MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE DEFEATED. It needed 60 votes, it got 52, so for the moment, the minimum wage increase is dead. Of the eight Republicans who voted for it, four are up for reelection this year. Congrats to The New York Times, by the way, for accurately diagnosing the state of play: "While Democrats depend on organized labor to win elections, Republicans are closely aligned with business interests that oppose any increase in the federal wage floor or would like changes in the current system." Ted Kennedy has promised that the minimum wage will be among the first bits of legislation Democrats consider if they retake Congress this fall. Other members of the party should repeat that promise, loudly and often.