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Ignoring the cliff, port extension, get tough on trade…

Monday, April 18, 2016




house-vs-senate-fiscal-cliff► In the Olympian — ‘Levy cliff’ should be more slippery for lawmakers (editorial) — School administrators already are struggling to hire new teachers in order to reduce class sizes. There already was a statewide teacher shortage and now the threat of layoffs. All of this underscores something often noted on this page: that the Legislature must quit messing around and step up to its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education.

► In the News Tribune — Workplace deaths in state dropped in 2015; falls were the main killer — Only 2011 and 2013 recorded fewer annual workplace deaths than in 2015, when the state saw 58 work-related deaths, 18 fewer than in 2014, according to the state Department of Labor and Industries. Among workplace deaths in 2015, 21 percent of workers were Hispanic; 15 percent were 20 to 29 years old; 50 percent were over 50 years old; and 91 percent were male.

wfse-greg-king► From WSDOT’s blog — ‘I thought I was dead’ — The sound of a jackknifed truck skidding toward him haunts Greg King’s nightmares. He’s slowly recovering physically from injuries in a work zone crash in January, but Greg, one of our Olympic Region maintenance technicians, said he can still hear the trailer coming at him as he ran for his life. His quick action got him far enough away that he was struck and injured rather than killed on that rainy January day near Aberdeen. But he’s still not recovered.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Give ’em a brake. Please slow down in work zones.




► In the Wall Street Journal — West Coast dockworkers, shipping companies consider extending contract — Dockworkers and shipping companies at U.S. West Coast ports are officially considering extending the five-year contract they agreed to last year, according to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who met with the two groups Friday in Los Angeles. An extension of the existing contract would avoid another contentious round of negotiations that could disrupt trade, and would come as a relief to retailers, manufacturers and other shippers that use the West Coast ports.

TSA-SeaTac-Airport► In the Seattle Times — Long lines, cranky travelers: TSA adding staff at bustling Sea-Tac Airport — The TSA Academy is graduating 200 new officers each week, and that they’ll be “front-loaded” to facilities such as Sea-Tac. Right now, Sea-Tac has the equivalent of 840 TSA staffers among its part-timers and full-timers. Their entry-level salary is $16 an hour and they all qualify for federal health benefits, vacation and 401(k). In the meantime, airport officials said they have hired 90 workers to help passengers put their belongings in bins for screening, freeing up TSA agents to move things along.

► In the News Tribune — New long-term taxes would pay for Sound Transit expansion — Three new taxes would raise about $27 billion over 25 years to help pay to extend light rail to Tacoma, Everett, Ballard and other locations under a proposal from Sound Transit. The agency says the taxes would last for decades after the projects are built to help pay off bonds.




► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — Cruz forces out-hustle Trump, look to pack state GOP convention — Ted Cruz has out-organized Donald Trump in Washington state delegate elections in recent weeks, which could help give Cruz a decisive edge if the Republican national convention this summer goes to a second nominating ballot.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State Democrats feel the burn of disorganized legislative-district caucuses — Some Washington Democrats are steaming mad after enduring what they called disorganized and tedious legislative-district caucuses on Sunday that lasted several hours.




► In today’s NY Times — Supreme Court weighs Obama’s immigration plan, with much at stake — The Supreme Court on Monday will hear a major challenge to President Obama’s plan to shield millions of immigrants from deportation and allow them to work. The case, brought by 26 states, may produce a significant ruling on presidential power and immigration policy in the midst of a presidential campaign in which both issues have been front and center.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — WSLC’s Johnson: Supreme Court should uphold Obama’s immigration orders

nyt-immigrant-family-pinto► In today’s NY Times — Family of immigrants, only one a citizen, anxiously awaits Supreme Court ruling — Jerry Pinto is among more than four million unauthorized immigrants whose lives could be transformed by the Supreme Court. Depending on the outcome, people like Pinto will have a chance to come out into the open or will remain, perhaps for years, in a twilight underground.

► In today’s NY Times — On immigration, law is on Obama’s side (by former GOP Sen. Richard Lugar) — Whether or not you like President Obama’s actions, he has operated under longstanding provisions of law that give the executive branch discretion in enforcement.




anvil-made-in-china► In today’s NY Times — Trade case to target U.S. imports of raw aluminum — An American labor union plans to push the United States to impose broad, steep tariffs on aluminum imports using a little-used but wide-ranging trade law that has riled the country’s trading partners in the past. The effort by the United Steelworkers union comes with trade increasingly an election-year issue in the United States and elsewhere. More than three-quarters of the United States aluminum smelting industry that existed five years ago will have been idled or shut down permanently by this summer as imports have surged, according to the union’s legal petition.

usw-logo► In today’s Huffington Post — American workers crushed under China’s deliberate overproduction (by USW President Leo W. Gerard) — American steel is made in the most efficient, cost-effective mills in the world by the most skilled, productive workers anywhere. That’s a fact. It’s a fact that steel executives testified to last week in hearings conducted by members of Congress and trade law enforcers. We want the trade enforcers and Congress to stop the dumping and to force China to dramatically cut its steel production because China has kept none of its promises over the past seven years to voluntarily do so. In fact, it has continuously increased production.




► BREAKING from RT — Arrests made at Democracy Awakens protest against money in politics — The first arrests have been made at the Democracy Awakens protest at the US Capitol. Police had made at least two warnings before detaining demonstrators, who are calling on Congress to get money out of politics and restore the Voting Rights Act.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Check #DemocracyAwakens for updates.

elvis-costello-trust► From Huffington Post — Hardly anyone trusts the media anymore — Only 6 percent of people say they have a great deal of confidence in the press, about the same level of trust Americans have in Congress, according to a new survey released on Sunday. The study mirrors past reports that found the public’s trust in mass media has reached historic lows, according to data gathered by the Media Insight Project, a partnership between The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute. The report found faith in the press was just slightly higher than the 4 percent of people who said they trusted Congress.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Well, if nothing else, you can trust The Stand to supply some good music from time to time.




ap-teachers-rally-15Apr25► From Huffington Post — How the teacher shortage could turn into a crisis (by AFT President Randi Weingarten) — The winner of a $1 million prize honoring excellence in teaching set off shockwaves last year when she said that, given the current climate, she would not encourage people to consider teaching in public schools. Perhaps that declaration, from veteran teacher Nancie Atwell, shouldn’t have come as a shock. Atwell decried the unrelenting focus on standardized tests, which she said reduces teachers to “mere technicians.” But she could have cited any number of factors that demoralize many teachers currently in the profession and increasingly dissuade people from considering teaching. Americans get it. A poll released this week found that nearly three-quarters of Americans believe teachers are profoundly undervalued in terms of how they are treated and supported. Respondents were nearly unanimous in their belief that changes and improvements are needed in the way we treat teachers.


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