At the same time that a new study out of Massachusetts
reveals that tobacco companies are steadily increasing nicotine levels
in cigarettes, the fight to limit the health impacts of tobacco is
gaining new steam. Ballot measures will be considered in eight states this fall regarding tobacco. And in Virginia, where tobacco is king, Governor Tim Kaine is considering a ban on smoking in state buildings.
A conservative leader in Florida's legislature hit upon a novel idea -- ask the people for ideas for better public policy. They got ideas, but the press may now want to follow-up to find out whether the leaders will actually move on the progressive agenda the people are petitioning for.
Rep. Marco Rubio came upon the idea with two colleagues and set up a website called 100ideas.org to solicit ideas from the public and use the "best" to write a book called 100 Ideas.
The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for
over three decades. For many workers -- especially those without a
college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this
generation is the first one in American history which is not doing
signficantly better than the previous one. Part of the reason for
these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal
minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.
Some politicians have a simple way to deal with the challenge of
providing health care to the uninsured: cut the funding for those
currently receiving care and deliver half-rate care to more people. West Virgina and Kentucky legislatures both voted recently to cut benefits
for existing Medicaid recipients, taking advantage of a new federal law
that allows states to selectively cut benefits for different
Fourteen-year-old Martin Lee Anderson died one day after being sent to a "boot camp" juvenile justice facility and reports have emerged of a videotape of guards beating the boy. Anderson's death is the third in three years.
As the Associated Press reports the story, the NAACP and Florida's black legislators are demanding answers. All three of the young men who have died in these camps were black.
But that raises an awfully good question.