The Huffington Post reports that AARP CEO Barry Rand is inviting outspoken safety net opponents to an "off-the-record, salon style" meeting on March 27th on the future of social security, called The E Street Exchange.The guest list includes US Chamber of[...]
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Blimey! Are you sure you're the same girl who couldn't get photos of Gracie up on Flickr? What have you done with yellowsnapdragon??!!
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Missouri's Republican Senate candidates may not know what the minimum wage is, but they're in agreement on one thing: It shouldn't be raised. No, whatever the minimum wage is, it's plenty as far as Rep. Todd Akin, businessman John Brunner, and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman are concerned.
The minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which means $15,080 for a year of full-time work, just under the poverty threshold for a family of two. Of course, these candidates for United States Senate don't know that. Asked during a radio debate what the minimum wage is and if they'd support increasing it, all three showed just how little they know.
Steelman, the only candidate to offer a specific guess for the minimum wage?getting it wrong at $7.50?offered a slightly garbled version of a classic argument against raising the minimum, that "young people sometimes can't find jobs because they're taken by other people and they don't pay a lower wage ... are unable to pay a lower wage because of the minimum wage so that squeezes jobs out." Akin, too, claimed that raising the minimum wage would cost teenagers the chance to get experience at the low pay they are, according to him, worth.
The line that teenagers won't be able to get jobs is a multipurpose argument that raising the minimum wage will lead to fewer jobs and that teenagers working part-time jobs are the only people making minimum wage anyway. But in fact, this is wrong on both counts: "a majority of minimum wage earners are adults working many hours and living in low-income households," and studies show "that an increase in the minimum wage has a small?and even positive?impact on employment."
That set of myths wasn't Akin's only objection to raising the minimum wage, though. He actually opposes its existence altogether, saying it's "Just another example of a wrong thing that the government does. I don't think the government should be setting the prices or wages on different things, I don't think that's the function of the government."
As for the extremely wealthy Brunner, he didn't know what the minimum wage is and, clearly taken aback at being asked about something as esoteric as how much businesses must legally pay their workers, and gave a nonsensical, buzzword-laden answer about how his business had always paid more than the minimum wage. Which is ... not at all helpful for everyone who doesn't work for him.
Missouri Republicans sure face a fantastic set of choices.
Editor’s CornerBanks are A-OK, Says The Fed
Tuesday’s bank stress test results can be summarized in two words: “All Clear.” At least that is what traders heard when the Federal Reserve said 15 of 19 top banks would remain solvent even in an “extremely adverse” economic scenario. The Fed aBanks are A-OK, Says The Fedlso signalled bank dividends and stock buybacks – which largely disappeared after the 2008 crisis – were no longer taboo. Banks immediately began announcing plans for both.
Money was already beginning to flow away from safety and toward risk. The stress-test news accelerated the trend, as did an FOMC statement leaving the door open for further monetary stimulus. Of course, as usual for . . . → Read More: Banks are A-OK, Says The Fed
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For months, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) have been sounding the alarm about the intelligence community?s reliance on secret interpretations of surveillance law, arguing that the Justice Department has allowed for a secret interpretation of the law that is beyond the bounds of the law and allowing for broad surveillance of Americans.
In fact, on Thursday they sent a letter to Attorney General Holder in support of a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU and The New York Times for information about the interpretation the government is using. The letter reads, in part:
We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted section 215 of the Patriot Act. As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the governmentsecretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn't know what its government thinks the law says.The provision in question, Sec. 215, allows the government to gain access to records of citizens' activities being held by a third party. It gives the FBI the power to force doctors, libraries, bookstores, universities and internet service providers, for example, to turn over records on their clients or customers.
Coincidentally, also on Thursday, the government confirmed that it does indeed have a secret interpretation of Sec. 215, as Sens. Wyden and Udall have been arguing. That confirmation comes in a document release to the ACLU from their FOIA request, but doesn't yet enlighten on what exactly that interpretation?which the senators say will shock and enrage the public?says.
Although we're still reviewing the documents, we're not holding our breath for any meaningful explanation from the government about its secret take on the Patriot Act. We do know now that there are two memos from the Office of Legal Counsel (the same Justice Department group that issued the torture memos) relating to Section 215. But as has become a routine practice for the Justice Department, the OLC is keeping those memos entirely secret.While the administration is touting its Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights for how private companies should protect consumer information, the government apparently feels it should have complete access to that same information about American citizens.
This secrecy is overbroad and unnecessary. Americans have a right to know how their government is interpreting public laws, especially when those laws give the government sweeping authority to collect more and more of our personal and private information.
The global warming-fueled heat wave that's gripped much of America this month may be good news for March picnics, but it's terrible for Virginia wine lovers. Wine grape vines are already waking up, posing a twofold threat - hotter temperatures can mean less flavorful wine, and a sudden frost could devastate the crop:
Workers at Tomahawk Mill Winery in Chatham are certainly concerned. They say they are usually working in the cold right now wearing two pairs of socks and gloves. But while it's nice to work in this weather, the grapes don't like it one bit.
Corky Medaglia, owner of Tomahawk Mill Winery, always says: "When God gives you lemons you make lemonade. And when God gives you grapes, you make wine."
But within his 17 years working the vineyards, he has never seen a winter like this one. "Sap is coming up because the temperatures are going up. And this guy thinks it's spring time," said Medaglia.Meteorologists say there's a 50/50 chance of a surprise frost. And looking ahead, hotter summers are no kinder to wine grapes - when temperatures top 95 degrees, the vine's respiration system can shut down.
'This American Life' episode on Apple overseas workplace practices retracted due to "significant fabrications.'[...]
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Well, naysayers out there who said that the President would not say a peep about the discriminatory Amendment One in NC because it's an election year (even though he did so in 2008 for Prop 8), you'll have to eat crow. His campaign obviously "did the[...]
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If you watched The Daily Show the other night, you got a solid chuckle out of this: What's the difference between a fertilized egg, a corporation and a woman? One of them isn't considered a person in Oklahoma!
But seriously, folks.
The Republican establishment has seemed more concerned with de-humanizing women than it does with winning the fall election. After Virginia passed its modified ultrasound requirement for abortion access, Republican-controlled state governments in Arizona and Pennsylvania put forward a set of absurd invasions of privacy that smack of the same big-government tyranny that they claim to be so aggressively opposed to.
In Arizona, a bill working its way through the state legislature would require women to prove to their employer that they were taking contraceptives for the purpose of treating a medical condition if they want insurance to cover the cost, potentially allowing the employer to fire women who take birth control for the purpose of preventing pregnancy. In Pennsylvania, Republicans are pushing a measure that would require doctors to perform an ultrasound, provide two copies of the image, and play and describe the fetus' heartbeat in detail before a woman can have an abortion.
While the furor over mandated trans-vaginal ultrasounds led the Virginia bill to specify that the requirement was only for the less invasive "jelly on the belly" ultrasound, the Pennsylvania bill does not make such a specification. This is notable because in the early stages of pregnancy a trans-vaginal ultrasound is required to obtain an image. Despite opening the door for state-mandated rape, the Republican governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, explained why the requirement isn't that big of a deal: "You just have to close your eyes."
According to Governor Corbett, if you aren't looking when you become a second-class citizen it doesn't count.
Unfortunately, it does.
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In what was otherwise a really long, and fairly annoying interview with global warming denier, Sen. James Inhofe, Rachel Maddow did end up making the senator look extremely uncomfortable when she asked him about his ties to The Family and Doug Coe and and the return of the "kill the gays" bill in Uganda and whether he was for or against it.
Inhofe's first reaction was to feign indignation when Maddow brought up one of her shows from 2009 where she mentioned Sen. Inhofe and the fact that he took her out of context in his book, which was supposed to be the topic of the interview.
INHOFE: Are you saying, are you suggesting Rachel, and I want to make sure that everyone understands this, that I am for executing gays? That I somehow knew something about what their philosophy is over there and what they're doing legislatively?
I know Uganda. I know Ethiopia, I know Ghana, I know Benin. I know Africa, better than anyone else, certainly in the United States Senate. I've spent a lot of time over there. I've developed close relations over there. And when 9-11 happened, I was the only member of the Armed Services Committee who knew where Africa was and we were making a decision then to get into Africa to help train them, to resist all these things that are coming into the country and the continent, that's what I did. So I do know Africa well.
As far as Doug Coe is concerned, you know I think, when you hear about persecution for the sake of righteousness, I can't think of a better example. I wish you knew Doug Coe. I've never known anyone in my life that just loves everyone and I see him persecuted and my heart bleeds for him and I do... I am sorry that you did that.
Maddow went on to read from a New York Times article which made this claim about The Family being the inspiration for the bill:
It was in the United States, Mr. Bahati contended, that he first became close with a group of influential social conservatives, including politicians, known as The Fellowship, which would later become a base of inspiration and technical support for the anti-homosexuality bill.
Mr. Bahati said the idea for the bill first sprang from a conversation with members of The Fellowship in 2008, because it was ?too late? in America to propose such legislation. Now, he said, he feels abandoned.
Inhofe's response... who's David Bahati? So right after telling Rachel Maddow just how much he knows about Africa and how much time he spends over there, he's going to pretend he doesn't know who this guy is. Riiiigghht.
Maybe Rachel Maddow will bring Jeff Sharlet back in for some fact checking on Inhofe's statement. They could probably spend the better part of a week just trying to debunk all the lies he told in the first half of the interview where they were talking about his book and global warming.
Here are some of the earlier interviews from Rachel Maddow's show with Jeff Sharlet for anyone who is not already familiar with the "kill the gays" bill and the reporting Jeff Sharlet did on the topic back in 2009.