Economy added 216,000 jobs, unemployment down to 8.8%

Hi guys,

1. Today’s schedule:

10:30 AM

PBO and VPB receive the presidential daily briefing.

11:00 AM

PBO meets with senior advisers.

12:00 PM

PBO tours Landover UPS Facility in Maryland.

12:20 PM

PBO delivers remarks at UPS Facility.

1:00 PM

Carney briefs the press.

1:15 PM

VPB meets with President Valdis Zatlers of Latvia.

2:00 PM  
2:35 PM

PBO meets with Sudan Special Envoy Ambassador Princeton Lyman.

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Recovery!

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Job growth accelerated in March, the Labor Department said Friday. Total non-farm payrolls increased by 216,000, higher than the 192,000 gain expected by Wall Street economists. The unemployment rate ticked lower to 8.8% in March from 8.9% in the previous month. This is the lowest unemployment rate since March 2009. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to rise to 9.0%. Average hourly earnings were flat at $22.87. Economists had been expecting a 0.2% gain. Earnings are up 1.7% in the past year. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.3 hours.

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West Wing Week:

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Few pretty good columns:

 Jamelle Bouie, The America Prospect:

 
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…Reread his much-praised 2002 speech against the Iraq War. It doesn’t begin with a condemnation of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, or even the war itself. It begins with this: “Although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.” And after listing the circumstances where war was justified — in his signature cadence — he clarifies, “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war.”

Dumb wars, according to the then-state senator, were “based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.” For the last decade, Obama has held to that view. In his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope, for example, he articulates a doctrine for the use of military force that would sound “smart” to his 2002 self: “No other nation on earth has a greater capacity to shape that global system, or build consensus around a new set of international rules that expand the zones of freedom, personal safety, and economic well-being. If we want to make American more secure, we are going to have to help make the world more secure.”

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In his 2009 acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama tried to balance the honor of the distinction with his position as commander in chief of the most powerful military to ever exist: “I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That is why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.” Given the blood and treasure we’ve wasted in other dysfunctional Middle Eastern countries, liberal anger over the intervention in Libya is completely justified. But Obama hasn’t betrayed his supporters, and this war fits comfortably with decades’ worth of rhetoric from the president.

 
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Robert Shrum:

Obama’s momentous April

….In Libya, the president brilliantly passed the first test, securing a multilateral, Arab-sanctioned coalition that took control of the skies above the battleground just in time. He then endured domestic, often nakedly opportunistic criticism. Now comes the really hard part. Having intervened, the only acceptable outcome is victory – not the partition of Libya, and surely not the resurgence of a mad dictator.

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But the politics doesn’t stop there. Most presidents facing a foreign crisis don’t have to contend with a simultaneous domestic threat. Obama does – in the form of a government shutdown or a refusal to raise the debt limit. The Republicans who control only one house of Congress are compelled more to demanding than actually negotiating, pressured internally to hold America hostage to a know-nothing Tea Party fringe.

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Obama, on the campaign trail and in office, has displayed a remarkable combination of patience and then decisiveness. He’s won the big ones. But they don’t come much bigger than they have this month.

The Republicans have a sad sack of 2012 candidates. Their best hope may be a mayday for this presidency. But if I were them, I wouldn’t count on Obama buckling in Libya or bending to Boehner. Instead, for this president, for the country, and for progressive principles here and in the world, April could be both the most trying and, in the end, the best of months.

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NYT Editorial:

Mr. Obama’s Energy Vision

It was instructive and depressing this week to watch President Obama and Congressional Republicans marching in completely different directions on energy policy. Mr. Obama reminded us that charting a clean energy future is not a pipe dream and that America can reduce its dependence on foreign oil. The Republicans reminded us how hard it will be to get there.

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That’s good:

 

DETROIT (Reuters) – United Auto Workers membership rose for the first time in six years in 2010, helped by a recovering U.S. auto industry and expanding to include workers outside that industry, the UAW said in a federal filing on Thursday.

UAW membership rose 6 percent in 2010 to 376,612 members, the first rise since 2004, when UAW-represented workers totaled 654,657.

Still, membership is way down since 1979, when it hovered near 1.5 million.

“This increase is a reflection of new organizing by the UAW, the recovery of the domestic auto industry and UAW members who won a first contract during the year,” said UAW President Bob King. “We hope to continue this growth in 2011 and beyond, as we fight to win a more fair and democratic process for workers to organize unions in the United States.”

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That’s what friends are for:

7,000 U.S. military personnel to participate in 3-day intensive search for missing tsunami victims

The Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military began on Friday a three-day intensive search for those still missing three weeks after a quake-triggered massive tsunami wiped out a swath of coastal cities and towns in Japan’s northeast.

Using dozens of ships and helicopters, about 18,000 SDF personnel and about 7,000 U.S. military personnel will engage in the operation, with members of the police, the Japan Coast Guard and fire departments also taking part, according to the Defense Ministry and other sources.

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Finally, I’m using the bully pulpit to ask everyone – yet again – not to attack other posters, and definitely not to take it to a personal level. If you don’t like someone else’s posts, why not just ignore them? Seriously guys, I don’t have time to read every comment. I try to read as much as possible, but between real life and deleting tons of “Obama sucks” comments – I really don’t have the time for police work.

I’m really proud of what we’ve created here. Let’s try keep it this way.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.