Monday, August 3, 2015

When We Raise Minimum Wage To $15.00 Per. Hour, What Will A Big Mac Cost?

I have asked the same question by looking at the minimum wage during the 1970's and the cost of a Big Mac at the time. I came to the conclusion that you could purchase more big macs in the 1970 after working one hour at minimum wage than today.

Now Thinkprogress.org has come up with some math to back up what doubling the minimum wage would to the labor cost of a big mac. It would raise the cost from $3.99 to $4.16 or in other words it would go up .17 cents.

For those of you that don't understand the difference between cost and labor cost, you should read up on this. If you think doubling the minimum wage will double the cost of goods consider this.
Excerpt from Thinkprogress

 If the minimum wage were increased to $15 an hour, prices at fast food restaurants would rise by an estimated 4.3 percent, according to a new study. That would mean a McDonald’s Big Mac, which currently goes for $3.99, would cost about 17 cents more, or $4.16.
The study from Purdue University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management also found that in order to compensate for the higher cost of employee compensation at limited-service restaurants, or those without table service or tipping, if they decided to change food sizes rather than prices, the Big Mac would shrink somewhere between 12 and 70 percent.
The price increases would be a good deal larger if the minimum wage were raised to $22 an hour, or average private sector pay: the authors found they would increase by 25 percent, raising the price of a Big Mac by about a dollar.

See the whole story

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Kansas Voting Machines Could Be Rigging Elections, But Officials Don't Want To Know

If voting machines are accurate, it should be easy to tell. At least that's what a Kansas mathematician with a doctorate in statistics says. Beth Clarkson is trying to find out why she is seeing consistent patterns from voting results which she says don't make sense.

We have heard about this from Bradblog's Brad Friedman for years now but others are starting to take notice of these proprietary machines that are not standardized and which count our votes in secret. Those who would poo poo this being a problem have either not actually looked into it or are purposely trying to mislead people about the machines. Clarkson has had to sue her state to get records and still is hitting a wall and lots of push back from state officials.

Here is an excerpt from the article that I found at OccupyDemocrats.com 

Clarkson is baffled by the reluctant attitude she has faced in trying to do the right thing and make sure that votes were being counted accurately. She said: “I really did not expect to have a lot of problems getting these (records).”

At this point, you have to wonder…what are they hiding? Given how Republicans across the country are busy passing “voter registration laws” to combat all the “fraud” that has been shown not to exist, it would follow that it’s a classic smoke-and-mirrors tactic to divert attention away from the fraud that they’ve been perpetrating the whole time- whether through gerrymandering or questionable voting machines.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Doctors Without Borders Urges ReWrite Of Trans Pacific Partnership Free Trade Deal

TPP Negotiators Must Fix the Most Damaging Trade Agreement Ever for Global Health

As U.S. aims to close deal, countries should reject damaging provisions that will block access to affordable medicines
Photo from Citizen.org

Maui/New York - Trade negotiators must remove damaging provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal or risk locking in high drug prices and endangering the health of millions of people for decades to come, said the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as negotiations resumed in Maui, Hawaii, today. MSF’s call comes as reports indicate that this could be the last negotiation before the agreement is concluded.

If approved in its current form, the TPP, which is being negotiated between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific-Rim countries, will have a devastating impact on global health. It would strengthen, lengthen and create new patent and regulatory monopolies for pharmaceutical products that will raise the price of medicines and reduce the availability of price-lowering generic competition.

“We have raised our voice as loudly as we can, repeatedly warning that this is a terrible deal for access to affordable medicines,” said Manica Balasegaram, executive director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “Ministries of health, humanitarian groups such as MSF and global health programs funded by the U.S. government all rely on affordable medicines to provide medical care. Despite repeated warnings from MSF, other concerned experts and groups, and even other negotiating countries, U.S. negotiators have pushed for provisions that benefit pharmaceutical companies at the expense of the more than 800 million people who need access to affordable generic medicines in current TPP countries.”

Some of the most concerning provisions in the TPP center on so-called ‘patent evergreening,’ which would force TPP governments to grant pharmaceutical companies additional patents for changes to existing medicines, even when those changes provide no therapeutic benefit to patients.
U.S. negotiators have also aggressively pushed for 12 years of ‘data exclusivity’ for biologic medicines, which include vaccines and drugs to treat conditions such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. Data exclusivity blocks government regulatory authorities from allowing price-lowering generic competitors to enter the market with previously generated clinical data.
If pharmaceutical companies get their way, brand-name drugs and vaccines would not face direct competition for excessively long periods of time while patients, medical providers like MSF, and people in TPP countries endure unnecessarily high prices.

“The U.S. is demanding that countries implement a devastating set of new trade rules that will essentially block people from benefitting from the latest advances in medicines for years simply because this is in the interest of multinational pharmaceutical companies,” said Judit Rius Sanjuan, U.S. manager and policy advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign. “Extended monopolies, such as those being pushed by the U.S. in the TPP, are irresponsible and harmful to public health.”

The provisions demanded by U.S. negotiators break past U.S. government commitments to global health, including a 2007 agreement in which the U.S agreed to include key public health safeguards in future free trade deals with developing countries.

“The U.S. has abandoned its previous commitments to protect health in its trade policy,” said Rius Sanjuan. “The TPP is a precedent-setting blueprint for future trade deals that will deny countries their right to balance business interests with the public health needs of people – a right that is ingrained in international trade rules. This week might be the last chance negotiators have to mitigate the potential devastation of the TPP. We ask government negotiators to protect access to medicines and fix the most damaging provisions in the TPP.”
If you consider the above story with the news here that Anthem just bought Cigna health care which now reduces our freedom of choice for major health insurers  to 3, one can see that there isn't really going to be any healthy competition anymore for health care. It's all about how much money the corporations can make. So for those that didn't want the government getting into health care I give you corporate health care. That's what we have and almost without any competition. And after all, its a lot easier to vote out a CEO of a large health care company than your government officials. Oh, wait. We don't get to vote for corporate CEO's.
###
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. MSF's work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality. The organization is committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation.
MSF operates independently of any political, military, or religious agendas.

Westhaven Blackberry Festival Today

Normally the ladies that bake the thousand or so pies call me to let me know that they festival is coming and I can put the word out on our 5 radio stations as well as my blog, facebook and twitter.

This year they must have decided to go with someone else for their advertising. I never got word that it was happening until a friend dropped by this morning as I was making breakfast. He said he was on his way to the festival and I was like, "what, that's today?"

So I looked it up and found this at Redwoods.info

7/26/2015

Join neighbors and friends at the Annual Westhaven Blackberry Festival  from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Westhaven Fire Hall on Sixth Avenue.
Sales of fresh blackberry pies, jams, barbecued hamburgers and beverages benefit the Westhaven Volunteer Fire Department.

There will be music, booths and goodwill in abundance. No pets, please

Monday, July 13, 2015

California Gas Prices Humboldt Style

A combination of things that have mostly to do with refineries and California's own special blend of gas have pushed prices up as much as .50 cents a gallon today from last Fridays prices.

Here on the north coast we seem to actually have lower prices than the state average today. According to AAA the listed average for regular in the state was $4.05 a gallon and here in Eureka it was between $3.65 and $3.69 per gallon depending on where you went.

What I have never seen before is the strange prices for higher grades. 89 octane used to be a dime more and 91 octane .20 cents more than regular. Now prices in Humboldt are all over the place from the old .10 cents difference to as much as 50 cents a gallon more for premium. Prices are expected to ease by mid week or so but they don't expect prices to come back down anywhere near as fast as they went up. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Camping Out For Wristbands Back In The Day

The music scene has changed so much since I was a 15 year old Orange County kid. I still remember hearing  Led Zeppelin was coming to LA and that was driving distance from the OC suburbs. If all went well, I would pass my drivers test and get my drivers license in time to borrow dads car and drive to the Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles.

But first things first. If tickets were going to go on sale, I had to listen to the radio and go to the record store for information because we didn't have internet and cell phones. My best friend, also named Tom was determined to go and we both put out our feelers. He had older brothers and I had an older sister. That older sister turned me on to Yes by the way but back to the tickets. Tom got word that tickets were going on sale at the Montgomery Ward Department Store at 8 am on a Saturday.  That was just a couple of weeks away. We had to get money which was a lot easier in those days as I had a job mowing lawns. He used to recycle newspapers. Fact is, we got the money. It was Led Zeppelin after all, we couldn't let this slip away.
I got this photo with the purchase of my recording and rehearsal studios in the 1990's. 

On the Friday night before the tickets went on sale, Tom and I rode our bicycles down to Monkey Wards as we called it and did our first of many sidewalk ticket camp nights. We stayed up all night playing cards and smoking cigarettes and stuff and we were the first in line. We were sure to get tickets to the show. People lined up behind us as the night went on. Most were more prepared and brought chairs and sleeping bags. Some had battery powered televisions. They even remembered things like water and food like pizza and sandwiches. I watched and learned. I had only been camping once before because my dad didn't like to camp so this was all a bit new to me.

About a half hour before the store opened in the morning, some other people started lining up at another door to the store. This caused some confusion but since our line was longer and we convinced the store folks that we had been there all night and the others got there within the hour they told us to wait and went back into the store.
When they returned, they had some tickets like the ones carnival rides use with numbers on them. They then just randomly handed them out at both doors and told us to meet at another door in a half hour. We all complied and they randomly drew numbers and called us into the store to get our tickets. I remember that there were people there that didn't get tickets. We did. Not great ones, be we had a pair and we were going to see Led Zeppelin in 1977.

I got a job at Coco's in Fullerton soon after we got the tickets and got my drivers license in time to drive to the Forum in LA.
The Coco's gig was fun because of the people I worked with. One was a member of the 1980's  band Berlin. Another was the drummer for The Steve Miller Band on his Book of Dreams tour. But back to the camping and Led Zeppelin. The Coco's job in addition to laws allowed me money for gas, t-shirts, and other expenses associated with being a wide eyed teenager in search of fun.

I borrowed my dad's Ford Maverick, got a freeway map and off we went to the concert. On the way we picked up a hitch hiker and talked him into buying us a 12 pack of beer. We gave him 10 bucks for his troubles and a couple of beers and we were all happy. Only a few blocks from the Forum we dropped off our passenger and followed the long line of cars into the parking lot. We drank a few beers and ate some dried mushrooms in the car and then headed to our nose bleed seats in the arena.

People were lighting off fireworks like skyrockets and cherry bombs inside, it was crazy! After a while the lights went down, everybody lit up, and it was nobody's fault but mine fading up from the stage. It was the Presence tour, the last time Led Zeppelin came to California before John Bonham died so I feel a bit special being able to say that my first real concert was Led Zeppelin.

This fantastic experience led to many nights camping on the sidewalk in front of Music + or at the Forum itself in pursuit of tickets. The Forum was in Inglewood which was not the best neighborhood to be on the sidewalks overnight. We were all about the music though and didn't even notice some of the unsavory characters that were keeping their own watchful eyes on us kids camping on the sidewalk at midnight. In those days the cops didn't stop and shake us down or search us or ask us why we were camping on the sidewalk in Inglewood when we should be at home in bed in our OC suburb. Times were good.

We eventually learned that being first didn't matter all that much since the wrist band method of handing out random numbered wristbands starting with the first people in line only meant you would probably get a ticket. We were still competing with ticket agencies that were phoning in to get tickets so we would see the people coming back from the ticket booth saying I got the floor 12th row. The next person would be in the loges. The next two people after that might be in the colonnades and then the cycle would repeat. So they would go by section rather than distance from the stage. Even with camping out and getting a wrist band, the whole thing was a crap shoot.

What was a sure thing was a great sidewalk camp out,  usually followed by a great concert a few weeks later. These were the hay days for the record company's stranglehold on the music industry though and things changed fast with the advent of the internet. First of all you didn't have to camp out anymore for wristbands. You now bought your tickets on line with a credit card. And then you had the whole social media thing that the internet brought which allowed bands to bypass the big record companies and do everything themselves from the recording to the distribution and sales of the entire product.

As a musician, recording engineer, producer, radio program director, music director and now internet DJ, I have seem the progression of the music business from more than one side. I feel, other then the problem with downloads that exist where the artist don't get paid, things are much better over all. Sure there aren't nearly as many huge sold out stadium tours as there used to be but a lot of that money just got sucked up by the big record companies anyway. I was inspired to write this after a visit to our local record store People's Records in Arcata California.

They still have vinyl and CD's both used and brand new. Also happening there were local venue ticket sales. Several people entered the store while I was there and purchased tickets to local shows. I have been going there more regularly as of late restocking my music selection for my on line Weekend Classic Rock Show  on www.RadioVegas.rocks.  The store and people that come there remind me s bit of what I miss about those good old days.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Eureka Summer Concert #4 of 10 Tonight!

The City of Eureka, Eureka Main St., Alve's Inc, Coast Central Credit Union, Stone Cold Chillin, Poletski's Appliance Center, Eureka Art & Frame, Hilfiker Pipe Company and The Wine Spot, together with Bicoastal Media will have another free concert tonight. Decades will play nostalgic rock n' roll on the Eureka Boardwalk and water front at the foot of C Street in Old Town from 6 pm to 8 pm.

KFMI-Power 96.3 DJ Pete Meyer warms up the crowd in Old Town Eureka


This is the 4th of 10 free concerts which take place every summer on the Eureka Boardwalk. Those advertisers cover the cost so the event is FREE to the public.

Bring chairs, snacks and warm cloths. There is usually pizza from West Side Pizza for sale. Profits from the pizza go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee. There is also a raffle with great prizes that takes place at intermission. Buy tickets during the first set, ALL proceeds from the raffle go directly to St Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Next week will be Chad Bushnell (Hot Country) on the 16th of July and Candelaria (Cumbia - Latin Dance) on the 23rd. Bill Noteman & The Rockets (Blues) on the 30th of July.

In August will be Funky Dozen on the 6th. (Disco, Funk & Soul), Tom Rigney & Flambeau (Cajun Rock & Blues) and the final concert will be Daniel Castro (Blues) on August 20th.

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