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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

 


SUPREME COURT

 

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump picks appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court — Gorsuch’s pick won extravagant praise from Republicans and conservatives. A group of legal and civil rights groups blasted the nomination, saying Gorsuch was a tool of conservative activists who would gut protections for consumers, workers, clean air and water, safe food and medicine and roll back the rights of women and LGBT people.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Gorsuch’s record on workers’ rights deeply troubling

► From the Hill — Democrats line up against Trump’s Supreme Court pick — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) railed against Gorsuch’s record and said she would oppose his nomination. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) described Gorsuch’s positions on corporate personhood, LGBT protections, and women’s healthcare as too extreme.

► From Murray.Senate.gov — Sen. Murray’s statement on Gorsuch nomination — “With so much chaos in the Administration and so many questions surrounding this President’s commitment to the rule of law and the separation of powers—I have serious concerns about moving forward with a Supreme Court nomination at this time and will be joining with those pushing back against jamming this nominee through or rushing a confirmation in any way.”

► From Cantwell.Senate.gov — Sen. Cantwell statement on Gorsuch nomination — “There is too much at stake — from women’s choice and immigration reform to LGBTQ rights and marriage equality to voting rights and campaign finance reform. I have concerns about Judge Gorsuch’s record on a number of important issues.”

► In today’s NY Times — Neil Gorsuch, the nominee for a stolen seat (editorial) — It’s been almost a year since Senate Republicans took an empty Supreme Court seat hostage, discarding a constitutional duty that both parties have honored throughout American history and hobbling an entire branch of government for partisan gain. President Trump had a great opportunity to repair some of that damage by nominating a moderate candidate for the vacancy, which was created when Justice Antonin Scalia died last February. Instead, he chose Neil Gorsuch. If confirmed, that spells big trouble for public-sector labor unions, environmental regulations and women’s access to contraception.

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Railroad employee from Spokane Valley killed by train — John P. Schneider, 54, a Union Pacific employee from Spokane Valley was struck and killed by a train early Tuesday while working in a rail yard in Wallula.

► In today’s Daily News — Port of Longview cargo handling surges to three-decade high — About 8.33 million tons of cargo moved through the port’s docks in 2016, the most in at least 30 years, on the strength of record-breaking shipments from the Export Grain Terminal.

► In today’s Columbian — Former fire department employee claim alleges wrongful termination — A former Clark County Fire & Rescue employee alleges she was forced out of the department because she was married to another employee, despite the fact multiple related men have worked at the district without reproach.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Lamb Weston plans job fair as $200M plant takes shape in Richland — The company will hold a job fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 10 at WorkSource Columbia Basin, 815 N. Kellogg St., Kennewick, to fill the 128 positions associated with the project.

 


AEROSPACE

 

► In the Charleston Post-Courier — Boeing’s North Charleston break room display: Over the top stunt or education campaign? — A display designed to illustrate how much money Boeing Co. employees might have to pay in annual union dues has drawn protests from the International Association of Machinists. The display, set up in a breakroom at Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner plant in North Charleston, includes stacks of diapers and various children’s outfits under a banner stating: “The goods on display would cost your family $800.” Mike Evans, the IAM’s lead local organizer, said he has heard from several Boeing workers who were “insulted” by the display.

“Boeing’s over-the-top tactics are falling flat with their employees,” Evans said. “Stunts like this show that it’s more important than ever that Boeing South Carolina workers get union representation.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Fun fact: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time union members earn $10,500 more per year on average than full-time nonunion workers. #YouDeserveBetter #SolidarityIAMSC

► From Forbes — Boeing will be organized — Right-to-work law is no barrier, says top South Carolina labor leader — “We can certainly win at Boeing,” said Kenny Riley, president of ILA Local 1422. “But the IAM has to bring out the star power {and} they have to wear the badge of the labor movement.  All of labor has to be in it.”

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Sen. Ericksen confident he can work for both Senate and EPA, will take full salary — Since becoming communications director for the Environmental Protection Agency transition team, Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) has drawn criticism from some Whatcom County constituents who worry he isn’t dedicating enough attention to his elected duties in the state Legislature. Ericksen has missed at least 75 percent of the committee meetings he was scheduled to attend so far this legislative session. He has not attended committee meetings since Jan. 12.

EDITOR’S NOTE — But has he missed a free meal?

► In today’s Seattle Times — Sen. Ericksen, you can’t be two places at one time (editorial) — If Ericksen’s priority is in Olympia, he should be there, full-time. If not, quit the Senate and let a replacement be appointed. That’s not a partisan statement: we would say the same thing if a Clinton administration were plucking lawmakers. Pick a job, Sen. Ericksen.

► In today’s Olympian — Can Trump withhold money from sanctuary cities? Some question legality of order — State and local officials are questioning the legality of President Donald Trump’s attempt to crack down on sanctuary cities that don’t help enforce federal immigration laws.

► In today’s News Tribune — Rep. Jesse Young disputes he mistreated staff — Republican State Rep. Jesse Young has been restricted from dealing with his legislative assistants for at least a year. Young says the claims have no merit.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From Reuters — U.S. Senate panel postpones hearing for Labor nominee Puzder yet againThe U.S. Senate panel tasked with vetting Andrew Puzder to head the Labor Department has postponed its tentative plans to hold his confirmation hearing yet again, a move that some political strategists say could signal trouble for the fast-food executive.

TAKE A STAND — Dial 1-866-829-3298 or CLICK HERE to tell your U.S. Senator to oppose fast-food executive Andrew Puzder for Labor Secretary. His long anti-worker record shows he can’t be trusted to defend working Americans’ rights on the job.

► From KUOW — Washington senators vote against Trump Cabinet nominees — Sen. Patty Murray of Washington delivered a sharp statement against Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee as education secretary. After an extended battle over voting procedure, the committee sent the nomination along on a 12-11 party line vote. Meanwhile, Sen. Maria Cantwell was voting against Rep. Ryan Zinke to be the new secretary of the interior.

► From The Hill — GOP changes rules to push through nominees after Dem boycott — Senate Republicans pushed through a pair of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees Wednesday, upending standard committee rules to circumvent a Democratic boycott. The Senate Finance Committee advanced a pair of Trump’s nominees with only Republican members present — Steven Mnuchin to head the Treasury Department, and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) as secretary of Health and Human Services… “I think (Democrats) ought to stop posturing and acting like idiots,” grumbled Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and normally one of the chamber’s most decorous members.

► From Politico — Why Trump’s firing of Sally Yates should worry you — Her ouster should be cause for alarm to anyone who values the Justice Department’s reputation for independence.

► From The Hill — Poll: One-quarter believe Trump’s voter fraud claims — One quarter of voters in a new poll think President Trump’s claims that millions of illegal votes were cast in the presidential election are true.

► From Medium —  Speaking loudly in the face of injustice: A pragmatic legislator’s response to the Trump Administration (by Rep. Adam Smith) — My recent vocal anger with President Trump is not about politics. It is not personal. I take issue with Trump’s policy decisions, and the ramifications they have for our country and our world… The problem we now face is that we have a reckless individual as our Commander-in-Chief. The President appears to make sweeping policy decisions based not on facts and sound arguments, but preconceived and often ill-informed ideas, as well as on whatever he happens to see on late-night cable television.

► From The Stranger — Confidential to the Democrats (by Dan Savage) — I’m going to lose my f—ing mind if one more Dem says, “We can’t stoop to their level.” Hello?!? They’re winning down there. They’re fighting “at their level” and they’re kicking your f—ing asses. They’re kicking our f—ing asses. And you’re gonna have to fight them where they are — down there, at that level. They stooped, they conquered. Stop waiting for glacial demographic trends to save your asses and ours and get up off your backs and fight. Fight them at their level. You have no choice. Pick up every ax they’ve used — obstruct, block, suppress — and swing them twice as hard. We didn’t send you to Washington to set a good example for the Republicans.

 


FREEDOM OF RELIGION

 

► From KNKX — McMorris Rodgers comments 3 days after immigration ban — “The intent of the executive order is one that I support.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — And of course, the intent is to keep Muslims out of the United States and give the base’s racism and xenophobia a good stir.

► In today’s Seattle Times — More than 21,000 Washington residents are from countries banned by Trump — More than 21,000 Washington residents were born in one of the seven countries — Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen — affected by President Trump’s travel ban.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Trumka: Attacking immigrants, refugees hurts us all

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Chaotic directive jeopardizes American values (editorial) — Keeping Americans safe is, of course, the president’s job, but the reason for choosing those seven nations isn’t clear. No imminent threat was identified. No fatal attacks in the U.S. have been committed by people from those countries. Most of the 9/11 jihadists were from Saudi Arabia, which is not on the list. Since 9/11, all Muslim-related terror attacks on American soil were committed by legal U.S. residents. How does this order contain homegrown terror?

► In today’s NY Times — State Dept. dissent cable on Trump’s ban draws 1,000 signatures — The cable, asserting that President Trump’s executive order to temporarily bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries would not make the nation safer, traveled like a chain letter — or a viral video… Several diplomats said union rules allowed them to work on dissent memos on the clock. “Policy dissent is in our culture,” said one diplomat.

► From The Onion — FBI shuts down prominent new ISIS recruitment website — Saying the measure would greatly aid efforts to combat the rise of anti-American sentiment online, the FBI announced Tuesday that it had shut down a prominent new ISIS recruitment website, www.whitehouse.gov. “Blocking sites like this one, which spread propaganda in the effort to attract people to ISIS, is vital to winning the war on terror,” said FBI spokesperson Terrence Moreland. “While it can be hard to keep up with the number of internet outlets posting Islamic extremist propaganda, ultimately sites like whitehouse.gov are the greatest resource ISIS has to incite terrorism against the U.S. Even though we finally managed to shut it down after a little more than a week, the site was so popular that there’s no telling how many individuals have already been radicalized.”

 


NATIONAL

 

► From the Pew Research Center — Most Americans see labor unions, corporations favorably — About six-in-ten adults today have a favorable view of labor unions (60%) and business corporations (56%). The public’s opinions of corporations and unions were largely positive throughout the early 2000s, but turned more negative during the Great Recession. Today, favorable opinions of each are at their highest levels in nearly a decade.

ALSO at The Stand — Union membership up again in Washington state

► In today’s Washington Post — Workers at Trump’s Washington hotel vote to join union, casting spotlight on potential conflicts — The vote, the first major unionization effort of Trump-company workers following Trump’s inauguration, again highlights the thorny entanglements facing the businessman-president, who has given corporate management responsibilities to his children but has refused to divest from his business interests.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► From Huffington Post — Water could soon be unaffordable for millions of Americans — Recent analyses have confirmed that water bills have been on the rise in many U.S. communities for a variety of reasons — water utilities’ cost to repair and improve their crumbling infrastructure systems, the added strain of climate change impacts to those systems and declining customer bases in certain urban areas. And a new study has found that those extra costs, when they are passed along by water utilities, are increasingly leaving many Americans struggling to pay for their water service — a trend that appears likely to continue in the coming years.

 


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

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