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Spooky medical debt, scary senates, Screamin’ Jay…

Friday, October 31, 2014




bat-light-swedish-cherry-hill“Swedish’s medical debt is SPOOKY!” — As monsters and goblins run the streets of Seattle, community members shined Bat Lights reading “We Cause Terrifying Medical Debt” and “Profit-Driven Health Care Is Scary” on Swedish Medical Center’s Cherry Hill Campus Thursday night — and will do so again tonight from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. This is part of an ongoing protest of Swedish-Providence’s charity care practices that do not do enough to benefit members of the community who struggle with insurmountable medical debt. Visit Washington CAN’s website for more information.

► At — Tacoma Council’s Ryan Mello: City need ‘meaningful’ paid sick leave policy — Says Mello: “I’m glad Mayor Strickland understands that cities need to take the lead on issues like paid sick leave, but the policy details she is rumored to have shared with the Washington Retail Association won’t actually protect workers, families, or public health. The Tacoma City Council can’t just pass a showpiece to get this issue off our desks. We need a policy that helps all the people of Tacoma in a meaningful way.”

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Study: Hanford workers need protection from brief, intense chemical exposures — “The current program is not designed to detect and is incapable of detecting and quantifying this type of transient exposure event,” the just-released Hanford Tank Vapor Assessment Report says.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Find the money to keep Public Health — Seattle & King County’s Auburn site open (editorial) — Unless the county finds about $1.7 million, Public Health will have to shutter the clinic and two satellite offices in January. Nearly 2,000 women are at risk of losing access to birth control.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — No guns found after scare at Boeing plant — Police found nothing to worry about Thursday night after somebody reported seeing  a man with a firearm at the Boeing plant in Everett.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Metrie employees in Monroe to get federal aid — Employees at wood molding manufacturer Metrie in Monroe will receive federal Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits after their plant shuts down by the end of this year to move the work to Calgary, Alberta.

► In today’s Daily News — Another revenue record in sight for Port of Longview — Boosted by exports of grain and imports of steel, the Port of Longview appears back on track for another record year after last year’s downtick.

► In today’s Seattle Times — High above city, crane workers get a million-dollar view (GREAT photos and video) — “I’m not afraid of heights, but you can’t get me into a boat to save your life,” says Ironworker Henry Cuffe.





► In today’s P.S. Business Journal — When it comes to setting the cost of workers’ comp, it’s no romp (headline fail) — Labor & Industries Director Joel Sacks proposes an average premium increase for 2015 of 1.8 percent — a far cry from rate spikes that have surpassed 10 percent in some years. But this more modest increase, however, has not won universal acclaim. At an Oct. 27 public hearing in Tumwater, construction and grocery lobbyists complained it was too much.




► From KUOW — Washington’s state House could be sleeper election of 2014 — The battle for control of the Washington state Senate is getting a lot of attention. But all Washington House members are also up for re-election this year. Currently Democrats hold 55 seats — 50 is a majority. In recent years, Republicans have been closing the gap and if they were to pick up two or three more seats, that could amplify the voices of swing-district Democrats.

14-GOTV-mail-front► At PubliCola — Voter turnout so far in Washington state — The secretary of state reports that with a week to go before election day, there’s been a 17 percent rate of return on ballots: 660,000 in so far, out of 3.9 million ballots mailed out two weeks ago. Hard to say if those statewide numbers will ultimately translate into the 62 percent turnout the secretary of state originally predicted. As a recent Elway poll showed, voters aren’t very engaged this year. And the fact that there’s not a U.S. senate race in this off-year doesn’t help turnout either.

ALSO at The Stand — Find your ballot, fill it out, and mail it in! — Candidates who support working-class people benefit when more people vote. And that’s one of the reasons unions work so hard this time of year to get their members and their families to do so. It’s not so much an effort to persuade, it’s a call to participate.

► At Huffington Post — The ballot box is the great equalizer for workers (by Teamsters General President James Hoffa) — Hardworking Americans saw what happened when too many people didn’t show up four years ago. The mass influx of anti-worker elected officials voted into office created a system that is crushing the middle class. And that will only get worse if a new bunch of corporate cronies get added to the mix.

► In today’s NY Times — Early voting numbers look good for Democrats — Democratic efforts to turn out the young and nonwhite voters who sat out the 2010 midterm elections appear to be paying off in several Senate battleground states. More than 20 percent of the nearly three million votes already tabulated in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa have come from people who did not vote in the last midterm election, according to an analysis of early-voting data by The Upshot.

scary-voter-id► At Huffington Post — Ginsberg was right: Texas’ extreme Voter ID law is stopping people from voting — A disabled woman in Travis County was turned away from voting because she couldn’t afford to pay her parking tickets. An IHOP dishwasher from Mercedes can’t afford the cost of getting a new birth certificate, which he would need to obtain the special photo ID card required for voting. A student at a historically black college in Marshall, who registered some of her fellow students to vote, won’t be able to cast a ballot herself because her driver’s license isn’t from Texas and the state wouldn’t accept her student identification card.

scary-mcconnell► In today’s NY Times — The prospect of a Republican Senate (editorial) — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says he remains “committed to the full repeal of Obamacare” with only a simple majority, bypassing Democrats’ ability to filibuster through a parliamentary procedure known as reconciliation. That is a pretty good indication of what life will be like in Congress if Republicans gain control of the Senate in Tuesday’s election, and if McConnell wins his race in Kentucky. It’s not just that they are committed to time-wasting, obstructionist promises like repeal of health care reform, which everyone knows President Obama would veto. The bigger problem is that the party’s leaders have continually proved unable to resist pressure from the radical right, which may very well grow in the next session of Congress.




► In the L.A. Times — Maria Elena Durazo leaving top post at L.A. County Federation of Labor — Maria Elena Durazo — the powerful Los Angeles County labor leader who helped elect politicians, boost wages and push through major development projects — says that she is leaving her post to take a national UNITE HERE union job promoting civil rights and campaigning for immigration reform

► From The Daily Show with Jon Stewart — The Koch brothers probably regret advertising on this program…




► Jalacy Hawkins, a would-be opera singer turned R&B musician, originally wrote the following song as a refined ballad. But then he and his band got very, very intoxicated during a recording session. As the AllMusic Guide to the Blues describes it, “Hawkins screamed, grunted, and gurgled his way through the tune with utter drunken abandon.” He blacked out after his mesmerizing performance, couldn’t remember it, and had to relearn the song from the recorded version. Now dubbed Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, radio DJ Alan Freed offered him $300 to emerge from a coffin onstage, and thus was born his new outlandish stage persona replete with campy voodoo stage props. A pioneer of what became known as “shock rock,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was cited as an influence on artists like the Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and Tom Waits. He died in 2000 at the age of 70.

Here, circa 1989, Hawkins performs on Nightmusic, a short-lived late-night show from the 1989 hosted by a scary mulleted David Sanborn. Enjoy!


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