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Watercooler – October Added Jobs, But Unemployment Remains Steady

7:18 pm in Economy, Executive Branch, Government by Jim Moss

photo: solid state via Flickr

ADP, a privately run employment report, just released it’s findings for October:

Private-sector employment increased by 43,000 from September to October on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest ADP report released today. The estimated change of employment from August to September was revised up from the previously reported decline of 39,000 to a smaller decline of 2,000. Since employment began rising in February, the monthly gain has averaged 34,000 with a range of -2,000 to +65,000 during the period.

October’s figure is within this recent range and is consistent with the deceleration of economic growth that occurred in the spring. Employment gains of this magnitude are not sufficient to lower the unemployment rate. Given modest GDP growth in the second and thirds quarters, and the usual lag of employment behind GDP, it would not be surprising to see several more months of lethargic employment gains, even if the economic recovery gathers momentum.

The longer this sloth-like recovery continues, the more people will be dealing with long-term unemployment and will slip over that cliff from middle class into poverty. This isn’t going to be pretty for anyone, but perhaps it will generate enough populist momentum to break the two-party/corporate stranglehold on public policy.

What’s on your mind tonight?

Watercooler – Announcing My Candidacy For President

7:00 pm in Executive Branch, Government, Politics, Progressivism by Jim Moss

photo: afagen via Flickr

This evening, exclusively on MyFDL, I would like to announce that I am throwing my hat in the ring as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in the 2012 election. It is my sincere belief that President Barack Obama, along with the Democratic Senators and Representatives who have held majorities for four years, have as a group failed miserably on their promises to change the direction of our great nation.

It is also my sincere belief that the progressive point of view is the most likely source for true reform, but that progressive efforts will be futile if they cannot form alliances with other groups. As a progressive blogger and a pastor in a small-town Presbyterian Church in the South, I believe that I can offer inside perspectives on two different worlds that hold a surprisingly large amount of convictions in common.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will be writing a book (UnCommon Ground) that outlines the theory behind my campaign and practical examples of how to advance the movement. I will also be developing a platform for my campaign to unseat Obama, and I encourage all FDL readers to add their “two cents” to the conversation. Let’s get this fire going!

(OK. I’m not really going to run for president. I have done some foolhardy things in my life, but that would be beyond the pale. But I am going to launch a campaign as if I were. My hope is that a bona fide progressive challenger will eventually emerge – if not to actually win the nomination, at least to force Obama to move to the left to keep his base .

When that person presents themselves, and if her or his platform relatively resembles mine, I will throw my full support that way. But seriously, it is time to light a fire and get more aggressive about getting the progressive message out!)

What’s on your mind tonight?

Watercooler – Less Than Half Of Obama’s Judicial Appointments Have Been Confirmed

8:21 pm in Executive Branch, Government, Judiciary by Jim Moss

For those who believe our federal government is broken, here’s some more evidence:

The Obama administration is aware of the growing alarm over its inability to fill long-standing judicial vacancies. White House officials frequently voice displeasure with the pace, offer heated indictments of the GOP’s stalling tactics, and occasionally threaten to circumvent the Congressional process. But for all the rhetoric, threats and critiques, even sympathetic observers acknowledge that the president is largely powerless (if not helpless) on the matter.

That’s because both he and allies in Congress simply lack the tools to force the Republican Party’s hand.

This past Friday, the Associated Press published a rather shocking report about just how poor Obama’s record on judicial vacancies is. "Fewer than half of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed," the news wire wrote, "102 out of 854 judgeships are vacant," and "forty-seven of those vacancies have been labeled emergencies by the judiciary because of heavy caseloads."

So who’s to blame? Everyone? What’s on your mind tonight?

As Troops Leave Iraq, Why Is Obama Sounding Like A Neocon?

6:04 am in Afghanistan, Countries in Conflict, Executive Branch, Government, Iran, Iraq, Military, Pakistan by Jim Moss

President Obama is looking about ten years older than candidate Obama did – and about ten light years further to the right. In last night’s speech from the Oval Office, when he talked about Iraq, it was as if Obama was accidentally reading one of George Bush’s old speeches:

We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home. We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people –a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization. Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it is time to turn the page.

Then, after acknowledging his disagreement with Bush throughout the war, he turned around and praised the former president:

This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It’s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq’s future.

Without a single hint of irony, Obama drew common cause with the man and the war policy he eviscerated as recently as 2008. The speech consistently reflected neocon talking points such as the need for nation-building and the spread of democracy, and the belief that the Iraqi people will be better off because of the U.S. invasion.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →