ThinkFast: August 6, 2010

The Labor Department’s employment report released this morning indicates the U.S. economy lost 131,000 jobs last month. Much of the decrease was due to the completion of work performed by temporary Census workers. Private-sector employment edged up by 71,000. June’s employment figures were revised downward from 125,000 jobs lost to 221,000.

The Obama administration named 14 U.S.-based individuals who were accused of being part of a “deadly pipeline” that routed money and fighters to the Somali al-Shabab network. “Attorney General Eric Holder said the indictments reflect a disturbing trend of recruitment efforts targeting U.S. residents to become terrorists.”

Yesterday, the Republican National Committee adopted a change to party rules requiring future candidates to “sign a pledge promising not to oppose their party’s eventual nominee in the race or else forego any national party money for their campaign effort.” The loyalty oath is meant to avoid defections like that of Gov. Charlie Crist, who dropped out of the GOP primary race to run as an independent.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell yesterday publicly asked WikiLeaks to return the tens of thousands of classified U.S. field reports from the war in Afghanistan it made available on its website earlier this month, as well as the 15,000 additional documents it may soon release. “We are asking them to do the right thing and not further exacerbate the damage done to date,” Morrell said.


“The number of Army soldiers forced to serve beyond their commitment has been cut in half in the past year and is on track to be eliminated by March 2011.” The practice, known as “stop loss,” has affected the majority of the Army’s soldiers since 2001, and has been blamed for low morale an even high suicide rates.

Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, yesterday announced that she was resigning and returning “to her old job as an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley.” Romer was “instrumental” in crafting the stimulus and reportedly “frustrated” with her lack of “a direct line to the president.” Her resignation is effective Sept. 3.

BP “finished pumping cement into the top of the Macondo well” Thursday after the U.S. government “ordered that nothing be left to chance in ending the world’s biggest offshore oil spill.” While the cement provides “a permanent seal” on the well, the well won’t be permanently killed until a relief well is completed later this month.

James Clapper won Senate approval yesterday to become the fourth Director of National Intelligence in five years. Clapper’s confirmation was “turbulent” as three Republican senators sought to use his nomination “as leverage to gain concessions” from President Obama on the release of Guantanamo detainees.

Senate Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues last night “to pass legislation boosting border security funding by $600 million, including money for 1,500 new border personnel, a pair of unmanned drones and operating bases.” The “Senate passed the Democrat-sponsored bill by unanimous consent and forwarded it to the House,” which passed a similar bill last week.


And finally: Elvis Presley, an Elvis Presley impersonator, is running for governor of Arkansas as a write-in candidate, he announced Wednesday. “People will find out I’m for real,” Presley told reporters.

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