July 23, 2015

Wages on the Rise, Chinese Confusion, Greece Coup (?), Charleston Update and more



There was a spat between Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry on Twitter. We read about it and chose not to cover it, because, well, there are more important things going on in the world. Read on!


Let Those Wages Rise!

New York City, the most expensive city in America, is set to raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour. The new wage would mean that a fast food worker only needs to work 63 hours per week to afford the average rent in NYC, down from 109 hours before the wage hike. The move comes as California recently introduced a $15 minimum hourly wage. It also plays well for presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders who recently introduced a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. The move is bound to upset Burger King franchise owners, among others… P.S. We did a search and couldn’t find a good reason for why both coasts are settling at $15 an hour other than that it is a memorable number.

America Confused About China Again

China sent mixed signals on human rights yesterday. The New York Times reported that Beijing is undergoing a crackdown on human rights lawyers in the country, detaining over 200 over the course of two weeks. The US condemned the crackdown. The news contrasts with yesterday’s decision to give Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei back his passport. The artist posted a photo of his passport on Instagram (as one does) and said that he was excited to travel abroad again and that everyone was “very relaxed” when they gave him his passport. Not surprisingly, neither topic was covered by Chinese news.  Policy pundits have been confused about which way China is going ever since Xi Jinping assumed the Presidency in 2012. He has both embraced market reform and intervened in the markets. He clamped down on corruption at home and embarked on an assertive foreign policy in South China. We just hope that US policymakers, in their confusion, don’t end up invading the Philippinesagain.   


Greece: Coup Or No Coup?

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras managed to pass through a second round of measures to get a bailout approved by the EU. He still faces an insurgency from the left fringe of his party, Syriza, with the speaker of Parliament calling the measures a coup… which is  an interesting choice of words considering her party is still in power. Former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (bless him) voted with the government this time after voting against it last time. Meanwhile anarchists clashed with police outside of Parliament (that’s what anarchists do). The measures passed Wednesday are meant to protect small deposit holders, protect tax payers from bank failures and improve efficiency of the courts… what a terrible coup (that was sarcasm).
 Dispatch from Athens

Dylan Roof Indicted, Faces Hate Crime Charges

Dylan Roof was indicted on federal hate crime charges Wednesday. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated, “We think that this is exactly the type of case that the federal hate crime statutes were, in fact, conceived of to cover. Racially motivated violence such as this is the original domestic violence.” She confirmed that he had in fact been planning the attack for months and chose Mother Emanuel because of its historical significance in the African American community both locally and nationally. Roof’s trial will begin July 11, 2016 in South Carolina. He faces life imprisonment or possibly the death penalty if found guilty of the federal charges.

#Pnut4Prez: The Great Unveiling

Writing about Trump’s shenanigans is kind of like sneaking Oreos covered in Nutella and peanut butter in the middle of the night. A guilty pleasure, if you will… a very sick one at that. So here it goes. Trump’s long-awaited financial disclosures were released Wednesday, revealing he may not be all he’s hyped up to be (a self-proclaimed $10 billion net worth). Sadly, he might only be worth a mere $1.4 billion (peasant)… or not. His campaign put out a statement saying that the report “was not designed for a man of Trump’s massive wealth.” The thing is, they might be right. The Federal Election Commission designated the largest wealth bracket as “$50 million and above.” Given that Trump is always “above” everything in life, the form is basically useless in his case.


The Mafia In Italy: Because Some Stereotypes Are Forever

Italy seems to be dealing with its debt problems a bit differently than Greece. Instead of asking the EU for a bailout, they are just seizing Mafia money left, right and center. Yesterday they seized 2 billion euros from the ‘Ndrangheta, a Mafia organization in Italy’s “toe.” They apparently seized 1,500 betting shops, 82 gambling websites, 45 Italian companies and 11 foreign ones (and people say there is no entrepreneurship in Europe). So far, in July alone, Italy has seized 3.6 billion euros from the mafia — that is half the Greek bridge loan and almost as much as Berlusconi’s slush fund.

  The Daily Show - Exclusive - Barack Obama Extended Interview
Jon Stewart interviews Barack Obama.
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