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Liquor-palooza, Walker’s Sugar Momma, weak job growth, ‘Star’…

Friday, June 1, 2012




► From AP — State Supreme Court upholds liquor initiative, 5-4 — The 5-4 ruling clears the way for supermarkets and warehouse retailers such as Costco and Wal-Mart to begin selling bourbon, vodka and other spirits beginning today.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The big corporations that bought this new law (and the free-market think tanks they fund) are unhappy that the rules unanimously approved Wednesday by the state Liquor Control Board fail to cut out the liquor distributors. They vow to sue the state to allow them to buy directly from manufacturers. In the meantime, they placed a couple calls to their golfing buddies on the newspaper editorial boards and were rewarded with editorials today in The (Everett) Herald and The Seattle Times that caution the Liquor Control Board to drop the “control” part.

► In today’s Columbian — Medicaid members worried sick — When the state Health Care Authority decided in February not to continue its contract with Columbian United Providers, thousands of low-income Clark County families who are Medicaid Basic Health and Healthy Options members, were left searching for answers. The months that followed have offered few solutions.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Government of the many, by the few (by Shawn Vestal) — As the legal arguments over I-1053 move to the state Supreme Court, it’s worth noting the question that Judge Bruce Heller didn’t answer: Is the supermajority stupid? Our past several legislative sessions scream yes. What we did, in November 2010, was hand control of the budget to a minority of legislators, and a small minority at that — 17 people in the Senate can prevent passage of a tax. The initiative and its predecessors created a superminority, a stubbornly destructive gang of hard-core tax ideologues — people who would vote against any tax, no matter what. The years since I-1053 passed have proven that there is simply no scenario one could envision — no suffering or social cost — that might persuade this superminority to support the slightest tax increase on the wealthiest citizen.




► In today’s Columbian — State rules in firefighters’ favor — A state employment relations examiner ruled that the city of Vancouver violated state law by refusing to maintain grievance procedures with the Vancouver Firefighters Union. The ruling is the second having to do with a series of 40 to 50 grievances filed by the firefighters union all related to the same topic, and brings the issue to a close.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Bechtel faces fine for safety incidents at Hanford vit plant— The Department of Energy proposed a $150,000 fine against Bechtel National on Thursday following two construction incidents at the Hanford vitrification plant.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Azzano Orchards in Omak fined for farmworker-housing violations — The Okanogan County firm has been fined more than $11,000 for violating federal laws regulating safety and health in farmworker housing.




► In today’s NY Times — Wisconsin recall election could foretell November vote — With more than $30 million raised from conservative donors, many of them from other states, and visits from a who’s who of high-profile Republican governors, Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign to survive a recall vote has the feel, the money and the stakes of a national race.

► At Huffington Post — In debate, Barrett accuses Walker of running ‘Willie Horton’ ad — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) accused Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) during the gubernatorial debate on Thursday of running an inappropriate ad about crime in his city, comparing it to the much-criticized “Willie Horton” ad of the 1988 presidential campaign.

► In The Hill — AFSCME’s McEntee says Dems could do more for Wisconsin recall — Gerry McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said more could and should have been done in the effort to remove Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) from office by the national party.

► From ABC News — How 21,000 wealthy Americans avoided paying income tax — The richest woman in Wisconsin, Diane Hendricks, is worth an estimated $2.8 billion, but she did not pay a dime in state income tax in 2010. Because of a change in how her company, ABC Supply Inc., is structured, Hendricks reduced her personal state income tax burden from $2.3 million in 2009 to zero in 2010.

EDITOR’S NOTE — What does that story have to do with recalling Walker? Instead of paying any taxes to help that state balance its budget, the above-described billionaire, Diane Hendricks, has personally given more than $500,000 to Walker’s campaign. In fact, she was the woman who asked Walker how they could make Wisconsin a “red state” by getting rid of the unions, prompting him to admit on camera that his attacks on public employees were a political “divide-and-conquer” strategy to eliminate unions, not to balance the budget.




► At AFL-CIO Now — 69,000 jobs created in May — Jobs increased by only 69,000 in May, well below the 100,000 per month needed just to keep up with new job entrants. Just as troubling as the lack of strong job growth are the numbers of long-term unemployed, which rose from 5.1 million to 5.4 million last month.

► In today’s NY Times — Weak U.S. hiring adds to global gloom — The payroll growth, which came in at less than half what analysts had expected and was the lowest number of net jobs created in a year, puts increased pressure on the Federal Reserve to expand its stimulus campaign.

► In today’s NY Times — The austerity agenda (by Paul Krugman) — In America and in Britain, the push for austerity is not really about debt and deficits. It’s about using deficit panic as an excuse to dismantle social programs.

► At Huffington Post — U.S. trade position protecting high drug prices blasted by U.N. agencies — Two major United Nations organizations warned world leaders on Thursday to avoid restrictive free trade agreements that may threaten public health, amplifying international pressure against President Obama’s controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

► In today’s NY Times — At shareholder meeting, Wal-Mart to confront shareholder unrest — As Wal-Mart celebrates its 50th anniversary at its annual shareholders’ meeting on Friday, the company is expected to face some of the staunchest opposition in years to the continued tenure of several board members and its chief executive, as well as some corporate policies.

► In today’s NY Times — The wrong résumé (by Tim Egan) — The evidence suggests that electing a president with a business background is actually a terrible idea.




► For no particular reason, the entire staff of The Stand presents: “Star” by Stealers Wheel. We always preferred this song to the band’s big hit, “Stuck in the Middle With You.” We mourn last year’s untimely passing of Gerry Rafferty and lament that his music career was beset by legal problems, alcoholism, and a crippling fear of performing live. That might explain why the recorded song is overdubbed onto this rare live performance — and that the audience in front of the performers is positioned to face AWAY from the stage!


Rafferty’s music lives on! Witness this recent performance of his solo hit “Right Down the Line” by the legendary Bonnie Raitt. Enjoy, and have a great weekend — brought to you by the Labor Movement.


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