Monday, January 28, 2013
► In the P.S. Business Journal — SPEEA: 787 problems could cost Boeing millions — Behind the scenes, airlines are getting into “arm-wrestling matches” with Boeing over compensation for delays of the delivery of 800 Dreamliners on order and the 49 that were already delivered but are grounded, according to labor experts and analysts. Plus, Boeing workers are being pulled from other production lines to work around the clock on a fix for the Dreamliner.
► This morning from BBC — No fault found with 787 battery — Airline safety inspectors have found no faults with the battery used on Boeing’s 787, Japan’s transport ministry has said. Attention has now shifted to the electrical system that monitors battery voltage, charging and temperature.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Battery charger cleared in 787 fire at Boston airport, NTSB says — U.S. investigators examining the battery charger from a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 that caught fire on the ground in Boston have found no evidence of flaws that could have caused the incident.
► From AP — From the start, 787 program was rushed — Once production started, the gap between vision and reality quickly widened. The jet that was eventually dubbed the Dreamliner became plagued with manufacturing delays, cost overruns and sinking worker morale. In interviews with The AP, a dozen former Boeing engineers, designers and managers recounted the pressure to meet tight deadlines. Adding to the chaos was the company’s never-before-tried plan to build a plane from parts made around the globe.
► From Reuters — 787 safety regulations eased by Japan in aim to fast-track 787 rollout — The concessions by an advisory panel to Japan’s transport ministry reportedly reflected pressure from All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) and a push to support Japanese firms that supply 35% of the 787 from the carbon-fiber in its wings to sophisticated electrical systems and batteries used to save fuel.
► In the Olympian — Coalition seeks funds for transportation needs — The loose coalition of business, labor and environmental groups trying to develop a unified approach to passing a transportation tax package in the Legislature this year has sent formal letters to Gov. Jay Inslee and legislative leaders asking for action. The letters ask for a package that makes “a significant down payment on the $50 billion need identified by the Connecting Washington Task Force.”
ALSO at The Stand — A united push for transportation investment
► In today’s Olympian — State weighs expanding Medicaid — State officials are moving ahead quickly to set up a new health insurance marketplace where the uninsured can start buying health plans later this year. But one other major element of Obamacare — the expansion of Medicaid to cover more of the state’s poorest people — is high-centered in the Legislature. The extra coverage comes at federal expense for the first three years and in the early years Washington comes out ahead. But some Republicans worry that the state will be saddled with a hefty bill in later years as federal budgets shrink.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Local schools, taxpayers watch as education funding takes center stage — The Legislature is under the gun to make good on laws it passed in 2009 and 2010 to improve and fully fund public education. But plans recently outlined by Democrats and Republicans differ substantially, signaling no clear end to the stalemate that has mired education reform.
► In the News Tribune — Sen. Ed Murray proposes capital gains tax — Murray is proposing a 5% tax on capital gains to start in 2015, which he said would raise between roughly $600 and $700 million per year to help fund basic education and higher education. He would want to send the tax proposal to voters as a referendum so they could decide whether or not it should go into effect, he said.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Public will on cuts, taxes –Because the initiative boom devolved more authority to voters, the locus of political power shifted from legislators to citizens. To chop means to dive deep into discretionary spending, and we the people, in our collective wisdom or self-interested bias, are accountable.
► In the (Longview) Daily News — Shoplifting incidents rise with liquor privatization — Spirits theft has become a common crime at stores locally and statewide since voters decided in 2011 to shut down the state’s liquor stores and allow grocery stores to sell hard alcohol. Shoplifters are taking advantage of the grocery stores’ relatively lax security and making off with bottles of whiskey, vodka, tequila and other spirits.
► Locally, in today’s Seattle Times — State GOP looking to future for success — More than 450 politicians, strategists, lobbyists and activists came to Ocean Shores to meet like-minded people, share information and, most of all, figure out how to get more Republicans elected. Among other ideas, speakers and attendees urged the party to frame its message in a more positive way.
► And nationally, at Politico — GOP leaders insist no overhaul is needed — The Republican Party honchos who huddled in Charlotte, N.C., for their first big gathering since the election devoted lots of time talking about the need to welcome Latinos and women, close the technology gap with Democrats and stop the self-destructive talk about rape. But the party’s main problem, they agreed, is who delivers its message and how, not the message itself. Overwhelmingly they insisted that substantive policy changes aren’t the answer to last year’s losses.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Here’s a story that could use some of that fancy new positive messaging…
► In the Kitsap Sun — No new budget could cost shipyard millions in Navy work — The Navy plans to cancel $68 million of work at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard this year if Congress doesn’t pass a defense budget that’s four months overdue. A $65 million maintenance period scheduled for the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis after it returns from the Middle East this spring would be scrapped, along with a $3 million demolition project, according to Navy officials.
ALSO today at The Stand — AGAIN with the fiscal cliff?! Congressional actions Wednesday — Republicans, including some from right here in Washington state, are again threatening to make dramatic job-killing “sequestration” cuts in all federal programs and to default on their obligation to pay the nation’s bills. They are holding the U.S. economy hostage and it is costing jobs in our state.
► In the (Centralia) Chronicle — PSE asks state to amend power deal with Transalta — Puget Sound Energy is asking state regulators to reconsider certain conditions utility officials said were “unreasonable” in its long-term power purchase agreement with TransAlta, which sets the stage for closing the state’s remaining coal-fired electric generating plants by 2025.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Review of comments on Cherry Point terminal will take months — Federal, state and local agencies have yet to finish counting, much less actually reviewing, the thousands of public comments submitted on the question of what issues require study during the multi-year process of determining whether a coal export terminal will be built at Cherry Point.
► In today’s (Aberdeen) Daily World — Forum set for Wednesday on oil exporting proposals at Port of Grays Harbor
► At AFL-CIO Now — Trumka calls court ruling on NLRB appointments ‘radical, unprecedented’ — Says the AFL-CIO president: the court has interpreted the Constitution in a way that would deprive both Republican and Democratic presidents of a critical tool they have used hundreds of times over the years — including 179 appointments by former President George W. Bush and 139 appointments by former President Clinton — to keep agencies functioning and make the government work.
► At Politico — GOP senator: Court ruling could invalidate recent NLRB, consumer bureau actions — Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) says the ruling “could well” invalidate a year’s worth of actions made by President Obama’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
► In today’s NY Times — Senators offer bipartisan blueprint for immigration — A bipartisan group of senators has agreed on a set of principles for a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system, including a pathway to American citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants that would hinge on progress in securing the borders and ensuring that foreigners leave the country when their visas expire.
► In The Hill — Washington, business brace for Obama wave of regulations — When he said “we must act” in his inaugural address last week, liberals cheered him on and conservatives saw that the electoral earthquake of November is likely to be followed by a tsunami of executive orders and regulations.
► In today’s Washington Post — Obama’s cashier’s window (editorial) — The president and his team may be wizards at social media and grass-roots organizing, but from an influence-peddling standpoint Obama’s new 501(c)4 organization to push his second-term agenda looks to be fraught with hazard after agreeing to accept corporate donations.
► In the LA Times — Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, a liberal stalwart, won’t seek re-election — Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin announced Saturday that he will not run for reelection next year, deciding that 40 years in Congress is enough.
► In today’s NY Times — Makers, Takers, Fakers (by Paul Krugman) — It’s important to understand the extent to which leading Republicans live in an intellectual bubble. They get their news from Fox and other captive media, they get their policy analysis from billionaire-financed right-wing think tanks, and they’re often blissfully unaware both of contrary evidence and of how their positions sound to outsiders.
So when Mitt Romney made his infamous “47 percent” remarks, he wasn’t, in his own mind, saying anything outrageous or even controversial. He was just repeating a view that has become increasingly dominant inside the right-wing bubble, namely that a large and ever-growing proportion of Americans won’t take responsibility for their own lives and are mooching off the hard-working wealthy. Rising unemployment claims demonstrate laziness, not lack of jobs; rising disability claims represent malingering, not the real health problems of an aging work force. And given that worldview, Republicans see it as entirely appropriate to cut taxes on the rich while making everyone else pay more.
► In today’s NY Times — The rise of the permanent temp economy (by Erin Hatton) — A quarter of jobs in America pay below the federal poverty line for a family of four ($23,050). Not only are many jobs low-wage, they are also temporary and insecure. Over the last three years, the temp industry added more jobs in the United States than any other. Low-wage, temporary jobs have become so widespread that they threaten to become the norm. But for some reason this isn’t causing a scandal. At least in the business press, we are more likely to hear plaudits for “lean and mean” companies than angst about the changing nature of work for ordinary Americans.
A growing number of people call for bringing outsourced jobs back to America. But if they return as shoddy, poverty-wage jobs we won’t be better off for having them. If we want good jobs rather than just any jobs, we need to figure out how to preserve what is useful and innovative about temporary employment while jettisoning the anti-worker ideology that has come to accompany it.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.