Showing posts from March 27, 2016

A $15 Minimum Wage May Soon Be Reality In California

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[Wage erosion has been a key way in which the middle class has lost out economically over the last quarter century. By way of contrast, I calculate that the minimum wage in BC (in constant 2016 dollars) was $10.51 in 2001 when the Liberals were elected and is currently $10.45). *RON*]

By Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, Think Progress, 27 March 2016

A statewide $15 minimum wage will soon be reality in California, thanks to a deal made between state legislators and labor unions.

According to the Los Angeles Times, which spoke with sources close to the negotiations and first reported the story, under the deal, the current $10 per hour minimum wage will be increased by 50 cents in 2017 and again in 2018. The minimum wage would then be increased by $1.00 a year until 2022. Businesses with less than 25 employees, however, would have until 2023 to give workers a $15 hourly minimum wage. In the case of an economic downturn, the state governor would be able to …

Police Find And Detonate Explosive Device At Trump Supporter’s Home After He Threatened Muslims

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[If the race and religion of the perpetrator and intended victims were reversed, would the sentence for such terrorism be only 90 days? *RON*]

By Justin Salhani, Think Progress,  26 March 2016
William Celli, a 55-year-old man from California, will spend 90 days in jail after being caught in possession of an explosive device and threatening to kill Muslims. Celli took a plea deal that places him on probation for a further three years and bans him from operating an active Facebook profile.

Celli was arrested on Dec. 20, 2015 after yelling “I’m going to kill you all” outside the Islamic Society of West Contra Costa County in Richmond, California. Police later found and detonated an explosive device at Celli’s residence after receiving tips that he was constructing homemade explosives.

Celli had taken to social media in the past to express his admiration of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. “Donald trumps on again I’m happy leaders oka…

Bernie Sanders crushes Hillary Clinton in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii

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[Senator sees strong support in western states to record series of strong caucus victories – but he remains the Democratic underdog in the national race. See also: Sanders Campaign Blasts $350K Dinner with Clooneys as 'Obscene': "It's a sum that would require an employee making the federal minimum wage to work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for more than 5 years." *RON*]

Ben Jacobs and Chris McGreal, The Guardian, 27 March 2016

Bernie Sanders won overwhelming victories in Washington state, Alaska and Hawaii on Saturday, narrowing Hillary Clinton’s still significant lead in the race for delegates to win the Democratic nomination for president.

Sanders defeated Clinton in Washington’s caucuses 73% to 27% and 81% to 16% in Alaska’s. In Hawaii, which was called at 3.54am Sunday ET, he won by 71%-29% with 88% reporting.

“We knew from day one we were going to have a hard time politically in the deep south – that is a conservativ…

How the World's Biggest Polluters are Two Trade Deals Away from Steamrolling Climate Protections

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["45 of the 50 private corporations historically responsible for the most climate-disrupting emissions" would be emboldened to challenge climate protections. *RON*]

By Andrea GermanosCommon Dreams, 24 March 2016

When TransCanada announced at the start of the year that it that it was demanding compensation under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) rules for the Obama administration's decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, many observers saw it as a sign of things to come.

Indeed, critics of two pending trade deals—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—have already warned that other corporations could take similarly take advantage of the same mechanism to exert their power before private tribunals, demanding compensation for lost profits while supplanting democracy and trampling on workers' rights and environmental protections.

Now, a new report from the Sierra…

B.C.'s privacy commissioner launches inquiry into phone-monitoring device

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[B.C.'s Privacy Commissioner is investigating the Stingray, a device that allows police to secretly monitor every cell phone in a certain radius. It will be interesting to see whether the police or the constitution win out. See also: Do Vancouver police use Stingray to spy on cellphone data of citizens? They won't say and that's a problem, argues civil liberties group. *RON*] Staff with files from CTV Vancouver’s Tom Popyk, 25 March 2016

Civil liberties groups are bracing for a battle as British Columbia’s privacy commissioner launches an inquiry into a device that allows police to secretly monitor mobile phones.

British Columbia’s privacy commissioner has launched a closed-door inquiry into the public’s right to know about Stingray, a high-tech tool that mimics a cellphone tower and tricks phones in order to scoop up everyone’s data in range, and potentially store it all.

Stingray is part of mass surveillance systems that…

From daredevil to chicken: Scientists find off-switch for risky behavior

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["Firing up specific brain cells—linked to gambling in people—turns rats cautious." This could be put to uses of great benefit to humanity by medicating all the traders on Wall Street. *RON*]

by Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 26 March 2016

Whether you prefer to play it safe or wade into risky business for larger payoffs, your decision process may largely depend on a tiny bundle of cells deep in your noggin.

By tagging and tweaking those cells in the brains of high-rolling rats, researchers were able to turn them from ballsy to cautious decision-makers. More specifically, the rodents switched their preference away from pulling a lever that released a jackpot of sugary treats 25 percent of the time to another lever that served up smaller-sized treats 100 percent of the time.

The finding, published in Nature, backs up previous studies in humans showing that drugs that interfere with those same brain cells can lead to gambling problems. The study a…