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Archive for February 7th, 2009

U.S. Unemployment Hits 7.6 Percent

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 7th, 2009 5:40 am by HL

U.S. Unemployment Hits 7.6 Percent

Job Loss

With little surprise but incredible effect, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent in January, hitting its highest level since 1992. President Obama used the report to prod Congress to pass his economic stimulus package.

The BBC:

The US unemployment rate rose to 7.6% in January, up from 7.2% in December, according to official figures.

The rise puts the unemployment rate at the highest level since 1992.

According to the US Labor Department, the economy lost 598,000 non-farm jobs for the month, and it also revised upwards the job losses for December.

Commenting on the figures, President Obama said the “the situation could not be more serious” and added that “these numbers demand action”.

He urged the Congress to pass his economic stimulus package without delay and “not to get bogged down in distraction and delay while millions of Americans are being put out of work”.

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David Rieff on ‘Africa’s World War’

book cover

Why does the Darfur violence arouse outrage but the slaughter of millions more in Congo does not? An indispensable new book by Gerard Prunier attempts an answer by combining cool analysis and scholarly dispassion without losing sight of the horror of its subject.

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Obamas Head To Kennedy Center For ‘Date Night’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 7th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Obamas Head To Kennedy Center For ‘Date Night’
WASHINGTON — Life in the White House isn’t keeping Barack and Michelle Obama from holding onto date night. The president and first lady are attending…

Obama Meets Families Of USS Cole, Sept. 11 Victims
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama held an emotional meeting Friday with relatives of victims of the bombing of the USS Cole and the Sept. 11…

Job Loss Chart: What 3.6 Million Jobs Lost Over 13 Months Looks Like
Some notable graphs were released on Friday while analysts and members of Congress waited for a compromise to be reached in the Senate on the…

Castellanos: Bipartisanship Is For “Wussy Republicans”
Just in case we all weren’t sure how the Republicans really felt about bipartisanship, top GOP strategist Alex Castellanos explained it tonight on CNN. Bipartisanship,…


Democrats: Beware of Michael Steele

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 7th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Democrats: Beware of Michael Steele
After blasting Republicans for an endless string of missteps last week, I concede the GOP finally got one right. Electing the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Michael Steele, to chair the Republican National Committee is a smart move for the GOP and a warning for Democrats. I have spent hours with Steele at the Fox News studios, and in dozens of TV encounters, and at dinners. Steele is a friendly, formidable, and very partisan man who should not be underestimated. He has a disarming and gifted television personality and an uncanny ability to make the most unreasonable arguments sound rational. In a debate, he can charm his opponents into a false sense of security, and then proceed to maul them. Democrats who underrate Steele do so at their own peril.


Another AG Probing Merrill Bonuses

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 7th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Another AG Probing Merrill Bonuses
It looks like New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Neil Barofsky, the inspector general for the bailout, aren’t the only people interested in looking into those bonuses Merrill gave senior execs just before the company came under the control…

Conservative “Stars” Come Out For Comstock
Yesterday we reported that Barbara Comstock — a key cog in the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, dating back to the early Clinton years — is running for the Virginia statehouse. This morning, the DC Examiner offered a brief dispatch on a…

Lawmaker To SEC Lawyer: “We Thought The Enemy Was Mr. Madoff. I Think It’s You”
More great political theater from the Madoff hearings. Rep. Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat, just reamed out the SEC’s top lawyer, Andy Vollmer, over Vollmer’s decision to decline to answer lawmakers’ questions about the SEC’s failure to catch Madoff….


Keep Your Job, Lose Your Health Insurance

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 7th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Keep Your Job, Lose Your Health Insurance
More and more employers are cutting or dropping health insurance coverage as the economic meltdown gains steam.

The Atrocities Committed Against Women and Girls in the Congo Defy Imagination
Six-month-old babies are being raped; men with AIDs are intentionally infecting women. Eve Ensler has a campaign to help end the terror.

The CIA’s Bizarre Plan to Win Hearts and Hard-ons in Afghanistan
The CIA plans to lift us to victory — one libido at a time!

Plunder and Blunder; How the ‘Financial Experts’ Keep Screwing You
Anyone with common sense, a grasp of simple arithmetic and a desire to go against the consensus should have seen the financial crisis coming.

It’s Time to Recommit to the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS has reached crisis levels among the Black population of the U.S. We cannot ignore the impact of racism and discrimination in this epidemic.


Enough With The Sweet Talk: Emulate Reagan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 7th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

Enough With The Sweet Talk: Emulate Reagan
I love our new President. That is no surprise here at TPM where I’ve been beating the Obama drum since 2006. But I’m a little disappointed that he is not using his communication skills effectively to shape the debate on…

More Lemon Socialism — And Why The Limits on Wall Street Pay Are For Show
Wall Street and its allies are in a tizzy over the Obama administration’s proposed $500,000 limit on executive pay, saying it will threaten their ability to attract and retain executive talent. I do not mean to deprecate Wall Street executives…


Krugman: How Can There Be Bipartisanship When GOP ?Take Their Marching Orders From Rush Limbaugh??

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 7th, 2009 5:33 am by HL

Krugman: How Can There Be Bipartisanship When GOP ?Take Their Marching Orders From Rush Limbaugh??
Today on MSNBC, the Morning Joe team — many of whom have been having a tough time with the facts of the economic recovery plan — hosted Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman to discuss the bill. Krugman began by emphasizing the severity of the current economic crisis. “This is not your father’s recession,” Krugman said. […]

Today on MSNBC, the Morning Joe team — many of whom have been having a tough time with the facts of the economic recovery plan — hosted Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman to discuss the bill. Krugman began by emphasizing the severity of the current economic crisis. “This is not your father’s recession,” Krugman said. “This is your grandfather’s recession. This is something that is closer to what we went through in the 30s.”

Krugman criticized opposition to the “pork” in the recovery plan, calling the obstruction “irresponsible” and “ludicrous.” He noted that it’s “a few billion dollars in a $900 billion plan. …They’re picking out small punctuation errors and saying ‘oh this whole thing is wrong.’” Krugman added, “This is the kind of situation where you try to build a bridge across an economic chasm and if you build half a bridge it doesn’t work.”

Yesterday, the Senate defeated (but most Republicans voted in favor of) an alternative plan offered by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that centered mainly on massive tax cuts. Krugman called the plan “completely crazy” and an indication of a failure of bipartisanship:

KRUGMAN: Look at what just happened, we had a proposal I think it was McCain’s proposal for an economic recovery package, his version of it which was all tax cuts, a complete, let’s do exactly what Bush did, have another round of Bush-style policies. After eight years which that didn’t work and we got 36 out of 41 Republican senators voting for that which is completely crazy. So how much bipartisan outreach can you have when 36 out of 41 republican senators take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh?

Watch it:

Later in the interview, Krugman advised President Obama to “disregard” the GOP’s knee-jerk reaction to cut taxes. “At this point we have a Republican Party that, except for a few members, is committed to just doing more what we did during the last eight years. Obama has to disregard that.”


Obama Tells Terrorism Victims, Families He’s Keeping an Open Mind About Guantanamo Bay

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 7th, 2009 5:32 am by HL

Obama Tells Terrorism Victims, Families He’s Keeping an Open Mind About Guantanamo Bay
President Obama assured relatives and victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the bombing of the USS Cole that he is keeping an open mind about how to handle the approximately 245 detainees held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to participants in an hour-long meeting…

Bipartisan Deal Eases Way For Stimulus Bill in Senate
Against a backdrop of rising unemployment, Senate Democrats struck a hard-won deal yesterday with a handful of Republican moderates to scale back spending in a massive economic stimulus bill, virtually guaranteeing Senate passage of the legislation but also ensuring arduous final negotiations with…

Some From Bush White House Blast Obama, but Former President Stays Mum
Richard B. Cheney says President Obama’s policies will make it easier for terrorists to kill Americans. Alberto R. Gonzales says the new attorney general could be undermining the morale of U.S. intelligence officials.