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Go town-halling, 787 fix is in, USPS showdown, this Sunday…

Friday, March 15, 2013




town-hall-microphoneAttend your Legislative Town Hall meetings!

Most Washington state legislators are conducting Town Hall meetings this weekend (or next) to hear from their constituents. That’s YOU!  Click here for a list of Town Hall meetings (HT, Our Economic Future) and make sure to let your elected officials know how you feel about the working-family legislation that remains alive in Olympia.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Medicaid expansion gets bipartisan support — The biggest issue still before the state is whether to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, the health program for the poor. The governor supports expansion. Democratic legislators tend to support expansion and so may some Republicans. Even the influential Association of Washington Business has said it’s behind Medicaid expansion.

ALSO today at The Stand — ‘Cover me!’ A call for Medicaid expansion

► In today’s Olympian — House GOP plan budgets $817 million for education — Taking into account their plan’s bypassing of raises for teachers, it would provide $566 million more than K-12 education would otherwise receive, reversing some of the cuts of recent years. It combines a detailed education budget with broad sketches of how other obligations would be met — notably, without general tax increases and by taking federal money offered by President Obama’s health care law to expand Medicaid insurance.

► In today’s News Tribune — Medicaid forecast reveals swelling budget shortfall for state — Washington’s state budget shortfall swelled to between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion Thursday, because costs for low-income people enrolled in Medicaid programs are far higher than previously calculated.

► In today’s Columbian — New state transportation chief orders review of megaprojects, including CRC — The “comprehensive program assessment” will look at the process used for key project decisions and how they are documented, according to the state DOT. In addition to the $3.4 billion Columbia River Crossing, the review will focus on two Seattle-area projects: the state Highway 520 bridge replacement and the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Legislature should pass bills to combat sex trafficking (editorial)

► At PubliCola — Isn’t it weird that… — …Democrats suddenly tried to fund family leave after they lost control of the Senate?




inconceivable► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing: “No fire is possible’ with 787 battery fix — Two top Boeing executives delivered an unflinching defense of the 787 Dreamliner in a Friday morning news conference in Japan, insisting that no battery fire will be possible on the airplane once the company’s proposed fix is installed.

► From AP — Grounded 787s could be flying ‘within weeks’ — Boeing said Friday it sees commercial flights of its grounded 787 jets resuming “within weeks” even though it has not pinpointed the cause of battery overheating.




► At TPM — Republicans getting buyer’s remorse over sequestration — Unwilling to team up with Democrats to replace sequestration with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, and unable to pass a cuts-only sequestration measure on their own, Republicans’ official position is that they’ve made their peace with enduring, across-the-board spending cuts in perpetuity. But now that those cuts are creating real consequences, individual members are experiencing buyer’s remorse.

NALCMar24-rally► In today’s NY Times — Senate mulls a showdown on Saturday mail delivery — A provision to keep Saturday deliveries, being considered as part of a Senate budget resolution, is similar to legislation that the House passed last week, but it is unclear what Congress can do to compel the Postal Service to continue delivering mail six days a week.

TAKE A STAND!  On Sunday, March 24, the National Association of Letter Carriers is conducting a Day of Action with unions, small business customers, civic organizations and faith groups gathering outside post offices across the nation to oppose the proposed ending of Saturday delivery service. In Seattle, gather 2-4 p.m. at Westlake Park, 401 Pine St.  Download the rally flier. In Spokane,  gather 3-5 p.m. at the Spokane Valley Post Office, 11712 E. Sprague Ave. Click for details.

► From AP — House GOP pushes bill ‘streamlining’ job training — A House Republican plan to make it easier for job seekers to learn skills by consolidating dozens of sometimes redundant job training programs is meeting resistance from Democrats who say it could leave some without critical assistance.

► In today’s NY Times — Boehner says losses in election won’t affect budget stance — The Republican House Speaker said that candidates and personalities — not Republican proposals on Medicare and spending cuts — accounted for the party’s defeats.

► At Huffington Post — Report: Ryan budget reduces federal spending to lowest levels since 1948 — Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed budget would reduce government spending outside of Social Security and interest on debt to its lowest levels in over six decades, Investor’s Business Daily reports.

► In today’s NY Times — After the flim-flam (by Paul Krugman) — The good news is that Ryan’s thoroughly unconvincing policy-wonk act seems, finally, to have worn out its welcome.




AFA-no-knives-on-planes-petition► At AFL-CIO Now — Labor, community groups protest new TSA policy allowing knives on planes — Organizations representing flight attendants, air marshals and other concerned groups protested a new policy, announced by the TSA, that would allow small knives and other potentially dangerous items to be carried on to commercial flights. Labor and community groups say that allowing these items on planes breaks down one of the integral layers keeping the U.S. aviation system secure.

TAKE A STAND!Sign the petition against this policy!

► At Politico — TSA chief: We mishandled knife rollout — but we’re sticking with policy — After enduring days of blistering criticism, TSA director John Pistole admitted that he could have handled the decision to allow small knives on board airplanes better.

► At In These Times — The myth of the overpaid public worker (by David Moberg) — Like several previous nationwide studies, a new report recognizes that overall, public workers in Illinois earn more on average than private workers. But it notes that 52% of public workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 31% of private workers. When controlling for degree, Illinois public workers with higher degrees actually earn from 32% less (for those with a master’s degree) to 40% less (for workers with a doctorate degree) than private employees with comparable education.

► In today’s NY Times — Younger generations lag parents in wealth building — A study finds that younger working adults are not doing better financially than the previous generation.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Maybe this has something to do with it, ya think?

afl-logo► In the NW Labor Press — Union movement must evolve to speak, advocate, and fight for all workers (by Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain) — The AFL-CIO is in the midst of a major transformation that will culminate at the national AFL-CIO convention held this September in Los Angeles. The strength and weakness of our movement is our state federations and central labor councils (CLCs). Through those bodies, national and local issues and programs are implemented. The stronger,  more nimble and effective state federations and CLCs are, the stronger our movement will be.




► At this morning’s meeting to decide which song to pick for the T.G.I.F. video, the entire staff of The Stand put forward some great nominations in honor of St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday. The Pogues, The Dropkick Murphys, The Cranberries… But in the end, it had to be U2.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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