Sunday, February 14, 2016


Regarding the eventual replacement of the great Justice Scalia, we have two conflicting but both literally correct statements from Senate leaders.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Reuters):
"It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat," he said in a statement.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (The Washington Times)
"The fact of the matter is that it’s been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election year," he said.

The vacancy itself is unprecedented. Senate confirmation has not been an issue simply because a similar vacancy has never happened "in recent history." The Senate has not left an election year vacancy vacant in the last 80 years because an election year vacancy has not occurred since 1932, 84 years ago.

To borrow a phrase from President Obama, the Senate majority might start saying "elections have consequences."

Saturday, February 13, 2016

High Minimum Wage Stunts Job Growth

From Generation Opportunity:
According to Investor’s Business Daily, when Washington D.C., Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago started paying low-skilled workers more, job creation dropped to its slowest in the last five years in the leisure and hospitality sector. Many minimum wage jobs fall within this field, which includes restaurants and hotels.
And this isn't just a quarter-to-quarter slowdown. The cities deviate from other parts of their states over the same time period:
When San Francisco and Oakland bumped their minimum wages to $12.25, the highest in the country, employment rates for the fourth quarter dropped from 4.7 percent to 2.5 percent. And yet in the rest of California where minimum wage was around $3.25 less, employment grew by 4.8 percent last year.
And from the Investor's Business Daily article:
Job gains at Seattle-area restaurants rose just 1.8% from a year ago, down from 4.6% growth a year earlier, in their worst year for employment since 2009. Meanwhile, in the rest of the Washington state, restaurant employment gains accelerated to 6.3%.

Monday, February 08, 2016

On Campaign Music

A frequently under-reported point about music for political campaign events: musicians can complain, but this is because of free speech, not because they actually control their music. From the Politico:
As long as the campaign or the venue has bought a “blanket license,” which is standard practice, it can use any song from the music library of the organization granting the license. (Use of music for campaign commercials is more complicated and typically requires an artist’s permission.) It’s not the law that stops politicians from using certain songs; it’s the embarrassment factor, which has been significant.