Not Bad Enough

The July employment report isn’t bad, but that doesn’t mean it’s good, either. On the bright side, total private-sector payrolls increased by 154,000, a massive increase over the 18,000 jobs created in June. What’s more, the June numbers improved as well; after revision, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the economy created 46,000 jobs that month. A poor number, but not as catastrophic as originally reported. Still, the picture dims as you look further into the new numbers. Total public-sector payrolls decreased by 37,000, as state and local governments cut wokers in response to slow growth and low revenues.

Tim Pawlenty, Scientician

If you're a Republican presidential candidate, chances are that a few years ago you supported cap-and-trade as a market-based means of reducing carbon emissions to deal with climate change, but today you have to say that that approach was misconceived. But just how far do you have to go on this? One approach is to say that, sure, climate change is happening, but we just shouldn't bother to do anything about it.

Any 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Is Electable

Responding to Paul's post about Rick Perry's identity politics, Kevin Drum writes:

For the record, I don't think Perry can win the Republican nomination, and I know that he can't beat Obama in a general election. I'd love to see him try, though.

To the Super Committee, and Beyond!

With Republicans beginning to focus their efforts on passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and further spending cuts via the “super committee,” it’s natural to wonder what plan – if any – Democrats have for the coming months. At a meeting this morning with liberal bloggers, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi explained her strategy and how Democrats would move forward after the August recess.

The Challenge of Reporting on the Loony

Let's say you're a reporter doing a story on a politically important group that propagates ideas that are, shall we say, troubling. How do you describe these ideas? As much as we might criticize reporters for mindless "he said/she said" coverage, finding the best alternative isn't always clear cut.

Live by Identity Politics, Die by Identity Politics

Politico tells us that some GOP elites are not too excited about Rick Perry's potential presidential candidacy. Here are a few excerpts:

"What we don’t know about Gov. Perry is how he'll perform on the national stage. We know he's got a great record in Texas," [GOP strategist Charlie] Black said. "How well does he campaign in states that have different cultures? You know, non-Southern, non-Western states."...

Still, many Republicans express alarm about the possibility of nominating a man whom several compared to a "Saturday Night Live" caricature – "Will Ferrell doing a George W. Bush imitation," as one state GOP chairman said...

Choosing the Appropriate Inflammatory Metaphor

At the moment, the most popular item on The Washington Post website is this blog post from Charles Lane, taking Democrats to task for referring to Tea Partiers as "terrorists." Apparently, Lane is unfamiliar with the concept of "metaphor" and believes it is inaccurate to call Tea Partiers terrorists, since they have not literally sent suicide bombers into the Capitol:

Meanwhile, on the Victimhood News Network...

Yes, America may be mired in an economic swamp that both parties just decided to make worse. But if you're looking for something to feel at least a little bit good about, consider that no one takes this buffoon seriously anymore:

The Debt-Ceiling Crises of the Future

As I've been saying for some time, when it comes to violating previously unquestioned norms of behavior, the Republicans are the party of "Yes we can!" and the Democrats are the party of "Maybe we shouldn't." As Think Progress tells us, Mitch McConnell is quite clear that since hostage-taking worked so well for Republicans this time around, they're quite happy to do it again, and again, and again:

More Democratic Capitulation to Come?

Our ongoing debt battle will soon move to its next phase, where the 12-member "super Congress" will attempt to negotiate $1.8 trillion in further budget cuts; if they can't come to an agreement, or if they do come to an agreement and their plan isn't adopted by the full non-super Congress, a package of cuts, taken equally from defense and non-defense discretionary spending (with a few programs held harmless) goes into effect. Jonathan Chait sees a silver lining in all this:

What Would the Supreme Court Do?

Jeffrey Rosen has an interesting piece on how the Supreme Court would treat the Obama administration circumventing a default by invoking the 14th Amendment. Since the House hasn't passed the relevant legislation yet, the question is worth considering. Rosen argues that the Court would be very unlikely to rule such an action unconstitutional for two reasons: 1) it would contradict existing precedent on standing and "political questions," and 2) a majority of the Court wouldn't want to do it anyway.

No Deal Is the Best Deal for GOP Presidential Candidates

If you want a sense of how far right the Republican base is right now, even with the GOP’s huge victory on the debt ceiling, look no further than the Republican presidential candidates and their statements on the agreement reached last night.

For erstwhile moderate Mitt Romney, the deal is a non-starter:

Under Health-Care Reform, Contraception Is Free

Today, the Department of Health and Human services announced that contraception will be included in a list of preventative services that women's insurance plans will provide free of charge. That means they'll be provided without co-insurance charges or co-pays. The services include:

Blame Where It's Due

So far, the response to the debt-ceiling deal announced last night has been as asymmetrical as its contents; the right has been mum, with few Republicans coming out to condemn or praise the agreement. The left, on the other hand, is apoplectic. That’s because the deal – which slashes spending by $1 trillion over the next decade, creates a bipartisan committee tasked with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, and establishes a “trigger” designed to enforce the cuts mandated by the agreement -- seems to be a full-on handout to the right wing of the Republican Party.