February 27, 2013

Jive 5: Five News Stories People Are Talking About

House Speaker John Boehner

Speaker John Boehner Bitches, The Republican Party’s Image Has Never Been Lower, The Secretary of State On Stupidity,  Weight Watchers Worker’s Woes, A Ten Mile Trek Feels Good

1. Will Speaker Boehner Get Up Off Of His Ass And Get To Work? I think Not.

All legislation in Congress related to raising revenue (taxes) and authorizing expenditures, are supposed to originate in the US House of Representatives. That’s a constitutional requirement, and every time House Speaker John Boehner says stupid things like “the Senate should get off of their asses and get to work” like he did yesterday, he’s throwing up a smoke screen and diverting attention away from his ineffective leadership.

Firstly, Congress could pass a simple law and say that the sequester is null and void. They would end the madness once and for all, and could then debate the issues.

The real reason that Boehner hasn’t done a thing other than work on his tan while playing golf, is that he’s stuck and he doesn’t want to do anything that would upset the tea party faction of his caucus. According to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire blog, no matter what Boehner does, he’s going to lose the sequester battle and upset people too.

If the "let-the-cuts-happen" approach on the sequester seems risky, Politico notes the alternative for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is worse.
"Jump-start negotiations with Obama, and he would be slammed for engaging in out-of-sight, secret talks with a president his party doesn't trust. Raise taxes, and Boehner's courting trouble in his conference and endangering his speakership. Both are simply nonstarters."
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told Fox News that Boehner would lose his speakership if he agreed to a deal with the president that included new tax revenues.

Pew Research Poll Feb 13-18 2013 describes democratic and republican parties

2. Republican Party’s public image at an all time low.

In a nationwide poll conducted February 13, 2013 to February 18, 2013, the Pew Research Center found that Republican Party’s public image has reached an all time low, while public sentiment toward the Democratic Party was much higher.

In January 2013, only 33% of Americans viewed the Republican Party favorably, while 47% viewed the Democratic Party favorably. The Pew Research Center stated:

An earlier release from the survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY found that while both party’s congressional leaders receive negative job ratings, just 25% approve of the job performance of GOP leaders, compared with 37% approval for Democratic congressional leaders.
The new report finds that while the Democratic Party is viewed more positively on most traits tested, opinion is divided about whether the party is out of touch with the American people: 46% say it is, while 50% it is not. And only somewhat more say the Democratic Party is looking out for the country’s future than say that about the Republican Party (51% vs. 45%).
The Republican Party’s overall image stands at one of the lowest points in nearly two decades. And, while impressions of the Democratic Party are much stronger, they are far below where they were four years ago.
In January, 33% of the public had a favorable view of the GOP, compared with 58% who held an unfavorable impression of the party. Among Republicans themselves, 69% had a favorable impression, down from a recent high of 89% reported after the GOP convention. Majorities of both Democrats and independents viewed the Republican Party unfavorably (83% and 58%, respectively).
Views of the Democratic Party were evenly divided in January: 47% favorable, 46% unfavorable. Among Democrats, 87% had a favorable impression of their party while roughly the same percentage of Republicans held an unfavorable view (84%). Independents, on balance, had more unfavorable impressions of the Democratic Party (52%) than favorable ones (37%).

Pew research poll Jan 9-13 compares democrats with republicans and how favorably people look at the parties

3. Secretary of State John Kerry On Free Speech, Religious Tolerance And Stupidity


US Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin

Secretary of State John Kerry is on his first overseas trip, and on the second leg of his journey, he visited with German college students in Berlin. In response to a question related to free speech, Kerry made a vigorous case in defense of American values, including freedom of speech, religious freedom, and the “right to be stupid if you want to be.”

Reuters reports:

"People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it's the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another," he added.
"The reason is, that's freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid - if you want to be," he said, prompting laughter. "And you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be.
"And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that's a virtue. I think that's something worth fighting for," he added. "The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view."

4. McDonald’s Employees Better Paid than Weight Watchers According To An Employee


Weight Watchers logo amid employee unrest
Weight Watchers is trying to contain the anguish and frustrations of their front line employees across the country, as the weight loss evangelists who lead local meetings and work with the public, haven’t had a pay increase in over ten years.

The New York Times  Steven Greenhouse reports:

Tammy Williams became a Weight Watchers leader in Texas five years ago after losing 97 pounds in the program. The supplies that she handles fill a bedroom in her home, and she holds four meetings a week advising more than a hundred customers about the diet regimen.
“We are professionals, we have to dress nice, but we are paid less than kids who work at McDonald’s,” Weight Watchers leader Tammy Williams told the Times.
The $18 base pay for leading meetings hasn't increased in more than a decade. Employees also say  they receive no mileage reimbursement for the first 40 miles driven each day.
CEO David Kirchoff told employees in an email that one of the company's "top priorities is  to improve your working life at Weight Watchers."
I imagine that an increase in the minimum wage would help the Weight Watchers employees. So that’s another reason why the minimum wage must be raised. Let's get it done!


Indiana restaurateur Art Bouvier helped a young man get a job

5. Feel Good Department: A Ten Mile Walk In The Freezing Cold Feels Good

An Indiana restaurant owner was salting the ice outside his restaurant one morning last week , after an ice storm had struck the area.  A young guy was walking past, and stopped and asked the restaurateur for directions to a business that was six or seven miles away.

Art Bouvier,gave him directions and told the young guy to take a bus, because it was too cold and too far to walk. The guy thanked him for the directions and advice, and went on his way.

Fifteen minutes later Art and his wife were driving to a coffee shop, and saw the young guy walking toward his destination, so they offered him a ride. Jhaqueil Reagan, 18, of Indianapolis, told Bouvier that he didn’t have the money for the bus, and that he was heading for a job interview at a local thrift shop. He also shared that his mother had died a couple years before, and that he had dropped out of high school to take care of his two younger siblings.

Melissa Knowles at Yahoo News  writes:

After hearing the teen's story, Bouvier told Reagan that even if he was offered the thrift  shop job, he would hire him and double his salary. Bouvier was impressed with the teen's  ambition and work ethic. Reagan accepted the job, and his first day was Monday. He cannot  believe how everything turned out for him saying, "My heart’s just racing right now. I’m just too excited, just excited to start."
Bouvier wanted to share the encounter with his friends, so he wrote about it on Facebook. The story is going viral, with more than 15,000 likes so far. People are applauding the teen's work ethic and Bouvier's generosity.
One person wrote, "you are a blessing from above, and some good will come to you." Another added, "so kindness does exist? Warms my heart!"
It warms my heart too.




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