Gun Law Scorecard; Are Wages Fair? Poor in New York; First to Walk Upright?


Recent events at Umpqua Community College initiated yet another wave of strident voices for and against gun control. Critics of lax gun laws point to the increased number of gun deaths involving multiple victims. Opponents of gun laws cite Second Amendment protections they say guarantee individual gun ownership. What the heated debaters need are facts not emotions. The website provides unarguable facts.

The scorecard ranks states based on death rates caused by gun death percentages per year. For the year 2014 state gun death ratings range from A- to F. Except for California, the six A- rated states fall on the East Coast: Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, New York and Massachusetts. In spite of the Repeal the Safe Act signs posted along every road in the state, New York's gun death percentage ranks 47th in the nation even though the state ranks third or fourth among states based on population.

Meanwhile, little Wyoming ranks first in gun death percentages, an F rating, based on its percentage of gun related deaths. Also ranked high in gun deaths is Mississippi, which comes in at number 3. Why is it that Mississippi seems to fall at the top or bottom of every negative ranking that deals with the lives and life environments of people?  Read the list at the website. You can argue about the gun rights, but you can't argue about the gun deaths. They are what they are.

Many Yates County residents oppose increasing the minimum wage in New York to $15 per hour for fast food workers. How do I know this? The Chronicle-Express asks readers on its webpage whether they support or reject a state minimum wage increase. By a three to one margin, Yates County readers come down against a minimum wage increase for fast food workers. So, are current wages fair to employees compared to the profits of businesses?

Part of the answer comes from a comparison of wages to productivity. A graph on the Daily Kos website indicates that since 1973 American workers have experienced an increasingly large gap between higher productivity increases and wage increases. Prior to 1973 productivity increases went hand in hand with wage increases, a kind of share-the-wealth scenario. Since 1973 workers have increasingly seen wages fall in relation to productivity and cost of living increases. To read more about this, visit Now,  this situation becomes a question of fairness. Only you can answer that for yourselves. But trade agreements such as the recently concluded TPP trade pact, supported by Congressman Tom Reed, are bound to exacerbate wage versus productivity inequality.

More unarguable facts. According to the Bread for the World website, New York State is the 21st hungriest and 20th poorest state in the nation. New York City hedge fund managers and bankers not withstanding, the Empire State is anything but a wealthy empire. In New York, a full-time job is not enough to keep a family out of poverty. According to the website, one in seven New York households struggle to put food on the table. In 2014, 16 million New Yorkers worked year-round, full-time. Yet now, in 2015, New York's poverty rate is higher by 2.2% than New York's poverty percentage rate ranked before the 2008 recession. For more unarguable numbers visit Then think about what you can do to help the working poor.

Brown University researchers have identified a creature they say was the first to walk upright. The creature lived in an arid area of the super-continent, Pangea, about 260 million years ago. This cow-sized animal, called a Bunostegos akokanensis, falls in a pre-reptile class of animals and appears to be quadrupedal while walking upright. Researchers base this new animal attribute to finding critical changes in the forelegs of the animal that allowed it to stand upright rather than to crawl around. To find out more info about this unattractive creature visit, Artist's renderings of this guy place it in the butt-ugly category. And, knowing this new factoid and possessing five bucks. you can buy a cup of latte at Starbucks. And so it goes.