- Today's comic by Ruben Bolling is Percival Dunwoody, Idiot Time-Traveler From 1909:
- Reubin Askew, 85, R.I.P.. As the Democratic governor of Florida in the 1970s, Askew guided the state through a tumultuous period of school integration.
His eight years in office coincided with the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate and dramatic social change across the nation. He was a liberal on racial issues and crusaded for overhauling the state's tax laws, open government, environmental protection, ethics legislation and streamlining the courts and other governmental agencies.
Upon being elected governor, Askew immediately called a special session of the Legislature to put on the ballot a constitutional amendment for a corporate income tax. Askew stumped the state in support of the measure that voters adopted by a 2-1 margin.
- Rep. John Dingell hospitalized for minimally invasive heart surgery.
- Year one for Pope Francis:
One year ago Thursday, a relatively obscure prelate from Argentina made his debut as the new leader of the world’s oldest Christian church, stepping out onto the fabled balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square and joking that his brother cardinals had gone to “the end of the earth” to find a pope.
For an institution legendary for taking itself rather seriously, that flash of humor alone communicated that this wasn’t going to be your grandfather’s kind of pontiff.
- Motorist evading cops runs down SXSW crowd, killing two:
Authorities say police in downtown Austin tried to pull over the man driving a small Toyota at about 12:30 a.m., when he snaked through the lot of a corner gas station, went the wrong way down 9th Street, and then accelerated onto a block closed off for the festival. Witnesses say he “gunned” the car when turning onto Red River, a central street crowded with clubs and bars, and drove “at full speed” into the crowd.
- Yes, they're still idiots: Foxaganda entertainers are pushing the idea that if the Keystone XL pipeline were built in a speeded-up fashion, it would "weaken" Russia in its clash with Ukraine. But even if the final 1,167-mile segment of the pipeline were approved for construction tomorrow, it could not be built in time to have an impact on Moscow's efforts to reabsorb Crimea. Moreover, the 830,000 barrels a day of tar sands petroleum the pipeline would transport wouldn't be enough to affect the 92 million-barrels-a-day global market enough to have an effect on Russia, according to energy analyst Chris Nelder.
- Surprise. Not:
...with poll after poll showing that Clinton would be a strong frontrunner for the 2016 presidential race, critics and media analysts alike are already struggling to cover the former secretary of state without falling into sexist tropes.
Just this week, the Chicago Sun-Times‘ new political website Early & Often ran a profile on her ”many facial expressions,” many of them intended to be comical or absurd; it’s hard to imagine a male politician getting the same treatment.
- Proposed Georgia law would allow people to carry guns in airports. And K-12 schools, churches, bars and government buildings. The "Safe Carry Protection Act" (HB 875) has a few other provisions, too:
The sweeping bill would also expand the state's Stand your Ground law into an "absolute" defense for the use of deadly force in self-protection. "Defense of self or others," the bills reads "shall be an absolute defense to any violation under this part." In its current wording, the bill would even allow individuals who possess a gun illegally—convicted felons, for example—to still claim a Stand Your Ground defense.
- On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin on the Pulitzer "Snowden Effect", the Malaysian airliner mystery, ACA polls, new social media data, and proposed new overtime rules. Biz groups say they're "stunned" by the overtime proposal. "My Life as a Retail Worker"
We're holding a live chat about the latest developments on net neutrality policy (or the lack thereof) in The Hive at 5:00 PM eastern. Answering your questions will be Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America. Get your questions in now and join us at 5 PM.
Rep. Paul Ryan says he was misunderstood, mischaracterized. Now he says he was "inarticulate" in his discussion of a cultural aversion to work afflicting men in American "inner cities." It is true that even for those operating in good faith the topic of entrenched poverty in socially and economically isolated urban areas can be treacherous to navigate. Persistent joblessness creates social ills that build upon themselves, isolation from capital, educational opportunities, being around persistent violence all reinforce each other. It's just that Paul Ryan doesn't fit into this group of people operating in anything like good faith.Read More →
In two lawsuits filed in Michigan against McDonald’s and two Detroit-area franchise owners, workers claimed that their restaurants told them to show up to work, but then ordered them to wait an hour or two without pay until enough customers showed up.A New York lawsuit also claims that costs associated with McDonald's required uniforms brought workers' pay below minimum wage in some cases.
Their lawsuit also argued that the requirement by McDonald’s that employees pay for their uniforms resulted in expenses that often illegally reduced their pay below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. [...]
In three lawsuits brought in California, the workers are suing McDonald’s and its franchise owners, claiming that they did not pay them for all hours worked, cheated them out of overtime, shaved hours from pay records and denied them legally required meal periods and rest breaks.
McDonald's got some very bad publicity last fall for advising an employee to apply for food stamps and suggesting, on the same website, that workers sell their stuff on eBay and also take two vacations a year. It's also been a prime target of the one-day strikes by fast food workers across the country. But, Josh Eidelson suggests:
The most significant threat posed by the potential class actions – one apparent arm in a campaign of media, consumer, political, economic, and workplace pressure on fast food giants – may be its potential to draw scrutiny and force disclosures about the relationship between the giant McDonald’s corporation, which netted over $5 billion in profit last year, and its smaller individual franchisees, which are the legal employers of most McDonald’s workers. “In the past, McDonald’s has tried to shield itself from liability,” said Joseph Sellers, one of the attorneys bringing suit. But “we found evidence that McDonald’s has indeed exerted control over the daily operations” of the franchised stores that “makes it legally jointly responsible” for the alleged crimes.McDonald's has so far not responded publicly to the lawsuits; it's a fairly safe bet that its initial response, at least, will be along the lines of its responses to strikes, that the company and its franchise owners are "committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed." Where exactly making them work off the clock falls on the list of opportunities to succeed is not clear.
A Senate package of aid and sanctions in response to the Ukrainian crisis is being held up by a demand from Republicans to include a provision targeting a pending Obama administration rule to crack down on tax exemptions claimed by political nonprofits.Corker and his fellow Republicans are trying to block the IRS from imposing new regulations designed to prevent political groups from illegally obtaining non-profit tax status. Although they wrap their arguments in the First Amendment, what they are really trying to do is make sure that billionaires like the Koch brothers get a tax subsidy when they donate to groups that engage in political campaigns by letting those groups get non-profit status even when they are not entitled to it.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, cited the issue involving 501(c)4 groups as one of the outstanding issues left on the Ukraine bill. He signaled that adding the provision could be a way to get the GOP on board with the legislation, especially because it includes changes to the International Monetary Fund opposed by some congressional Republicans.
And now Senate Democratic leadership is calling out the Republican ploy. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said it was such a brazen move that it wouldn't even seem credible in an episode of House of Cards and Majority Leader Harry Reid was similarly astonished:
“This is hard for me to comprehend, how in clear conscience they could say, ‘Ukrainians, we probably can’t help you because we’re trying to protect the Koch brothers.’Indeed it is hard to comprehend. But given the sad state of affairs in today's GOP, it's not exactly a surprise.
“Not only that, they’re saying to the American people that protecting the Koch brothers is more important than protecting our country. The Ukrainian issue is important,” Reid added.