Harkin: $10.10 Minimum Wage the ‘Bottom Line’ for Negotiations
Bill sponsor says adopting a lower wage in combination with indexing to inflation would “lock in a sub-poverty wage for the long-term.”
Two top Democrats said last week they are willing to negotiate over the details of a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but they will not change the amount of the increase.
“We’re willing to negotiate,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a left-leaning think tank. “But $10.10 is a bottom line. We cannot go below that.”
Harkin said adopting a lower wage in combination with indexing to inflation would “lock in a sub-poverty wage for the long-term.”
The senator was joined by the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), and White House Council of Economics Advisers Chairman Jason Furman.
“We cannot put into law a permanent sub-minimum wage,” Miller said. “It cannot be the right answer for a dynamic American economy.”
With midterm elections on the horizon, Democrats are eager to turn the push for a minimum wage increase into a wedge issue that they hope will put Republicans in a difficult position, and attract minority and youth voters whose turnout numbers tend to drop off during nonpresidential elections.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think you’re going to ask your caucus to take into the election the killing of the minimum wage,” Miller said.
The legislation would phase in the minimum wage hike from the current $7.25 an hour to $8.20 in the first year, then $9.15 the year after and to $10.10 in the third year.
The Harkin-Miller proposal also includes a measure that would raise the minimum wage for workers paid in tips, which could be as little as $2.13 per hour in some states that allow employers to use gratuity to cover the difference between the federal minimum wage and the required direct wage. The proposal calls for an increase in this minimum to $3 per hour for one year, and then it would adjust the base annually until it matches 70 percent of the federal minimum wage.
Read it all at PJ Media.
“U.S. border agent Brian Terry was shot on December 14th and died the following day, December 15th. That was the very day the Washington Post writers rolled out the administration propaganda that more regulation was needed to prevent drugs from crossing the border.
Drug cartels have aggressively turned to the United States because Mexico severely restricts gun ownership. Following gunrunning paths that have been in place for 50 years, firearms cross the border and end up in the hands of criminals as well as ordinary citizens seeking protection.
“This is not a new phenomenon,” Webb said.
What is different now, authorities say, is the number of high-powered rifles heading south — AR-15s, AK-47s, armor-piercing .50-caliber weapons — and the savagery of the violence.
Federal authorities say more than 60,000 U.S. guns of all types have been recovered in Mexico in the past four years, helping fuel the violence that has contributed to 30,000 deaths. Mexican President Felipe Calderon came to Washington in May and urged Congress and President Obama to stop the flow of guns south.
U.S. law enforcement has ramped up its focus on gun trafficking along the southwestern border. Arrests of individual gunrunners have surged. But investigators rarely bring regulatory actions or criminal cases against U.S. gun dealers, in part because of laws backed by the gun lobby that make it difficult to prove cases.
Who fed this poppycock to James Grimaldi and Sari Horowitz? Is the Washington Post the least bit concerned that it was used — and by whom? — to provide cover for this lunatic government operation and propagandize its gun grabbing ploy?” —Clarice Feldman
85 Richest People Have as Much Money as Poorest Half
And wealthiest 1% of population has 46% of world’s wealth: Oxfam report
(Newser) – Here’s a shocking detail from a new Oxfam report: The poorest half of the entire global population, comprised of 3.5 billion people, has as much money as the wealthiest 85 people around the world. How much is that, exactly? More than $1.6 trillion. And if you look at the richest 1% of the global population, they have 65 times more money than the poorest 50%. That number: $110 trillion, NBC News reports; that’s 46% of the world’s total wealth, USA Today notes. The Oxfam report comes as the World Economic Forum starts in Davos, and is meant to highlight growing income inequality, the Guardian reports.
Oxfam blames the growing gap on a “power grab” by the world’s richest, who use their influence to make sure politicians promote economic policies that help them get even richer. “Widening inequality is creating a vicious circle where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs from the top table,” says the Oxfam executive director, who will attend the World Economic Forum … which, in case you forgot, is held in an exclusive ski resort where attendees, many of whom will arrive on private jets, attend ritzy parties as well as meetings. Oxfam wants attendees to, among other things, pledge not to use their wealth for political purposes, not to dodge taxes, and to demand a living wage for workers.
Could OTC Meds create the Zombie Apocalypse?!?
On March 29, 2009, Robert Stewart, 45, stormed into the Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home in Carthage, North Carolina and opened fire, killing eight people and wounding two. Stewart’s apparent target was his estranged wife, who worked as a nurse in the home. She hid in a bathroom and was unharmed. Stewart was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder; if convicted, he could face the death penalty. Even though there was evidence that Stewart’s actions were premeditated (he allegedly had a target), Stewart’s defense team successfully argued that since he was under the influence of Ambien, a sleep aid, at the time of the shooting, he was not in control of his actions. Instead of the charges sought by the prosecutors, Stewart was convicted on eight counts of second-degree murder. He received 142 – 179 years in prison.
Ambien, a member of the class of medications known as hypnotics, was approved by the FDA in 1992. It was designed for short term use to combat insomnia and was a welcome change from the prevailing sleep aid at the time, Halcion, which had been implicated in psychosis, suicide, and addiction and had been banned in half a dozen countries. Ambien works by activating the neurotransmitter GABA and binding it to the GABA receptors in the same location as the benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium. The extra GABA activity triggered by the drug inhibits the neuron activity that is associated with insomnia. In other words, it slows down the brain. Ambien is extremely effective at initiating sleep, usually working within 20 minutes. It does not, however, have an effect on sustaining sleep unless it is taken in the controlled release form.
Shortly after the Kennedy incident, Ambien users sued Sanofi because of bizarre sleep-eating behaviors while on the drugs. According to Chana Lask, attorney for the class action suit, people were eating things like buttered cigarettes and eggs, complete with the shells, while under the influence of Ambien. Lask called people in this state “Ambien zombies.” As a result of the lawsuit, and of increasing reports coming in about “sleep driving,” the FDA ordered all hypnotics to issue stronger warnings on their labels.
Read the full article at AlterNet.org.
Rabidly anti-gun CA State Senator Kevin de Leon (a Democrat from Los Angeles) made a real fool of himself at a press conference for his new gun control bill when he demonstrated both his command of the English language and the extent of his firearms knowledge.
The Racially Fraught History of the American Beard
“Washes and razors for foofoos,” scoffed Walt Whitman. But the story of 19th-century facial hair is more tangled than modern nostalgists may realize.
With 2013 behind us, let me declare what many already know: Last year will go down as the Year of Men’s Grooming. From flamboyant beards to the proliferation of “old-fashioned” shops, evidence of the trend abounds, embracing groups as diverse as the Boston Red Sox, the men of Movember, and the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty. In dens of hipsterdom, one can hardly throw a PBR without hitting a waxed moustache. And the online craft marketplace Etsy now sells a limitless variety of wares imprinted with images of mustaches, from wine glasses to electrical outlets.
This is not the first time in recent memory that American men have sprouted facial hair in great numbers. The 1960s bristled with sideburns and beards—pared down, in the 1970s, to the decade’s iconic mustache. But one characteristic distinguishes this revival from previous ones: Today’s facial-hair enthusiasts share an affection for the ornate practices of the 1800s—the exuberant beards and ostentatious moustaches, as well as the elegance and “manliness” of the shops where those styles were cultivated.
What follows is the lost story of American facial hair. Like countless other histories, it is rife with contradictions. It begins with white Americans at the time of the Revolution who derided barbering as the work of “inferiors.” It continues with black entrepreneurs who turned it into a source of wealth and prestige. And it concludes with the advent of the beard—a fashion born out of desperation but transformed into a symbol of masculine authority and white supremacy.
Read it all HERE.