Protest at Sarbanand, Hirst talks, which end is nigh, we crazy

Wednesday, August 9, 2017





► From KING 5 — Protesters demand accountability for farmworker’s death, labor conditions in Sumas — More than 70 workers, who were fired from Sarbanand Farms after they called attention to unfair and abusive work conditions, marched in protest Tuesday at the berry farm’s management office in Sumas. One worker, 28-year-old Honesto Ibarra, died last week. Protesters claimed Ibarra complained to his supervisors about feeling sick in the high heat but was told to return to work. Through an interpreter, co-worker Carlos Crespo said it happens all the time. “Every time you want to complain,” he said, “they threaten to send you back to Mexico.”

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Plutonium detected in air near public Highway 240 at Hanford — Plutonium and americium have been found in air samples collected at the Rattlesnake Barricade just off Highway 240 northwest of Richland on June 8, the day of an incident at the Plutonium Finishing Plant.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Edmonds teachers rally to spur contract negotiations — Teachers and parents rallied outside Edmonds School District offices Tuesday evening with speeches, chanting and cheers to try to bring attention to ongoing contract negotiations. The rally was scheduled to coincide with an Edmonds School Board meeting. Two more days of bargaining talks are scheduled Aug. 14 and 15.

► In the News Tribune — Divisive Tacoma utilities director to leave job with $387,650 severance — Tacoma Public Utilities director Bill Gaines is retiring, saying an increasingly politicized environment is a factor in his decision to leave after 10 years at the helm of the utility.





► From KEPR TV — Tri-City projects and construction are halted without a capital budget — The legislature’s failure to pass the capital budget has put hundreds of projects in jeopardy, including improvements for schools, water quality, mental health and other facilities across Washington. There’s a long list of halted projects in our area, including the Tri-Cities Readiness Center and the Goodwill Job Training and Resource Center.

► In today’s Olympian — Get smarter on water before it’s gone (editorial) — It is obvious after a third special legislative session ended last month that a quick solution won’t be found. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans took a $4 billion capital-construction budget hostage until Democrats cave in to their demands to, in effect, overturn the Hirst ruling. That was wrong. But Republican Sen. Judy Warnick of Moses Lake has negotiated with House Democrats on a possible solution, and she is exploring changes to her proposal, SB 5239, which includes higher well fees. Both Warnick and Democratic Rep. Larry Springer of Kirkland told The Olympian they are getting back to the bargaining table this week… In the end, everyone needs to understand that even in water-friendly Washington the groundwater supply is not endless. The days of ignoring that fact are over.




► In today’s Columbian — Health is nonpartisan (editorial) — Contentiousness surrounding discussions about health care creates ripples that extend well beyond Washington, D.C. Instability fostered by Republican efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act impacts patients, providers, insurers and even lawmakers in Washington and every other state. Therefore, it is notable that Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is at the forefront of efforts to provide stability for the health care market.

► From Huffington Post — Constituents clobber GOP congressman at Town Hall: ‘May you die in pain’ — Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) was speaking to a large crowd of constituents in Chico, California, on Monday when town hall when audience members began to boo and heckle him over his support of House Republicans’ health care bill. “I think that your vote to throw 22 million people off of health care is reprehensible and in the service of the rich, I think it’s venal,” one audience member said. “My sincerest wish… I hope you suffer the same painful fate as those millions that you have voted to remove health care from. May you die in pain.”

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — McMorris Rodgers will hold town hall at Gonzaga University on Thursday — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will hold her first Spokane town hall since the 2016 election at Gonzaga University’s Cataldo Hall at 5 p.m. Thursday. If you live in the 5th CD, click here to register and get your ticket.




► From AP — Trump, North Korea trade escalating threats of fire — In an exchange of threats, President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang of “fire and fury like the world has never seen” and the North’s military claimed Wednesday it was examining plans for attacking Guam. The high-level tit-for-tat follows reports that North Korea has mastered a crucial technology needed to strike the United States with a nuclear missile.

► In today’s Washington Post — FBI conducted predawn raid of former Trump campaign chairman Manafort’s home — FBI agents raided the Alexandria home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman late last month, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.




► In the NY Times — Secrecy, suspicion surround Trump’s deregulation teams — By and large, the Trump administration has stacked the teams with political appointees, some of whom may be reviewing rules their former employers sought to weaken or kill. A full vetting of industry connections has been difficult because some agencies have declined to provide information about the appointees — not even their names.

► In today’s NY Times — Sorry, Mike Pence, you’re doomed (by Frank Bruni) — On some level, he must realize that he’s in a no-win situation. Without Trump he’s nothing. With Trump he’s on a runaway train that he can’t steer or brake. If it doesn’t crash, Trump can scream down the tracks straight through 2020. If it does, Pence will be one of the casualties. He is squeezed tight into a corner of compulsory worship. And despite his behind-the-scenes machinations, he has done a masterful job of appearing perfectly content there.

► From The Hill — Trump has yet to travel west as president — President Trump traveled west of the Mississippi River just once during his first 200 days in office and has yet to cross the Rocky Mountains.

EDITOR’S NOTE — No worries. Nothing to see here.




► From Bloomberg — Americans are dying younger, saving corporations billions — For companies straining under the burden of their pension obligations, the distressing trend could have a grim upside: If people don’t end up living as long as they were projected to just a few years ago, their employers ultimately won’t have to pay them as much in pension and other lifelong retirement benefits.

► In The Atlantic — Restaurants are the new factories — For the past three decades, restaurants have steadily grown, as part of the most fundamental shift in American work — from making things to serving people… Jobs are jobs, but these ones don’t pay very well. The typical private-sector job pays about $22 an hour. The typical restaurant job pays about $12.50. That’s one reason why the Fight for 15 movement to raise the minimum wage has targeted the restaurant industry.

► From The Nation — Graduate students on these 7 campuses are fighting for their labor rights — Over the past academic year, graduate students across the country were busy organizing for better working conditions. Currently, there are 33 officially recognized graduate-student unions; 23 are fighting for university recognition. With increasing tuition and plummeting wages, meager health-care benefits and overwhelming workloads, these graduate students are coming together to demand better treatment and recognition. Here are seven schools where student organizing is at a fever-pitch.

► In today’s NY Times — At Walmart Academy, training better managers. but with a better future? — A new program for store supervisors and department managers may make them better employees but may not help them reach the middle class.




► From The Atlantic — How America lost its mind (by Kurt Andersen) — Much more than the other billion or so people in the developed world, we Americans believe — really believe — in the supernatural and the miraculous, in Satan on Earth, in reports of recent trips to and from heaven, and in a story of life’s instantaneous creation several thousand years ago. We believe that the government and its co-conspirators are hiding all sorts of monstrous and shocking truths from us, concerning assassinations, extraterrestrials, the genesis of AIDS, the 9/11 attacks, the dangers of vaccines, and so much more. And this was all true before we became familiar with the terms post-factual and post-truth, before we elected a president with an astoundingly open mind about conspiracy theories, what’s true and what’s false, the nature of reality. We have passed through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole. America has mutated into Fantasyland.


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