The offshoot of President Barack Obama’s unilateral decision to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on Thursday, was the chance for Democrats to use their support for wage increases as a cudgel against Republicans nationwide.
“The White House and the Democrats, they have figured out a way to make this fight not about Barack Obama versus [House Speaker] John Boehner (R-OH),” Maddow said before letting out a mocking snore. “They have figured out a way to make this everybody who wants a raise versus every Republican politician who says no everywhere in the country.”
Maddow pointed out that Obama’s decision to raise contractors’ wages to a minimum of $10.10 per hour has already been followed by St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, who will do the same for all part-time city employees.
The issue has also impacted embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and his state’s half of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. While Christie’s appointees face mounting legal issues, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye signaled their intent to require contractors at both JFK and LaGuardia Airports to adopt the $10.10 minimum wage. Meanwhile, the New York Daily News accused Christie’s administration of“stomping on his constituents” for not requiring the same of contractors at Newark Airport.
And historically, Maddow said, putting minimum wage increases on the ballot has paid dividends for Democrats, since they both tend to pass while increasing voter turnout, which has fueled Democratic victories.
“Everybody says, ‘Oh, Chris Christie won re-election by such a huge margin — he won by 22 points,’” Maddow said. “You know what? Same margin by which he was overruled by the voters of his state on that minimum wage issue.”
Watch Maddow’s commentary, as aired on Thursday, below.
A concerned public is demanding that the Federal Communications Commission refuse to bow down to a judicial blow to internet freedom dealt earlier this month.
(Photo: Reuters/Sherwin Crasto)
One million petitions backed by a coalition of over 80 organizations — includingFree Press, Prometheus Radio Project, and the American Civil Liberties Union — call for the FCC to “protect the open internet” and “reassert its clear authority over our nation’s communications infrastructure.”
Petitioners say this can be accomplished by reclassifying broadband services as “telecommunications services” — a move that would subject them to regulations that protect net neutrality.
A federal appeals court struck down the FCC’s Open Internet Order earlier this month, siding with a challenge from telecom giant Verizon. Loss of net neutrality protections, which require that Internet Service Providers treat all online content the same, would allow corporations like AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable to block and censor internet content and tamper with traffic — giving the advantage to the highest bidders.
Critics charge this would make the internet an even more uneven playing field.
“The court’s decision to kill open Internet rules will have a detrimental impact on communities of color and other marginalized groups,” reads a statement by Media Action Grassroots Network. “It will force small organizations and businesses to compete with the biggest websites, will set a price point that many can’t afford, and expand an almost uncrossable digital divide.”
For many, that divide already exists.
“In Philadelphia, at least a third of our residents don’t have access to broadband in their homes,” said Hannah Sassaman, policy director for Media Mobilizing Project, in an interview with Common Dreams. “This lack of access already limits their abilities to tell stories for change, and to hear the voices of other community members struggling with the same issues.”
“If we lose the principle of net neutrality, poor and working people may find that their access to information and to each others’ voices is even more curtailed,” Sassaman added. “Chairman Wheeler has the power to act now to protect and expand an open internet for millions of poor and working people in America.”
“The FCC has the power to defend our right to communicate online, and to protect the public from predatory business practices from giant ISPs determined to invent new ways to charge us even more for even less,” said Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson. “Chairman Wheeler must take action now to reverse a decade of failed policies built on industry giveaways, and reclassify broadband so corporate gatekeepers like Verizon and Comcast don’t get to determine whose voices are heard and whose are silenced.”
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This morning’s marijuana news roundup comes to you from the southern Oregon city of Ashland, where I’ll be covering the first of two marijuana industry conferences this week.
A few headlines caught my eye this morning:
Use of pot among adolescents, which had declined from the late 1990s through the mid-to-late 2000s, is again on the rise, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. One likely reason: “The percentage of high-schoolers who see great risk from being regular marijuana users has dropped,” over time, the agency points out.
That perception, however, is all wrong. In a study published last month, Smith and his colleagues found that teens who smoked a lot of pot had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory — a predictor of weak academic performance and impaired everyday functioning — and that they did poorly on memory-related tasks.
Touting the benefits of regulating and taxing what is now an underground industry in Nevada, advocates say they’re confident they’ll have the money and votes required to pass an initiative similar to the one that Colorado voters approved in 2012.
“Based on the dynamics we’re seeing in Colorado with full adult use being legal, it seems a natural fit for Nevada,” said Joe Brezny, executive director of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association and officer with the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana, the Nevada political action committee organized to get the legalization initiative on the 2016 ballot.
Several stores raided by armed federal agents have reopened. Some cultivation warehouses that were swept clean are again filled with marijuana plants. Nobody named in the search warrants has been arrested or even publicly accused of wrongdoing. At least three of those targets say they are baffled why the feds showed up at their doors.
A couple more headlines from The Oregonian before you go:
— Noelle Crombie
Whether you believe it will snow at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday night or Renee Fleming will wear black gloves while singing the national anthem or blue Gatorade will be poured on the winning coach at the conclusion of the game, there’s a bet for that.
As Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncosnears, the proliferation of unusual bets, known as props, available to the betting public has increased. They have brought a different dimension to betting on the game, especially for those whose hunches carry far past the outcome or the point margin.
Proposition bets can be traced back to Super Bowl XX, when, in 1986, the MGM Grand asked bettors whether William “The Refrigerator” Perry would score a touchdown in the game. The Chicago Bears and coach Mike Ditka had been using the 6-foot-2, 335-pound defensive lineman as a lead blocker on occasion during the season, and though he was unsuccessful in his first goal-line appearance in the first quarter against the New England Patriots, he ran 1 yard for a touchdown with 11:38 to play in the third quarter.
The sports book got hammered on the bet, which opened at 40-1 odds but moved to 5-1 before kickoff. The frenzy that resulted from Perry’s touchdown, and the casino’s loss, popularized the offbeat style of betting, which returned the following year and has grown ever since.
The LVH SuperBook has pioneered prop bets over the better part of the past three decades and has crafted more than 350 unique bets for Sunday’s game, including whether a team will score four consecutive times, whether Seahawks wide receiverPercy Harvin will run the ball or whether the jersey number of the first player to score a touchdown in the game is higher or lower than 79.5.
Because of Nevada gambling regulations, Las Vegas sports books aren’t able to take bets on Super Bowl periphery, including wagers tied to halftime performances or remarks by television broadcasters.
That’s where offshore sports books step in. Bovada, an online book licensed through the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in Quebec, has posted more than 500 prop bets for Sunday, allowing people to place bets on things as simple as the temperature at kickoff or which hit single halftime performer Bruno Mars will play first or how many times Archie Manning, the father of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, will be shown on the Fox broadcast.
“Aside from that, what’s getting a lot of attention this year is, being an outdoor venue, we posted, ‘Will it snow during the game?’” said Bovada head oddsmakerPat Morrow, who spoke by telephone this week from the Caribbean island ofAntigua. “That’s been an interesting one for us, because that’s something we’ve really had to pay attention to each day with the long-term weather forecast, and as we get closer to the game, those weather forecasts become more and more accurate, so we’ve been able to raise our limit as we get closer to kickoff on Sunday and the forecasts become a little bit more reliable.”
The child was then sent on his or her way, with a piece of fruit and a carton of milk.
The problem that the district-imposed hunger strike was meant to fix was a “large number of students” with zero or negative balances in the accounts that kids use to purchase the $2.00 lunches. Staff began a campaign to call parents to settle up, but not all the calls had been made by lunchtime and for those kids, it was tough luck.
The Utah lunch line story has gone viral, and for good reason—it’s almost inconceivable. In what world does this begin to make sense? Just how much could a parent owe that would warrant embarrassing and basically, starving, small children? And why would you punish a child for the transgressions of his parent?
Parents described the incident as “traumatic and humiliating” for their kids. Lunch ladies were reportedly in tears being forced carry out a directive that goes against the entire purpose of their work.
Portrait of Fred Korematsu is seen during its presentation to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
This Thursday, Jan. 30 marks Illinois’ first celebration of “Fred Korematsu Day,” making Illinois the fourth state to honor the Japanese-American, civil rights activist.
Fred Korematsu was born in Oakland, Calif. but his U.S. citizenship didn’t keep him from being arrested for refusing to be relocated to an internment camp in 1942. He challenged his arrest in court and two years later the case made its way to the Supreme Court. Korematsu challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, the decree that forced the relocation of people of Japanese descent to internment camps. The court ruled in favor of the government and against Korematsu in what is now widely considered one of their worst verdicts. The majority of justices claimed the detentions were not based on racial discrimination but rather on suspicions that Japanese-Americans were acting as spies.
After World War II, Korematsu was released. But the conviction remained on his record for 40 years until it was finally overturned in 1983.
Karen Korematsu, Fred’s daughter, is now the executive director of the Korematsu Institute. She hopes that other states will follow Illinois’ initiative — and that one day, America will have a federally-recognized Fred Korematsu day.
Theresa Mah, who works for Illinois’ governor, Pat Quinn, as director of Asian-American outreach, supports Karen’s goal. She came up with the idea of recognizing Fred Korematsu Day in her state.
“I hope that more states follow in our footsteps and proclaim the holiday as well,” she says.
Mah believes it is important that people know Korematsu’s story in order to dispel notions that Asian-Americans never fought for their civil rights.