Action Alert: Fight Back Against GOP Attempts to Scuttle Hilda Solis’ Nomination

by matttbastard

ZP Heller @ OpenLeft:

The Senate Labor committee postponed [Hilda] Solis’ nomination yesterday because of a recent USA Today report about her husband’s outstanding California tax liens. (NOTE: it was her husband’s auto repair business, not anything to do with Solis herself.)  Though the tax liens have since been repaid, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and his Republican cohorts are still delaying the confirmation vote, claiming they need to investigate Solis’ involvement with American Rights at Work (ARAW), a pro-labor non-profit.  But this really boils down to the GOP’s inherent fears over the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill Solis co-sponsored in the House that would enable workers to unionize more easily and negotiate for equitable wages and benefits and safer working conditions.

[…]

Solis might understand the needs of workers better than anyone in Congress. There’s no question she could help ensure President Obama’s plan to create 3.6 million jobs by next year actually happens.  We must fight like hell to get her approved. Join this Facebook page and help confirm Hilda Solis now. Then, sign American Rights at Work’s petition to support the Employee Free Choice, where you snag their Employee Free Choice widget for your own personal blog.

Go.

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Hey, What’s the Rush?

by matttbastard

Nearly 600, 000 American jobs were lost in the month of December, the largest single month loss since 1974.  These latest figures bring the total number of jobs shed in the last 3 months to 1.8 million.  As a result, the US unemployment rate is now pushing 8%.

Chris Isidore of CNNMoney.com puts those numbers into proper context:

As bad as the unemployment rate was, it only tells part of the story for people struggling to find jobs. Friday’s report also showed that 2.6 million people have now been out of work for more than six months, the most long-term unemployed since 1983.

And that number only counts those still looking for work. The so-called underemployment rate, which includes those who have stopped looking for work and people working only part-time that want full-time positions, climbed to 13.9% from 13.5% in December. That is the highest rate for this measure since the Labor Department first started tracking it in 1994.

Absolutely “devastating”, as President Obama just observed during a news conference introducing his new emergency economic advisory board.

Yet, as Ali Frick at Think Progress acidly points out, “Republicans are stonewalling action to help the economy recover. Even as millions of Americans are losing their jobs, conservative Senators insist that there’s no rush to help them.”

Watch it:

Transcript:

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): We do not need any more news conferences. What we need is getting more than 16 people in a room. We need to slow down, take a timeout, and get it right.

ROGER WICKER (R-MS): As Thomas Jefferson reminded Americans in his day — and I quote — “Delay is preferable to error.” Let’s not rush into doing this the wrong way.

JOHN ENSIGN (R-NV): So we need to act much more responsibly than this bill acts. It’s still time. There is no hurry.

TOM COBURN (R-OK): There’s no reason for us to hurry up, number one. There’s no reason for us not to look at every area of this bill and make sure the [American] people know about it.

Paul Krugman doesn’t mince words in his column today:

Over the last two weeks, what should have been a deadly serious debate about how to save an economy in desperate straits turned, instead, into hackneyed political theater, with Republicans spouting all the old clichés about wasteful government spending and the wonders of tax cuts.

It’s as if the dismal economic failure of the last eight years never happened — yet Democrats have, incredibly, been on the defensive. Even if a major stimulus bill does pass the Senate, there’s a real risk that important parts of the original plan, especially aid to state and local governments, will have been emasculated.

Somehow, Washington has lost any sense of what’s at stake — of the reality that we may well be falling into an economic abyss, and that if we do, it will be very hard to get out again.

[…]

Would the Obama economic plan, if enacted, ensure that America won’t have its own lost decade? Not necessarily: a number of economists, myself included, think the plan falls short and should be substantially bigger. But the Obama plan would certainly improve our odds. And that’s why the efforts of Republicans to make the plan smaller and less effective — to turn it into little more than another round of Bush-style tax cuts — are so destructive.

As Obama put it in a speech to Democratic lawmakers last night (h/t Steve Benen), “[Y]ou get the argument, ‘Well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill.’ What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point. No, seriously. That’s the point.”

Watch it:

Benen further notes that “The Politico‘s Jonathan Martin said that the president’s urgent tone was “reminiscent of the final days of the campaign.” It was actually more than just reminiscent — at one point, Obama literally asked lawmakers, “Fired up?” They shouted back, “Ready to go!“”

So, let’s go.  Now.

Take action: Contact your senator and demand they cease with the tiresome, frivolous political theatrics and pass this recovery package intact (not a watered-down goddamn bullshit “moderate” compromise version) ASAP.

Go.

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Record-Breaking Canadian Job Losses in January

by matttbastard

Happy Job Catastrophe Friday:

The recession hit home where Canadians live last month as a massive 129,000 workers joined the ranks of the unemployed and the country’s jobless rate surged to 7.2 per cent.

It was the worst monthly employment drop in at least three decades, topping figures seen in either of the two previous recessions in the 1980s and 1990s.

Almost all the jobs were full-time and were mostly in a battered manufacturing sector that has been most affected by the severe downturn in the United States.

The carnage was everywhere. Ontario shed 71,000 jobs, half in the manufacturing sector. British Columbia and Quebec workers were also hit hard with losses of 35,000 and 26,000 respectively.

Since October, when most economists say the global recession hit Canada’s shores, the country has lost a whopping 213,000 jobs, wiping out a year’s gains.

Somebody get Guinness on the horn — Statistics Canada calls this “the largest employment decrease since the agency began keeping what it described as comparable figures in 1976.”  Highly “regrettable” hemorrhaging, as hapless Finance Minister Jim Flaherty blandly  put it last night.  Understatement as performance art — I love our (probationary!) Conservative government.

And let’s not be Negative Nancys.  Displaying that keen sense of priorities that sets apart the Queensway elite from the scrum, Chantal Hebert proudly reports that civility has finally returned to the House of Commons, welcome news that should help salve the pain of economic woes.  Try not to rejoice too boisterously (not that y’all can, um, afford to celebrate with anything more extravegant than a bottle of Baby Duck and a box of Kraft Dinner).

Anyway, here’s hoping those 129,000 newly unemployed individuals are all eligible for EI.

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