The economy created 103,000 jobs in September, while the unemployment rate stayed steady at 9.1 percent, according to the today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Continuing a trend, the private sector created 137,000 jobs, but the public sector continued hemorrhaging jobs, losing 34,000.
Customer Molly Katchpole delivered more than 153,000 petitions to Bank of America in a campaign against the new $5 debit card fee. The 22-year-old Katchpole, who closed her accounts and cut up her debit cards, said “Five dollars might not seem like a lot of money to people who made the decision, but to thousands of people right now an extra $50 a year to a company they just bailed out with their tax money is not ok.”
The 99 percent protesters registered disgust with both major parties who they say share in the blame for policies that “protect corporate America at the expense of the country’s middle class.” Georgetown University Prof. Michael Kazin said that while Obama “could have taken a much more populist, aggressive stance” against Wall Street, the “economy has not gotten much better, and that’s underscored the frustration on both the right and the left.”
Homeownership has faced its biggest drop since the Great Depression, according to new 2010 census figures released yesterday. The analysis found the homeownership rate fell to 65.1 percent last year due to tight credit, long-term unemployment, and “reduced government involvement.”
GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain defended his controversial claim that blacks are “brainwashed” into voting Democratic, insisting to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, “I did not insult the intelligence of all black Americans.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) used an extraordinary procedural motion to break an obstructionist log jam imposed by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), changing the Senate’s rules in the process. Some have inaccurately dubbed Reid’s action the “nuclear option,” invoked in the 2005 judicial nominee scandal. Reid’s move was less dramatic, but still unusual.
President Obama endorsed the idea of adding a tax surcharge on millionaires to pay for the American Jobs Act at the same time he pushed Republicans to either vote for the bill or explain their opposition. “I would want nothing more than to see a Congress act so aggressively that I can’t campaign against them as a do-nothing Congress,” he said during a press conference yesterday.
Voting along party lines, the Senate Banking committee approved former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yesterday. The nomination will now be considered by the full Senate, though 44 Senate Republicans vowed to block any candidate unless the CFBP is revamped.
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was jointly awarded to three women’s rights activists for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” The women are first female Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activists Leymah Gbowee, and Yemen pro-democracy activist Tawakul Karman.
A key regulator called on the Obama administration to immediately impose limits on oil speculation, as the Dodd-Frank financial reform law calls for. “We were supposed to have these done earlier this year but have failed to do so,” complained Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Bart Chilton. The rules may help bring down the price of oil.
And finally: Nothing solves a rat problem like military-grade explosives, or so says Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), who is calling on the Coast Guard to blow up a “pirate fishing vessel” caught off Alaska’s coast. The ship was found to be infested with rats, and thus prevented from docking under state laws. Begich sees an opportunity for the coast guard to show off it’s fire power and send the illegal ship and its stowaway rodent passengers to briny deep.