"ThinkFast: July 2, 2010"
The economy lost 125,000 jobs last month, largely due to a decrease of 225,000 jobs in the number of temporary employees working on Census 2010. Private-sector payroll employment actually increased by 83,000. The unemployment rate fell from 9.7 percent to 9.5 percent.
Mega lobbyist Tony Podesta brushed off concerns that lobbying reform could impair his business. “Whatever they’re gonna do, they’ll do,” he said. “They can ban lobbyists from having drivers licenses. We’ll all get cars and drivers.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the tea party movement “unsustainable” and said it will “die out” because it lacks vision in a New York Times Magazine article. “Graham argues throughout the story that the Republican Party will eventually move away from the fringe and join him closer to the political middle but that, for now, it has shifted too far to the right.”
The House approved an $80 billion war supplemental bill after the leadership added $10 billion for school districts to win the votes of war skeptics. An amendment by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and David Obey (D-WI) that would have required the president to submit a timeline for withdrawal from Afghanistan failed by a 162-260 vote, but it did net the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
After signs of “a fledgling recovery from the worst downturn in decades, the U.S. housing market appears to be heading back toward the doldrums,” as a tax credit for buyers expires and home sales plummet. The National Association of Realtors said yesterday that “an index that measures sales contracts signed on existing homes plunged 30 percent in May, more than twice what analysts had forecast.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has “approved a plan intended to win over Taliban foot soldiers and low-level commanders.” His decision to sign the reintegration decree followed pressure from Afghan and NATO officials as well as “a recent phone call to Mr. Karzai from the incoming American military commander, Gen. David H. Petraeus.”
An investigative panel at Penn State yesterday cleared scientist Dr. Michael Mann of accusations that he manipulated climate science research — “the latest string of reports to find little substance in the allegations known as Climategate.” The panel said Mann had not “seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced that she will vote for Congress’s financial regulatory reform package, a reversal from her earlier vote against the bill before the Senate. “This legislation is not perfect, and I will continue to push for even bolder action – including a return to the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking – to rein in Wall Street, put an end to the concept of ‘too-big-to-fail’,” Cantwell said of her switch.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) announced its opposition yesterday to Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court bid, and said it will “note” which senators vote for her. The NRA said Kagan had “demonstrated a clear hostility” to gun rights, despite the fact that she told senators that an individual’s right to bear arms is “settled law.”
President Obama signed new unilateral American sanctions on Iran into law yesterday “that go beyond the penalties imposed by the United Nations.” The sanctions, which “passed by Congress on overwhelmingly bipartisan votes,” try “to further restrict investment in Iran’s energy sector and cut off financing for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that oversees nuclear and missile programs.”
And finally: Stephen Colbert says Joe Scarborough is “clearly racist against Tangelo-Americans.”
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