MORE MINIMUM WAGE FUN. From EPI's inimitable Jared Bernstein:
The federal minimum wage has been raised 19 times by Congress since its introduction in 1938. Eighteen states, covering about half of the national workforce, have minimum wages above that of the Federal level. And over 100 cities have living wages--a higher minimum that applies to workers on city contracts or at firms with local government subsidies.
THE IRAN OVERTURE. Yesterday, Kevin Drummentioned a Washington Postarticle recounting the contents of a secret 2003 letter to the United States from Iranian officials putting a huge slew of issues on the table for direct negotiation (nukes, recognition of Israel, etc.). Drum notes that the Post buried the article.
GET IN LINE.Shadi Hamid is appalled by Zaid Shakir's declaration that all "honest" Muslims would hope the United States becomes an Islamic nation, "not by violent means, but by persuasion." Hamid says "it is incumbent upon moderate Muslims who believe in freedom, democracy, and the US constitution to repudiate such remarks." But why? This is hardly an exceptional position in public life. Evangelical Christianity is a potent political force, and it's rather straightforwardly interested in widespread conversion. As it should be.
GOREWATCH. A few weeks ago, a friend suggested that the way to really put Gore in a bind would be to ask him who he supported in the Lamont/Lieberman race. Well, it looks like Bloomberg TV did exactly that, and Gore refused to take a side. Joe's "a great guy," said Gore, "and he's right on a lot of other issues." Of course, when you've recently become a progressive hero and your former running mate is getting toasted by the left, a non-endorsement is neutrality in name only.
LIKE RATS FROM A SINKING SHIP, CONT'D. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick is resigning to take a position at Goldman-Sachs. Formerly the administration's trade representative, Zoellick was one of the crew's rare grown-ups, and there was much rejoicing with he got the job at State over the expected hire, John Bolton.
AND THE MONEY GOES MARCHING ON AND ON, HUZZAH, HUZZAH? There�s an interesting bit of political entrail reading from The Wall Street Journal, which notes that Big Business, beginning to feel a little shaky over prospects of a Democratic resurgence, is funding donkey candidates at a level not seen since Dick Gephardt was majority leader. According to the article, "[t]he Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has, so far in this election cycle, raised more than its Republican counterpart for the first time since Democrats lost control of Congress in the 1994 election.
THE DEVIL READS TAP. Dig the plug for our fair magazine in the opening graf of this New York Timesarticle on the new movie version of The Devil Wears Prada. The concerned father described in the piece seems to be operating under a couple of notable misimpressions about relative status and prestige in the journalism business, but it's probably best not to discuss those too explicitly here on the The American Prospect's website.
JUST POSTED ON TAP: HARD LABOR.Harold Meyersonnotes in our July/August issue that the Change to Win leaders had big plans last year when they left the AFL-CIO to do more organizing. The resolve is there -- but so are all the usual impediments.