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The Spill: The State of the State of the Union

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The State of The Union – Will We Have One?

Nearly every year, Americans are updated on the status of their nation through the president’s State of the Union address. With great fanfare and anticipation, representatives, senators, the Cabinet, and the Judicial branch gather in the U.S House Chambers. Also present are dignitaries, special guests often lauded as great Americans, and select friends. It makes for an impressive audience.

Incoming presidents are not required to deliver a State of the Union, but most do address America in a somewhat less formal fashion in one way or another. History tells us they call that speech “an address to the joint session of Congress.” The past also tells us that since the first one, it has been done either in late January or some time in February.

Mr. Biden had scheduled such an address and summarily canceled the dates, saying he wants to deliver a COVID-19 relief bill first and foremost. The bill he refers is a $1.9 trillion relief package with a host of other funding added in for other projects. That bill passed the House of Representatives 219 to 212. Every Republican, along with two Democrats, voted against the legislation. Now, it is the Senate’s responsibility.

Some have argued there is more to talk about than COVID-19, such as the economy, healthcare, climate – all of which are on most Americans’ minds. Since February has come and gone, will Biden even deliver a speech to let people know what his administration has been up to these past several weeks?

Will Entry Level Jobs Now Start at $15 an Hour?

The fight to raise the minimum wage in the United States has been a hotly debated issue for years. But it appears the COVID-19 stimulus may finally seal the deal: a vital component of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 economic package had been a hike in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Many people argue that entry-level jobs are designed not to feed a family of five but instead to add revenue for kids and seniors. Proponents of $15 an hour say many people can only work entry-level jobs and should be paid a livable wage.

But there are many factors to consider. If a worker lives in a large city, $15 an hour makes much more sense: The cost of living is much higher.  In small towns and rural areas, the cost of living is much lower, and the current wage is sufficient for entry-level positions.

An additional argument is that the minimum wage has stayed stagnant at $7.25 an hour since July 24, 2009. But when small businesses have been forced to raise part-time people’s wages, jobs tend to disappear, leaving employees, well, unemployed.

Teenagers With Gargantuan Appetites

Teenagers in general are known for having big appetites. But when they turn aggressive about food, the species may be destined for extinction.  Well, that’s according to a recently released study published in Science, but the teenagers they are talking about are dinosaurs.

Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist, acknowledged that there is now proof where there was once theory. There weren’t many midsize dinos “because the juveniles and teenagers and subadults of the big beastly dinosaurs were hoarding those niches.”

Even prehistoric elders were disrespected, it appears.

The study highlights the disparity between modern and prehistoric carnivore communities. For instance, in the African Savannah in today’s world, we see a range of body sizes from mongoose upwards to the lion – all have a sustainable food group of prey. In carnivorous dinosaur communities, there was no middle group. The absence of a middle group is explained as such: Giant adults begin as hatchlings but soon grow into ravenous teens. There is no toddler T-Rex, and there just wasn’t enough food to go around for other mid-sized meat-eaters.

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