October 4th, 2009
06:10 AM ET

Dear President Obama #258: Jobs amid the passing storm

Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama came into office saying he wanted advice from citizens. That seems like a long time ago, but nonetheless, I press on with a letter a day to the White House offering my ideas. I have yet to be restrained by either Secret Service or mental health authorities.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Here’s a travel tip. If you are willing to get up at six o’clock on a weekend morning in New York, you can get any table you want in any restaurant that is open. Morning came earlier than I wanted after working so late, but the reward, as I mentioned yesterday, was a totally excellent breakfast at the MorningStar. I sat by an open window, the only person in the place, and enjoyed a cool breeze blowing in over the damp pavement. It was no longer raining, so the city was waking up in a better mood than it went to sleep, and I had a good time munching bacon and watching people drift past.

Across the street, a little grocery had a great pile of pumpkins stacked up, and they looked particularly nice as the light of dawn slowly crept up. I’ve always enjoyed gray days. Not sure why. I’ve always felt as if they quiet things down, and add a certain closeness to the world that bright sunny days do not.

Anyway, I’m at the airport waiting to burn back to DC as I write this. And I am thinking about those latest unemployment numbers getting so close to 10 percent. Actually, to be more specific, I am thinking about bad news. One of the unfortunate trends of our culture over the past 30 years, (or heck, for all I know, maybe it’s always been this way, but it seems to me that it has been trending up) is that we don’t seem to have much patience for bad news. Whether we are talking about homelessness, or health insurance, or global warming, or a war, or ethics, or….joblessness…our attention span for facing our problems seems to have become tres “pop.” By that, I mean, we try to treat profound issues the same way we treat celebrity scandals; as if we can simply pick them up for our amusement for a few days or weeks, and then just drop them when something else shiny comes our way.