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Teacher contract talks, Obama vs. Dems, science vs. GOP…

Thursday, August 25, 2016




► In today’s Columbian — Teachers, Evergreen agree on only one point — If agreement is not reached, teachers will decide next Tuesday whether to strike, which would delay the start of the school year for 26,000 students in Southwest Washington’s largest school district.

► From the News Tribune– Bethel teachers still negotiating contract as start of school year approaches — Issues still outstanding include pay and teacher participation in decision-making around testing.


► In today’s Spokesman-Review — New Spokane teachers’ contract includes early school release for students on a dozen Fridays A new contract for Spokane teachers includes three years of pay raises and series of scheduling changes that include 12 early release Fridays throughout the year and an agreement that starting next year the first day of school will be on the last Thursday day of August.




► In today’s Olympian — Judge rules Olympia income tax proposal invalid for November ballot — A judge has ruled that a proposed income tax initiative for Olympia residents is invalid and cannot appear on the November ballot. He said the initiative extends beyond the city’s powers and conflicts with the state law that bans income taxes.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — DOE asks judge to dismiss state’s Hanford chemical vapor lawsuit — The Department of Energy is asking that a federal judge dismiss the state of Washington’s lawsuit seeking increased protection from chemical vapors for Hanford workers. The state is overstepping its authority and has no legal standing to bring the case, the feds argue.




probst-tim► From Daily Kos — The State Senate race that could give Washington automatic voter registration — Tim Probst’s State Senate race against Lynda Wilson in Washington’s 17th District will actually determine the future of automatic voter registration in Washington State, and impact the trajectory of AVR in the U.S. more generally.

► In the Seattle Times — The ‘Trump effect’ is real, and it’s not good for local Republicans (by Jonathan Martin) — Someone should tell Washington State Republican Party Chairwoman Susan Hutchison that her state Trumper-in-chief shtick is eroding the state party’s odds for its biggest potential prize this weird election year — control of the state Legislature.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s description of Black America is offending those living in it — The unrelievedly dire picture Donald Trump has painted of black America has left many black voters angry, dumbfounded or both. Interviews with roughly a dozen blacks in Atlanta turned up no one who found any appeal in Trump’s remarks. More common was the suggestion that Trump was trying to appeal to whites who might support him.

► From Yahoo News — Trump calls Clinton a ‘bigot’ at surreal rally

► From The Hill — GOP chairman calls on Trump to release taxes

► From The Hill — Spokeswoman: Trump not changing immigration stance, just his words

my-shocked-face► From Vox — The AP’s big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess — Serving as secretary of state while your husband raises millions of dollars for a charitable foundation that is also a vehicle for your family’s political ambitions really does create a lot of space for potential conflicts of interest. Journalists have, rightly, scrutinized the situation closely. And however many times they take a run at it, they don’t come up with anything more scandalous than the revelation that maybe billionaire philanthropists have an easier time getting the State Department to look into their visa problems than an ordinary person would.




obama-sad► From The Hill — Obama’s TPP campaign could drag down Democrats — How much is President Obama willing to harm the Democratic Party in order to win approval for the deeply unpopular TPP “trade” agreement? We may soon find out.

► From the Economic Policy Institute — Why is President Obama making one last push for the TPP? — Importantly, this year’s election has highlighted the importance of non-white working class voters for Democratic success at the presidential level. Given the modesty of net benefits and the large, regressive redistribution of income created by growing trade flows, it is puzzling why TPP is such a priority for the Obama administration—especially when it, like trade agreements before, is quite likely to do disproportionate harm to the people who make up his and his party’s political base. Even more puzzling is why there are no measures accompanying the TPP that would provide compensation for workers on the losing end (who are, again, disproportionately black and, Hispanic) at anything like the scale of the losses they will incur as a result of this terribly designed trade and investment deal.




UAW-4121► In today’s NY Times — Unions in the ivory tower (editorial) — This week’s ruling allows graduate assistants to vote on whether to unionize, and if they do, for the students and the universities to bargain in good faith. There will be plenty to discuss between the students and the administrations. In recent decades, as tenure-track positions at universities have declined precipitously, teaching and research — the mainstay of universities — have increasingly been taken up by adjunct faculty members and graduate assistants, without commensurate increase in pay, status or career opportunities. On many campuses, teaching and research assistants are essentially low-paid, white-collar workers, typically earning around $30,000 a year, most of whom will never get tenure-track positions.

ALSO at The Stand — Academic Student Employees hail major NLRB ruling

Inhofe-snowball► In the Charlotte Observer — Here’s why most UNC faculty members are Democrats (by UNC professor Wiliam Snyder, M.D.) — One reason is the anti-science attitude adopted by many rank and file Republicans and supported by some Republican leaders. For example, a Pew Research Survey in 2013 found that only 43 percent of Republicans believe that humans have evolved over time… More relevant is Republican positions on climate science [see photo]… Will there be consequences due to the fact that so many of us in the university community are Democrats? Of course, we hope not, but the University of North Carolina system has already seen a competent and respected president who was a Democrat forced out so a Republican could be installed. Looking at what’s happening at other Republican-controlled states like Wisconsin, there is reason for concern that state funding to the university could be cut even more deeply. The sad part is that this will happen only at public schools. The private colleges and universities will continue to prosper via endowments and high tuitions, their faculty will remain heavily Democratic and the wealthy will continue to send their children there.

► A related story in today’s Spokesman-Review — McMorris Rodgers noncommittal on climate change, wildfires — The Republican congresswoman also sidestepped a question about limiting carbon emissions.




► From AFL-CIO Now — Today’s photo ID laws are yesterday’s beans in a jar (by Augusta Y. Thomas) — When Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, I had hoped we had seen the last of those tactics — of American citizens being denied their most basic right to vote because of what they looked like, what they sounded like, or where they came from. It pains me to see that history is repeating itself yet again. Thanks to a 2013 Supreme Court decision overturning a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, 20 states will have restrictions in place this November making it harder for residents to vote.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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