It's been a week for low-wage worker action: on Wednesday, Capitol dining hall workers demanded more action from President Obama on the minimum wage than he's taken, and yesterday WalMart workers have promised the biggest Black Friday strike ever later on this month. I eagerly await howls from the right that these strikers are stupid because they can be replaced so easily, as if right-wingers don't understand the meaning of the word "risk," let alone the word "courage."
Mr. Obama plans to issue Executive Orders that could delay deportation for five million undocumented immigrants. None of what the Times describes sounds controversial to me; I can only assume they're "controversial" because the President's name is Obama. Still, so much of the immigration debate in this country seems so far from reality, mainly because the "liberal" media frames it almost entirely as a debate between the nativists who hate brown-skinned folks and the corporatists who want to exploit them. What of making quotas more realistic or allowing farm workers to unionize? Good luck getting coverage of those ideas.
In case you were wondering, we still have more unemployed folks than we have job openings, and the situation exists in just about every field which suggests it's not a "skills-matching" problem as so many right-wingers claim to think -- if it were, the ratio wouldn't be 6:1 in construction and 2:1 in retail. No, our jobs problem remains mostly a corporations-don't-want-to-hire-people-because-that-costs-CEOs-money problem.
Hannah K. Gold describes how the popularity and ubiquity of TV crime shows gives its watchers a distorted sense of how much violent crime America actually has. You probably suspected it anyway if you wondered how the cast of Criminal Minds seems to get involved in approximately 22 life-threatening situations annually, or if you noticed that most crime shows use dialogue mainly to advance plot. Also, plea bargaining happens all the time in the real world, forensic science isn't nearly as tight as depicted on-screen, and crime shows rarely show coerced confessions.
Finally, Sam Brownback may be tasting victory in Kansas, but reality threatens to rear its ugly head, as state tax revenues may fall half a billion dollars short of projections. Remember that Mr. Brownback's "experiment" on the people of Kansas held that cutting taxes radically for higher-income earners would result in an economic boom, which would then result in more tax revenues for the state. It looks like he'll have four more years to bring that experiment to complete disaster, though I don't expect he'll ever admit his failure. Certainly the supply-side clown car won't ever admit it.