Steve Benen: The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, and today’s report offers additional good news.
In fact, the new figures are the best since April 2008, and even exceeded positive expectations:
The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by 6,000 last week to 357,000, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected claims would total 360,000, seasonally adjusted, in the week ended March 31. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 363,000 from 359,000. The average of new-benefit applications over the past four weeks, meanwhile, dropped by 4,250 to 361,750.
President Obama signs the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act as Small Business leaders and members of Congress, including Eric Cantor, look on
President Barack Obama greets participants In the Roosevelt Room of the White House prior to signing the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, April 5 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Washington Post: New numbers from a USA Today/Gallup poll of 12 swing states suggests that Mitt Romney is quickly losing support among independent voters – a voting bloc considered the crown jewel of the 2012 election.
Romney’s number in Gallup polling has dropped 10 points among independents since last fall, while President Obama’s number is up by nearly that same amount during the same time frame.
Romney’s struggles among independents are due almost entirely to the fact that independent women, who were voting for him over Obama by 5 points last fall, now favor the Democratic incumbent by a 51 percent-to-37 percent margin.
ThinkProgress: PepsiCo, the world’s second largest beverage company, has ended its partnership with ALEC, the controversial right-wing group that lobbies for voter suppression efforts. Pepsi’s move, which actually came in January but was first reported this morning by NPR, may also have had a role in compelling Coca-Cola to drop its support for ALEC.
Yesterday, progressive advocacy group Color of Change announced a boycott effort targeting several other corporations that are still members of the group, which for years has partnered with elected officials at a state level to draft and pass controversial, far-right legislation. Just a few hours later, Coke announced that they too are severing ties with the ALEC.
Actress Julianne Moore, who was just in town for the D.C. premiere of “Game Change,” will be back on Monday for an event at the White House.
Moore, who played Sarah Palin in the controversial HBO flick, will read to children at the annual Easter Egg Roll, the White House announced on Twitter. Actor Forest Whitaker, Disney star Bella Thorne and Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” will also take part in the reading.
A bunch of celebrity chefs will also be on hand, including Andrew Zimmern, Richard Blais, Marcus Samuelsson, Carla Hall and Bryan Voltaggio. Other notables you might see wandering around the South Lawn: Andy Roddick, Michelle Kwan and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Ed Kilgore: You never know how these things are going to turn out, but I get the feeling that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ comparison of Democratic claims of a GOP “war on women” to a hypothetical “war on caterpillars” could be an iconic moment in the 2012 election cycle. No, it won’t necessarily change any votes right away, but it is likely to become a convenient symbol of the cavalier attitude the GOP has towards “women’s issues.”
I’m waaaaaaay behind with all this news today, apologies!
In case you missed Hachikō’s update, she will be staying tonight with one of the great people here who offered to help. I’m sure when she gets a chance she’ll update us on her situation, the main thing, for now, is that she is safe.