It took December's Newtown massacre to renew the debate around mental health policy in America. In the wake of the shooting, President Obama took close to two dozen executive actions on gun control, several of which deal with providing better services to the mentally ill, and recent Congressional hearings have focused on the issue. This week, the Obama administration issued a long-awaited set of Obamacare regulations that will require health insurers to cover mental health services for tens of millions of people for the first time.
In his state of the union address Tuesday, President Obama called for an increase in the federal minimum wage, and on Wednesday, he took his pitch on the road to a factory in North Carolina. There's no guarantee that GOP opposition will be overcome, but if Congress does grant his wish, this income bump would most dramatically impact women and their families, according to a new study.
Last year, 64 percent of workers who earned the minimum wage or less were women, according to the report, put out Wednesday by the liberal think-tank Center for American Progress. CAP found that if wages were upped from $7.25 to $9 an hour, as Obama proposed, nearly 9 million women who are paid hourly wages would see their earnings directly increased. Another 4.2 million women would get a wage hike because of a "spillover effect," in which companies boost wages for higher earners as well in order to maintain the same pay hierarchy in the firm.
Center for American Progress
"Raising the minimum wage would be a step in the right direction to ensuring that women are properly compensated for their work, as it would disproportionately help low-wage female workers," write the report's authors.
And since the workers that would be affected are largely adults, a higher minimum wage would help whole families in a big way. Seventy-nine percent of minimum wage earners are over 20 years old, according to the report. Nine dollars an hour would mean more money for macaroni and cheese, gas, diapers, and shoes.
President Barack Obama's state of the union address Tuesday night will be a "Hitlerian screed attacking Republicans, Conservatives, The Tea Party, and anyone who dares to disagree with him," Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, warned in an essay posted to the group's website Tuesday. "Liberals," he argued, "are the new Nazis."
Phillips is also known for inflammatory comments: in 2011, he said that "the Left" had "killed a billion people in the last century." He has also argued that the Founding Fathers' original plan to only allow property owners to vote "makes a lot of sense." And in calling for the ouster of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) a couple of years ago, Phillips cited Ellison's Muslim faith: "There are a lot of liberals who need to be retired this year," he wrote in a post picked up by the Maddow blog, "but there are few I can think of more deserving than Keith Ellison. Ellison is one of the most radical members of congress. He has a ZERO rating from the American Conservative Union. He is the only Muslim member of congress."
Tuesday, Phillips said the Boy Scouts are an example of how liberals are like Nazis:
The Boy Scouts are... [a] good example of what happens to groups that dare to defy the liberal orthodoxy. The Boy Scouts, for very good reasons, exclude gays as scoutmasters and volunteers. For two decades the left has been engaged in a full frontal assault against the Boy Scouts for their position of not allowing homosexual scoutmasters...
This is the tyranny of the left. There is no room for disagreement. If liberals disagree with the Boy Scouts' policy they could start their own group. They could create the gay scouts or the diversity scouts or what ever else they wanted to call it.
But no, liberals do not want to do that. They want to destroy anyone or anything that dares to offer a contrary opinion.
Tea Party Nation is the only tea party group listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
North Korea conducted a third nuclear test on Tuesday, the first since the country's leader Kim Jong-un took power in December 2011. Though it is still unclear whether the test was successful, experts say it could bring the country closer to its goal of building nuclear-tipped missiles designed to strike the US. Official state media characterized the test as a response to US hostility, and warned of "second and third measures of greater intensity" in the future if Washington doesn't back down. (The UN imposed sanctions on the country after a December 2012 rocket launch that the UN and Washington said was a cover for a banned missile test.)
When I get on the phone with Richard Mack, better known as "Sheriff Mack"—NRA darling, militia hero, and former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona—he tells me he doesn't personally own that many guns. But he won't say how many: "That's between me and the good Lord."
Mack isn't a hunter, either. For him, the specter of new gun control legislation is all about the Constitution. Which is why he has been leading an all-out crusade to prevent the federal government from taking away your firearms—if they ever were taking away your firearms. The idea is to convince county sheriffs around the nation to refuse to enforce any new gun laws.
Sheriff Mack has been a celebrity amongst anti-federalist militia types and Second Amendmenters for years. In 1994, the NRA recruited him as a plaintiff in one of nine lawsuits against the Clinton administration over the 1993 Brady Law, which required federal background checks on firearms purchasers. "The case was based on the principle that the federal government is not our boss," Mack says. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled in Mack's favor, finding that federal agents may not force local law enforcement to require those background checks. In appreciation, the NRA made Mack its Law Officer of the Year and inducted him into the NRA Hall of Fame.