Friday, July 8, 2016

Last Call For Jobapalooza

And now for some really fantastic news:  Job growth was way better than expected in June and blew away those mediocre May numbers.

The US economy added 287,000 jobs in June, many more than expected, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It was the biggest gain in eight months and was stronger than even the most optimistic forecasts among economists. They had estimated that nonfarm payrolls grew by 180,000, according to Bloomberg.

What was at stake in this jobs report was confirmation that a hiring slowdown had not hit the US economy. In May, just 38,000 job gains were initially reported, excluding the impact of the 35,000 Verizon workers who were on strike.

This was revised lower to 11,000. 
"Last month’s jobs report caught most economists by surprise, and the U.S. is waiting for the other shoe to drop, looking for signs of a broader economic slowdown," said Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain in a preview.

The unemployment rate increased to 4.9% from 4.7% as more people came back into the workforce. The labor force participation rate rose to 62.7% from 62.6%. And, the number of people who worked part-time for economic reasons plunged.

So no, we're not heading into a recession, May was a blip in the system and June reverted us back to signs of strong continued job growth in 2016.

Meanwhile, Not In Dallas...

Former Illinois Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh came under fire Thursday night for an inflammatory tweet that included the phrase "watch out Obama" after multiple Dallas police officers were shot, four fatally, by two snipers at the end of a protest against nationwide officer-involved shootings. 
"3 Dallas Cops killed, 7 wounded," Walsh posted. "This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you."

Then he doubles down:

The tweet was deleted, but not before a firestorm erupted on the platform that included singer John Legend calling for Walsh to be arrested. 
"Joe Walsh needs to be arrested for threatening our President," Legend tweeted. 
Walsh later tweeted that he "wasn't calling for violence, against Obama or anyone." 
"Obama's words & BLM's deeds have gotten cops killed," he wrote. "Time for us to defend our cops."

Remember, this man was an elected member of Congress saying this, telling the President and black people to watch out because "real America" is coming for them.

So who's going to take Walsh up on his offer?

An Amazing Admission

I honestly don't think I've ever heard a state governor say something of this magnitude regarding police killings of black people, as Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton openly admitted that he didn't believe Philando Castile would have been shot and killed if he were white.

Dayton said Castile would be alive if he hadn't been black, adding that the shooting demonstrated a troubling pattern of racism among some Minnesota law enforcement officers.

"Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver were white?" he asked. "I don't think it would have."

Dayton said he has spoken with Minnesota's senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and the area's House representatives and would be demanding a Justice Department investigation.

"I can't say how shocked I am and deeply, deeply offended that this would happen to somebody in Minnesota," Dayton said grimly. "No one should be shot in Minnesota for a taillight being out of function. No one should be killed in Minnesota while seated in their car."

The Justice Department is already investigating the Louisiana shooting, and it said Thursday that it was assessing the Minnesota incident.

The St. Anthony Police Department, which covers Falcon Heights, a community of 5,300 people, hasn't detailed what led up to the shooting or said how many times Castile was shot. The officer hasn't been identified, but police described him as a five-year veteran and said he has been placed on paid administrative leave, as is standard in shooting investigations.

I already had a pretty solid opinion of Mark Dayton and Minnesota Dems in general, having lived in the state for a couple years back in my dot com days, but to hear this candid opinion out of the mouth of a sitting governor is staggering.

And here's the thing: I believe Dayton when he says he's going to follow this up with action and reform in the state.

President Obama also weighed in on this week's killings in remarks from the NATO summit in Warsaw.

"These are not isolated incidents," Obama said. "They are symptomatic of a broader set of racial inequalities that exist in our criminal justice system."

Obama said he couldn't comment on the specifics of the shootings, but he made an impassioned plea for all Americans to recognize that "a big chunk of our citizenry feels that because of the color of their skin that they are not being treated the same."

Obama disputed the notion that the explosive issue of police violence was solely a racial matter, calling it "an American issue that we should all care about" and adding: "All fair-minded people should be concerned."

And he specifically urged that Americans not equate protests with opposition to law enforcement.

"There is no contradiction between us supporting law enforcement ... and also saying that there are problems across our criminal justice system," he said.

"There are biases — some conscious, some unconscious — that have to be rooted out. That's not an attack on law enforcement. That's reflective of the values the vast majority of law enforcement brings to the job."

Maybe I'm stupidly naive for believing that something will get done on the police reform front, as police departments across the country have largely been ignoring President Obama and Department of Justice reform guidelines (one notable exception: here in Cincy) but I have to believe at some point things will get better.

I'm hoping this time it does.


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