February 26, 2015

Stop the presses--I agree with Wal-Mart!

There is still a good bit of foaming and howling going on at the WV legislature. As I mentioned yesterday, one example of such is a bill that would make it illegal for cities and counties to pass anti-discrimination ordinances for things like sexual orientation.

It makes me wonder what's next: maybe require people suspected of homosexuality to wear pink triangles?

This legislation is similar to a bill passed in Arkansas which even Wal-Mart found to be over the top. Here's what the retail giant had to say about why this is a bad idea:

Every day, in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates, customers and communities we serve. It all starts with the core basic belief of respect for the individual. And that means understanding and respecting differences and being inclusive of all people...We feel this legislation is counter to this core basic belief and sends the wrong message about Arkansas.

 Let the record show that I'm with them for once.

February 25, 2015

What about the Twinkie?

I ran into a friend of mine today at the state asylum  legislature and we were commenting on the rather extreme level of Whack these days.

It kind of reminds me of the Twinkie discussion in the first Ghostbusters movie that went something like this:

Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning's sample, it would be a Twinkie... thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

Substitute West Virginia for New York and Whack for psychokinetic energy and it would work pretty well.

Here's the latest example: one bill now advancing through the House, HB2881, misnamed the WV Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act, would basically make it illegal for cities and counties to pass anti-discrimination ordinances on the basis of sexual orientation.

The Twinkie just keeps getting bigger.

Foam and howl, guys.

February 24, 2015

Annals of Whack, continued

In happier days, Whackadoodleism was a fringe movement in WV politics. Now it's kind of in the saddle. The best example of legislative Whack I can think of, although the competition is fierce, is a bill that would make it a criminal felony to implement the Affordable Care Act.

As a compliment to this effort, I suggest bill supporters gather in a circle at night to foam at the mouth and howl at the moon.

As I've said here many times before, it's high time to change the state motto to "You can't make this **** up."

February 23, 2015

What he said

I'm not always on the same page with WV Metro News commentator Hoppy Kercheval, but he nailed it with this commentary on why drug testing TANF (welfare) recipients is a bad idea.

Meanwhile, kudos to WV Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler for putting the kibosh (I love that word, although I have no idea about its etymology) on another bad idea, to wit charter schools, which would siphon resources away from public education.

February 22, 2015

If Wal-Mart can do it, why not congress?

The retail giant Wal-Mart got a lot of attention last week with the announcement that around half a million of its workers would get a raise in April, setting their wage floor at $9 per hour. The plan is to move it to $10 by next year. This is due in part to a big push by Wal-Mart workers, labor groups and others to get the company to step up.

The NY Times made some interesting points in this editorial:

There is no doubt, for example, that many more workers at Walmart (and elsewhere) would be making the federal minimum wage but for the fact that 29 states and the District of Columbia, as well as some cities, now have minimums above the federal level.
There is also little doubt that Walmart (and other employers) would pay more if low wages were not, in effect, subsidized by taxpayers, who pay for the food stamps and other public assistance that low-wage workers rely on to get by. This argues for improved labor standards that would shift the burden back to employers.
Clearly, the federal minimum wage, unchanged since 2009, needs updating. Overtime-pay standards have not been meaningfully updated since the mid-1970s. Collective bargaining protections also have been serially weakened by legislation in the states and by court rulings.
Roger to all that.

Meanwhile, the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 for almost six years. The obvious question is, if Wal-Mart can do it, why can't Congress? But I think most people reading this know the answer to that.