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January 29, 2007

Minimum Wage Increase Hits Snag

Here is a brief synopsis of an article I read in the Star Tribune on Jan. 25th:

Policymakers argued over the newly proposed bill that would not only raise minimum wage but guarantee tax breaks in order to ensure Republican support. The Senate voted 54-43 in favor of passing the bill that would increase the pay floor without the accompanying tax cut. However, a minimum of 60 votes was required for this version of the bill to pass. Representatives of the Senate ultimately sided with a broader version of the bill that was backed by the Democrats that would raise minimum wage to 7.25 an hour over 26 months and provide $8.3 billion in tax benefits to businesses over 10 years.

In the Pioneer Press, I found a similar article reporting on the issue of increasing minimum wage and the bill's failing efforts. However, the Pioneer Press article lacked depth and clarity and did not directly address the issues at hand. It provided the reader with the idea that the bill wasn’t passed because the Democrats viewed it as a “poison pill? and for the reason that several states already have a wage floor higher than the Federal minimum.

Reporting on this issue has its challenges. For instance, the approach that the Star Tribune took may have offered more depth yet left me feeling disjointed and a bit confused. It sounds as though minimum wage will increase over a period of 26 months by $2.10 but at the same time this article reports on the failures of this newly proposed bill and how the U.S. Senate has not approved it. For those reasons, this article seems as though it was written for a general public with previous knowledge and exposure to the bill and its proposed implications. As for the article posted in the Pioneer Press, it was prompt and achieved its goal in informing the public that the bill wasn't passed. However, it lacked intrigue and didn't indulge the reader in any greater conversation about minimum wage and what the implications of these failing efforts could lead to in the near future.

January 27, 2007

Cigarette Smokin' No More

smoking on stage.jpg

The Minnesota legislature is currently reviewing a bill that would ban smoking in public places throughout the state. This bill would enhance the Clean Air Act of '63 which strives to limit the amount of pollution in the environment. However, Indian reservations and Casinos would be exempt from this new bill while all other restaurants and bars would have to comply.

This news story was covered by the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press both of which approached the story with contrasting levels of clarity and depth. Mark Brunswick, the author of the story printed in the Star Tribune, outlined the effects of such a bill and the details of the statewide smoking ban that could potentially transform the atmosphere of restaurants and bars within Minnesota.

In a related article that I found while reading Friday's issue of the Wall Street Journal, a study revealed that nearly 40,000 Americans smoke while 400,000 people a year die of a smoking related illness.

Spot Deep in Brain Linked to Addiction

January 26, 2007

Deadly Pigeon Cage

An article in the Star Tribune today (January 26th) reported on the devasting bombing in Baghdad that killed 14 and left 62 others wounded. Blood and animal remains splattered the streets after a bomb hidden in a box with pigeons exploded and ripped through a pet store and livestock market on Friday. It happened in the Souq al-Ghazl around 10 am this morning. The explosion happened one day after a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shi'ite mosque on the outskirts of Mosul which left seven dead.

This event was also reported by Alastair Macdonald for yahoo news and takes a far more domestic look at the actions that the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, will take. Offering insight into the ways in which the U.S. congress is handling this event is a convenient way to keep readers interested and awaken them to the impact that international conflict and hate crimes can have on U.S. policy.

The series of suicide bombings and hate crimes that continue withiin Beirut and Baghdad have had an immense impact on the world. What new strategies could possibly save these war-torn countries now?