Friday, May 25, 2007

Minimum wage, maximum deceit

Most of the arguments in favor of the minimum wage have always amused me for a variety of reasons, but the Star-Tribune highlights what I consider one major fallacy with the whole concept. The article is entitled “Congress approves $2.10 hike in minimum wage” with the sub-head “Congress sends first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade to Bush for his signature.”

Parts of the article read as follows:

Congress handed a major victory to low-income workers, approving with little fanfare the first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade.

President Bush was expected to sign the bill quickly, and workers who now make $5.15 an hour will see their paychecks go up by 70 cents per hour before the end of the summer. Another 70 cents will be added next year, and by summer 2009, all minimum-wage jobs will pay no less than $7.25 an hour….

…"Wages have been unconscionably frozen for the last decade" said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee...

...Rep. George Miller, D-Calif….said, "America's workers have been waiting for a raise for a long time."

Ok… will someone please point out to me ANY responsible able-bodied adult who’s been making the minimum wage for ten years? If you can, I’ll have little problem pointing out bad personal decisions or work habits keeping them there, not ‘the system’ or ‘the man’ or lack of a Congressional minimum wage hike.

Let me put it another way…if you take away my work history, resume, post-high school education, paint me any color you’d like (within humanly definable DNA patterns), and put me in a job paying $5.15 an hour, it’s not going to take ten years for me to reach $7.25. It’s not going to take 10 months or maybe even 10 weeks. In fact, before the end of the year I’d probably be making at least double that. How? Simply by being a good worker. Employers love reliable employees who show up on time, put in the required hours, don’t look for reasons to bitch and complain, and maybe even do a bit extra. That sort of approach to work yields a positive reputation, a commodity with which I can build a resume that commands higher compensation.

Congress actually gets in the way of all this by telling people that they don’t have it within themselves to achieve a better life without this kind of legislation.

One other amusing note; Nancy Pelosi just had to throw in her belief that "…we are raising wages for the hardest-working Americans."

I’m sorry, but the “hardest-working Americans” won’t be found in minimum wage jobs. They don’t limit themselves to 5 8-hour days a week. They work at least 60 hours a week (usually more), on weekends, and don’t depend on Democrats to give them a raise. They’re independent types who make it on their own and have no need for the government when it comes to making a higher wage. Which is probably why Democrats don’t talk about them very much.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The unbelievable shame of Minneapolis…and Hispanic activists…and Democrats.

Powerline highlights an interesting facet of the recent bust of a Twin Cities ‘sex slave’ ring. You can read the Powerline post here, but the most alarming side aspect of this affair is Minneapolis’ bow to political correctness:

“The investigation and arrests were the product of a collaboration involving federal agencies, Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the St. Paul Police Department. Notably absent was the Minneapolis Police Department, notwithstanding the fact that nearly all of the brothels were in Minneapolis. The city sent out emails to reporters explaining why it was AWOL: as a matter of policy, Minneapolis does not participate in investigations of illegal aliens.”

Let’s assume the above is accurate. That would mean Mayor Rybek and his fellow Democrats, who have controlled Minneapolis for years, would prefer doing nothing about a sex slave ring that might involve a few illegal aliens. What a wonderful message to send to any illegals living in the city!

One STRIB story on this is here. It contains the disgusting thought (courtesy of the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network) that, since Minneapolis police were present during the bust, “…many Hispanics may lose trust in the police and will be reluctant to report crimes.”

Oh. You mean crimes like forcing Hispanic women into sex slavery? Was the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network a customer or what? Is this barbaric set of values common in the local Hispanic ‘community?’

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Spinal transplant successful

Sounds like a good day yesterday at the Minnesota State House. The GOP finally got its act together and shut down the tax juggernaut that the Democrats had been pushing just after the election. They also managed to stall $300 million in new pork spending passed by the Senate until it died due to clock expiration.

Especially sweet is the failure of the 5-cent gas tax increase. Governor Pawlenty vetoed the bill but it was thought to be in danger of a successful override due to four Republicans that were in favor of it. But they finally came home and supported the veto.

Final grades are still out, but let’s savor this for now: No new taxes.

Well done, gents.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Jimmy who?

Count on one of two things happening when former President Jimmy Carter makes the headlines; either he’ll look like a buffoon now, or he’ll look like one later. His current brush with the spotlight pretty much fits in the former category.

On Saturday, Carter was quoted in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as saying "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history."

It’s not that Carter was ever good at thinking; it’s just that he now speaks quite a bit more without the benefit of same. So when he realized the nature of his remarks, he immediately went into semi-retreat/kill the messenger mode, saying that he was "careless or misinterpreted" (in itself a wonder of an excuse, but one foray into delirium at a time, please).

The paper stands by its account, so Carter has framed the issue as a ‘Who do you trust, me or the media?’ sort of thing. Very catch-22.

Regardless of whom you choose as whipping boy, Carter or the paper, one bright spot of agreement has emerged. White House spokesman Tony Fratto called Carter "increasingly irrelevant." Carter responded “"Well, I don't claim to have any relevancy.”


Friday, May 18, 2007

Coleman Adrift

I have fun jabbing at MNPublius because they're so much into Democrat victories than sound/consistant policy or philosophy. But they've had a point when it comes to Norm Coleman and his tepid stand on the war.

Now Coleman seems to have put his finger to the wind on another equally important issue, immigration. The Kennedy-McCain bill is being set up to zoom through the Senate. It's the wrong thing to do on so many sound policy levels. Yet too many GOP Senators have their head in the beltway mentality. Funny thing is, standing firm on this issue against President Bush, Kennedy and McCain will gain GOP Senators some points. Americans are fore-square against the sort of amnesty and open boarders this bill allows. That they're trying to ram-rod this thing through before the public becomes too aware is telling.

You can begin reading about it here here and here.

I've just called Coleman's office, asking his position on this bill. The pleasant voice on the other end stated that he has not issued a statement on the bill yet. Amazing! This is not a nuanced, complicated measure. That it would take this much time for Coleman to take a stand can only mean (to me) that his finger is once again in the wind, looking for a safe place to land rather than lead with his principles on the issue. If Coleman wants to do the right thing for the nation (not to mention retain any possibility of my support for '08) that will also help the Minnesota GOP to boot, he'd come out quick with unambiguous opposition to the bill, even in support of a filibuster to keep this thing from being voted on until the public at large is wide-eyed at what it contains.

Coleman's number is 202-224-5641.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Surge is . . . well . . .

NBC led their newscast Friday night with a story titled “Frank Assessment.” Brian Williams led into the report saying it was “…a difficult message tonight for a lot of Americans to hear at this juncture in the war…”

Reporter Jim Miklaszewski narrated the segment about the violence:

“It was an unusually tough and candid assessment from a top U.S. military Commander in Iraq when he told reporters that he just doesn’t have enough troops to get control over increasing violence in Diyala province north of Baghdad.”

This is really bad news they’re telling here. Non-stop violence has led to the troop surge. But the surge is simply met with more violence. No matter what is done, all that happens is violence, violence, violence. Brian is right; it’s hard to hear this….that Harry Reid was right…the war is lost. This last chance was it. After this new strategy it’s all over.

The story goes on…

“Ironically, the recent surge into Baghdad drove insurgents and terrorist out of the capital and into Diyala province…”

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Time out!

What was that? That little ditty they tried to slip by? The surge is forcing terrorists and insurgents out of Baghdad? They’re on the run?!? That’s GREAT news! Hey! The surge is working! So why the long faces at NBC? Unless…

Unless…good news in Iraq is BAD news in NBC’s view. I mean…maybe things ARE getting bad in Iraq, as in it’s more difficult for NBC to paint a losing picture, perhaps? Just look at the very carefully, closely cropped sentence fragments of General Mixon’s comments to the media that are shown in the story. I would dearly love to see them broadcast Mixon’s full content.

But then I guess it would be harder to focus on the real story, that the Bush/Petraeus strategy is working. Because Brian Williams is right. That would be “a difficult message tonight for a lot of Americans to hear at this juncture in the war.”

Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Hagel, Olympia Snowe, all the Democrat presidential hopefulls...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bonfire of the Vanities

There was an employee protest yesterday over job cuts at the Star Tribune. It’s never a funny thing when someone loses their job, but some of the signs were both amusing and revealing:

“Save Quality Journalism."

“Newspaper job cuts endanger democracy”

“Help! Journalism is in peril!”

The delusion born of self-importance and the old media echo chamber is heavily evident in the above sentiments. First, that each and every newspaper must and/or will forever have some sort of sanctified first claim on the First Amendment. Second, that newspapers are not subject to market forces or emerging technologies. Third, that declining circulation is not a consumer comment on ‘quality.’

If the Star Tribune protesters want to see some basic reasons why they are losing their jobs, they can read the interview by departing editor Jim Boyd and reactions to same from Hugh Hewitt, Scott Johnson at Powerline (here, here and here) and Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters.

Perhaps the most amusing quote comes from STRIB columnist Nick Coleman in his TV commentary on channel 9 when he said “People need to know what’s going on.” Of course there are lots of things that the STRIB doesn’t cover, like the Appeal for Courage petition that soldiers presented to Congress this week. This sort of mindset is wrapped in Jim Boyd's comments:

“…you kind of held your nose when you ran Mona Charon or Debra Saunders. I mean good grief. Jonah Goldberg? Finally, we were able to get rid of that bugger.”

Obviously, covering all viewpoints in news or commentary was not on the STRIB radar screen. Despite an excellent layout and style, the news and comment content drove customers away, leaving an opening for what’s happening now. Consumers can quickly see what they’re missing, and with the STRIB they miss a lot. Witness the huge lack of objective examination of DFL candidate Keith Ellison last year. Powerline did more digging and examination than the STRIB did (here, here, here and here), exposing the ‘news gap.’ The STRIBs 'see no evil' approach to Patty Wetterling’s outrageous comments during the ’07 campaign was glaring as well (see my own post on 10/5/07, “Patty Wetterling’s Dishonesty, the Star Tribune’s Complicity”).

Bottom line: the arrogance and blind eye that the STRIB staff had toward its own bias as well as an inability to adapt to new technology sowed the seeds of their own destruction.

Farewells over the Back Fence.

Today is the last entry for the best columnist the Star Tribune has to offer…James Lileks. He bids goodbye in the same manner he has always written…with style, wit, and good grace. Even if you never met him you knew he was your ‘Minnesota friend.’

James doesn’t ask that you weep or vent, only read and smile. He deserves that and so much more from all of us.

Thanks, James. Godspeed.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

CNN: Ah, for the good old days...

CNN is currently running a story designed not to enlighten, but tug at anti-Iraq heartstrings (I’ll try to find a link later).

The focus is on a women’s prison where the inmates ‘exist, not live’ according to the story. The pathos-laden ploys are obvious but one line caught me in particular; that ‘most noticeable was the quiet…the low murmurs’ in the prison.

Not like the screams of torture, dog mauling, steamroller crushing and wood-chipper feeding in the good-old Saddam days. Keep in mind that CNN sanitized its Iraqi coverage during the pre-liberation era so as to avoid the risk of being thrown out of the country.

It’s so interesting to see our news providers that once kowtowed to Saddam now in an eager rush to be as negative toward U.S. policy as they can be.

The Soldiers Appeal to Congress

Flip . . . flip . . . flip . . .

Excuse me a second. I’m taking part in a ritual long ago abandoned; looking for a story in the Star Tribune. You see, a petition was presented to House GOP leader John Boehner yesterday signed by almost 3000 active duty service men and women.

Flip . . . flip . . . hmmm . . . another racist editorial cartoon rendering of Condi Rice . . .

Anyway, it’s called an Appeal for Courage, something Congress, particularly Senate Republicans like our own Norm Coleman, sorely lack. It reads as follows:
“As an American currently serving my nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to fully support our mission in Iraq and halt any calls for retreat. I also respectfully urge my political leaders to actively oppose media efforts which embolden my enemy while demoralizing American support at home. The War in Iraq is a necessary and just effort to bring freedom to the Middle East and protect America from further attack.”
Flip . . . flip . . . “Palestinian Group claims it's holding BBC reporter.” Yeah, right; “group.”

I couldn’t help but remember in January when a thousand “military personnel” presented a petition to congress and a story appeared on the front page of the B section the very next day. So I was wondering if an opposing petition signed by almost three times as many soldiers would get covered. After all, I wrote back then:
“Tony Snow had it right when he said that these handful of soldiers would get more press than tens of thousands who come home with pride in their service and belief in the mission. Those soldiers rarely achieve the same level of prominence in the MSM because the MSM is no longer about news, but presenting a predetermined viewpoint.”
In the interest of fairness I thought I’d give the STRIB a chance to prove me wrong. I’ll let you know what I find.

Flip . . . flip . . . Damn! Twins lost . . .

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Cloistered Cocoon

I’ve been finding modern academia to be less and less a respectable, much less admirable, place. Case in point this evening is the Community College District of Arizona’s Maricopa County. Now were not talking the cream of academe, but its small, local, non-snobby stature makes the offense ever so much more notable.

It seems that a professor has been placed on administrative leave and facing termination for a Thanksgiving e-mailing of (drum roll please) . . . George Washington’s Thanksgiving Day address!


The e-mail was deemed “hostile” and “derogatory” because it contained a link to Patrick Buchanan’s blog from which the professor in question found the address.

So off-worldly and shuttered is the mindset of the left that now infests many halls of college campuses that they resemble less places of learning and more like cloistered cocoons (inbred ones at that). Such division from reality deserves, at the very least, division from funding.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It really IS a religion

When I talk about the Church of Global Warming – Evangelical (CGW-E) it’s only partly tongue-in-cheek. Check out the latest in ‘hotel fashion:’

April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Visitors to the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa won't find the Gideon Bible in the nightstand drawer. Instead, on the bureau will be a copy of “An Inconvenient Truth,” former Vice President Al Gore's book about global warming.

Consider a few things: First, that the Gideons provide the Bibles free of charge. Not so Al Gore with his apologia. Second, there’s no ‘mutual exclusivity’ between the books; both can be placed in the room. Third, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that the presence of the Gideon Bible has resulted in significant positive changes in the personal lives of those who happen across them, like turning away from suicide or returning to a spouse that had been just been abandoned. I doubt that such turns away from the abyss will accrue from anything Al Gore says or writes. On the contrary, hopelessness tends to follow in his wake.

Just a little view on the mindset of the ‘Green Movement’ that has planted itself firmly in Oz while displacing another book of faith.

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