New laptop, new location

First post from FortLeft’s new home.  I am still trying to figure out all the ins and outs of this new laptop.  Ok, I’m a bit of a luddite and finally got a laptop, probably the last person to do s0.

Our furniture and boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff arrived two weeks ago tomorrow.  Progress has been made in unpacking, but when you have 6000+ books and the new house is configured differently, it is hard to place bookshelves and unbox.  Lots of stuff is ending up in the attic for now. But things are beginning to feel like home.  New routines – like curbside composting – are being established.

Don’t know when you last moved to a new state, but trying to change everything has taken a lot of energy and time.  I’m sure we will be discovering things we’ve missed for a while, but I think all the important stuff has been changed.  Moving to a different country would be even more difficult, I imagine.

The cats are adjusting and all the fish also survived the move.  The cats have explored their new digs and have found their sleeping spots.  I think they will miss the stacks of boxes when they are gone as places to jump to and sit on.

A fellow outside of the post office tried to get me to sign a petition about something the Board of Selectmen did, or maybe didn’t, do.  Had to tell him I didn’t know enough to have an opinion.  Not having an opinion is a bit strange for me, but I will keep reading the local paper and will figure things out.  For now, just enjoying a rainy day in Vermont.

Haven’t quite gotten the hang of inserting links and pictures yet so am re-using one.  But I wanted to do this first post before too much more time passed.


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?

Vermont Makes Four: Another state votes for marriage equality

What a last few days!  First Iowa and then Vermont.  The important thing about Vermont is that this happened, not through the courts, but through legislation.  Shap Smith, Speaker of the Vermont House, is quoted in Newsweek as saying, ” People here have seen what it looks like and realized it doesn’t harm anybody.”

John Nichols  reported in the Nation

While progress in Iowa came via the judicial route, and is likely to spark ongoing political struggles, the victory in Vermont was a political one that comes at the culmination of a long struggle in a state that nine years ago was the first in the nation to authorize civil unions for same-sex couples.

The final stage of that struggle came on Tuesday, after Republican Governor Jim Douglas had vetoed legislation allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

To override the veto, supporters of the legislation needed to muster two-thirds of the vote in the state House and Senate.

They did that with relative ease.

The vote in the House was 100 to 49 in favor of overriding the veto and enacting what was dubbed “An Act to Protect Religious Freedom and Promote Equality in Civil Marriage.”

The vote in the Senate was an even more lopsided 23-5.

Democrats, who control both chambers, Republicans, independents and members of the state’s Progressive Party — members of which have long championed marriage rights — all voted for the override.

NPR has a great interactive map showing the progress of marriage equality.

As Bob Dylan once wrote, “the times they are a-changin'”.