Three-Dot Thursday

[ Posted Thursday, September 30th, 2010 – 15:40 UTC ]

Since I haven't done one of these in a while, let me explain that title for our more recent readers. Every so often (on Thursdays in particular, for some reason), I have to clear my metaphorical desk (my actual desk will remain just as messy as always, fear not) of a bunch of minor stories which have cropped up. While this often appears as nothing more than laziness on my part, these articles usually wind up being more time-consuming, due to the amount of links.

But all of that is neither here nor there. The style of journalism known as "three-dot" was pioneered and perfected by the late great Herb Caen of San Francisco newspaper fame, and consists of stringing together many disparate items conjoined with a liberal usage of ellipses, or those three little dots which indicate "sentence trails off here" or, in journalism, sometimes "there's a bunch of stuff I cut out from this excerpt here." Three-dot journalism relies on the first, and more common, usage... to trail off... into vagueness... or even innuendo....

Now, see, at the end of that last example there are actually four dots, which indicate that the sentence is actually supposed to end there. This is what might be known as elliptical trivia. Ahem.

Enough of this grammatical japery... let's get on with it, in an unending series of three-dot breaks...


...What may possibly turn out to be the most important number of the campaign will be released tomorrow. If I'm not mistaken, the monthly unemployment numbers are released the Friday following the end of each month. Meaning tomorrow will not only contain Rahm Emanuel's farewell (oh, please, please, please...) but also the official unemployment rate for September.

This is going to be important for Democrats. Last month's numbers put the official unemployment rate at 9.6 percent, a 0.1 percent rise over the previous month. This month's number is going to be important for campaigning politicians, no matter which way it goes. If the number rises dramatically (9.8 percent or more), Democrats are toast in the upcoming elections. If the number goes up only slightly or stays the same (9.6 or 9.7 percent), it's still going to be tough for Democrats, but not devastating. If the number comes down a tiny bit (9.5 or 9.4 percent), it will certainly help in the public's perception, but may be too modest to really have an impact. If it dramatically comes down (9.3 percent or lower), then Democrats will get a great campaign issue -- "We're turning things around -- let us finish the job!"

Of course, in universal terms (rather than relative terms), the number stinks. Even if it fell a bit below 9.0 percent, that still stinks. So I freely admit I may be making too much of tomorrow's numbers release, but I'll be keeping a close eye on it nonetheless...


...Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for governor in California, got her October surprise early this year, it seems. But as we all sit back out here in the Golden State and pop the popcorn for the show, I'd like instead to introduce a new nickname for Whitman, in the hopes that it'll go viral.

Now, as faithful readers are aware, most of my efforts in this direction have noticeably failed to catch on. I think I'm still the only one who calls Rod Blagojevich "Blaggy" instead of "Blago," for instance, to say nothing of the lack of response to my humble suggestion to counter Sarah Palin's nonsense with the charming phrase "Moose poop!" during the 2008 election. But that certainly isn't going to stop me now.

While others have suggested "Queen Meg" or "MegaMillions" as an appropriately snarky label, I have to go with the funnier-to-say "Meggles." That's right, Meggles. I think it has that somewhat-inspired-by-Harry-Potter flavor, without crossing into outright theft of pop culture (the way the Simpson-esque "Maggie" might be seen).

So I heartily encourage everyone writing about Whitman's problems with immigrants to begin using "Meggles" immediately, just because it is so much fun to both type and say. Try it yourself, unless anyone in earshot would object -- say it out loud a few times: Meggles... Meggles... Meggles...


...Just to prove we're non-partisan when it comes to using charming nicknames (as even George W. Bush was rumored to be), I'd like to give some advice to Democratic candidates everywhere wondering what they can do to improve their standing with the voters: Deploy the Bubba.

That's right, send in the Bubba. Of course, we are fondly speaking of former president Bill Clinton, who apparently is more popular that any other politician in America (who happened to be on the survey's list, that is). Clinton, as Salon points out, is most likely seen in such a positive light because the right wing has stopped attacking him (as they gleefully did for around 15 years), but so what? If the man's popular, then send him out to do some stumping for Democratic candidates!

Bill (1) loves campaigning, and (2) is quite good at it. So why not send him out on the hustings for a few fellow Democrats? President Obama's been out there trying to help out, so it's time for Bill to do the same.

Deploy the Bubba! Countdown to Bubba launch... 5... 4... 3... 2...


...The White House has launched its own attack on its base once again, but perhaps it's just the parting shot from Rahm Emanuel's fevered brain, who knows? In response to both the president and the vice president this week, I would have to say that the people doing the loudest "whining" this week all seem to work for the White House. Seriously, you're whining that the Democratic base is whining? Maybe you should go out and talk to a few of them to see what they're whining about, instead of just dismissing everyone out of hand that isn't enthusiastically supporting you right now. It might be more productive to find out what their actual complaints are, instead of reflexively smacking them with a big stick, for once. You know, offer them that famous "seat at the table" you used to orate about. It might do you a bit more good than just whining about it... so buck up yourselves, Buckaroos...


...Speaking of Rahm's exit (oh, please, please, please...), and the concomitant joy it will bring to Lefties across the land... who knows, the Left will probably forgive your "whining" comments this week just on the basis of how much fun it will be to say "So long!" to Rahm... Where was I?... Oh, right... The chattering classes inside the Beltway have decided that the man who will at least temporarily take over Rahmbo's position is none other than Pete Rouse... don't feel bad, I had never heard his name before, either... but he appears to be qualified for the job, having done it for Senator Obama, and for Senator Daschle before that...


...And of course, not only will tomorrow bring the "Bye, Rahm!" moment we have all so dearly been waiting for (oh, please, please, please...), as well as the critical unemployment numbers... and that must-read column inside the Beltway, our own proud "Friday Talking Points" (ahem)... but it will also bring yet another hilarious release of an old Christine O'Donnell video clip from Bill Maher, just to put the icing on the cake.

Which is how we'll leave things, until the morrow dawns. And since we're at the end, we now finish with one dot, and not three.


-- Chris Weigant

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


6 Comments on “Three-Dot Thursday”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    You DO realize that Rahm will likely be back in the White House by years end if not by the end of November, right??


  2. [2] 
    akadjian wrote:

    CW- I believe the Bubba has been deployed. I've seen him everywhere in the news recently. He was extremely impressive in person. Especially his grasp of economics.

    p.s. Meggles ... it does roll off the tongue. :)

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Governor Meggles...

    Has a nice ring to it.. :D


  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, I gotta admit up front that I was just WRONG about the date for the unemployment numbers. Their schedule seems to be "the first Friday AFTER the first of the month" at least from what I can tell. So look for these numbers at the end of this week.

    Michale -

    Seriously, dude, what have you been smoking? Rahm's gone. He ain't coming back. Bet the farm on it. Rahm's REAL dream isn't Mayor of the City of the Big Shoulders, it is Speaker of the House. If he fails at his mayoral run, he'll be back in the House, that's my guess.

    akadjian and Michale -

    See, now, it's up to folks like you to start pushing the whole "Meggles" thing HARD, whenever you get the chance! Make it viral! Woo hoo!



  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:


    Seriously, dude, what have you been smoking? Rahm's gone. He ain't coming back. Bet the farm on it. Rahm's REAL dream isn't Mayor of the City of the Big Shoulders, it is Speaker of the House. If he fails at his mayoral run, he'll be back in the House, that's my guess.

    There are serious questions as to whether or not Rahm is eligible to run for Mayor of Chicago..

    I would have thought, since the question will likely be settled quickly (by mid December at the latest) that Rahm will likely return to his old job.

    Can you imagine the reaction from the "Professional Left"??? :D


  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    I posted this in the Obama Poll Watch commentary, but I meant to post it here.. My bust..

    Anyways, looks like (as you say) Democrats are "toast"..

    According to Gallup, the Unemployment for September rose to 10.1%

    No joy in Mudville today...


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