ThinkFast: April 1, 2011

The Labor Department reports that the U.S. economy added 216,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dipped to a two-year low of 8.8 percent. The second straight month of solid job growth marked “a decisive shift in the labor market that should help to underpin the economic recovery.”

In a floor speech and a letter to Senate leaders yesterday, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) attacked the GOP proposed cuts as “irresponsible” and urged both sides of the aisle to reach a bipartisan deal. Brown slammed leaders for offering a false choice between small cuts or proposals “that establish the wrong priorities that would disproportionately affect low-income families and seniors.”

Tea Party activists rallying at the Capitol yesterday slammed Republican leadership for compromising on the budget rather than “risking blame for a shutdown.” One Tea Party Patriot leader told Republican leadership to “take off your lace panties,” “stop being noodle-backs,” and take an “unwavering stand” for spending cuts.

Traditionally a Republican constituency, police and firefighters are rapidly turning to Democrats after assaults on their union rights in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere. “Who are these evil teachers who teach your children, these evil policemen who protect them, these evil firemen who pull them from burning buildings? When did we all become evil?” asked the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police.


In an interview with Politico, senior FCC commissioner Michael Copps blasted the planned AT&T; acquisition of T-Mobile. He warned that the merger would give a “lot of power and a lot of influence…to one company in a world where two companies are going to control, like, 80 percent of the spectrum.”

President Obama’s top two national security officials said yesterday that the U.S. is unlikely to arm the Libyan rebels. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “because of the unknowns” about who the rebels were connected to, she opposed the move; Defense Secretary Robert Gates also came out against arming the rebels but said maybe other countries would.

“The Afghan Taliban are showing signs of increasing strain after a number of killings, arrests and internal disputes that have reached them even in their haven in Pakistan.” Taliban commanders “have now gone underground” in their Pakistani havens where they used to operate brazenly, and fighters are “struggling in some areas to continue the fight.

The Arizona Republic notes in an editorial that other states are “not following Arizona’s lead” in drafting anti-immigrant legislation. The editorial says that states are “wising up about the folly of what Arizona did.”

And finally: New Jersey is facing steep cuts to education funding, but apparently not steep enough to keep Jersey Shore’s Snooki from receiving a $32,000 speaking fee from Rutgers University, a public school. The school paid her to “dish on her hairstyle, fist pumps” and her lifestyle — $2,000 more than it paid Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison to deliver the schools commencement address.

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