TPM News

One day after a precipitous slide in the financial markets spurred new speculation about a double-dip recession, President Obama sought to reassure Americans that the country is slowly recovering from its economic crisis with a light at the end of a very long tunnel.

The President pointed to the slightly better than expected jobs numbers the Labor Department announced early Friday as proof of the nation's steady but fragile economic recovery. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 9.1 percent as July nonfarm payrolls grew by 117,000 jobs - slightly beating expectations.

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This Tuesday six state Senate recalls will be held in Wisconsin against Republican incumbents, launched in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker's policies against public employee unions, with the potential for control of the chamber to flip to the Democrats. And for his part, WisPolitics reports, Walker now says that result is "out of our hands" and with the voters.

"I believe if given the facts they're going to make good decisions," Walker told reporters, after a ceremony opening the State Fair in Milwaukee. "Sometimes they're going to be decisions that side with me, sometimes they're going to be with others, but I'm going to respect their decision."

However, Walker stood by his predictions that voters would realize the benefits of his legislation: "I think slowly they will see, and overall the school programs have gotten better."

Several internet service providers across the United States are using an online service to secretly spy on, and redirect their subscribers' online searches, according to a group of researchers at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California.

The ISPs are monitoring, intercepting, and redirecting the searches that their subscribers are performing through the search boxes in their browsers, say the researchers.

"Instead of returning a legitimate address for search.yahoo.com, www.bing.com, and (sometimes) www.google.com, these ISPs returned the address of proxy servers," Nick Weaver, one of the researchers, told TPM.

"These proxy servers impersonate the legitimate search engine by transparently forwarding requests to the legitimate search engine, but have the ability to both monitor all queries and change the results."

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The U.S. economy added 117,000 jobs in July, beating analysts' expectations in a better-than-expected report, but still not offering much of a sign that a robust recovery was taking shape. The unemployment rate also ticked down from 9.2% to 9.1%.

Private non-farm payrolls actually increased by 154,000, but a loss of 37,000 government jobs dragged the total figure down.

U.S. stock markets, whose futures had been down following sharp overnight losses in Asian and European markets, opened in positive territory on the news.

Jobs numbers were also revised upward for June and May, noting that the economy added an additional 56,000 and 46,000 jobs in those months respectively.

The wait is over! Rick Perry will host his much-buzzed about Christian prayer-fest "The Response" in Houston on Saturday, where participants will ask for divine help to overcome America's myriad problems.

"A historic crisis facing our nation and threatening our future demands a historic response from the church," Perry said in a video recorded to promote the event. "We must, as a people, return to the faith and hope of our fathers. The ancient paths of great men were blazed in prayer - the humility of the truly great men of history was revealed in their recognition of the power and might of Jesus to save all who call on His great name."

It's a far cry from the Perry of 2002, who was described in a Texas Monthly profile as reluctant to discuss his faith in public. Asked how his religion informed his politics, he replied: "I don't think it does, particularly."

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Here's a tip for the tea party Republican attempting to win a general election: don't let Democrats find out you employed Chinese labor to publish your books about American heroism.

Such is the fate of Kim Simac, a tea party leader founder and Republican party choice to win the Wisconsin state Senate recall election against incumbent Democratic Sen. Jim Holperin. Simac was last seen scrubbing the web of her past writings comparing the public schools to Nazi Germany.

Now she's stuck having to explain away why her uber-patriotic children's books are published in China.

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Well, Congress has done it. It's hit its highest disapproval ratings since the New York Times/CBS News poll was created in 1977. In the wake of the debt debate, a full 82% of Americans are displeased with the legislative branch, with only 14% approval.

It's not so much the deal that was struck on the debt ceiling increase, which Americans were split on: 46% actually approved of the deal versus 45%. It was the perceived motivations that have people upset. 82% of the poll's respondents said that disagreements between parties on the debt ceiling debate were due to "gaining political advantage," rather than "doing what's best for the country," which only 14% saw as the motivator for Congress. Those numbers perfectly mirrored the general Congressional ratings.

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