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Boeing’s water, sick at Hanford, roads kill, migrant myths…

Thursday, July 10, 2014




inslee-jay-gov► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee proposes new water-quality standards — Gov. Jay Inslee proposed new state water-quality standards and a companion legislative package Wednesday that would give new authority to the state Department of Ecology to ban toxic chemicals polluting state waters. Says a Boeing spokesman: “We are concerned that the standards put forth by the governor today could result in little to no improvement to water quality, and be a substantial detriment to Washington jobs and economic health.”

► At KPLU — With state’s NCLB waiver now gone, Seattle school seek own exemption — So far, federal education officials have almost exclusively granted the waiver to states, not individual districts. But Seattle Public Schools meets certain waiver conditions the state does not. Seattle officials say the district, unlike the state, meets a mandate to use statewide standardized test data as part of the teacher’s evaluation process, yet the state’s waiver loss still means the district is losing control of more than $2.1 million in federal funding.




boeing-profit► From AP — Boeing raises forecast for new airplane demand — Boeing raised its long-term forecast for new airplane demand by more than 4 percent, and it’s smaller aircraft and orders from the Asia-Pacific region that are driving growth. (Profits are up at Boeing, with cash flow so high that the company spent nearly $3 billion in the first quarter to buy back some 19 million shares and pay dividends.)

► In the Seattle Times — Emirates finalizes massive Boeing 777X order — The world’s largest airline by international traffic wants 115 400-seat 777-9Xs and 35 smaller 777-8Xs. The deal, first announced in November, is the largest single order in aviation history.

► In today’s Seattle Times — First customer shows off Boeing’s 787-9 — Painted black with white wings and a traditional fern design on its tail, the first delivered 787-9 Dreamliner was unveiled Wednesday by Boeing and Air New Zealand.




Hanford-big► From AP — Cause of symptoms in workers at Hanford elusive — About 12,000 air samples taken on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation this year after more than three dozen workers reported being sickened by chemical vapors have failed to find a cause for the problem, Hanford officials said Wednesday. But Hanford officials said that doesn’t mean workers aren’t getting sick.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane’s first legal pot buyer says he lost his job over purchase — The first person to buy recreational pot legally in Spokane says the fame has cost him his job. Mike Boyer, whose enthusiastic purchase Tuesday was broadcast by TV stations and photographed by newspapers, said Wednesday that two of his three part-time employers have since ordered him to report for drug tests that he’s certain he’ll fail.

► In today’s P.S. Business Journal — Sound Transit’s Northgate tunnel machine begins digging — Sound Transit said the first of two tunnel-boring machines that will dig new 3.5-mile twin light rail tunnels from the Northgate neighborhood in Seattle to the University of Washington began mining on Wednesday, as part of $2.1 billion extension project.

► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma firefighters make semifinals in ‘Good Morning America’ lip-synching competition  — A video featuring Tacoma firefighters lip synching the song “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities has made the semifinal round of “Good Morning America’s” 5 Alarm Firefighter Challenge.




highway-construction► At AFL-CIO Now — Fixing the Highway Trust Fund isn’t rocket science, but stakes are high — The Highway Trust Fund pays for the upkeep of our roads, bridges and public transit. Yet for more than two decades, Congress has failed to increase its funding. The fund hasn’t kept up with inflation, let alone the urgent needs for the modernization of our transportation systems. Now a crisis, years in the making, is coming to a head. Time is running out for Congress to fund the Highway Trust Fund, and hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake — 700,000 jobs to be exact. That’s more than double the number of jobs created last month. To be quite frank, the backbone of our entire economy is at stake.

► In The Hill — GOP leader rejects Senate highway bill as ‘higher taxes for more spending’ — House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) on Thursday bashed a Senate proposal to spend $9 billion to extend federal transportation funding until after the midterm elections as “higher taxes for more spending.”

► In The Hill — Dems bring shutdown talk to Senate highway bill fight — Democrats are rallying around “shutdown” as a new favorite buzzword as the Highway Trust Fund faces a $10 billion shortfall, and the annual bills funding government agencies have stalled. Democrats are warning of a looming “highway shutdown,” implicitly comparing it to the government shutdown of 2013 that damaged the Republican brand.

► At Think Progress — Americans have spent enough money on a broken plane to by every homeless person a $600,000 home — Just days before its international debut at a UK airshow, the entire fleet of the Pentagon’s next generation fighter plane — known as the F-35 II Lightning, or the Joint Strike Fighter, built by Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney — has been grounded, highlighting just what a boondoggle the project has been. With the nearly $400 billion spent so far on the aircraft, the United States could have provided every homeless person in the U.S. a $600,000 home, or unilaterally funded every humanitarian crisis on the planet, or met our nation’s road, highway and infrastructure needs.



► At Bloomberg — House passes job training bill, clearing it for Obama — The bill, which the House cleared for President Barack Obama’s signature on a 415-6 vote, authorizes $58 billion over six years for federal workforce development programs. It eliminates 15 programs still on the books, though most had become dormant in recent years.

trade► At AFL-CIO Now — If TTIP trade deal puts people before profits, it can work, say AFL-CIO, ETUC — The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed trade agreement between the United States and the European Union, is an opportunity to get trade and globalization policy right, say the AFL-CIO and the European Trade Union Confederation, the trade union federations that together represent tens of millions of workers. But this will only happen if the agreement is negotiated in an open manner, ensures that corporations cannot override governments and threaten the public good, promotes workers’ rights and social justice and in all other ways puts people before profits.

► In today’s Washington Post — Want a federal job? Hiring decline creating big challenge — Hiring into federal jobs has slowed to the lowest level in nine years. The governmentwide budget cuts known as sequestration, along with growing fiscal pressures on executive-branch agencies, are responsible for the gradually shrinking workforce, and agencies are rethinking how they operate to minimize cuts to public services.

► In today’s NY Times — Chinese hackers pursue personal data of federal workers in U.S. — Chinese hackers in March broke into the computer networks of the United States government agency that houses the personal information of all federal employees, according to senior American officials. They appeared to be targeting the files on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances.

► At CNN Money — L.A. hotel workers could get $15.37 an hour — the highest minimum wage in the U.S. — Now, Los Angeles hotel workers might be outdoing them all with the country’s highest minimum wage: $15.37 an hour, thanks to a new city ordinance that is expected to pass by Labor Day.




nyt-immigration-enforcement► At In These Times — Debunking 8 myths about why Central American children are migrating — There is no “lax enforcement” on the U.S./Mexico border. There are more than 20,000 Border Patrol Agents; that number was as low as 9,800 in 2001. We have walls and a system of large, centralized detention centers that didn’t exist just 15 years ago… The recent increase in the numbers of child migrants is not just a response to gang violence, although this is the most-cited cause in U.S. media coverage. Migration is as much or more a consequence of the increasing economic crisis for rural people in Central America and Mexico, as well as the failure of those economies to produce jobs. People are leaving because they can’t survive where they are. The failure of Central America’s economies is largely due to the North American and Central American Free Trade Agreements and their accompanying economic changes, including privatization of businesses, the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects and cuts in the social budget. The treaties allowed huge U.S. corporations to dump corn and other agricultural products in Mexico and Central America, forcing rural families off their lands when they could not compete. When governments or people have resisted NAFTA and CAFTA, the United States has threatened reprisal.


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