Morning Briefing: April 30, 2012

Tomorrow is International Workers’ Day, and Occupy protesters are emerging from a quiet winter with big organized marches in New York City and over 100 other cities in the U.S. According to the, there will be “teach-ins” and other events beginning at 8 a.m. in Bryant Park, followed by a march to Union Square at 2 p.m. Organizers have called for “disrupting the status quo” as acts of protest against “abuses of power and wealth.”

In what may be a bad omen for Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), the American Action Network Super PAC has pulled its independent expenditures on his behalf. He faces a May 8 primary against state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

A blind Chinese activist is likely seeking asylum from the U.S. after escaping house arrest. Chen Guangcheng, a lawyer who fights for disabled peoples’ rights in China, scaled a wall out of his house and ran for miles before supporters drove him to Beijing, where he is believed to be in U.S. custody. Mitt Romney has identified the incident as a political selling point, and is calling on the U.S. to safeguard Chen, and to push back against China’s human rights violations.

With high unemployment rates among younger workers, Paul Krugman argues there is a “war on the young” that will harm the nation’s economic future. Rather than promoting economic policies like austerity and deep spending cuts, as European countries have done, the U.S. needs a better job market for new college graduates, Krugman writes.


This past weekend, hundreds of Oklahomans gathered to protest a “personhood” bill stating that life begins at conception. Oklahoma University student Danielle Williams said, “The bill was worded so vaguely that it threatened many forms of birth control.” Sen. Constance Johnson (D) added, “All of the sudden they are trying to put government in our wombs.” The personhood bill has stalled in the Oklahoma house.

A new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics reveals that in the first three months of 2012, the pharmaceutical, utilities, and agriculture industries spent the most on federal lobbying — spending more than $125 million between them.

Field workers for President Obama’s reelection campaign are working to train volunteers on new voter identification laws in states like Wisconsin, Florida, and Ohio. Although Democratic groups have challenged several of these laws for contributing to a partisan effort to prevent the turnout of minority voters, Obama’s campaign officials say they are organizing around the assumption that the laws will be in full effect in November, just in case.

And finally: On Saturday night, President Obama followed the customary tradition of delivering a humorous speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner. “It’s great to be here in the vast, magnificent Hilton ballroom,” Obama began. “Or what Mitt Romney would call ‘a little fixer upper.’” “Jimmy got his start on ‘The Man Show,’” Obama said. “In Washington, that’s what we call a Congressional hearing on contraception.”