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Mudslide, transportation, self-loathing in Tri-Cities…

Monday, March 24, 2014




► In today’s Seattle Times — 8 confirmed dead in mudslide; more than a dozen still missing — Hopes dimmed Sunday for finding survivors in the nearly one square mile of muck and debris left by a mudslide that killed at least eight people and demolished dozens of houses. In Darrington, a search-and-rescue team of about 20 people was advised Sunday morning to mark dead bodies if they saw any and keep looking for survivors. Some workers emerged from the meeting bleary-eyed and dispirited. One volunteer firefighter who had stopped working around 11:30 p.m. Saturday night said many tragic stories have yet to be told. He watched one rescuer find his own front door, but nothing else — not his home, his wife or his child.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Our thoughts and prayers go out not only to the victims and their families, but also to the first responders and the emergency/rescue personnel at the scene.





► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Prison needs accountability (editorial) — Tacoma’s Northwest Detention Center holds everyone from lawful permanent residents with green cards to undocumented aliens. It is a private, contractor-operated facility at maximum capacity, and under the wing of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Mix a for-profit enterprise with a voiceless detainee population, and behold the tendency for abuse.

smith-adam-newALSO TODAY — Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after speaking with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson about the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) and deportation policy:

“I had a productive conversation with the DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.  I spoke with him about my recent visit to the NWDC and made sure he was fully aware of all the concerns that were brought to my attention by the detainees I met with, their friends and relatives, and advocates in the community.  Secretary Johnson has visited a detention facility in Texas and plans to visit more in the near future.  I asked that he continue to visit facilities and invited him to come see the NWDC in Tacoma in hopes that these visits will lead to a review of policies at detention centers.

“Additionally, we spoke about the issue of deportation.  I expressed my concerns about the rising number of immigrants being deported and how this has a devastating impact on families in our community.  Secretary Johnson understands these concerns and ensured me that DHS is reviewing all deportation policies, as the President announced this week.  I have a great working relationship with Secretary Johnson from his tenure at the Defense Department, and I look forward to continuing working with him in his new capacity on this issue.”

TODAY at The Stand — Join fast for immigration reform on March 31 (by Lynne Dodson)




WSLC-13LegReport-Pg1-graphic-sm► In the (Everett) Herald — GOP needs to lead on transportation (by former state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen) — As someone who spent more than a few years tending to the state’s transportation needs, I have been extremely disappointed by the Senate Republicans’ failure to pass a transportation revenue package in either of the past two legislative sessions… That the Senate has not addressed this need is dismaying. That Senate Republicans have publicly blamed their failure on Democrats is nothing less than a shirking of their responsibilities as lawmakers.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State may try to circumvent new rules to avert cuts in food stamps — Washington state officials are considering increasing heating assistance to low-income families in a maneuver to avert $70 million in cuts to their food-stamp benefits called for under the 2014 farm bill — a tactic that has drawn threat of a Republican backlash.




hastings-doc► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — Why does Tri-Cities hate its government jobs? (by Danny Westneat) — Rep. Doc Hastings’ district is basically a company town — with that company being Uncle Sam. Yet it chooses to represent it someone who rails against its essential nature (though not so vigorously that the river of money ever seems to slow). Why? Why not elect someone who isn’t constantly philosophically attacking the lifeblood of the community? “What’s the matter with Kennewick” will get maybe its biggest airing ever in 2014. Hastings is retiring and some of the candidates vying to replace him are so anti-government he looks like Jim McDermott by comparison.




► In the Oregonian — DOL counters ‘unworkable’ claim on unemployment insurance — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said the extension raised “serious concerns.” He pointed to a letter from state workforce agencies that described the challenges of implementing the bill. The U.S. Department of Labor countered that claim on Friday, saying the bill could, in fact, be implemented. Senators, meanwhile, reiterated their plan to pass the bill this week. Its prospects in the House, though, remain unclear.

trumka-demint-mw-debate► At AFL-CIO Now — On minimum wage, DeMint won’t debate — There could be all kinds of reasons that Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint has declined an invitation from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to join him in a public forum on raising the minimum wage.

► In today’s NY Times — Wealth over work (by Paul Krugman) — Despite the frantic efforts of some Republicans to pretend otherwise, most people realize that today’s G.O.P. favors the interests of the rich over those of ordinary families. I suspect, however, that fewer people realize the extent to which the party favors returns on wealth over wages and salaries. And the dominance of income from capital, which can be inherited, over wages — the dominance of wealth over work — is what patrimonial capitalism is all about.

► At — Here’s how you support the Koch brothers


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