Tuesday, May 2, 2018
► In today’s Seattle Times — May Day marked by peaceful marches in Seattle — Hundreds of people chanted, danced and waved signs during a peaceful, two-hour-long march through downtown Seattle for immigrant and worker rights on May Day for the 19th annual March for Immigrant and Workers Rights.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Hundreds gather in downtown Yakima for May Day march — Hundreds marched through downtown Yakima on Tuesday demanding fair treatment for agricultural workers and a permanent fix to what they say is a broken immigration system. “Our concerns are our families, our communities and our immigrants. Trump’s administration and a lot of other people are trying to (hurt) families with things like the border wall,” said Ezequiel Morfin. “We fight for these immigrants, we fight for (students), we fight for people who don’t have a voice.”
► In today’s Olympian — Olympia enjoys largely uneventful May Day
► In today’s Wenatchee World — Hospital workers continue push for new contract — Central Washington Hospital workers staged an informational picket Tuesday as negotiations continued to replace a contract with Confluence Health that expired in July 2017. Employees walked on a sidewalk near the hospital holding signs that read: “Fair contract now,” “Patients over profits,” “Fair wage+recruitment=best patient care,” and “Recruitment and retention.”
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — $100 million lawsuit filed over Hanford pensions — A class-action lawsuit was filed this week on behalf of Hanford workers who lost pension benefits under a failed economic development program. About 2,200 Hanford nuclear reservation workers were told they were being moved from Department of Energy Hanford contractors to “enterprise companies” when Fluor was awarded the contract for environmental cleanup in 1996.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Norpac says it will add 50 new jobs due to newsprint tariffs — Amid a national outcry from newspaper publishers, Norpac announced Tuesday that the Longview paper mill will hire 50 new full- and part-time employees as tariffs on Canadian newsprint set in.
► In today’s Seattle Times — T-Mobile and Sprint: Don’t pop the champagne quite yet (by Jon Talton) — Losers would abound. The 6,000 well-paid jobs at Sprint’s suburban Kansas City headquarters would be at high risk. Sprint and T-Mobile retail shops would be “rationalized.” Cutbacks is one way mergers benefit shareholders — even though most mergers fail to deliver their promises… Bigness usually translates into a less dynamic economy. This is why regulators should say no, again… Promises aside, huge companies tend to be more focused on rewarding shareholders through stock buybacks than investing in innovation. They also hold down worker pay, increasing inequality.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Secretary of state pushes for pre-paid postage for ballots — As King County looks to pick up the postage tab for its voters in this year’s elections, Secretary of State Kim Wyman will try to make it possible for every county in Washington to do the same for their voters. She will ask Gov. Jay Inslee this week for the authority to reimburse counties for the cost of postage on ballots returned by mail in the primary and general elections.
► In today’s Olympian — Justice Yu made error in political judgment (editorial) — For a Washington state Supreme Court justice, Mary Yu showed a surprising lack of political savvy when she agreed to speak to a teacher union’s political event late last month in Spokane.
EDITOR’S NOTE — As long as we can remember, state Supreme Court justices have spoken at conferences for business and labor groups (including the WSLC’s) that would also be considered “politically active,” despite continually facing pending cases in which those groups have a direct interest in the outcome. They just avoid talking about those or any other pending cases. Justices also must campaign for reelection and often accept contributions from those very same business and labor groups. This Olympian editorial fails to answer the question of why Justice Yu and the WEA should be held to a different standard in the one instance of this charter-schools case.
The newspaper says she should have declined to speak “particularly in our rabidly politicized world.” Fine. If you want to suggest a new ethical standard moving forward to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, feel free. But don’t call out one justice and one union for doing what plenty of Supreme Court justices have done. Ironically, the only reason The Olympian or anybody else even knew this speech took place is because Yu’s appearance was rabidly politicized by a crusading Republican legislator and charter schools proponents.
► In today’s Washington Post — Texas, six other states sue Trump administration to force an end to DACA — Texas and six other states are suing the Trump administration over its failure to terminate an Obama-era program that provides work permits to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. The lawsuit signals growing GOP frustration with President Trump’s struggles to advance his immigration policies and could lead to conflicting federal court decisions that would put the fates of 690,000 immigrants known as “dreamers” in the hands of a deeply divided Supreme Court. Joining Texas in the DACA lawsuit are the Republican attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Happy May Day from the unreconstructed South.
► From The Hill — Trump officials abruptly pull back from decision on Medicaid lifetime limits — The administration has already approved work requirements in Medicaid, a controversial step on its own. But if the administration turned down Kansas, it would be rejecting efforts to go beyond that and limit Medicaid benefits to three years, after which people would be dropped from the program forever.
► In today’s NY Times — Apple says it will buy back $100 billion in stock — Apple’s stock buyback fits into a broader trend of companies using the financial windfall from the Republicans’ tax cut to reward shareholders. But critics say the actions can take money away from potential investments in hiring or research and development, and can increase economic inequality because they typically benefit wealthier people.
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
► In today’s Washington Post — Mueller raised possibility of presidential subpoena in meeting with Trump’s legal team — In a tense meeting in early March with special counsel Robert Mueller, President Trump’s lawyers insisted he had no obligation to talk with federal investigators probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But Mueller responded that he had another option if Trump declined: He could issue a subpoena for the president to appear before a grand jury.
► In today’s NY Times — What Robert Mueller knows (editorial) — The 49 questions that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, hopes to ask President Trump as part of the yearlong Russia investigation suggest that Mueller knows a great deal more than he’s letting on — and he hasn’t even gotten to the follow-ups yet… The questions are a reminder of just how aberrant this White House has been. No prior president so openly assaulted the rule of law or undermined the integrity of the law enforcement community. In that light, Mueller’s questions also provide a measure of comfort that, amid all the chaos and tumult of this administration, career public servants in law enforcement continue to do ► their jobs, investigating crimes and pursuing justice.
► In today’s NY Times — Justice Dept. won’t be extorted, Rosenstein warns Republicans — His comment came the day after revelations that several Republicans and other loyalists of President Trump had drafted articles of impeachment to use against Rosenstein in case the long-simmering dispute with the deputy attorney general boiled over.
► In today’s Washington Post — Mueller and Co. are playing hardball — The president and his allies have done just about anything they can to undermine Robert Mueller’s probe and intimidate its leaders. But neither Mueller nor Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation, seem cowed.
► From The Onion — Trump boys ransack Mueller’s office to steal Answer Key to questions for their dad — “USA Patriot Number Two, this is USA Patriot Number One, do you copy?” said Eric Trump, who scrambled through the office on his hands and knees to check the floorboards for hollow spots while speaking to his brother via a Power Rangers walkie-talkie from across the room.
► BREAKING NEWS from the Harvard Crimson — Harvard will follow the law — Harvard will collectively bargain with its newly formed graduate student union, University President Drew Faust said in an interview Tuesday. The university’s move to bargain marks the final and full validation of the organizing effort, ensuring Harvard will see a student union for the first time in its history.
TODAY’S NEWS JUXTAPOSED
► From CNBC — Jeff Bezos says this is how he plans to spend the bulk of his fortune — Jeff Bezos is worth $131 billion, according to Forbes, and the Amazon founder and CEO is clear about the primary way he plans to spend that much money: getting to space. “The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it,” he says.
► From Splinter — A staggering number of Amazon’s employees still need food stamps — One in three Amazon warehouse employees in Arizona depend on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, informally known as food stamps. Four other states showed a similar pattern… The company’s median employee earned just $28,446 last year. That’s because the vast majority of Amazon’s 566,000 employees are not white-collar workers in Seattle but blue-collar workers toiling in the company’s 140 “fulfillment centers” across the country.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.