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‘Cost synergies,’ partisan newspapers, lagging federal salaries…

Monday, November 9, 2015




cost-synergy-pink-slip► In the Seattle Times — Weyerhaeuser is buying Plum Creek for $8.4B to form timber giant — Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek, two timber-owning enterprises deeply rooted in the Pacific Northwest, are merging to form what they call “the world’s premiere timberland and forest-products company.” Analysts expect the companies to cut a big chunk of duplicated overhead costs. The firms said they anticipate annual “cost synergies” of $100 million from the merger. Asked about layoffs, Weyerhaeuser CEO Doyle Simons acknowledged Sunday there is “some overlap in terms of people,” but said it’s too early to estimate how many positions would be eliminated.

► From Bloomberg — Boeing ends Dubai airshow drought with $8 billion 737 deal from Jet — Boeing announced an order for 75 of its 737 single-aisle airliners with a list price of about $8 billion from Jet Airways India, ending a sales drought at the biennial Dubai Air Show. The order, which was already on Boeing’s books with the buyer listed as undisclosed, is comprised entirely of re-engined Max8 variants.

► In the Oregonian — Oregonians would narrowly support $15 minimum wage, poll finds — The poll comes one year before a $15-an-hour minimum wage plan could appear on Oregon ballots.




► From KPLU — Staffing shortage creates crisis situation at Western State — The hospital currently has more than 300 staff vacancies despite recently approved pay raises. Psychiatrists and nurses are in especially short supply.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Recipe for minimum wage hike elusive (editorial) — What is a statewide wage level that will satisfy the grassroots call for compensation that more closely matches cost-of-living? If the Legislature does act, it will have to preempt future local wage initiatives, or no statewide level will hold.

bigbiz-gregory-hitpiece1EDITOR’S NOTE — It should come as no surprise that the editorial board of the Spokesman-Review supports blocking city voters and elected officials from doing something the Legislature won’t: raise the insufficient minimum wage. The newspaper’s openly partisan parent company, Cowles Company, helped fund the successful $500,000 corporate campaign to unseat Rep. Carol Gregory (D-Federal Way). They are putting their money where their ink is, funding dishonest attack ads against legislators who support raising the minimum wage.

► In the Seattle Times — Legislature needs to provide the funding to pre-empt wildfires (editorial) — Footing the bill after disasters while ignoring prevention measures is bad policy that comes with a higher price in the long term and a greater risk of the loss of human lives.

► In the Seattle Times — Tim Eyman, casting usual spell, wins the day for super minority (by Ron Judd) — The idea (of Eyman’s I-1366) is to prevent the unspeakable horror of tyranny by majority rule. So why is it, then, that a statewide measure seeking to institutionalize said extra-Constitutional supermajority for raising taxes requires only a simple majority for approval? How can government by supermajority be instituted by anything less than the same?




► From KPLU — Washington businesses, politicians to discuss controversial Pacific trade deal — The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that was hammered out behind closed doors is now public, and Washington businesses and politicians will be giving their initial thoughts on it at a conference sponsored by the Washington Council on International Trade. Reps. Derek Kilmer, Rick Larsen, Denny Heck and Adam Smith will be speaking about the trade deal on a panel at the conference.

TPP-text► In the LA Times — The great Trans-Pacific Partnership debate (by Doyle McManus) — I tried my best to read it… Those members of Congress who say they’ve read the whole thing? They’re fibbing… Are we better off with or without the TPP? If Congress ratifies it, that won’t turbocharge the U.S. economy. If Congress blocks the deal, that won’t stop globalization. And like any trade agreement, it creates winners and losers. One political lesson is clear: The bipartisan consensus that enabled Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to pass trade agreements has broken down, mostly because, to many Americans, their costs have been clearer than their benefits.

ALSO at The Stand — Recess! Tell your Representative what you think about TPP

► From Politico — Trade pact backers hit 2 big hurdles: Donald and Hillary — President Obama’s herculean task of shepherding the landmark TPP through Capitol Hill is about to run into one major hurdle: 2016 presidential politics.




AFLCIO-cadillac-clunker-fact-sheet► From The Hill — Reid, Pelosi pushing for repeal of ObamaCare’s ‘Cadillac tax’ — Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are working behind the scenes to repeal one of the most controversial taxes in ObamaCare, multiple sources tell The Hill. Reid and Pelosi have been talking since the spring with President Obama about repealing the “Cadillac tax” on employer healthcare benefits.

ALSO at The Stand — Recess! Tell your Representative what you think about ‘Cadillac tax’

► In today’s Washington Post — Federal salaries lag private sector by 35 percent on average, pay council says — Salaries of federal employees continue to lag behind those of similar private-sector jobs by 35 percent on average, an advisory committee has said in presenting what amounts to the latest data point in a long-running debate over how the two sectors compare. Under a 1990 law, the numbers are supposed to be used to virtually close the measured differences with private-sector pay. However, no administration or Congress since then has supported providing the funds to do that.

onion-impaled-senator► From The Onion — Majority Whip displays impaled senator outside Capitol as warning to all who cross party lines — Says Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX): “You see this? If I even sense so much as a hint of a possibility that you might vote out of lockstep or co-sponsor a centrist bill with the opposition, I swear to God I’ll slice your tongue clean out of your throat right in the middle of the rotunda.”




► In today’s NY Times — No justice, no football on a Missouri campus — Students at the University of Missouri have been demonstrating for weeks for the ouster of the university president, protesting the school’s handling of racial tensions. But their movement received a boost over the weekend when dozens of black football players issued a blunt ultimatum: Resign or they won’t play. Fueling the anger were a series of on-campus incidents: racial slurs hurled at black students and feces smeared into the shape of a swastika on a wall in a residence hall.

BREAKING from AP — University of Missouri president leaves over race complaints

► In today’s NY Times — Democratic group called iVote pushes automatic voter registration — Former aides to President Obama and President Bill Clinton have pledged to spend up to $10 million in an effort to get states to register anyone getting a driver’s license.

► From AP — Lufthansa union shifts strike targets for Tuesday — A union representing Lufthansa cabin crew is shifting its strike targets for Tuesday. The UFO union says only long-haul international flights will be affected at Lufthansa’s Munich and Frankfurt hubs.


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