MajoringInDebt

Ultimately, whether the choice to retain unpaid interns in the face of a rising chorus of dissent is based on ignorance or economic expedience doesn’t really matter. There’s no good excuse for the president of the United States to rely on unpaid labor, particularly as the practice consistently violates his stated convictions. As the debate over unpaid internships amplifies, he holds a unique power to shift this practice in the entire economy. The decision to begin paying White House interns this year is fully within Obama’s grasp. If the administration is fully committed to the reform, it could even seek to unilaterally change labor regulations, just like it has explored with overtime pay.

On raising the minimum wage, Obama said that as “a chief executive, I intend to lead by example.” Mr. President: Unpaid internships contradict your commitments and your economic agenda. Lead by example: It’s time to pay your interns.

As many employees of the federal government look forward to a higher minimum wage, many in the halls of the White House itself won’t see a dime. As a White House executive order allows millions of employees to start receiving overtime pay, many at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. still won’t be paid at all. As President Obama continues to push an economic equality agenda, about one hundred and fifty summer laborers in his own office — and hundreds of thousands like them outside it — won’t be included: the unpaid interns. So long as participants in the White House Internship Program remain unpaid, the president not only perpetuates hypocrisy but also loses an opportunity to lead a shift in labor practices throughout the country.

The White House Internship Program, and all unpaid internships, entrench economic inequality and discriminate against low-income families: Only the wealthy can afford to pay rent and expenses in order to work for free. Instead of offering more “ladders of opportunity into the middle class,” the president and other employers are handing prestigious internships — often key to future employment — to those already in the lead. Of last summer’s interns, almost a third were from Ivy League schools, and many hailed from administration-linked families or major donors. The president says economic inequality is “the defining challenge of our time,” but by supporting unpaid internships he widens the income gap right at the very entry to the workforce.

unconsumption:

An interesting, and somewhat confrontational, campaign to reduce consumption, featuring a shoe made of “shoreline rubbish.”

More at: EVERYTHING YOU BUY IS RUBBISH

As a small business owner in the restaurant industry, I think a higher minimum wage is great for my business and me. Make the wage $15 an hour. Make it $20. Make it high enough that dishwashers get paid like office workers.

Here’s why. A higher minimum wage helps reduce the structural advantages large corporations have over small businesses, and that in turn helps create a context where high-quality independent businesses can thrive by overdelivering compared to our better-capitalized, but mediocre, big competitors.

Brand names in NY Common Core test questions vex parents

"Just Do It" has been a familiar Nike slogan for years, but some parents are wondering what it was doing on some of New York’s Common Core standardized English tests.
Brands including Barbie, iPod, Mug Root Beer and Life Savers showed up on the tests more than a million students in grades 3 through 8 took this month, leading to speculation it was some form of product placement advertising.
New York state education officials and the test publisher say the brand references were not paid product placement but just happened to be contained in previously published passages selected for the tests.
Some critics aren’t so sure and questioned why specific brand names would be mentioned at all.
"It just seems so unnecessary," said Josh Golin, associate director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which monitors marketing directed at children.

"It would be horrible if they were getting paid for it," he said. "But even if they’re not, it’s taking something that should not be a commercial experience and commercializing it."

Brand names in NY Common Core test questions vex parents

"Just Do It" has been a familiar Nike slogan for years, but some parents are wondering what it was doing on some of New York’s Common Core standardized English tests.

Brands including Barbie, iPod, Mug Root Beer and Life Savers showed up on the tests more than a million students in grades 3 through 8 took this month, leading to speculation it was some form of product placement advertising.

New York state education officials and the test publisher say the brand references were not paid product placement but just happened to be contained in previously published passages selected for the tests.

Some critics aren’t so sure and questioned why specific brand names would be mentioned at all.

"It just seems so unnecessary," said Josh Golin, associate director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which monitors marketing directed at children.

"It would be horrible if they were getting paid for it," he said. "But even if they’re not, it’s taking something that should not be a commercial experience and commercializing it."

During the seventy-six years from the first attempt on Everest, in 1921, through 1996, when I was guided up Everest, a hundred and forty-four people died and the summit was reached six hundred and thirty times, a ratio of one death for every four successful ascents. Notably, over the eighteen years that have passed since 1996, a hundred and four people have died and the summit has been reached six thousand two hundred and forty-one times—one death for every sixty ascents. Furthermore, non-sherpas accounted for only seventy-one of these deaths, which equates to just one death for every eighty-eight ascents.

The reason the risk remains so much greater for sherpas can be traced to several things. Sherpas aren’t provided with nearly as much bottled oxygen, because it is so expensive to buy and to stock on the upper mountain, and they tend to be much better acclimatized than Westerners. Sherpas are almost never given dexamethasone prophylactically, because they don’t have personal physicians in their villages who will prescribe the drug on request. And perhaps most significant, sherpas do all the heavy lifting on Everest, literally and figuratively. The mostly foreign-owned guiding companies assign the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs to their sherpa staff, thereby mitigating the risk to their Western guides and members, whose backpacks seldom hold much more than a water bottle, a camera, an extra jacket, and lunch. The work sherpas are paid to do—carrying loads, installing the aluminum ladders, stringing and anchoring thousands of feet of rope—requires them to spend vastly more time on the most dangerous parts of the mountain, particularly in the Khumbu Icefall—the shattered, creaking, ever-shifting expanse of glacier that extends from just above base camp, at seventeen thousand six hundred feet, to the nineteen-thousand-five-hundred-foot elevation. The fact that members and Western guides now suck down a lot more bottled oxygen is wonderful for them, but it means the sherpas have to carry those additional oxygen bottles through the Icefall for the Westerners to use.

cartoonpolitics:

(changes to SAT)
Thirty-two hours of higher quality work is better than 40 hours of lower quality work