The Occupy Wall Street protests swelled yesterday to their largest numbers yet after some of the nations biggest unions pledged support for the nascent 99 Percent Movement. Labor’s support is seen as adding credibility, funds, and organizational prowess to the grassroots movement that will help activists sustain the demonstrations and channel its energy.
Democratic lawmakers have begun to rally around the Occupy Wall Street protesters, with several members endorsing the movement yesterday. Congressmen including Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and fourth-ranking House Democrat John Larson (D-CT) issued statements of support ahead of a large rally planned for today just blocks from the White House.
Sarah Palin announced yesterday that she will not run for president, insisting that she can be more effective helping other Republicans win office “from the nation’s governors to congressional seats and the presidency.” Palin told voters that “there is no one perfect candidate” and urged them “not to be extremely disappointed in a politician.”
The New York Police Department spied on Muslim religious leaders who were assisting the city in its anti-terrorism efforts, the Associated Press reported. Of the 100 imams who held a rally to “oppose wars, condemn terrorism and fight Islamophobia,” more than 30 were being monitored by the NYPD, which kept surveillance on 250 area mosques and Muslim student groups in the years following 9/11.
Historians have found that lawmakers are now “more extreme in their rebukes” of the president than at other points in history and “that has diminished the office of the presidency.” In judging the racist undertones of the attacks, Brown University historian Ted Widmer said “it sure seems like a pattern…and not a pretty one.”
Democrats are shifting their focus on taxing the rich. Instead of continuing President Obama’s campaign suggestion of increasing taxes on those making more than $250,000, Democrats in the Senate are proposing a 5.6 percent surtax on annual income greater than $1 million.
President Obama has started embracing the “Obamacare” label conservatives have used as a derogatory term for his health care reform law. Turning the tables on health reform opponents, Obama said at a fundraiser on Tuesday, “They call it ObamaCare? I do care! You should care, too.”
The Nevada GOP has set its presidential primary for January 14, a move that could push the start of the Republican nomination process into 2011. The Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary will both fall before Nevada, and if both stick to current laws, the Iowa caucus would move up to the end of December.
And finally: Arch-conservative Rep. Steve King (R-IA) gets mani-pedis. He was spotted “indulging in a little rest ’n’ relaxation at Tammy’s Nails on Capitol Hill” Saturday, and apparently the practice is pretty common for lawmakers and other Washington men. “Business manicures” are very popular, an expert said.