Wednesday, May 7, 2014
► In today’s Columbian — Letter Carriers’ food drive is Saturday — The darnedest thing about food: it disappears, and quickly. So do food donations, after the holiday-season bandwagon of giving winds down. Donations always dry up in the new year and as the weather gets warmer, food bank officials report. So here comes the other big food-donation effort of the year: the National Association of Letter Carriers drive, which is set for Saturday.
► At Crosscut — Change of control in Legislature: A shot for both sides — The battle will be for control of the 49-member state Senate — the one spot in Olympia where Republicans have been able to stop the Democrats’ legislative agendas. The minority Democrats need to gain two seats to retake control of the Senate, which they lost in late 2012 when Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon switched sides.
ALSO at The Stand — WSLC election endorsement convention is this Saturday, May 10 — Unlike corporations and business groups, organized labor has an open and democratic process by which candidates and ballot measures earn union support, and rank-and-file members are encouraged to participate. That process, which begins at the local level, will culminate in voting at this Saturday’s Washington State Labor Council COPE Convention beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Machinists 751 Hall in Seattle.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Veteran Democrat strategist Terry Thompson has died — Terry Thompson, political adviser and campaign strategist for dozens of Democrats in the past three decades, has died. He was 57.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Troubled transportation megaprojects add to political gridlock — Despite a looming 16 percent cut in Metro bus service and a queue of $21 billion in unfunded highway, ferry and transit projects, progress on a transportation deal remains as stuck as Bertha — the damaged tunnel-boring machine sitting inert under Seattle’s waterfront. Gov. Jay Inslee and legislative negotiators say they hope to try again in the 2015 session. But some key lawmakers and other close legislative observers sound skeptical.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Take ‘No child’ school testing and shove it (by Danny Westneat) — Dear Arne: My kids’ school here in Seattle is regarded as one of the better schools around. Yet it is categorized by your No Child Left Behind formula as an abject failure, a Stage 5 catastrophe in need of a federally mandated takeover or wholesale firing of the staff… I’m not against standardized tests, at all. But as a parent during 10 years of No Child Left Behind-inspired education, Mr. Duncan, I’ve rarely seen the results used to help individual kids. So who is all this really for? It’s for adults to wage ideological battles. That’s how it feels down in the trenches. I’ll close by saying I think you’re messing with the wrong state. You should try to change this “fundamentally flawed” law, rather than impose it on us out of pique.
► From AP — Four health insurance providers want to join Washington exchange — Competition is growing in Washington’s health insurance market. Four more companies want to join the state’s health insurance exchange, and one has applied to sell health insurance in the individual market outside the state-run exchange.
► In today’s P.S. Business Journal — South Carolina newspaper credits Alan Mulally for Boeing’s move there — According to the Post and Courier piece, Mulally had an eye for South Carolina early on, and visited in 2005 after two top-tier 787 suppliers — Alenia and Vought — established adjoining plants in North Charleston to make 787 hull sections.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Alan “We Suck” Mulally. Who’d a thunk it?
► At Salon — Workers will stage largest fast-food strike ever in 150 cities — On May 15, fast food workers plan to mount one-day strikes in 150 U.S. cities, accompanied by protests in 30 countries, labor sources tell Salon. Organizers expect the walkouts to spread for the first time to cities including Philadelphia, Miami, Orlando, and Sacramento, and to involve thousands of total workers, including hundreds each in cities including St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.
► At Daily Kos — Weak charter school oversight leads to fraud and mismanagement — Charter schools benefit from a massive double standard, taking public money without being subject to the regulations or oversight applied to traditional public schools. That lack of regulation and oversight has a cost, in students’ educational experiences and in dollars. More than $100 million, as a new report from the Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education shows.
► At IBEW.org — Why Spanish train-maker is leaving Wisconsin — Spanish train-maker Talgo is vacating its factory in Milwaukee, four years after Gov. Scott Walker rejected millions in federal stimulus money to create a Milwaukee-to-Madison commuter line. Talgo set up its North American headquarters there shortly before Walker’s election, with plans to make the city a hub for rail manufacturing in the Midwest. The project was expected to create tens of thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs. No longer.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Why Sen. Warren’s refinance bill is a big deal — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced a bill today to allow borrowers to refinance their outstanding student loan debt. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act is an excellent step toward easing the crushing $1.2 trillion student loan debt borne by graduates and reducing barriers to higher education for working families.
► In The Hill — Obama’s trade agenda hits rough waters — Congress is unlikely to move trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation before the midterm elections with Democrats unwilling to take the political risk of crossing unions and liberal groups opposed to expanded trade, several business leaders acknowledged.
► In the Global Post — Curious about the biggest trade deal in history? Sorry, it’s classified — The potential impact on humanity from this proposed mega-deal is impossible to measure. The Trans-Pacific Partnership could bankrupt families in Kansas and enrich them in Kuala Lumpur. Or make patented medicine wildly unaffordable for sick people in poor places. Or even imprison citizens of 12 countries for pirating Game of Thrones episodes. Or maybe, as its proponents claim, TPP could plug the U.S. into Asia’s rising markets and give the global economy a needed jolt. Either way, if secured, it will be a corporation-friendly game changer for 800 million people. The thing is, average people are banned from seeing its inner workings. TPP, as it stands, is classified. The White House can see it. Leaders in negotiating nations can see it. About 600 reps from America’s most powerful corporations can see it. But the American public is forbidden from perusing the deal, and the people they elect are barred from negotiations.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Many millionaires favor higher taxes, minimum wage to counter inequality — A majority of U.S. millionaires think rising income inequality is a “major problem” and almost two-thirds favor increasing taxes on the wealthy and raising the minimum wage to reverse the trend, according to a new survey. But the views of the wealthy on these hot-button topics vary significantly by political affiliation, suggesting millionaires are as split as the rest of the country between Democratic and Republican beliefs.
► From Reuters — U.S. proposes immigration rules to help high-skilled workers — Newly proposed rules for highly skilled immigrants to the United States, including a provision to allow their spouses to work, are aimed at making it easier to keep those talented science, technology and engineering workers in the country, officials said on Tuesday.
► In today’s NY Times — U.S. climate has already changed, study finds, citing heat and floods — The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, scientists reported Tuesday, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects. Such sweeping changes have been caused by an average warming of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit over most land areas of the country in the past century, the scientists found. If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees by the end of this century.
PLUS in today’s Seattle Times — Report: Climate-change effects are already apparent in NW
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