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Unemployment Down, Food Stamps Use Up, Pointing to Recovery’s Bane: Underemployment

| August 23, 2014

The overall U.S. unemployment rate has steadily declined since the recession officially ended in June 2009. But many Americans still are finding it hard to get by, even if they do have jobs. A key indicator of economic hardship—enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps—is higher in every state than it was five years ago, even though unemployment has dropped in every state during the same period.

Economy Adds 209,000 Jobs But Unemployment Rate Ticks Up to 6.2%

| August 1, 2014

Mediocre: it’s the The best that can be said about the unemployment report for July as the economy added 209,000 jobs, about 20,000 jobs short of expectations, and the unemployment rate edged up to 6.2 percent, from 6.1 percent the previous month.

Israel’s March of Folly

| July 20, 2014

Israel’s latest attack on Gaza reflects yet again that peculiar blend of arrogance and bigotry that has characterized Israeli policy toward Arabs since 1982: the arrogance that Israel is infallible, and the bigotry that sees Arabs either as inferior creatures to be walled off or as terrorists to be killed. It shouldn’t be surprised when the beasts rebel.

288,000 New Jobs in June Add Up to 2.5 Million This Year, Most in Eight Years

| July 3, 2014

Unlike in previous months, the bright jobs picture in June was the result of more people getting jobs and fewer people losing them–as opposed to more people dropping out of the labor force.

Obama as Worst President Since 1945, Pains of Being a Black Gun Owner, Target’s Gun Ban, Killing Civil Rights

| July 2, 2014

A new poll finds a third of Americans rating Obama the worst president since World War II and Reagan the best, Target finally bans guns from its stores, how the Civil Rights Act could never pass today, Huckleberry Finn’s censors, and more.

When Dick Cheney Snarls Again

| June 23, 2014

Dick Cheney’s calculated refusal to refer to “President Obama,” calling him instead by his first and last name, telegraphs the notion that Obama is not rightfully the president. But it’s only one of many misfires by the loathsome ex-VP, argues Steve Robinson.

Obama’s Mistake in Iraq: Getting Sucked Back Into a Religious War Already Lost

| June 22, 2014

The United States had no business invading and occupying Iraq in 2003, it has no business now arbitrating a religious war between Sunnis and Shiites. The mayhem unleashed by the Bush administration is being made worse by further American meddling.

Job Creation Exceeds 200,000 For 4th Straight Month Despite Slowdown in Economic Growth

| June 6, 2014

Despite a first-quarter decline of 1 percent in economic growth, the economy added 217,000 jobs in May for a total of 1.05 million jobs so far this year, a robust, sustained growth not seen since the end of the Great Recession.

Angling For Military Vote, Rick Scott Looks to Sue Feds for Blocking VA Hospital Inspections

| May 28, 2014

The state Agency for Health Care Administration, at Scott’s urging, said Wednesday it will file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs seeking to allow state inspectors access to Florida-based VA hospitals so they can determine if the health care needs of veterans are being met.

Unemployment Falls Sharply to 6.3% as Economy Adds Nearly 300,000 Jobs, But Labor Pool Shrinks

| May 2, 2014

People are reentering the workforce, they’re applying for work, they’re finding jobs, with an economy in April adding more net jobs for the 50th consecutive month–ironically, one of the longest peace-time recoveries on record, following the Great Recession of 2007-08. But a huge number of people are also leaving the workforce. That has resulted in an unemployment report for April that looks very bright at first, but that dims somewhat when analyzed more closely.

Obamacare Tally: Florida Subsidies Average $3,000, But Some Families Complain of Costly Exclusion

| April 1, 2014

And yet only one in four Floridians who qualifies for a subsidy had enrolled in a plan by March 1, leaving 1 million eligible residents uninsured. A mother describes how the law’s employee-insurance provision barred her family from subsidies.

Economy Adds 175,000, Reversing
Early Winter Plunge; Unemployment at 6.7%

| March 7, 2014

Despite successive cold spells and snow storms in the east, the national economy added 175,000 jobs in February, reversing a two-month trend that saw job creation fall. The unemployment rate, however, ticked up a decimal point, to 6.7 percent.

Global Warning Olympics: Closing Ceremonies for Winter

| February 23, 2014

Watching the Olympics requires too much of a suspension of disbelief to make the effort worth the time or the self-deception. There was an added and quite massive invention to these games: faking winter in a warming world, though in that regard we’re all self-deluded Russians.

The Slow-Motion Lynching Of President Barack Obama

| January 10, 2014

If this country will lynch a brilliant, civil, kind, humble, compassionate, moderate, articulate, black intellectual we’re lucky enough to have in the White House, argues Frank Schaeffer, we’ll lynch anyone. What chance does an anonymous black man pulled over in a traffic stop have of fair treatment when the former editor of the Harvard Law Review is being lynched?

The Shame of Guantanamo, 11 Years On

| January 4, 2014

The irony should not be lost on us that our congressional district is represented by Ron DeSantis, the sort of fanatic who had no trouble advertising his brief service in Guantanamo’s kangaroo courts as a badge of honor while leaving silent his employment with a more legitimate Florida corporate law firm. With political charlatans like that in Congress, it’s no wonder Guantanamo endures.

88,000 Floridians Lose Emergency Jobless Benefits Today as Congressional Deal Skirts By

| December 28, 2013

The emergency benefits, begun in 2008 under President George W. Bush, were created to help unemployed workers who had exhausted their state jobless benefits during the economic recession. But about 1.3 million Americans’ unemployment checks weren’t part of the bipartisan budget deal passed by Congress last week and signed by President Obama on Thursday.

Obama’s Free Press Problem: Why Reporters in the U.S. Now Need Protection

| November 29, 2013

The Obama administration has made the most concerted effort since the Nixon years to intimidate officials from talking to a reporter. Paul Steiger, Paul Steiger recipient of this year’s the Burton Benjamin Memorial award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, argues for a response.

What Government Shutdown? U.S. Economy Adds 204,000 Jobs, Beating Expectations

| November 8, 2013

The three-month tally of 605,000 jobs is the best three-month total in almost two years, though the unemployment rate still went up by a decimal point, to 7.3 percent as the labor force shrank by 720,000 in October, a reflection of the government shutdown.

Marco Rubio’s Slimy Flip-Flop Against Judge William Thomas

| October 30, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio is blocking President Barack Obama’s nomination of Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge William Thomas to a seat on the federal bench for the Southern District of Florida, even though Rubio himself recommended Thomas to Obama previously.

Shutdown-Delayed Unemployment Report: Rate Down to 7.2% But Only 148,000 New Jobs

| October 22, 2013

The September unemployment report due on Oct. 4 was released only at 8:30 this morning, delayed by the 16-day government shutdown. But it could have been predicted, as it follows the pattern of most reports of the past three years: anemic job growth, very slow decline in the unemployment rate, and checkered signs of improvement (or retreat, depending on your point of view) ahead.

Your Policy Is Cancelled: Insurers End Coverage That Falls Short of Affordable Care Act

| October 21, 2013

The main reason insurers are cancelling policies offer is that they fall short of what the Affordable Care Act requires starting Jan. 1. By all accounts, the new policies will offer consumers better coverage, in some cases, for comparable cost — especially after the inclusion of federal subsidies for those who qualify.

Congressman Ron DeSantis: A Tea Party Fanatic Who’s Earned His Walking Papers

| October 20, 2013

Ron DeSantis, who represents Flagler County, is not interested in governance. A standard-issue tea party reactionary, he’s a saboteur. He derails, with self-righteous bombast and distortions. He is part of the suicidal extremists willing to plunge the country in default over Obamacare, rather than fight to amend it legislatively. He should pay the price of his recklessness.

Favoring Defense Industry Over Human Rights, Obama Loosens Restrictions on Arms Exports

| October 19, 2013

The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions. In 2011, the U.S. concluded $66 billion in arms sales agreements, nearly 80 percent of the global market.

The Difference Between Name-Calling and Calling Out Yahoos Holding America Hostage

| October 13, 2013

Steve Robinson angered some people with his last column when he compared tea party Republicans to Know-Nothings. But, he argues, likening the narrow-minded nativist sentiments of that short-lived 19th-century party to the ideals of this current group of ideological fringe-dwellers is really not that far off.

Shutdown Geezers: The Medicare
Generation’s Immoral War on Obamacare

| October 4, 2013

Opponents of Obamacare think that by doubling down on hurting Americans through a shut-down, they might stun them into submission. They must be stupider than they let on. The Affordable Care Act has its issues. Lacking for moral high ground isn’t among them.

The GOP’s Shutdown Zealotry: What John Boehner and Yasser Arafat Have In Common

| October 3, 2013

Republicans’ reincarnation of Know-Nothings have let their tea party zealots control them at the expense of the nation’s welfare, and of their own party, argues Steve Robinson, consigning themselves to the dustbin of political hacks.

Shutdown Hits Home: Castillo de San Marcos and Ft. Matanzas Among Parks Off Limits

| October 2, 2013

Starting Tuesday, the National Park Service closed all 401 national parks, including Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments in St. Augustine, affecting the local tourism economy. Potential foreign visitors’ visas are facing processing delays.

Flagler Democrats Will Demonstrate For Obamacare in Front of Health Department Tuesday

| September 30, 2013

The noon demonstration by the Flagler County Democratic Club marks the first day of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges, and protests Florida’s sustained opposition, and various obstacles, to the law, including the prohibition against use of local health departments to make it easier for the uninsured to get coverage.

The Trouble With American Exceptionalism

| September 21, 2013

Do we have moral authority as a nation, asks Cary McMullen. Do we have the humility Obama spoke of, namely that we are acting not in self-interest but in the interest of justice? Are we exceptional not just in our history but in our standing among nations as an exemplar of righteous ideals?

Florida Groups Helping Uninsured Are Getting “Intimidating” Letters from GOP Lawmakers

| September 9, 2013

Eight groups that are hiring and training “navigators” to help uninsured Floridians enroll in Obamacare have been sent letters by 15 GOP members of a U.S. House committee seeking information on their activities — a letter the Obama administration called a “blatant and shameful attempt to intimidate.”

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