FROM Michael Fletcher
Divided Baltimore — Is It America? Yesterday, Baltimore saw protesters, cleanup crews and even dance troops — a far cry from Monday night's rioting. The National Guard is still on the streets. Last night there were some violations of the 10pm curfew and the police used tear gas to clear a major intersection. Baltimore is trying to recover from its worst civil disturbance since 1968, when the city erupted over Martin Luther King's assassination. The public schools are open again, the Symphony will hold a free concert — but the Orioles will play baseball in an empty stadium closed to the public . Nobody has yet explained the death 10 days ago of Freddie Gray, a young, black man in police custody. State and federal prosecutors are investigating. Yesterday, President Obama took time during his press conference with Japan's Prime Minister Abe, to denounced rioters as "thugs" and "criminals." He called violence in the divided city is another wake-up call for a nation plagued by police abuse and discrimination by race and class.
Static Unemployment Rate and Flat Jobs Numbers A third month of sluggish growth produced just 80,000 new jobs in June, and unemployment seems stuck at 8.2 percent. Just 90 minutes after the Labor Department latest report, Mitt Romney interrupted his New Hampshire vacation to pronounce the figures, "another kick in the gut to middle class families." At a rally during his campaign bus tour through Ohio, President Obama tried to make the best of bad news, saying, "Our goal was never to just keep on working to get back to where we were in 2007. I want to get back to a time when middle-class families and those working to be in the middle class have some security." Michael Fletcher is economics correspondent for the Washington Post .
Are Republican Governors Union Busting? With state budgets facing massive shortfalls, several Republican Governors are demanding concessions from public employee unions. Some union officials accuse the Governors of playing politics with Democratic supporters. In Wisconsin, unions have agreed to pay more for healthcare and retirement, but not to give up their bargaining rights. The Senate's minority Democrats have left the state to prevent a vote in the legislature. In a recorded telephone call, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker appeared to confirm it's about more than the budget.
Are Republican Governors Union Busting? Republican Governors around the country are trying to solve state budget problems without raising taxes by weakening public-employee unions. They claim it's not a coordinated campaign, but union officials call it a scheme to undermine a key source of money and manpower for Democrats. In Wisconsin, unions have agreed to pay more for healthcare and retirement, but not to give up their bargaining rights. The Senate's minority Democrats have left the state to prevent a vote in the legislature. Last week, President Obama accused Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker of "an assault against unions," but the White House says it's not mobilizing its forces. We hear what's happening in several states and debate the politics. What do voters think about the pros and cons of union organization, public and private?
Are the Out-of-Work about to Be Out of Benefits? As the Great Recession rolls on, unemployment benefits have already been extended more than ever before. But the jobless picture has not improved, and the extensions have run out. Weeks ago, the Congress approved another three-month extension , but only two Republicans in the Senate will go along. With a vote expected tomorrow, President Obama made the case today.
Are the Out-of-Work about to Be Out of Benefits? As the Great Recession grinds on, more than two million Americans have had their unemployment benefits cut off this moth could get them back. The House has voted another three-month extension , but all but two Republicans in the Senate refuse to go along. Some say benefits discourage the search for work. Others call the $34 billion cost too much to pay at a time when the deficit's rising. With a showdown expected tomorrow when a new Democrat Senator will replace the late Robert Byrd of West Virginia, President Obama made the case at the White House today.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has demanded a public apology from Barack Obama over claims that Washington has interfered in Iran's internal affairs. Speaking at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Obama responded that the US had "gone out of its way not to interfere with the election process in Iran," and suggested that Ahmadinejad should “ consider looking at the families of those who have been beaten or shot or detained.” Michael Fletcher is White House correspondent for the Washington Post .
Obama Announces Stimulus Money for Summer Jobs The President met with his Cabinet today about economic recovery. He said "modest progress" is not enough, and announced plans to use economic stimulus money to save or create 600,000 jobs. Michael Fletcher is White House correspondent for the Washington Post .
Obama Reports 'Glimmers of Hope' for the Economy After meeting with Treasury Secretary Geithner, Fed Chairman Bernanke and other advisors today, President Obama told reporters there are "glimmers of hope" for the economy. Michael Fletcher is White House reporter for the Washington Post .
Robert Gates and Increasing the Size of the Army In what was likely his last news conference of 2006 , President Bush said today, "We're not winning" in Iraq but "we're not losing," and eventually "we're going to win." While the President has not decided if that will require a "surge" of troops in the short run, he does want to increase the overall size of the Army and the Marines. The cost--and the politics--of building ground forces, comprised a major plank in John Kerry 's Presidential platform two years ago. Meantime, fresh from his swearing in as Donald Rumsfeld's replacement, Defense Secretary Robert Gates already is on the ground in Iraq, talking to reporters about the possibilities of a short term "surge" and a long term increase in America's ground forces.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?