Voting rights: 2013

This Brian McFadden cartoon seemed appropriate for posting as people are Marching on Washington for Jobs and Freedom once again.

mcfadden voting

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has it right in her dissent from the recent decision:  Why would we want to do away with something that is working?

One year in Boston

OK.  So maybe we are a little self-absorbed right now what with congratulating each other on how well we survived and how much money we have raised for the victims.  The police are at all the events (Sox, Bruins, etc.) being honored.  And maybe everyone is laughing at us for letting the entire City be locked down for an entire day, but it worked for us.  I can’t imagine it happening in New York or LA or Philly.  Maybe San Francisco.  But Boston is pretty connected and compact and if you shut down the public transit, it gets difficult for many people to move around.  I’m sure someone will do a study on why Bostonians pretty universally listened to Governor Deval Patrick.  I wasn’t even in town and I got an alert voice mail.  Maybe it went on too long, but that’s a judgement call and after the fact.  I have read that the “shelter in place” order was lifted on suggestion from President Obama – which might be true, but I’m not sure at this point.  There are still a lot of rumors flying around and as with Newtown, Sandy, and all the other horrific events, we will know the real story months and even years from now.

I was happy to see Brian McFadden’s take on the situation.

12 Months of Boston

12 Months of Boston

Yes, we are getting back to normal and there will be another Boston Marathon in 2014.  And we will learn the truth about what went on that horrible week.  But for now, the Sox are on a roll, the Bruins are in the playoffs and the Celtics stayed alive for another game.

Maybe we should increase the minimum wage

Massachusetts has a minimum wage of $8/hour.  This is fifth highest among states, sixth if you count the District of Columbia.  According to the Boston Globe

Five years have elapsed since the minimum wage in Massachusetts increased in January 2008 to $8 an hour, still one of the highest wage floors in the country.

The Legislature has not voted on a minimum wage increase since 2006, when it phased in the increase over two years and overrode a veto by Governor Mitt Romney to do so.

Since then, four states, includ­ing Connecticut and ­Vermont and the District of ­Columbia have surpassed Massa­chusetts. Nevada requires employers to pay workers $8.25 an hour if they do not receive health benefits, but if health insurance is provided the minimum wage rate falls to $7.25.

California continues to pay workers a minimum of $8 an hour, and Washington has the highest minimum wage in the country at $9.19. Businesses in Connecticut must pay at least $8.25 an hour, and Vermont workers earn at least $8.60 an hour.

If Congress increases the minimum wage to $9, Massachusetts will automatically go to $9.10.  Better, but not a livable wage if you live in Boston, where rents are high.

Even with an increase we will still need the Minimum Wage Awards.

Thank you Brian McFadden.

PS.  Did you happen to notice who vetoed the Massachusetts Minimum Wage increase?

Who is a lame duck?

Senator John Kyl and Representative West are lame ducks.  Scott Brown is a lame duck.  President Obama is not a lame duck.

The second and third definitions in Merriam Webster are relevant here.

2: an elected official or group continuing to hold political office during the period between the election and the inauguration of a successor
3: one whose position or term of office will soon end
Since President Obama is neither of these, it is wrong to call him a lame duck and assume therefore has no power to act.  He won’t reach lame duckness until after the 2016 election.
But we are in the midst of a lame duck session of Congress and we are trusting them to solve our fiscal crisis which they were unable to do the last two years.  Good luck to us all!

What do you mean the election is over?!

It is mostly over.  There are some Congressional races (most leaning Democratic right now) and Florida, but it is pretty much over.   The question to ask now is are you suffering from Post-Election Stress?  Brian McFadden has helpfully given us a list of the symptoms to watch out for.

 

To this I would add:  Still compulsively checking Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.

If  you are a sufferer, you are not alone.  I’m planning on taking a long walk this weekend and resisting the compulsion I have right now to go turn on UP with Chris Hayes.  (sorry Chris)