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Submission + - Something "Unexpected" Happened When Seattle Raised The Minimum Wage

schwit1 writes: The latest research comes from the University of Washington which researched the impact of Seattle's recent minimum wage hike on employment in that city (as background, Seattle recently passed legislation that increased it's minimum wage to $11 per hour on April 1, 2015, $13 on January 1, 2016 and $15 on January 1, 2017). "Shockingly", the University of Washington found that Seattle's higher minimum wages "lowered employment rates of low-wage workers" (the report is attached in its entirety at the end of this post).

Yet, our best estimates find that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance appears to have lowered employment rates of low-wage workers. This negative unintended consequence (which are predicted by some of the existing economic literature) is concerning and needs to be followed closely in future years, because the long-run effects are likely to be greater as businesses and workers have more time to adapt to the ordinance. Finally, we find only modest impacts on earnings. The effects of disemployment appear to be roughly offsetting the gain in hourly wage rates, leaving the earnings for the average low-wage worker unchanged. Of course, we are talking about the average result.

More specifically, we find that median wages for low-wage workers (those earning less than $11 per hour during the 2nd quarter of 2014) rose by $1.18 per hour, and we estimate that the impact of the Ordinance was to increase these workers’ median wage by $0.73 per hour. Further, while these low-wage workers increased their likelihood of being employed relative to prior years, this increase was less than in comparison regions. We estimate that the impact of the Ordinance was a 1.1 percentage point decrease in likelihood of low-wage Seattle workers remaining employed. While these low-wage workers increased their quarterly earnings relative to prior years, the estimated impact of the Ordinance on earnings is small and sensitive to the choice of comparison region. Finally, for those who kept their job, the Ordinance appears to have improved wages and earnings, but decreased their likelihood of being employed in Seattle relative other parts of the state of Washington.

Still not convinced? How about a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that finds that "higher minimum wage results in some job loss for the least-skilled workers—with possibly larger adverse effects than earlier research suggested."

Submission + - NSA worried about implications of leaked toolkits (

wierd_w writes: According to business insider, the NSA is worried about the possible scope of information leaked from the agency, after a group calling themselves the "Shadow Brokers" absconded with a sizable trove of penetration tools and technical exploits, which it plans to sell on the black market.

Among the concerns, are worries that active operations may have been exposed. Business insider quotes an undisclosed source as stating the possibility of the loss of such security and stealth (eg privacy) has had chilling effects for the agency, as they attempt to determine the fullness and scope of the leak.

(Does anyone besides me feel a little tickled about the irony of the NSA complaining about chilling effects of possibly being monitored?)

Submission + - 4chan troll triggers political movement? (

Comment Only programmers need to be female? (Score 1) 819

>The hurdle partly stems from the growing ubiquity of drug testing, at corporations with big human resources departments, in industries like trucking where testing is mandated by federal law for safety reasons, and increasingly at smaller companies.

>With the software industry already plagued by a shortage of skilled workers, especially female programmers, some software companies think now would be the wrong time to institute drug testing for new employees, a move that would further limit the available talent pool.

I guess the number of female truckers is A-OK.

Comment So what? (Score 0, Troll) 231

I don't place any value at all in these awards anymore, not after what the puppies showed to be true regarding the Hugos. And that sucks for the actual and talented authors out there that no longer get the spotlight they deserve for doing an excellent job.

I'm not sure if that's a win for the ideologues, but it's damn sure a loss for the actual writers.


AmiMoJo writes: The National Weather Service is set to stop shouting at your. New forecast software is allowing the agency to break out of the days when weather reports were sent by “the wire” over teleprinters, which were basically typewriters hooked up to telephone lines. Teleprinters only allowed the use of upper case letters, and while the hardware and software used for weather forecasting has advanced over the last century, this holdover was carried into modern times since some customers still used the old equipment.

Submission + - Obama Administration Has Embraced Legal Theories Even Broader Than John Yoo's ( 1

schwit1 writes: It is the Obama administration’s view that Americans forfeit the core protection of the Fourth Amendment whenever their private communications cross an international border. And, in today’s globally connected world, that is happening more and more.

The government assumes that any communication entering or leaving the country has a foreigner on one end — and thus is eligible for warrantless searching.

The Obama administration has also followed Yoo in arguing that intelligence agencies may disregard the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement simply because they are conducting surveillance for a foreign intelligence purpose.

The Obama Justice Department has pressed legal theories even more expansive and extreme than Yoo himself was willing to embrace. Yoo rounded out his Stellar Wind memo with an effort to reassure Judge Kollar-Kotelly that the government’s legal interpretation had limits, saying: “Just to be clear in conclusion. We are not claiming that the government has an unrestricted right to examine the contents of all international letters and other forms of communication.” But that is essentially the power the NSA claims today when it conducts Upstream surveillance of Americans’ Internet communications. The NSA has installed surveillance equipment at numerous chokepoints on the Internet backbone, and it is using that equipment to search the contents of communications entering or leaving the country in bulk. As the ACLU recently explained in Wikimedia v. NSA, this surveillance is the digital analogue of having a government agent open every letter that comes through a mail processing center to read its contents before determining which letters to keep. In other words, today the Obama administration is defending surveillance that was a bridge too far for even John Yoo.

At the same time, the Obama administration has fought to keep the public courts from scrutinizing these legal arguments, relying on secrecy and standing doctrines to short circuit challenges to mass surveillance programs. Whether it is John Yoo’s OLC memos, expansive reinterpretations of the law in the FISC, or ex parte criminal proceedings, by now it should be clear that good law is not made in secret.

And the government wonders why people would encrypt their communications?

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