Audit D.C. Notes: Who’s Unemployed, What’s Obama Saying, Where’s’s Congress News?

The long-term unemployment scene just keeps getting worse, and The Wall Street Journal is good to highlight the problem:

The job market is improving, but one statistic presents a stark reminder of the challenges that remain: Nearly half of the unemployed—45.9%—have been out of work longer than six months, more than at any time since the Labor Department began keeping track in 1948.

Even better are the graphics that go along with the story, with details on the demographics, education level, and occupations of those looking for work. Well worth a couple of clicks.

—The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait has an interesting piece about the way President Obama’s rhetoric has changed over the past year.

He ran for office, and began his presidency, making his case in largely non-ideological terms, as a defense of pragmatism and against ideology. As Republicans have met him with a stone wall of resistance, the idealistic tinge of his rhetoric has largely disappeared. Now Obama contrasts himself with the partisanship ideological extremism of the Republican Party.

Chait finds support for his thesis in Obama’s speech this week in Pittsburgh, in which the president pivoted from the importance of the private sector to what Chait calls “a robust defense of government.” Here’s Obama:

But I also understand that throughout our nation’s history, we have balanced the threat of overreaching government against the dangers of an unfettered market. We’ve provided a basic safety net, because any one of us might experience hardship at some time in our lives and may need some help getting back on our feet. And we’ve recognized that there have been times when only government has been able to do what individuals couldn’t do and corporations wouldn’t do.

Amid a lot of sound-bites and snapshots, it’s a nice bit of context from Chait.

—Two weeks ago, I pointed out that seemed to be neglecting its Congress page. There’s plenty of Hill news in the paper newspaper most days, and plenty of it online—but those stories weren’t making it to the Congress section of the Post’s website.

Well, today, it’s, um, not any better. There’s a new story in the top slot, from that same Obama speech in Pittsburgh, highlighting the president’s pitch for climate legislation. And the latest headlines, a small section near the middle of the page, look up-to-date.

But the other featured stories on the page were all there two weeks ago—and they were old then! Really. Three stories from before we knew the results of those May 18 votes in Pennsylvania? And a controversial nomination approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 13?

Please, somebody. Freshen it up a bit.

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Holly Yeager is CJR's Peterson Fellow, covering fiscal and economic policy. She is based in Washington and reachable at