Friday, January 25, 2013
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Strike would be costly for Boeing and SPEEA — Who knows the Boeing Co.’s 22,950 engineers and technical workers better: the company or union officials? That’s an essential question to be resolved when members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace vote on the company’s contract.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Former NTSB chief: 787 may be grounded ‘months, not weeks’ — Air-safety experts said the Federal Aviation Administration isn’t likely to lift its order grounding the 787 quickly, given the NTSB’s lack of progress toward finding the root cause of the battery problems.
► In today’s NY Times — NTSB sees lengthy inquiry into 787 — The safety board’s technical presentation on Thursday provided the most graphic indication to date of the severity of the battery problems.
► From AP — Bills aimed at expanding, removing paid-family-leave introduced — Six years ago, state lawmakers approved a program giving parents five weeks of paid time off to be with a new child. But the question of how to pay for the program was never answered, and now some lawmakers are looking to remove it from the books, while the senator who introduced the bill is looking to expand the program. Its start already has been delayed until 2015.
► In today’s NY Times — Republicans in several states seeking electoral college changes — In the vast majority of states, the presidential candidate who wins receives all of that state’s electoral votes. The proposed changes would instead apportion electoral votes by congressional district, a setup far more favorable to Republicans.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is what they came up with after all that post-election introspection about GOP alienation of independent voters, Hispanics, union members, etc.? “Let’s rig the rules!” Really? Bobby Jindal has a better idea.
BTW, if you don’t think such electoral shenanigans are possible in true-blue Washington state, think again. The agenda for this weekend’s right-wing retreat in Ocean Shores called the Roanoke Conference includes former GOP Secretary of State Sam Reed making the case for “Should Washington’s Electoral Votes Be Divided By Congressional District?” That session will be immediately followed by a “2012 Election Post-Mortem,” which is not a bad title considering they lost the priority races for governor and 8 of 9 state executive offices to Democrats. (Bonus breakout session at this weekend’s event: “Taking on Public Employee Unions in a Blue State: How Do We Do It?”)
And speaking of “post-mortems”…
► From Moore Information — Washington voters’ perceptions on Republican gubernatorial drought — The Republican pollster finds that Washington voters are more likely to attribute the drought to the GOP’s policies favoring big business and the rich than they are a conservative social agenda.
► In today’s Olympian — No liquor bailout (editorial) — Let’s face it, Initiative 1183 even snookered a lot of its supporters. The public has essentially lost choice in the variety of brands available and now is paying significantly more for the pleasure. It’s a shame many small-store owners are losing money. But the Legislature cannot rescue everyone who makes a bad business decision.
MORE at The Stand — Liquor privatization’s false promises exposed
► In today’s News Tribune — Transit advocates discuss how to fund more bus service — Transit advocates used a forum in Tacoma Thursday to offer options that would generate more money for bus service, whether directly from the state or by imposing a motor vehicle excise tax.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Uncertain federal budgets leave Hanford officials looking at flat budgets — “Flat is the new up,” says a DOE official who is preparing for budgets for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland to have a slight downward drift.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Memorial run Sunday for slain corrections officer — As the second anniversary of her death approaches, the run is meant to celebrate the friend and co-worker Jayme Biendl was to many people, as well as her public service.
► This morning from AP — Court: Obama appointments are unconstitutional — The president violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on a labor relations panel, a federal appeals court panel ruled Friday. The unanimous decision is an embarrassing setback for the president, who made the appointments after Senate Republicans spent months blocking his choices for an agency they contended was biased in favor of unions.
► In The Hill — Poll: 58% oppose Medicare cuts — Americans want Washington to keep its hands off their Medicare. That’s the gist of a poll released Thursday showing that the public isn’t ready for the dramatic changes in Medicare that are under discussion to help control the nation’s finances.
► In The Hill — Bipartisan group of Senators introduce highly skilled immigration bill — A current draft of the bill obtained by The Hill proposes to increase the cap for H-1B visas to 115,000 from the current cap of 65,000. It would also create a “market-based H-1B escalator” that would allow for additional visas to be made available to foreign workers if the cap is hit early during a particular year—though it can only hit a ceiling of 300,000 visas.
EDITOR’S NOTE — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, your highly skilled…”
► In today’s NY times — New Senate rules to curtail excesses of filibuster — Under new rules approved overwhelmingly by the Senate on Thursday, Democrats and Republicans agreed to take some modest steps to limit the filibuster and help break the gridlock that has rendered the modern Congress ineffective and inefficient.
► In The Hill — Liberals irate as Senate passes watered-down filibuster reform — The enacted reforms do not include the implementation of the talking filibuster.
► At TPM — How filibuster reform fell apart — Insiders say Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s main goal was ultimately not to weaken the 60-vote threshold that reformers desperately wanted to change. Instead his objective was to eliminate mandatory gaps between votes in order to move legislation and nominees that have cleared a filibuster more quickly — which he achieved.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Paycheck Fairness Act aims to close wage gap — The bill would strengthen penalties that courts may impose for equal pay violations and prohibit retaliation against workers who inquire about or disclose information about employers’ wage practices. The bill also would require employers to show pay disparity is truly related to job performance — not gender.
► In today’s NY Times — Deficit hawks down (by Paul Krugman) — President Obama barely mentioned the budget deficit in his Inaugural Address, and that’s a very good thing.
► The entire staff of the Stand discovered Chali 2na the first time we saw Ozomatli in concert. Since then, we’ve come to love the baritone rapping of the “verbal Herman Munster” with Jurassic 5 and in countless collaborations with other artists. Here’s “Comin’ Thru” live in the Jam Van. Enjoy!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.