President Obama chats with Col. Mike Minihan while making his way to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. the President is heading to Albany to visit the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s Albany NanoTech Complex at the State University of New York and to speak on the economy.
AP: U.S. companies in March posted the highest number of job openings in nearly four years, a sign that hiring could strengthen in the coming months after slowing this spring.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised 3.74 million job openings in March. That’s up from a revised 3.57 million in February. The March figure was the highest since July 2008, just before the financial crisis erupted that fall.
The increase in job openings suggests that weaker hiring gains in March and April could be temporary. It usually takes one to three months for employers to fill openings…..
Steve Benen: ‘With a polarized Congress already on the defensive, President Obama on Tuesday will outline a five-point “to do” list for lawmakers that packages job creation and mortgage relief ideas he has proposed before, administration officials say.
Mr. Obama will present the election-year list during a visit to a university science complex in Albany. The components of his challenge to Congress – and to the Republican-led House in particular – will be a feature of his appearances throughout the spring, aides said.’
…. Will Congress approve the list? Well, no, probably not. While these fairly non-controversial ideas might have been easy to pass in previous years, Republican filibusters and GOP control of the House probably makes any kind of economic legislation impossible. It’s not even clear if Republican lawmakers want the economy to improve before the election.
Then why bother? I suspect the point is to show the president presenting mainstream economic ideas that would have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, while a do-nothing Republican Congress sits on its hands…..
Charles P. Pierce (Esquire): Why Does Everybody Hate Mitt? …. I’ve cast my memory back as far as I can, and I cannot recall a major politician of either party who causes so many members of his party to spit (metaphorically, one hopes) at the simple mention of his name. And this is not a recent phenomenon. One of the few insights worthy of anyone’s time in that horrible Game Change book was the fact that, by the end of the 2008 presidential cycle, all of the other Republican candidates had come to despise Willard. (John McCain was apoplectic on the subject, even by McCain’s standards, which are considerable.) This now has seemed to transfer itself to the Republican electorate in general. Nobody likes this guy…..
On the surface, this elemental loathing seems disproportionate, even if you take into account how much of the GOP’s Jesus-jammin’ base distrusts the extended coven into which Romney was born …. Willard is something of a foof who spends all his time falling a few yards short of sincerity. He speaks a form of trust-fund English that can be off-putting. He is as utterly unprincipled as a politician can be, and he’s about as trustworthy as a puff adder… all Romney’s done is change his position on a whole host of issues, and talk like the guy who’s come to repossess the family farm…..
President Obama, flanked by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, in the Roosevelt Room, Nov 28
WH: Over the weekend, a report by the Associated Press detailed how the Affordable Care Act is dramatically reducing drug costs for seniors who hit the prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole. This year, seniors are benefiting from a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole. And the discount and other provisions in the law are saving money for seniors. As the AP reported:
The average beneficiary who falls into the coverage gap would have spent $1,504 this year on prescriptions. But thanks to discounts and other provisions in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, that cost fell to $901…
…. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, seniors will receive bigger discounts in the years ahead. By 2020, the donut hole will be closed completely.
And even if you don’t hit the donut hole, there’s still good news for beneficiaries with Medicare Part D. Prescription drug premiums will not rise next year, and thanks to health reform, seniors can get preventive services like mammograms and other cancer screenings for free.
Harold Pollack (Washington Monthly): ….. Many progressives – me, for instance – worry that OWS will promote destructive alienation from the hard and sustained work of conventional politics. If a sizeable chunk of progressive youth are passive in 2012, that is the functional equivalent of a Nader candidacy.
The best way to prevent this is to find an aspect of conventional politics that can genuinely excite and move these protesters into positive action that serves their own values and long-term goals …. Perhaps earnest substantive emails about health reform should do that – given the Affordable Care Act’s impact on millions of low-income people….
Ari Berman’s fantastic reporting describes Republican efforts across the country to establish subtle (or not-so-subtle) roadblocks to hinder voting among minorities, poor people, ex-felons, and the young … This is an obvious effort to turn the 2012 electorate into an older and whiter group that resembles the 2010 electorate rather than the 2008 electorate that brought Barack Obama to the White House.
…. Occupy Wall Street organizers: I believe you should resonate with this issue. GOP officials are trying to disenfranchise people like you: college students with university IDs not gun permits, young people and minority urban residents who don’t drive, and so on.
Robert Shrum (The Week): The GOP’s desperate hunt for anyone but Mitt Romney – Herman Cain unravels. Rick Perry stumbles. And Republicans keep praying that someone will rescue them from the flip-flopping Romney.
… Maybe tea is a hallucinogen; maybe the GOP is demented – and it will nominate him (Cain) anyway. If that happened, it’s certain that President Obama would win by even more then he did in 2008.
….. He’s the latest in a procession of preposterous Republican candidates who have soared across the party’s firmament … The GOP’s primary voters have been relentlessly looking for Mr. Un-Romney…..
Alan Krueger (White House): Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the pace of improvement is not fast enough.
Private sector payrolls increased by 104,000, and overall payroll employment rose by 80,000 in October. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage point to 9.0 percent, a level that remains unacceptably high.
Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 20 straight months, for a total of 2.8 million jobs over that period. We need faster economic growth to put more Americans back to work. Today’s report provides further evidence for why it is so important that Congress pass the President’s American Jobs Act ….
Timothy Egan (NYT): For a Republican Party that has spent the better part of its presidential campaign proving that most of its candidates are not smarter than a fifth grader, the real scandal around frontrunner-of-the-moment Herman Cain is not what he knows. It’s what he doesn’t know.
…. China, said Cain with his clueless urgency, is “trying to develop nuclear capability.” Anyone who is gobsmacked by this category five level of ignorance concerning a country that has had nuclear weapons for more than 45 years has not been paying attention. Cain makes Sarah Palin, with her eagle-eyed view of Russia from Alaska, sound like a Council of Foreign Relations scholar on a gasbag high.
The clowns have finally taken over the circus, and I mean this with all due respect to those who labor with painted faces and oversized shoes…..
Steve Benen: On the Senate floor yesterday afternoon, Senate Republicans killed a popular jobs bill, despite the fact that a majority of senators supported the legislation. But the public’s understanding of what transpired will be shaped by the media’s coverage…..
…. CNN’s headline, at least online, read, “Competing infrastructure spending measures fail in Senate.” Here’s the lede: “In a pair of votes aimed more at making political points than law, the Senate rejected competing Democratic and Republican proposals to boost construction of roadways and other infrastructure projects.”….
Politico’s report was even worse. The headline read, “Senate gridlock: Both parties block jobs bills.” And check out the lede: “Rival Democratic and Republican jobs bills failed in the Senate on Thursday, the latest sign of the partisan gridlock gripping Washington…..”.
No, no, a thousand times, no. This just isn’t what happened…..