Friday, May 9, 2014
► In today’s Oregonian — Darigold focus of lawsuit alleging animal abuse, violations of workers’ rights — Consumers have filed a federal complaint against Darigold, one of the largest dairy producers in the country, accusing the cooperative of violating workers rights and milking sick and injured cows. The lawsuit, filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, says the company bills itself as a champion of good labor practices and animal husbandry but in reality produces milk “under conditions where dairy cows are injured and sick, where despite suffering from bloody and swollen udders, cows are still milked, and where workers are denied the most basic labor protections, such as drinkable water, lunch rooms, meal and rest periods and an environment free of discrimination.”
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Human rights extend to all (editorial) — A public good may spring from the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. The de facto immigrant prison, a private, contractor-operated facility at maximum capacity, violates basic human rights. Earlier this year, 750 of the prison’s 1,300 detainees went on a hunger strike to protest conditions. Concerns included the lack of essential health services, maltreatment by guards and the arbitrary use of solitary confinement. The Accountability in Immigration Detention Act, introduced Thursday by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene, addresses the problem head on.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle mayor opposes push to raise city property taxes for transit, will offer own plan — Mayor Ed Murray stated his opposition Thursday to a Seattle-only initiative to raise property taxes for bus service, saying a regional funding solution is needed and not a go-it-alone approach.
► In today’s Seattle Times — UW plans 50-story tower on downtown Seattle block — Wright Runstad hopes to begin construction on the $500 million-plus project as early as the second half of next year, but the university’s deadline is 2021.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Knapp narrowly re-elected president of teachers union — The Seattle Education Association narrowly re-elected Jonathan Knapp to a second term as president over challenger Jesse Hagopian, a Garfield High School history teacher who last year led a testing boycott that attracted national attention.
► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma School Board gives OK to notify teachers of possible layoffs — Tacoma Public Schools could lose as many as 17 teachers, and an undetermined number of teachers aides, following action Thursday night.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing Air Force tanker threatened by federal budget squeeze — Federal budget pressures are pressing in on Boeing’s KC-46 Air Force tanker project, and the state’s congressional delegation is fighting back. Whether or not they’re successful could impact whether the Everett-based program to build up to 179 Air Force tankers from Boeing 767 air frames stays economically viable for Boeing.
► From The Political Junkie — GOP Rep. Jason Overstreet retiring, Van Werven to run — Rep. Jason Overstreet (R-Lynden) has decided not to run for reelection. In his place, former Chair of the Whatcom Republicans and former vice-chair of the state Republicans, Luanne Van Werven will run for the 42nd District seat vacated by Overstreet.
► In today’s News Tribune — Gov. Jay Inslee’s lobbyist leaving — An adviser to Gov. Jay Inslee and Inslee’s liaison to the Legislature, Ted Sturdevant, will step down at the end of June.
► At Politico — Koch brothers plan $125 million spending spree — The Koch brothers’ main political arm intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives. The projected budget for Americans for Prosperity would be unprecedented for a private political group in a midterm, and would likely rival even the spending of the Republican and Democratic parties’ congressional campaign arms.
► At TPM — Obama touts Wal-Mart efficiency, angers labor — President Barack Obama is showcasing Wal-Mart to promote advances in energy efficiency in his broader campaign to confront climate change. In choosing the giant retailer as the backdrop for his announcement, Obama triggered a backlash from labor unions and pay equity advocates who say Wal-Mart pays low wages and who archly noted that Obama has made pay equity a central issue of his presidency.
► In The Hill — Obama flexing his executive muscle on immigration reform — President Obama is increasingly looking to administrative action on immigration, as efforts to pass a legislative overhaul continue to stumble in Congress. The administration has moved via executive branch authority on numerous fronts in recent days to improve access to education for illegal immigrants and loosen visa restrictions for some foreign workers.
► In The Hill — Obama: Executive action not enough — President Obama lamented the limitations of his executive authority Thursday, saying his administration’s policy goals cannot be achieved without congressional action.
► In today’s NY Times — Center ring at the Republican circus (editorial) — They won’t pass a serious jobs bill, or raise the minimum wage, or reform immigration, but House Republicans think they can earn their pay for the rest of the year by exposing nonexistent malfeasance on the part of the Obama administration. Their clear intent is to rouse the most fervent anti-Obama wing of the party and keep it angry enough to deliver its donations and votes to Republicans in the November elections.
► In the USA Today — House panel grills college leaders on unionization — Billed as an examination of the consequences of unionizing college athletes, a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing here Thursday involved plenty of that.
► At AFL-CIO Now — The top 10 ‘consequences’ of unions on college campuses — 1. Service workers are being treated fairly and paid living wages; 2. Adjunct professors don’t die in poverty; 3. Graduation teaching assistants can afford continuing education and health insurance…
► From NPR — Advocates back paid sick leave, but opponents won’t cough it up — Last month, New York City began requiring employers to provide paid sick days, joining the ranks of other cities such as Washington, Seattle and San Francisco. But while several cities have been willing to impose such requirements, states have been more reluctant.
► At Huffington Post — Pope Francis calls for ‘legitimate redistribution’ of wealth to the poor — Pope Francis called Friday for governments to redistribute wealth to the poor in a new spirit of generosity to help curb the “economy of exclusion” that is taking hold today. Francis made the appeal during a speech to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of major U.N. agencies who are meeting in Rome this week. Latin America’s first pope has frequently lashed out at the injustices of capitalism and the global economic system that excludes so much of humanity. He said a more equal form of economic progress can be had through “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.”
► Today, The Entire Staff of The Stand™ would like to wish Billy Joel a happy 65th birthday. Most critics and music snobs hate him, but we love him. We bought all of his records and enjoyed most of them. Yes, of course, we hate “She’s Always a Woman” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” But we can forgive him, just as we can forgive Bruce Springsteen for “Queen of the Supermarket” and Stevie Wonder for everything he did after 1980.
Since his self-imposed retirement from recording, Joel has been savaged by another generation of critics and ridiculed about his alcohol problems and failed marriages. But he has re-emerged with class and a sense of humor. (Unlike his abused, embittered peer Phil Collins, for example.) We love his recent two-man doo-wop performance with Jimmy Fallon. And we loved that last month he showed up at a Long Island elementary school’s Billy Joel tribute concert, but didn’t sit up front because he didn’t want to make the kids nervous.
Here’s a reminder of what an effortlessly talented musician and singer Billy Joel is. Happy birthday, Billy the Kid.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.