“The morgue is receiving a minimum of 60 bodies a day and sometimes more than 100, a morgue employee told IPS on condition of anonymity. ‘The average is probably over 85,’ said the employee on the morning of April 12, as scores of family members waited outside the building to see if their loved ones were among the dead.”
On Friday, Oprah Winfrey dedicated her national talk show to the issue of minimum wage, focusing on the plight of workers and families who face great difficulties merely subsisting on such low pay. The federal minimum wage has been locked in at $5.15/hour for the past nine years.
The show’s panel featured Morgan Spurlock, director of Super Size Me and the TV series 30 Days, Morgan’s fiancee Alex Jamieson, and Beth Shulman, the former vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
Among the highlights of the show was this exchange between the panelists. Watch it:
WINFREY: It’s a real tragedy. I think you’re absolutely right. This is what people need to know. This is why New Orleans happened. This is why it happened, because you have people who were working — service people — minimum wage jobs. Working people who didn’t have the resources to go anywhere. That’s the point. That’s the point.
SHULMAN: Absolutely. And Katrina can be “” is every city in the United States.
WINFREY: Yes, yes.
SHULMAN: Every city. And we can make different choices that ensure that the American dream is a reality for all these millions of Americans.
WINFREY: And so what should we be doing?
SHULMAN: First, we need to raise the minimum wage. As you said, Oprah, the minimum wage is at $5.15 an hour.
WINFREY: That’s so crazy.
SHULMAN: You can’t go to the store and buy a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk for that, let alone take care of your family.
UPDATE: More from the Notion.
A full transcript of the segment is below: Read more
When it was announced last month that Josh Bolten would be replacing Andrew Card as the White House chief of staff, the media interpreted the move as “a modest attempt at a fresh start for a White House that had stumbled recently.” Lately, the media has been pronouncing that Bolten would be aiming for “sweeping staff changes.”
Bolten’s first day on the job yesterday served to dismiss the media’s theories. Bolten’s “fresh start” began with defending the administration’s old mistakes:
The defense of Rumsfeld in effect was the first act of new White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten, who took over as Andrew H. Card Jr. left the West Wing yesterday afternoon for the final time as Bush’s top aide. White House aides decided that press secretary Scott McClellan’s statement of support Thursday was inadequate to stem the growing chorus of resignation calls from the military.
“I admire those who have stepped forward, and I agree with the arguments they are making,” retired Marine Lt. Gen. Paul K. Van Riper said in an interview yesterday. “I count myself in the same camp.”
New emails from Jack Abramoff to former top Bush procurement official David Safavian show a “highly inappropriate relationship where gifts and business interests mixed freely and frequently.” One message from Abramoff, sent July 23, 2002, asks Safavian, “golf Friday? golf Sunday? golf Monday? golf, golf, golf!!”
“Far from being daunted,” one of the generals who called for Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation, Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., who commanded the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq until 2004, went further in an interview with the New York Times: “His arrogance is what will cause us to fail in the future.”
Hundreds of immigrants who joined recent marches have been fired from their jobs. “[S]ome protest organizers say word of the firings spread rapidly and might have a chilling effect on many more workers and on students, some of whom also say they have faced discipline for missing school for rallies.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a military analyst for Fox News and the Weekly Standard, on war in Iran: “I can lay out a campaign today that will take Iran down very quickly.” McInerney on war in Iraq in 2002: “[I]t will be a war that is shorter than” the 1991 Gulf War, which lasted 42 days.
A good sign you’ve chosen the wrong person to run Iraq’s 135,000 member police force: When asked whether he likes his job, he responds: “No. I don’t want to keep it! They force me to take it. I’m a civil engineer, a merchant. I can’t continue. I don’t want to continue. My specialty is construction, industry“¦ I want to rebuild Iraq.” Read more