Friday, December 20, 2013
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — On scuttling transportation (editorial) — The failure of a state transportation package illustrates the limits of ideology. Transportation — like basic education, a primary responsibility of state government — should be a best-politics-is-no-politics issue. There were 12 negotiating sessions, and plaudits to the governor and the negotiators for trying to get to yes.
The trouble is, you can never get to yes if Senate Republicans can’t produce the votes, an obstacle compounded by the 2014 election cycle. Republicans always have been reliable, pro-Washington Roundtable advocates for a strong transportation system. Alas, an anti-tax faction that considers transit code for social engineering has dug in its heels. On Dec. 2, we described the Senate Majority Coalition as a “promising experiment in sensible centrism.” But it looks more like centrism without centrists.
Prove us wrong, get moving and bring out your votes.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Lawmakers: Boeing money arrived after vote — Most lawmakers who were reported on Wednesday to have received campaign contributions from Boeing a few days before voting on a massive tax break for the company say they didn’t receive the money until after the vote.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear lawmakers: I’m not sure that sounds any better.
► From AP — Cathay Pacific orders 21 Boeing 777Xs — Boeing has booked orders for 259 of the planes, worth a total of $95 billion at list prices. Boeing builds the current 777 in Everett, Wash., but it is still deciding where it will build the 777X.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Boeing had better not drag out its state-vs.-state game of “Show Me the Carrots” for too long. After Boeing lost a major Japanese airline customer in October, aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia said it was a clear message to Boeing that it needs to stop dragging its feet on the 777X and for Boeing to ensure that it won’t have the same problems the 787 has had. (He adds that “from a strict industry/business/economics/common sense standpoint” Washington gets that 777X work.)
If Boeing wants to assure these many 777X customers that they will get the quality jet they’ve been promised — on time — announcing that Washington state will get the 777X work will provide that assurance. If, on the other hand, they embark on another risky build-it-cheaper experiment elsewhere in an ideologically driven attempt to cuts labor costs (which are just 5% of the cost of building a jet, mind you), customers have reason to be worried. Read more.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Rep. Sells clarifies his position on a vote on Boeing offer — Sells: “I’m not calling for a vote one way or the other, but I do understand the Machinists’ frustration with those who would insert themselves into the process. I’ve learned from experience that it doesn’t really solve anything when politicians interject themselves into the bargaining process, especially when they have not been directly involved at the table. It just makes it harder to come to resolution and exercise any leadership later to help mediate a mutually agreed upon resolution.”
► From AP — Boeing mum on South Carolina output
► Today’s installment in the Seattle Times “Bid for Boeing’s 777X” series — Salt Lake City specializes in composites
EDITOR’S NOTE — The author awards bonus points for being “non-union.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Mayor-elect Murray seeks consensus on wage issue — Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray Thursday set a four-month deadline for a committee of labor and business leaders to deliver a recommendation on a higher minimum wage and called on the City Council to act by the end of July. The tight timeline reflects the pressure he and other city leaders are under from some activist unions and incoming socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant who say they’ll file an initiative for a $15 minimum wage if Murray’s committee doesn’t deliver something substantive relatively soon.
► In today’s NY Times — Under Seattle, a big object blocks Big Bertha. But what is it? — Something unknown, engineers say — and all the more intriguing to many residents for being unknown — has blocked the progress of the biggest-diameter tunnel-boring machine in use on the planet, a high-tech, largely automated wonder called Bertha.
► At Politico — Trumka: ‘Populism works’ in 2014 — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Thursday said the Democratic Party should push a populist message ahead of the 2014 election, calling the next election an opportunity to win back seats in the House: “Populism works. It works. If it’s your message, and what you believe in, and it’s your policy. It’s what Americans believe in.”
► In today’s Washington Post — National Labor College to close in 2014 — The National Labor College, an education venture for working adults supported by the AFL-CIO, will close next year because of financial difficulties school officials attribute in part to the construction of a conference center several years ago on the Silver Spring campus. The college, with 599 online students this fall, announced Wednesday that its board of trustees voted this week to accept a closure plan.
► In today’s Washington Post — Obama administration relaxes rules of health-care law four days before deadline — The announcement that consumers whose health insurance policies have been canceled may be exempted from the law’s individual mandate triggered backlash from the insurance industry.
► From AP — Businesses again challenge union poster rules — A prominent business group filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging government rules that require federal contractors to display posters telling workers they have a legal right to form a union.
EDITOR’S NOTE — It’s still just a poster…
► In today’s NY Times — Osborne and the Stooges (by Paul Krugman) — There was an episode of “The Three Stooges” in which Curly kept banging his head against a wall. When Moe asked him why, he replied, “Because it feels so good when I stop.” Well, I thought it was funny. But I never imagined that Curly’s logic would one day become the main rationale that senior finance officials use to defend their disastrous policies.
► The bad news: The Stand will go silent for the remainder of 2013 as the Entire Staff celebrates the holidays and recharges our batteries for 2014. The good news: As we listened to Stevie Wonder’s Greatest Hits yesterday with our daughter, we were reminded of the following, which makes the cut on our all-time desert-island list of favorite live TV performances. At about 3:30 of this nearly 7-minute version (!) it evolves into a jam session, but it was aired in its entirety 40 years ago. And we really love the kid rocking out at the top of the stairs. Enjoy and happy holidays!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.