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The “Connecticut Effect”

2026_curious-catThis is a term that was uttered by an NRA lobbyist the other day. He stated that the NRA would have to wait until the “Connecticut effect” had passed. Then we would be back to business as usual.

What an arrogant SOB. And callous, uncaring and inhuman. For my part here’s hoping that the “Connecticut effect” snowballs. Let us hope that every time America hears about yet another gun tragedy, the thought of those innocent children pops into their minds and we as a united citizenry vow once more to end the insane loss of life through gun violence. Here is hoping the “Connecticut effect” is the catalyst to end the slaughter of Americans at each other’s hands.

Why not Canada?
One thing that continues to gnaw at my curiosity is why we have two nearly parallel societies – Canada and the US – and one is hyper-violent and the other is quite genteel. Canadians have as many guns as people in the US on a per person basis, but they don’t kill each other. So what is the difference between the two?

I am going to speculate briefly, however figuring out why seems like a worthwhile project for some aspiring PhD candidate. My guess is that Canadian society has been based more on co-operation between individuals for success of the whole, while people in the US have been inculcated on the idea that individual achievement is the most important thing.

Swimming Against The Tide: Will They Drown?
One has to wonder how long the Republican party can swim against a rather tough tide of public opinion on nearly every issue and still get elected. Name the issue and look at the polling on that individual issue. In nearly every instance the public favors the democratic position by at least a 60/40 split, often higher. A recent one that surprised me is that even Republicans favor raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

Republicans are to the point of openly cheating to win elections. Forcing long lines in democratic neighborhood polling places, purging voter roles based on surname, gerrymandering to create districts that look like mutant animals, and of course now re-interpreting the constitution on the electoral college to change how they are distributed. But despite all this, they continue to doom themselves to a future as a minor party with a constituency of old white guys based in the south. And if they try to change they will blow apart. Those with the money that keeps the party together will not countenance change when they have worked so hard to oppress the country.

One thing that has truly aided this odd coalition of religious, money and lack of conscience is a fully compliant media that is owned mostly by the right. By reporting politics as a sporting event, by not reporting the full stories and by simply reporting false stories or by giving diversionary stories much more time than they deserve, the media has gone a long ways to help Republicans maintain their standing.

Grassley Scores Again!
Wow – you would never have known that women actually voted for old Chuck in 2010 the way he shows his disdain for them. They could have voted for a woman – Roxanne Conlin – and been well represented by her. But many voted for Chuck. In return he ignores them and appears to long once more for the 19th century. I am having a hard time expressing my feelings at this most out of touch, misogynistic, sexist, senator so I will quit trying. Glad my daughters aren’t here to witness this. Sadly, one is in Mississippi a state much more suited to people like Grassley.

Oh – this rant was brought on by his vote against the Violence Against Women Act. Hope a woman runs against him and beats him in 2016.

And on Thursday, Chuck joins 39 of his Republican buddies in bringing yet one more filibuster to the Senate. For the first time, Grassley and his buddies filibuster a cabinet appointment and once more the minority stands directly in the way of what the majority of America wants. Really, Iowa, is this what you want from a Senator?

Why The Minimum Wage Matters

(from the Iowa Policy Project)

FRIENDS:   With much attention today to the President’s proposal to raise the minimum wage, we believe the statement below — a post on our Iowa Policy Points blog by Research Associate Heather Gibney — provides important context to the issues that will be discussed in this coming debate.

It doesn’t take long after someone proposes an increase in the minimum wage — as President Obama did in his State of the Union message — to hear the same, tired arguments against it.

Rather than repeat them, and the bad economics behind them, it’s important to put the minimum wage in the context of the cost of making ends meet. It doesn’t come close — which means two things: (1) the wage itself needs to keep pace with increases in typical household costs, and (2) to fill gaps between the wage and the cost of basic needs, and to encourage people to work, we can through public policy offer work supports, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as assistance with the costs of food, health care and child care.

The Cost of Living in Iowa analysis by the Iowa Policy Project last year provides a look at just how far short a $7.25 hourly wage would fall for a single parent even working two full-time jobs. It would not come close to paying the bills without work-support programs. Note these estimates in the accompanying table (Table 3 from that May 2012 report) of a basic-needs, no-frills household budget for a single-parent family of two or three.

The national minimum wage of $7.25 has not been increased in almost four years — and in Iowa it’s already been over five years, as the state’s $7.25 minimum took effect in January 2008. Prices are higher than they were then, and employers cannot be counted upon to raise pay for minimum-wage workers without the stick of wage-and-hour laws. That is why there’s a minimum.

Thanks to Heather Gibney, Research Associate at Iowa Policy Project

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