Good news, everyone: the Obama Administration's Labor Department issued a new rule extending minimum wage and overtime protections to home health care workers. The new rule still exempts folks who provide occasional companionship to seniors, but not the vast majority of workers who bathe, dress, and toilet seniors (often several seniors per day). You probably advocated for this change over the last year-plus, so good job!
FAIR catches USA Today failing to check Republican assertions that too many people get food stamps or that the vicious food stamp bill passed Thursday would "restore() integrity to the program." And thus FAIR provides another lesson that "balance" -- or, more precisely, symmetry -- isn't the same thing as fairness. And would it have killed USA Today to note that our government lets more people get food stamps for good reasons?
Speaking of food stamps, intrepid constituent posts lengthy New Testament passage protesting Rep. Kevin Cramer's vote in favor of the Cantor food stamp bill -- and Rep. Cramer responds with a quotation from Paul's 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians: "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." Ahem: a lot of folks who get food stamps are already working, and if they're not making enough money to feed themselves, that's largely because corporations don't pay them enough. Also, you don't fight Jesus with Paul.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) delivers a scathing indictment of mandatory minimum laws and the War on Drugs -- suggests that drug-related incarceration has become the new Jim Crow, notes that while most drug dealers and offenders are white, most folks getting put in jail for all that are black, the whole nine yards. Good speech, but again: let's see if Mr. Paul's words lead to action.
Surprise, surprise -- Citizens for Tax Justice finds that the states so often praised as "low-tax" states, well, aren't, at least not for the working poor. Click through and you'll detect a theme: these states levy big sales and excise taxes, but have low (or nonexistent!) income taxes, and sales taxes always hit the poor harder, because, you know, the poor have to spend all their money just to get by.
Head of Amsterdam's health service says sugar should be just as tightly regulated as tobacco and alcohol, because it's "the most dangerous drug of the times." I'd be inclined to agree, and not just because I've had the damndest time cutting down on sugar, a much worse time than I've had cutting down on caffeine -- truth is, we're learning more and more about how sugar makes us fat. Would I insist on limiting the amount of sugar food processing corporations can add to food? I don't know. But I do know that we need to stop propping up high-fructose corn syrup producers with handouts.
Finally, Buzzfeed finds that "30 or 40" Tea Party House Republicans are forcing Speaker Boehner to the ideological right. Myself, I think that's what he wants us to think. But dig Rep. Schock's assertion at the end that "(i)f the majority of our members are bomb throwers, our leadership has no other choice but to acquiesce." Actually, Mr. Schock, leadership could, you know, lead.