Monday, August 3, 2015

Seattle Billionaire Nick Hanauer Explains Why Raising Minimum Wage Causes Booming Economy

On Facebook, and in other locations, I find myself getting annoyed at some of the  nonsense spouted by right wing reactionaries whose unevolved, uneducated, wrong-headed, economically stupid claims about raising the minimum wage bear no relationship to economic reality.

But, they are just so darn sure of themselves.

One of Seattle's billionaires, Nick Hanauer, speaking to the New York City wage board about the economic reality of raising the minimum wage, explains in simple easy to understand language what actually happens in towns and states which have raised the minimum wage to a level much higher than states like Texas and towns like Fort Worth.

Below I excerpted part of  how Billionaire Nick Hanauer Explains How Higher Wages Create Jobs, for your economic education enlightenment....

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “a review of 64 studies on minimum wage increases found no discernible effect on employment.” And contrary to popular belief, relatively large minimum-wage hikes like those recently passed in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are not unprecedented. For example, the federal minimum wage jumped 88% in one year, from 40 cents an hour in 1949 to 75 cents in 1950. Yet despite the usual warning from the Chicken Littles at the National Association of Manufacturing that the hike would prove “a reckless jolt to the economic system,” unemployment plummeted, from 5.9% in 1949 to 2.9% in 1953.

Likewise, my home state of Washington raised the minimum wage for tipped workers by 85% between 1988 and 1990—yet over the following decade restaurant employment growth somehow managed to outpace the nation as a whole.

I live in Seattle, the first major city in the US to enact a $15 minimum wage. But a high minimum wage was not a departure for us or something new. Seattle already had the highest minimum wage in the country. Rather, $15 was a continuation of an economic strategy that already was allowing our city to outperform yours.

Our current state minimum wage is $9.47—30% higher than the federal minimum. Seattle’s minimum wage is now $11.00, 52% higher than the national minimum. But we have no tip penalty in our state, so our tipped workers make $11 plus tips, 513% higher than the federal tipped minimum of $2.13, and more than twice the $5 still paid here in NY.

So, if the good people from the industry were right, that a higher minimum wage killed jobs, then we should have no restaurants in Seattle, right? You would have to bring food and cooking equipment when you came to visit us in the hinterlands. How could it not be otherwise, with these stratospherically high wages?

But here’s a really odd thing. Not only do we still have some restaurants in Seattle, we have a lot of them. In fact, we have more of them per capita than even—wait for it—New York City. According to a Bloomberg analysis, of all major cities in the US, Seattle ranks second in restaurants per capita. New York is number four. Read it and weep, New York. OK, so surely the number one spot will be held by some low-wage paradise, right? Not hardly. The number one spot is San Francisco, the only place in America that pays restaurant workers $12.25, even more than Seattle. Why? How can this be? They told us that high wages killed jobs!! And business! And the economy!

Nonsense.

Seattle has more restaurants than New York because that’s how capitalism works. The fundamental law of capitalism is: when workers have more money, businesses have more customers, and need to hire more workers. In places where wages are high, business is good—particularly for restaurants.

Let me say that another way. When restaurants pay restaurant workers enough so that even they can afford to eat in restaurants, that isn’t bad for the restaurant business—it’s great for it, despite what the good folks at the National Restaurant Association may tell you.

With the highest minimum wage in the country, my state somehow manages to outpace the rest of the country in small business job growth.

_________________________________________________


Go to Billionaire Nick Hanauer Explains How Higher Wages Create Jobs to read all of what Nick Hanauer had to tell the New York City wage board.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Zebra Zeke Cries No Tears Over Cecil The Lion's Murder

I saw that which you see here this morning on Facebook.

Is it too soon after a psychopathic American dentist's murder of Cecil the Lion by for this type of, well, humor?

In the photo that is allegedly the late Cecil the Lion eating Gary the Gazelle, who Cecil killed for dinner.

Gary the Gazelle was killed via the natural method, with Cecil using no bows and arrows or bullets. Cecil did not have a hunting permit. Nor did Cecil remove the head of Gary the Gazelle to mount on the wall of his den.

Below is the text you see as part of the screen cap under Cecil and Gary....

Turns out, Cecil the Lion was no choirboy. Photos have surfaced of Cecil in the act of killing and eating Gary the Gazelle. Gary was a favorite of both locals and visitors at Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, where he delighted onlookers with his trademark leap, while clicking his heels. Gary was 12 years old and leaves his beloved wife, Greta Gazelle, and their 8 (unnamed) offspring. Gary's long-time friend and confidante, Zeke the Zebra said, "A lot of people are crying over Cecil lately, but, let me tell you, I've lost a lot of friends and family to him. He was an animal. I won't be crying no tears."

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Bullet Proof Armadillo Sends Texan To Hospital With Bullet In His Head

I find this story just a little hard to believe.

A Texan supposedly shot an armadillo, with the bullet bouncing off the armadillo, ricocheting back to the shooter's head, sending him to a hospital.

An armadillo's armor is hard, but is it hard enough to bounce a bullet?

I think the shooter may have been under the influence of an adult beverage, aimed at the armadillo, pulled the trigger, with the bullet hitting a rock near the intended victim and then bouncing back to the shooter's head in a karmic case of instant poetic justice.

I have seen a murdered armadillo before, the victim of a gun shot near the mountain bike trail entry in Gateway Park.

Isn't it a felony of some sort to shoot one of the official state symbols of Texas? Why would anyone in their right mind shoot something as cute as a harmless armadillo?

Friday, July 31, 2015

At The Geekfill Bar Texas Sings Karaoke While Washington Drinks Coffee

Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew, Jason, also known as FNJ, emailed a link to a geekfill webpage titled The 50 States Of America If They Were Actually People In A Bar. California Is Perfect.

Below are some of the more amusing states being a person in a bar, starting with California. Texas being a person in a bar is amusing, as was my old home state of Washington, and the state I was born in, Oregon, but before you meet those states in a bar, California...

California is constantly buying drinks for others, yet has failing kidneys from lack of hydration.

Arizona is the bouncer, kicking Mexicans out who are trying to get in from the bar across the street. Ironically, he’s drinking Tecate.

Colorado is a beautiful, perfectly athletic couple wearing all Patagonia, drinking craft beer talking about their last mountaineering trip, with an air of aloofness.

Idaho is drinking Keystone Light and pretending they are part of the South.

Kansas is dressed in a plaid shirt, jeans and clean boots. He’s friendly enough and even buys a round to get the party started. After a few drinks, it’s obvious he feels sorry for Oklahoma, hates Missouri, and is hung up on Colorado. After striking out with California, him and Wisconsin get hammered drunk and sing Country Boy.

Mississippi is just looking to start a fight with Alabama about who’s less redneck.

New Hampshire is a skinny, nerdy white guy in a collared shirt and khakis, who also carried in signs for his favorite political candidate. He’s drinking craft beer and getting into philosophical and political discussions with Vermont and Maine, but is open to talk to everyone. He is quick to tell everyone he loves himself, and humbly without arrogance.

Oklahoma is an obese couple who have not moved from their spots since sitting down next to Texas. They have on sweatpants, and brought in fast food to eat at the bar. They are drinking Bud Light bottles.

Oregon is the hipster drinking the eclectic craft microbrew that nobody’s even heard of.

Texas is singing karaoke about how great Texas is.

Washington is a pale girl, very quiet and reluctant to be friendly to anyone except Oregon. She has glasses and a couple books, and isn’t drinking because she’s enjoying a cup of coffee she got from her favorite place on the way here. She loves hiking with her boyfriend and watching indie movies and documentaries on Netflix. She suddenly yells at New Jersey for throwing a napkin on the floor and not in the correct recycling bin.

Texas & Washington's Different Sizzling Summer Scorching Heat Waves

No, what you are looking at here is not some Fort Worthers Rockin' the River at last night's Happy Hour Inner Tube Float in the Trinity River.

I saw that which you see here on the front page of this morning's Seattle Times online.

The people in the photo are floating in Lake Washington, a clean body of water suitable for swimming and fishing, with no signs warning people not to eat the fish they catch.

Western Washington has had itself a couple days in a row with the temperature above 90, which has a large percentage of the population seeking heat relief by heading to one of the hundreds of beaches available for cooling  purposes in the Puget Sound zone.

We are a couple hours before noon at my current location in North Texas, with the temperature rapidly approaching 90, on its way, I assume, to going over 100 again today. The North Texas locals don't whine about the temperature the way Western Washingtonians whine.

In North Texas the summer temperature can go over 100 day after day, for weeks.

In Washington what the locals call a heat wave usually lasts only three days, before a meteorological effect, the name of which I can not remember, kicks in.

Basically what happens with a Western Washington heat wave is all that hot air starts to rise and head over the Cascade Mountains to Eastern Washington,  which causes cool air to be drawn in from the Pacific Ocean, sort of natural air-conditioning that you have to wait for three days for it to kick in.

Possible thunderstorms are on the weather menu for North Texas. Currently I see nothing but a clear blue sky when I look out the window, with my temperature monitoring device telling we are currently chilled to 86....

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Last HOT Neighborhood Bike Ride Til The Air Cools

With the outer world temperature a degree or two under 100 it seemed like an excellent idea to take my handlebars on a roll around the neighborhood.

Well.

I sort of got a bit overheated by the 4th or 5th mile.

As you can see, the heat does not stop golfers from golfing.

Are Texas golf carts air-conditioned? Texas mountain bikes are not air-conditioned.

In summers previous I have had myself a mighty fine time riding my bike when the temperature is in the century zone.

But, that wheel rolling took place on mountain bike trails. Mostly shaded, concrete-free, mountain bike trails. For the most part I don't get under much shade when I bike tour the neighborhood. And concrete and asphalt radiate heat, unlike the non-radiating dirt mountain bike trails.

So, why am I not rolling my motorized mechanical motion device to a mountain bike location? Well, last I checked the Gateway Park trails have yet to recover from the recent  flooding. The River Legacy Park trails are back to normal, I think, but those trails are not as enjoyable as Gateway Parks'.

Just got email from TXU telling me to turn down my A/C this afternoon due to today's HEAT, so as not to cause rolling brownouts. The A/C just cycled on. It is set to cool  to 85.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Something Never Seen In Texas On A Bridge Built In 21 Months

Continuing on with our popular series of  bloggings  about things I see via west coast news sources which is not something we would likely be seeing as a news event at my location in Texas.

This blogging is also continuing with our popular series of bloggings about construction projects, mostly bridges, built in a time span of less than four years.

What you see here I saw on Facebook this morning. A posting by KING 5 TV. KING 5 is the Seattle NBC affiliate.

The bridge you are looking at here is St. John's Bridge, spanning the Williamette River in Portland, Oregon.

This bridge is in the news today due to that which you see dangling from the bridge deck.

Protesters.

Protesters blocking a Shell Oil support ship trying to float to the Arctic where Shell is planning to poke holes in the seabed so as to extract oil. A lot of people do not think this to be a good idea, hence the protesting.

Construction on St. John's Bridge began one month before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 began the Great Depression. The bridge was completed 21 months later, on May 12, 1931.

At the dedication of the bridge, bridge engineer, David B. Steirman made a very Fort Worthy braggadocio type statement, saying...

"A challenge and an opportunity to create a structure of enduring beauty in the God-given wondrous background was offered us when were asked to design the bridge. It is the most beautiful bridge in the world we feel.”

If America's Biggest Boondoggle's three bridges being built over dry land, currently with a four year project timeline, actually get built, I can imagine J.D. Granger, or his mama, or someone else opining that the bridges are the most beautiful bridges in the world.

However, at the time St. John's Bridge was dedicated it may have been the most beautiful bridge in the world. The superlatives which describe St. John's Bridge at the time of its completion are certainly of a sort one will never hear about Fort Worth's simple little bridges, built over dry land, connecting the mainland to an  imaginary island. In four years.

While St. John's Bridge, in 1931 had....
  • the highest clearance in the nation,
  • the longest prefabricated steel cable rope strands,
  • the tallest steel frame piers of reinforced concrete,
  • the first application of aviation clearance lights to the towers, and
  • the longest suspension span west of Detroit, Michigan.

I wonder if there will be sufficient clearance under America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridges for protesters protesting something being shipped in the Trinty River to dangle and block passage?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Spencer Jack Won't Be Taking His Selfie Stick To Disneyland

A couple days ago I read that a theme park had banned selfie sticks. I don't remember which theme park, whether it was the Six Flags theme parks or Disney theme parks, or maybe it was all theme parks, world-wide.

What I do know is that I did not know what a selfie stick was or why they would be banned.

And now this morning, what do I find in my incoming email? Multiple photos of Spencer Jack taking selflie pics with the help of a selfie stick with the email's subject line being "Spencer's Selfie Stick".

I don't get the whole take a selfie thing. They are like some sort of virus epidemic on Facebook. And elsewhere.

But, now that I have seen a selfie stick I can see why a theme park would not want them in the park. Someone could get hurt with these sticks.

Or weaponize them, with a group armed with selfie sticks getting in a sword-like fight with another group armed with selfie sticks.

Or maybe sneak the selfie stick onto a roller coaster, thinking this would be a great place to take a selfie, with the attempt going all sorts of sideways, with the phone flying off and hitting someone and the stick flying at high speed to the ground where it stabs an innocent bystander.

Anyway, below is one of the selfies Spencer Jack took with his stick...


Gateway Monument To Fort Worth Stupidity Close To Completion

A few minutes ago I got an email informing me that Elsie Hotpepper had tagged me in Facebook. It always makes me nervous when this happens.

When I made my way to Facebook I found out the Hotpepper had tagged me so that I would see that which you see here, that being an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Usually I am banned from reading the Star-Telegram, but if the link is in Facebook, I am good to go.

I would put in the link to the Gateway monument for east Fort Worth closer to completion article, but you'd likely find yourself blocked from reading it unless you come up with the 99 cent reading fee.

This article is a gem, a real gem, a real embarrassing gem. But, before I get to that, as soon as I saw this Gateway monument thing I was hit with a deja vu feeling, as in, didn't we already deal with this? Years ago? Some tacky proposed monument which screamed hideous eyesore.

It took me awhile to find it, but way back on November 4, 2010 I blogged about this same subject in a blogging titled Fort Worth Is About To Use Money Intended For Landscaping To Build A Monument To Itself.

Some choice bits from the Star-Telegram article...

Fort Worth leaders are hoping a long-planned Interstate 30 gateway monument entrance sign that spells out Fort Worth becomes an iconic symbol much like Los Angeles’ Hollywood sign, but for now they just want it completed.

The project started in 2004 and is now scheduled to be installed in spring 2017.

The sign will the first of its kind for Fort Worth. It will have the city’s name spelled out in 8-foot-tall steel letters, mounted on repurposed concrete construction barriers that will cascade one-by-one for 500 feet perpendicular to the highway and will be lighted after sunset.

Councilwoman Ann Zadeh said the sign is unique and interesting and is “going to turn into something like the Hollywood sign. I would like to have my picture taken in front of a big ole sign that says Fort Worth.”

Oh my, this is just so embarrassing.

Fort Worth leaders are hoping this sign will become an iconic symbol like the Hollywood sign?

Fort Worth leaders? More like Fort Worth fools. For multiple reasons (America's Biggest Boondoggle is one) it is apparent Fort Worth is mislead by its leaders, but this really is a new low.

The Hollywood sign is iconic because it hovers over Hollywood. Hollywood is a name the entire world knows. Fort Worth is not known worldwide. Even if Fort Worth had a hill, like the Hollywood Hills, upon which it could stick a Fort Worth sign, it would still be a big yawn.

Fort Worth already has a semi-iconic sign, that being the Fort Worth Stockyards sign, it being the only thing in Fort Worth that someone from other parts of the planet might recognize as being in Fort Worth, greatly helped in that deduction by Fort Worth being named on the sign.

This proposed Fort Worth Hollywood sign is not on a hill, it is on the north side of Interstate 30, between Eastchase Parkway and Cooks Lane, an area I know well. If it actually gets installed in a couple years this will look ridiculous,

RIDICULOUS.

If putting up a sign like this was a good idea, don't you think other towns in America would already have done so? So that they too could have that iconic Hollywood sign thing happening?

Seattle has a lot of hills. How come no one in that town has suggested putting up a Hollywood type sign spelling out SEATTLE on one of the Seattle hills?

Or Vancouver, up north in Canada. Why isn't there a big VANCOUVER sign on Grouse Mountain, lit up at night, hovering over the coolest town in Canada?

San Francisco has a lot of hills, steeper than Seattle's. How come that town has not stuck a big SAN FRANCISCO sign on one of its hills?

I will tell you why.

Because it is a STUPID idea. And those towns have leaders who are not fools, unlike a certain town in Texas which seems to have a highly developed ability to embarrass itself.

Over and over and over again......

Monday, July 27, 2015

Today Via Google I Learned The Home Of America's Biggest Boondoggle Is America's 17th Largest City

Last night I Googled Seattle. When I did so I saw that Google put a blurb about Seattle on the right side of the search results.

I was Googling Seattle because I wanted to find a paragraph I had previously read in the Wikipedia Seattle article about Seattle's print media, as an example of a town with real news sources of various sorts compared to a town without a real newspaper doing real investigative journalism.

The point I was going to opine was that in a town with real newspapers you don't have things happen that result in becoming something like America's Biggest Boondoggle. Or a public works project never voted on by the public, where a local congressperson's unqualified son is hired to be the executive director of the project, where the son's executive directing goes into planning things like floating beer parties in a polluted river.

The Wikipedia article also mentions that Seattle has the highest percentage of college and university graduates of any major American city. And that Seattle is the most literate of America's 69 largest towns.

How do you go about measuring how literate a town is, I am left wondering? Percentage of people with library cards? Number of libraries? Hours libraries are open? Number of books sold in bookstores? Number of bookstores? Amount of print media produced in a town?

Anyway, after I saw that Google puts up a little blurb about any town in the world that you Googled, I thought I would check in on a few towns and see what Google blurbs about them.

Well, Google pretty much waxes poetic about Seattle....

City in Washington
Seattle, on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, is surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, and encompasses thousands of acres of parkland (hence its nickname, "Emerald City"). It’s home to a thriving tech industry, with Microsoft and Amazon.com headquartered in its metropolitan area. The futuristic Space Needle, a legacy of the 1962 World’s Fair, is its most recognizable landmark.

I then Googled Fort Worth to find that Google did not have a lot to say about Fort Worth....


City in Texas
Fort Worth is the 17th-largest city in the United States and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas.

One would think that Google could at least point out that Fort Worth is known for its Stockyards and for currently hosting America's Biggest Boondoggle. And that Fort Worth has a long history of making other towns, far and wide, green with envy. Google does point out that one can stay in a 3-star Fort Worth hotel for around $120, while Seattle's 3-star hotels will cost you around $300, with 5-star hotels running around $510.

Now let's look at Fort Worth's sister city, Dallas.


Well, Google has more to say about Dallas than it says about Fort Worth, saying....

City in Texas
Dallas is a major city in Texas and is the largest urban center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the United States. The city proper ranks ninth in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio.

Apparently Dallas has 3-star hotels cheaper to stay in than Fort Worth's at around $110. Dallas has 5-star hotels way cheaper than Seattle's at around $180. Google really does not have much more to say about Dallas than it did about Fort Worth. No mention of Dallas being the location of the State Fair of Texas. Or being the location of America's most recent presidential assassination.

Let's go back to Washington to see what Google has to say about the town I was living in before I was exiled to Texas.


City in Washington
Mount Vernon is a city in Skagit County, Washington, United States. The population was 31,743 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included in the Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area.

I just now noticed that Google is getting some of the blurbs from Wikipedia, which would explain the sparse Fort Worth entry, because the Wikipedia Fort Worth article is sort of pitiful.

Mount Vernon's 3-star hotels are a more expensive stay than Fort Worth and Dallas at around $150. I've stayed in a Mount Vernon hotel or two on return visits to Washington. Never paid anywhere near $150. I have no idea if I was staying in a 3-star hotel.

All the blurb examples I have used here came from the first sentence of that town's Wikipedia article.

Except for the Seattle blurb.

Which I assume means there must be a way to edit Google's description of a town. I think someone needs to get on this serious issue right away and spruce up the Fort Worth and Dallas blurbs.

And Mount Vernon's as well, with mention made of the annual tulip festival attracting over a million tulip tiptoers, the annual Skagit County Fair, the Riverwalk, Little Mountain and other stuff I am not remembering right now....