Archive for the ‘working poor’ Category

Millionaires Vote Down $10.10 Minimum Wage

May 1, 2014

Millionaires Vote Down $10.10 Minimum Wage

“A broad-based coalition of millionaires converged on Washington today to defeat a bill that would have increased the minimum wage for American workers to $10.10 an hour.

Leaving behind their mansions and yachts, the millionaires were motivated by what they saw as an existential threat to the country, Mitch McConnell, a spokesman for the millionaires, said.

‘This was an extremely diverse coalition,’ McConnell said, noting that everyone from the rich to the very rich to the super-rich united to vote down the bill.”

— “Millionaires Unite to Defeat Minimum Wage,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker


“GOP Blocks Minimum-Wage Bill in Senate,” Caitlin Huey-Burns and Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics


“Which Millionaire Are You Voting For?” Nicholas Carnes, New York Times


Short link:

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Mitt Romney’s America

September 19, 2012

Mitt Romney's America

Ex-financier Willard Mitt Romney was whoopin’ it up at an intimate $50,000-a-plate dinner-for-150 at the palatial estate of kinky fellow plutocrat Marc Leder when some class traitor secretly recorded the GOP candidate’s run-down on the “Other Ranks.” 47% of Americans pay no Federal Income Tax, he confided, and it’s not because they’re compensated in capital gains or have elaborate off-shore bank accounts like real Americans. Our U.S. corporations simply pay them too little to cover their family upkeep, and those wretched, gummint-dependent ingrates won’t vote GOP in November anyway, so screw ’em.


Hazel Dickens, 1935 – 2011

April 23, 2011

“Hazel Dickens, bluegrass pioneer who sang of miners and downtrodden, dies at 75,” Matt Schudel, Washington Post

“Hazel Dickens, Folk Singer, Dies at 75,” Bill Friskics-Riskics, New York Times

“Hazel Dickens: 1935-2011,” Moutain Stage, WV Public Broadcasting blog

 “Country music legend Hazel Dickens dies,” Kate Long, Charleston Gazette

 “2001 NEA National Heritage Fellow Hazel Dickens,” National Endowment for the Arts


Video: West Virginia Public Television

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Shopping Bag Bill — Elitism or Environmentalism?

April 2, 2009

Shopping Bag Bill -- Elitism or Environmentalism?

To some, a DC Council bill encouraging District consumers to substitute reuseable shopping bags for disposable plastic and paper ones sounds like a regressive tax on the poor. The measure would put a 5 cent charge on plastic and paper shopping bags.

But DC Bill 18-0150, introduced  by Ward 6 Council Member Tommy Wells, is called the “Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009” for good reason, one that becomes compelling when you look at what windblown plastic bags have done to the Anacostia. The environmental and sanitation clean-up costs are immense.

Don’t live near the Anacostia? The same bags are clogging storm drains on your block. If you haven’t been flooded out yet, go ahead and oppose the bill — you will be.

The charge of elitism is bogus. Washington’s working poor are more likely to use public transit, so many of them carry reusable tote bags already.


Car Arrears Careers

March 13, 2009

Car Arrears Careers

Job seekers, especially those weighing over 200 pounds, will want to read this article by Phillip O’Connor in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Auto loans are more expensive, more people are unemployed and “upside-down” on their car loans, securities composed of toxic auto loans clog the financial system, and TALF benefits haven’t reached car loan companies.

What it all  means: more work for the Repo Man.

“It’s 4 A.M., do you know where your car is?”


I Am Joe the Plumber

October 28, 2008

I Am Joe the Plumber

“Joe the Plumber,” Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, has been debunked as a phony partisan plant: a non-Joe, non-plumber, non-taxpayer,  a registered Republican (not an Independent) who would not pay more under the Obama tax plan even if he could afford to buy the substandard company he works for.

That didn’t stop the McCain campaign from producing last-shot TV spots based on the symbolic Joe, with citizens intoning “I am Joe the Plumber.” Senator McCain has been exhibiting the actual Mr. Wurzelbacher on the campaign trail as a kind of working-class mascot.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Philly Populist Punch-out

April 16, 2008

Philly Populist Punch-Out

Yez ready for the big reality show ta-night? Uh-huh, it’s that Democractic debate between Shot-and-a-Beer-Millionaire Hillary and Law Review Gutter-Ball Obama. Jeez. Is this a bad episode of All in the Family, or what?


Fresh This Sunday at Eastern Market – Protests

September 8, 2007

CAG - shall they be moved? 

There will be something new at Eastern Market on Sunday: a protest march.  The immediate issue: displacement of a social service agency by a new project. The underlying issue: the “G” word.

Despite vocal opposition, the DC Government’s Office of Property Management confirmed the selection of the nonprofit Hill Center to restore and occupy Capitol Hill’s Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE).  Funded by $6 million from the District and $2.5 million in private donations, Hill Center will oversee restoration and offer all-age classes and space for lectures, recitals, art shows and community events.

The Community Action Group (CAG), a social service agency associated with Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Catholic Church, restored and used the hospital’s carriage house for 17 years, and CAG proponents voiced loud disagreement with the Hill Center at a July 19th public meeting. Hill Center plans to convert the carriage house into a café.  Hill Center offered to let CAG remain on the first and second floor of the carriage house, but the agency refused.

CAG maintains that the carriage house, which the agency restored at its own cost through “sweat equity,” is a living symbol for those who have overcome homelessness and substance abuse and regained useful lives through CAG programs. CAG adherents view the Hill Center as an instrument of gentrification (the “G-word”) and the displacement of CAG as an attempt to cloak real neighborhood social concerns in invisibility.

Cyber Cafe Living – the Hard Way

August 31, 2007

Digital domicile divide

Japan has a new class of working poor who live in all-night Net and Manga cafes.

“Net cafe refugees” live in urban Japan’s ubiquitous Internet cafes, originally meant for commuters who missed their trains, which feature couches, computers, soft drinks and comic books, serve meals, offer showers, and sell clean underwear.

Interviews with some of the estimated 5,400 net cafe refugees show most are male, work a 40-hour week at the minimum wage, and moved to cafes when they lost more lucrative jobs or fought with their families.