Minimum Wage Laws and Special Groups Impact

Fast-food workers and civil rights groups in Birmingham, AL, are mounting a constitutional challenge to a recent state law that bars cities from setting their own higher minimum wages, alleging the law violates the workers civil rights.

The plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the state’s Republican Gov Robert Bentley, claiming the bill he signed into law in February was tainted with “racial animus” toward the predominantly African-American city.

One of the lawsuit’s main claims is that the state law disproportionately impacts minority residents who live and work in Birmingham, many in low-wage, fast-food industry jobs that leave them impoverished and on public assistance.

Cyberthreat Information Sharing

The public and private sectors need to increasingly declassify and divulge critical information if the U.S. is to set up effective cyberthreat organizations, according to a report released Wednesday by PwC that sets out a blueprint for how those groups could be set up.

That would certainly lead to faster responses to hack attempts—committed by anyone, whether governments foreign or domestic or criminals—and to more efficient hardening against present and future hack attempts.

Unfortunately, FBI Director James Comey has already written off the concept of public sector—at the Federal government level, anyway—cyberthreat sharing.

A Foreign Policy Fallout

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced Tuesday that the biggest military contract in Australia’s history, a $40 billion tender to build 12 submarines, will go to a French naval contractor.  That’s a defeat for Japan’s bid, and with it a lost opportunity to deepen cooperation among the leading Pacific democracies facing China’s rising military.

For all of Turnbull’s rationalizations, this was a major factor in rejecting the Japanese offer:

The most significant influence may have been China, Australia’s largest trading partner, which openly campaigned against Japan’s bid. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned his Australian counterpart in February to remember World War II….

Narcissism and Scientism

These are two different concepts, but I’m not convinced they’re unrelated.

First is a Wall Street Journal Notable & Quotable:

[The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5] . . . criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
Exaggerating your achievements and talents
Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate…
Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

And

Another PRC Challenge of the US

The PRC now is exploring Scarborough Shoal with the intent to expand its control over the South China Sea and to pose a more proximate threat to an American ally, this one the Republic of the Philippines.  Scarborough Shoal, as most of you know, is just 120 nautical miles from the Philippines 200 nautical miles from the capital, Manila.  Scarborough also is 470 nautical miles from the PRC.

Who is a Man or a Woman?

Curt Schilling had a thought on the matter, and the Left via ESPN, its stand-in on this case, took action consistent with its policy toward those impertinent enough to disagree with its holy writ: ESPN sacked Schilling.

It’s true enough that Schilling was less than genteel in his expression of his thoughtSchilling

but still, he was right on the facts:

…DNA and those pesky X and Y chromosomes.  In short, in this fight between science and authority, Mr Schilling is in the amusing position of being the Galileo, with ESPN filling in for the Holy Office.

A New Form of Government Subsidy

And so a new form of market distortion by government.

Consumer-goods giant Unilever NV was set to raise money in bond markets Monday that will cost them almost nothing, in the latest sign of how the European Central Bank’s stimulus measures are slashing funding costs across the continent.

On the other hand, there’s this example of an impediment to private enterprise borrowing:

In one tranche of a €1.5 billion ($1.68 billion) deal, the Anglo-Dutch company was set to sell €300 million of debt maturing in 2020 with a coupon of 0%, potentially offering investors a yield of just 0.06%, according to deal guidance released Monday by underwriting banks.

Chimera

The Justice Department said Friday it has withdrawn a request that sought a court order forcing Apple to assist in opening a locked iPhone 5s linked to a drug case in New York.

According to a court filing, the Justice Department no longer needs Apple’s assistance in unlocking the device because an individual provided investigators with the correct passcode Thursday.

This is yet another demonstration that DoJ didn’t need to dragoon a private enterprise into blowing up its own product—here hacking its encryption algorithm, to the detriment of its product and of its private citizen customers—for government convenience.  Government had the capability to get into the iPhone with its own resources.

Minimum Wage Revisited

Kevin Williamson, at National Review, had a thought that’s only now percolating to the surface of thinking Americans and that still is avoided by the American Left.

Properly understood, raising the minimum wage—and having a minimum wage at all—is camouflage, something to talk about and fight about while we’re not talking about and fighting about the more important underlying issue.  Declaring that all American workers shall be paid at least $15 an hour is not the same as ensuring that all American workers produce $15 an hour worth of value, and, eventually, the disconnect between those two considerations must make itself felt.

OPM

The FBI paid a non-governmental third party over $1 million for technology that allowed the agency to unlock an iPhone 5C that belonged to San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook, according to a remark made by FBI director James Comey at a moderated discussion in London on Thursday.

And

The bureau’s top official added that the purchase of third party tools for the purpose of unlocking encrypted devices is not the preferred road the FBI would like to travel in investigating crimes and terrorism cases.