Better pay? It’s a good thing Mitt Romney’s not running for president again. During an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the 2012 Republican candidate said he supported President Barack Obama’s efforts to raise the minimum wage: “I think we ought to raise it because, frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay, and I think communicating that is important to us.” Romney acknowledged his position separates him from most in the GOP. Only one Senate Republican voted last week to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. The measure failed to get the 60 votes it needed to pass in the Democratic-controlled chamber. But Romney is not the only former Republican presidential candidate to support a higher minimum wage. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Sen. Rick Santorum, who may run again in 2016, both say the wage should be increased.
Putin’s pride. Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Crimea today to celebrate the 1945 Russian victory over Nazi Germany toward the end of WWII. It was his first visit to the territory since Russia annexed it following the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian government in March. “I am sure that 2014 will go into the annals of our whole country as the year when the nations living here firmly decided to be together with Russia, affirming fidelity to the historical truth and the memory of our ancestors,”he said. While Putin watched a flyby of Russian aircraft at the Crimean port of Sevastopol, Ukrainian troops battled with pro-Russian forces in the eastern part of the country. Despite calling for Kiev’s interim government to honor the wishes of its citizens who want to reunite with Russia, Putin has urged the separatists to delay the secession votes scheduled in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Sunday.
Top names. The U.S. Social Security Administration has released its list of most popular baby names in 2013. Noah topped the list of boys’ names, with Sophia coming out as the most popular name for girls. The government has lists of the top 1,000 baby names for each year, dating back to 1880. Each year’s top names give a picture of culture at the time, but the numbers also tell a story. In 1950, when James was the most popular boys name, more than 86,000 newborns went home with that name. Last year, just 18,000 boys were named Noah, showing how diverse American society has become.
Bad idea. Two men have been charged with throwing things at the White House, and no, it was not rotten fruit. One man allegedly tossed a cassette tape over the wrought-iron fence surrounding the president’s residence. Perhaps it was a mix tape for the commander-in-chief’s next road trip. The other man is accused of tossing papers over the fence in a separate incident. No word on whether the papers included any writing, and if so what it said.
On their toes? Vibram USA, maker of the FiveFinger running shoes that help people feel like they’re running barefoot, announced it would offer refunds to customers as part of a lawsuit settlement. The 2012 suit claimed the company misrepresented health research about the benefits of barefoot running. The company has denied any wrongdoing.