Friday Night Fun and Culture

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Inside December Jobs Report, Labor Force Hits ‘Stunning New Low’

From The Huffington Post:

Lila Shapiro

January 7, 2011

After a week of promising signs for an improving economy, the news from Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report on the state of jobs in America is bleaker than anticipated.

Although the unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent from 9.8 percent in December, bringing the total number of officially unemployed Americans to 14.5 million, only 103,000 jobs were added in December according to the Labor Department’s BLS report — a number significantly lower than expected. (The Wall Street Journal reported that many Wall Street analysts were predicting “at or above 200,000” new jobs.)

The news gets worse: less than half of the drop in unemployment rate can be attributed to new job creation — the other half came from 260,000 Americans who have dropped out of the labor force altogether. This brings the percentage of Americans who are either employed or actively looking for work down to 64.3 percent, what economist Heidi Shierholz calls “a stunning new low for the recession.”

“The overarching story here is that this represents the continued slog of the recovery.” Shierholz, of the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute, said. “It’s the same old bright spots that we’ve been seeing, we continue to see: temporary help services, health jobs, restaurants and bars — all up.” The report shows some growth in health care and leisure services, with most other industries staying static.

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Washington Post columnist compares Darrell Issa to Joe McCarthy

From Raw Story:

By Sahil Kapur
Thursday, January 6th, 2011

A longtime columnist and associate editor of the Washington Post suggested the new House oversight chairman might follow in the footsteps of one of US history’s most notorious demagogues.

David Ignatius on Wednesday warned Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his Republican colleagues not to get too comfortable with their new subpoena powers, writing on the Washington Post‘s “PostPartisan” blog that it would tempt them to pursue “witch-hunts.”

In the post — titled “Is Darrell Issa the new Joe McCarthy?” — Ignatius examines Issa’s expressed desires to conduct a panoply of probes into the Obama administration, which the California Republican has labeled “one of the most corrupt.”

“When you see the righteous gleam in Issa’s eye, recall other zealous congressional investigators who claimed to be doing the public’s business but ended up pursuing vendettas,” Ignatius wrote. “… And, more chilling, I think of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s use of that subcommittee to probe what he imagined was Communist Party subversion in America.”

McCarthy, a US Senator from Wisconsin during the 1940s and 1950s, was branded a demagogue and censured by the Senate for impugning the patriotism of public servants without cause, after which he resigned in disgrace.

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