Friday, July 14, 2017
► In today’s Seattle Times — The Times recommends: John Persak for Port of Seattle Commission, Position 4 (editorial endorsement) — In a field of accomplished candidates, Persak stands out as the candidate with the most experience and commitment to supporting and expanding the port. A longshoreman, Persak has worked on the waterfront since 1998 and now serves as a policy advocate on issues such as workers’ health, the environment and land use… Even more valuable to the port and its constituents is Persak’s experience advocating for Seattle’s continued viability as a maritime and industrial hub. While challengers have backgrounds in government and aviation, only Persak has been in the thick of current port-related policy discussions and vigorously defending this essential component of the regional economy.
ALSO at The Stand — The Stranger is wrong to dismiss Seattle Port candidate John Persak for his labor leadership (statement by WSLC President Jeff Johnson)
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle employees pension fund won’t divest from fossil fuels — A lawyer for the pension board emphasized the board’s paramount fiduciary duties and described legal limits the board faces to taking any action that compromises financial return to pursue environmental, social or governance goals.
► In today’s News Tribune — Forget Trader Joe’s. This is the growing grocery chain you should be talking about — The German grocery retailer Lidl features small-ish stores for groceries and “surprise” items, and offers steep discounts.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Fox Business show slams Seattle as ‘socialist hellhole’ — Host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery called the Seattle City Council “commies” and “do-gooder authoritarians,” and called Seattle a city “where freedom died along with every good singer from the ’90s.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — As we reported yesterday, CNBC just declared Washington the Best State in the Nation to Do Business. Forbes magazine says Seattle — which, at 3.1%, boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates of any major metropolitan area in the nation — is the 4th Best City for Business. As for Ms. Montgomery’s intentionally sensational analysis of Seattle, it reminds us of her remarks last month attacking Democrats for their criticism of Trumpcare: “We’re all gonna die. And they can’t predict — there, there’s no way, unless they’re absolutely psychic and have a party line to heaven, they don’t know who is going to die, or when, or how many people!” Lovely.
► In today’s NY Times — Senate Republicans unveil new health bill, but divisions remain — Senate Republican leaders on Thursday unveiled a fresh proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, revising their bill to help hold down insurance costs for consumers while allowing insurers to sell new low-cost, stripped down policies.
► In today’s NY Times — A scary new Senate health care bill (editorial) — Republican leaders in the Senate have accomplished what seemed impossible a few weeks ago: They have made their proposal to destroy the Affordable Care Act even worse. On Thursday, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, produced revised legislation that could effectively make it impossible for many people with pre-existing medical conditions to afford the treatment they need. Even people who are healthy now could find themselves unable to pay for comprehensive health insurance when they become sick. In addition, the bill still includes drastic cuts to Medicaid, which provides care to about 70 million people. In essence, the Senate leader just swatted away the concerns of Republican senators and governors who questioned those cuts. The initial version of the Senate bill would have taken health insurance away from 22 million people, the Congressional Budget Office found. Experts say that the number could rise once Mr. McConnell’s changes are factored in.
► In today’s Washington Post — The new Senate health-care bill may be worse than the old one (editorial) — The bill would deeply slash Medicaid, the state-federal program covering the poor and near-poor, just as before. And it would still use the savings to fund an array of tax cuts, including a break for medical-device manufacturers. It would even add a new tax break expanding tax-advantaged health savings accounts, which would mostly benefit wealthier people who have savings to put into them.
► From The Hill — Centrist Republicans push back on GOP healthcare bill — Senate Republicans from states that expanded Medicaid enrollment under ObamaCare are pushing back on pressure from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to support the conference’s new healthcare bill. They want less money cut from Medicaid.
► From Vox — Senate Republicans exempt own health coverage from part of latest proposal — This exemption could have the effect of ensuring that members of Congress and their staffs have coverage for a wider array of benefits than other Americans who purchase their own coverage.
► In today’s Seattle Times — What happens now: Key dates in the state’s new McCleary school-funding plan — The Washington Legislature barely met a June 30 deadline to approve a 2017-19 state budget that includes a plan to increase funding for public schools. Here’s how and when the major changes will kick in over the next several years.
► From Yahoo News — GOP Rep. Steve King: Build border wall with funds from food stamps, Planned Parenthood — Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was asked if he was comfortable with $1.6 billion of taxpayer money being allocated to fund the border wall, particularly in light of Trump’s signature campaign promise that Mexico would pay for 100 percent of it. “I’d throw another $5 billion on the pile, and I would find a half of a billion dollars of that right out of Planned Parenthood’s budget, and the rest of it could come out of food stamps and the entitlements that are being spread out for people that haven’t worked in three generations.”
► Today’s edition of News Juxtaposed™, from The Hill — Carter returns to Habitat for Humanity worksite after leaving hospital — Former President Jimmy Carter, 92, returned on Friday to the Canadian Habitat for Humanity worksite where he collapsed the day before.
► In today’s NY Times — CBO casts doubt on Trump’s spending plan — President Trump had promised that his mix of tax cuts, deregulation and reductions in wasteful spending would spur economic growth and cure America’s ailing fiscal health. On Thursday, an independent government analysis of those proposals effectively said, “Not so much.”
► In today’s Washington Post — Grandparents, other extended relatives exempt from Trump travel ban, federal judge rules — A federal judge in Hawaii wrote that the government’s “narrowly defined list” of who might be exempt was not supported by either the Supreme Court decision partially unfreezing the ban or by the law.
► From AP — Trustees project biggest Social Security increase in years — Millions of Americans who rely on Social Security can expect to receive their biggest payment increase in years this January, according to projections released Thursday by the trustees who oversee the program. But older Americans shouldn’t get too excited. The increase is projected to be just 2.2 percent, or about $28 a month for the average recipient. Social Security recipients have gone years with tiny increases in benefits. This year they received an increase of 0.3 percent, after getting nothing last year.
► From Bleacher Report — Seahawks’ Sherman says NFL players need to be ‘willing to strike’ for higher wages — Says Seattle’s star cornerback (whose local union is affiliated with the WSLC): “If we want as the NFL, as a union, to get anything done, players have to be willing to strike… You’re going to have to miss games, you’re going to have to lose some money if you’re willing to make the point, because that’s how MLB and NBA got it done. They missed games, they struck, they flexed every bit of power they had, and it was awesome. It worked out for them.”
► This TGIF submission comes from a reader who thought the line — “How was I to know she was with the Russians, too?” — was especially timely. The Entire Staff of The Stand agrees, and we wonder when Diaper Don will go into hiding in Honduras and send for lawyers, guns and money. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.