Friday, April 27, 2018
► In today’s News Tribune — Washington Supreme Court justice criticized for speech to powerful teachers union — State Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu’s speech drew the ire of conservative lawmakers, who said her attendance showed bias toward the powerful Washington Education Association ahead of a case in which the high court will decide if the the state’s fledgling charter school system is legal… Yu said the WEA made it clear to the crowd she was not commenting on any pending or potential future cases. She said she was at the Spokane gathering simply to foster public discussion and to promote her effort to get judges into K-12 schools to teach about the legal system.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is ridiculous. Sen. Michael Baumgartner, the “right to work” (for less)-sponsoring, union-hating and (thankfully) outgoing Republican state senator from Spokane, has manufactured this phony controversy. How often do Supreme Court justices give talks for the Association of Washington Business and other corporate groups when there are cases pending in which those groups and their members have an interest? The only other legislator who criticized Yu’s WEA speech is Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg), a guy who has actively politicized Supreme Court elections — including Wu’s — by recruiting and advocating for their challengers. From our 2016 report:
State Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg) has openly suggested that their threat of unseating a justice will make the court think twice about piling on more sanctions in what is known as the McCleary case on education funding. Manweller, a political science professor at Central Washington University, is suggesting that rather than deciding issues solely on their merits and the law, justices on our state’s highest court should worry about political payback from the likes of him.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — New Eastern Washington poll continues to show tight race between McMorris Rodgers, Brown — McMorris Rodgers won 48 percent of the poll’s respondents in a matchup with Democratic challenger Brown, the choice of 45 percent of respondents. The Brown campaign distributed the poll in a news release, arguing it continued to show her prowess against the incumbent. “Voters in Eastern Washington are dissatisfied with an ineffective Congress caught up in partisan gridlock,” Brown said in a statement. “We’ve continued to hear in our town halls that after 14 years people are ready for a change, and for new leadership who’s willing to work with folks from both parties to get things done, as I’ve done throughout my career.”
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Skilled trades get their day at school — Cameron Gray, 17, enjoyed the construction work, with hammers, nails and power drills. But after listening to another presentation at Thursday’s Trade Up, a hands-on career introduction event for high school students, he was thinking he might like to be an electrician. Trade Up is put on by the Snohomish County Labor Council, United Way of Snohomish County and Workforce Snohomish.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Tenacious Hanford union leader fought for Tri-Cities and more — A tireless Mid-Columbia union leader who was equally passionate about promoting and supporting his community died Thursday. Jim Watts, 82, was involved in so many projects and organizations in the Tri-Cities that it would be hard to single out his efforts on just one thing… Watts worked his way up to regional president of the 30,000-member Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Local 1-369, the largest union in the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council.
TEACHERS TAKE A STAND
► In today’s Arizona Republic — Arizona teachers, supporters flood Capitol to demand more education funding — More than 50,000 educators and #RedForEd supporters marched toward the state Capitol on Thursday, escalating the push for increased education funding and launching a statewide teacher walkout with no end in sight. The walkout, which is likely the largest in recent American history, unleashed years of frustration over Arizona’s cuts in education funding and lagging teacher salaries. The rally ended at about the same time Arizona lawmakers adjourned until Monday. State lawmakers remained gridlocked on budget discussions, delaying for the moment any opportunity to immediately address educators’ funding demands.
► In the Denver Post — Colorado teachers begin two days of protest, chanting ‘Stand up and fight!’ — Even more teachers are expected at the Capitol on Friday, with nearly 30 school districts — including Denver, Aurora and Cherry Creek — closing their doors because of the teacher walkouts.
► From The Hill — Teachers walk out of Arizona, Colorado schools for second day — Hundreds of public schools in Arizona and Colorado closed again Friday as teachers continued their walkout for the second day.
► From Vox — Arizona teacher walkout: how 3 decades of tax cuts suffocated public schools — The state has some of the most poorly funded public schools in the nation — and over the past several decades, state lawmakers have systematically divested from public education. This has been the case in each of the states roiled by teacher unrest, from West Virginia to Oklahoma to Kentucky — and now Arizona.
► From The Stranger — Poll: Americans support teachers’ right to strike — Teachers in Arizona and Colorado are walking out of class Thursday to demand better pay and more education funding from their state legislatures. Their actions follow teacher strikes and walkouts in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Meanwhile, a new poll finds most people support teachers’ right to strike and believe they’re underpaid. The Ipsos/NPR poll released Thursday used an online survey of 1,005 American adults including Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. The poll found that 63 percent of people approve of national teachers unions and 75 percent agree that public school teachers have a right to strike.
► From The Hill — Trump: Russia probe ‘MUST END NOW!’ — President Trump on Friday declared the Russia investigation “MUST END NOW” after congressional Republicans released a report saying his campaign did not collude with Moscow to influence the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s message came just minutes after Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released their final report on Russia’s influence operations in the 2016 election. It found “no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — In addition to investigating Russia’s interference in the election, the question Robert Mueller is trying to answer is whether Trump obstructed justice to cover up his campaign’s Russia connections. Led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on the Intelligence Committee, House Republicans have actively provided partisan cover for Trump on this issue and many others. For that, they will face a reckoning in November.
► In today’s Washington Post — The GOP tax law was a big boon for the rich. Democrats may make it even bigger. (by Jeff Stein) — If Democrats wanted to press their case that Republicans’ tax law was a massive giveaway to the wealthy, Connecticut would be a good place to start. In a state that’s already home to some of the country’s richest people, the law cut taxes for the state’s richest 1 percent of residents by an average of $71,000 — close to 30 times the cut given to the average state resident. But Connecticut Democrats’ plan to push back on the law could, according to several nonpartisan experts, shower that same group of rich people with even more tax relief.
► In today’s NY Times — Pruitt has it easier than expected on Capitol Hill — Scott Pruitt, the embattled EPA chief, deflected Democrats’ pointed questions about accusations of ethical infractions, and supporters said his performance may have saved his job for now.
► From the AFL-CIO — 15 things you need to know from the 2018 Death on the Job report — For the 27th year in a row, the AFL-CIO has produced Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect. The report gathers evidence on the state of safety and health protections for America’s workers… These are challenging times for working people and their unions, and the prospects for worker safety and health protections are uncertain. What is clear, however, is that the toll of workplace injury, illness and death remains too high, and too many workers remain at serious risk. There is much more work to be done.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Delivering the real problems facing the Postal Service (Amazon’s not one) (by Jon Talton) — The Postal Service is undeniably in trouble. Contrary to President Trump’s tweets, however, the culprit is not Amazon… Its biggest financial problem is hidden: In 2006, Congress ordered the Postal Service to pre-fund 75 years of retiree health and pension benefits. No other federal agency faces this mandate. It also doesn’t happen in the private sector. Thus, even after draconian cutbacks (including job reductions that hurt this“gateway to the middle class” especially hard), the Postal Service lost $2.7 billion last year… At a time of rising inequality and the loss of middle-wage jobs, a hasty dismantling of the Postal Service would only accelerate these destructive trends.
► Today, The Entire Staff of The Stand wishes Kate Pierson a happy 70th(!) birthday. She’s the redhead in the dynamic duo of B-52’s singers alongside Cindy Wilson. (Frontman Fred Schneider doesn’t count as a “singer” because he doesn’t really sing, does he?) Kate got the honor of shouting “TIN ROOF is rusted” in the band’s biggest hit. “Love Shack.” Why? Perhaps it’s because in the 1970’s she actually lived in the Athens, Ga., cabin that inspired the song. It had a tin roof and was the place where the band reportedly conceived its first hit, “Rock Lobster.” Enjoy!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.