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  2. If Congress were to pass a plan backed by President Obama to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour — a hefty 39 percent hike — it would result in a significant reduction of the poverty rate among Americans between the ages of 18 and 64, and raise about 4.6 million people out of poverty.
     

  3. Marc Ambinder highlights the 10 most important lines from the President’s State of the Union address…and what they really mean.

    "After five years of grit and determined effort, the U.S. is better positioned for the 21st century that any nation on earth."

    All the muck of the past five years has led to job growth and an improving economy, and I’m determined to be optimistic even if the country is as pessimistic as ever, because I’m not going to follow the media’s trapping narrative.

    The 10 most important lines of the SOTU explained

     


  4. First of all, the “rich” are not a homogeneous minority group. Rich people come from all kinds of ethnic and gender backgrounds, sexual orientations, age groups, and political beliefs. And they are not in any way unrepresented in power. Rich people by definition have access to wealth, and thus political influence. This by definition makes them a political and economic powerhouse. Over half of the people in Congress are millionaires, compared to less than 10 percent of Americans generally.
     


  5. Outing is no longer fascism. It’s mainstream. The proper skepticism applies to how outing is done. We out carefully, because we respect what is at stake more than the person who we are outing. Gay rights has become a majoritarian cause. A lot of gay Republicans have already been outed. Some have chosen to come out. The “closeted gay Republican” has become a trope.
     


  6. If babies had guns, they wouldn’t be aborted.
     


  7. 140,000
    — 

    The number of low-income families set to lose rental assistance vouchers, thanks to Congress’ sequestration policy. That will save $2 billion, the same amount the government shutdown cost in back pay to federal workers.

    How to stick it to the poor: A comprehensive congressional strategy.

     

  8. At 76 percent, a minimum wage hike is more popular than: Apple (72 percent), Mexican food (69 percent), and romantic comedies (67 percent).

    So what’s holding it back?

     


  9. There’s hardly anybody working down there. There’s no towel service. We’re doing our own laundry down there. And we pay a fee to belong to the House gym.
    — 

    Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) on the furlough of House gym staff.

    6 tone-deaf statements from the government shutdown

     

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  11. $174,000
    — Annual salary for members of Congress, who are still getting paid during the government shutdown, even though many government employees are not.
     

  12. More political cartoons here.

     


  13. There’s no denying it: The National Rifle Association has won — again. Even though more than 3,000 Americans have died via gun violence since 20 children and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary in December, the NRA has somehow managed to triumph. The victims’ families and gun-control advocates have lost. Forget an assault weapons ban — or any other serious gun regulation. It’s not happening.
    — Joe Gandelman says the NRA has already won