Pennsylvania's poor: Your goose is cooked

Mitt Romney bragged today that he's "unemployed," too -- wonder if that means he'll be coming to Pennsylvania for his free government goose:

Pennsylvania was chosen because it already has an established protocol for processing and distributing slaughtered geese, Mr. Sklerov said. The costs of transportation and slaughter will be about the same this year as last and are covered under the city’s $45,000 contract with the Agriculture Department, Mr. Sklerov said.

Agriculture Department officials declined to divulge the name or location of the slaughterhouse, saying only that it was in east-central Pennsylvania and that it processed 900 pounds of meat from geese rounded up in Pennsylvania last year. While Canada goose meat is widely believed to be unpalatable, Jackson Landers, a locavore activist based in Virginia, says that a properly handled goose is tastier than most species of duck.

Yum. Today is overflowing with what passes for good news thjese days for the needy and the unemployed in the Keystone State. Extended umemployment benefits -- they now run up to 99 weeks, as opposed to just 26 weeks in non-recessionary times -- won approval today in Harrisburg, albeit with new swipes at the neediest recipients.

While the new compromise bill would forestall a sudden loss of benefits, it would also make Pennsylvania's unemployment compensation program a bit stingier in the future, according to a summary of the bill. For higher earners, it freezes the maximum benefit rate at $573 in 2012 and slows future benefit growth, and it limits benefits for people laid off with severance packages. For low earners, it requires them to have worked longer and to have made more money to be eligible for benefits in the first place. It tightens work-search requirements for all jobseekers.

"I don't like the fact that we're compromising the folks at the bottom to make this deal," said Sharon Dietrich of Community Legal Services, a nonprofit that advocates for the legal rights of low-income Pennsylvanians.

On the other hand, Dietrich said, "It could certainly be worse."

There's your progressive mantra for 2011" "It could certainly be worse."

Either that or "Let them eat goose."

Meanwhile, the ranks of the jobless in neighboring New York have risen by one...discuss.