A 2014 law designed to incrementally raise the minimum wage of Seattle's low-income workers up to $15 an hour has apparently backfired, a study conducted by University of Washington economists concluded. The findings show that low-wage employees actually lost an average of $125 a month under the new model, or about $1,500 a year, due to employers' reduced payrolls and hours.
Most alarmingly, "the paper's conclusions contradict years of research on the minimum wage," The Washington Post reports. "Many past studies, by contrast, have found that the benefits of increases for low-wage workers exceed the costs in terms of reduced employment — often by a factor of four or five to one."
Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist David Autor, who reviewed the paper, said the study strikes him as "likely to influence people" and called the work "very credible." "If I were a Seattle lawmaker, I would be thinking hard about the $15 an hour phase-in," said Autor.
Still, the research is in its early stages and has not yet been tested by peer review. But based on the preliminary findings, FiveThirtyEight suggests the Seattle experiment — with the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $13 an hour in 2016 — was possibly a case of being too extreme too quickly.
"The literature shows that moderate minimum wage increases seem to consistently have their intended effects, [but] you have to admit that the increases that we're now contemplating go beyond moderate," said economist Jared Bernstein, of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "That doesn't mean, however, that you know what the outcome is going to be. You have to test it, you have to scrutinize it, which is why Seattle is a great test case." Jeva Lange
That's the signpost up ahead. Jordan Peele's next stop: hosting The Twilight Zone.
CBS has announced that in addition to producing the forthcoming Twilight Zone revival, Oscar-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele will also serve as its host, Variety reports. He has big shoes to fill, with Rod Serling having famously narrated the classic original series while also serving as its creator and writing most of the episodes. In a video posted to Twitter on Thursday, Peele showed off his take on the iconic opening title sequence.
Peele was announced as producer of the Twilight Zone reboot last year, but it was unclear at the time whether he would host as well. While speaking to Variety last month, Peele said he had "resisted" the idea because he was worried audiences wouldn't be able to take him seriously on screen after he spent five seasons on the Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele. But perhaps he now feels that after writing and directing Get Out, which won him an Oscar for best original screenplay earlier this year, he's proved his horror chops to audiences.
The new Twilight Zone will premiere sometime in 2019 exclusively on CBS All Access, the network's streaming service. Watch a teaser for the series below. Brendan Morrow
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) September 20, 2018
Yale Law School professor Amy Chua told law students that it was "not an accident" that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's female law clerks all "looked like models," The Guardian reported Thursday.
Chua, who has hailed Kavanaugh as a "mentor to women," played a key role in selecting and vetting clerks for the judge. She reportedly told female students that she could advise them on their physical appearance and how they dressed, in order to help give them a "model-like" look that she said would help boost their odds of working for Kavanaugh.
Another Yale professor, Jed Rubenfeld, who is Chua's husband, reportedly told a prospective clerk that she "should know that Judge Kavanaugh hires women with a certain look." Chua, who wrote the controversial 2011 book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, told the same student that she should dress in an "outgoing" way for an interview with Kavanaugh. Rubenfeld and Chua were not known to give similar advice to students seeking jobs with other judges, The Guardian reports.
"I have no reason to believe he was saying, 'Send me the pretty ones,'" said one student, "but rather that he was reporting back and saying, 'I really like so and so,' and the way he described them led [Chua and Rubenfeld] to form certain conclusions." When Chua said that Kavanaugh's clerks "looked like models," students noted that Chua's daughter was poised to work for Kavanaugh. Chua reportedly said that her daughter would not tolerate any inappropriate behavior.
Rubenfeld said in a statement that he has "reason to suspect" he is facing "false allegations," and Chua said that Kavanaugh "only hires those who are extraordinarily qualified." Yale said it would "look into these claims promptly." Read more at The Guardian. Summer Meza
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are increasingly cracking down on noncriminal immigrants.
ICE arrests of people without criminal records has increased 66 percent this year, The Associated Press reported Thursday. Meanwhile, arrests of convicts rose less than 2 percent.
"Unshackling ICE has really allowed it to go after more individuals," Sarah Pierce, an analyst for the nonpartisan think tank Migration Policy Institute, told AP. She called the dramatic increase in noncriminal immigrant arrests "a defining characteristic of this administration's approach to immigration."
In 2017, there was a 174 percent increase in noncriminal immigrant deportations compared to the previous year, while the number of immigrants expelled who had convictions rose less than 13 percent.
The Trump administration has touted an ICE report that said 56 percent of its deportations in 2017 were among people with criminal convictions, but AP notes that President Trump's hard-line approach to immigration has led to a sharp uptick in deportations for people with lower-level infractions. The Bush administration deported even more noncriminal immigrants, ICE data shows, and the Obama administration deported record numbers of immigrants but decreased the number of noncriminal deportations.
Comparatively, ICE is more recently increasing the number of arrests among immigrants already living in the U.S. — often for many years — rather than focusing efforts on illegal border crossings. Experts say ICE will continue targeting "low-hanging fruit," like noncriminal immigrants involved in traffic violations, in order to keep increasing numbers. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza
When Solo: A Star Wars Story severely underperformed at the box office this summer, fans everywhere debated what went wrong. Now, the CEO of Disney himself is taking the fall.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Disney CEO Bob Iger said he made a "mistake" by scheduling so many Star Wars movies back-to-back, adding that he "made the timing decision." "I take the blame," he said. "[It] was a little too much, too fast." Going forward, Iger said Disney will be "a little bit more careful about volume and timing." Iger did not cite specific box office figures or even mention Solo by name, but he was responding directly to a question about whether Disney should "pump the brakes and not put out a Star Wars movie each year."
Solo only made $213 million domestically this past summer, per Box Office Mojo. Its predecessor, The Last Jedi, made $620 million. The film before that, Rogue One, made $532 million. Adjusting for inflation, Solo was the worst-performing Star Wars movie of all time. It was also the first movie in the long-running series to be released less than one year after the previous one, hitting theaters in May 2018, just five months after The Last Jedi.
Box office analysts have speculated this scheduling hurt Solo's chances of financial success, as moviegoers needed more time before wanting to see another Star Wars adventure in theaters. There has been a new installment of the iconic franchise every year since 2015.
It appears the man at the top
You know how when you scarf down your brunch a little too quickly, you get the hiccups? That's sort of what it's like when you're a Supreme Court nominee accused of sexual assault, one Republican senator said Wednesday.
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), one of the GOP's most vulnerable senators in this fall's midterm cycle, held a "'VIP' conference call" Wednesday in which he described California professor Christine Ford's allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the 1980s as a "little hiccup" on the road to confirmation, The Nevada Independent reported Wednesday. "We'll get through this, and we'll get off to the races," Heller reportedly said.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have indicated that they will forge ahead with Kavanaugh's embattled nomination, while President Trump has also signaled continuing support for his second Supreme Court nominee. Ford and Kavanaugh were set to testify publicly to the Senate on the matter Monday, but it's unclear whether Ford will actually agree to appear before lawmakers. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) gave Ford until Friday morning to decide whether she'll testify. Kavanaugh has steadfastly denied Ford's allegations.
Heller is facing Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) in a tight race this fall, with Real Clear Politics showing the two in a virtual tie in its latest polling average. He has supported Kavanaugh's nomination since Trump tapped the D.C. judge in July and has remained confident that Kavanaugh will be confirmed — "little hiccup" and all. Kimberly Alters
In a move right out of President Trump's playbook, researchers want to solve the world's problems by building a wall.
Some scientists say that building underwater walls could help prevent glaciers from melting away too quickly and contributing to rising sea levels, The Guardian reported Thursday. The Band-Aid solution would help slow the effects of climate change and buy some time to keep warmer water from reaching the glaciers and causing even faster melting.
"We are imagining very simple structures, simply piles of gravel or sand on the ocean floor," geoscience researcher Michael Wolovick told The Guardian. Wolovick and other researchers at Princeton University found that creating a structure near the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica would have a 30 percent chance of preventing a collapse of the surrounding ice sheet. A 980-foot structure could be made of already-excavated material, turning it into columns or mounds. A more solid underwater wall could have a 70 percent chance of blocking warm water from the Antarctic ice sheet.
Wolovick notes that the solution would merely be a temporary fix, and that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the way to actually keep glaciers from melting. Disintegrating ice is sending fresh water into the world's oceans, which means rising sea levels and therefore even more glacier melt. But until then, he said, underwater walls are "within the order of magnitude of plausible human achievements." Read more at The Guardian. Summer Meza
British audiences have been going nuts over the drama series Bodyguard — and now, the rest of the world will see what all the fuss is about.
Netflix has picked up the distribution rights to Bodyguard, a massively popular six-part BBC miniseries starring Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes, per Deadline. The show will air its finale Sunday before coming to Netflix on Oct. 24; the streaming service bought the rights to showcase the series outside of the U.K. and Ireland.
Created by Jed Mercurio, Bodyguard is a thriller revolving around a war veteran who is assigned to protect an important government official, with whom he soon begins a relationship. It has been a huge hit in the U.K., with the first episode scoring an audience of 10.4 million viewers — the best debut for any new drama in the U.K. since 2006, per BBC. Deadline reports that Netflix has been involved with Bodyguard since the writing phase.
This is the latest example of Netflix releasing a British series to audiences outside of the U.K., having previously distributed shows like The End of the F***ing World, Wanderlust, and Black Mirror. With Black Mirror, Netflix fully took over the show from Channel 4 rather than just release episodes that were produced in Britain, and The Telegraph reports that there may be a fight between BBC and Netflix over the rights to a possible second season of Bodyguard should one go into production. Brendan Morrow