S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hourly workers, illegals, Halliburton & space walkers in Texas news

(Image: Stock Xchng)
News of national interest sometimes comes out of Texas. It is often covered here on Mondays. Texas has the most workers benefitting from the upcoming minimum wage hike. It also has a large population of illegal immigrants, some of whom will soon be leaving because they are real criminals. Texas' Halliburton Company has already left, but it continues to do well. No one is surprised. Astronauts regularly leave Texas and come back to kudos from all over the world. Here is today's digest of these Texas tales.
Good news - As the minimum wage inches up, workers all across the nation - and particularly Texas - will get some relief tomorrow. It is high time and long overdue. Holly Yan of The Dallas Morning News (7/21/07) writes that, quote,

. . . many in Texas, hope boost in pay eases the cost of living
She's among 12.5 million workers in the U.S. – about 10 percent of the workforce – who stand to receive a wage boost beginning this week.

The first step of the minimum wage increase – from $5.15 to $5.85 per hour – goes into effect Tuesday. The wage will continue to go up, rising to $6.55 per hour next July and then $7.25 in July 2009. . .

Of the U.S. workers directly affected by the minimum wage boost, 1 in 6 lives in Texas, with the vast majority of them 20 or older and working full time. . . Nationally, Texas leads the pack . . . 1.8 million workers will be affected by the increase in the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.
Criminals with records - At the same time, actual criminality, not immigration status seems to be the impetus for this big law enforcement sweep. From the same writer and newspaper, we learn that 274 illegal immigrants were arrested in a federal roundup in north central Texas. Quoting from Yan's story,

Those with criminal pasts were targeted. . . a five-day operation aimed at rounding up illegal immigrants with criminal histories has netted 274 arrests in the Dallas-Fort Worth area – including 99 convicts.

. . . Those detained during the operation, which ended Friday, include 233 men and 28 women. Some of those arrested have been accused of sexual assault of a child, dealing drugs, theft or drunken driving.
Vice President Cheney used to run Halliburton. Prior to moving their headquarters to Dubai in March, the Halliburton company was headquartered in Houston. In April Halliburton and KBR (Kellog, Brown & Root) split. The Houston Chronicle's Brett Clanton reported on the status of the company in its July 22, 2007 edition. The story lead was: "KBR, Halliburton get boost after breakup. KBR setting fast pace; Halliburton also seeing gains." The article also included the latest information about government contracting in the Middle East. To quote,

Since April 5 — the day the separation was completed — KBR's shares have jumped 61 percent, and they have nearly doubled in value since their New York Stock Exchange debut last fall. . . Shares of Halliburton, meanwhile, have risen 11 percent since the formal split in April and 9 percent since KBR's initial public offering on Nov. 15.

. . . U.S. Navy awarded the company an additional $8.5 million to provide upgrades for personnel at two offshore oil platforms in Iraq. . . and last month, KBR was selected by the U.S. Army to share in a new, 10-year military contract valued at up to $150 billion. The contract replaces a more than $20 billion contract KBR had with the Pentagon to be the exclusive provider of meals, laundry service and other nonmilitary jobs to U.S. troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

The government broke up the exclusive contract to allow more competition amid allegations of favoritism to the former unit of Halliburton, which was headed by Dick Cheney from 1995 to 2000, before he was U.S. vice president.

Heroic astronauts - Over time, my post about astronaut Sunita Williams, "Spacey Women," has drawn a lot of interest, particularly in India. Mark Carreau, who covers NASA for the Houston Chronicle, wrote a little piece (7/22/07) about what she will be up to this evening. The headline, "Record-setting astronauts to appear at Space Center Houston," points to my quote,

Record-setting NASA astronauts Mike Lopez-Alegria and Sunita "Suni" Williams will make a joint public appearance Monday night at Space Center Houston to discuss their recent marathon missions to the international space station.

. . . Lopez-Alegria descended to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule on April 21 following a 215-day mission, the longest single spaceflight by an American. . . . Williams returned to Earth aboard the shuttle Atlantis on June 22, concluding a 195-day mission to the space station. The flight set a new world's record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. . . [Williams] also participated in four spacewalks while on her mission. The total is the most accumulated by a woman space traveler from any nation.

. . . Their work to expand the station's solar power network helped to prepare the orbital outpost for the addition of European and Japanese science modules in the coming months.

The two astronauts also participated in medical experiments intended to help prepare the U.S. for future human exploration of the moon and Mars.
Texas is a big state and is a fascinating place to live. Sometimes in the lead, sometimes behind, it is never boring!
Cross posted at Texas Kaos.
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Carlos Norberto Mugrabi said...

The illegal are citizens who give jobs to those who lack the necessary documentation for work. The legal status of the latter should be another topic.

Carol Gee said...

Carlos, thanks for your comment. You make a valid point.

This is one of the things I like about the Internet -- my posts have a "life" for months and months.