Wednesday, November 14, 2012
► In today’s Columbian — Benton, Stonier ahead in tight legislative races — Incumbent Don Benton once again pulled ahead of his Democratic rival, Tim Probst, in the too-close-to-call 17th District Senate race. Benton leads by 65 votes with more than 6,400 ballots from across the Clark County left to count. In the House race between Democrat Monica Stonier and Republican Julie Olson, Stonier leads Olson by 39 votes.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Ed Murray tapped for top state Senate role— Budget-committee chairman Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle) was picked Tuesday to be the new state Senate majority leader. He was chosen by his caucus to replace retiring Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-Spokane)… If it came down to a Senate power-sharing deal (proposed by conservative Democrats Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon), Murray said, it might be better for Tom and Sheldon to caucus with Republicans and let the GOP take control. Republican Senate Leader Mike Hewitt’s response? “Gosh, I like the way he thinks.” Both Tom and Sheldon ruled out caucusing with the Republicans.
► At Slog – Hey, Senator Tom, don’t let the caucus door hit you on the way out (by Goldy) — Sheldon has always been his own weird thing, but Tom is a former Republican who’s been nothing but trouble since glue-sticking a “D” next to his name in 2006. If in the wake of an election in which Democrats won the White House, the governor’s mansion, and all but one statewide office, while holding onto control of the state House and Senate, Tom wants to switch parties once again, by all means go for it.
► In the News Tribune — We cannot leave our most vulnerable behind in struggle to balance budget (by Brendan Williams) — The election is over and, to quote Corinthians, it’s time to “put away childish things.” That includes any notion we can serve both the educational needs of our kids and the care needs of an aging society without tax increases.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — DelBene sworn in for 1st District — DelBene will complete the term of Democrat Gov.-elect Jay Inslee, who resigned from Congress earlier this year. She also will serve a full two-year term starting in January.
► From AP — Boeing considering how to account for pensions — Boeing is studying different ways to account for pension expenses, which reduced the company’s third-quarter earnings. Boeing’s net income in the third quarter fell 6% to $1 billion because of higher pension expenses. On a per-share basis, net income was $1.35 but would have been $1.53 without the pension item.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Pensions are a necessary labor cost, NOT an “item” to be separated out in some fantasy what-if-we-didn’t-have-to-pay-it exercise. This is an obligation you made to your employees, something they sought in lieu of higher pay or other benefits. You can’t go back, after the work is done, and imagine how much more money you’d make if you reneged on your commitment.
► At Marketwire — Boeing sends ‘contract pilots’ to Qatar and LAN as 787 outsourcing takes new turn, says SPEEA — The saga of 787 outsourcing at The Boeing Co. turned a new chapter today as the aerospace giant moved forward with plans to send non-Boeing temporary pilots to provide flight crew training. For more than 50 years, Boeing flight crew training has only been provided by full-time, experienced Boeing pilots.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Fiscal cliff would kneecap our military (by IAM’s Mark Blondin) — The fiscal cliff is especially bad news for Washington state, where sequestration would throttle defense and commercial aerospace work that has been critical to economic strength. When it comes to economic investments, it’s time to acknowledge that a lost job is a lost job, whether it’s a teacher or a machinist tooling military airplane parts. A teacher or manufacturing worker whose job gets sequestered can’t just pack up their family, learn the skills for another job, and get hired, especially in this fragile recovery.
► In today’s Washington Post — Obama to open talks with $1.6 trillion plan to raise taxes on corporations, wealthy — President Obama is taking a hard line with congressional Republicans heading into negotiations over the year-end “fiscal cliff,” making no opening concessions and calling for far more in new taxes than Republicans have so far been willing to consider.
► Click here to go to the AFL-CIO’s Facebook page are share the graphic at right.
► From AP — Labor chiefs say Obama backs them on ‘fiscal cliff’ — Labor leaders said Tuesday that President Barack Obama remains committed to preserving tax cuts for middle class families and ensuring the wealthy pay more in taxes, outlining plans for a public campaign to pressure Republican lawmakers.
► At Huffington Post — ‘A lot of energy’ in Obama’s meeting with liberal groups— The president and the participants largely focused on areas on which they agree: in particular, the need to extend low tax rates for the middle class while letting them expire for wealthier households. There was much less talk about possible areas of disagreement between Obama and his progressive partners, such as on cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
► In today’s News Tribune — Closing Tacoma port fire station would cost lives, opponents say — Longshoremen, laborers and others who work or spend time on the Tideflats told the Tacoma City Council that plans to close the city’s lone fire station in the Port of Tacoma would amount to a death sentence. “In our industry, the accidents tend to be severe and unusual — and never normal,” said Donnie Gill, an ILWU Local 23 officer. “Any reduction in response times is going to cost lives.”
► In today’s Huffington Post — Obama promises swift action on immigration — President Obama lifted the spirits of a room full of progressive leaders on Tuesday when he pledged to tackle immigration reform early in his second term.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Immigration reform now (editorial) — Washingtonians have witnessed the excesses of the immigration fight, from Border Patrol agents who conduct operations outside churches and schools frequented by immigrant families in Whatcom County, to politicians echoing the Know Nothing Party. It’s time to declare a truce, stop with the code words and move on comprehensive immigration reform now.
► In today’s NY Times — Workers in Eastern Europe synchronize anti-austerity strikes— For the first time since the start of the euro crisis, labor unrest took on a European dimension on Wednesday as Spanish and Portuguese workers coordinated a general strike while unions in Greece and Italy also planned protests and work stoppages.
► In the Badger Herald — University of Wisconsin attacks Palermo’s — A University of Wisconsin committee is in the process of re-evaluating the university’s contract with Palermo Pizza as investigations of Milwaukee food company’s alleged labor violations continue.
ALSO at The Stand — Rally Friday: Urge Costco to drop Palermo’s — On Friday, Nov. 16 at noon, all union members are invited to join striking Palermo’s workers, USW officials and community supporters at a rally outside Costco’s corporate headquarters, 999 Lake Dr. in Issaquah.
► At TPM — GOP leadership battle divides top Republicans — Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA) and Tom Price (GA) will go head-to-head Wednesday afternoon as the members hold a closed-door vote to elect the next House Republican Conference Chairman, the party’s No. 4 leadership role.
► In today’s Washington Post — Pelosi to stay on as House minority leader — Pelosi will remain the most vocal liberal voice in Congress opposing the Republican agenda, despite a second straight election in which her party failed to win back the majority.
► In today’s Washington Post — GOP’s gerrymandered advantages (by Harold Meyerson) — Republicans have so gerrymandered congressional districts in states where they controlled redistricting the past two years that they were able to elude a popular vote that went the Democrats’ way last week.
► At Politico — Murray Energy sank $100K in American Crossroads before layoffs— The Ohio-based company announced last week it would lay off 163 employees, citing the results of the general election.
► In today’s Washington Post — The Confederacy of Takers (by Dana Milbank) — President Obama’s opponents have unwittingly come up with a brilliant plan to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” They want to secede from the union. If Obama were serious about being a good steward of the nation’s finances, he’d let them.
Red states receive, on average, far more from the federal government in expenditures than they pay in taxes. The balance is the opposite in blue states. The secession petitions, therefore, give the opportunity to create what would be, in a fiscal sense, a far more perfect union.
Of course, secession isn’t as easy or as painless as an electronic petition, and Obama couldn’t offer a redress of these petitioners’ grievances even if he wanted to. Nor should he want to: The Union of the Makers would be fiscally healthy but spiritually poor without the Confederacy of the Takers. Yet would-be rebels from the red states should keep in mind during the coming budget battle that those who are most ardent about cutting government spending tend to come from parts of the country that most rely on it.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.