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FAA bill passes, Hastings’ earmark, Rove ham…

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F.A.A. BILL

 

► At Huffington Post — Senate passes FAA bill with anti-union measure — The Senate passed a Federal Aviation Administration bill on Monday that includes an anti-union measure bitterly opposed by many labor groups.

► EDITOR’S NOTE — Both Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell voted “yes” on the bill. As The Stand reported, 19 labor unions signed onto a letter of opposition to the measure, but a handful of other unions endorsed the compromise, which codified collective bargaining rights for FAA employees. For that reason, the AFL-CIO took no position on the final FAA bill. That split within labor may explain why today’s coverage of the FAA bill’s passage in The Hill and the NY Times downplayed the anti-union language.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Congress passes bill reauthorizing FAA spending — The bill’s approval is expected to bring more than $40 million in investment for Spokane International Airport and Felts Field over four years.

 


TRANSPORTATION

 

► Today’s story of our state’s crumbling infrastructure, in the News Tribune — Weight restrictions put on Sumner’s Bridge Street bridge— For the second time in a year, a bridge has been given weight restrictions in the heart of the Puyallup Valley, where heavy freight moves regularly between the Interstate 5 corridor and points east. Local officials estimated replacing their bridge could cost $10 million to $12 million. They’re applying for state money.

► Meanwhile in Olympia, from TheOlympian.com — Senate transportation budget shrinks to $52 million — The governor’s transportation task force called for $21 billion in spending over 10 years. Gregoire decided not to go for a gas-tax increase this year, but called for raising $3.6 billion mostly through fees on oil. But now, the Senate is talking about millions, not billions.

EDITOR’S NOTE — These cuts are killing jobs and killing our state’s competitiveness.

 


MORE STATE GOVERNMENT

 

► From AP — Capital gains tax may also go before voters— The Senate’s chief budget writer, Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle), proposes a plan that would have voters decide not only on a temporary sales tax increase this year, but also on a permanent capital gains tax that would be dedicated to paying for education for the long term.

 


ELECTION

 

► From AP — Inslee releases jobs plan— Closing unproductive state tax loopholes and holding down health care costs would help pay for education programs that have suffered deep cuts in recent years, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee said during an appearance at a small Spokane aerospace company on Monday. The proposal is part of an economic development plan released Monday by the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Inslee said he would focus on growing the aerospace, life sciences, military, agriculture, information technology and clean energy industries. He also said he would seek to change the culture of the state capital of Olympia to promote job creation.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Inslee’s jobs plan focuses on six ‘key industry clusters’ — The Democratic congressman from Bainbridge Island said he would focus the state’s job creation efforts on six “key industry clusters” — aerospace, life sciences, military, agriculture, information technology and clean-energy technology.

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — PNNL hopes job cuts later this month to be less than 100— Layoffs are expected to be announced late this month at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, but lab director Mike Kluse hopes fewer than 100 jobs will be cut, he said Monday.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Grain ship due Tuesday at EGT grain terminal— The first grain ship headed to the EGT export terminal is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Longview between 11 a.m. and noon Tuesday after dockworkers on Monday announced they’ve resolved “fundamental” differences with the company.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing inspects 787s for defects in tail sections — Boeing discovered a problem that originated at the company’s South Carolina facility, a site bought from troubled supplier Vought Aircraft Industries.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Probes underway into cause of industrial accident at Boeing — Multiple investigations are under way after a Boeing employee was run over by a plane at Paine Field in Everett on Friday night.

► In today’s Columbian — Who will vote on light rail? Find out in July — The size of a voting district — whether it includes everyone in the transit agency’s service area or a smaller subdistrict such as Vancouver and its urban growth boundary — isn’t set to be finalized until July.

 


CONGRESS

 

► In today’s Washington Post —Where public projects meet private interests — Thirty-three members of Congress have directed more than $300 million in earmarks and other spending provisions to dozens of public projects that are next to or within about two miles of the lawmakers’ own property, according to a Washington Post investigation.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Our own Rep. “Doc” Hastings is one of the 33. In 2009, he secured a $750,000 earmark to replace an outdated railroad underpass with a new bridge in Pasco. Columbia Basin Paper & Supply, a janitorial business that Hastings owned and ran until he was elected, is about three blocks to the west. His brother now operates the company, but Hastings and his wife still own the land and the building. Score!

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Overtime bill pits needs of high-tech employers vs. workers — High-tech workers across the country could see smaller paychecks under an industry-led campaign to revise labor laws to further limit overtime benefits. Multinational firms behind the effort, such as IBM and Intel, say the changes are necessary to keep jobs from going overseas. Computer workers see it as an effort to squeeze more work out of employees for less pay in an industry that’s notorious for killer hours and all-nighters.

► In today’s NY Times — The payroll tax fight (editorial) — Republicans are yet again stalling the extension of the payroll tax cut with extraneous demands and political ploys.

► In today’s NY Times — House, Senate at impasse on Medicare payments — Lawmakers in both parties say they want to give doctors a small increase in Medicare payments, but they cannot agree on how to pay for it.

► At TPM — Are Republicans about to commit Medicare suicide? — Just under a year ago, Republicans — euphoric after a midterm election landslide, and overzealous in their interpretation of their mandate — passed a budget that called for phasing out Medicare over the coming years and replacing it with a subsidized private insurance system for newly eligible seniors. The backlash was ugly. But Republicans seem to have forgotten how poisonous that vote really was, and remains… because they’re poised to do it again.

ALSO in The Stand — GOP Medicare plan goes down in flames (May 26, 2011)

 


NATIONAL

 

► In today’s Alaska Dispatch — A big union win for employees of Sheraton Anchorage — In a big win for unions, a federal judge in Alaska has ordered the Anchorage-based Sheraton Hotel to restore many of the rights that union workers say were lost during contract negations between Unite Here Local 878 and the Sheraton’s manager, Remington Lodging and Hospitality. Those negotiations, which began in 2009, broke down in 2010.

► In today’s LA Times — California not among states to OK bank settlement — More than 40 states (apparently including Washington… thanks, Mr. McKenna!) signed onto a proposed $25-billion settlement with major mortgage servicers over faulty foreclosure procedures, but California, New York and other key states were still not among them. California’s AG is still trying to strike more favorable terms for state residents hurt by the mortgage companies’ illegal or questionable methods.

► In today’s NY Times — Greek workers strike against new round of austerity — Greek workers walked off the job on Tuesday to protest a new barrage of austerity measures being demanded by the country’s foreign creditors in exchange for a second bailout.

► In today’s LA Times — For many, affordable health care hinges on Supreme Court vote (David Lazarus column) — The high court will vote this year on a requirement in Obama’s healthcare reform law that people buy insurance, which insurers see as a quid pro quo for accepting those with preexisting conditions.

 


TODAY’S MUST-SEE AGAIN

 

► This Super Bowl ad for Chrysler:

► In The Hill — Clint’s Chrysler ad ruffles some Republican feathers — Chrysler’s Super Bowl commercial featuring Clint Eastwood touched off a post-game political fight Monday over whether the ad was an endorsement of President Obama. Karl Rove and other Republicans argued the ad echoed Obama’s reelection themes, namely, campaigning on the revitalization of the auto industry.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Can I see a show of hands of anybody who gives a #$!*@ what Karl Rove thinks? He is one of the most despicable political dirtbags of our generation. He deserves to be in jail for the treasonous act of putting partisan politics ahead of national security (among other things). Instead, he occupies Faux News daily as if he’s some kind of respected commentator. Meanwhile, this human ham loaf launders anonymous money from billionaires and corporations to pollute our airwaves with campaign ads promoting the candidates of the 1%.

► A related story in today’s Washington Post — ‘Secret money’ is funding more election ads — More than a third of the advertising tied to the presidential race has been funded by nonprofit groups that will never have to reveal their donors, suggesting that a significant portion of the 2012 elections will be wrapped in a vast cloak of secrecy. Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit group backed by GOP political guru Karl Rove, has spent more than $10 million on ads targeting Obama.

 


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.

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