The Way We Live Now: Believing against all odds! We're abandoning recession-tastic McDonald's for Starbucks once again. The ad industry bottom is here! We hope. Now if we could just get our unemployment checks, we could go celebrate.

Starbucks stock soared this week! Mcdonalds' earnings bored this week. Why the sudden disparity? It's not just because of the perfect oatmeal at Starbucks, drawing consumers from far and wide, willing to stand in lines for hours, braving the elements, to get one single dollop of that sweet, sweet oatmeal on their tongue and its accompanying taste buds. It's also because we, as Americans, believe that we can now afford to stop eating Dollar Menu dinners, and start eating six-dollar breakfasts, consisting of a latté and a muffin, which is the New American Dream.

How do the CEOs of global advertising conglomerates feel about this newfound optimism? Optimistic! "The worst is behind us," said one ad CEO. "We feel we've hit the troughs," said another. They were explaining why their earnings for the past quarter sucked. But more importantly, they were explaining the hope which flourishes in the breast of you, the consumer—the hope that funny beer ads will come back on TV soon. You like the funny ones, with the jokes.

And the pretty ladies.

It's clear that private industry is doing its part for the recovery. So who's dropping the ball? The government, as usual. Let me be clear: the government (DEMS, Nobama). (If you want to be picky it is actually "States" which are sometimes run by "Republicans.") People simply cannot get their unemployment checks, to spend stimulatively. Processing delays are rampant.

Kenneth Kottwitz, a laid-off cabinet maker in Phoenix, waited three months for his benefits to arrive. He exhausted his savings, lost his apartment and moved to a homeless shelter.

Luis Coronel, a janitor at a San Francisco hotel, got $6,000 in back benefits after winning an appeal. But in the six months he spent waiting, there were times when he and his pregnant wife could not afford to eat.

Good lord. That's terrible. Reassure us, Obama administration, please?

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said: "Obviously, some of our states were in a pickle."

We feel better. See you atop a mountain of gold.
[Pic via]