Archive for April, 2014

30
Apr
14

#1010Means: Raising The Minimum Wage

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President Barack Obama speaks about minimum wage at the White House. Senate Republicans on Wednesday, blocked a bill to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in five years

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Ned Resnikoff: Senate Republicans Block Minimum Wage Bill

A proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 died in the Senate on Wednesday, when Democrats failed to gather the 60 votes required to bring it to a clean vote. The only Republican to vote in favor of ending debate and holding a vote was Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., initially voted to move the bill forward, but switched his vote to “no” as part of a parliamentary maneuver which will allow him to bring the legislation back to the floor at a later date. Even if the proposed minimum wage hike cleared the Senate, there it was little chance it would ever receive a hearing in the Republican-controlled House. Yet recent polling shows growing popular support for raising the minimum wage, making Wednesday’s vote into a political win for the Democrats.

Nearly the full Senate Republican caucus is now on record opposing a wage hike which most Americans support—a fact which Reid has not shied away from since the vote. In a press conference following the bill’s failure, he blamed the billionaire businessmen, Charles and David Koch. “They’re fighting for billionaires,” he said. “We’re fighting for people who are struggling to make a living.” President Obama made the minimum wage bill’s value as an electoral football even more explicit during a press conference held a couple hours after the vote. He urged supporters of a wage hike to put pressure on Republican legislators in the run-up to the 2014 midterms. “If your member of Congress doesn’t support raising the minimum wage, you’ve got to let them know they’re out of step,” he said. “And if they keep putting politics ahead of hardworking Americans, you’ll put them out of office.”

More here

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., during an event on increasing the minimum wage

30
Apr
14

The First Lady And Second Lady Honor Military Families

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White House: Philanthropic Organizations Pledging More Than $100 Million To Veteran And Military Communities

Today, as part of the third anniversary of Joining Forces, the First Lady and Dr. Biden announced that the Council on Foundations will lead the philanthropic community in establishing the Veterans Philanthropy Exchange, which will be an enduring forum for donors to communicate and share best practices about supporting the veteran and military communities. “We’ve got to show our veterans and military families that our country is there for them not just while they’re in uniform, but for the long haul,” said the First Lady. The First Lady also announced that the philanthropic community is pledging more than $100 million over the next five years to support veterans and military families. These commitments will fund organizations that support service members, veterans, survivors, and their families.

The First Lady also called upon more donors to join this effort in order to fully support all those nonprofits and community groups that do such wonderful work for the military and veteran communities every day. The announcement signaled the launch of the Philanthropy — Joining Forces Impact Pledge, a new commitment to bring support to service members, veterans, and military family causes over five years. “To all the military families here today and across the country, I just want you to know that this is just a first step,” added the First Lady. “We’re going to get more donors involved in this effort. We’re going to keep reaching out to people all across the country so that no matter where you live or work, you will be surrounded by a country that truly honors your service and your sacrifice, now and in the years and decades ahead. That is our pledge to you.”

More here

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Yahoo: First Lady Announcing Pledges For Vets, Families

First lady Michelle Obama announced pledges from foundations and corporations totaling more than $160 million Wednesday to help veterans and their families get the services they need as the country adjusts to a postwar footing. Calling this a “pivotal moment for our military families and for our country” as the war in Afghanistan ends, the first lady said military families should never have to face the challenges associated with the transition to civilian life alone.

Appearing at a conference of philanthropic groups, Mrs. Obama warned that with fewer homecoming videos and welcome-home parades for returning troops likely in future years, “we cannot allow ourselves to forget their service to our country. … We’ve got to show our military families that our country is there for them not just while they’re in uniform but for the long haul.” The first lady highlighted the launch of the Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge, under which more than 30 organizations are making commitments to provide a range of services over the next five years, including $62 million in existing commitments and $102 million in new pledges over the next five years.

More here

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First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Chrissandra Jackson, accompanied by Dr. Jill Biden, at the third anniversary of Joining Forces, at the American Red Cross Hall of Service in Washington

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30
Apr
14

On the death penalty

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I will start by saying this.

There are times I read or hear about a case. Someone who, for example, rapes and murders a child. And my gut reaction is to say, “Kill him”. He doesn’t merely deserve to be removed from society, but to be denied of life for his abomination. It is a gut reaction, a cry of the heart, a revulsion at a crime so heinous that it defies understanding. And as humans, often what we don’t understand must be excised, like a cancer. I know if someone murdered a person I loved, my thirst for vengeance would be nigh unquenchable, sated only by the ending of his or her own life.

In Iran a few weeks ago, a young life was about to be extinguished in punishment for murder. The noose was around his neck. He was begging and pleading for his life. Then, the mother of the boy he killed ascended to the hangman’s platform. She slapped the convicted’s face. And then she told the executioner to remove the noose.

This happened in what many Americans consider to be a barbaric, retrograde state, a terrorist state, opposed to all we hold dear. A mother climbed onto the platform where her son’s murderer was about to be executed, and forgave him. No more blood would be spilled. The cycle would end then and there.

Yesterday, an execution in Oklahoma was botched due to an incorrect mixing of the lethal cocktail. This was an execution pushed for by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. She suspended the second—SECOND—execution scheduled for that day “pending further review”.

But we have much to learn from that courageous Iranian mother.

Continue reading ‘On the death penalty’

30
Apr
14

President Obama Speaks on the Minimum Wage

3:10 EDT: President Obama Speaks on the Minimum Wage

Also at White House Live




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