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Sherman A1

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Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
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Minimum wage question on November ballot

Arkansas voters will decide in a few weeks whether to increase the state’s minimum wage.

An initiative on the ballot proposes to increase the minimum wage from $6.25 per hour to $7.50 on Jan. 1, 2015, and to $8.50 on Jan. 1, 2017. The popular name of the initiative is “An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage.”

According to the Arkansas Department of Labor, “All employers with four or more employees must pay at least $6.25 per hour. If the employer does more than $500,000 per year in business, they must pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Certain other situations may also require an employer to pay the federal minimum wage.”

According to online research, the ballot initiative was sponsored by Give Arkansas a Raise Now. Other supporters are the Arkansas Interfaith Alliance, NAACP-Arkansas Chapter, AFL-CIO and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. Organizations opposing the increases include the Arkansas Hospitality Association and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.


Impact of minimum wage hike likely a wash, UNL economist says

LINCOLN — A ballot proposal to increase Nebraska’s minimum wage would make a big difference for Katherine Doiel and Gary Tharnish.

For Doiel, Initiative 425 would mean bringing home another $10 to $15 a week from her job as an assistant convenience store manager in Lincoln.

“That goes a long ways. That’s food on the table,” she said.

For Tharnish, it would mean hiring one fewer part-timer and doing more work himself at his longtime Lincoln flower shop. He also would look for ways to cut other expenses.


Economists’ long-held beliefs make income inequality worse


Though many economists today are sounding the alarm over rising income inequality, one culprit somehow has been overlooked: their own wage theory.

Wage theory — one of the sacred truths of modern economics — suggests that competitive labor markets are self-regulating. Each worker is paid his or her productive worth. Unions, minimum wages, or any other interference — all just cause unemployment. Nearly all contemporary public policy is dictated by some version of this theory, but it simply no longer holds up.

Adam Smith, often called the father of classical economics, told a very different story. Smith believed that each society sets a living wage to cover “whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without.” His successor David Ricardo similarly saw the “habits and customs of the people” as determining how to divide income between profits and wages. Marx’s class struggle was just a more confrontational version of the idea.

Around the turn of the 20th century, economists grew dissatisfied with this squishy sociologist’s answer, and some found it morally problematic. “The indictment that hangs over society is that of ‘exploiting labor,’” conceded John Bates Clark, a founder of the American Economic Association. He set out to disprove it.

October 12

Day of the Six Billion,

Free Thought Day,

International Moment of Frustration Scream Day,

International Day for Disaster Reduction

& Spanish Language Day.

Kmart becomes latest victim of data breach

NEW YORK • Sears Holdings Corp. announced late Friday that it detected a data breach at its Kmart stores that started last month and that certain customers' credit and debit card accounts may have been hacked.

The data theft at Kmart is the latest in a string of incidents that have hit several big retailers, including Target, Supervalu and Home Depot. For the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based parent company, however, the breach comes at a time when it's struggling with losses and sales declines as it fights to stay relevant with shoppers.

Sears Holdings, which also operates Sears stores, says that Kmart's information technology department detected on Thursday that its payment data systems had been breached. But it couldn't provide the number of affected cards. However, it said that it was able to remove the malware. It also noted that based on a forensic investigation to date, no personal information, debit cards, PIN numbers, email address, and social security information were obtained by the hackers. And there's no evidence that Kmart.com shoppers were affected.

Sears says Kmart immediately launched a full investigation and is working with a leading security firm. It added that it's also working closely with federal law enforcement authorities and banking partners in this ongoing investigation. Kmart is also implementing further advanced software to protect customers' information.


Koster Again Under Fire Over His Support Of Gay Marriage

Although a number of Missouri’s top Republicans are blasting state Attorney General Chris Koster over same-sex marriage, it’s unclear what his critics plan to do about it.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, summed up the conservative predicament. “Having already disregarded the voice of the people when they amended our constitution in 2004, it is unlikely (Koster) would pay any attention to the legislature,” Dempsey said Wednesday.

The state Senate leader is referring to Koster’s announcement Monday that he won’t challenge a Kansas City judge’s ruling that requires Missouri to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.

Koster cited a legal argument for his decision: "Our national government is founded upon principles of federalism – a system that empowers Missouri to set policy for itself but also obligates us to honor contracts entered into in other states.”


October 11

National Sausage Pizza Day,

General Pulaski Memorial Day,

International Day of The Girl,

National Coming Out Day,

National Costume Swap Day,

National Family Bowling Day,

Universal Music Day,

Southern Food Heritage Day & National Food Truck Day.

Chapelle-Nadal campaign aide quits over her support of GOP candidate

CLAYTON • The campaign treasurer for the Maria Chapelle-Nadal election committee will resign Friday to protest a 30-second commercial that features the Democratic state senator endorsing the Republican candidate for St. Louis County Executive.

"I can no longer be connected with a Committee that will possibly use resources to support the beliefs of (State Rep. Rick) Stream," Michael Vogt wrote in a letter to Chapelle-Nadal, whose district encompasses most of North County.

Chapelle-Nadal in a commercial that began appearing on local airwaves Wednesday singles out Stream as a "Godsend of common sense and compassion in a sea of disaster.”

Stream's reputation for crossing party lines in Jefferson City is a key component of his campaign to capture an office last occupied by a Republican over 20 years ago.


No dramatic spike in Ferguson voter registrations after all, election board says

CLAYTON • There was no dramatic spike in new voter registrations in Ferguson, St. Louis County election officials said Tuesday.

The county's election board had previously told some news outlets that 3,287 people were registered to vote in Ferguson since the unrest there began. Tuesday, officials said that number is actually just 128.

Ferguson's total population is about 21,000.

Rita Days, the county's election director, said the discrepancy came from a check of the wrong database. The original search, she said, included voters in Ferguson who had modified their registration in some way (address, death, et cetera) —not just newly register voters.


Dairy Queen reports data breach

NEW YORK • Dairy Queen says that its payment systems were breached by hackers who may have gained access to customer names, credit and debit card numbers and expiration dates.

The ice cream and fast food chain said Thursday that 395 of its stores around the country were affected. The data breach happened between August and September.

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