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Koster’s ‘rape thing,’ WSF staffing, PSNS hiring, Mitt fudging…

Thursday, November 1, 2012




► From AP — John Koster: ‘Rape thing’ not cause for abortion — The Republican congressional candidate in Washington’s 1st District says abortion should not be legal, even when it involves “the rape thing.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — And with that, John Koster goes national, joining Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, Richard “Something God Intended” Mourdock, and more than a dozen other radical right-wingers who’ve tumbled out this particular clown car. Not only do these men disagree with most Americans on the issue — 76% of Republicans, 90% of Democrats and 81% of independents believe that abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest — they manage to diminish the horror and violence of rape with their stupid words and their biological idiocy.

► From — KING 5 poll: Governor’s race a dead heat — Just five days before election day, a new KING 5 poll finds the race for governor is a dead heat, with Democrat Jay Inslee at 47%, Republican Rob McKenna at 46% — within the poll’s margin of error.

► In The Stranger — Don’t Be Charter Fooled (by Goldy) — At a time when our public schools are gasping for money, Initiative 1240 could suck an additional $100 million a year out of existing public schools to fund up to 40 new privately operated charter schools that would be taxpayer-funded but have no taxpayer oversight. It is an ambitious promise to fix public schools, not with more funding or proven reforms, but through the magic of the free market. It’s a fantasy that hasn’t worked in the 41 other states that bought into it, and there’s no reason to expect it to work here.

► From AP — Mexico study — Pot legalization in U.S. cuts cartel profits — A study released Wednesday by a respected Mexican think tank asserts that proposals to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado, Oregon and Washington could cut Mexican drug cartels’ earnings from traffic to the U.S. by as much as 30%.




► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Required number of ferry workers to go up again — The Coast Guard, which in June allowed Washington State Ferries to cut a deckhand from crews of 10 boats to save money, will likely require those positions to be restored for safety. Ferries Director David Moseley said Tuesday that the expected changes would cost an estimated $9.8 million through June 30, and $14.1 million in the 2013-15 biennium. The ferries system doesn’t have the money, so the Legislature will need to find more revenue or further reduce service.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The entire staff of The Stand commutes to work via ferry. In conversations with fellow passengers, we have been astounded to hear people repeatedly speculate that the cancelled runs that have occurred since the WSF cut staffing in June were some kind of union work slowdown. In truth, the Inlandboatmen’s Union has been working with the WSF to try to avoid cancellations, but these staffing/budget cuts left no margin for error. Maybe if the WSF officials hadn’t speculated that unions were to blame to the ferry muckrakers at KING-TV, passengers would be accurately blaming budget cuts and lack of revenue for the problem and not the dedicated WSF workers.

► At — Liquor boosting much worse than first reported— Washington state has been out of the liquor business for around five months, and in that time private retailers have discovered some challenges in keeping the once state-controlled product from disappearing off store shelves. KIRO Radio reported earlier this month that liquor theft is a major problem across the state, but it turns out the issue is much worse than originally thought.




► In today’s Seattle Times — United gets its 787 a little late — United took delivery of its second 787 Dreamliner on Wednesday, just days later than anticipated earlier. Separately, a seat supplier has caused a seven-week delay in delivery of a 777 to American Airlines.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing opens another local facility for KC-46 tanker — Boeing opened a system integration laboratory “to support testing and reduce risk” on the tanker. The lab is located at Boeing Field in Seattle.




► In the Kitsap Sun — People have short window to apply for shipyard jobs — Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility is accepting applications until 9 p.m. Friday for 400 to 500 entry-level “Helper” positions in services, machinery, mechanical, electrical and structural trades. Helpers participate in a one-year developmental program that advances them from WG-01 ($15.11 an hour) to WG-05 ($17.62), with optional after-hours college classes.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Future not necessarily dark for Semiahmoo Hotel— At least one major hotel management firm remains interested in acquiring the hotel slated for a Dec. 1 shutdown.

► At Crosscut — Manufacturing’s race to the bottom (by Daniel Jack Chasan) — Consumer demand has forced Northwest companies like REI and Nike to off-shore their manufacturing processes. The result: poor working conditions and unnecessary deaths




► At Huffington Post — Ohio game changer: Cars (by Richard Trumka) — Nothing illustrates the choice between the two presidential candidates better than the 2009 rescue of the auto industry. Mitt Romney can’t seem to Etch-a-Sketch that now-famous op-ed headline — “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Here was a millionaire whose idea of remaking America’s automakers was liquidation. It was a call for those companies to gut pay and benefits and shed pensions. That’s what Mitt Romney believed in. His goal was to “turn around” the industry by killing good jobs.

In Ohio, where the auto industry accounts for one out of eight jobs, voters have stuck with President Obama after he stuck his neck out to rescue those ailing giants and the workers, who together form America’s cornerstone industry. Because of President Obama’s action, the U.S. auto industry was not liquidated. Two million jobs or more were not lost or ruined.

► In today’s NY Times — Romney versus the automakers (editorial) — When General Motors tells a presidential campaign that it is engaging in “cynical campaign politics at its worst,” that’s a pretty good signal that the campaign has crossed a red line and ought to pull back. Not Mitt Romney’s campaign. Having broadcast an outrageously deceitful ad attacking the auto bailout, the campaign ignored the howls from carmakers and came back with more.

► In today’s Washington Post — An unlikely political pair, united by a storm — The scene of President Obama greeting his onetime political antagonist Gov. Chris Christie in Atlantic City was a striking departure from what has become an increasingly bitter campaign.

► In The Onion — Paul Ryan releases 90-minute high-endurance budget-slashing video — “Oh, yeah, we’re really in the groove now,” Ryan says a half hour into the video, after he finishes running up the eligibility age for Social Security. Later in the program, Ryan unveils several more advanced cost-cutting measures, including “maximum intensity” public education tucks to isolate excess Pell and Title I grants, and a rigorous 20-minute “Social Insurance Shredder” routine that the congressman says is “guaranteed to remove any traces of Medicaid and Medicare from your system.”




► At Politico — Cathy McMorris Rodgers, rising GOP star— Her supporters are publicly saying she has already locked up enough support to win her race against Georgia Rep. Tom Price for the No. 4 spot in House Republican leadership.

► In today’s Washington Post — Health insurers ready post-election message: ‘We’re not the bad guys!’ — Moving into a potential debate over deficit reduction, health insurers are arming their lobbyists with data that argues that other health care sectors are actually the ones to blame.




► From NW Labor Press — Fly the union-friendly skies, if you can find them — Do you fly airlines where the workers have union representation, or airlines that have kept unions out? To help you know which is which, the Northwest Labor Press consulted company annual reports and data from the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and contacted airline unions. The findings: U.S. airlines range from 85%  unionized US Airways to totally nonunion JetBlue.

EDITOR’S NOTE — You’ll note that this article lists Alaska Airlines as having IAM-represented baggage handlers. Alaska infamously busted the IAM baggage handlers at SeaTac Airport in 2005. After those workers rejected the airline’s contract offer to cut their wages from more than $20 an hour to $14 an hour, Alaska fired all 472 of its baggage handlers here and contracted out their jobs to nonunion Menzies Aviation. (The new low-wage workers promptly began damaging jets, including one jet that lost cabin pressure after a worker failed to report he had ruptured it with the baggage loader.) However, IAM does continue to represent some of the airline’s baggage handlers in Alaska and other airports.


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