Now for lots of U.S. news
Virginia activists win on ride-sharing
Virginia activists scored another victory this week. First they fought back against ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion and won. And now they won another big battle for economic freedom.
When the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sent a cease-and-desist to the ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, citizens were outraged.
Uber and Lyft provide a cheap, quality alternative to government-controlled taxis. That’s why the medallioned-cab industry used the government to crack down on the competition.
But Virginians fought back. They used the FreedomWorks action center and told Governor Terry McAuliffe and DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb. There was a large social media campaign to revoke the cease-and-desist order. And in the end, the citizens of Virginia won.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles gave up its crusade to ban Uber and Lyft. Grassroots action made the difference.
This powerful lesson proves what patriots can accomplish whenever government steps outside its normal bounds and hurts small business.
ND workers enjoy high wages despite lack of minimum wage law
Prosperity is the way to increase wages. And getting the government out of the way is the key to that. ND got its start through fracking -- before the Feds noticed what was happening
As policymakers in Washington, D.C., debate raising the federal minimum wage, entry-level workers in North Dakota enjoy pay levels nearly twice the current federal minimum.
“Effectively, our minimum wage in town is $14 an hour,” claims Shawn Kessel, administrator for the City of Dickinson, a community in North Dakota’s booming oil fields.
Neither North Dakota nor the City of Dickinson have a minimum wage policy.
Kessel isn’t basing his estimate on any official survey, but rather his own observations. He told Watchdog he discusses wages with local business leaders and tracks the wages offered in job listings in his city. He’s convinced the number is accurate, and it is certainly in line with other data and observations in the state.
Wages even for entry-level jobs are so high in North Dakota they sometimes go viral. Watchdog reported previously on a photo by University of Michigan economist Mark Perry of job listings at a Walmart in Williston, which showed cashiers commanding wages of more than $17 per hour.
Plus, North Dakota has led the nation in personal income growth in six of the past seven years.
In March, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released a report showing North Dakota’s personal incomes have nearly doubled over the past decade, to more than $57,000 per year. That’s a 93 percent increase from 2003 when incomes in the state were $29,569 per capita.
More remarkable is that North Dakota’s booming incomes come at a time when income growth is slowing in the rest of the country. Nationally, personal income growth slowed from 4.2 percent in 2012 to 2.6 percent in 2013, but North Dakota nearly tripled the national rate at 7.6 percent. The state also was double the second-ranked state, Utah, which saw 4 percent growth, according to the BEA.
North Dakota’s per-capita personal yearly income is $57,084 in 2013, up from $54,871 in 2012. The state now ranks third in the nation in per capita personal income, behind only Connecticut’s $60,487 and Washington, D.C., at $74,513.
Still, at least one policymaker in the state supports hiking the minimum wage. U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, is a co-sponsor of legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
“I don’t know anyone who puts in 40 hours of work who makes $15,000 a year can make ends meet in North Dakota,” she said of the policy in April.
But in North Dakota, high wages even for entry-level workers seem to be a product of supply and demand, not government policy. The state has launched a national campaign led by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley to lure 20,000 new workers to fill open jobs.
The Clinton Motto: Contempt and Elitism
As the expression goes, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." When it comes to the Clinton Family the apple never fell, and all associations with the tree leave one contemptuous, elitist and complete incapable of relating to real human beings, real life and reality.
The associations can be wide reaching, like the entire Democrat party. Only the Democrats, who claim to champion women's rights, could think of former President Bill Clinton as a hero. President Clinton was a national embarrassment; he molested an intern in the Oval Office while on the taxpayer's dime.
Make no mistake, Clinton molested Monica Lewinsky... President Clinton was 51. He was the adult in the room. He chose to molest Lewinsky. He chose the easiest path to what he wanted. Like David Letterman, he didn't even have the decency to pay a professional. That's not someone who should be hailed as a hero. That's a criminal who should spend time in jail.
With former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, contempt and elitism are the standard; the Clinton Family Motto. It was thought the zenith of her Clinton-tude were on full display during the Benghazi hearings when she - quite angrily, as if her child had died in Benghazi - lashed out, screeching, "What difference, at this point, does it make?"
But she reached new heights (depths?) when she spoke with Diane Sawyer about how tough life was after the White House:
"We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” Clinton told Diane Sawyer in an interview with ABC News. “We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy."
That's not a typo. That's mortgages and houses. Plural.
Only the elitist thinks that line is connecting with Americans. Next, she'll be talking about conscious uncoupling, or how she was pinned down by gunfire in Bosnia. Oh...wait...
We've come to expect these things from Hillary and Bill, but it came as a surprise (though it shouldn't have) when Chelsea Clinton out-contempted and out-elited the two of them.
As reported by National Review:
"In the latest Clinton money quote, the career first daughter pronounced in a Fast Company interview that she has “tried really hard to care about things that were very different from my parents. I was curious if I could care about [money] on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t. That wasn’t the metric of success that I wanted in my life."
Chelsea's entire adult life has been about and around money. Constant money. Floods of money. Tons of money. Her parents have earned over $100 million since they left office. Her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, is a successful investment banker and now has his own hedge fund.
Their wedding cost $3 million. They live in a $10 million apartment in Manhattan.
For her part-time work as the worst interviewer ever to exist on planet Earth (and that includes Bill Press AND Magic Johnson!) she earned $600,000. Some say earned, some say received an untraceable campaign contribution to her mother. Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe.
For Chelsea to claim that she doesn't care about money is not just a lie, it's part of the elitism and contempt that the Clintons, as a family, share. Contempt for the little people. Contempt for the truth. Contempt for honesty. And the belief that they are above it all; Specifically, things like money, decency and human life.
The only thing more embarrassing than the Clinton's are those who look up to them.
"Affordable housing" follies
Following a long career as an ideologically-driven career politician, in 1999, Jerry Brown reinvented himself as the pragmatic mayor of Oakland, California.
When local activists called for Oakland to adopt inclusionary zoning policy—so-called “affordable housing” mandates—Brown invited the Independent Institute to provide a scholar for the Blue Ribbon Commission formed to investigate the proposal.
With the help of our supporters, the Independent Institute was able to provide Senior Fellow Benjamin Powell. He researched the effects of these policies where they had already been implemented, and then presented his findings to the Commission.
Dr. Powell showed definitively that these “affordable housing” policies would make housing less affordable in Oakland—reducing both the construction of housing and the supply of land for residential construction! As a result Brown opposed the Oakland measure.
Statewide, policymakers persisted in proposing these benign-sounding, but misguided laws, last year passing AB 1229 which would have mandated “affordable housing” units for all developments throughout the state.
Fortunately, Jerry Brown—now Governor, in a resounding display of the Independent Institute's turning ideas into impact, remembered the lesson, and vetoed the bill! Brown declared:
"As mayor of Oakland, I saw how difficult it can be to attract development to low and middle income communities. Requiring developers to include below-market units in their projects can exacerbate these challenges, even while not meaningfully increasing the amount of affordable housing in a given community."
Ideas matter! And ideas rooted in principle in fact win out when presented in the non-partisan, non-politicized manner that is the Independent Institute’s stock-in-trade.
Email from The Independent Institute
At Colo. restaurant, menu comes with armed waitresses
RIFLE, Colo. — At Shooters Grill, you can decide whether your freshly made cherry pie comes with ice cream, but you have no choice on who delivers it: An armed waitress. All nine of the servers at the restaurant pack heat as they shuttle plates of food to diners, from Glock semi-automatics to Ashlee Saenz's thigh-length Rueger Blackhawk .357 six-shooter. On the wall, posted alongside copies of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, is a sign declaring that those inside are still "proudly clinging to my guns and Bible."
Owner Lauren Boebert, 27, says she didn't start out to make a statement when she began carrying a pistol on her hip a month after opening Shooters a year ago. But through the months, her other waitresses thought it was kind of fun and they, too, started carrying in this town of 9,200 about 180 miles west of Denver.
"We don't worship guns. We worship Jesus," said Boebert, a mother of four whose husband works in the oil industry. "We're here to serve people."
Word is getting around about the unusual service at the restaurant, which earlier this year won a series of readers-favorite awards from a nearby newspaper for its home-cooked food that includes all-day breakfast and prime rib. A reporter sent to cover the restaurant in late June highlighted Boebert, Saenz and the other waitresses. Word got around and curious customers started pouring in.
Monday afternoon, Robert Vedrenne ate an early dinner, drawn by that newspaper article in the Glenwood Springs (Colo.) Post Independent. A native Texan, Vedrenne wondered whether Boebert and her staff were just using guns to sell mediocre food. They weren't. Menu items include the M16 burrito, the Swiss and Wesson grilled cheese, and "Locked and Loaded nachos."
"I wanted to see if this was gimmicky or if it really was good food," said Vedrenne, who is temporarily living in the area for work. "And it was good. I'll be back."
In May, the Denver-based Chipotle burrito chain asked gun owners to stop bringing guns into the company's stores following a series of demonstrations from strident Second Amendment supporters in Texas. And last year, Starbucks also asked gun owners to leave their weapons behind when buying coffee. However, in Rifle, Boebert said the local Starbucks franchisee has no problem when she walks in wearing her Springfield XDS .45.
Rifle has a low rate of violent crime, and Shooters' waitresses say they never expect to use their weapons, which are carried in holsters like ones police officers use to prevent people from grabbing their firearms. Boebert said she just wanted to create a place where people like her would feel comfortable carrying their weapons publicly, as is their legal right in Colorado.
The restaurant also offers handgun safety classes to patrons, who get dinner and a four-hour seminar for $75. And while the waitresses' guns are loaded, they're under strict orders to keep safeties on and their weapons holstered unless there's a darn good reason to draw.
Police Chief John Dyer told the Post Independent that he has no problem with the way Boebert is operating. The restaurant doesn't serve alcohol, and all of the waitresses have been safety certified to carry concealed weapons, even though they need no special permit to carry openly.
"If it was a bar, I might be saying something different," he told the paper. "And besides, they make a really good burger."
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