Raise the Minimum Wage!

ABQjournal: Mandated Minimum Wage Ships Jobs Outside City Limits By Kenneth M. Brown and Micha Gisser, The Rio Grande Foundation

Obviously a $7.50 minimum wage would send a bad signal to out-of-state firms considering moving here, depending on their wage structure.

But more important would be the not-so-subtle message that Albuquerque municipal government stands ready to insert itself into private working arrangements between companies and their employees. What’s next, they would wonder. Albuquerque would never again make one of those “Best Of” lists produced by Forbes magazine and others.

The logic of a mandatory minimum wage is flawed. Basically, it is the philosophy that a government can force producers to pay employees more than the value of their contribution to production.

Yes, let’s send a message to companies looking our way. Paint your CEO gold; bury your board in cash; reward your shareholders royally. But pay those at the bottom of it all enough to live on. If you intend to enrich the top by starving the bottom, look for a real Red State.

Brown and Gisser, who you can be sure made more than $7.50 an hour for this article, use the shotgun approach in their drive by the minimum wage issue. Raising the minimum wage will ruin everything every way imaginable. I, for one, would be delighted to see a single McDonald’s or WalMart close up and move to Los Lunas or New Delhi — ain’t gonna happen. I’m sure Texas will welcome the Rio Grande Foundation with open arms when they move to El Paso to save $2/hour per employee.

Note that B&G’s argument could be used to do away with the federal minimum wage entirely. It is, in fact, the job of government to “insert itself” in lots of areas corporations and profit-takers would rather government stay out of, including many matters of health and safety that impact the bottom line.

Opponents of a living wage often say if one doesn’t want a minimum wage job, one should get an education. I’ve taught UNM Continuing Education for over 17 years. Classes have never been more expensive. Someone on minimum wage can’t afford to take a class.

What has happened to the notion of risk-taking? Do we no longer believe in trial and error, experimentation, observation and revision? Can’t we try something and risk failure? Conservative no longer means cautious, it means fearful. Let’s try raising the minimum wage and reconsider it in a few years — if we were wrong, will Albuquerque really become a ghost town in that short interval? mjh

PhD of ID

This is where ID supporters are taking us. Get your doctorate of bible sciences. mjh

Lawsuit: UC biased vs. Christians

A group representing California religious schools has filed a lawsuit accusing the University of California system of discriminating against high schools that teach creationism and other conservative Christian viewpoints.

The Association of Christian Schools International, which represents more than 800 schools, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday claiming UC admissions officials have refused to certify high school science courses that use textbooks challenging Darwin’s theory of evolution. Other rejected courses include “Christianity’s Influence in American History.”

According to the lawsuit, the Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta was told its courses were rejected because they use textbooks printed by two Christian publishers, Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books.

Say No to Subtlety!

Taipei Times – archives

“You are giving hope and encouragement to the enemies of America,” said former California assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, a Republican who co-founded Move America Forward, the group that coordinated the rally. …

At the pro-Bush rally, there were some heated moments when two members of Protest Warrior, a group that frequently holds counter-protests to anti-war rallies, walked in with a sign reading “Say No to War — Unless a Democrat is President.”

Many Bush supporters only saw the top of the sign and believed the men were war protesters, so they began shouting and chasing the pair out. One man tore up their signs.

[Other signs said:
stop aiding our enemies
traitors are not welcome in Texas]

Born OK the First Time

Watch very closely what is happening in the debate over evolution. Proponents of “Intelligent Design” (ID) insist they just want discussion; they want open-mindedness. Right. Anyone who believes Duhbya when he says it’s good to ask questions has never seen him at a press conference. His mind is made up — he wants YOU to question YOUR beliefs and realize his are the right ones.

ID is simply the latest facet of the culture war, the war being waged by Reactionaries against the rest of us. Don’t trust the media. Don’t trust the government. Don’t trust the courts. Don’t trust the teachers. Trust God and his chosen spokesmen. Believe completely what you are told by these few and no others.

Science is a path and a discipline. The term “pseudo-science” is sometimes applied to ID, but ID is, in fact, anti-science. ID says science CANNOT EVER explain the complexities of life. ID doesn’t just say evolution has so far failed to explain things — science can NEVER explain certain things. Accepting that means accepting that when you reach the limits of whatever you don’t yet understand, you cannot move beyond those limits. God starts at the edge of your ignorance. Under that view, the more ignorant you are, the closer you are to god.

I have a proposal to any proponent of ID. I will allow the possibility there was something divine involved at some point in the development of the Universe IF you will allow the possibility that there never, ever was a god and religion might be full of nonsense. We might both be correct. Fair enough? mjh

ABQjournal: From UNM, 2 Different Views; Biologist, Biochemist Share Their Thoughts By John Fleck, Journal Staff Writer

Intelligent design’s central claim is that living organisms have characteristics too complex to be explained by evolution, where random changes in DNA, survival of the fittest and lots of time are evoked to explain the diversity of life we see today. An unnamed “intelligent designer” must have been involved, the idea’s advocates claim. …

At its heart, the debate is a battle over the definition of science itself.

For more than 300 years, the fundamental goal of science has been to try to find naturalistic explanations for what we see in nature, according to University of New Mexico science historian Timothy Moy.

The resulting scientific method of observation, experiment, hypothesis testing and constant revision of ideas, scientists note, has been remarkably successfully at explaining the natural world and providing the technology that underpins modernity.

Invoking a supernatural being to explain the mysterious, as pre-scientific cultures had done, is not part of that process.

When, for example, physicists struggle with their inability to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity, it would never occur to them to invoke a supernatural being and call it solved. “That would not be a scientific argument,” Moy said. …

One of the problems driving the debate, according to Moy, is that science is so esteemed in modern society that everyone wants its stamp of approval for their body of knowledge.

I was stunned by that last assertion. If Moy really believes that, he is stunningly out of touch with America. We believe in God and the Devil and that both take a personal interest in our daily lives. We believe the Bible is literally true. We believe the Founders were Christian zealots. We believe Jesus rode dinosaurs. We believe Indiana Jones was a great archaeologist and Jurassic Park is coming soon. We believe Magic is more powerful than Science. mjh

ABQjournal: Intelligent Design Evidence Ignored By Paul Veers, Engineer

Intelligent design is neither bad science nor stealth creationism. It is a means of setting up mathematically verifiable tests for chance, necessity, or a third possibility, design.

If design is found, it could well raise the issue of its source. The ensuing discussion about the possibility of a creator is a separate issue to be dealt with outside the realm of science.

But it appears from the vehemence of the attacks against intelligent design that the scientific establishment intends to squelch even the possibility of following the evidence wherever it might lead.

Veers is so out-of-touch with the majority of ID supporters it is unreal. mjh

Penguins, People and a Grisly Bear Tale By George F. Will

“March of the Penguins” raises this question: If an Intelligent Designer designed nature, why did it decide to make breeding so tedious for those penguins? The movie documents the 70-mile march of thousands of Antarctic penguins from the sea to an icy breeding place barren of nutrition. These perhaps intelligently but certainly oddly designed birds march because they cannot fly. They cannot even march well, being most at home in the sea. …

But the penguins are made for that behavior in that place. What made them? Adaptive evolution. They have been “designed” for all that rigor — meaning they have been shaped by adapting to many millennia of nature’s harshness. …

Reality’s swirling complexity is sometimes lovely, sometime brutal; its laws propel the comings and goings of life forms in processes as impersonal as Antarctica is to the penguins ….. It is so grand that nothing is gained by dragging an Intelligent Designer into the picture for praise. Or blame.

Like Will, whom I seldom agree with, I thought a great deal about Intelligent Design during March of the Penguins, which is hardly scientific in its approach. If there was a designer of penguins, he was cruel and sadistic. mjh

ABQjournal: Theologians In Conflict Over Controversy By Paul Logan, Journal Staff Writer

“I would certainly have to say we don’t take the Book of Genesis literally — that God made the world in six days,” Sheehan said. “It’s a religious teaching and not a scientific teaching that Genesis gives.” …

There is a concern that the cardinal’s article could move the church away from evolution theory and toward intelligent design, he said.

Pope John Paul II spoke on evolution several times. In a 1996 message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he said:

“New knowledge leads us to recognize in the theory of evolution more than a hypothesis … The convergence, neither sought nor induced, of results of work done independently one from the other, constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory.”

“To tell the truth, more than the theory of evolution, one must speak of the theories of evolution … ”

Some scientists consider intelligent design a thinly disguised version of creationism. Thomas called it “creationism in a lab coat.” …

“The Roman Catholic Church does not accept Scripture literally,” Rev. Andy Pavlak, a Dominican priest, said.

I can’t wait to see evangelicals attack Catholics as lacking faith. I wonder if Catholics will ever regret joining forces with the Bible Literalists like our President. mjh

PS: the title of this entry (“Born OK the First Time”) was reported to me by friends who saw it on a bumper sticker.

Religion – RELIGION TODAY: Among influential American evangelicals, a sense of persecution persists – sacbee.comBy RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer

To outsiders, conservative Christians seem at the peak of their influence.

Books by evangelical pastors Rick Warren and Joel Osteen are multimillion best sellers, megachurches are building satellite congregations to meet demand, conservatives control Congress and, most importantly, religious activists helped put a Bible-believer in the White House.

Yet, many evangelicals still consider themselves a persecuted majority, hounded by “secular fundamentalists” intent on driving religion from public life.

Opponents find this view baffling. Bill Leonard, dean of Wake Forest University Divinity School in North Carolina and a critic of the religious right, says evangelicals consider themselves oppressed only because some Americans disagree with them.

“They want to be culture dominant,” Leonard said. …

The sense of being outsiders has historical roots as well. For much of the 20th century, liberal-leaning Protestants were considered the mainstream of American Christianity, while biblical traditionalists were generally marginalized and often mocked.

Starting around the 1960s, as mainline Protestant denominations started losing members, conservative churches were growing, yet evangelicals still felt shut out. A new emphasis on personal freedoms was pushing organized religion to the sidelines of public life.

U.S. Supreme Court decisions supporting abortion-rights and prohibiting public school officials from organizing or leading prayers and devotional Bible reading were also part of this troubling shift for evangelicals….

Behind the conflict about religion in public life is a debate within Christianity itself over how the Bible should be interpreted and which view should be considered the norm. Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, warned recently that Christianity is experiencing a “global identity crisis.”

Gibbs said conservative Christians need to accept that they live in a nation that is becoming ever more diverse, and that no single Christian group will have a “privileged voice” in society.

“You’ve got to find ways of being heard within that context,” Gibbs said. “But we shouldn’t get angry or try to reclaim the past.”

I’m not laughing with Dimdahl, I’m laughing at him

ABQjournal: Richardson Won a Battle, But CYFD’s Bolson Won War By John Dendahl

Laugh of the Month: Richardson remains obstinate. Despite environment-friendly natural gas production on super-enviro Ted Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch next door, drilling for natural gas in the Valle Vidal is vigorously opposed by some special interests. Vowing to do all he can to prevent Valle Vidal drilling, Richardson recently told the opponents, “We are not going to stand for special-interest management of the public domain.” Say what?

Lifelong New Mexican John Dendahl is a retired executive and political leader. E-mail: jdendahl@swcp.com

Those “special interests” Dimdahl denegrates include a diverse group of tree huggers like me plus hunters and outdoors people, Gary Fonay, former president of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, and Northern New Mexico rancher Alan Lackey, a Republican and a founding member of the Coalition for the Valle Vidal, who has pointed out the networks of roads and well pads that have sprung up on the Vermejo Park Ranch….

It is Dimdahl who remains obstinate and misleading. mjh

Fool me twice, Shame on me

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / Power line fails, 700,000 homes blacked out

In one of the most severe electricity problems since the energy crisis, blackouts hit Southern California on Thursday after a major transmission line was knocked out, cutting power to roughly 700,000 homes.

Just because the last crisis was a phony, created by a friend of Duhbya’s and leading directly to the rise of Republican Governor Schwartzeneggar, that’s no reason to be cynical about this crisis — this crisis is real, don’t you know. mjh

News > Business — FERC wants closure to energy crisis” href=”http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20050813-9999-1b13refunds.html”>SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Business — FERC wants closure to energy crisis

California has sought $9 billion in refunds for electricity and natural gas that it says was over-priced due to market manipulation by some of the nation’s biggest energy firms.

Reliant settles issues involving California energy crisis – 2005-08-15

Houston-based electricity provider Reliant Energy Inc. announced Monday morning that it has reached a $445 million settlement over litigation and regulatory investigations stemming from the sale of electricity during California’s energy crisis in 2000 and 2001.