Daily Clips: February 4th, 2016

Daily Clips: February 4th, 2016

Clinton blasts Wall Street, but still draws millions in contributions:  Bernie Sanders has certainly made Hillary’s rhetoric on Wall Street much more progressive. But as she talks about this issue, her supporters must know that “through the end of December, donors at hedge funds, banks, insurance companies and other financial-services firms had given at least $21.4 million to support Clinton’s 2016 presidential run.” That’s a lot of money. And of course that sort of money influences policies she will end up implementing. The trick for Hillary will be explaining to the American people why this time is different. She needs to explain that in today’s day and age, you must play by the game or get beaten. She did a good job last night at the Democratic Town Hall, where she reminded the audience that the Koch brothers will spend nearly $750 billion on defeating the Democratic nominee. She needs to repeat this more. She needs the American people to know that there are evil forces at work. To beat the game, she must also play the game. Please be aware, I’m not saying this makes her donations just. I’m saying this is the best strategy she has for rationalizing her connections to dubious partners. Obama visits a Muslim mosque for the first time:  Why did it take him this long to reassure American Muslims that they have a place in our society? This question will be an interesting one to explore post-presidency. It certainly feels like the gesture could have been made years ago. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful speech. Civil rights activist Deray McKesson to run for Baltimore mayor: You can donate here . Video of the day – Santorum can’t name Rubio accomplishments on Morning Joe:  Too good.

The March to Secure Scheduling in Seattle Starts Tomorrow

The March to Secure Scheduling in Seattle Starts Tomorrow

Here at Civic Skunk Works, we’re very concerned with scheduling. One of the first posts I wrote here was titled “ Seattle Needs to Join the Fight Against Clopening Shifts .” We praised REI for giving its employees the day after Thanksgiving off. We talk about paid family leave and other scheduling issues. This is important to us. Why does scheduling matter? A lot of businesses monopolize the time of their employees simply because they can; they schedule on-call shifts so the employees might get called in or they might not, depending on how busy things get. They send their employees home if business gets slow. They ask for clopening shifts that require employees to work late, go home, get very little sleep, and then come back around again for an early morning shift. Employees who do not enjoy secure scheduling can’t plan their lives. They can’t take on additional jobs because of the uncertainty of their schedules. They can’t live as citizens — helping with their kids’ education, contributing to neighborhood organizations, taking part in all manner of activities that have great civic value. These workers do not enjoy the protections that people in higher-paying jobs do; the worst jobs in terms of scheduling tend to be in fast food and other service industries, which are rarely unionized. Thankfully, Working Washington is on the case: tomorrow, the organization is hosting a forum on secure scheduling starting at 10 am. Workers will discuss the toll that bad scheduling practices take on their lives. You can sign up to attend the forum virtually on this page . This is the opening salvo in a campaign to bring secure scheduling laws to Seattle. As Working Washington so aptly puts it: Just like Seattle workers led the way forward in the fight for $15, we’re going to lead the way to win one of the nation’s first secure scheduling laws. Tomorrow is a day that a lot
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Harvard Could Pay For Its Students’ Tuition. Why Doesn’t It?

Harvard Could Pay For Its Students’ Tuition. Why Doesn’t It?

The other day, a  letter to the editor  in the New York Times caught my attention. It was in regards to free tuition at Harvard and the writer, Ron Unz, made this very interesting point: While it is true that students with family income of $65,000 or less may now attend Harvard tuition free, let’s consider a couple living in New York City with one child, a combined income of more than $180,000 and savings of $100,000. Based on the Harvard net price calculator, they would pay a four-year total cost of $150,000 (including room and board) to send their son or daughter to Harvard. This seems a severe financial burden to many middle-class and upper-middle-class couples. Yes, indeed, it does. I can speak from experience. When I went to college, I was not granted financial aid because I was lucky enough to grow up in an upper-middle-class household. Yet even with this financial security, the price of tuition was a huge load for my parents to bear (and now subsequently for me, as I repay my student loans). “So what,” I can hear you saying. “You got to attend university and in the long run you will come off better for it. Big deal.” Is it a good outcome for society when extremely well-endowed universities shift the financial burden of tuition to American families? Consider this: Totally eliminating tuition at the college would require merely using 4 percent of Harvard’s yearly investment income while still allowing the remaining 96 percent to be reinvested in the financial activities that appear to constitute the primary purpose of the totally tax-exempt $38 billion endowment, now ranking as one of the world’s largest hedge funds. Harvard, like many universities, is sitting on billions of dollars while asking middle class families and students to take out thousands of dollars in loans. Is that productive?
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Daily Clips: February 3rd, 2016

Daily Clips: February 3rd, 2016

Goodbye, Rand:  Rand Paul 2016… a dream that never left the ground. I’ll never forget the morning when Paul Constant and I went to Town Hall to hear the libertarian  tell the audience, “If you doubt me on the 2nd Amendment, come into my house unannounced.” Good grief. In a party (and country) where security is prioritized over privacy, where crude use of hard power is preferred over isolationism, where “big government” is actually preferable to small government, Rand never had a shot. Farewell, sweet Rand. Just like your father, your opinions never connected with enough of the US population to ever have a chance. See you in 2020. Obama makes his first visit to US mosque today:  A savvy move by Obama. Here he is emphasizing the importance of inclusion in our society, while the GOP is mired in a campaign to degrade and dehumanize Muslims. Honestly, I’m surprised he hasn’t visited a mosque prior to 2016. Seems like a missed opportunity to shame his opponents’ xenophobia. Poll says most voters open to a political revolution to redistribute wealth:  

Daily Clips: February 2nd, 2016

Daily Clips: February 2nd, 2016

Oh look, a David Brooks article anointing Marco Rubio…just as I suspected:  After the caucuses last night, you could see a media narrative being written in real time. CNN and Fox were lathering praise upon Marco Rubio’s third place finish and you could nearly hear “moderate” Republicans typing with glee about the resurgence of Magic Marco. To which I tweeted… And sure enough, they didn’t let me down. This was Brooks’ “take” on the night: The amazing surge for Marco Rubio shows that the Republican electorate has not gone collectively insane. At the last moment, and in a state that is not naturally friendly to him, a lot of Republicans showed up to support a conservative who could conceivably get elected and govern. Marco Rubio now has his moment. He is the only candidate who can plausibly unify the party. Desperate Cruz-hating Republicans will turn their faces to him. Now look at Jennifer Rubin’s  fawning article: And the “real winner,” as the MSM likes to say, is Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), who took in about 23 percent, far outpacing his polling and virtually tying Trump. He withstood an avalanche of negative ads, most particularly from Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise Super PAC. Mike Huckabee has announced he is  getting out of the race, the beginning — Rubio hopes — of a stampede of dropouts that will leave him as the standard bearer of the mainstream Republican majority. Michael Gerson was unfortunately “off” today, so we’ll have to wait and see how he reacts to the caucuses. But like these other two “moderates,” I’m presuming he also will find that the third place finisher was the real “winner.” Poll: Two-thirds of New Yorkers support $15 an hour minimum wage

Now that Presidential Primary Season Has Finally Arrived, Here’s an Inclusive Voting Checklist

Now that Presidential Primary Season Has Finally Arrived, Here’s an Inclusive Voting Checklist

As Iowa prepares to kick off the national presidential race tonight, it occurs to me that most people have at least one vote in their history that they wish they could retract. That often happens when you vote for a personality, or are swayed by one single issue. Maybe if there were some sort of a checklist for voters to examine before they head out to the polls or the primaries or the caucuses, those tragic voting mistakes wouldn’t happen? In an effort to encourage voters to keep the big picture in mind, I thought it might be useful to present a checklist that you can consult when considering the candidates. The rules are simple: if the candidate doesn’t align with the checklist, you should find another candidate that does. This is a first draft, but it gets to the basic idea that if you don’t vote with an inclusive agenda at heart, you’re voting against your own interests. A Brief Inclusive Voting Checklist Does the candidate support an economic agenda that includes everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality? Does the candidate support raising the minimum wage to livable levels? Does the candidate support raising the taxes on the top one percent to pay for sensible investments like infrastructure, education, and clean energy? Does the candidate support gun responsibility laws? Does the candidate recognize the fact that punishing poor people for being poor is a race to the bottom? If the answer to all five of those questions is “yes,” you’re voting for the right person. If the answer is “no,” you’re probably going to regret your vote. Let’s go through the reasoning, step by step. 1. If a candidate opposes a particular group of people—refugees, say, or immigrants, or a certain religion or race—then that candidate is encouraging
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Daily Clips: February 1st, 2016

Daily Clips: February 1st, 2016

Barclays, Credit Suisse break the law…again:   Barclays and Credit Suisse have settled federal and state charges that they misled investors in their dark pools, with Barclays admitting it broke the law and agreeing to pay $70 million, federal and New York state officials said on Sunday. The settlements between the banks and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York state attorney general mark the two largest fines ever paid in connection with cases involving dark pools. MY NOTE: Dark pools are a private forum for trading securities. Liquidity on these markets is called dark pool liquidity. The amount to be paid, in fines and disgorgement, is a combined total of $154.3 million. Here’s another example of the big banks doing whatever the hell they want, with almost no penalty. I’m sure that “big” 70 million fine will make them think twice before engaging in illegal activity. Good news for Donald: New from Quinnipiac in Iowa: First-time caucus-goers: Trump 40, Cruz 22, Rubio 15.Previous caucus-goers: Cruz 26, Trump 25, Rubio 20. — Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) February 1, 2016 Economists see 20% chance of US recession:   A Financial Times survey of 51 economists, conducted in the days after the Fed’s January meeting, underscores the impact of the past month’s severe market turbulence and a string of lacklustre economic reports out of the US and  China .

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