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McKenna: “La, la, la…”, lame ducks, Midnight Oil…

Friday, November 9, 2012




► In today’s Seattle Times — Jay Inslee holding onto lead in governor’s race— Democrat Jay Inslee maintained a 50,000-vote lead in the gubernatorial race Thursday night, and despite the long odds against a comeback, Republican Rob McKenna continued to insist he’ll close the gap and win as the final votes are tallied. With an estimated 770,000 votes left to be counted, time is running out for McKenna, whose vote deficit has remained nearly unchanged since Election Day. To catch up, the Republican would need to grab 54 percent of the remaining votes — a target he has not hit on any day of vote-counting so far.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Koster to concede; criticizes lack of GOP aid — Republican John Koster tells supporters he will concede defeat in his race for Congress and holds leaders of his party partly to blame for the setback.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Because it had nothing to do with Koster’s advocacy for right-to-work (for less), privatizing Social Security, lowering the minimum wage, or that whole “rape thing” thing.

► In today’s Columbian — Benton pulls ahead of Probst in Senate race — State Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) has pulled ahead in his tight race with Democrat Tim Probst, as updated results released Thursday showed Benton with a 62-vote lead. On Election Day, Probst had a 222-vote lead.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Washington a beacon for marriage equality (editorial) — Washingtonians should be proud of its pioneering status on this human rights issue. State voters once again have put the state at the forefront of equality and justice by granting gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. Just like everyone else.




► In yesterday’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane Symphony cancels four additional concerts — The Spokane Symphony announced Wednesday that several more performances will be canceled as its musicians continue to strike.

TAKE A STAND and support these musicians by joining their pickets this weekend! These members of the Professional Musicians, Local 105, American Federation of Musicians will be picketing in front of the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox Theater, 1001 West Sprague Ave. TONIGHT (Friday) from 5 to 8 p.m. and again on Saturday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m.  Their message is for management to negotiate a FAIR agreement, sustainable for the Musicians.

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Spokane Symphony Orchestra musicians strike

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Energy Secretary to move forward with Hanford vitrification plant— Energy Secretary Steven Chu plans to move the Hanford vitrification plant project forward with new teams to take focused looks at technical issues and a separate evaluation of opportunities for more efficient or faster operations at the plant.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Organizing victories in Portland energize Oregon’s working families — After electoral wins across the state and three successful organizing drives in the past three months, full-time, part-time and extra board paratransit drivers and dispatchers with First Transit Region 3 voted Wednesday to form their own union with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 757.

► At — Immigrants demand reform from newly elected Obama — Immigrants and advocates rallied in Seattle Thursday to highlight their priority for the President Obama’s second term:  Comprehensive immigration reform. Immigrant and Latino voters turned out in record numbers this election and overwhelmingly backed Obama.  Now, immigrants appear ready to exercise their political clout.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Washington’s apple crop is up again— Washington apple shippers and packers say this year’s fresh apple crop will reach record highs despite early worries about hail damage and not enough pickers.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Former contract liquor stores sue state — The owners of 11 stores that sold liquor under contract with the Washington State Liquor Control Board are suing the state, saying it owes them an estimated $7.5 million for losses they incurred because of the way the state handled the June 1 transition to private liquor sales.




► At Huffington Post — An election message to lame-duck Congress: Fair taxes, no cuts (by Richard Trumka) — This election came down to a choice between two very different visions for our nation and our middle class. Our vision rewards hard work and the people who do it. Their vision benefits only those at the top.

What should Congress do? 1. Congress should let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. 2. Congress must make no cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Sign the petition:

► In today’s Washington Post — Obama expected to propose freeze on middle-class tax rates — President Obama is expected to call on lawmakers Friday to pass legislation to immediately freeze tax rates for the middle class and will urge Congress to work together to resolve the year-end “fiscal cliff.”

► At AFL-CIO Now — No, Republicans have not changed their tune on taxes — Some news outlets have suggested that Republicans have changed their position on taxes after their resounding defeat on Tuesday.  This is not the case.  Republicans are still demanding lower tax rates for the richest 2% of Americans, paid for by cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

► In today’s NY Times — Let’s not make a deal (by Paul Krugman) — So President Obama has to make a decision, almost immediately, about how to deal with continuing Republican obstruction. How far should he go in accommodating the G.O.P.’s demands? My answer is, not far at all. Obama should hang tough, declaring himself willing, if necessary, to hold his ground even at the cost of letting his opponents inflict damage on a still-shaky economy. And this is definitely no time to negotiate a “grand bargain” on the budget that snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.




► In today’s NY Times — In Michigan, a setback for unions — Michigan’s labor unions spent months pushing a referendum to amend the state’s Constitution to prohibit the legislature from ever enacting a law that would curb the powers of public employee unions. Some political experts say the measure was voted down for the same reason that the four other ballot initiatives to amend Michigan’s Constitution were defeated: voters were wary of tinkering with their state’s Constitution.

► In today’s NY Times — With Obama re-elected, some states scramble over health law — The election came just 10 days before a critical deadline for states in carrying out the law, and many that were waiting for the outcome must now hustle to comply.

► In today’s NY Times — The Great Experiment (by Timothy Egan) — Those who see nothing but decline, loss and failure in Tuesday’s results, those who see a victory for “the transfer-payment state,” and the “entitlement mentality,” miss the point. The winner on Tuesday was the Great Experiment, given fresh life.

► At AFL-CIO Now — OSHA fines American Crystal Sugar for dangerous build up of combustible sugar dust — In October, American Crystal Sugar — which has locked out its highly trained 1,300 member workforce since August 2011 — has been assessed nearly $50,000 in fines by OSHA for widespread, “high gravity” and “serious” safety violations.

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — AFL-CIO plans American Crystal Sugar boycott over lockout

► In today’s Washington Post — After Obama reelection, coal CEO reads prayer to staff, announces layoffs




► Speaking of evil mining company bosses, today the entire staff of The Stand present Midnight Oil’s “Blue Sky Mine.” The song was inspired by the experiences of Australian workers at the Wittenoom asbestos mines who contracted various asbestos-related diseases. The “blue” refers to blue asbestos, and the “sugar refining company” refers to the Colonial Sugar Refining company, the owner of the mines.

Have a great weekend — brought to you by the Labor Movement.


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