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Hospital health, knowing a damn thing, bigot bros, Becker’s Blues

Friday, September 8, 2017




► In today’s Yakima H-R — Virginia Mason Memorial hospital workers protest new health care plan — “Affordable care is under attack! What do we do?” “Stand up, fight back!” More than 60 employees and supporters joined a picket line outside Virginia Mason Memorial hospital Thursday afternoon, chanting themselves hoarse in the smoky air about the hospital’s new employee health care plan and aggressive billing policies. Service workers at the Yakima hospital — including nursing assistants and housekeeping and dietary staff — have been in contract negotiations with the hospital for a year with no agreement.

► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Hearing will reexamine financial viability of Harrison move — A state Department of Health hearing Friday will reexamine the financial viability of a $500 million project to expand Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale and close Harrison Bremerton. Despite its narrow focus, the hearing is primed to become a rallying point for opponents of the move, who have railed against the loss of hospital services in Kitsap’s largest city, CHI Franciscan’s dominance in the county’s health care market and what some claim are inadequate hospital staffing levels, among a host of other concerns.

ALSO at The Stand — Join UFCW 21 at rally Friday to save Bremerton’s hospital

► In today’s Seattle Times — Amazon’s announcement of HQ outside of Seattle sends ripples through state’s political circles — Amazon is a major economic driver of Seattle, which is also a major economic driver for the state. Is the announcement by the tech giant, to build a second headquarters outside of Seattle, a sign of things to come?

► In today’s Seattle Times — Amazon’s second headquarters: Expect the unexpected (by Jon Talton) — Take the benefits from being the hometown of one of the most influential corporations on the planet for granted at your peril.

► A related story (?) in the NY Times — Silicon Valley’s politics: Liberal, with one big exception — A new first-of-its-kind study of the political attitudes of wealthy technologists finds they could help push lawmakers, especially Democrats, further to the left on many social and economic issues. But they may also undermine the influence of some of the Democrats’ most stalwart supporters, including labor unions. And they may strive to push Democrats away from regulation on business — including the growing calls for greater rules around the tech industry. “What’s surprising to us,” said one Stanford researcher, “is that you could find this group that says, ‘Actually, our taxes should go up and more money should go to things like universal health care, or that we should do more to protect the environment’ — but at the same time believes that regulations and labor unions are a problem.”

► In the Issaquah Reporter — Reichert announces he won’t seek re-election after mock Issaquah rally — Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8th) announced he won’t seek re-election in 2018 on Wednesday morning, one week following a satirical Issaquah rally that implied his Republican allegiance will cost lives… On Aug. 30, people came out in droves with signs “supporting” Rep. Reichert. “Fill up the cemetery, fill up the grave, all you have to do is vote for Dave!” chanted the black-clad mourners as they carried a coffin up Southeast 56th Street to Reichert’s Issaquah office. The Reichert “supporters” belonged to the Washington State Organization of Gravediggers, Laborers, Undertakers and Morticians, also known as WA SO GLUM.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Inslee urges Boeing to build its new jet in Washington — Inslee said his staff has had “discussions with industry leaders” about the new plane, which company executives have unofficially dubbed the 797 and would be a replacement for the 757. Inslee stressed discussions are “very preliminary” and he’s not engaged in any negotiations with Boeing executives.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Former Fibre CEO Larry Hoff running for state rep — Former Fibre Federal Credit Union CEO Larry Hoff is throwing his hat in the ring. On Thursday, Hoff announced he is running for the 18th LD House seat currently held by Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas).




► In the People’s World — Latino labor conference turns into pro-Dreamers, anti-Trump march — Led by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and urged on by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), delegates and leaders of Labor’s Council for Latin American Advancement converted the first half day of their two-day convention in D.C. into a pro-Dreamer anti-Trump march.

► From NPR — Here are 4 options Congress could take on DACA — 1) The bipartisan Dream Act of 2017, which has many of the same protections in place as DACA does and also creates a path for citizenship or permanent legal resident status if applicants meet certain requirements. DACA did not provide such a path. 2) The Recognizing America’s Children Act, sponsored by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), which similarly takes much of what was in DACA and codifies it, while also providing a pathway toward legal status and, eventually, citizenship. 3) The American Hope Act, sponsored by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), protecting people who entered the U.S. before age 18. The bill does not include any work, education or military requirements but does reject people who have been convicted of certain crimes. It also provides the fastest path to citizenship. 4) The BRIDGE Act, sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), would codify the current DACA program into law and extend it for three years, allowing Congress more time to come up with a comprehensive, long-term solution for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws. Unlike the other bills in Congress, it does not include a path to citizenship.

► From TPM — Trump’s DACA blundering is driving Congress crazy — For weeks the president has been sending mixed signals on DACA — one day calling the program unconstitutional, the next day demanding Congress reinstate it, and the next day vowing he would “revisit” its termination, a promise that threatens to remove Congress’ motivation to pass a bill.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Beyond Dreamers, the U.S. needs a moral immigration policy (by Jerry Large) — Immigration reform has to go beyond doing the right thing for the most appealing people, Dreamers. A moral policy requires a deeper look at who we are and who we want to be. We have to compare our stated values to our actions.




► From The Hill — House Republican causes stir claiming female lawmaker ‘doesn’t know a damn thing’ — Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) was forced to apologize on Thursday after he lashed out at Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) in unusually personal terms during House floor debate late in the evening. After Jayapal, a liberal freshman representing Seattle, spoke in opposition to his amendment, Young snapped that she “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.”

► From The Hill — Dem, GOP demands could sink bipartisan ACA fix — Republicans say that in exchange for funding for health care insurers that would help prevent premium spikes, Democrats should agree to expanding waivers that could allow states to repeal certain ACA requirements. This could include allowing insurers to not cover services like mental health as part of an insurance plan, or rolling back government subsidies that help people afford coverage.

► From The Hill — Senate approves Trump’s debt deal with Democrats — On an 80-17 vote, the Senate on Thursday approved a short-term bill to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling despite frustration among Republicans about the deal that President Trump struck with Democrats.

► From TPM — House heads toward backing $15.3 billion Harvey aid bill, raising debt limit — The House vote on Friday would send the massive package to Trump for his signature, replenishing rapidly dwindling emergency accounts as Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Irma this weekend and Texas picks up the pieces after the devastation of the Harvey storm.




► MUST-READ in today’s Spokesman-Review — Bigot Bros put on a melodrama at WSU (by Shawn Vestal) — WSU student James Allsup has become a leader in the new crop of racist young white nationalists, who gather like a school of well-to-do bullies online to chortle and mouth-breathe and act smart about dumb beliefs. He was president of the WSU young Republicans organization until recently, and he posts videos in which he “explains” why America was and should again be a place set aside for white people, among other subjects. He attended the Charlottesville, Virginia, rally — traveled all the way across the country to march, spoke as a honored guest or something, and has become among the most visible faces of the “Jews Will Not Replace Us” brigade. He insists he’s totally not a racist, of course… The defining spirit of the new goons: the arrogance, the casual but knowing embrace of prejudice as a way to provoke, an eagerness to enrage so palpable it feels like a mask for a deep lack of character, and a sense that whatever is being said is strategic and mockingly insincere — a performance meant primarily to elicit a certain response to be enjoyed later, back at the cross-fire with your bros. Take that hateful smarm to the dark corners of the web, and you get Allsup and his cronies…

Most heartening of all, though, is the response of the vast majority of WSU students on the mall, doing what one suspects is the worst thing one can do to Allsup, his bros, and their circus of provocation. Completely ignoring it.




► Last week, Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker passed away at 67. Anyone who’s listened to the band’s classic albums Aja and Gaucho as many times as The Entire Staff of The Stand has couldn’t help but feel tremendous loss. Especially since, next week, we are going to see his Steely Dan partner Donald Fagen perform at the Paramount Theater, a solo tour he planned because Becker was to ill to perform as Steely Dan.

Both known as studio geniuses (and perfectionists), we found this video illuminating. Listen as they pick apart the various musical elements of a classic Aja song. “Deacon Blues was special for me,” Becker said. “It’s the only time I remember mixing a record all day and, when the mix was done, feeling like I wanted to hear it over and over again. It was the comprehensive sound of the thing: the song itself, its character, the way the instruments sounded and the way Tom Scott’s tight horn arrangement fit in.” Us, too, Mr. Becker. R.I.P.


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