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Today's Note From a Madman
Tuesday, May 2 2006
Minimum Wage and High School Students
Back in "the day" when I was a youngun', I used to work for minimum wage. It's what I did for my "goin' out" money. You see, some of us didn't have daddies with loads of money and privilege and friends for us to take advantage of. Some of us had to work to get by. This "work", a foreign and incomprehensible word to George W. Bush and most of his ultra-rich "base" of "haves and have-mores" (It's still hard to believe that he really said that), was real, and hard and what most of us did part time while we were in High School. It's how I paid for gas in my 1975 Mercury Monarch; It's how I took my girlfriend, now my wife of 23 years, out on any given Saturday night (when I wasn't working, of course); but more importantly, it helped to shape the man I am today, with my work ethic, my sense of fair play and my sense of empathy for my fellow human being, whether their ancestors were of Mexican or Irish or Chinese or Eastern European origins.
I still believe we need to do something about illegal immigration. My ideas, as I have proposed here on Madman before include:
-Protect our borders: Some want a wall, I want a waterway stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the west Coast. We could commission the Army Corps of Engineers for its viability and shorten the passage that many ships have to take in order to get from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. Additionally, we could use the silt and dirt we remove for the project and rebuild the barrier islands that help protect New Orleans from ocean surges during hurricanes.
-Punish Employer Violators: We already know that punishing the illegal immigrant workers is a waste of time. They're sent back across the border and, somehow (maybe by magic), find their ways back into the US. The waterway would help solve some of the problems of deportation, but giving the rich folk stiff fines and mandatory jail terms for repeat offenders would send even a better message.
Many of the jobs that my generation had when I was a High Schooler now go to illegal immigrants. In most cases, illegal immigrants are employed as legal workers with forged or "borrowed" documents. Taxes are collected for them and Social Security (Federal Withholding Tax) is matched by their employer. I believe that there is a simple way to reclaim many of these jobs for our children, while at the same time reducing illegal immigration.
Lower the Minimum Wage
Now that I got your attention, let me explain.
It is my intention to
first raise the minimum wage to a level that would keep up with poverty. A forty
hour job should be paid at least as much as is necessary for a single person to
survive. Today the poverty level for a single person starts at $9,800 per year.
If you work 40 hours a week, and all 52 weeks in a year, you have been actually
making less that the minimum wage (today's minimum wage is $5.15 per our - A
person earning $9,800 working the schedule mentioned above is only earning $4.71
per hour... That's 44 cents less, or more than 8.5 percent less than minimum
wage. Raise the minimum wage to keep up with inflation (at the very least), and
tie its annual raises to the Consumer Price Index.
Starting right now, raise the minimum wage to $6.00 per hour for everyone who is not in High School However, regarding High School students, you should lower the minimum wage to an even $5.00 per hour. To make this program work, the High Schoolers wouldn't pay any taxes on all earnings of up to $6,400 per year. That's the limit of how many hours a high school student should work during the school year (20 hours a week over 40 weeks per year, part time, when school is in session; 40 hours a week over 12 weeks per year, when school is recessed). This will allow employers the chance to save money (because they won't have to shell out as much and they won't have to match the Federal Withholding Tax) and it will still let student keep more of their earnings than they do now.
Why is this such a good idea? High school students are born with holes in their pockets. Illegal immigrants have to save every penny in order to live and work in the US. High School students spend their money in movie theaters, shopping malls and other various economy friendly ventures. Illegal immigrants have to send money back to their relatives in other countries, taking dollars away from our economy.
|High School Student under new No Tax Proposal - $5.00/ hour||All Employees Today at Minimum Wage of $5.15/ hour||All Other Workers Taxed at $6.00/ hour|
|Salary earned at 20 hours||$100.00||$103.00||$120.00|
|Federal Withholding Tax||$0.00||$7.88||$9.18|
|Employer Matched Federal Withholding Tax||$0.00||$7.88||$9.18|
|Total Take Home Pay||$100.00||$95.12||$110.82|
|Total Cost to Employer||$100.00||$110.88||$129.18|
As you can see from the chart above, using this proposal not only saves employers more than ten percent on the wages they pay now, but it would save almost thirty percent on wages once the minimum wage was raised to $6.00 per hour. On the same hand, this same proposal would allow High school students an additional $5.00 for every 20 hours worked to spend on whatever High School students spend money on.
Is this what they mean by a win-win?
Bear in mind, this proposal would only be applicable for 20 hours per week during school weeks and 40 hours per week during recess. All other money would be paid for, and taxed at the $6.00 per hour rate. This will ensure that employers and employees wouldn't attempt to take advantage of the generous program.
Let's see... Lowering the cost of doing business while putting money in the pockets of America's new consumers AND contributing to the economy in a new and innovative way. All this and discouraging illegal immigration, too! Hmm... Must be a PROGRESSIVE IDEA.
THE LAVENDER TUBE: GOODBYE TO ALL THAT
by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2006 San Francisco Bay Area Reporter
May is upon us, the last sweeps extravaganza before TV's summer hiatus. All the major series are winding down, or in the case of some, NBC's *Will& Grace* (the show that brought queers into more American households than anyone would ever have thought possible), winding to a close. The final two episodes air May 4th and 11th. Watch, weep and remember how incredibly funny *W&G* was when it debuted, how terrific it was to see gay inside jokes every week on prime time network TV and how *W&G* paved the way for the popularity of *Queer Eye* and other blatantly gay programming and characters.
Even though *W&G* has only been mildly amusing for the past few seasons and far too much attention has been focused on Grace's messy hetero personal life, the show will always hold a place in our hearts for the many nights it made us laugh out loud to queer in-jokes, making straight America the outsider and *us*–finally–the insiders.
They say when one door shuts, a window opens. That window would be on *The View.* The worst-kept secret in Hollywood was revealed at the Daytime Emmy Awards on April 28th when Rosie O'Donnell did a pretend confrontation with Barbara Walters over whether Rosie would be replacing Meredith Vieira in the catty morning round-up. Walters "revealed" that O'Donnell would join *The View* in September when the musical chairs begins.
The Emmy cam panned to Ellen DeGeneres who immediately sported the kind of sickly smile that goes with getting a pie in the face. Will there be room for *two* lesbian comedians on daytime TV?
The Rosie reveal caused Jimmy Kimmel to opine later on his show that "Rosie O'Donnell will be replacing Meredith Vieira who will be replacing Katie Couric who will be replacing Bob Schieffer who replaced Dan Rather who replaced Walter Kronkite who will be replacing Rosie O'Donnell on the lesbian cruise ship circuit."
See what *W&G* spawned?
Kimmel, who regularly lambasts *The View's* most irritating member, Star Jones, referring to the well-documented feud between Jones and O'Donnell, said: "It will be like wrestling every day if it were for real." (Earlier in the week when the rumor was still rumor, Kimmel had proclaimed, "If Rosie O'Donnell replaces Meredith Vieira on *The View*–she and Star Jones, that's like *Alien versus Predator.*)
Personally we are looking forward to seeing Rosie back on daytime and anything that puts Jones perky little nose job out of joint is just icing for us. Since Rosie, mother of five, will fill the "Mom" spot left by Vieira, we expect to hear a great deal about her children and wife in the daily chat segment of the show. That should slap the morning audience around just a little bit and get the homophobes complaining to the sponsors.
Speaking of homophobes, in case you were wondering, Rev. Jerry Falwell still hates queers. Or so he told *Nightline* anchor Terry Moran in a compelling and creepy interview on April 27th.
When Moran queried whether lesbians and gay men might feel his comments that gays and lesbians shouldn't exist were "genocidal" (we always like Moran's ability to just say whatever he thinks, unlike the majority of the media: let's savor *that* comment: *genocidal*), Falwell *never* demurred.
You can't fault Falwell on consistency.
But speaking of consistency, one of the topics addressed by Moran (who really has proved himself a solid replacement for Ted Koppel) was the courting of Falwell by perennial presidential hopeful John McCain. Where once McCain, the beloved of independents everywhere, was succinct that Falwell was an agent of divisiveness, now he is wooing Falwell's endorsement. (Falwell said McCain had come right out and asked him for an endorsement; Falwell has yet to make a decision, proving that tossing your integrity out the window for an endorsement isn't always the wisest move.)
So much for the "maverick" McCain. As CNN's Joe Klein said in an interview touting his new book, *Politics Lost* last week, McCain is utterly lost as a candidate hated now by both conservatives and "the five independents in the country who haven't made up their minds which side to vote for." (Klein also referred to same-sex marriage as a "fringe" issue unworthy of discussion. "I've never written a column about gay marriage," he said. To be fair, e also called abortion a fringe issue.)
It was the discussion of McCain that led Moran to the gay questions because–at least until it becomes politically expedient to change his mind–McCain opposes a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage while Falwell not only supports the idea, he's making every effort to facilitate it.
Our favorite comment from the Falwell interview was when he told Moran that ex-gays were the most reviled and oppressed people in America today. "Not homosexuals?" Moran asked with appropriate incredulity. "No." Falwell was firm–the ex-gays are the nation's targets.
Everyone, it seems, has a parallel universe. Shouldn't Falwell be out counseling his fellow ideologue, the ever-unrepentant drug addict, Rush Limbaugh, arrested again on April 28th?
Meanwhile, in another parallel universe, the White House, George Bush made it official: FOX *is* the spokes-network for the Bush Administration.
We couldn't help but feel a little twinge of sadness for hard-working Scott McClellan after he was unceremoniously axed (oops, sorry, like Andy Card he "resigned") and replaced a nanosecond later by the soignee Tony Snow, the most right-wing pundit on FOX news. There's dumpy little McClellan, who has lied spectacularly for his ubermenschen for lo these many grisly years smiling sickly into the face of the Come-Alive Ken-doll, Snow, who–astonishingly–looked more presidential standing at the podium than our fearless leader, Bush.
That moment of recognition gave us more than a little *frisson.* Is this why Bush chose Snow? Will it be a Snow-Rice ticket in 2008? Talk about your nightmare scenarios....
Meanwhile, back at the podium Bush was joking in his Henny Youngman way that Snow had criticized him but had then said "You should have heard what I said about the other guy!" Ha, ha.
Well, Snow might have criticized Bush once upon a midnight dreary as he pondered weak and weary about why Bush wasn't *more* of a fascist, but those days are clearly over. Just like the days in 2000 when McCain was lambasting Bush from every corner of the nation.
We're not sure what script the Snow replacement is following, but it's like Hitler ditching Goebbels for Leni Riefenstahl. The Bushstag clearly needed a prettier face fielding those nasty questions than the little closet case who did his evil duty for the past few years with only Jeff Gannon to show for his efforts.
And another one bites the dust....
Meanwhile, over in the reality sector, Oprah continues to try and run the country the way it should be run: by paying attention.
We have forgiven Oprah for the James Frey debacle and even for the dress she was wearing April 28th. (We've never seen a grown woman with enormous breasts who wasn't dressing up for some weird trick wear a black dress with a flounce skirt and a blazing white Peter Pan collar and matching French cuffs. It made her look like some weird black Annie or black Wednesday from the Addams' family.)
We have forgiven Oprah because time has passed, she had the good grace to apologize and invited the principles to do the same (they didn't) and most importantly, she has gone back to socially relevant programming. It often seems that Oprah is doing more for Americans and others in crisis than the President.
This week Oprah tackled class, Darfur and Uganda. The most powerful woman in America explored the class biases of America and how they influence poverty and the widening income gap under Bush. (The rich *are* getting richer, it's not your imagination. Under Bush the income gap has widened so dramatically that one percent of American's hold 40 percent of the wealth. What's more, the middle class is evaporating and there is a greater gap between rich and poor than ever in U.S. history.)
One of Oprah's guests was former Clinton Secretary of the Treasury Robert Reich who made it clear the U.S. is creating a permanent underclass.
In another show this week Oprah had her star correspondent, Lisa Ling (it's so hard to believe she was ever on *The View*), detail the hideous impact of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. The video of tortured children, some who had been cooked alive and then pulled from the boiling water, was sickening to see, but as Oprah noted: "Now that you know, you can't pretend you don't."
It would be impossible for anyone to eradicate the images in one's head after viewing all the hideously scarred and emotionally wounded children in the piece. These children–many of them having been forced to kill–inhabit a dark, dark world.
Once again Oprah brings her audience a gift they can't refuse: knowledge. Oprah also had George Clooney, whose latest mission is ending the genocide in Darfur, talk about his trip he there and what he learned about the genocide. (For more info on Clooney's visit, go to ABCnews.com or Oprah.com.) In the midst of all this darkness there is still hope. Hope because Oprah is still there to alert us to the injustices surrounding us, even as the government refuses to do anything to avert or mitigate them.
Alerting us to injustice might be Oprah's mission, but it is the *job* of the President to do something about it. This week *Nightline* profiled Kayla Brown, 24, an elementary school teacher in Texas who came to the startling conclusion that her elementary school children were failing because the kids were hungry.
Brown spoke to her church and organized a food drive to help them long-term. One of the stats to come out in the *Nightline* segment: the percentage of people going to food banks in desperate need has gone up 18 percent this year.
Speaking of our ineffectual president, Bush said on a visit to New Orleans on April 27th that the government was ready for another hurricane at the same time Sen. Susan Collins –a Republican, mind you–was giving a press conference declaring that FEMA was utterly useless and incapable. Uh, Mr. President, isn't FEMA who you call for hurricane relief? And we are ready *how*?
Someone must have mixed up his cue cards. Again.
Anyone want to see the outtakes from the new road trip movie: Rummy and Condi go to Iraq?
Finally our quote of the week comes from Tony Snow in a 2003 segment of FOX News Sunday.
"Here's the unmentionable secret: Racism isn't that big a deal any more. No sensible person supports it. Nobody of importance preaches it. It's rapidly becoming an ugly memory."
Obviously Snow lives in the same parallel universe as the rest of the Bush Administration. Much as we would like Snow's comments to be accurate, racism is very much a big deal. And only white people seem to think otherwise.
Think racism doesn't matter? Take a look at the Duke rape controversy. Racism matters.
So watch for a summer of neat new spin from the White House's newest spin doc. And practice "Springtime for Hitler."
Rhian's Battle for America
Once again, We The People, are being divided with aim to conquor by politicians both Democratic and Republican who are, almost without exception, globalists with the single agenda of establishing a one world dictatorship, from the seat of DC.
One one side we have Democrats, who fight in the halls of Congress for what amounts to amnesty for the lawbreakers called immigrants, predominately from Mexico and other South American countries. Democrats want to legalize 12 million of those who have already broken three US laws to be where they are.
The first law they broke was to cross the border without legalization, without immunization, under cover of darkness and with the assistance of human smugglers. Many hundreds have died, on both sides of the border. Millions more did not, do not, and invade our nation by the millions every year.
The second law they break is to either forge or hire forgers to create fake ID, or stolen ID documents.
The third law they break is to use illigitimate identification documents to obtain employment.
On the other side we have Republicans, who are fighting in the halls of Congress to seal the border, to stop the flow of illegals, and require that those already here are quickly deported for crime they commit while in the US, and at best, have to work through about 12 years and $30,000 on average for fines, back taxes, and restitution to welfare agencies. This requirement will be mandated, if Republicans win, of people who are not English adept, and for the most part, illiterate in their own language/dialect of origin. It is a plan fatally flawed,
on the face because illegals won't understand it, and won't be able to implement it.
Meanwhile, We The People, are 85% in favor of ejection of all illegals, no matter how much trouble it is, or what the cost.
It is true that George W. Bush has set the example with trillion dollar deficits to support the war to nowhere. Iraq.
With gas prices still soaring and much gaggle and clucking on both sides of Congress, choking the media with meaningless 'reports' about inaction, Iran threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the map, Rice, clicking about in designer shoes, trailing empty degrees behind her like toilet paper, Bush and the other thugs, subrogate one or another Constitutional freedom of the American people every day, without notice.
IE-UAE ports now set by permission of Bush to take over nine businesses which manufacture parts for military equipment, which limited Republican members of the Senate, 'see no national security issue.'
IE-Rumsfeld continues to keep our military in permanent slavery, rambling about 'the long war,' while our kids die every day in increasing numbers, while ex-joint chief after retired military general, after another, call for his removal for ineptitude, in behalf of their sworn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.
IE-Congress moves to allow mega communications corporations to harness the internet, and demand fees for movement of data.
And the QUIESTION OF THE DAY for voters. Do we dare hand the House and Senate back to Democrats, who will stop the war to nowhere, but defeat the American Will to secure the border and deport illegals, or do we keep the Republicans in, to secure the border and deport illegals while the bloodletting continues in Iraq?
Either way, We The People, lose. And this by design of globalists is the place We The People are defeated and the Constitution subverted.
With few exceptions, they are all, all and all, the enemy of The People, and The Constitution.
It is hard to understand how anyone with access to global conditions, are unable to understand that the Constitution is a document of law, which is truly inspired by God.
What other people in the history of the world have lived like we live and have what we have?
It is impossible to understand how Christians in this nation do not see that subversion of our Constitutional law is literally a strike against God. It is stunning to think that Christians are duped by posers of Christianity, the Bush Administration, who are in reality, wolves breaking down the doors of the American middle class, vultures feeding on Constitutional rights.
We have clever men in the White House. They play the biggest shell game that has ever been. They play the political parties as policemen in interrogations rooms, play good cop bad cop, with the American public.
The plain truth is, that when the Constitution, is abrogated, either by bureaucratic law, or by high crimes and misdeamanors, or by the rules of a church, our nation is destabilized and the purpose of God is thwarted.
And, what is the purpose of God? 'This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the eternal life of mankind' War is not the path of God, though wars must be fought.
We do not now fight a war. We brutally occupy a soveriegn nation. We do not now
encourage freedom, family and love. We tread the path of facism if led by Republicans, and the path of Karl Marx if led by Democrats, who conceived of a utopian society and wrote the manifesto of a living hell.
When we vote, if we do again have a real vote, we should vote for the Constitution. For those few who have read it and swear the same oath of fealty to it, that our military does. Politicians be damned. The public, the voters, We The People, must tread upon the politicians who betray our freedoms, if we are to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
If the politicians have their way, we will be the American Region, (including North and South America), in the global dictatorship seated in DC, with no border, no rights, no freedoms, literally, a muddy version of China.
Demand your rights, and your freedoms, in the names of those who carved them originally on that paper, inspired by God, sanctifying our Constitution for their hiers, We The People.
A Note and an Invite
For those of you near enough to Central new Jersey
Marc's Place, a monthly coffeehouse, will be held on Friday, May 5 at 8 PM. The topic is: "What do Peace Activists have to Say about Immigration?" The coffeehouse is located at the Reformed Church, 19-21 South 2nd St. in Highland Park. The location is "The Cave", the church basement accessible from the municipal lot at the rear of the church, entered from Raritan Ave. Come for the food and music . . . stay for the conversation. Free! But donations are accepted. The coffeehouse is sponsored by the Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War. For further information, contact Dorothy at 732-235-1444.
Rice and Rumsfeld stumped by a reporter’s excellent question: “A full 10 seconds of silence passed after a reporter asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld what the intense secrecy and security surrounding their visit to Iraq signified about the stability of the country three years after the U.S.-led invasion. Rice turned to Rumsfeld to provide the answer. Rumsfeld glared at the reporter.
-reported by the always excellent Progress Report and submitted by Victoria Brownworth
In response to "By the end of this year, the nation of Brazil will be 100% away from oil," Roland James writes:
Brazil is not a 1st world industrial country and unfortunately, the Amazaon rainforest is still being cut down to grow sugar cane.... short term, as the soil soon wears out and then more rainforest has to be cut. Perhaps ethanol makes sense for Brazil if they could avoid cutting down the rainforest, since they have about 1/5th the per capita energy use of the U.S. However, ethanol has an energy profit ratio (BTUs out/BTUs in) of less than 2--sometimes less than 1, whereas oil generally has a ration of ~8 to 100, depending on where you get it.
"the terrorists are ultimately going to be defeated by a political process here."
-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, from Iraq
Just what happened to "Mission Accomplished"?
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