TPM News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – George Mitchell, former U.S. special envoy for Middle East peace, said on Thursday there was little chance U.S. officials would be able to persuade Palestinian leaders not to seek greater recognition at the United Nations.

Applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose to 414,000 last week, up 2,000 from the week before, the Labor Department reported today. Stocks slipped on the news of continued weakness in the labor market, with the Dow dropping 27.81 points and the S&P falling 5.46 points.

The report follows on the heels of jobless data from last Friday showing that no jobs were created in the month of August. The President is expected to address the dire economic news when he reveals a new jobs plan in his address to a joint session of Congress this evening.

Protesters outside the deficit super committee’s first hearing can be heard shouting, “Jobs! Now!” Watch the hearing’s live stream on C-SPAN here.

The former chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission spoke out on Wednesday, alleging that Perry had him replaced after he got into a confrontation with the governor’s aides while reviewing evidence in a case of possible wrongful execution. Sam Bassett headed the investigation into the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, whose murder conviction rested on testimony that arson experts call ‘outdated’ and ‘incorrect.’ After Bassett was replaced, his successor halted the investigation, citing the same concerns as Perry’s aides had.

Without referring specifically to the Willingham case, moderator Brian Williams asked Gov. Perry if he had ever struggled with the idea that someone who was killed via capital punishment was innocent. Perry responded ‘No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all’ and proceeded to defend the ‘thoughtful’ and ‘clear process’ that Texas goes through before carrying out capital punishment.

Officials in Pennsylvania have ordered the mandatory evacuation of or more than 100,000 people living along Susquehanna River due to massive flooding expected in the region, the AP reports.

The White House has begun circulating talking points to its allies ahead of the president’s jobs speech scheduled for this evening. Advocates are instructed to stress that the American Jobs Act is based on bipartisan ideas, fully-funded by closing corporate tax loopholes and asking the wealthiest of Americans to pay their full share, and will have an immediate impact on job and economic growth.

The talking points are similar in tone to the stump speech the President has been making throughout August, in which he has sought to make it politically uncomfortable, especially for Republicans, not to take action and provide immediate relief to the American people.

The deficit Super Committee will hold its first public hearing Thursday morning, to adopt its rules of self-governance. Then, in a few days it will hear testimony from CBO Director Doug Elmendorf on the origins, future, and consequences of the nation's debt.

That all sounds perfunctory, and in many ways it is. But it will also pose the panel with its first and most basic test: whether its six Democrats and six Republicans can accept a single history of the country's large public debt as a starting point for reining it in. As simple as that should be, it's anything but.

Outside of partisan politics, the backstory here is pretty uncontroversial.

Read More →

President Obama is heading straight into the lion's den tonight with his joint address to Congress on jobs, an obvious but bold use of a televised primetime address to lay out his ideas for getting people back to work while shifting some of the onus for turning the economy around to his Republicans critics in Congress.

Less than 24 hours later, the President may appear to be venturing into even hotter enemy territory when he tries to drive his economic message home in a speech in Richmond, Va., home to one of his biggest critics in Congress, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).

Read More →

The Great Recession has been more than an economic downturn. The term "downturn" suggests the situation is fairly short and fixable, a temporary flattening in America's unending economic slope. It has been three years since the stock market tanked and contraction started, and the Obama administration just announced that it expects unemployment to remain above 9 percent through 2012. So, forget short. But what about fixable?

President Obama's jobs speech may be highly anticipated by the media and in Washington, but it seems certain that the GOP majority in the House will reject whatever Obama proposes. And as we've seen with the deficit reduction proposals that the super committee could undertake as part of their deficit reduction task, the priorities of Congress and what the American people would accept is oftentimes at odds.

Read More →