Showing posts from December, 2010

Crew of 42: Rep. Bobby Scott: 99ers Want Work, Need Assistance

Courtesy of Lauren Burke at Crew of 42, an interview with Rep. Bobby Scott on the need for a bill to help the 99ers:

Crew of 42 Reports: New Bill Introduced To Help 99ers

Lauren Burke at Crew of 42 and Daily Kos is reporting news of a new bill, H. R. 6556, that's been written to help the 99ers.As reported, the bill will provide 14 additional weeks of emergency unemployment compensation in Tier I.Quoting from Crew of 42:This additional benefit will be available for those who have exhausted all their benefits (99ers and other exhaustees) as well as those who will be unemployed this year.This expansion is similar to the expansion in Nov. 2009 which provided an additional week of benefits to Tier II.Adding these extra weeks in Tier I makes them available for all chronically unemployed and not only those currently collecting unemployment benefits from a "high unemployment state."

Shepard Smith On Blockers Of 9/11 Responders Bill: 'How Do They Sleep At Night?'

(Updated below x3) Perhaps spurred by the previous night's episode of The Daily Show, Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace spent about three minutes discussing the failure to pass the Zadroga Act. Listen and look at the language they use:"how do they sleep at night?""are they gonna get that done?""it's a national shame""Congress""it's all political""who's gonna hold these peoples' feet to the fire?""everybody who voted against it""politicians who wrap themselves in the flag of 9/11"Not once do they make mention of Democrats or Republicans in the entire segment. And from Fox's perspective, there's a good reason why, as evidenced by the votes for the Zadroga Act in the House and the Senate.

An Opportunity

Real Time Economics posted one of the most read and commented blog entries from Friday's Wall Street Journal. "Unemployment Extension Won't Help 99ers" lays out the problem with the just-signed tax cut deal in a nutshell:"The extension for unemployment benefits that is part of the compromise tax deal is good news for many of the unemployed, but it won't provide aid to anyone who's been out of a job over 99 weeks"The article caught the attention of The American Prospect:Well, as The Wall Street Journal suggests, liberals (myself included) might have made a mistake by not subjecting the extension to more scrutiny, since - for all of its good - it doesn't actually provide aid to anyone who's been out of work for more than 99 weeksSenators and House members have gotten it wrong, too, as Arthur Delaney at the Huffington Post reports:(Sen. Orrin) Hatch joins Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who in the past few weeks…

The Daily Show - Worst Responders

Senate Republicans filibuster the Zadroga bill but pass tax cuts for the wealthy, which is great news for firefighters who make over $200,000 a yearThe Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cWorst Responderswww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

After 99 Weeks, Then What?

Reporting on the 99ers from the St. Louis Beacon:Until the economy begins adding jobs, Rosen believes that the nation needs to provide for its jobless. While the current legislation reinstates 99 weeks of benefits for about 2 million Americans, he warns that they, too, will eventually become 99ers if they don't find work."If we pass unemployment insurance to 99ers, everybody says, 'What will it do to the deficit? And what's going to happen to our children's and our grandchildren's future?' That's a good question. But in a lot of instances the future is now for a lot of Americans," Rosen said.Rosen said the real goal is to save the U.S. economy."Obviously the end goal is to get all of America back to work," he said. "Nobody wants to sit home on the couch. Those who are unemployed who are still fortunate enough to be receiving an unemployment insurance check they don't want to sit home and receive a check that is only a fraction o…

The Daily Show: Lame-as-F@#k Congress

Here's a tribute to the few Republican senators who find comfort and advantage in invoking the heroes of 9/11 but refuse to give them health care. Also, too, Governor Schwarzenegger has a message for you.The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cLame-as-F@#k Congresswww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Judge Hudson, Meet EMTALA

US District Court Judge Henry Hudson found that Congress cannot order individuals to buy health insurance. In his opinion, he writes:(T)he Secretary urges an expansive interpretation of the concept of activity. She posits that every individual in the United States will require health care at some point in their lifetime, if not today, perhaps next week or even next year. Her theory further postulates that because near-universal participation is critical to the underwriting process, the collective effect of refusal to purchase health insurance affects the national market. Therefore, she argues, requiring advance purchase of insurance based upon a future contingency is an activity that will inevitably affect interstate commerce. Of course, the same reasoning could apply to transportation, housing, or nutritional decisions. This broad definition of the economic activity subject to congressional regulation lacks logical limitation and is unsupported by Commerce Clause jurisprudence.Judge …

A Little Group of Willful Men

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cRepublicans Block 9/11 Health Care Billwww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on FacebookHere"s the roll call vote on the Zadroga Act: notice the (R) next to the names of the nay votes and the "not voting" votes?Woodrow Wilson said it best when he described the Senate as:"A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great Government of the United States helpless and contemptible."Republicans, where is your shame? The attacks of September 11, 2001 were an attack on the Nation. The men and women who responded to the scene of the attacks demonstrated their full measure of duty and devotion. How can you possibly disregard their service and the debt we as a nation owe them?

A Response to @GrassrootTroopr - Part II

Part I details the Twitter dialogue. Part II, the rebuttal.ClotureThe rules of the Senate allow for unlimited debate unless cloture is invoked. It takes 60 votes to pass a cloture motion, which means that the 59 Senate Democrats can't do it by themselves: they need at least one Republican. The problem is that Republicans have been threatening to filibuster bills at an unprecedented rate: 131 cloture motions have been filed since the start of the 111th Congress. In the words of Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, Republican filibuster threats are "like throwing molasses in the road." Even worse: When bills do come up for a vote, they often pass with significant Republican support: recent votes were decided by 69-26, 74-25 and 84-14 margins. Republicans aren't only using filibuster threats as a way to extract concessions: they're also using filibuster threats as a way to run out as much of the clock as they can. The more time it takes one bill to pa…

A Response to @GrassrootTroopr - Part I

In response to a recent tweet, I had an interesting, sometimes challenging, sometimes frustrating conversation with a right-wing tweeter named @GrassrootTroopr (@GT). I've copied the tweets here and drafted a more comprehensive rebuttal to his assertions in part two.@H9: "Only in the US Senate would a 59-1 vote in favor of a bill fail. #p2 #tcot"@GT: "My recommendation to those in the Senate would be to make necessary changes to whatever bill it is, so that cloture can be achieved. What say you?"@H9: "This is what that process looks like today:"@GT: "Yeah, it was that way on taking over car companies, nationalizing student loans, nationalizing banks & healthcare. NOT! Obama rammed it thru."

The Club For Growth Hasn't A Clue

David Keating, executive director of the Club for Growth, is quoted in a current BBC article about the 99ers.Mr. Keating argues people should take out their own unemployment insurance, to prepare for the worst case scenario. "People can buy insurance for all kinds of things, there's no reason why they can't buy their own unemployment insurance," he adds.Except for the fact that there's a really good reason why they can't: unemployment insurance is "nearly impossible to find at any price".

2 Million Additional 99ers in December

The 99ers community are those out-of-work men and women who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, which are currently capped at 99 weeks. Unless Congress authorizes an extension of UI benefits, 2 million Americans will be added to the list of exhaustees at the end of this month. Of note: nothing in any current proposal will extend benefits past 99 weeks. The 99ers community remains, figuratively and literally, out in the cold.Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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The Bikini Graph for November 2010

Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly devised this chart, showing the number of job losses from the onset of the Great Recession. This version of the graph shows private-sector jobs only, and the accompanying articles (here and here) are must reads for everyone who is concerned about jobs, unemployment and economic policy.

It Shouldn't Have To Be This Way

Another must-read from Steve Benen:
...It's maddening because, as the jobs crisis fails to get better, one might think policymakers would see developments and say, "Hmm, maybe we ought to do something."But they won't because they can't. Conceivably, a massive stimulus - focused on infrastructure, among other things - could come up in Congress, but nervous House Dems wouldn't want to vote for it, and it'd never overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Best of all, conservatives have done a masterful job at rigging the game - Americans have been convinced over the last 22 months that the most effective policies happen to be the worst. Taking steps to improve a struggling economy, ironically enough, has become wildly unpopular, making worthwhile ideas so far off the table, they're not even brought up.It's reached the point at which Republicans proudly block extended jobless benefits, with an unemployment rate near 10%, because they assume they&…

Unemployed, and Likely to Stay That Way

An article in the December 2, 2010 edition of the New York Times reports:
The longer people stay out of work, the more trouble they have finding new work, adding to the challenge for policy makers trying to reduce joblessness.

Employment Situation Summary - November 2010

The unemployment rate edged up to 9.8 percent in November, and nonfarm payroll employment was little changed (+39,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Temporary help services and health care continued to add jobs over the month, while employment fell in retail trade. Employment in most major industries changed little in the full report at

If You Want To Help The Nation, Help The Unemployed

From last night's Rachel Maddow Show:Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy