economics

May Jobs Report *Better*, Which Is *Better* Than *Worse*!

Women are getting their jobs back, erasing some of the erasures in the last several decades' gains. Got it? Good.

The monthly jobs report is out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing the country adding 559,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate dropping to 5.8 — the lowest unemployment has been since the pandemic crushed employment last year. Also good news: Unlike some previous reductions in the unemployment rate that were distorted because people had given up on looking for work, the "labor force participation rate" for May wasn't changed much from April, which means that the reduction in the unemployment rate went down because people really were finding jobs.

President Joe Biden called the May job numbers "great news for our economy and the recovery," and pointed out that over two million new jobs have been created since he took office. Here, have yourselves some video!

Biden also pointed out that when the monthly survey was taken in early May, only about 35 percent of working-aged adults were fully vaccinated. Since then, some 21 million more Americans have been vaccinated, and the employment news is expected to keep improving as more and more people feel safe to go back to work. He also noted that some 20,000 new jobs have been created in child care, which should help people seek work, too.

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State/Local Politics

Albuquerque Mayor's Race Roiled By DONGCOPTER

One Of Our Dildocraft Is Missing.

The big political news in New Mexico this week was Tuesday's landslide-isn't-adequate-to-describe-it win by Democratic state Rep. Melanie Stansbury in the special election to fill Interior Secretary Deb Haaland's congressional seat. But while the 60 percent to 36 percent stomping Stansbury delivered to Republican state Sen. Mark Moores will have important long-term implications for New Mexico politics, it was a plain vanilla "plane lands safely" story compared to Tuesday's other, far weirder political news in the Land of Enchantment.

That story, being, of course, the attack of the DONGCOPTER at a rally for Albuquerque mayoral candidate Manuel "Manny" Gonzales III, who currently serves as Bernalillo County Sheriff. As the Albuquerque Journal notes, the rally had started out well enough, with one of the biggest crowds Gonzales has had yet in his campaign to oust "fellow Democrat and incumbent Mayor Tim Keller." (The mayor's race is officially nonpartisan, so party affiliation won't be listed on the ballot. They are indeed Dems, although Gonzales is apparently some kind of law-n-order Trumper. Damned if any of it makes sense.)

Things got weird, in the form of a new kind of SKYPENIS, only this one at a far lower altitude than the others. While Gonzales was answering a question, a quadcopter drone dangling a dildo beneath it flew into the open-air venue, buzzing near the stage. As the audience giggled, an incredulous woman in the audience exclaimed, "Is that a dong on a drone?"

Here's a link to the video, which sadly cannot be embedded. Gonzales, clearly distracted — and who wouldn't be? — commented, "We have a gentleman over here who I guess is trying to be cute."

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coronavirus

Joe Biden Revs Up Corvette  Summer For Vaccines

'Jello Shots' not an option yet.

With summer coming on, Joe Biden yesterday reminded America that there is in fact still a pandemic out there, and while we're making really good progress on getting people vaccinated (60 percent of Americans over 12 have gotten at least one shot), we still have a lot of work to do to meet the goal of getting at least one shot into 70 percent of American arms by Independence day. Biden announced a "month of action" aimed at increasing vaccination rates, especially in the Midwest and the South, which lag behind the rest of the country.

"The more people we get vaccinated, the more success we're going to have in the fight against this virus," Biden said from the White House. He predicted that with more vaccinations, America will soon experience "a summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get togethers and celebrations. An All-American summer."

Here's the excellent news: The White House announced yesterday that 12 states have already vaccinated 70 percent of their adult residents — with at least one shot, although to be fully effective, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two injections. Politico points out that all 12 of those states voted for Biden, but you did not hear Joe Biden calling attention to that detail. The most completely vaccinated states are in New England, and if you want to brag about bipartisanship, the most-vaccinated state right now is Vermont, whose governor, Phil Scott, is a Republican. Nearly 80 percent of folks 12 and up there have had at least one shot, Scott tweeted yesterday. Just three people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the whole state.

Biden announced several initiatives yesterday aimed at getting the rest of the country moving in that direction, some which will make it even easier to get the free vaccinations, and others that will reward people who get their vaccination cards filled out.

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climate change

Big Oil's Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Pretty good news for life on Earth, though!

Yesterday was a pretty hopeful day for the prospects of getting global carbon emissions under control, thanks to three events that New Yorker climate columnist Bill McKibben is calling possibly the "most cataclysmic day so far for the traditional fossil-fuel industry." These are all big developments that are likely to bring about big changes in three of the world's biggest oil companies.

  • A Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to sharply cut its emissions, by 45 percent over the next 10 years, a mandate McKibben says the company can "likely meet only by dramatically changing its business model."
  • Chevron shareholders voted to require steep cuts in emissions caused by the company's products, which in effect would make the company responsible for emissions from oil and gasoline being used exactly as designed.
  • At an Exxon Mobil shareholder meeting, members of a climate action investor group won two seats on the company's board of directors, in yet another sign that shareholders of fossil fuel companies want them to take more aggressive action on the climate emergency.
These are all pretty big freakin' deals, and if you want to feel a bit more optimistic about the prospects that humanity might slow global warming to a merely very bad level, instead of a civilization-threatening amount, then go right ahead. As McKibben said in a tweet yesterday, thanking everyone who's fought on climate, "you push long enough and dominoes tumble."
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