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Marriage equality, liquor revenue slips, Mitt shrugs…

Tuesday, August 14, 2012




► At PubliCola — One question for the Boeing Machinists — We asked IAM 751’s Larry Brown about the union’s decision to take a louder stance on marriage equality. He said: “I think like all humans and human institutions, we grow and we change, and we transform. This is not a monolithic organization; our union stands for social justice, and this seems like the right time to come out for the right position on this initiative. Our legislature passed it, the people approved, we have domestic same-gender partnership benefits at Boeing now, and have had for a while. It just seemed like the right time.”

ALSO at The Stand — Why the labor movement supports marriage equality (by Lynne Dodson)

► In today’s Seattle Times — Sanders advances in race for state’s high court — Former state Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders will face Seattle appeals lawyer Sheryl Gordon McCloud in the November general election for the seat being vacated by retiring Justice Tom Chambers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington State Labor Council has endorsed Sheryl Gordon McCloud in this race. Click here for a complete list of the WSLC’s post-primary endorsements.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Steve Gonzalez’s election shows need for vote reform (editorial) — Gonzalez is the first person with a Latino surname in Washington history to win a statewide race. That his ascent was made more difficult by his ethnicity is a political dilemma that needs resolving. Racially polarized voting has contributed to a lack of diversity in political office in parts of Washington state, contradicting the electoral ideals of a representative democracy.




► From AP — Liquor sales slip as law changes — The state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council reports that June tax receipts from liquor were $1.1 million lower than anticipated. But Washington will need at least three more months to identify long-term trends resulting from Initiative 1183, the Washington state Department of Revenue said Monday.

► In the (Everett) Herald — Measure to decriminalize pot could bring billions to state coffers — If voters pass Initiative 502 this fall allowing adults to legally grow, sell and smoke marijuana, it could spur an economic boon generating a half-billion dollars a year for the state coffers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — But how long before Costco buys another initiative so it can sell marijuana?

► In the Spokesman-Review — School superintendents’ salaries among state workers’ highest — As the start of school draws near, 34 public school districts in Washington will be led by new superintendents, including the state’s three largest districts: Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma. Most of those new hires will draw bigger paychecks than their predecessors.

► In today’s Olympian — State gets deadline extension to aid health planning— The federal government has agreed to give Washington more time to spend money from a long-standing health care grant to help target Medicaid services to residents who become newly eligible under national health reforms in 2014.




► In Sunday’s (Everett) Herald — Does state have too many aerospace booster groups? — There are 70 aerospace-related groups in the state, some of them government-created and some of them purely of business but all with more or less the same mission: to promote the industry, to create jobs.

► In the (Everett) Herald — Boeing expands Oregon operations— Boeing invested more than $100 million in the 64,000-square-foot plant and additional expanded quarters in Gresham, which opened Friday with tours and speeches by company managers. Already the aircraft manufacturer has added 350 workers since breaking ground two years ago on the new space.




► In today’s Bellingham Herald — BP sells assets to Tesoro; hiring continues at Cherry Point— BP’s announcement Monday about the sale of the Carson, Calif., refinery and other West Coast assets to Tesoro Corp. doesn’t change plans to add new positions at the Cherry Point refinery near Ferndale.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Firefighter killed in Idaho — A 20-year-old U.S. Forest Service firefighter died after she was struck by a falling tree in north-central Idaho, highlighting the dangerous job crews face as at least a dozen blazes continue to burn across Idaho and Washington.

► In today’s News Tribune — Pierce County may slash budget 3% — A tough round of budget choices is shaping up this fall for Pierce County government, with across-the-board cuts of 3% looming next year for services ranging from law enforcement to parks, from building permits to emergency management.

► In the News Tribune — Too many for-profit colleges fail to deliver for students (editorial) — A new Senate education committee report on the nation’s for-profit colleges paints a disturbing picture of billions in taxpayer dollars being spent on student aid, with precious little to show for it.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Nathan Adrian: Son of union member makes Olympic gold — In a dramatic, heart-racing sprint, Adrian, of Bremerton took home his first individual gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle swim, beating the gold-medal favorite, Australian James “The Missile” Magnussen by one-hundredth of a second. Adrian’s father, Jim, is a retired nuclear engineer for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and former president of IFPTE Local 12.




► At AFL-CIO Now — 40,000 call for Second Bill of Rights — Some 40,000 working people — including Bo McCurry — stood up for working families and a Second Bill of Rights at a huge rally in Philadelphia on Saturday. McCurry, 58, worked for 25 years at a Sparta, Tenn., manufacturing plant. Earlier this year, the plant closed its doors and shipped the jobs to Mexico. Says McCurry:  “My wife and I both lost our jobs, and so did 270 of our neighbors. The company just moved on and left us all behind. We need help getting back on our feet. That’s why I’m here to tell our nation’s leaders that we all have a right to a secure and healthy future.”

► At BizTimes — AFL-CIO calls for national boycott of Palermo’s pizza — The AFL-CIO has called for a nationwide boycott of Milwaukee-based Palermo Villa Inc., which is embroiled in a labor dispute. The boycott covers Palermo’s brand pizza, “Classics” brand pizza and private label brand frozen pizza produced by Palermo, including Costco’s Kirkland brand.

► In the Washington Post — Gage gets victory lap before retiring as AFGE leader — Had negotiations over a contract for 45,000 transportation security officers dragged on much longer, the leader of the largest federal employee union would have been denied the accomplishment he was determined to secure. But after a negotiating process that began seven months ago and an organizing effort that began a decade ago, the AFGE and the TSA reached agreement last week, just two weeks before John Gage leaves office.

► At — Toll collectors union blames worker’s suicide on pay cuts — Toll collector Patrick Kelly was hailed as a hero in 2005 when he reported a suspicious vehicle passing through his New Jersey Turnpike plaza in Newark during an “Amber Alert,” leading to the safe rescue of a child who had been abducted in Irvington. On July 16, Kelly, 58, used a gun to take his own life and the toll collectors union blames his death on the stresses he faced after getting the second of two $8,000 pay cuts.

► In today’s News Tribune — For 29 dead miners, a monument but no new safety measures (by Peter Galuszka) — Despite the enormity of the Upper Big Branch disaster, the tragedy has not led to any significant new federal legislation to stop a serial safety violator such as Massey from cutting corners and causing the deaths of more workers.

► In the News Tribune — Governors do their political posturing on the backs of the elderly (Brendan Williams column) — Led by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, modern-day secessionists declare they prefer to have millions of citizens continue to go without health care coverage rather than accept money from the federal government to cover those citizens through Medicaid.




► At AFL-CIO Now — Union consensus on Romney’s VP pick: Wrong for America — Said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “Whether it’s outsourcing American jobs or picking his running mate, Mitt Romney’s proven just how bad his decision making is for working people. Aligning himself with the poster-child for ending Medicare and Social Security puts to rest any suggestion that Romney has a clue what the middle class needs. We’re witnessing the radical Tea Party extremes drive its final nail in what was once the Republican Party.”

► In The Hill — Poll: Americans not enthusiastic about Paul Ryan as VP pick — Forty-two percent said they viewed Ryan’s candidacy as a “fair” or “poor” move by the Romney campaign, compared to 39% who said it was an “excellent” or “pretty good” choice.

► At Politico — GOP pros fret over Ryan— Away from the cameras, there is an unmistakable consensus among Republican operatives in Washington: Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right — and a huge chance of going horribly wrong.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Ryan budget would dig fiscal grave for states — Ryan’s proposed cuts in non-defense discretionary spending to the states are so deep they would be three times deeper in 2014 than the cuts from the sequestration “fiscal cliff.” In later years, the difference would be even larger.

► At TPM — Inside Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Social Security — One of Rep. Paul Ryan’s many past proposals to remake the federal safety net included a sweeping plan to privatize Social Security and risk the program’s solvency in attempting to save it.

► In today’s NY Times — Medicare rises as prime election issue — With Romney’s selection of Ryan as his running mate, Florida quickly emerges as a critical test of the nationwide Republican gamble that concerns over the mounting federal debt can blunt potent Democratic attacks on conservative proposals to revamp Medicare.

► In The Onion — Paul Ryan wondering if he should have told Romney about this guy he’s dating




► In today’s Washington Post — Romney and Ryan’s disdain for the working class(by Eugene Robinson) — School bus drivers don’t make a lot of money. Nor, for that matter, do the clerks who help keep unqualified drivers and unsafe vehicles off the streets. But these workers are not mere cogs in a machine designed to service those who make more money. They are part of a community. The same is true of teachers, police officers, firefighters and others whom Romney and Ryan dismiss as minions of “big government” rather than public servants.

And what do the Republicans offer their supposed heroes, the entrepreneurs who start small businesses? The few who succeed wildly would be rewarded with tax cuts so huge that they, like Romney, might one day have a dressage horse competing in the Olympics. Most of those who just manage to scrape by, or whose businesses fail, could look forward to only as much health care in their senior years as they are able to afford, and not one bit more.


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