► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing to close Wichita plant — Faced with defense budget reductions, Boeing announced Wednesday it will close its defense plant in Wichita by the end of 2013. The company said it was moving future aircraft maintenance, modification and support to its plant in San Antonio, Texas, and engineering work to Oklahoma City. Work on the Air Force refueling tanker will be performed in Washington State. The company said the 24 Kansas suppliers on that program will continue to provide parts as originally planned.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Rehired DSHS chief will lead with less— When Robin Arnold-Williams walked back into the Department of Social and Health Services offices Tuesday morning, three years after resigning as the agency’s chief, she was greeted by a slimmer budget and thousands fewer employees than when she left. WFSE Executive Director praised the decision to rehire Arnold-Williams: “I think she’s incredibly fair; I think she’s incredibly thoughtful. The best thing about her is that she would tell you, good or bad, what was happening. Most secretaries or directors, if there’s bad news, they don’t want to talk to you.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Gregoire expected to back gay-marriage bill — Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to publicly back efforts to make Washington the seventh state to legalize marriage for lesbian and gay couples.
► From AP — Romney finishes on top with Santorum close behind — With Mitt Romney’s razor-thin, eight-vote victory over Rick Santorum, Iowa has created a new pecking order for the primaries to come in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and beyond.
► In today’s NY Times — Iowa vote reinforces GOP’s ideological divide — More than anything else, the Iowa caucuses cast in electoral stone what has played out in the squishy world of polls and punditry for the last 12 months: The deep ideological divisions among Republicans continue to complicate their ability to focus wholly on defeating President Obama.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Advocates look to line up Latino voters in new 15th Legislative District — Building on a historic redrawing of the Yakima Valley’s legislative districts, minority advocates plan to mount a voter registration campaign to increase Latino participation and influence in local and state politics.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Stymied by redistricting, Liias scraps run for Congress — Democratic state Rep. Marko Liias of Edmonds has decided to pursue a longer career in the state Legislature and will seek re-election this November.
► At Slog — No Democratic challengers to Rep. Adam Smith in Seattle’s new “majority-minority” 9th CD— OneAmerica founder Pramila Jayapal will not challenge him.
► In the Daily News — Baird takes lobbying job for Portland-based industrial firm
► In today’s News Tribune — Boeing to meet with workers in Wichita today — Boeing is planning a mandatory meeting today for all employees at its Wichita defense plant amid speculation about the facility’s future. Boeing officials announced last month they have been studying whether to close the defense plant.
► In today’s News Tribune — New terminal in Mexico could mean competition for West Coast ports— A Danish shipping terminal operating company has won the right to build a new deepwater container terminal at the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas. That new $900 million facility on Mexico’s Pacific coast will bring new competition to American West Coast ports for business feeding imported goods to the Midwest and South.
► From Reuters — Indiana debates becoming first Rust Belt “Right to Work” state— It is expected to pass the Republican-majority Indiana assembly with the support of Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels. But Democrats and labor unions are promising a fight, which could include massive protests at the state Capitol like those seen in Ohio and Wisconsin last year during battles over collective bargaining rights for public workers.
► In The Hill — Obama under pressure to break precedent on recess appointments — Using this recess to appoint Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as liberals have urged, would also contradict a brief issued by the Clinton Justice Department in 1993, which Obama’s own deputy solicitor general cited last year.
► In today’s Washington Post — No longer the land of opportunity (Harold Meyerson column) — Mitt Romney and his buddies may view their wealth as the just rewards endemic to successful people in a merit-based society. But why are so few Americans sharing in those rewards today while so many Americans shared in them 40 years ago? Are most Americans no longer meritorious? Or has our country ceased to reward any but the rich and powerful?
CHART OF THE DAY
► As Harold Meyerson’s column above points out, Mitt Romney’s campaign says President Obama’s goal is to turn America into an “Entitlement Society” rather than merit based society. Other Republican candidates have said similar thing. But as this chart demonstrates, it is the Republican “red states” that are the biggest recipients of federal spending, collecting significantly more than they contribute in taxes. So, who are the “Welfare Queens?” (The staff of The Stand is convinced a blue-red legislative district map of Washington State comparing state spending per dollar taxed would be very similar. Anybody got one?)
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. These links are functional at the date of posting, but sometimes expire.