1. 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.
     


  2. State lawmakers, squeezed by budget constraints, say they have far more important (and politically viable) spending priorities than funding defense attorneys. This mindset, too, must change to recognize that there are enormous costs, both financial and societal, to putting people in prison without providing them with a fair trial. The result, for the poor, is that they have a constitutional right but no meaningful remedy.
     

  3. Last week, Mr. and Mrs. Shawn Carter celebrated their fifth anniversary by visiting Cuba, along with their mothers and a small entourage of bodyguards. The power couple better known as Beyoncé and Jay-Z did what you’d expect of tourists to the historic capital of a tropical island: Walked around Old Havana in summer clothes, taking pictures (her) and smoking cigars (him); dined out in restaurants (even though, less typically, police had to be called to keep crowds of fans at bay) and on rooftop terraces; and danced to some of Cuba’s famous music.

    But tourism, of course, is prohibited under America’s 50-year-old trade embargo against communist Cuba. And living it up on “Cuba or, as the informed refer to it, ‘the island prison,’” makes Beyoncé and Jay-Z “useful idiots extraordinaire,” says A.J. Delgado at Mediaite. “While dining, partying, and enjoying the best Havana has to offer, Beyoncé and Jay-Z not only legitimize and support the repressive regime, with both their presence and their cash, but turn a blind eye, cruelly, to the perils and languishing of the Cuban people.” This is especially galling because they are “proud African-Americans,” and Cuba is “notorious for relegating its black population to second-class status, or worse.”

    How were Beyoncé and Jay-Z able to visit Cuba?

     

  4. Today, a majority of the Supreme Court justices voiced strong skepticism of the Defense of Marriage Act’s constitutionality. 

    Indeed, DOMA may be doomed.

     


  5. Dick Cheney publicly supported allowing gay couples to marry in 2009 — what took the rest of these folks so long?
     

  6. Only in America: Two New Jersey men — whose lawyer measured subs from 17 Subway locations and found that not one of the fast-food chain’s supposed foot-longs measured 12 inches — are suing the company.

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  7. She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop … This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don’t think so.”

    Self-described Indian “spiritual guru” Asaram Bapu told his followers that “guilt is not one-sided” in the case of 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh Pandey who was brutally gang raped on a bus last month. She later died from her injuries. 

    Unfortunately, Bapu is not alone in his mindset. Here, 6 examples of politicians blaming the victim

    Photo: AP/Saurabh Das

     


  8. Nowhere else in the world are so many weapons in circulation as in the US. In no other country are citizens as well armed. The U.S. Constitution guarantees every American the right to move about in public as though he or she is John Wayne in person. One can see it as a national tradition. But this martial approach to liberty is also a relic of the past and one that is out of step with the times.
    — 

    Germany’s Stuttgarter Zeitung.

    If you’re wondering what the rest of the world has to say about the Newtown massacre, or our lax gun laws, here’s a list of what newspapers across the world are saying.

     

  9. Starbucks didn’t build its coffee empire by being nice, and Andrea McCarthy-Grzybek is learning that the hard way. The proprietor of the Starbarks Dog Daycare center in Algonquin, Ill., was recently hit with a cease-and-desist letter from the corporate behemoth, which is demanding that McCarthy-Grzybek change her company’s name, logo, and website.

    Starbucks tells The Chicago Sun-Times that it has a “legal obligation to protect our intellectual property,” but local fans of Starbarks are calling foul. "Can Starbucks seriously be more petty?!" one supporter wrote on Starbarks’ Facebook page. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that a little guy has been targeted for coming too close to an exclusive copyright.

    Starbucks vs. Starbarks and 5 other petty copyright infringement claims

     


  10. Rileyy_69 then tried to use freedom of speech to defend himself, not realising that the right to freedom of speech and expression is actually a qualified right, meaning the Government can interfere with it where necessary. For example, the Twitter user is now liable to prosecution for harassing Daley, and for threatening to drown him.
    — This is a good explainer for how harassment laws allowed police to arrest Twitter user @Rileyy_69 for the hateful tweets he sent to UK diver Tom Daley. (ht @AntDeRosa)
     

  11. A South Dakota appeals court ruled this week that doctors must tell women seeking abortions that they could be more prone to kill themselves if they have the procedure — even though the supposed link between abortion and suicide is based on arguably bogus evidence.

    Anti-abortion groups cite two studies that found an increased suicide risk among women who had abortions. But the studies did not determine that abortion caused the increased risk. In fact, the American Psychological Association called the link “misleading,” stating that “the best scientific evidence indicates that the relative risk of mental health problems among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy is no greater if they have an elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver [the baby].”

    So why are doctors being required to tell women otherwise? 

     

  12. The notorious Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas has lost its legal battle to stop a New York delicatessen from selling its own “Triple Bypass Sandwich.” A federal judge ruled that the 2nd Avenue Deli’s $34.95 pile of pastrami between potato latkes clearly qualified for the description, and did not infringe on the H.A.G.’s trademark for “Bypass Burgers.” “We feel that we’ve been vindicated,” said deli owner Jeremy Lebewohl.

    Only in America

     


  13. Will Mississippi become the first state without an abortion clinic?

    A federal judge has temporarily blocked a law that would shut down Mississippi’s only remaining abortion clinic. But after that, it’s anyone’s guess what Judge Daniel P. Jordan will decide.

    Is Mississippi about to make any woman who wants an abortion drive 200 miles to a different state, or to an unsafe back-alley type abortionist?

    Keep reading