Friday, March 6, 2015
► In the (Ellensburg) Daily Record — Rep. Matt Manweller vocal in House debate over minimum wage — Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg) spoke at length Tuesday on the floor in opposition to the minimum wage hike and a sick leave proposal… His opposition to the minimum wage increase has drawn the attention of Working Washington, which posted a video recorded in Ellensburg where people respond to Manweller’s past comments about the issue. “Representatives like Matt Manweller of Ellensburg may rant in nonsensical disagreement over the value of higher pay, but his constituents in Ellensburg and people across Washington state and across the country know that higher pay is good for workers, good for communities, and good for the whole economy,” the group said.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Inslee touts carbon tax to pay for education, transportation — The governor said a recent poll shows that putting a charge on carbon emissions is more acceptable to the public than increasing the gas tax, sales tax or property tax. “If you’re going to put a charge on something, put a charge on something you don’t want — and what we don’t want is carbon pollution,” Inslee said.
► In today’s Olympian — Lt. Gov. Owen’s tax ruling is helpful (editorial) — The ruling (that Senate Republicans’ two-thirds supermajority rule for new taxes is unconstitutional) frees lawmakers’ hands slightly to write and pass a balanced budget — with less chance of gridlock… In adopting its rule, the Senate majority unwittingly revealed its acceptance of Washington’s terrible tax system, which is the nation’s worst in terms of burdening those least able to pay and also burdening businesses.
► In today’s News Tribune — Leave state’s payday lending restrictions in place (editorial) — More than 70 consumer groups, advocates for the poor and senior citizens, and the state attorney general all oppose proposed revisions to the state’s payday lending law. One would think that would be good enough for lawmakers. But for some reason, House Bill 1922 and Senate Bill 5899 are coasting along in the Legislature. A cynic might wonder whether it has something to do with all the money the payday-loan industry has been donating to lawmakers… Lawmakers should see this legislation for what it is and reject it. If it passes, Gov. Jay Inslee should veto it.
ALSO at The Stand — Bill puts payday loan industry before people (by John Burbank)
► From AP — Sen. Honeyford sorry for calling minorities ‘coloreds’ — Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside) issued a written apology, saying that he realized that the language wasn’t appropriate and that he will continue to serve his district “with diligence and increased sensitivity.”
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Sen. Honeyford chooses wrong words about complex issue (editorial) — Honeyford’s statement said: “I am deeply sorry for the hurt I have caused; it was certainly not my intent to offend anyone.” We think he means it, and we hope that this regrettable controversy eventually leads to a more inclusive representation of his 15th District constituents, a majority of whom are Latino.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Sen. Honeyford should show some sensitivity (editorial) — He should have known better.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Fight the hockey leagues and you might lose your teeth (by Doug Parry) — Here’s a golden business idea. Hire a bunch of young men ages 16-20, work them 65 hours a week making a product that’s in demand, and here’s the key: Pay the workers next to nothing. Is this the internship program at Boeing? No. (Not yet anyway.) It is, however, the business model for the Everett Silvertips and the rest of the Western Hockey League.
► In today’s Washington Post — How Oregon hopes to register every last eligible voter — Oregon is poised to add an estimated 300,000 voters to its rolls — and potentially hundreds of thousands more in the years to come — in what the state says would be a first-of-its-kind law. The “new motor voter” bill would automatically register all motorists who are eligible to vote, with an option to opt out.
► From KIMA TV — Mabton dairy worker dies in waste pond accident — Randy Vasquez, 27, drowned in a wastewater pond when his front-end loader fell into the pond and he could not escape.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Nurses union, St. John reach agreement on new contract — St. John Medical Center’s nurses union have reached a tentative agreement with the hospital’s management, Washington State Nurses Association spokesperson Lillie Cridland said Thursday. The nurses will vote on ratifying a contract on March 12 with the WSNA recommending a “yes” vote.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Lower Metro bus fares no substitute for higher wages (by Froma Harrop) — Seattle’s idea of helping low-income people by subsidizing their fares on public transportation sounds noble. It truly does. But as a means of confronting the national problem of meager paychecks, it’s rather misdirected.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Freedom Foundation sues SEIU 925 — The Freedom Foundation has filed a lawsuit on behalf of four family child-care providers who object to being forced to pay union fees and otherwise associate with SEIU 925.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Freedom Foundation files another suit against a union. Not exactly “man bites dog” given that these secretly funded right-wingers have openly bragged that their mission is to legally harass unions and admits this mission is political (to “defund the union political machine”).
► At Huffington Post — Anti-Fast Track momentum builds — Opponents of fast track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership are gaining momentum. In spite of a virtual media blackout, public awareness of the coming trade deal is increasing. More and more public-interest organizations are organizing and denouncing the rigged fast-track approval process and TPP trade agreement. One after another, members of Congress are announcing opposition to fast track and demanding that trade problems like currency manipulation be covered by the TPP agreement. Meanwhile, the expected fast-track bill has been delayed again.
► In the Washington Post — Senate votes to kill NLRB rule that speeded votes on union representation — The Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday voted 53 to 46 to kill a rule reducing the time between a union’s request for representation and a vote by workers on it. The legislation now goes to the House, where similar action is expected. President Obama has threatened to veto the measure, and the Senate vote indicates that supporters are far from the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override him.
► In the Houston Press — Daughter of man killed at Texas City refinery watches USW strike — Since the start of the United Steelworkers strike at the oil refineries, Katherine Rodriguez has been watching the developments, and thinking of her father, Ray Gonzalez. “He would have loved this. He would have been out there on the picket line with them if he was still here,” she says.
► From the Hill — Economy adds 295K jobs as unemployment rate hits 5.5 percent — Employers added a better-than-expected 295,000 jobs in February as the unemployment rate edged down to 5.5 percent, the lowest level in nearly seven years, according to numbers out Friday.
► In today’s NY times — Job growth fantastic, but why aren’t wages rising? — The absence of meaningful gains in American workers’ pay has been one of the lingering problems in the economy. With high rates of job growth and an unemployment rate that is down near normal, healthy levels, you would expect workers to have more leverage to demand raises.
► At Huffington Post — On the anniversary of Selma, a call to action (by Tefere Gebre, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President) — It is time for us to continue in the footsteps of the great civil rights leaders that came before us. As a labor movement, we need to start pressuring Congress along with our allies to immediately pass a Voting Rights Act that will close all the loopholes that allow restrictive legislation to be possible. We need to emulate states like Maryland where politicians are working to restore voting rights for the formerly incarcerated. And that’s just the beginning.
Today, The Entire Staff of The Stand™ presents the Pride of Portland: the Hudson Brothers! Apparently on the strength of this song — the only thing close to a hit they ever had (peaking at #22) — these guys scored a prime-time CBS-TV show in 1974 that was someone’s failed attempt to merge the music/skit variety of “The Sonny & Cher Show” with the madcap pace of “Laugh-In.” It lasted less than a month before being relegated to a half-hour Saturday morning program called “The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show.” That program — which aired right after “The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine,” starring the basketball team and 1970s child star Rodney Allen Rippy — lasted for one year. So perhaps The Hudson Brothers’ greatest claim to fame is that Bill Hudson (the one on the left) briefly married Goldie Hawn, sired actress Kate Hudson, and later married actress Cindy Williams of Laverne & Shirley fame. As for this clip, the problem with close-ups of earnest lip syncers is that it’s really obvious when they screw up (see 1:44). Enjoy!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.