Monday, May 25, 2015

No place to live

During all the celebration over same-sex marriage in Ireland, Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia, was asked so what about a referendum there? Short answer: Nope. Longer answer: Marriage equality isn't a constitutional question (and others agree). The Parliament is the place to act on the issue. But Abbott will not allow a vote while he is Prime Minister. Never mind that a referendum would probably pass (though a constitutional amendment probably wouldn't).

Anti-gay politicians in Alabama have been working hard to thwart the ruling of Federal Judge Ginny Granade that struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban. Advocates went back to Judge Granade and she has now ruled. Yes, the ruling applies state-wide. Though, she wrote, at this point we might as well wait for the Supremes to speak.

A new Gallup poll shows support for marriage equality is now at 60%. It is significant for a reason – the amount above 50% is greater than the margin of error. The number of Americans who support marriage equality is definitely a majority.

Researchers at Trulia have compared median annual income for new college graduates to the median rent in the top 25 rental markets in America. Their finding: new grads can't afford to rent anywhere. In most markets their income would need to double or triple to find a place to rent. Put another way a new grad in Portland, OR could afford 0.1% of rental properties. A big reason for this is because of the Great Recession, which scared and prevented people from buying houses, the rental market has zoomed upward.

McDonald's recently had a shareholders meeting at its headquarters in Oak Brook, IL. Thousands of employees – cashiers and cooks, the people paid minimum wage – also showed up with a few labor leaders. The complaint: the company spent nearly $30 billion over the last decade to boost the stock price through dividends and share buybacks. That's a discredited strategy that gives a short-term payout to a handful of rich investors. The protesters say the money should have gone into living wages. McDonald's is so skimpy with its pay its workers cost taxpayers $1.2 billion a year in public assistance, meaning taxpayers are subsidizing the company's profits. Many protesters carried an enlarged version of their paycheck to show how little they're paid.

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