Making Mochi – Mochitsuki

Last night I made mochi.  This is an annual family thing going back to my earliest memories when my grandfather, father, at least one of my uncles and, I think some friends used to pound the rice by hand.  I remember my grandmother being very fast at turning.  Even when I graduated to being the turner, I could never be as fast.  Now we use a fancy machine.

Mochi Making the Old Fashioned Way

This is mochi making the old fashioned way – a lot of hard work and pounding. In the photograph, you can see two people working the glutinous rice. One person is pounding and the other person is turning and wetting the mochi. They are working in sync with each other – good teamwork! And just as well – otherwise one of them could get hurt!

This could have been my family!  We made so much that the rice was soaked in a clean washtub. My grandfather made these square wooden steamer boxes that stacked with a cover for the top one.  I think they were lined with cheese cloth.  Each was filled with one batch of high gluten (sweet) rice and the whole thing was placed over a large pot of boiling water.  My mother and grandmother would watch carefully and when the rice in the bottom box was ready it would be removed and rushed to the basement to be dumped in the usu which was a largish stone mortar which was kept warm. 

Two of the men would use long-handled (I remember them resting in a bucket of water between use) wooden mallets, kine, (also made by my grandfather) and begin gently mushing the rice around.  After the grains were beginning to stick together, they would start pounding with alternate swings.  When the grains of rice had just about disappeared, it was time for a single and a turner.

When it was done, it was turned out onto trays covered with corn starch.  After cooling and resting for a day, it was cut into squares.  Some was kept for New Year’s Day o-zoni.  This is a soup made with various vegetables with toasted squares of mochi.  Some was given away to people in the city (we lived on a small farm) for their New Year and some was frozen for later use. 

Part of one batch was always eaten fresh with small balls of it dropped into grated daikon radish flavored with lemon and soy sauce.  We always have friends over to share.

This little movie was made a couple of years ago and shows our machine (which streams and then kneads) at work. You can hear our family discussion in the background.

Happy New Year!

End of the year with Dave Barry

I heard somewhere that President Obama gave himself a B or maybe it was a B- for his first year.  Despite everything that we wished he would do but didn’t and that we wished would happen but hasn’t yet, I think that ends up about right.  While President Obama was grappling with where to even begin to try to change things, it at least appeared that he and the family were having some fun and doing some normal family stuff.  It is so much better to see the President and First Lady doing Halloween or doing a date night or getting ready to attend an event at their kids school than to see W. cutting brush or riding his bike. 

So we should also have some fun looking back at the year.  Last Sunday the Washington Post ran a long recap of the year by Dave Barry

It begins

It was a year of Hope — at first in the sense

of “I feel hopeful!” and later in the sense of “I hope this year ends soon!”

It was also a year of Change, especially in Washington, where the tired old hacks of yesteryear finally yielded the reins of power to a group of fresh, young, idealistic, new-idea outsiders such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result, Washington, rejecting “business as usual,” finally stopped trying to solve every problem by throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at it, and instead started trying to solve every problem by throwing trillions of taxpayer dollars at it.

To be sure, it was a year that saw plenty of bad news. But in almost every instance, there was offsetting good news:

Bad news: The economy remained critically weak, with rising unemployment, a severely depressed real-estate market, the near-collapse of the domestic automobile industry and the steep decline of the dollar.

Good news: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista.

Bad news: The downward spiral of the newspaper industry continued, resulting in the firings of thousands of experienced reporters and an apparently permanent deterioration in the quality of American journalism.

Good news: A lot more people were tweeting.

Bad news: Ominous problems loomed abroad as — among other difficulties — the Afghanistan war went sour, and Iran threatened to plunge the Middle East and beyond into nuclear war.

Good news: They finally got Roman Polanski.

In short, it was a year that we will be happy to put behind us.

The year began with the inauguration

… during which history is made in Washington, where a crowd estimated by the Congressional Estimating Office at 217 billion people gathers to watch Barack Obama be inaugurated as the first American president ever to come after George W. Bush. There is a minor glitch in the ceremony when Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., attempting to administer the oath of office, becomes confused and instead reads the side-effect warnings for his decongestant pills, causing the new president to swear that he will consult his physician if he experiences a sudden loss of sensation in his feet. President Obama then delivers an upbeat inaugural address, ushering in a new era of cooperation, civility and bipartisanship in a galaxy far, far away. Here on Earth, everything stays pretty much the same.

And so it goes, month by month.  Here is a sample from from June

In political news, the Minnesota Supreme Court, clearly exhausted by months of legal wrangling, declares Al Franken the winner of “American Idol.” Meanwhile, the governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, goes missing for six days; his spokesperson tells the media that the governor is “hiking the Appalachian Trail,” which turns out to be a slang term meaning “engaging in acts of an explicitly non-gubernatorial nature with a woman in Argentina.” The state legislature ultimately considers impeaching Sanford but changes its mind upon discovering that the lieutenant governor, who got into office through some slick legal maneuvering when nobody was paying attention, is Eliot Spitzer.

And August

California, in a move apparently intended to evade creditors, has its name legally changed to South Oregon.

In an alarming technological development, hackers shut down Twitter, leaving a desperate and suddenly vulnerable America with no way to find out what the Kardashian sisters are having for lunch. The Federal Emergency Management Agency urges the nation to “remain calm” and “use Facebook if you can.” Twitter service is eventually restored, but most of the estimated 875 million thoughts that went untweeted during the outage will never be recovered, making it the nation’s worst social-networking disaster ever.

Don’t forget September

… Obama, speaking on health care before a joint session of Congress, is rudely interrupted by Kanye West, who grabs the microphone and declares that Beyoncé has a better health-care plan. No, wait, sorry: The president is rudely interrupted by Republican congressman Joe Wilson, who shouts, “You lie!” Wilson later apologizes for his breach of congressional etiquette, saying, “I should have just mooned him.”

And in sports

In sports, the New York Yankees, after an eight-year drought, purchase the World Series. But the month’s big sports story involves Tiger Woods, who, plagued by tabloid reports that he has been hiking the Appalachian Trail with a nightclub hostess, is injured in a bizarre late-night incident near his Florida home when his SUV is attacked by golf-club-wielding Somali pirates.

Dave, I still miss reading you every Sunday in the Globe.  You claim to have made up most of the column, but maybe it would have been more fun if it all really happened this way.

12 Days of Christmas

Stories about the 12 Days of Christmas seem to be everywhere this year – or maybe I just never noticed them before.

Clyde Haberman of the New York Times tried to purchase a partridge in a pear tree.  He found the pear tree with difficulty but had no success finding a live partridge.

…“We’ve got pear trees all over the city,” said Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner.They are the Bradford Callery variety, often called ornamental. Their fruit is tiny and inedible. But their white blossoms are appealing, and they usher in spring. They are so pretty, “they were overplanted for many, many years,” Ms. Watt said. “As foresters, we’re trying to achieve a balance of species and not have too many of one species.”

“We try to steer people away from pear trees,” she said, “which is not helping you in your quest.”

No, it isn’t, but that’s O.K. The city has nurseries. The trouble is that they tend not to have pear trees at this time of year, just when it has dawned on your true love to get cracking. “They would certainly be scarce at any urban garden center,” said Phil Tietz, a salesman at the Chelsea Garden Center, on 11th Avenue in Manhattan. His store was out.

So you have to poke around a bit. It’s doable.

And here is a picture of a pear tree.  Not quite the real thing, but pretty anyway.

The live partridge is a different story.

Much trickier is finding a partridge in the city — a live partridge, that is. Several bird shops were contacted on a lark. None sold partridges. “I don’t know anyone who does,” said Roz Gibson at Birdcamp, a store on East 53rd Street.

Some poultry shops carry them. Chinatown is always a good place to start. But those partridges are almost always, um, dead. Somehow, presenting a slaughtered bird doesn’t seem terribly Christmassy or romantic, unless maybe you’re going out with Tippi Hedren.

“You could just say it’s sleeping,” suggested Jeffrey Ruhalter, who owns Jeffrey’s Meat Market in the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side. Thanks, but no. Mr. Ruhalter had a few partridges in his freezer, but it is “very rare,” he said, that anyone buys them.

There are evidently a lot of small birds that are referred to as partridges and here is one.

And then there is this news from NPR:  If you bought all the items on the list it would cost you $72,000 this year.

Buying the 12 Days of Christmas for your true love will cost you 10 percent more this year. PNC Financial Services Group calculates that turtle doves and French hens were way up — mostly due to avian flu restricting shipments from France, and the high cost of fuel. Lords-a-leaping and ladies-dancing were a bargain: Few dancers got raises this year. Starting with a partridge in a pear tree, it all adds up to $72,000.

This is just for one complete set.  My husband insisted when he heard this story that you had to have 12 partridges in 12 pear trees, 22 turtle doves, 30 French hens, etc. since you repeat the entire song every day for the 12 days.  Don’t think I’m even getting one set this year!

Christmas and Health Care

This was posted this morning by Mark R., NY as a comment on the New York Times Prescriptions blog.  Thank you to you, Mark.

‘Twas the day before Christmas
And they passed a bill
Despite the considerable
Republican chill.

The Senate was finished
At last for this year
But the right wing continues
Their campaign of fear

So when the time comes
To sit down with the House
I wonder if Boehner
Will still be a louse

The minds of the people
They claim to have known
And they continue to harvest
The seeds they have sown

If at the end of this all
We can get our reform
It will probably be
When again it is warm

Let’s get that public option
Back on the table
With the donkeys together
And graze in their stable

Let’s hope that they can get
This health care bill right
So that everyone’s covered
And can sleep at night

And may the Republicans
Who can only say NO!
In two-thousand-ten
Be voted to go

So we can finally craft it
To be single payer
Like every other industrialized
National player

So despite this bill being
Quite a bit watered-down
There’s still hope for the future
Despite the tea-bagging clowns.

So we say to our Reps
On this Christmas Eve
Just make it affordable
And don’t you deceive

May two thousand and ten
Bring you all lots of cheer
A lot more of together
And a lot less of fear.

Happy Christmas!

Doing business in the Senate

I’ve written before about the need to end the filibuster and I called for an end to the process.  But last night I was reading through a very interesting discussion on’s Arena and I think I have changed my mind.  Instead of ending the process entirely, the Senate should change its rules to make its use very rare.  There are lots of good ideas expressed, so if you are interested, use the link and read through the entries. 

Tom Korologos (billed as a Republican strategist) argued for keeping things as they are pointing out that it takes super-majorities of the Senate to override Presidential vetos and ratify treaties, but I disagree that those are the same thing and those are in the Constitution and are not just Senate rules.  The point being that there should be some situation requiring a super-majority, but not every bill.  There is something wrong when every piece of legislation coming before the Senate requires a 60 vote cloture to even proceed to debate.  So what to do?  Here are some ideas.

Theada Skocpol suggests

Much of this is happening by Senate custom and party rules — interacting with ideological and regional extremism — not because of the Constitution. The Senate and the Democrats should make changes that they will have to realize could work in the other direction at a later time. Filibusters should have declining margins as time passes, reducing the supermajority needed to proceed to a vote from 60 to 57 to 55 — and maybe even down to 53 or 50. Minorities should be able to force delay and protracted debate, but not block government action altogether.

I like Bernard I. Finel’s ideas

The American political system already contains a great number of veto points, so a supermajority requirement in the Senate is neither necessary nor conducive to good public policy. That said, I could see a case for the rare use of a filibuster in extreme circumstance. But I’d like to propose two modifications. (1) A filibuster should actually tie up Senate business completely. The party responsible for the filibuster should have to speak from the floor throughout the process, and should as a result take the blame for shutting down the legislative process and, indeed, in some cases shutting down the federal government. The cost-free filibuster we have now is simply too tempting to use for purely obstructionist purposes. (2) Maybe, like the challenge flag in pro football, each party could have a limited number of filibuster opportunities per legislative session. That would keep it an option for important issues, while not allowing the minority to be obstructionist across the board.

Christine Pelosi also agrees with the make them talk idea.  Let’s make Senator’s who want to filibuster be like Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

To these ideas I would add that even if the filibuster is maintained, let’s not allow it for Presidential nominations.  Maybe Supreme Court, but not the lower courts and certainly not for cabinet members.  And there shouldn’t be “holds” allowed for those nominees.

Lanny Davis is all for abolishing the filibuster and wants to file a lawsuit that it is unconstitutional.  I think that might be going a little far but I do agree that

For Democrats: The filibuster is good when they were in the minority and they blocked numerous judicial nominations of President Bush, requiring Republicans to get 60 votes for cloture in order to obtain an “up or down” vote by majority rule. But the filibuster is bad when they are in the majority and the Republicans are insisting on 60 votes before they can have an up-or-down vote on health care. Yes, one was about judicial nominations. The other about health care. But as my law school professor used to say, “that’s a distinction without a difference.” The principle is the same — the constitution requires only majority rule — and so do Democratic principles. The Democrats ignore that principle that an up-or-down vote should be allowed, with majority rule governing, when they are in the minority, but insist on it when they are in the majority.

For Republicans: They sanctimoniously threatened a constitutional challenge and the “nuclear option” — ignoring Senate Rules to force up-or-down votes without 60 votes and cloture — when they were in the majority and insisted on the “up or down” vote for President Bush’s judicial nominees, and accused the Democratic Senators of being “obstructionists” when they were filibustering. (Indeed, that argument in large part defeated then Minority Leader Tom Daschle in his reelection race). But, shamelessly it seems, now that they are in the minority, Republicans have suddenly forgotten about the principle of majority rule and the need for an “up or down vote,” and now they are obstructing a vote on health care and requiring 60 votes to have it.

Can both parties at least admit to their double standard on majority rule vs. the filibuster?

Amen, Lanny.

A first look at the Senate Health Care Bill

Lester Feder has a good short summary of the most contentious points in the Senate Bill that will pass tomorrow at 7 am.  I think that the House version is, except for the very restrictive language on abortion, a better bill and the efforts at reconciliation will be very interesting.

1. Affordability. The House generally does a much better job of helping low- and moderate-income Americans afford coverage. For the very poor, it opens the Medicaid program to individuals who earn less than $16,245 per year, whereas the Senate makes the program available only to those earning less than $14,404. The Senate offers more subsidies than the House to help the middle class buy coverage. But the Senate’s subsidized insurance offers weaker coverage than that mandated by the House and leaves these Americans far more exposed to out-of-pocket costs

2. Enforceability. The Senate would have insurers sell policies in state-based exchanges, relying on state officials to police the market. The House, on the other hand, sets up a national exchange, and many believe the federal government can do a much better job of protecting consumers than state regulators. There are also questions about whether the Senate’s legislative language protects consumers’ right to go to court if insurance companies violate the new regulations.

What’s more, there’s a minor provision in the Senate bill that could undermine one of health reform’s most important regulations. On paper the Senate bans underwriting–the practice of charging higher premiums to those with pre-existing conditions. The Senate, however, allows for the creation of “wellness incentives,” which are theoretically designed to encourage people to do things like quit smoking or exercise by reducing premiums for those who engage in healthy behaviors. But the Senate includes virtually no limits on the “wellness” indicators an insurance company can measure and allows for huge variations in premiums. This could mean people who have been pregnant, have high blood pressure or are HIV-positive could be hit with thousands of dollars in extra premiums.

2. Enforceability. The Senate would have insurers sell policies in state-based exchanges, relying on state officials to police the market. The House, on the other hand, sets up a national exchange, and many believe the federal government can do a much better job of protecting consumers than state regulators. There are also questions about whether the Senate’s legislative language protects consumers’ right to go to court if insurance companies violate the new regulations.

What’s more, there’s a minor provision in the Senate bill that could undermine one of health reform’s most important regulations. On paper the Senate bans underwriting–the practice of charging higher premiums to those with pre-existing conditions. The Senate, however, allows for the creation of “wellness incentives,” which are theoretically designed to encourage people to do things like quit smoking or exercise by reducing premiums for those who engage in healthy behaviors. But the Senate includes virtually no limits on the “wellness” indicators an insurance company can measure and allows for huge variations in premiums. This could mean people who have been pregnant, have high blood pressure or are HIV-positive could be hit with thousands of dollars in extra premiums.

3. Financing. The House bill is funded primarily through a progressive income tax on families earning more than $1million; it also requires employers to either cover employees or pay into the system. The Senate, on the other hand, imposes a poorly designed tax on “high cost” plans and an awkward alternative to an employer mandate, both of which could wind up hurting many of the Americans who most need help from this legislation.

As the process moves forward it will be interesting to see where President Obama lands.  Right now, he appears to be simply encouraging everyone to put something in a bill and pass it. 

The New York Times quotes from his interview on PBS

Unlike the House, the Senate measure omits a government-run insurance option, which liberals favored to apply pressure on private insurers but Democratic moderates opposed as an unwarranted federal intrusion into the health care system.

In an interview with PBS, Obama signaled he will sign a bill even if it lacks the provision.

”Would I like one of those options to be the public option? Yes. Do I think that it makes sense, as some have argued, that, without the public option, we dump all these other extraordinary reforms and we say to the 30 million people who don’t have coverage, `You know, sorry. We didn’t get exactly what we wanted?’ I don’t think that makes sense.”

I’m waiting for the conference bill before I decide whether the  bill is a good one or not.

Bureaucracy and health care

I have to admit that when I hear people say they are opposed to the public option in health care because they don’t want their medical decisions made by a “government bureaucrat” my blood pressure begins to rise.  Who exactly makes decisions for those with private insurance?  A blue cross, healthsouth, wellpoint, or harvard pilgrim bureaucrat. 

When you call up and ask a question about your coverage does it matter if you get put on hold by someone who is a government employee or an insurance company employee?  Both enforce and interpret regulations.  After all one definition of a bureaucracy (OK it is definition #3 after people who work for the government) is “a system of administration marked by officialism, red tape, and proliferation.” [ Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary]  Isn’t this when companies deny you for a pre-existing condition – like having been pregnant?  I’ve always had private insurance and have been put on hold almost every time I call about a payment or coverage.

So brought to you by Congressman Anthony Weiner, are the names of the Republican Congresspeople who are on medicare, but oppose the public option.

Rep. Ralph M. Hall
Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett
Rep. Sam Johnson
Rep. C.W. Bill Young
Rep. Howard Coble
Sen. Jim Bunning
Sen. Richard G. Lugar
Rep. Don Young
Sen. Charles E. Grassley
Sen. Robert F. Bennett
Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch
Sen. Richard C. Shelby
Rep. Jerry Lewis
Sen. James M. Inhofe
Rep. Ron Paul
Rep. Henry E. Brown
Sen. Pat Roberts
Sen. George V. Voinovich
Sen. John McCain
Rep. Judy Biggert
Sen. Thad Cochran
Rep. Harold Rogers
Rep. Dan Burton
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Rep. Frank R. Wolf
Rep. Michael N. Castle
Rep. Joe Pitts
Rep. Tom Petri
Sen. Lamar Alexander
Rep. Doc Hastings
Rep. Cliff Stearns
Rep. Sue Myrick
Rep. John Carter
Sen. Mitch McConnell
Sen. Jon Kyl
Rep. Phil Gingrey
Rep. Nathan Deal
Rep. John Linder
Rep. Kay Granger
Rep. John L. Mica
Rep. Walter B. Jones
Sen. Jim Risch
Rep. Ed Whitfield
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner
Rep. Virginia Foxx
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite
Sen. Saxby Chambliss
Sen. Michael B. Enzi
Rep. Elton Gallegly
Rep. Donald Manzullo
Rep. Peter T. King
Rep. Ander Crenshaw

These are the 54 Republicans who don’t want government bureaucrats making health care decisions.

Dr. Bones Explains Health Care

This past Sunday, the back page of the Boston Globe “Ideas” section was a great cartoon by Dan Wasserman.

And I’m still disappointed about the public option, but I’m not quite ready join Howard Dean and dismiss the entire bill.  [An update:  soon after I first published this Howard was on the Rachel Maddow show saying he is now not going to oppose the bill due to some additional changes that had been made.]

For more from Wasserman use the blogroll link for Out of Line.

The Recession Effect

Two stories in today’s papers, one in the Boston Globe and the other in the New York Times, combined with a sudden flurry of foreclosure activity at the office reminds me that the lagging  job creation numbers are not just statistics for economists and government agencies to toss around.  The effects are real and are clearly taking their tolls.

This from the Boston Globe this morning

Requests for reduced alimony and child support payments have surged, and the emotional toll of lost jobs, slashed pay, and uncertain futures appears to be driving an increase in other family problems.

“People are increasingly agitated, and it’s incredibly emotional,’’ said Paula M. Carey, chief justice of the Probate and Family Court. “They are out of work, struggling to keep their homes, and all of that takes a toll. Every day, in every court, you can see it.’’

The same economic turmoil that has prompted more families to seek judicial relief has also made courts less equipped to provide it. Steep budget cuts have left the family courts roughly 40 percent understaffed. There have been cutbacks in court-appointed guardians and probation officers who try to mediate disputes before they are brought to judges, increasing judges’ caseloads and creating delays. Financial constraints have forced more clients to represent themselves, which has tended to further slow proceedings.

You have to worry about the impact on children and teenagers.

One day last week in Courtroom 2 of Boston’s Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, more than 50 cases came before Judge Joan Armstrong – an unrelenting succession of single mothers pleading for more support, some fathers saying they can’t pay, and couples grimly agreeing their marriages were beyond repair. Some had lawyers with expensive suits and leather briefcases by their side; others stood alone. Most traded accusations. Few found common ground.

Looming over nearly every case was the heavy weight of financial distress, and parent after parent described for the judge an economic situation hanging by a thread. As the day began, stacks of thick folders were piled high on the judge’s desk, and in quick succession a mother won permanent guardianship of her daughter, a 19-year-old with Down syndrome; an elderly woman in a shawl, after gazing imploringly at the ceiling as though for guidance, won her motion to extend by a year a restraining order against her former husband; a woman requested a hearing on reducing her child support payment.

What I really fail to comprehend is the Republican position that we can’t increase the deficit to create jobs and to fund a jobs program.  Don’t they understand that putting people back to work not only helps reduce the stress on them, but also means that they help support the economy by paying taxes?  Putting funds into the Highway Trust Fund and other transportation projects as my congressman, Mike Capuano, has proposed would allow states to proceed with infrastructure programs and hire people.  The current stimulus programs are a start, but much more is needed.

More than half of the nation’s unemployed workers have borrowed money from friends or relatives since losing their jobs. An equal number have cut back on doctor visits or medical treatments because they are out of work.

Almost half have suffered from depression or anxiety. About 4 in 10 parents have noticed behavioral changes in their children that they attribute to their difficulties in finding work.

Joblessness has wreaked financial and emotional havoc on the lives of many of those out of work, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll of unemployed adults, causing major life changes, mental health issues and trouble maintaining even basic necessities.

These are the results of a new poll announced today in the New York Times.

With unemployment driving foreclosures nationwide, a quarter of those polled said they had either lost their home or been threatened with foreclosure or eviction for not paying their mortgage or rent. About a quarter, like Ms. Newton, have received food stamps. More than half said they had cut back on both luxuries and necessities in their spending. Seven in 10 rated their family’s financial situation as fairly bad or very bad.

But the impact on their lives was not limited to the difficulty in paying bills. Almost half said unemployment had led to more conflicts or arguments with family members and friends; 55 percent have suffered from insomnia.

This graphic illustrates some of the results.

And of course many of the long term unemployed can’t afford health insurance – even the COBRA payments – so they are unable to take care of the health issues resulting from the stress and anxiety creating even more stress. 

Nearly half of respondents said they did not have health insurance, with the vast majority citing job loss as a reason, a notable finding given the tug of war in Congress over a health care overhaul. The poll offered a glimpse of the potential ripple effect of having no coverage. More than half characterized the cost of basic medical care as a hardship.

I realize that the Obama administration is trying to talk banks into lending to small businesses which create jobs, but without a real public jobs program to put people to work so they can begin spending and paying taxes I am afraid that foreclosures will continue increase, domestic violence will rise,  and the overall level of violence will continue to increase.

One very interesting result of the poll was who got the blame.

In terms of casting blame for the high unemployment rate, 26 percent of unemployed adults cited former President George W. Bush; 12 percent pointed the finger at banks; 8 percent highlighted jobs going overseas and the same number blamed politicians. Only 3 percent blamed President Obama.

Those out of work were split, however, on the president’s handling of job creation, with 47 percent expressing approval and 44 percent disapproval.

The Republicans may seem to have forgotten who allowed the economic crisis to happen, but it appears that the unemployed have not.  But clearly, the Obama administration and Congress need to act quickly.