ThinkFast: December 3, 2010

A new employment report from the Labor Department released this morning indicates the U.S. economy added only 39,000 jobs last month, far fewer than the 145,000 that economists had predicted. The unemployment rate edged up to 9.8 percent.

President Obama has “frequently clashed” publicly with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but the Los Angeles Times reports that the White House privately asked business leaders to persuade the right-wing business lobby to “cancel TV ads aimed at defeating Obama’s healthcare plan,” and even asked them to “drop their membership in the Chamber,” as several major companies have done.

Secret “talks between the White House and GOP leaders” are expected to produce White House approval of a deal where unemployment benefits for jobless Americans are extended in return for extending the Bush tax cuts for all Americans.

This Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will force the GOP to vote on two plans “to end Bush-era tax cuts to the nation’s highest income earners.” The Senate will hold cloture votes on both Sen. Max Baucus’s (D-MT) and Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) plans in order to end Republican filibusters blocking them from floor consideration.


Two lawyers, one Republican and one Democrat, who serve on the 9th Circuit Advisory Board write in an L.A. Times op-ed today that that there is a “vacancy crisis” that “threatens our federal judiciary.” “In short,” they write, “the promise of justice remains undelivered to the constituents our federal courts are intended to serve.” They urge both the Senate and the President to act to schedule confirmation votes.

A child nutrition bill heralded by First Lady Michelle Obama passed the House yesterday, 264–157, one day after Republicans blocked the bill. The law expands school lunch programs and sets new standards on the meals, with more fruits and vegetables.

GOP Sens. James Inhofe (OK), John Barrasso (WY), David Vitter (LA), and George Voinovich (OH) urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “to freeze new funding” that helps “poor countries fight climate change.” In a letter sent yesterday, the Senators said they “do not believe that billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars should be transferred to developing countries” when Americans are concerned about deficit spending.

The House of Representatives voted 333–79 last night to censure Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) for corruption including tax dodging, making him the first member of Congress to be censured in almost three decades. “I am confident that when the history of this has been written,” Rangel replied to the vote, “people will recognize that the vote for censure was a very, very, very political vote.”

The House passed a bill yesterday forbidding television advertisers from jacking up the volume on their spots to gain viewers’ attention. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), said she introduced the measure after watching television with her parents, and such commercials “blew us out of the house.”


And finally: Chuck Norris, who long played a Texas Ranger on TV, has now become one in real life. Yesterday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) awarded the actor and conservative commentator “with a designation as an honorary member of the famed law enforcement group.”

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