A new employment report released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics announces that the economy created 431,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate edged down to 9.7 percent. However, total private employment increased by a less-than-forecast 41,000 jobs.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates “ordered the military and the Pentagon’s civilian bureaucracy to find tens of billions of dollars in annual savings to pay for war-fighting operations.” “His goal is $7 billion in spending cuts and efficiencies for 2012, growing to $37 billion annually by 2016,” making it one of the most ambitious and “sweeping” cost cutting plans proposed by any modern defense secretary.
The Obama administration “has significantly expanded a largely secret U.S. war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups” outside of Afghanistan and Iraq. Special Operations forces have grown in number and budget since the Bush administration and are deployed in 75 countries, compared to 60 last year. Obama has allowed “things that the previous administration did not,” one official said.
Former First Lady Laura Bush said today that she doesn’t think President Obama should be blamed for the continuing oil disaster in the Gulf region. “I think they’re doing everything they can,” she said, adding that it cannot be one person’s responsibility to solve the problem. “There’s always a lot of finger-pointing in something like this,” she said.
“The Obama administration has sent a $69 million bill to BP for the U.S. government’s efforts to help deal with the energy company’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico,” CNNMoney reports. The bill “accounts for 75 percent of what BP owes to date, and the company has until July 1 to pay the full amount.”
Though Republicans are seizing on the Gulf oil crisis to attack President Obama, their “embrace of offshore oil drilling and their skepticism of ‘big’ government may hamper the party’s efforts to gain politically” from Obama’s handling of the disaster. “They’re kind of stuck because they’re the party of ’Drill, Baby, Drill,’” David Lanoue, head of the political science department of the University of Alabama, told Bloomberg.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “alerted Senate committee chairmen” yesterday that he plans to act on comprehensive energy legislation in July. He asked them to include ideas that would deal with the Gulf oil spill, writing in a letter, “Among the actions I think we need to explore are ensuring that the oil companies are held accountable for their actions and the damages.”
Myanmar has reportedly acquired components for a nuclear weapons program, including technology for uranium enrichment and long-range missiles, according to a defector from the nation’s Army. “The purpose is they really want a bomb. That is their main objective,” said defector Sai Thein Win.
And finally: Bill Clinton is a namesake. Journalist Laura Ling, who was imprisoned in North Korea for five months before being freed by Clinton, has paid homage to the former President by giving “her new daughter his name. Sort of. Ling and hubby, Iain Clayton, welcomed Li Jefferson Clayton into the world Wednesday evening.” Jefferson is Clinton’s middle name.
Follow ThinkProgress on Twitter.