Nearly half of American households live one crisis from the soup line

American truly is the land of poor souls. And I’m not talking about their immortal souls.
Fifteen percent of Americans live at or below the poverty line. They are engaged in a brutal endgame struggle.
But there are many other Americans who are just a wrong step away from economic disaster, from seeing the dusk fade on their charred dreams.
Forty-three percent of households in America — some 127.5 million people — are liquid-asset poor.
If one of these households experiences a sudden loss of income, caused, for example, by a layoff or a medical emergency, it will fall below the poverty line within three months.
They are at major risk of becoming renegade bitter-enders — both bitter and at the end.

Florida polls show Romney kicking serious conservative butt tomorrow

The polls supposedly are a tad more accurate than tea leaves, at least some of the time, so it appears that Mitt Romney is gonna soak in a big splash of sunshine tomorrow in the Florida primary.

Assuming the voters don’t get stuck on the back nine. So they had better vote right after their breakfast orange juice.

Of course, a Florida win doth not a Republican nominee make.

Gingrich loves the spotlight more than he does the ladies. And he loves the platform where he can insult liberals and the media. Consequently, Newt ain’t going anywhere just yet.

Romney steamrolls Newt, but will a recovering economy toll doomsday for the GOP in the fall?

The WWE would have been so proud.

It was Thursday night Raw in Jacksonville and Mitt Romney pulled off an atomic drop kick on Newt Gingrich.

Yep, Newt was the bug and Mitt was the windshield. Splat!

With two straight good debates in one back pocket and plenty of advertising money in the other back pocket, Romney seems poised to pin the remainder of the Republican Final Four in the Florida primary.

The GOP Royal Rumble now seems destined to conclude with Romney as the last man standing.

A benevolent thing that the hammer-and-tong race seems to have run its course. Because it has been as hot as a waffle iron, with the candidates cutting down one another like wheat threshers.

At that rate of attrition somebody was bound for the ICU.

However, Romney could run into trouble in the general election if the economy continues to improve.

The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace since the first-half of 2010 during final three months of last year, but the improvement was tepid compared to past recoveries and points to only modest growth in 2012.

The nation’s gross domestic product — the value of all goods and services produced — grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent between October and December, the Commerce Department said today.

The reading was up from 1.8 percent annualized growth in the third quarter, but below economists’ forecast of 3.0 percent growth. For the year, the GDP grew 1.7 percent.

Of course, Romney and the GOP will spin any positive economic news as phony as an Ivory Coast election.
Then again, facts in a campaign usually get locked in the linen closet.

So much for Hail to the Chief … Arizona governor disses the president

I realize that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer must have been Genghis Khan in a previous lifetime. So proper protocol likely is missing from her DNA.

Brewer got into a heated argument with President Obama at the Phoenix airport yesterday and at one point pointed her finger at Obama.

C’mon on lady, show some respect for the office, if not his politics.

They were squabbling that her book Scorpions for Breakfast wasn’t cordial to Obama.

Brewer said Obama said he didn’t read the entire book and walked away from her before she was finished speaking.

First of all, nobody but Brewer and her editor has read the entire book.

Second of all, I don’t blame Obama for walking away. She deserved that. He didn’t deserve the finger wagging.


Enjoy a timeout from politics, what with Newt and Mitt wrasslin’ like gators in the Florida swamps, and ponder this profound question:

Does Sofia Vergara yell too much on ABC’s Modern Family?


But that’s like criticizing a speck of dust on a Lamborghini.

Obama's State of the Union address likely didn't trigger an avalanche of history. But he did soak it with a landslide of much-needed optimism

A State of the Union address in an election year is like a junior high JV soccer game. It doesn’t mean squat because there are bigger matches yet to be played.
However, with the Republican presidential debates and primaries taking center stage for months, Barack Obama needed to make a big splash in a rare moment in the national spotlight Tuesday night.

It was a bigger challenge than the stomach of a sumo wrestler. It was enough to give a sitting president facial tics. Especially when the economy is giving everybody else facial tics.

What he said — mostly lofty words, goals and initiatives that a split Congress will ignore like gymnastics in a non-Olympic year — will soon be as forgotten as the last hamburger wrapper you discarded.

What won’t be forgotten is the tone he set. He was more optimistic about America than a Miss America contestant. Thank God he didn’t wear a swimsuit and a sash that said Miss Congeniality.

The worst thing an incumbent president with a lousy economy can do is to whine like a whipped dog. Never mind that the economy and job creation now are happening under Obama. Too many people — curiously, most of them seem to be Republicans — refuse to believe. Maybe the president should show these Doubting Thomases a rib.

Short of that, Obama has to spew more optimism than a cheerleader — which is hard to do when you’re on a losing team. There’s a reason why the Cleveland Browns don’t have cheerleaders.

Besides using his teleprompter-fueled vocal cords as pom-poms, Obama kept hammering home the theme of fairness — an appeal to the 99 percent of Americans who don’t have to worry about getting tee times at Pebble Beach.

Those Americans, not Congress, were who he was courting. We shall see if they wind up being smitten, circa 2008.

Romney can afford to buy the Florida primary since you need a microscope to read his tiny 2010 tax rate

Mitt Romney makes most of his mega bucks investing, which gives him a better tax rate than if he sliced lunch meat at Giant.
Not only didn’t he risk losing any fingers in the salami, Mitt paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010. Sweet baloney!
Don’t crucify Romney. Nail the tax code to a cross of gold.
Now this could be totally a shocking coincidence, but my White House sources tell me that President Obama will use his State of the Union address to argue for “tax fairness.”
Here’s hoping they make the tax rate 6.3 percent for bloggers.

State of Union this year merely will be a campaign message approved by Barack Obama

OK, I get it that they have to have the State of the Union speech every year. George Washington mandated it and Newt Gingrich seconded it.

It’s already on the calendar for this Tuesday night. Which is a shame. And a sham.

This won’t be a State of the Union address, despite its name.

First, there is no union in America these days.

President Obama’s relationship with Republican leaders is more strained than a thong on an NFL defensive tackle. And everything — the House, the Senate and Obama’s job — is up in the air like the Goodyear Blimp until November.

Second, this is flat-out guaranteed to be a campaign stump speech.

Obama’s policy agenda is a moot point, because Congress will ignore it as if it were term limits.

So with the Republican presidential contenders getting all that TV air time with the 4,836 debates and all the weekly primaries, Obama tomorrow night undoubtedly will sketch his campaign themes.

And, by dumb luck mind you, Obama then will travel to swing states Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan for three days. I doubt if he’s going to see the sights.

No time to be president these days, obviously.

Taking football coaching from him predictably and inevitably took the life out of Joe Paterno

Nothing is heavier than gloom in the air.

Gloom shrouds what once upon a time was Happy Valley.

Today it is Death Valley.

Joe Paterno is dead at 85.

We all knew that once they wrenched football coaching from him, Paterno was a dead man. He knew it, too. The ghost of Bear Bryant stalked him, shadowed him.

Granted, the medical people will tell you that it was the lung cancer that killed JoePa. Lung cancer was merely a hired assassin to finish the job.

Paterno lived in a singular dimension: He was Penn State’s football coach. As such, he accomplished grandiose things, on and off the field.

Once cut adrift from that dimension, it quickly drained his life force.

Without saying, the horrific child abuse sex scandal indelibly stained Paterno’s legacy.

Should he have done more with the whole Jerry Sandusky nightmare? Of course.

I do believe that looking through the prism of the single dimension that was his life, Paterno at the time thought he had done all he could under the circumstances.

I’m sure in recent months his regret knotted his insides, which couldn’t have helped in his fight against lung cancer.

The fall/passing of Joe Paterno, once a heralded iconic figure, is profoundly sad.

But it is not a tragedy. What happened to all those kids is the tragedy. And that shall not pass.

Ol' Newt has 'em seceding from Romney

No doubt about it, Newt Gingrich kicked some serious butt in South Carolina.

Call it the Saturday Night Massacre. The most fireworks in South Carolina since Fort Sumter.

And don’t think that he’s just big with that state’s bring-back-the-confederacy rednecks.

For some strange reason that scientists and philosophers have yet to discover, the winner of the Republican South Carolina primary always has become the nominee — Reagan in 1980 through John McCain in 2008.

Somebody must have shown the history books to Mitt Romney today, who caved and said he will publish his tax returns Tuesday.

It seems as if a funny thing is happening to Romney’s coronation plans.