Bulldozer vs. iPad, ferry staffing dispute, GOP voter suppression…
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
► At PubliCola — Inslee as bulldozer; McKenna as iPad. It’s that simple — Jay Inslee’s latest ad takes a manly bulldozer theme to its conclusion, we see a bulldozer cruising along with an Inslee bumper sticker. Inslee, is, well, a bulldozer. Meanwhile, McKenna’s ad portrays him as the nerdy suburban dad. Inslee manages to turn his green job pitch (which often has the pitfall of reading as elitist vs. real blue collar work) into a macho alternative with towering windmills while McKenna’s future economy, nestled in iPads, computers and schooling seems like a turnoff to the traditional Republican base. It’s also a flip of what voters usually see — the nerdy, brainy Democrat and the regular guy Republican.
► At PubliCola — New poll: Only Eyman’s initiative above 50% — According to a new Elway Poll, all four major statewide measures on the November ballot are in the lead, but only Tim Eyman’s I-1185, which would reaffirm the requirement that any tax or fee increases receive the support of two-thirds of the state legislature or a majority vote of the people, is polling higher than 50%. The remaining measures — Ref. 74, which would uphold gay marriage; I-1240, allowing charter schools; and I-502, legalizing marijuana — are all polling under 50% support.
► In The Onion — Mitt Romney soars in polls after leaving country– Experts were quick to note Romney’s favorability number remains well below his historical high, reached in February 2008 when the former Massachusetts governor announced his withdrawal from that year’s presidential race.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Ferry staffing impasse goes to arbitrator — A ferry union intends to overturn recent staff reductions that could be contributing to an increase in canceled and delayed sailings. The Inlandboatmen’s Union and Washington State Ferries will present their cases Thursday and Friday to an arbitrator with the Public Employment Relations Commission. They have requested a decision by Aug. 8 so fall assignments can be made.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State may use federal immigration data in checking voters’ eligibility — The ACLU and other advocacy groups, worried about disenfranchisement of immigrant and minority voters, say they plan to meet with elections officials next week.
► From AP — Boeing 2Q net income up, raises outlook — Boeing posted an unexpected 3 percent improvement in second-quarter net income on strong sales of commercial airplanes. The results surprised Wall Street and the company raised its earnings forecast for the year.
► In today’s News Tribune — Port of Tacoma’s tide rising after Grand Alliance — In what is likely at harbinger of busier times, container handling volumes rose nearly 10% in June at the Port of Tacoma. That increase will likely be dwarfed by container handling increases this month as three shipping lines move their Puget Sound port of call from the Port of Seattle to Tacoma.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Paccar to cut truck production despite $297M profit in 2nd quarter — Citing an order slowdown, the company plans a production slowdown but is mum on whether it means layoffs at Paccar’s manufacturing facilities, including the Kenworth factory in Renton.
► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma’s budget gap still large– Two long-anticipated federal grants that were awarded last month to help spare more than 50 Tacoma police and fire jobs won’t cover most of a 2012 budget gap, City Manager T.C. Broadnax said Tuesday.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Estimates show Richland schools need $116 million for improvements– The Richland School District will need more than $116 million from taxpayers to rebuild three elementary schools and construct three new schools and other projects, according to revised estimates.
► From AP — Federal health law will shrink deficit — President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul will shrink rather than increase the nation’s huge federal deficits over the next decade, Congress’ nonpartisan budget scorekeepers said Tuesday, supporting Obama’s contention in a major election-year dispute with Republicans.
► In today’s NY Times — Supreme Court ruling may blunt reach of health law — While it is not yet clear how many states will ultimately opt out of the Medicaid expansion, the CBO said it now predicted that six million fewer people would be insured via the federal-state program. Half of them, it said, will probably gain private insurance coverage through health insurance exchanges to be established in all states. On balance, the CBO said, in 2022, “about three million more people will be uninsured” than under its previous estimates.
► At TPM — House GOP flirts with government shutdown over ‘Obamacare’ — A majority of the House Republican conference is pushing their leaders to block funds for ‘Obamacare’ when government funding requires renewal on Oct. 1, a demand that could lead to a government shutdown weeks before Election Day.
► At TPM — Democrats set hostage trap for GOP on Bush tax cuts — Today, Senate Democrats will offer their Republican counterparts a choice: agree to debate legislation extending the Bush tax cuts for income up to $250,000 for one year, or prove that you’re holding tax cuts for everybody hostage to tax cuts benefiting the very wealthiest Americans alone.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Tell us what you think: Caterpillar makes billions, demands 6-year wage freeze — This is the 12th week of a Machinists strike against Caterpillar, which made $4.9 billion in profits last year and now demands that its nearly 800 workers in Joliet, Ill., accept a six-year wage freeze, doubled health care premiums and cuts to pensions.
► From AP — AFL-CIO president takes on Crystal Sugar lockout — Spokespeople declined to say Tuesday what actions Richard Trumka might announce today on behalf of the 1,300 workers who’ve been locked out of their jobs since last Aug. 1 at facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa.
► At TPM — Wisconsin state senator quits Democratic caucus — State Sen. Tim Cullen quit the caucus Tuesday, throwing a cloud of uncertainty over the party’s narrow 17-16 majority, their biggest victory from the waves of state recall elections.
► At Huffington Post — Raising the minimum wage is cheap and easy (by Dean Baker) — The real problem in our economy today is not a lack of productivity. The problem is that the gains from productivity growth have not been broadly shared. The wealthy have used their power to rig the deck so that most of the benefits of growth have gone those at the top. A higher minimum wage is an important step toward reversing this rigging. It should not be too much to expect that workers today should get at least as much as they did 45 years ago, and perhaps some dividend to allow them to share in the benefits of economic growth over this period. A minimum wage of $10 an hour would be a big step in the right direction.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, will speak on Monday, Aug. 6 at the Washington State Labor Council 2012 Convention in Wenatchee. Learn more.
► In today’s Washington Post — What happens if GOP’s voter suppression works? (by Harold Meyerson) — What should Democrats do if Romney comes to power on the strength of racially suppressed votes? Such an outcome and such a presidency, I’d hope they contend, would be illegitimate — a betrayal of our laws and traditions, of our very essence as a democratic republic. Mass demonstrations would be in order. So would a congressional refusal to confirm any of Romney’s appointments. A presidency premised on a racist restriction of the franchise creates a political and constitutional crisis, and responding to it with resigned acceptance or inaction would negate America’s hard-won commitment to democracy and equality. The course on which Republicans have embarked isn’t politics as usual. We don’t rig elections by race in America, not anymore, and anyone who does should not be rewarded with uncontested power.
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