Friday Reads

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Good Morning!!!

Since it’s the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, I thought I’d start out with some Labor News.  There are so many jobs these days that don’t really pay a living wage in the US that it’s really astounding.  Fast Food Workers are among the lowest paid in the country.

Fast-food workers went on strike and protested outside McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants in 60 U.S. cities on Thursday, in the largest protest of an almost year-long campaign to raise service sector wages.

Rallies were held in cities from New York to Oakland and stretched into the South, historically difficult territory for organized labor.

The striking workers say they want to unionize without retaliation in order to collectively bargain for a “living wage.”

They are demanding $15 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum of $7.25. The median wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.94 per hour, according to an analysis of government data by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), an advocacy group for lower-wage workers.

“It’s almost impossible to get by (alone),” said McDonald’s worker Rita Jennings, 37, who was among about 100 protesters who marched in downtown Detroit Thursday. “You have to live with somebody to make it.”

Rush Limbaugh was all agog and demagogue about the striking workers

LIMBAUGH: If you want a “living wage,” if you don’t like what fast food restaurants pay, then do something else. It’s just that simple. Go to a trade school. Go to another business. Start your own business. Maybe the work that you are capable of isn’t yet worth $15 an hour at a fast-food restaurant. Maybe the consumer doesn’t want to pay $10 for a Big Mac so that people working at McDonald’s make $15 an hour. It’s not just a one-way strata.

You don’t just sit there and double what the employees at McDonald’s make and keep the prices the same. Now, you may think this is obvious, folks, and you may think, “Come on, Rush,” you’d be amazed at how many people do not understand the push-pull in economics. You’d be amazed at the number of people who have taken economics courses who think that the truth about headaches is that the boss is a cheap skinflint and wants his employees to starve and wants to screw his customers.

That’s the basis of their understanding, and they go from there, and they are applauded by left-wing Democrat politicians for holding that belief, and they’re encouraged to have it. Now, to those of you who, like Sean from San Diego, are sympathetic to this demand for the minimum wage at Mickey D’s to go from $7.15 or $7.25 an hour to $15, let me ask you this: When you buy a meal, do you make sure that you’re paying a fair price for it?

When you walk in there, do you ask the employee, “Look, am I paying enough here so that you can get a livable wage? When you go in and buy a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder with cheese or a double Quarter Pounder with cheese, do you look at the price is and say, “Are you sure that this costs enough that you can make a livable wage?” Or do you just get a little upset when you think it’s a little too expensive?

Limbaugh was lecturing fast workers on getting a better job as he sat in his mansion with no clue what it is like to work and survive on minimum wage. Limbaugh’s lecture was centered around a couple of the Republicans favorite falsehoods. Rush was pretending that there are better jobs out there for minimum wage workers.

Some happy news for married GLBT workers!  The IRS and the US Treasury will recognize your marriage.  You get the standard marriage deduction!!

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26th Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” said Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

Under the ruling, same sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA, and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.

I joined the Sisterhood of the Pink Shoes this weekend.  Meanwhile, the real sister with the pink shoes is doing really well in the fundraising arena.

In the six weeks following her headline-grabbing filibuster, Wendy Davis raised $1.2 million — nearly 40 percent of it from outside Texas. Davis drew national attention following the filibuster against an abortion-restriction bill that helped shut down the Texas Senate and prompted Gov. Rick Perry to call lawmakers back into another special session. In the wake of Davis’ new-found fame, Davis has been urged by some Democrats to run for governor next year. She says she will announce her political plans — whether to run for reelection as a senator from Fort Worth or as a Democrat for governor — in a few weeks.

Martin Luther King was fighting for working folks when he was assassinated.  We’ve already said that no Republicans showed up to commemorate the March on Washington.  Where were they?  

So what was did they do instead? Well, Boehner was in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and had no public events scheduled, but he has been headlining GOP fundraisers all this month, so it’s a fairly safe to assume that he was raising cash at the time. Cantor, meanwhile was touring an oil field in North Dakota. The Grand Forks Herald reports:

Cantor, hosted by Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., met with energy industry and community leaders at a crew camp in Williston, toured a drilling site and other oilfield locations in the Bakken and met with North Dakota Petroleum Council members in Watford City.

Cantor praised North Dakota’s approach to energy development and said the country needs to follow the state’s example and adopt a national energy policy.

“I hope to be able to tell the president that there’s a lot for him to learn here as far as energy production here in America,” Cantor said. “North Dakota seems to have gotten it right.”

The North Dakota Petroleum Council, by the way, is a lobby group that represents the state’s oil and gas industry. That’s what Cantor was doing on the day of the march.

Here’s a little bit of News on New Orleans 8 years after Katrina.

Now optimism is rising as a rebounding city approaches the 300th anniversary of its 1718 founding.

“The city is a much better place than it was eight years ago. The biggest challenge we have is blight,” Landrieu said, adding that 10,000 blighted properties have been removed from the cityscape.

A thriving downtown and newly vibrant neighborhoods contrast starkly with the city’s appearance eight years ago. When Katrina hit, thousands of people who couldn’t escape New Orleans in time were trapped in homes as levees broke and floodwaters rose. Helicopters plucked the desperate from rooftops as chaos spread. The damaged Superdome became a refuge of misery for thousands as tempatures and tempers soared.

Days afterward then-President George W. Bush promised the nation’s full attention. But federal authorities were sharply criticized for their early response and local and state authorities as well. And though billions of federal dollars have helped to rebuild a strengthened levee system, many locals remain bitter with the Army Corps of Engineers for the failure of the levees.

Landrieu said he’s intent on moving forward.

“I think that we have successfully done the most important thing, which was to think about building the city back the way she should have always been and not the way she was,” he said.

Landrieu said rebuilding has even meant re-organizing government operations, streamlining finances, curbing waste and fraud and reorganizing the city’s education system – even adding new fire and police stations, parks and libraries.

The weird thing about the blight is that it’s in areas that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to have ramshackled buildings and over grown lots.  Every time I go from my home near the Mississippi River towards the Lake I see blight on the way.  It pops up in the newer suburban areas as well as older neighborhoods.  There are still a lot of eye sores and it appears it’s going to take a long time for many of them to be torn down or restored.  Thankfully, the historic parts of the city appear to be well on the mend.  Unfortunately, the infrastructure is so gone in many areas that the blight will remain for some time.

That’s my offering today!  What’s on your reading and blogging list?

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27 Comments on “Friday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Big news breaking this morning in Great Britain. David Miranda–Greenwald’s partner–had a password written on a piece of paper when police detained him. Police have only decrypted 75 files, but they are top secret and if they had gotten out would be dangerous to public. The file the password applied to contained info that would have allowed identification of agents in the field.

    Here’s a link

    More info

    • bostonboomer says:

      Based on these developments, Court says government can continue examining Miranda’s files and his attorney doesn’t put up a fight. Imagine if someone else had gotten his devices accompanied by the password?

      The fact that his attorney’s agreed not to fight the government continuing to analyze the data suggests that Miranda knows he could be in deep trouble.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Daily Telegraph article on court hearing.

        “The fact that … the claimant was carrying on his person a handwritten piece of paper containing the password for one of the encrypted files … is a sign of very poor information security practice.”

        He added: “Even if the claimant were to undertake not to publish or disclose the information that has been detained, the claimant and his associates have demonstrated very poor judgement in their security arrangements with respect to the material rendering the appropriation of the material, or at least access to it by other, non-State actors, a real possibility.”

        The government has been forced to assume that copies of the information held by Mr Snowden, who worked for the US National Security Agency, are now in the hands of foreign governments after his travel to Moscow via Hong Kong, Mr Robbins said.

        Disclosure of the material could put the lives of British intelligence agents or their families at risk, the court heard, and the general public could also be endangered if details about intelligence operations or methods fell into the wrong hands.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Greenwald claims UK government lied in court??!

  3. janicen says:

    I guess I’m feeling knit-picky this morning but I can’t help but bristle at the “pink shoes” reference. They are red. If you want to buy them (and I have them saved in my zappos favorites ready to buy when my old ones break down) the Mizuno Wave Rider 16 model that Wendy Davis wore is shown to be “Rouge Red/Apple Green”, not pink. I hate that the media has “feminized” Davis and her accomplishments to fit their stereotype of women.

    Sorry to be cranky. I’m on antibiotics for an infected tooth that is so hot that the dentist wanted to wait a week to let the antibiotics calm things down. I’m about half way through with the bottle and finally starting to feel a little better. Must be a hell of an infection.

    • dakinikat says:

      It is okay. I go back and forth on how I feel about the color pink. I can’t decide if we should seize the color like a symbol in the way the gay movement seized the word queer. Hope you mend quickly!

      • janicen says:

        But it’s not about claiming the color pink, it’s about the color of her shoes being incorrectly reported. What’s interesting is that when I pointed out to my husband that they shoes are really red he said, “But they look pink…”. But they don’t. They look red. We have been told over and over again that they are pink and we even see pink when we look at them. When I showed him her shoes again he agreed that they are red.

        Women’s issues tend to be “empinkified” in order to isolate them as women’s issues rather than issues that affect everyone.

        • Mary Luke says:

          i thought immediately, “that’s not pink, it’s coral”. Then I looked them up and saw the “rouge”, which of course is French “red.” But I’m inclined to agree with Kat here: pink’s not going to go away, it has many shades and variations, so we should just seize it back as a power symbol. Of course, I live near Boston, so my clothes are 75% black.

          • bostonboomer says:

            I really really like fuschia. I don’t care for that sickly pink that the stores use for just about everything in the girl’s toy section.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Oh god, I’m so sorry, I’ve been there many times.
      Hope that along with the antibiotic, he or she gave you a scrip for tylenol mixed with codeine; that’s the only thing that works for my tooth pain.

      • janicen says:

        Yes, that’s exactly what was prescribed but I don’t like to take that stuff during the day. It helped for sleeping. After many days I’m finally starting to feel relief. Didn’t even take a pain pill when I went to bed last night and I slept okay.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Crooks and Liars ‏@crooksandliars 23m
    Bryan Fischer: America Will Never Elect A Saggy Old Woman Like Hillary Clinton As President http://dlvr.it/3tVzyq

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s the trailer for the Frontline show “League of Denial,” created by my wonderful, talented little brother!!

    • bostonboomer says:

      ‘Sensational’ Trailer Ended Frontline Partnership, Claims ESPN

      Hearing a Jay Z song during a PBS trailer is a little weird, and now ESPN President John Skipper claims it was part of what led to the network ending its fifteen-month collaboration with Frontline on a documentary about football players and brain injuries. While it was reported that the network pulled out of the project due to pressure from the NFL, Skipper told ESPN’s ombudsman on Sunday that the decision was his alone, and the trailer was “the catalyst or starting episode.” He didn’t “get a heads up” before the clip aired publicly, and he was “quite unhappy” to learn ESPN had no editorial control. Skipper found the spot “sensational” and “over the top” and objected to both the tagline “Get ready to change the way you see the game” and the quote “I’m really wondering if every single football player doesn’t have this.” How could ESPN have known that a project called League of Denial would be so critical of the NFL?

    • dakinikat says:

      That is amazingly effective and the music is perfect!