Published on Dec 6, 2013
” Yesterday, Naomi Brockwell and I attended a demonstration demanding that fast-food restaurants boost their minimum wage to $15 per hour, or a little more than double the current federal minimum wage. The strike, which was led by a group called Fast Food Forward that’s affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), was one of more than a 100 similar demonstrations held in cities across the country.
The New York demonstration had about 150 people, but the number of actual fast food employees participating in the strike was small. It was business as usual at every restaurant we dropped by yesterday morning and, at a McDonald’s restaurant on 23rd Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan, employees behind the counter said they had heard nothing about a strike.
We caught up with the protesters in front of a Wendy’s in downtown Brooklyn, where the crowd consisted of union organizers, fast-food workers, and their sympathizers. An estimated one-third of the demonstrators were fast-food employees, meaning that less than one-tenth of 1 percent of New York City’s 57,000 fast-food workforce participated in the strike.
The group was traveling from one fast-food restaurant to another, before winding up at Foley Square in Manhattan around 1pm.
Multiple strikers told us they had received compensation through a union strike fund to appear, but declined to say the amount they were paid.
Artificially doubling wages to $15 an hour would change many things in the fast food industry, including the easy path it provides for low-skilled employees to break into the labor market. Substantially higher wages would mean that existing employees would be less apt to look for other positions, and senior staffers would be more inclined to hog shift hours. Franchisees would likely move more aggressively to replace human service workers with automated cash registers, which is already happening in European McDonald’s. Evidence of how artificially boosting wages destroys opportunities for entry level workers was best documented in a 2006 study by economists David Neumark and William Wascher, which was updated in 2013.
In interviews, several striking workers described how it had been relatively easy for them to get a job in fast-food service. Shenita Simon, who works as a shift supervisor at KFC, told us that she doesn’t know where else she would have been able to find a position, because fast food is the only industry that “will allow you to have minimum education.” Isaac Wallace, a Burger King employee, described how he was able to get his job immediately after moving to New York from Jamaica by simply walking into a Burger King in Brooklyn and approaching the manager.
Once the strike moved to Foley Square, organizers from Fast Food Forward began obstructing our efforts to talk with protesters.
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Produced by Jim Epstein and hosted by Naomi Brockwell.”
” While today’s municipal bankruptcy news focuses on Detroit, where a judge has just ruled the city can proceed with its bankruptcy filing, tonight a small California city holds a council meeting to try to avoid the same fate.
Desert Hot Springs isn’t on the national radar, but its situation is hardly unique. With only 27,000 residents and only 55 full-time city employees, Desert Hot Springs lacks the financial heft that allows larger cities – think Los Angeles – to put off their day of reckoning.”
” The average full-time employee working for the city of Desert Hot Springs earned direct pay plus employer paid benefits during 2011 of $144,329. The average public safety employee working for Desert Hot Springs earned direct pay plus employer paid benefits during 2011 of $164,621.
Public sector union spokespersons often complain that “politicians are trying to balance the budget on the backs of working people.” Set aside for a moment the fact that “working people” means “unionized government employees” who, in the case of Desert Hot Springs, are making more per year than the average home costs in that city. Can Desert Hot Springs balance their budget if their “councilmen also eye pay, benefits,” and could actually do anything about it?”
” The Obama thrill is gone among America’s millennials aged 18-29 just a year after they helped the president win a second term.
A new and shocking poll from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics released Wednesday found that younger Americans are so disgusted with President Obama, Congress and the troubled Obamacare system that 47 percent support recalling the president and just 29 percent are planning to sign up for health insurance.
How bad is it? Obama’s approval rating among millennials, many with big college loans and no job, is just 41 percent. Even young blacks are tiring of the president, with his approval rating among African-Americans dropping from 84 percent seven months ago to 75 percent today. “
” Token Libertarian Girl crushes some of the bigger myths about liberty and human nature in this very funny four-minute video.
Ms Borowsky is a charming young lady who writes for Townhall and has a very engaging Youtube channel which produces some very enlightening videos on liberty , the Constitution and all things freedom related . In this effort she attempts to answer some of the most commonly raised questions pertaining to a theoretical Libertarian society . Do you know the difference between an anarchist and a minarchist ? Are libertarians Republicans ? Are libertarians naive to human nature ? Watch the video and see for yourself .
” If you asked ten people how much U.S. taxpayers spent on the embarrassingly non-functional Healthcare.gov website and exchage, you’d probably get ten different answers. The official number offered by the Government Accountability Office is $394 million. While that’s an awful lot of money, nobody believed it was anywhere close to an accurate figure. The more popular estimate was in the $600 million range but, now, even that seems downright reasonable.
Bloomberg Government has an analysis which claims that the total cost of federal ACA implementation has easily topped $1 Billion and that it happened way back on September 30th.
Although the Affordable Care Act has been law for three and a half years, one third of the funds going to the top contractors working on the federal exchanges were awarded in the six months before the new insurance marketplaces opened Oct. 1, a Bloomberg Government Analysis has found.
The torrent of late spending — almost $352 million of $1 billion in awards to the top 10 contractors — indicates the magnitude of the work still to be done as opening day approached, and helps explain the information technology problems that have dogged the exchange system since its launch. In a typical IT project, spending ramps up to a peak, then trails off during the final phase.”
” House Speaker John Boehner’s new staffer in charge of immigration policy has significant experience in drafting immigration legislation and pushing for reform. She wouldn’t be coming to Boehner’s office if House Republicans weren’t serious about doing something on the issue. What that is remains to be seen.
Rebecca Tallent, former chief of staff to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will be coming to the speaker’s office from the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she has served as director of immigration policy. Her move “is affirmation of [Boehner's] strong desire to move legislation in 2014,” BPC’s immigration task force cochairman, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, said in a statement.
Tallent is a veteran of immigration fights and a big believer in reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. One of her early endeavors in negotiating legislation was 10 years ago, when she worked as a staffer for former Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz. Tallent helped draft a major immigration bill sponsored by Kolbe, McCain, and former Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., now a senator and member of the “Gang of Eight” who created the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in June.
” The speaker remains hopeful that we can enact step-by-step, common-sense immigration reforms—the kind of reforms the American people understand and support,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. “Becky Tallent, a well-known expert in this field of public policy, is a great addition to our team and that effort.”
The GOP establishment in the House is getting ready to sell the country down the river for a few pieces of silver from the corporate lobbyists and the Hope that their pander will Change the way Hispanics vote , and Boehner is just the man that can make it happen .
Illustration by Gary Varvel
Here is a collection of videos both amateur and from some of the news agencies giving the reader an idea of what is going on for the past week in the Ukraine .
” Demonstrators attacked President Yanukovych’s headquarters, commandeering a bulldozer to break through police lines. Interior Ministry forces and riot police fired tear gas and stun grenades to repel the protesters. Journalists were injured. “
” A wheeled bulldozer used by masked protesters to attack a police barricade near the Ukrainian president’s administration building in Kiev. The bulldozer is eventually stopped by other protesters who claim it is a “provocation”. Protests have been ongoing in Kiev since President Viktor Yanukovich refused to sign a trade agreement with the European Union.”
Mass protests turn violent in Ukraine
Published on Dec 1, 2013
A Reuters Report:
Ukraine Protests 2013 – Footage
Published on Dec 2, 2013
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” The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine has released more footage of the Kiev protests. Ukrainian people are protesting the suspension of talks regarding integration of Ukraine in the EU.
Video: Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine: youtube.com/user/dzgmvs/ “
A BBC Report :
UKRAINE PROTESTS: UP CLOSE & PERSONAL – BBC NEWS
Published on Dec 2, 2013
” The BBC was on the streets of Kiev to visit the sites where some of the barricades and were being put up to stop the police. Protesters in Ukraine have surrounded government buildings, stepping up their campaign to oust President Viktor Yanukovych over ties with the EU. “
Here is a French media report highlighting how social media is helping to drive the protests as well as being used to find housing and food for the protesters as they converge on Kiev from all over the country .
Published on Dec 3, 2013
” Today on the net: how the pro-Europe protests in Ukraine are driven by social media; a campaign tackling violence against women in the Arab world; and a mini-documentary about record-breaking record breaker Ashrita Furman.
News as seen on the web and about the web
International news as seen on the web and about the web: the latest buzzes and a comprehensive overview of what’s trending on social networks.
Another report from Reuters alleges the use of government provocateurs for the purpose of inciting violence and discrediting the protesters .
The protests have been raging for eleven days and show no sign of easing up . The demonstrators refuse to disperse without first getting the resignations of the president and his prime minister .
” The Mohawk Valley firearm manufacturer Remington Arms has won a contract worth nearly $50 million supplying the Philippine military. The contract comes amidst lingering concerns the factory will leave the state.
Remington will provide 50,000 R4 carbine rifles to the Philippine defense forces by the end of next year. Rep. Richard Hanna, (R – Barneveld), said the work on the rifles will be done in upstate New York. “
Remington would do all NY gun owners a favor if the packed up and left the state after nearly 200 years . There would be much sympathy for the people of upstate Ilion and the surrounding area as their jobs go south , but enough is enough . The policies of the ruling class in this state have been driving business out for as long as anyone can remember .
Unfortunately the manufacturing jobs that have fled the state in droves have significantly more impact on the more conservative voting people who live far from the major metropolis of New York City while the state government is primarily controlled by the liberal voters in the city and it’s immediate environs . Thus nobody in charge , Cuomo et al , give a damn about the flyover country that exists , even in NY .
” The law’s passage sparked a flurry of approaches from other states courting the gun maker to leave New York. Rumors of the factory moving south have been constant, as it was reported in August Remington’s corporate owners were scouting sites in Tennessee.
Remington’s parent company, North Carolina-based Freedom Group, has been fairly mum on the prospect.
Some smaller gun makers in New York have already packed up and left this year.”
” The California Air Resources Board is now embarking on a program that would help poor people buy energy-efficient vehicles. In one scenario posed by the agency, a “voucher” might even pay the full price for a Nissan Leaf, an electric car with an MSRP above $21,000, or for used cars with lower price tags.”
The list of “entitlements” grows by the day … food , housing , education , medical care and now California is floating the idea that people have a “right” to a car . Where does it end ? Or is that the point ? It doesn’t end until the incentive to provide for one’s self is banished once and for all , thus insuring government dependence in perpetuity . There is already ample evidence on how well that works out . Just look at all the “help” the State has provided the black community over the past two generations .
” In a staff report released on Nov. 19, the agency analyzes its Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program authorized in 2007. Funded by a $1 surcharge on vehicle registrations, the $30-million-a-year program is essentially a “cash for clunkers” deal. It provides motorists with $1,000 to $1,500 to retire their high-polluting vehicles.”
Given the fact that the original “Cash For Clunkers” program from the feds worked out so well it’s no surprise that the moonbats that rule California would decide to try to emulate that success . In the name of the environment , of course .
” Daniel Griswold argues that free trade is not only more efficient than protectionism but also more moral.”
” One: Free Trade Respects Individual Dignity and Sovereignty
A man or woman engaged in honest work has a basic right to enjoy the fruits of his or her labor. It is a violation of my right to property for the government to forbid me to exchange what I produce for something produced by a fellow human being, whether the person I’m trading with lives across town or across the ocean.
Protectionism is a form of stealing, a violation of the Eighth Commandment and other prohibitions against theft. It takes from one group of people, usually a broad cross section of consumers, and gives the spoils to a small group of producers whose only claim to the money is that they would be worse off under open competition.
Free trade meets the most elementary test of justice, giving to each person sovereign control over that which is his own. As Frederic Bastiat wrote in his 1849 essay, “Protectionism and Communism”:
Every citizen who has produced or acquired a product should have the option of applying it immediately to his own use or of transferring it to whoever on the face of the earth agrees to give him in exchange the object of his desires. To deprive him of this option when he has committed no act contrary to public order and good morals, and solely to satisfy the convenience of another citizen, is to legitimize an act of plunder and to violate the law of justice.”
Read the whole thing . The essay dates from 2001 but that does nothing to diminish the validity of Mr Griswold’s argument . On the contrary , the intervening years of State growth and the corresponding inflation , depression and recession demonstrate more than words how the morality of the free market far surpasses that of the coercive State .
” Amazon is about to start delivering products by air straight to your doorstep by remote control drones if you live in certain 30min zone .”
The video is a brief clip from the CBS 60 Minutes episode that aired last night from Youtube . To see the entire segment click on the header and go directly to CBS .
(Mark) “ Faber, editor and publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, told CNBC on Friday he believes a “massive speculative bubble” has encroached on everything from stocks and bonds to bitcoin and farmland. He attributed the vast bubble to “symptoms of excess liquidity.”
Faber said the markets, which have reached record highs, could still rise before the bubble bursts, if stimulus programs such as the Federal Reserve’s massive monthly bond purchases and super-low interest rates continue.
” Now can the market go up another 20 percent before it tumbles?” Faber said on“Squawk Box”. “Yeah, it can go up even more, if you print money.”
” Families USA (FUSA) — an organization that describes itself as a “national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans” — was given a $1.1 million grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on October 4, 2013, to gather “success stories” of Americans dealing with Obamacare and distribute them to the media who often refer to them as an “independent” group. This is part of a greater upcoming effort to bolster the perception of the lowly health care law.
“ The purpose is to bridge the information gap for people who can significantly benefit from the Affordable Care Act,” Ron Pollack, the Co-founder and Executive Director of Families USA, told TIME on October 25, 2013.
However, the organization is a far cry from “non-partisan” and is extremely close to the Obama Administration and Enroll America – the group leading the efforts to sign people up for Obamacare.”
” The Energy Department has sold off its $192 million loan guarantee to Fisker Automotive to Chinese billionaire Richard Li for $25 million — the biggest taxpayer loss on a green loan since the failure of Solyndra.
The Energy Department will announce the “selling of the promissory note” to Hybrid Tech, which is owned by Chinese billionaire Richard Li, according to sources familiar with the sale. The DOE sold the loan to Li for $25 million after lending the financially troubled green automaker a total of $192 million since 2009. …
Including the $25 million loan sale, the DOE has recovered only $53 million of the original $192 million disbursed — netting taxpayers a $139 million loss.”
Obama’s actions with the “green tech” industries , bribes , subsidies , grants , loans and kickbacks would have been enough all by themselves to have impeached any other president , Republican at least , if we had a truly independent media . The depths of media depravity and dishonesty over the past six years in support of this shameful regime is difficult to grasp .
” Joe Biden made a midday lunch run Thursday to pick up sandwiches for himself and the president, but when it came time to pay the tab, the vice president came up short.
Customers gathered for a grand opening were taken aback to see the vice president sweep through the doors of Capriotti’s, a Delaware-born sandwich shop and longtime Biden favorite. Biden quickly announced that the sandwiches — they’re called subs, not hoagies, he asserted — originate from Wilmington’s Union Street — “where I hang out.”
Four sandwiches later, Biden had racked up a bill of $56.25 for his to-go order, exhausting the contents of the vice presidential wallet. So Biden turned to his assistant, Fran Person, to borrow the difference as a shop worker offered one of the sandwiches to be on the house.”
What a cheapskate … or spendthrift , depending on your point of view . Those must be great sandwiches to cost $14 a piece .
” A McDonald’s outlet in Australia has begun playing classical musical and opera late at night to deter young people from loitering around the restaurant.
Fed up with their outlet’s nocturnal transformation into an unofficial youth club, the store adopted the tactic a few weeks ago and says it has significantly reduced the number of loiterers, particularly around the car park. The strategy has reportedly been tried before by a local council at a car park in Australia, though previous efforts involved blaring songs by Barry Manilow.”
McDonald’s as a cultural mecca ? Who would have thought ? Only in Australia … LOL
” A new GAO report recommends that Congress end the SPOT program, which attempts to catch terrorists by suspicious behaviors they may exhibit at airport checkpoints. The Transportation Security Administration currently spends more than $200 million a year on the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques program, even though there has been criticism from the start that there is no solid science behind it.
Here are observations about SPOT from my new Cato study on the TSA to be released next Tuesday:
The SPOT program illustrates the problems with top-down federal control over aviation security. ”
The Federal government , through the auspices of the TSA has wasted over a billion dollars in the past six years on a program that trains the TSA employees to “visually determine” likely terror suspects . When you are through laughing at the TSA’s well-publicized attempts at “profiling” potential terrorists (think nuns , grannies & 5 Year-olds) , consider the waste of time , money , liberty and human dignity that this six year fiasco represents.