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[VIDEO] Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage is Hurting the Workers It’s Intending to Help

Three years ago, the city of Seattle voted to gradually raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour in the name of human decency and basic fairness. Several cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have done the same thing. Critics argue that boosting wages by bureaucratic diktat leads to fewer hours and jobs for low-income and low-skilled workers.

Now what The Washington Post calls a “very credible” study from researchers at the University of Washington finds that the critics are right. The Post calls this bad news for liberals. But the real victims are low-skilled workers.

The study finds that when wages were increased to $13, employers cut hours by 9 percent. That means that low-skilled workers saw their monthly compensation decrease by an average of $125.

Studies that downplay the effects of minimum wage hikes have mostly focused on teenagers and fast food workers. But the study at the University of Washington paper looks at the impact on workers spanning all ages and all demographics.

The findings may surprise progressives who believe that the only limit to higher pay for workers is the greed and selfishness of business owners. But it doesn’t come as a surprise to those who remain unconvinced that the law of supply and demand can be amended by city councils. Labor is simply another cost for any business, and when the price of something goes up, we tend to buy less of it.

Another takeaway from the study is that if you want to raise the income of low-skilled workers, taxpayers should pay for that burden through direct cash payments or other forms of welfare. Offloading the cost to employers has unintended consequences, even though it’s a lot easier to demonize business owners for being greedy cheapskates than to build a consensus around raising taxes. Read the rest of this entry »

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McDonald’s Hits All-Time High as Wall Street Cheers Replacement of Cashiers with Kiosks

Cowen believes McDonald’s digital ordering upgrades will drive the fast-food chain’s sales higher.

McDonald’s shares hit an all-time high on Tuesday as Wall Street expects sales to increase from new digital ordering kiosks that will replace cashiers in 2,500 restaurants.

Cowen raised its rating on McDonald’s shares to outperform from market perform because of the technology upgrades, which are slated for the fast-food chain’s restaurants this year.

McDonald’s shares rallied 26 percent this year through Monday compared to the S&P 500’s 10 percent return.

Andrew Charles from Cowen cited plans for the restaurant chain to roll out mobile ordering across 14,000 U.S. locations by the end of 2017. The technology upgrades, part of what McDonald’s calls “Experience of the Future,” includes digital ordering kiosks that will be offered in 2,500 restaurants by the end of the year and table delivery.

“MCD is cultivating a digital platform through mobile ordering and Experience of the Future (EOTF), an in-store technological overhaul most conspicuous through kiosk ordering and table delivery,” Charles wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. “Our analysis suggests efforts should bear fruit in 2018 with a combined 130 bps [basis points] contribution to U.S. comps [comparable sales].” Read the rest of this entry »


More and More American Companies Think Their Big China Opportunity is Over 

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’We have seen a significant drop of U.S. companies going to China…On the contrary, they are coming back here,’ says market expert.

For a long time, a lot of American companies saw China as the world’s biggest business opportunity. But that time may be over.

“If you’re waiting for the booming Chinese consumer…it’s just not on the way. The upside is just not what some consumer firms were hoping for.”

— Derek Scissors, chief economist at China Beige Book International, which regularly surveys Chinese businesses

This week, McDonald’s was reportedly in talks to sell its China unit and license its name to a Chinese company instead, following Yum Brands ‘ decision to do something similar and spin off its China operations into a new firm called Yum China last month.

“The trend is that opening retail business on the ground in China as a foreigner is difficult and expensive.”

Coca-Cola announced plans to sell its China bottling business in November, and International Paper said in March that it’s spinning off its China and Southeast Asia corrugated packaging business.

mcdonalds-china-arches

“We have for years tried to push a lot of our clients not to do that, but instead do what McDonald’s and Yum Brands are doing, which is…monetise your name and your knowledge without actually being the one who does all the work to make it work in China. China is a tough, tough market.”

— Dan Harris, lawyer at Harris Bricken and author of the China Law Blog

“The trend is that opening retail business on the ground in China as a foreigner is difficult and expensive,” said Dan Harris, lawyer at Harris Bricken and author of the China Law Blog.

“We have for years tried to push a lot of our clients not to do that, but instead do what McDonald’s and Yum Brands are doing, which is … monetise your name and your knowledge without actually being the one who does all the work to make it work in China,” Harris said. “China is a tough, tough market.”

McDonald’s said in March it was looking for “strategic partners” for key Asia markets. Last year, Yum Brands said its decision to spin off its China unit followed a “rigorous review of strategic options.”

fastfood-china

Fast food companies were early major entrants to China nearly three decades ago. As individual Chinese grew wealthier, the opportunities for tapping the Chinese consumer market appeared to grow exponentially. But roadblocks appeared: U.S. fast food chains struggled with food safety scandals in China, and other companies have had intellectual property such as trademarks stolen.

[Read the full story here, at South China Morning Post]

“We have seen a lot of U.S companies struggling [with] their China” operations, said Siva Yam, president of the Chicago-based U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce. “The market is much more mature. We have seen a significant drop of U.S. companies going to China. … On the contrary, they are coming back here.”

An annual report from the American Chamber of Commerce in China found last year that 32 per cent of member companies surveyed do not plan to expand investments in China, a percentage that’s higher than during the financial crisis in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »


Senseless Knife Crime, Motive Unknown

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A man slashed a policewoman’s face with a machete and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ before her fellow officer gunned him down in a chilling ‘terror’ attack.

The attacker reportedly walked up to two policewomen at the entrance of the police station in the Belgian city of Charleroi just before 4pm, pulled a machete from his bag and hacked at the officer.

After slamming the machete into the face of one officer, he then turned to another and began swinging the massive blade at her.

Police stand as they secure the area around a police building in the southern Belgian city of Charleroi following a machete attack

A third female officer raced to the front desk and then blasted the attacker in the chest and leg – knocking him to the ground.

Emergency crews then raced to the scene and began treating the policewomen – one of who was left with massive, deep cuts to her face.

charleroi2

Her colleague was only slightly injured but the attacker, who has not been named, died later in hospital. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] McChoco Potato! McDonald’s Japan’s New Chocolate Fries 

We tried McDonald’s Japan’s new “McChoco Potato” chocolate french fries. Click here to find out what we thought and see more photos.


11 Things Obama Never Cried About

obama-cry

Laquan McDonald’s death, Tamir Rice’s death, the San Bernardino attack, James Foley’s beheading, nor the Fort Hood attack have moved the president to tears.

 writes: While announcing executive actions to further restrict gun sales on Tuesday, President Obama became emotional when recounting the children who died during the Sandy Hook shooting.

This very public display of emotion surprised many, as Obama doesn’t cry in public very often. In fact, he has a reputation of being rather stoic and emotionless.

“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” he said as he brushed away tears.

Over the past seven years, there have been numerous tragedies he didn’t publicly shed a tear over, including the deaths of black men and children at the hands of police officers.

Here are 11 other things that Obama never (publicly) cried about.

1. Laquan McDonald’s death

Laquan McDonald

Obama’s hometown of Chicago has been rife with tension after police shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald then apparently colluded with city officials in an attempt to conceal details surrounding his death.  Many were upset that the dashcam footage showing a police officer fatally shooting the teen was released to the public 13 months after the October 2014 shooting. The delay in releasing the video raised suspicions that Rahm Emanuel, Chicago mayor and Obama’s former chief of staff, was involved in covering up the police’s actions surrounding his death.

A deluge of emails from city officials show that the Emanuel administration was concerned about the optics of the shooting, and it appears that they tried to minimize attention to the tragic event. The emails, which total over 3,000 pages, were made available to the public on New Year’s Eve.

[Read the full story here, at TheFederalist]

While Obama did release a statement saying that he was “deeply disturbed” by the footage, he hasn’t publicly shed tears over a police officer shooting this teenager 16 times even after McDonald had already fallen to the ground. Nor has he claimed to have lost sleep over the subsequent cover-up that his former pal seems to have participated in.

2. Tamir Rice’s Death

Tamir

Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was shot to death while playing with a toy gun at a park in November 2014. The police officer who shot Rice has been cleared of any legal wrongdoing, but video footage showing the child’s death is truly horrifying.

3. Eric Garner’s Death

BET.com

Eric Garner was choked to death by police last year while they apprehended him for selling untaxed cigarettes. Though he was resisting arrest, Garner can be heard repeatedly saying: “I can’t breathe.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Burger King’s Black Bun Whopper Comes to America in Time for Halloween 

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A.1. sauce gives bun its color

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) —You don’t have to go to Japan to try Burger King’s black-bunned Whopper.

Burger King is bringing it to the U.S. just in time for Halloween. “Something wicked is coming,” announced the burger chain on Twitter, with a brief promo video featuring thunder and lightning and a lunar eclipse, with a burger standing in for the moon…

Not so new! Regular punditfromanotherplanet readers will recall our coverage of Japan’s introduction of the Kuro Pearl Burger

black-burger-japan

And the Red Samurai Burger

red-burger-japan Read the rest of this entry »


Revealed: Democracy Alliance Member Nick Hanauer Crafted Seattle Minimum Wage

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Hanauer is now at the center of a lawsuit filed by the International Franchise Association.

 reports: Radical venture capitalist Nick Hanauer served on a city advisory committee that eventually produced the legislation boosting minimum wages to $15 per hour. The legislation takes special aim at franchisees, forcing them to adopt higher wages than other small businesses under a shorter timeframe.

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“The truth is that franchises like Subway and McDonald’s really are not very good for our local economy. They are economically extractive, civically corrosive and culturally dilutive.”

— Hanauer, in an email obtained by the association

Hanauer, a private-jet-owning multi-millionaire who once had a speech scrubbed from the TED conference website for being “too political,” is a member of the Democracy Alliance, a shadowy collection of liberal millionaires and billionaires that funnels money into Democratic causes.

money-bags

The group has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into various liberal foundations, Media Matters, and Democratic super PAC Priorities USA. The group is secretive and does not divulge membership rolls, fundraising goals, or allow reporters at its annual meetings.

“Franchising has been under intense scrutiny by union activists and hostile labor regulators in recent weeks.”

Hanauer is now at the center of a lawsuit filed by the International Franchise Association to overturn the law, according to the Seattle Times.

needmoney

Wealth Destruction: Target Franchises.

“The truth is that franchises like Subway and McDonald’s really are not very good for our local economy. They are economically extractive, civically corrosive and culturally dilutive,” Hanauer wrote in an email obtained by the association.

The business group claims that the law is discriminatory because many franchisees are themselves small business owners akin to mom and pop shops. Franchisees pay licensing and other fees to large corporations to operate under the company umbrella, but the vast majority are independently owned and manage their own affairs. Read the rest of this entry »


Oregon Resident Sentenced for Fraud; Worked as Woman, Collected Disability as Man

“I think of a man, and I take away reason, and accountability.”

PORTLAND, Ore. –  An Oregon resident who transitioned to a woman more than three decades ago continued collecting Social Security disability checks under her male identity, fraudulently raking in $250,000.

Congressional investigators say Social Security has made more than $1 billion in improper disability payments to people who had jobs when they were supposed to be unable to work. In a report issued Friday, the Government Accountability Office estimated that 36,000 workers got improper payments from December 2010 to January 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Congressional investigators say Social Security has made more than $1 billion in improper disability payments to people who had jobs when they were supposed to be unable to work.  AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Court records show Richelle McDonald was born Richard McDonald in 1945. In 1974, Richard claimed disability because he was unable to work after suffering a serious arm injury when hit by a San Francisco bus. Read the rest of this entry »


National Fried Chicken Day, Part 2: KFC, McDonald’s, Look to Go Digital in China

mcD-china

McDonald’s Corp. and Yum Brands Inc. are looking to add digital options in China that will make their fast-food sales even faster and win back business after a rough year in the critical Chinese market. As WSJ’s Laurie Burkitt reports:

McDonald’s will start testing mobile ordering and mobile payment in China under a pilot program in the current third quarter, said a spokeswoman. The aim is to speed payment and meet consumer demands, she said. “Given Chinese consumers being so digital—we are now preparing,” she added.

NationalFriedChickenDay

Yum said its KFC business teamed up with technology giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in late June to launch mobile-payment services for 700 of its 4,500-plus stores in China. Customers can pay for their in-store orders of fried chicken in a few seconds by scanning bar codes generated by Alibaba’s mobile-payment application Alipay….(read more)

Read the full story on WSJ.com

via China Real Time Report


OH YES SHE DID: Al Sharpton’s Daughter Sues City for $5M After Spraining Ankle

NEW YORK - JUNE 14:  Dominique Sharpton and Reverend Al Sharpton pose for a photo on the red carpet at the 2010 Apollo Theater Spring Benefit Concert & Awards Ceremony at The Apollo Theater on June 14, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Al Sharpton;Dominique Sharpton

The legal shakedown is right out of her dad’s pay-to-playbook

Kathianne Boniello She learned at the feet of a master.

Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show.

“I sprained my ankle real bad lol.”

— Dominique Sharpton, on Instagram

Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was “severely injured, bruised and wounded” when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit.

Currently on vacation in Bali, the membership director for her gadfly dad’s National Action Network claims she “still suffers and will continue to suffer for some time physical pain and bodily injuries,” according to the suit filed against the city departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection.

humanity-sharpton

Daily Caller‘s brilliant headline – article by Derek Hunter

“I sprained my ankle real bad lol,” she wrote in a post to Instagram after the Oct. 2 fall.

She was pictured in a walking boot in the weeks following the tumble, but by December, Dominique was good to go for NAN’s Justice for All march in Washington, DC, and for a New Year’s Eve jaunt to Miami Beach.

And despite claiming “permanent physical pain” in a breathless notice of claim, there are social-media shots of her in high heels, and another of her climbing a ladder to decorate a Christmas tree.

The legal shakedown is right out of her dad’s pay-to-playbook.

For Sunday News: 05/14/15:Potholes: New York - Easterly crosswalk at Broome St. and Broadway where street is full of cracks and holes.  Dominique Sharpton filed a lawsuit against the city for injuries related to falling there and city's failure to fix the street.   Photo by Helayne Seidman

The corner of Broome Street and Broadway where Dominique Sharpton fell and sprained her ankle. Photo: Helayne Seidman

Al Sharpton has used threats of protests and boycotts against large companies as a way to generate huge corporate donations, his critics charge.

[Read the full text here, at New York Post]

Everyone from McDonald’s, Verizon, Macy’s, General Motors, Chrysler and Pfizer have forked over cash to the elder Sharpton.

The Rev on Saturday said he didn’t know the status of his daughter’s legal claim. “She’s 29 years old. Why would she have to talk to me about that?” he said of Dominique, whose mother is Sharpton’s ex-wife, Kathy. “I just know that she was hurt and that she got a lawyer and she’s a grown woman. [Where] she goes from there, I have no idea.” Read the rest of this entry »


College Encourages Lively Exchange Of Idea

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Students, Faculty Invited To Freely Express Single Viewpoint

“Whether it’s a discussion of a national political issue or a concern here on campus, an open forum in which one argument is uniformly reinforced is crucial for maintaining the exceptional learning environment we have cultivated here.”

BOSTON—Saying that such a dialogue was essential to the college’s academic mission, Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea.

“As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion.”

“As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: Starbucks Executive Deletes Twitter Account after #RaceTogether Campaign’s Predictable Humor Backlash

coffee-white-priv

UPDATE: Business Insider reports that a Starbucks executive has deleted his Twitter account after backlash about the campaign.

WNEW spoke with an employee at the M St. SE location who says he has not heard of the campaign.

There’s no word yet on whether any other locations in the D.C. area are participating…. (read more)

CBS DC Business Insider


Super Bowl Ads: The Best, The Worst, The Movies and NBC

super bowl

 writes: Super Bowl advertising is almost invariably overrated, which doesn’t spare us from the impulse — even the need — to rate it.

“As usual, the hype surrounding the ads turned many into a super-bust, suggesting that the folks on Madison Avenue are either bereft of ideas or, in some instances, taking too much advantage of liberalized pot laws.”

There was some excitement going into the game about an influx of relatively new advertisers, offering the promise of new blood. But just as a wave of newcomers in 2000 preceded the dot-com meltdown, this year’s crop of novice sponsors merely exposed a lot of not-ready-for-primetime players in the marketing world.

Of course, the criticism isn’t limited to the new guys. Car companies in general had a bad day. And Budweiser– which traditionally wields the biggest stick during the game – didn’t so much come up with new creative as recycle it, going back to the cross-species love affair between puppies and Clydesdales and erecting a giant Pac-Man maze to prove that, um, what was the point of that Bud Light spot again? (Admittedly, the puppy ad will no doubt be one of the day’s most popular in snap polls.)

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“There was also a surplus of poorly utilized celebrities, including Mindy Kaling for Nationwide; Kim Kardashian for T-Mobile, along with Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman; and Pierce Brosnan for Kia. And while Liam Neeson was great, can anybody remember what the product was?”

The overall mix once again seemed to careen from the hopelessly schmaltzy (“Care makes a man stronger,” says Dove) to the simply goofy (Doritos strapping a rocket to a pig) to the borderline bizarre, such as Snickers dropping Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi into an old “The Brady Bunch” episode.

There was also a surplus of poorly utilized celebrities, including Mindy Kaling for Nationwide; Kim Kardashian for T-Mobile, along with Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman; and Pierce Brosnan for Kia. And while Liam Neeson was great, can anybody remember what the product was?

Another subcategory would be the overproduced extravaganza, such as Mercedes’ CGI “Tortoise & the Hare” retelling or Bud Light’s aforementioned Pac-Man spot. Some of these fare well in audience surveys, but the link between creative and advertiser is so tenuous the benefits often seem exaggerated. And while it’s not necessarily fair, both Microsoft and Toyota’s ads featuring people walking thanks to prosthetic blades were undermined in part by the specter of Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius, who was found guilty of murder last year.

“Finally, there were the public-service announcements, with the sobering NoMore.org domestic violence spot – which resonated in light of the NFL’s Ray Rice fiasco – and Always’ ‘Like a Girl’ campaign. Yet as compelling as those spots were, they almost have to be broken out separately from more directly commercial advertising.”

So what were the principal highlights and lowlights? Separating out movies (which are essentially their own animal), public-service announcements and NBC’s promos for its midseason lineup, they loosely breakdown as follows:

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THE BEST

ESurance: Tapping Bryan Cranston in “Breaking Bad” mode was a genius move, mostly because of the instant cool the association creates in the mind of the show’s fans. In this case, they really did have a lot of us at hello.

Fiat: Look, we all know car ads are essentially about sex. Fiat made the connection overt by dropping a Viagra tablet into one of its cars. If not the best ad of the day, it was the most truthful, since it’s hard to think of any other reason to drive a Fiat.

Carnival Cruises: Wedding John F. Kennedy’s voice discussing man’s love affair with the ocean to beautiful imagery of ships at sea accomplished the near-impossible: It almost made me forget Kathie Lee Gifford and think, at least momentarily, about taking a Carnival Cruise. Plus, in practical terms, the Kennedy-era contingent probably a big part of the company’s target demo.

Coca-Cola: While it’s unlikely spilling Coke on the Internet will sap the venom out of Web comments and our political discourse, it’s hard not to applaud the underlying sentiment and idealism. Notably, McDonald’s went for a similar uplifting spiel with its “Pay With Lovin’” ad, which is probably effective from a marketing standpoint but felt cloying as a commercial. Read the rest of this entry »


Longview, Tx Police: Woman, 34, Arrested for Posing as Teen, Enrolling in School

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LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) – Lexie Cook reports: A 31-year-old woman who posed as a sophomore at an East Texas high school is making international news, and now police say she could be older than they first thought.

“We’ve all seen her and we’ve all wondered about her because she’s always quiet and to herself, you know.”

— Roshunda Floyd, one of Charity Johnson’s co-workers

Longview police now say Charity Johnson lied to them about her age and is actually 34. She was arrested Tuesday for failure to identify herself after the woman she lived with suspected she was not who she claimed to be.

Charity Johnson, Source: Longview Police Department

Charity Johnson, Source: Longview Police Department

“When I saw that come across my Facebook page last night I was like, ‘I know that girl! I see her at the McDonalds,'” says Roshunda Floyd, one of Charity Johnson’s co-workers. Floyd works at Walmart in Longview. Charity Johnson worked at the McDonalds inside the store and asked Floyd for her help one night.  Read the rest of this entry »


DHS Employee Promotes Race War in Spare Time, Advocates Mass Murder of Whites

by Don Terry

By day, Ayo Kimathi works for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a small business specialist in a unit that buys such items as handcuffs, ammunition and guns.

Off-duty, he calls himself “the Irritated Genie.” He’s a gay-bashing, revenge-seeking black nationalist who advocates on his website – War on the Horizon – the mass murder of whites and the “ethnic cleansing” of “black-skinned Uncle Tom race traitors.”

“Warfare is eminent,” the website declares, “and in order for Black people to survive the 21st century, we are going to have to kill a lot of whites – more than our Christian hearts can possibly count.”

A former supervisor of Kimathi’s at the DHS told Hatewatch, “Everybody in the office is afraid of him.”

Read the rest of this entry »