes.”

“Do you remember what your one thing was? The thing you always wanted to do but never had?” I looked down at the not-braces-but-railroad-track wires and finally it all clicked together in my lumpy brain.

“We’re going on an overnight TRAIN TRIP??!!”

I recall jumping up and down, ornaments falling off the Christmas tree, me not caring, Kelly cleaning up the mess with a DustBuster, then me jumping up and down some more.

From the moment I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest on TV as a child, I’d found the whole idea of overnight train travel ridiculously adventurous and romantic: hideaway bunk beds, white-uniformed porters, linen-draped dining cars, and all that scenery rocketing by in the background to the orchestrations of a tense, lush score by Bernard Herrmann. Ever since, I’d wanted that.

Kelly gave it to me. A month later — minus the shared cigarettes, heterosexuality, mistaken identity plot and being shot at by Martin Landau while shimmying down Mount Rushmore on Lincoln’s nose — we were living the North by Northwest dream. Kelly had booked us passage from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon, on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, meaning I’d be seeing the Pacific Northwest for the first time and while there, meeting most of his family.

We departed from L.A.’s legendary Union Station in the late morning and after unpacking in our room, spent our first hours in the parlor car, unprepared for the flabbergasting view as we rounded a bend near Santa Barbara and found ourselves traveling north on the rim of the Pacific Ocean — vast, gleaming and perfect — spilling through every window like a glorious, impossible mirage, for nearly three hours.

The next morning, Kelly’s cotton-and-construction-paper diorama sprang to life as we woke to find ourselves hurtling through a snow-covered forest in Northern California. I didn’t need a Bernard Herrmann score. I was in train heaven.

I loved our five days in Portland and getting to know Kelly’s family, especially his mom, Donna, and her mom, Kelly’s Grandma A. A tiny Italian spark plug, it was clear that Grandma A had been smitten with him since the day Donna and Kelly’s dad had adopted him and brought him home as an infant. It was soon clear that if Kelly loved me, that was all Grandma A needed. Though they’d never discussed his private life, she embraced me from that first meeting as if I were her own grandchild and continued to do so until her death six years later.

Though we had intended to fly back to Los Angeles, the Coast Starlight adventure had been so magical we cancelled our flight and decided to make our return trip by train as well.

The dining car mandated four to a table, so that night our waiter seated us across from another couple for dinner. Roughly my parents’ ages, we liked them immediately. Witty, casually glamorous and fun, they could have been Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint a few decades after the fadeout of North by Northwest.

Over a bottle of wine we learned of how they’d met and fallen in love as expats in Paris shortly after World War II. Arthur was finishing up medical school there and Carol was studying art. Like both our parents, they had raised four children, now adults.

They also, it turned out, happened to be pioneers of a movement we’d never heard of.

Back in the 1970s, in his practice as a child psychiatrist, Arthur had begun to notice the power in the unique bond shared by grandparents and grandchildren. Especially, the more time they spent together and interacted, how restorative and reparative that bond could be for both parties.

In the years that followed, Arthur and Carol virtually founded the movement for grandparents’ rights in the United States, establishing their watershed Foundation for Grandparenting and lobbying for grandparent visitation legislation. Carol proudly told us the exact date we could next catch her handsome husband on the Today show, for which he was a regular contributor, encouraging grandparents to become a more regular, vital part of their grandchildren’s lives. To this end, they’d even founded a summer camp where grandparents and grandchildren could spend weeks in the wilderness making lanyards and contracting poison ivy together.

We never met a couple like them. They were Cary and Eva Marie on a mission for good. We were riveted.

As it turned out, they’d never met a couple quite like us either.

After Arthur excused himself, Carol asked how Kelly and I had met and how we’d come to be on the train. We explained that in addition to meeting Kelly’s family, we were also taking some R&R to help us recover from the miscarriage our surrogate had suffered the month before.

“You… excuse me, what? Miscarriage… surrogate? Could you start over?” At this point Arthur returned and said, “What’d I miss?”

Carol suggested we order another — large — bottle of wine as Kelly and I brought them up-to-date on our story. Despite their vast experience with parents, children and grandchildren, they’d never heard of, much less met, two men who wanted to become parents together.

“My God,” said Arthur, “you two are pioneering your own field.”

And I guess from where they sat, as a two-weenie couple striving to have kids, we sort of were. We’d just never thought about it that way. Where they saw two men boldly going where no gays had gone before, we saw ourselves more simply as a couple of guys who wanted a family.

Yes, we needed some help to make that happen, but lucky for us, for the first time in the history of, well… ever, an unprecedented confluence of factors — shifting social mores, redrawn legal boundaries, revisions in adoption codes and advances in reproductive technology — had made a once impossible dream… not.

“You two realize you’re at the forefront of a whole new frontier in grandparenting, don’t you?” asked Arthur, growing visibly excited.

We didn’t. “You probably haven’t even thought about it in these terms, but you two are about to give your parents the greatest gift imaginable — the resurrection of their grandchildren. What a mitzvah.”

And it has been. We stayed in touch with Arthur and Carol. More than that, we became friends and have stayed friends. A year after meeting on the train, soon after Elizabeth was born, they arrived bearing gifts, including a couple of the groundbreaking books Arthur had written on grandparenting. As a thank you, Elizabeth graced them, and us, with her very first smile.

That afternoon, we confided in Arthur and Carol some of our fears. Fears that our parents might treat our daughter differently than their other grandchildren or not know how to treat her at all.

Arthur tried to allay our concerns by quoting the Foundation for Grandparenting mantra: “Every time a child is born, a grandparent is born.”

But before he could finish, Carol cut him short, something I’d never seen before.

Bill. Kelly. I understand your fears. What you’ve done is new. Some people will view it as radical, maybe even wrong. Of course your parents are afraid. Nothing in their lives or experience could have prepared them for this. They’re probably terrified. That’s their job. They might not know what to tell their friends or how to react at first. But don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s out of concern for what people might think of them. If anything, it’s coming from their fear of how the world might treat you. Because guess what? You’re still their child, and will be until the day they die. What you boys need to stay focused on is what’s truly radical here. You’ve created a life; you’ve given your parents agrandchild, a new life to share they never dreamed possible. You want to see real magic? Watch your parents’ faces the moment you place this baby girl in their arms. Trust me, she’s all the strength they’ll ever need. Arthur and I brought champagne. Shall we open it?

Of course she was right. How could she not be? She was Eva Marie Saint, for Chrissakes, in full grandparent-warrior mode. They were both right. The moment we placed our babies into the arms of our parents for the very first time, we did witness magic — the birth of six grandparents.

Cheers.

Over the past twelve years, our children’s Grandpops and Grandma Shirley, Mimi and Pop, and Nana and Peter have not only stepped up to the plate, they’ve each become deeply intwined in the lives of their unexpected grandchildren, who adore them all.

Vastly different as people, they come from starkly different backgrounds and lead widely divergent lives. A poll-taker might slot their grandparenting styles into roughly three distinct categories — Country, Country Club and Hippie — but the one commonality they share is the gift that makes them most valuable in the lives of our children:

They’re not us.

By just being themselves, and paying attention and listening and seeing in ways that Kelly and I can’t — because we’re parents — our folks illuminate our children. Observing from a distance, we have found ourselves constantly surprised — and grateful — as our parents introduce us to nooks and crannies of our kids that we never knew existed. In the playground of that bond shared only with a grandparent, the kids we imagine we know find ways of revealing themselves that they can’t with us, in the safety of a gaze we’re not yet wise enough to cast.

Kelly’s dad and stepmom (Grandpops and Grandma Shirley), for example, make sure our city children are fluent in such essential country pursuits as blackberry-picking, pie-baking, knitting, puzzle completion, zip-lining, TV poker and fish-gutting.

My parents (Mimi and Pop) strive to pass on our Southern heritage to their half-Yankee California grandbabes by making sure they know when to say “ma’am” and “sir” (always), how to butter a biscuit, paint in watercolor, write a thank-you note, grip a golf club and brandish a weapon of battle, whether it be a Confederate saber or a sterling silver shrimp fork.

Kelly’s gentle mom and her bearded, ponytailed boyfriend (Nana and Peter) have taken upon themselves to school our kids in appreciating such life essentials as the Grateful Dead, healing crystals, medicinal herbs and tie-dye clothing, as well as understanding the art of fire dancing and correctly deciphering the meaning of a complex upper-arm tattoo.

I defy any private school to provide a more well-rounded education.

We’ve come to adore the Grands even more watching from a distance as they adore our children in their own distinct ways. Which is why, over a three-week period from mid-August to early September, we opted for total immersion and visited all three grandmothers’ houses.

This was no over-the-river-and-through-the-woods affair. As we always strive to keep things difficult, Kelly plotted an itinerary that criss-crossed America twice and spanned nearly 9,000 miles. Our pilgrimage took us us from L.A. to South Carolina, then back to L.A., up the coast to Oregon, back down again to L.A., and back across the country again to ensure that my beautiful mother would be surrounded by as many grandchildren as possible on her 85th birthday. We may have depleted our frequent flyer account, but by the time we arrived back home, there was a message on our phone from American Airlines letting us know we had qualified for permanent resident status at Dallas-Fort Worth’s Terminal B.

The grandparents who made it worth every mile:

Grandma Shirley, for sensing our daughter’s need for independence and teaching her to drive their John Deere riding lawnmower around the property all by herself, every day, for as long as she wanted, understanding exactly how powerful it would make her feel.

Grandpops, who by trade turns complex blueprints into the product patterns carved in wood that provide the shape to bottle of shampoo, for diverting the tools of his shop to expertly craft whimsical toy daggers and swords for Ninja James. Then taking him fishing in the country, explaining why the small ones get thrown back and others — even after you’ve cut off their heads — continue to blink. (“Their nerves ain’t done yet. Or maybe they just want to keep and eye on you.”)

Mimi, for wanting to recreate — 70 years later — the time she’d spent as a girl with her own grandmother. Time spent simply, swimming, cooking and shopping for clothes. An opportunity my mother used to both praise and nurture her granddaughter’s taste and evolving sense of style. I later caught them watchingJulie and Julia, and smiled as I heard my mom encourage my daughter not to let the fact that she’s a child fool anyone into thinking she’s not capable of cooking her way through Julia Child.

 

Pop, for picking up on Elizabeth’s budding interest in science and medicine, and relaying experiences from his fifty years as a family doctor between intense nightly bouts of double solitaire. And sensing she’s restless and taking her to feed the ducks. And reminding me — as he parcels out a lifetime of wisdom to the daughter he never had — why I wanted to become a dad in the first place.

Nana, who brings back pictures and stories and gifts from her months-long backpacking journeys around the globe with Peter. Fingering handmade toys that run on imagination rather computer chips, our kids drink in the tales of their grandmother the nomad and through her meet children and villagers, farmers and artisans in places like India and Mexico and China. Places they’ll dream about tonight.

Peter, who spotted our son, unable to take his eyes off an African drum, and thought to place it in his hands. And who that night, in the raging glow of a campfire, invited our 6-year-old to join the grownup’s drum circle. Showing us a boy we’d never seen before, shed of his lifelong shy streak, his face intense and aglow, pounding his djembe to the rhythm of the flames, as if he’d been born to it.

 

Photo credit: Kirk DuBose Photography
 

So yes, this year we forgot that September was Grandparents Month. I imagine Arthur and Carol will be pissed, because I’m pretty sure they invented it. But if it’s any consolation, even though we didn’t know it at the time, our children were with their grandmother on Grandparents Day, because as luck would have it, this year it happened to fall on September 9, Mimi’s 85th birthday. Even on the Mayan calendar. And that’s got to count for something.

Despite the gifts they’ve collectively given our children, four of the six grandparents have never met. Impediments of geography, circumstance and health mostly like dictate that they never will. Last month, pondering this as Kelly, our kids and I sat together in the dining car of the Coast Starlight last August, drinking in the wonder of the Pacific Ocean, my eye wanders to an empty table.

I imagine two older couples, waiting to be seated. A waiter leads them to a table and they introduce themselves. It’s winter, breakfast time. The strangers exchange polite chitchat. Neither couple has ever taken the overnight train before. They should have, says the taller woman. There’s so much of America we’ve never seen. Over breakfast, the couples warm to each other over stories of their grandchildren, marveling at the coincidence that they each have a pair the same age, living in Los Angeles. Too far away, they agree, as silence settles over the table.

They glance out the window at as the train hurtles through a snow-covered forest, taking in its serene beauty. And I wonder if they’ll ever put it together, realizing that the view they share was once nothing more than a few dozen triangles of green construction paper, a box of cotton and two tiny strands of wire.

* * * * *

 

* * * * *

William Lucas Walker is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer whose television credits include Frasier, Will & Grace and Roseanne. He co-created the critically-acclaimed Showtime comedy The Chris Isaak Show. Bill and his husband Kelly are the parents of Elizabeth and James, born in 2001 and 2005. The children were gratified by the legal marriage of their parents in 2008, an event that rescued them from a life of ruinous bastardry.

Spilled Milk chronicles Bill’s misadventures in Daddyland. The first recurring humor column by a gay parent to appear in a mainstream American publication, Spilled Milk has regularly landed on the front page of The Huffington Post.

Follow William Lucas Walker on Twitter: @WmLucasWalker, @SpilledMilkWLW or Facebook: “Spilled Milk” by William Lucas Walker.       

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories

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House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer is pushing baseless conspiracy theories about the Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon floating over the United States – currently, over Montana – that the Pentagon is tracking, and he’s being widely mocked for his unfounded fear-mongering.

Fox News host Harris Faulkner set the stage perfectly for the far-right Republican from Kentucky, declaring the balloon is “the size of three buses” and that “China says was taken by wind – wind that we can’t substantiate.”

The Kentucky congressman who has falsely described President Biden as “compromised,” and stated he is going to target and investigate him, told Faulkner, “I have concern this is going to be another example of the Biden administration’s weakness on the national scale.”

READ MORE: ‘Ran a Bribery Center Blocks From the White House’: Comer Mocked for Claiming No Evidence of Trump Influence Peddling

Comer, 50, a former agriculture commissioner, lamented about Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming it hurt the reputation of America’s military and Commander in Chief.

The balloon, he said, should “never have been allowed” to cross over into the United States.

“My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” he asked, pushing unfounded theories while echoing the far-right’s false claims the COVID-19 virus was developed as a bioweapon and escaped the lab in Wuhan, China.

After suggesting it might have bioweapons, he then said it was “very concerning” the balloon was not shot down before reaching the U.S. – which could have spread the alleged bioweapon.

Faulkner, seen by some as a propagandist, then jumped in to exhibit her surprise that “people on Capitol Hill were not briefed” about the balloon.

READ MORE: Trump Spent 2020 Attacking Ballot Drop Boxes – but Now He’s Demanding They Be Deployed in Churches

“Calling for the president to ‘shoot down’ the craft,” The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona adds, “some in the GOP called the president ‘Beijing Biden’ while claiming this is further proof that ‘Communist China’ doesn’t ‘fear or respect’ Biden.”

“Honestly,” communications strategist Doug Gordon noted, “just surprised he didn’t find a way to include Hunter’s laptop into that conspiracy theory.”

“Actually, he did later on,” Baragona replied.

National security expert Denver Riggleman, the Republican former U.S. Congressman from Virginia who assisted the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, tweeted: “Bioweapons? FFS”

Referring to Comer’s unfounded bioweapons claim, one Twitter user observed, “Isn’t that more reason not to shoot at it? I’m not saying I know what to do, but logic would dictate ‘don’t shoot at balloons full of bioweapons.’ Right?”

Another noted that the Oversight Chairman should have been listening to the Pentagon’s briefing “taking place now instead of running to get on Fox to talk about something he has no expertise in.”

READ MORE: ‘When Was Your Most Recent Period?’: Student Athletes in Florida May Be Required to Share Menstrual History

And yet another, wholly mocking Comer, who holds far-right anti-LGBTQ beliefs, said: “Or worse, what if it has woke trans undocumented drag queen athletes?”

Another, mocking Comer, noted: “If they were sending a bio weapon, why would they park it over sparsely populated Montana? *rolls eyes*”

Watch the video above or at this link.

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COMMENTARY

Trump Spent 2020 Attacking Ballot Drop Boxes – but Now He’s Demanding They Be Deployed in Churches

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Donald Trump laid the groundwork early in the 2020 election for his possible defeat by attacking voting by mail and ballot drop boxes, insisting they should be illegal while making clear if he lost the White House those proven safe and effective means of voting would be to blame.

But now, with a flailing 2024 campaign the failed ex-president who is under multiple investigations is demanding ballot drop boxes be deployed – but only in churches.

“Some states use ‘drop boxes’ for the collection of Universal Mail-In Ballots,” Trump tweeted in August of 2020. “So who is going to ‘collect’ the Ballots, and what might be done to them prior to tabulation? A Rigged Election? So bad for our Country. Only Absentee Ballots acceptable!”

That was just one of his many attacks on drop boxes.

READ MORE: ‘Breathtaking’: Economists Stunned by Job Growth ‘Boom’ as Unemployment Drops to Level Not Seen Since 1969

“So now the Democrats are using Mail Drop Boxes, which are a voter security disaster,” Trump tweeted just days later.  “Among other things, they make it possible for a person to vote multiple times. Also, who controls them, are they placed in Republican or Democrat areas? They are not Covid sanitized. A big fraud!”

The tweet was so false Twitter appended a warning label to it that reads: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.”

Fast forward to now.

On his social media platform Trump reposted a “truth” (the word Truth Social uses instead of “tweet”) from far-right activist, conspiracy theorist, and provocateur Jack Posobiec. Posobiec was “one of the most prominent promoters of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, that held that the Washington D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong was really a front for a child sex dungeon run by Hillary Clinton. He even went to the restaurant to find out ‘what’s really going on’ there,” according to The Daily Beast.

“In 2017, BuzzFeed reported text messages suggesting that Posobiec held a ‘Rape Melania’ sign during an anti-Trump protest in an apparent attempt to discredit the protesters as insidious and deranged.”

READ MORE: ‘Firehose of Disinformation’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders Picked to Deliver State of the Union Response in Nod to Trump (Video)

Thursday, on Trump’s Truth Social platform, Posobiec wrote: “I don’t know who needs to hear this but Republicans should put ballot drop boxes in the back of churches in every state where it’s legal.”

Hours later Trump was all over the idea, demanding the Republican National Committee implement it.

“Best idea I’ve heard in a long time,” Trump wrote in all-caps, “put them all over the place. RNC, every Republican, get to work on this now!!!”

Democratic voting rights attorney Marc Elias’ Democracy Docket platform just last week reported that in 2020, “Trump first attacked mail-in voting itself, then tried to undermine the postal service’s ability to handle the volume of ballots. Soon after, he began to target drop boxes as well.”

As Trump learned, making it more difficult to vote is not a winning strategy, unless you’re highly unpopular and can block a significant number of your opponents’ votes while retaining your own, which he did not.

But the GOP sure tried.

“Republicans in many states soon followed Trump’s lead and began restricting the deployment of drop boxes even if the state had previously used them without controversy. [Ohio] Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) limited each county to a single drop box no matter how populous. Similarly, the Texas Supreme Court upheld Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) order limiting every county to a single ballot drop-off location — from Loving County (population of 64 people) to Harris County (population of 4.7 million people). In other states, Republicans moved to ban drop boxes entirely, and Missouri officials decided against deploying 80 boxes the state had already purchased,” Democrat Docket adds.

Meanwhile, Trump’s – or rather, Posobiec’s – strategy is clear: “Republicans should put ballot drop boxes in the back of churches,” because Trump thinks he still owns the Christian vote, despite attacking “disloyal” evangelical leaders just weeks ago.

But drop boxes are largely the purview of state election officials, and there would be a strong case to make again putting drop boxes only in churches. What about other houses of worship? And why just houses of worship – are they more secure than other areas?

Some might think it’s difficult to flip-flop on such a basic idea as drop boxes, especially if you went to court to void voters’ ballots that were deposited in them.

“In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign sued to invalidate the use of drop boxes in the primary election and prevent their use in the general election,” Democracy Docket adds. “Then after the election, Republicans pointed to drop boxes as a reason to question the results in a lawsuit filed in Michigan.”

Now that Trump has succeeded in ensuring Ronna McDaniel remains head of the RNC, this will be a test of his strength, or lack thereof.

 

 

 

 

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News

‘Breathtaking’: Economists Stunned by Job Growth ‘Boom’ as Unemployment Drops to Level Not Seen Since 1969

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The year was 1969: Congress certified the results of the election, officially declaring Richard Nixon would be the 37th President of the United States, Joe Namath led the New York Jets to win Super Bowl III, The Beatles released the soundtrack from their hit film “Yellow Submarine,” and unemployment was 3.4%.

It’s been 54 years since unemployment was at 3.4%, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released January’s report  Friday morning, stunning economists who expected unemployment to go up, not down.

Economists projected 187,000 new jobs would be added to the U.S. economy in January. Instead, the number came in at 517,000, Forbes reported. Prior months were also adjusted to be better than first reported.

READ MORE: ‘Anyone Who Thinks This Is Economy Is in Recession Is Bananas’: Economists Cheer ‘Hot’ Biden Jobs Report

“This is a breathtaking number. That spike in stories about layoffs? It was about a small unrepresentative slice of the economy. Real America is still getting back to work,” crowed Professor Justin Wolfers, the popular University of Michigan School of Economics professor, a senior fellow at Brookings.

“Average job growth over the past 3 months is a cracking +356k. A boom!” Wolfers cheered.

“We haven’t seen unemployment this low since before Woodstock, baby,” he added. “Groovy.”

Wolfers wasn’t done. He blasted those who continue to talk about recession: “This is a final nail in the coffin of all the 2022 recessionistas. When average job growth is this high we call it a BOOM.”

READ MORE: ‘When Was Your Most Recent Period?’: Student Athletes in Florida May Be Required to Share Menstrual History

For those who just want the bottom line, Wolfers offered this take on the jobs report: “It’s all good news.”

“January marked the 25th straight month of solid job growth,” The Washington Post reports, observing that the “labor market shattered expectations.” The Post adds: “the labor market remains formidable, inflation is beginning to normalize and there are signs that the global economy may be on stronger footing than originally feared.”

 

Image: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy, Thursday, January 26, 2023, at Steamfitters Local 602 United Association Mechanical Trades School in Springfield, Virginia. Official White House Photo by Erin Scott via Flickr

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