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May Day marches, May 13 special, austerity’s a drag, big apples…

Monday, April 29, 2013




► In today’s Seattle Times — May Day march set for rush hour — Against the backdrop of a sputtering economy, rising joblessness and growing intolerance toward illegal immigration comes this annual event: the massive May Day march that draws thousands downtown. Friday’s demonstration also comes amid strong indications President Obama is willing to move on long-sought demands of protesters: immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the 12 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally.


ALSO in The Stand — Join the labor contingent at May Day march

► In today’s Yakima H-R — May Day march planned Wednesday in Yakima –The annual May Day immigration reform march will be held Wednesday in Yakima, with organizers hoping to add momentum to legislation under consideration in the U.S. Senate. The Yakima march, which begins at 6 p.m. at Miller Park, will be in conjunction with similar marches in Mt. Vernon, Spokane, Vancouver, Walla Walla and Wenatchee.

► In today’s Wenatchee World — More than 500 expected to march Wednesday for immigration reform — More than 500 people are expected to march from the Wenatchee Community Center to Lincoln Park Wednesday to support federal immigration reform. Marchers will leave the community center at 6 p.m. sharp for the approximately one-mile march.




► In Sunday’s (Everett) Herald — With no budget, special session next for Legislature — State lawmakers wrapped up their regular session Sunday evening then learned they are due back May 13 for what promises to be a grueling special session to end lingering disputes on spending, taxes and a batch of social policies.

► In Sunday’s News Tribune — 105 days on Capitol job, with little to show for it — The politically divided Washington Legislature winds down its 105-day regular session today without a two-year state budget and with few marquee bills to show for laboring in Olympia.

oly-inslee-wea-rally► At — WEA rally draws more than 1,000; Inslee vows to seek more revenue — The Washington Education Association brought more than 1,000 activists to the Olympia for a rally on the Capitol steps on Saturday. Union president Mary Lindquist, who is handing over the reins of the teachers union to Everett activist Kim Mead, said they brought 23 busloads of union members from WEA’s convention in Bellevue.

► In today’s News Tribune — Inslee looks for greater impact in special session — The special session of the Legislature that Jay Inslee has called for May 13 gives the new governor a second chance to leave his mark, something he was mostly unable to do in the 105-day regular session that ended Sunday.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Lawmakers must focus on one thing — the budget (editorial) — There are big budget issues yet to be resolved, and reaching a reasonable compromise will take time. Legislators need to get to it. They should not allow themselves to be distracted by issues that stir passions but can wait until next year.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Issues like further cutting workers’ compensation benefits.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Rep. Kristiansen to lead House GOP — On Saturday, Republicans elected the Snohomish legislator to a two-year term as House minority leader. He faced no rivals in the contest to succeed Rep. Richard DeBolt (R-Chehalis), who stepped down because of health issues.




jobs-not-cuts► In the (Everett) Herald — Government cuts drag down economy — The biggest culprit in Friday’s weak report was the government sector, which fell at a 4.1% rate, after a 7% pace of decline in the fourth quarter. The fall was universal — at the federal, state and local levels. The U.S. government is in pullback mode, and whatever one thinks about reducing the size government in the long run, for now it is unequivocally the villain in slowing growth. If there’d been no change in government spending over the last six months, GDP growth would have averaged a respectable 2.55%, not the current soft 1.45%.

► In today’s Washington Post — The economic whodunit (by E.J. Dionne) — The policy mystery of our time is why politicians in the United States and across much of the democratic world are so obsessed with deficits, when their primary mission ought to be bringing down high and debilitating rates of unemployment.

austerity_not-working► In today’s NY Times– The story of our time (by Paul Krugman) — Would it really be that easy to end the scourge of unemployment? Yes — but powerful people don’t want to believe it. Some of them have a visceral sense that suffering is good, that we must pay a price for past sins (even if the sinners then and the sufferers now are very different groups of people). Some of them see the crisis as an opportunity to dismantle the social safety net. And just about everyone in the policy elite takes cues from a wealthy minority that isn’t actually feeling much pain. What has happened now, however, is that the drive for austerity has lost its intellectual fig leaf, and stands exposed as the expression of prejudice, opportunism and class interest it always was. And maybe, just maybe, that sudden exposure will give us a chance to start doing something about the depression we’re in.




falling-apples► In the Wenatchee World — Washington apple growers having a big year — The record 130 million box fresh crop jumped more than 20 percent from what was packed the previous two years. It also came at a time when apple harvests in all other states and nearly every foreign country were significantly down. The result has been something that almost never happens: record shipments at record prices and a boom for Washington apple-packing houses and growers.

► In today’s News Tribune — Pierce Transit union plans no-confidence vote on agency CEO — Pierce Transit’s union for drivers, mechanics and other workers will take a no-confidence vote in Chief Executive Officer Lynne Griffith.

► In today’s Oregonian — Trimet, union can’t agree on why they disagree — More than five months after negotiations were supposed to start, TriMet management and the transit union sat down at the table on Saturday to hammer out the “ground rules.” The ATU accused a TriMet executive of dropping the F-bomb and abruptly ending the gathering after seeing the names of three local bloggers on the list of news media outlets that might be allowed access to the negotiations.




► In the (Everett) Herald — Federal help for laid-off Boeing workers — The U.S. Department of Labor has allocated $150,000 for job placement and retraining for Boeing Co. workers who are being laid off. The grant, part of the DOL’s rapid response program, follows an announcement this month by Boeing of Puget Sound-area layoffs. On April 8, the company sent 60-day notices to 939 assembly workers.

► In today’s NY Times — Boeing jet returns to air, but that’s just the start — After a smooth test flight to test troublesome batteries, Boeing and All Nippon Airways must now turn to a more delicate task — selling passengers on the idea that the Dreamliner is safe.




boehner-john► In today’s Washington Post — Strength in numbers on immigration reform — In the Senate, the numbers may add up to a comfortable win on immigration reform. The House is more problematic. But surely Republican reformers can come up with some improvements to address legitimate concerns on national security and border security. But the real question is whether Speaker John Boehner is willing to bring to the floor not a piecemeal, border protection-only bill but rather something that is comprehensive and can be meshed with the Senate plan.

► In today’s LA Times — Supreme Court refuses to revive Alabama immigration law — The Supreme Court has blocked Alabama from enforcing a state law that authorized the police to arrest and jail persons who hid or transported illegal immigrants. By a 8-1 vote, the justices let stand lower court rulings that said enforcing the immigration laws is the job of the federal government, not the states.

EDITOR’S NOTE – To answer your question, it was the right-wing’s favorite judicial activist Antonin Scalia.




► From AP — Collapsed building owner may face 7 years in jail — A Bangladesh court on Monday gave police 15 days to interrogate the owner of a building that collapsed last week, killing at least 382 people. Mohammed Sohel Rana, who was arrested Sunday as he tried to flee to India, will be held for questioning on charges of negligence, illegal construction and forcing workers to join work.

► In today’s News Tribune — Low-wage workers pay steep price for our cheap clothing (editorial) — The companies that make billions selling cheaply made clothing must pay more for safe conditions and pressure the Bangladesh government officials to better protect workers. Americans would be horrified if so many workers in this country died because of substandard conditions. Workers in countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan deserve our concern, too.




► In today’s NY Times — Wealth gap between races widened since recession — Millions of Americans suffered a loss of wealth during the recession and the sluggish recovery that followed. But the last half-decade has proved far worse for black and Hispanic families than for white families, starkly widening the already large gulf in wealth between non-Hispanic white Americans and most minority groups, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.

► In today’s NY Times — Push for online sales tax divides GOP — Legislation that would force Internet retailers to collect sales taxes from their customers has put antitax and small-government activists like Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the Heritage Foundation in an unusual position: they’re losing.

► At — Texas plant disaster reveals fragmented system of oversight — While investigators in Texas sift through the rubble of a fertilizer plant that exploded last week, killing 15 people, safety advocates are calling for stricter government oversight of potentially hazardous sites like that one.

► At TPM — Justice O’Connor: Maybe Bush v. Gore was a mistake

EDITOR’S NOTE — Ya think?


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