Raise the minimum wage!

I just wrote an email to both of my senators asking them to raise the minimum-wage (the issue is coming up for debate soon), and I would encourage you to do the same. It’s really very easy – you can find your senators websites from http://www.senate.gov, and most of them have a contact form where you can paste in the text of your letter. Here’s my letter if you want a model:

I would urge you to support increasing the minimum wage. The minimum wage is currently $5.15, and in fact has not increased since 1997, which means that, in effect, it has been going down since then. A full-time worker earning minimum wage would make only $10,712 a year, which is well below the poverty line for a family of three. An increase of the minimum wage to even $7.00 would help to eliminate this disparity.

On a more personal note, I have been volunteering with Foundation Communities in their Claim + Save Community Tax Centers (http://www.claimandsave.org) to help low income people and families in the Austin area do their taxes. I can assure you that many of these people do make minimum wage, and an increase of the minimum wage to $7.00, while still a relatively low amount, would boost their incomes by 36 percent. Not only that, but it will also help to stimulate the economy, as lower income workers tend to spend more of their income.

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts on raising the minimum wage. Thank you for your time.

Feel free to use it, except for the personal part, unless you do volunteer there 🙂 There’s some information available at http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_minwage_minwagefacts and http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_minwage_minwagefaq.

Keeping in touch with your elective representatives is a great way to stay involved with what’s going on in politics and the world around you, and it’s pretty easy to do. Go democracy!

frustrating radio

So I drove to work this morning, listening to NPR as I usually do, and the following two things irritated me to the point of coming here and posting about them:

– There was a story on how Thai officials are trying to stop the bird flu from spreading by killing infected chickens and animals near them, etc. But the story was really about how the people who owned cock-fighters were complaining about the new restrictions. A little perspective would maybe help here – if the bird flu gets into humans and mutates into a virulent strain it could kill millions upon millions of people. Yikes! The most frustrating part was the guy who talked about the restriction that they’re considering to only let chickens be raised in enclosed pens (to limit contact with other animals) – the guy went on about how to be a good fighter, they need to be raised as if in the wild. I can’t even come up with an analogy to illustrate how ridiculous this is.

– There was a traffic accident at Guadalupe street downtown, which they pronounced as “Gwada-loop”. Dang it, it’s “Gwada-loo-pay”! This one bothers me whenever I hear it. Grr!

“Hitch”

David and I saw “Hitch” this weekend with some friends. I had read mixed reviews, but I do like Will Smith a lot, so we thought we’d give it a shot (and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot good showing right now…). Anyway, it was a good movie – I’m usually not huge on romantic comedies, but this was quite funny. Also, I like Will Smith (did I mention that? 🙂 )

Stressed…

So work has been busy, but not too abnormally so, and I’ve been kinda busy this week with activities (but most of them fun/social-related), and for some reason I’ve been really stressed. At some points it’s almost like a minor panic attack – my chest tightens up a bit and I feel like I have to get up and walk around or something. I’ve never experienced this exactly before – I’ve certainly been stressed before, but it’s never had this physical effect on me.

Hopefully it’s getting better, though – I’m trying to force myself to relax and cutting back on caffeine (which I was off of for a while, but I’ve been having more again for no particular reason).

Also, when I was getting help removing my old hard drive from my work computer on Monday, I cut my fingertip a bit, and so it hurts whenever it gets touched. This hasn’t improved my mood much, although at least it’s healing now (I bled a little on my keyboard, which is pretty disgusting…)