Thursday, October 31, 2013
► In today’s Seattle Times — Much 777X detailed design to be done outside Puget Sound region — Boeing told its employees Wednesday that “much of the detailed design work” on its new 777X widebody jet would be done outside the Puget Sound area. However, the head of the company’s white-collar union said this is the type of work that was outsourced on the 787 Dreamliner program, and he insisted the move doesn’t represent a new turn by Boeing to exit its Northwest base. Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton characterized the engineering announcement as “another very good mind game that Boeing plays so well with the states.”
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Washington is the clear choice for the 777X
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing memo about 777X engineering omits Everett — That doesn’t mean Everett won’t get 777X work — even the bulk of it. But in failing to put Everett on a list of six cities, the company, wittingly or not, sent a strong signal to leaders in Washington, although that signal is as ambiguous as ever.
► From Bloomberg — Up to $87 billion in 777X orders brewing for Boeing — An order haul before or during the Dubai event would be a boost for the 777X years in advance of its commercial debut, now targeted for decade’s end. Boeing is betting that it can keep Airbus SAS at bay in the market for the biggest twin-engine jets by upgrading the current 777, not by building an all-new plane as its Toulouse, France-based rival is doing with the A350.
► In today’s LA Times — Boeing 747 may be flying into the sunset — Airlines are opting for Boeing’s newer jumbo jets such as the 777 and its latest 787 Dreamliner, as well as rival Airbus’ forthcoming A350 XWB. Those aircraft have just two engines, instead of the 747’s four. That means less fuel use, less maintenance and more flexibility in the types of routes they can fly. With demand shrinking, Boeing quietly announced this month that it was once again slowing the 747 production rate, from 21 airplanes a year to just 18. In its heyday, Boeing was producing 60 jumbo jets a year, many of its components coming from Southern California suppliers.
► In The Stranger — KOMO-TV’s new right-wing owner slashes newsroom — Sinclair Broadcast Group, which acquired Fisher Communications in April, is infamous for its stations airing right-wing propaganda. Sinclair also has a long history of labor strife, earning itself a prominent spot on the AFL-CIO’s national boycott list since 2010. Combine that with Sinclair’s penchant for cost-cutting at recently acquired stations, and KOMO employees had lots of reasons to worry.
Those fears were realized last week when Sinclair reportedly laid off 18 workers at KOMO and another nine at its sister station, KATU in Portland, Oregon, including editors, writers, and producers. But the most contentious layoffs involve the elimination of satellite truck operators (IBEW Local 46) — three at KOMO and two at KATU — shifting the responsibility for driving and operating this massive equipment to the remaining videographers (IATSE Local 600).
► At SeattlePI.com — AG: More violations in No on 522 money — The Grocery Manufacturers Association, after being accused of violating Washington’s public disclosure laws, flouted those laws again by making a $3.7 million cash infusion last week to the No on Initiative 522 campaign, according to a status report issued Wednesday by Attorney General Bob Ferguson. But any penalizing of the Washington, D.C.- based food industry lobby will have to wait until months after the state’s voters have decided the fate of I-522. The $21.9 million No on 522 effort, most costly initiative campaign in state history, will roll on unchecked to Election Day.
► In today’s NY Times — As fiscal fights open, Democrats show signs of division — Democrats in Congress insist that Republicans, to prevent billions of dollars in scheduled cuts to military programs next year, must agree instead to raise new revenues by closing some tax breaks. But the White House, eager to end the arbitrary cuts known as sequestration for both military and domestic programs, has not linked taxes and Pentagon spending for a short-term budget deal covering a year or two.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Smallest ever Social Security COLA still too big for ‘chained CPI’ backers — Next year, the millions of Social Security recipients will see the smallest cost-of-living adjustment ever — just 1.5% or about $19 a month. If the politicians — and their billionaire friends who don’t want to pay the same taxes workers do — who are pressing hard for the “chained” CPI benefit cut had their way, the adjustment would be even smaller than 2014’s historic low.
► In the Washington Post — Rich people think the economy is doing just fine. Here’s why that matters. — Members of Congress tend to be relatively wealthy themselves, and tend to associate with big donors and other prominent folks. And to those people, the economy is pretty much back. This helps explain why Congress has seemed less interested in finding ways to propel stronger growth than the overall surveys and economic data would suggest.
► In the USA Today — Three Republicans back Democratic immigration bill in House — A Democratic bill in the House to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws is picking up Republican support, though well short of the votes needed to pass the measure.
► In today’s NY Times — Contrite White House spurns health law’s critics — The White House on Wednesday blended expressions of contrition for the troubled rollout of its health care law with an aggressive rejection of Republican criticism of it.
► In The Hill — No truce for business groups, Tea Party — Trade associations and conservative groups that clashed bitterly over the government shutdown and the debt-ceiling hike will soon be on opposite sides in fights over the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and the farm bill, to name just a few.
► At Think Progress — Top conservative: ‘We have to declare peace on the safety net’ — Arthur Brooks, president of the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute:
One of the things, in my view, that we get wrong in the free enterprise movement is this war against the social safety net, which is just insane. The government social safety net for the truly indigent is one of the greatest achievements of our society. And we somehow want to zero out food stamps or something, it’s nuts to want to be doing something like that. We have to declare peace on the safety net.
► In The Hill — D.C. taxi drivers join Teamsters union — Teamsters Local 922 President Ferline Buie said the cab drivers’ decision to unionize “shows that taxi drivers in Washington, D.C., are angry and fed up by the lack of communication and input they have regarding the policies that affect their lives every day.”
► In today’s NY Times — Alabama surrenders (editorial) — A settlement upends an unconstitutional and disastrous immigration law.
► At Huffington Post — Trade agreements reveal how life will be organized in 2050 (by SPEEA’s Stan Sorscher) — The U.S. is negotiating two huge problematic trade agreements — one with Europe (TTIP), and another with countries around the Pacific (TTP). Both dramatically extend the NAFTA model. These agreements will determine how we organize life in 2050. We could have good trade policies that raise living standards, and balance investor interests with public interests. Trade agreements could respect the social and political interests of workers, communities, social stability, and the planet. Our trade policy could reflect the democratic traditions we built over 200 years in America and Europe.
Of course that would be a very different trade policy from the NAFTA model we have, now. This is much more than an economic decision about tariffs or exports or imports. This is a political, social, cultural and moral decision about our place in the world.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.