Congrats, hiking buddies!

I know, I know. An exclamation point in the title? Well, this is one of the few times I can justify it because two members from my Kilimanjaro hiking group, Colin and Christie, just had their first child, Clay. I can’t imagine it happening to a better couple. Seriously, I recall talking with one other member of the group, Nicole, about what a wonderful couple they made – it was that apparent in the short time I spent with them. I’m glad to see such joy brought into their lives and I wish them the best. And as if a newborn wasn’t enough, happy belated anniversary to to them yesterday!

The stimulus could have been better, but…

it most certainly was not the failure Republicans wish to paint it as:

The notion that the stimulus failed has hardened into Republican orthodoxy, but it doesn’t hold up. A study released last week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed that as of June, between 1 million and 2.9 million people are working who wouldn’t otherwise have been, thanks to the stimulus. That study wasn’t an outlier. Several others came to similar conclusions, including one by the economists Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi. As Jared Bernstein notes, the analysis by Blinder and Zandi found that the stimulus was responsible for roughly 2.7 million jobs and increased the GDP in 2010 by a healthy 3.4 percent.

I recall everyone praising Senator Snowe for pushing so hard to keep the stimulus below $800 billion. She was wrong. She was certainly better than the traditional Republican, yes, but being wrong by a lesser degree is still being wrong. (Her next re-election campaign will be yet another which does not feature a vote from me.)

I hate to take the tactic in saying that Republicans want to see bad things happen to the economy, but I’m hard pressed to say otherwise. What we obviously need right now is for the government to keep up its spending – even in the recent debt reduction deal the government will hardly cut spending over the next several years; everyone knows that would hurt growth even further. I just wish President Obama would stop listening to the other side and start pushing through what is right.

Burgers; checkmate; memories

Day 5. This is the Barranco Wall. It’s an 800 foot climb of steepness that takes a good chunk of time to defeat. Unless you’re a porter. In that case, it’s hardly noticeable. (Look closely and you’ll see a whole line of porters snaking their way up the wall.)