Wednesday, March 13, 2013
► In today’s News Tribune — Operations suspended at Port of Tacoma after longshoreman’s death — The Port was shut down Tuesday afternoon after longshore crane mechanic Jeff Surber, 46, of Bonney Lake died in an industrial accident while atop a container crane at the port’s Pierce County Terminal. “It’s a long-standing tradition that when we have an accident like this,” said ILWU 23 President Scott Mason, “that we stand down.” The port was to reopen at 7 a.m. today.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle port commission approves big pay raise — Port of Seattle commissioners voted Tuesday to raise their pay by $36,000 a year, becoming the only salaried port commission on the West Coast. Instead of $500 a month, commissioners elected this November or later will be eligible for $3,500 a month. They also can collect $12,500 a year in per diem, as they do now.
ALSO at The Stand — Unions back raises for Commission, if all Port workers get theirs
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Shipyard unions, managers agree on furlough dates — Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility and its unions agreed that if days off become necessary, they’ll be taken on non-payday Fridays and the following Mondays, April 26 to Sept. 30. They would be avoided if Congress passes a deficit-reduction plan.
► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Arbitrator orders fired Clallam PUD foreman back to work — The arbitrator said Timm Kelly, who is president of IBEW Local 997 (and whose wife ran unsuccessfully last fall against Clallam PUD board President Ted Simpson), should be returned to work. Kelly was fired last April 6 for getting PUD residency stipends for living in Forks when he lived in “dual residences” in Port Angeles and Forks.
► In today’s Olympian — Inslee names new Agriculture, Health directors — He is replacing Agriculture director Dan Newhouse with Bud Hover of Winthrop, who is an Okanogan County commissioner, and replacing retiring Health Secretary Mary Selecky with John Wiesman, who is in charge of Clark County’s public health agency.
► In today’s Columbian – Oregon governor sign Columbia River bridge bill — Kitzhaber signs the measure authorizing $450 million in bonds, and says this project is a priority for the state and that he’s hopeful Washington will pass similar legislation this year.
► Today’s local unemployment-rate coverage — Clark (9.9%▲), Cowlitz (11.9%▲), King (6.3%▼), Kitsap (8%▲), Pierce (9.4%▼), Snohomish (7.1%▼), Spokane (9.8%▲), Thurston (8.4%▲), Whatcom (8.6%▲), Yakima (12.7%▲)
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — FAA OKs Boeing plan to prove battery redesign — Federal regulators approve Boeing’s plan to redesign 787 lithium-ion batteries, the first step in returning the grounded jet to passenger service. Boeing will need to “conduct extensive testing and analysis” of the battery redesign, the FAA said. The agency did not say how long the testing would take, though it is likely to be a weeks-long process.
► From Bloomberg — Boeing could push 777X ahead of 787-10 — Boeing is speeding up efforts for upgrades of the twin-aisle 777 jet, including a roomier interior, raising the possibility that the revised model will be introduced before the stretch version of the 787.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Ryan budget highlights House Republicans’ crazy demands — The Ryan–GOP budget that gives seniors “coupons” to pay for health care and guts Medicaid and public investment to enrich millionaires and billionaires was once again proposed by the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Less than six months ago, voters rejected the Ryan-Romney agenda of more prosperity for the super wealthy at the expense of the rest of America’s working families, yet Ryan can’t seem to resist this austerity plan. And this time, the Ryan — GOP budget is “on steroids.”
ALSO at The Stand — What Congress — and YOU — should be doing
► In today’s NY Times — The worst of the Ryan budgets (editorial) — His budget proposal is even worse than that of the previous two years because it attempts to balance the budget in 10 years instead of the previous 20 or more. That would take nondefense discretionary spending down to nearly 2 percent of the economy, the lowest in modern history. And in its laziest section, it sets a goal of slashing the top tax rate for the rich to 25% from 39.6%, though naturally Ryan doesn’t explain how this could happen without raising taxes on middle- and lower-income people. (Sound familiar?)
► At TPM — Obama’s rejects Ryan’s proposal: Differences may be too wide — If the GOP will only accept new tax revenues under the condition that deep cuts are applied to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid “then we’re probably not going to be able to get a deal,” the president says.
► In today’s Washington Post — Obama’s job approval drops as Americans take dimmer view of economic policies — The afterglow of President Obama’s reelection and inauguration appears to have vanished as increasingly negative views among Americans about his stewardship of the economy have forced his public approval rating back down to the 50% mark, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Of course, presidential job approval numbers are relative. President G.W. Bush would have loved a 50% rating. He never reached that height in his second term, averaging 37% and dropping as low as 25%. Meanwhile, in the past year, the approval ratings of Congress have skyrocketed from 10% to 15%. (Up 50%!) Congress would not only have to resolve budget issues, they’d have to achieve full employment and world peace to get their numbers as high as Obama’s.
► In The Hill — Battle brewing over likely Labor pick — Even though the nomination hasn’t been officially announced, Republican senators will be itching to grill Thomas Perez over his support for Obama administration policies that they argue hurt businesses and favor unions.
► From Bloomberg — Obama to ask Supreme Court to settle recess power dispute — The Obama administration will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a ruling by a three-judge panel that the president violated the Constitution by making appointments to the federal labor board without Senate approval.
► In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Missouri Senate blames unions for economic woes. Oh, please. (editorial) — The Missouri Senate has found the culprit. It’s public employees. It’s those absurdly high-paid teachers, nurses, janitors, secretaries, pothole fixers and home health care workers. Because union-bashing has become a big-money deal on the national scene (thanks to Wisconsin and Michigan), the lemmings in the Missouri Senate don’t want to be left behind. They’re doing the bidding of their corporate overlords in the American Legislative Exchange Council, which promotes cookie-cutter legislation written by corporate lawyers to enhance their bottom lines. … Senate Republicans should have more pride than this. If they want to blame working people for the state’s economic problems, while banks and corporations sit on record profits, good luck with that argument. But have the courage to tell the truth.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.