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Debt deal, Cowlitz officials back ILWU, FAA shutdown…



► From AP — Lucky dozen lawmakers to tackle hard stuff on debt — The nation’s bills are being paid and Congress has bolted the hothouse of Washington, one debt limit deadline beaten and another ahead for a dozen yet-to-be-named lawmakers. For the six Republicans and six Democrats, the toughest-to-swallow items on the deficit-cutting menu await. This group, to be named from the House and Senate in two weeks, must find at least $1.2 trillion in budget cuts by Thanksgiving and Congress must approve them by year’s end – or take the blame for deep and broad spending cuts that would strike GOP priorities like defense and Democratic favorites like programs for the poor.

► In today’s News Tribune — A dubious debt deal, a victory for the Tea Party (editorial) — It’s a bad deal, but better than watching the U.S. government take a step toward banana republic status. A country that has its act together does not fail to fund its financial obligations; it does not inflict wounds on its own faith and credit.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Much ado about something (editorial) — The congressional deal over the debt ceiling averted potential financial catastrophe and is the first step in a process that will have to include some tax increases.




► In today’s News Tribune — Liquor privatization among 5 measures on fall ballot — Five measures are headed to the Nov. 8 ballot: I-1163, a training and standards measure for home-care workers funded by the SEIU 775 NW; I-1083, the liquor-privatization proposal backed by more than $1 million from Costco; I-1125, Tim Eyman’s limitations on highway tolling funded by more than $1 million from Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman; SJR 8206, a proposed constitutional amendment to create a new and improved rainy-day fund for saving excess state revenue; and SJR 8205, a proposed constitutional amendment to bring state voter-residency requirements for presidential votes in line with federal rules.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Marco Liias joins race for Congress — State Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, announced Tuesday he is running for Congress next year, pledging to be the torchbearer for the state’s middle class on the floor of House of Representatives. “I really feel like middle-class families from Washington state don’t have a voice in Washington, D.C.,” he said.




► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Citizens press commissioners on port picket stance — Two Cowlitz County commissioners said they back the longshoremen’s union in its picket of the EGT grain terminal Tuesday, and one has even visited the picket line to lend support. Commissioner Mike Karnofski noted the disagreement will be settled in court but signaled support for the union by adding he hoped that “everyone follows the contract they signed.” ILWU Local 21, which operates every other grain terminal on the West Coast, says its contract with the Port of Longview and EGT’s own agreements with the port require EGT to hire Local 21 labor to operate the new $200 million terminal.

► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Kitsap Mental Health wins legal round against union — A labor judge has ruled in favor of Kitsap Mental Health Services in a dispute over employees who voted to decertify their union. In December 2009, a majority of KMHS employees signed a petition to decertify the SEIU as their labor negotiators.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — New law means less DOC supervision for most offenders on probation — A law passed in May means struggling DOC clients won’t get more time. To cut costs, the Legislature ended “tolling” — pausing DOC supervision upon arrest and resuming the clock upon release. As a result of the law, many of the state’s 18,000 offenders on probation could backslide, DOC officials say.




► In today’s NY Times — Stalemate in Senate leaves 4,000 out of work at FAA — The partial agency shutdown, which began on July 23, has also idled tens of thousands of construction workers on airport projects around the country. If the stalemate continues through Labor Day, the government could lose roughly $1 billion in tax revenues on airline ticket sales. The impasse centers on disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over a program that subsidizes commercial air service to rural airports. But behind the scenes, a larger fight has been taking place over federal rules on labor elections in the airline industry.

► At Politico — Americans for Prosperity: Wisconsin absentee ballot a ‘mistake’ — The conservative third-party group Americans for Prosperity said absentee ballots sent to Wisconsin voters this weekend with the wrong election date were the result of a “printing mistake.” The fliers from the advocacy group informed voters they should return ballots to their city clerk before Aug. 11 — even though the next election day is Aug. 9.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Onion News Network writers join Writers Guild — The comedy writers at the Onion News Network, who have brought us such stories as “Social Security Reform Bill Encourages Americans to Live Faster, Die Younger,” and “Man Becomes GOP Front Runner After Showing No Interest in Government,” have joined the Writers Guild of America.

► Today at The Onion — Drunken Ben Bernanke tells everyone at neighborhood bar how screwed U.S. economy really is — “Hell, as long as we’re being honest, I might as well tell you that a truer estimate of the U.S. unemployment rate is actually up around 16 percent, with a 0.7 percent annual rate of economic growth if we’re lucky—if we’re lucky,” said the Federal Reserve chairman, nearly knocking a full beer over while gesturing with his hands.




► In yesterday’s NY Times — The strike that busted unions (by Joseph McCartin) — Thirty years ago today, when he threatened to fire nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers unless they called off an illegal strike, Ronald Reagan not only transformed his presidency, but also shaped the world of the modern workplace. More than any other labor dispute of the past three decades, Reagan’s confrontation with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or Patco, undermined the bargaining power of American workers and their labor unions. It also polarized our politics in ways that prevent us from addressing the root of our economic troubles: the continuing stagnation of incomes despite rising corporate profits and worker productivity.


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