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NEW YORK — Planes are full. Passengers clamor for amenities. Investors want a payout. New planes are on order.
The Great Globe Project developed at the East Valley Institute of Technology is drawing crowds and fascinating young minds at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix.
Cardon Children’s Medical Center is getting a valuable new on-site edition.
Question: Why are so many big name retail chains being hacked all of the sudden?
The word watermark doesn’t tend to come up in casual conversation. Yet consciously or unconsciously, watermarks are a big part of daily life and faith. Here are a few examples. High-quality stationery has long been associated with watermarks. I can still remember my mom’s special bond-quality writing paper, with the curious watermark on every page. We all handle money regularly, but if you work in retail, banking, or any profession that deals with money frequently, then you’ll be more than familiar with the watermarks used in paper currency to help stop counterfeiting. The same is also true of those who work in airport security checking passports for the safety of all travelers. If you’re in any kind of construction work, home or building repair specialist, then watermarks have a whole different meaning, especially if you’re called in to deal with the aftermath of a flood or some other type of water damage. Then there’s digital watermarking used in audio or image data for copyright purposes. Other types of digital watermarks protect data integrity and computer security. Last, but not least, from a spiritual perspective, the word watermark reminds us of our baptism.
What would you buy with an extra $6 a week?
PHOENIX -- What would you buy with an extra $6 a week? Two gallons of milk? A Big Mac meal? A venti half-caf sugar-free latte?
That's how much more those at the bottom of the pay scale will be making come Jan. 1 when the minimum wage in Arizona goes to $8.05 an hour.
It's not that businesses necessarily want to pay their workers more. It's that Arizona voters in 2006 mandated that the state have its own minimum wage not tied to the federal figure.
More significant, that law requires annual automatic adjustments tied to inflation. The federal minimum wage goes up only when Congress approves, something that last happened in 2009.
It all goes back to that 2006 initiative. It established a state minimum wage of $6.75 an hour, $1.60 higher than what federal law required at the time.
But that law also requires the Industrial Commission to adjust the figure annually based on inflation, as measured as the change in the Consumer Price Index for all urban areas.
So the commission took the current $7.90 an hour minimum wage and multiplied it by the 1.7 percent increase in inflation.
That computes out to about 13.4 cents. But since the law requires rounding to the nearest nickel, the enacted change is 15 cents.
How many workers are affected is unclear, as the state does not maintain such data.
The most recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 17,000 Arizonans working at the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage and another 51,000 paid less than that. But the agency cautions that includes those whose jobs are exempt and does not mean employers are violating federal law.
Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which unsuccessfully opposed the 2006 initiative, said his organization remains convinced that a state minimum wage higher than the federal figure is bad not only for business but for those looking for work.
"It's just another expense that makes it more difficult to hire workers,'' he said. Most hard hit, he said are small businesses, particularly in the food service industry.
It is only an 80-cent-an-hour difference from the federal figure. But Hamer said looking at it from an annual basis -- $312 a year -- multiplied by the number of minimum-wage workers ``clearly puts downward pressure on employment.'' All that, he said is these small businesses hire fewer workers.
Steve Chucri, president of the Arizona Restaurant Association, said he has seen in his industry.
"It's hard to find bus boys anymore,'' he said, as restaurants, seeking to keep costs in line, make the wait staff more responsible to clear tables.
And for those establishments that can't cut staff more, particularly in the "quick-serve'' segment, the only alternative is higher prices.
He said the differences between what consumers pay in Arizona versus other states which have no comparable state minimum wage may be subtle and barely noticeable. But he said those differences exist.
Chucri said it becomes very visible where the gap is large, relating how a San Francisco restaurant where he was dining said it was adding 3 percent to all bills for employer mandates. That includes that city's $10.74-an-hour minimum wage, one that proponents hope to hike to $15 an hour by 2018 through a ballot measure.
Hamer said the really troubling part is that annual inflationary increase, with higher wages forced on employers who may not be able to afford it.
He acknowledged that the adjustment is based on the change in the cost of goods and services during the prior year. And Hamer, who said he does the shopping for his family, said he has seen prices go up.
But he said that $7.90 an hour is better than nothing, which is what he said a higher minimum wage may mean to some.
Chucri has a somewhat different take on the issue, saying the wages should be set by the free market. He said if restaurants, diners and fast-food joints can't find people at what they're offering, that will raise wages.
Anyway, he said, that minimum wage is really a "training wage,'' with most of those at that level in the 18-to-25 age group.
"We don't intend to have a single mother of three make the minimum wage and say it's fine,'' he said. Chucri said anyone with experience can demand more.
As it turns out, many Arizona restaurants won't even have to pay that $8.05 figure.
The Arizona law has a major exception: Firms whose workers earn tips get a $3 "credit'' toward the wages. That means even with the hike, those workers still could be paid as little as $5.05 an hour.
But state officials say that requires proof that the employees are, in fact, bringing in at least $3 an hour in tips.
History of Arizona's Minimum Wage
Year / State / Federal
2006 / $5.15 / $5.15
2007 / $6.75 / $5.85
2008 / $6.90 / $6.55
2009 / $7.25 / $7.25
2010 / $7.25 / $7.25
2011 / $7.35 / $7.25
2012 / $7.65 / $7.25
2013 / $7.80 / $7.25
2014 / $7.90 / $7.25
2015 / $8.05 / $7.25
Sources: Industrial Commission of Arizona, U.S. Department of Labor
PHOENIX -- Calling it a violation of constitutional rights, a federal appeals court on Wednesday voided a 2006 voter-approved measure which denied bail to those not in the country legally who were arrested for other crimes.
Writing for the majority of the 11-member court, Judge Raymond Fisher said there is a presumptive right of those arrested to be released on bail. And he said the fact someone may have entered the country illegally is an entirely separate issue and irrelevant to the question.
"The Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect every person within the nation's borders from deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law,'' he wrote. "Even one whose presence in this country is unlawful ... is entitled to that constitutional protection.''
And Fisher said that, regardless of someone's status, there are "profound effects'' of pretrial detention, endangering someone's job, interrupting income and impairing family relationships. He also said it can affect someone's ability to assist an attorney in preparing a defense.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said he is studying the ruling. But he said the way it was argued in trial court by Andrew Thomas, his predecessor, may make it virtually impossible to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision.
Proposition 100 makes bail unavailable to those charged with "serious felony offenses'' if they are in this country illegally and if "the proof is evident or the presumption great'' that the person is guilty of the offense charged.
It was crafted by former state Senate President Russell Pearce -- at the time a state representative -- who argued that anyone who has crossed the border illegally probably has few ties to this country. That, he said, automatically makes them at greater risk of fleeing before trial.
Voters approved the measure on a 3-1 ratio.
"We do not question that Arizona has a compelling interest in ensuring that persons accused of serious crimes, including undocumented immigrants, are available for trial,'' Fisher wrote. But the judge said there was absolutely no evidence in the record that those in the country illegally are more likely not to show up for trial than lawful residents.
In a dissent, Judge Richard Tallman said that ignores the statements made during the 2006 campaign by Thomas, then the Maricopa County attorney, that "far too many illegal immigrants accused of serious crimes have jumped bail and slipped across the border in order to avoid justice in an Arizona courtroom.''
But Fisher said his colleague is wrong to rely on that statement, saying it's not substantiated. Anyway, he said, Thomas "is not a credible source.''
"He was disbarred in 2012 for using his office to destroy political enemies, filing malicious and unfounded criminal charges, committing perjury and engaging in a host of other crimes,'' Fisher said of Thomas.
Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, in a separate opinion concurring with the majority, went even farther. She said it appears lawmakers put the issue on the ballot -- and voters approved it -- not to ensure that people remained for trial but simply to punish them for being in this country illegally in the first place.
For example, she noted that Pearce promoted the bill by saying that "all illegal aliens in this country ought to be detained, debriefed and deported.''
And Nguyen said that Pearce, in a speech on the House floor, opposed follow-up legislation designed to ease the measure a bit.
"They are here illegally, they have no business being released no (matter) what the charge in reality because they're a flight risk,'' he said. "They need to be turned over to ICE.''
Pearce, now working at the Maricopa County Treasurer's Office, called the ruling "absurd.'' And even in the face of Nguyen's criticism, he would not back down from his contention there is a legitimate reason for Arizona to have separate rules on bail for those without papers.
"We know that a large proportion of crime is committed by those out on bail or bond,'' he said Wednesday.
"They have no business being in the country in the first place,'' Pearce continued. "How can you release them back onto the street for a country they're illegally in to commit more crime?''
Pearce also called the ruling a violation of states' rights, citing approval by 78 percent of the voters.
"That a super majority virtually of every demographic,'' he said.
But Fisher said that vote does not substitute for proof that Arizona had a problem with people not in this country legally skipping out.
"At most the vote shows that voters (ITALICS) perceived (ROMAN) a problem, not that one actually existed,'' the judge wrote.
Montgomery said his own experience prosecuting felony drunk-driving cases convinces him that those not in the country legally are less likely to show up in court. But he conceded that Thomas, in mounting the initial defense of the law, never provided such data but instead sought to argue that Arizona was legally entitled to enact such a policy.
That, said Montgomery, was probably the weakest argument that could have been made. And what's worse is that it's too late in the legal process to now seek to introduce new evidence.
Montgomery said that hamstrings any ability to successfully defend the law, a factor he will consider in deciding whether it's worth the time seeking Supreme Court review.
The lack of data was only part of the reason for the 9th Circuit ruling.
Fisher said the crimes that voters said should mean bail denial to undocumented individuals goes far beyond what can be considered extremely serious.
"Instead, they encompass an exceedingly broad range of offenses, including not only serious offenses but also relatively minor ones, such as unlawful copying of a sound recording, altering a lottery ticket with intent to defraud, tamper with a computer with intent to defraud and theft of property worth between $3,000 and $4,000,'' Fisher wrote.
The court also said the state constitutional amendment is flawed because it does not require prosecutors to prove that a specific defendant is a flight risk but instead lumps all undocumented individuals into a single category.
As proof, Fisher noted there were undocumented individuals who had been arrested prior to approval of Proposition 100, granted bail or released on their own recognizance, and later showed up for court hearings -- only to then be ordered into custody under the terms of Proposition 100.
And to show the illogic of the claim the measure ensures people remain for trial, Fisher pointed out the measure covers foreign citizens who have no legal right to return to their home countries.
"Conversely, Proposition 100 (ITALICS) excludes (ROMAN) from coverage individuals who would seem (ITALICS) more likely (ROMAN) to flee -- such as foreign citizens who are in this country lawfully as tourists and persons having dual citizenship,'' the judge wrote.
Finally, he disputed presumption that being undocumented means few ties to the community, citing national research that found nearly 50 percent of those in this country have been in the country more than 10 years and more than 17 percent of household heads are homeowners.
Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Fred DuVal warned Sunday that businesses will not come to Arizona if the state scraps the Common Core academic standards.
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An internationally recognized theoretical physicist is making it his goal to give scientists their due recognition in the public eye.
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The more evidence pours in that their dire warnings are doubtful, the louder environmental scare mongers insist that the “science is settled.” “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts,” declared Secretary of State John Kerry. “The science is unequivocal.” Barack Obama agreed that “the debate is settled.”
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