Mostly Grim

Grim news from beyond our shores. The bombing of the Askariyah shrine in Samarra has pushed Iraq closer to a full blown civil war.

Grim news from our shores. Not the Bush administration's secret deal with Dubai Ports, but the public disgust with the Schwarzenegger administration's handling of coastal issues. Only 28% of respondents in a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California gave Schwarzenegger a favorable rating on the state of the state's beaches. Worse still for Schwarzenegger, 51% of those polled identified themselves as Republicans.

Grim news in Sacramento. The state's well respected Legislative Analyst (and officially designated buzzkill) Elizabeth Hill warns that current state budget plans aren't realistic and that the governor is ignoring "a very large structural deficit".

Of course, average people can't ignore their own deficits, and there's grim news about that as well. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the fastest growing section of the job market is the one that pays the lowest wages. " At the same time, the minimum wage is, in real dollar terms, the lowest it has been since"... 1997? No. 1987? No, try again. 1977? Still too high. 1967? Sorry, no. The minimum wage is, in real dollar terms, the lowest it has been since 1947.

Fortunately, someone is looking out for California's minimum wage workers: Thomas Hiltachk has filed a ballot initiative with the Attorney General that, if approved by voters, would raise the state's minimum wage by a dollar an hour. Unfortunately, Hiltachk is a Republican who works as legal counsel to Governor Schwarzenegger, so therefore one must assume that such largesse comes with a nasty surprise attached. It does. In exchange for giving the worst paid workers an extra buck an hour, the charmingly named "Fair Pay Workplace Flexibility Act of 2006" would abolish the 8 hour workday for all the state's workers. Nice, huh? Especially considering that this week marks the 118th anniversary of the establishment of the 8 hour workday in California. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Republican party: Building a Bridge to 1887.

There's even grim news coming out of Newport Beach– where every side of the street is the sunny side of the street. The "Top Story" in this morning's Daily Pilot gives the paper's well-coifed readers the bad news that George Clooney isn't buying John Wayne's old house on Bay Shore Drive. Yes, that's the most important story of the day, according to the Daily Pilot. Not surprisingly, no stories on the minimum wage.

So where is one to turn for un-grim news today? The Los Angeles Times, which this morning devotes a fair amount of ink to the Weekly's own Gustavo Arellano. Full of Gustavo's wit and insight, there are even photos (the one of Gustavo walking is the very definition of "a spring in his step"). What more could one want on an otherwise grim morning?

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