Friday, October 5, 2018
► In today’s Seattle Times — Attacks on staff surge at Western State Hospital: ‘How bad does it have to get?’ — On Aug. 26 came the attack that profoundly shook staff at the state’s largest psychiatric hospital. The patient, now 19 and 260 pounds, allegedly punched a nurse in the face and repeatedly stomped on her face, leaving her so bloodied that a nursing supervisor thought she was going to die. She didn’t. But the attack illustrates a sharp increase in patient-on-staff assaults at Western State, despite tens of millions of dollars the state has spent trying to fix problems that have plagued the 850-bed hospital for decades. The issue was thrust into the spotlight again last Sunday when a patient allegedly vaulted over a nurse’s station, started choking her and bit off part of an ear lobe. After years of declining violence, patients are now attacking staff at the highest rate in a decade, even as reports of attacks on other patients have generally gone down, according to records reviewed by The Seattle Times.
► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Sequim schools classified staff call for contracts — Staff at the Sequim School District continue to rally for equitable wages as contract negotiations persist for paraeducators, bus drivers, secretaries, maintenance staff and some administrative employees.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Work to prevent Hanford tunnel collapse starts. A Seattle watchdog says not so fast. — A convoy of trucks has begun this week to fill a Hanford radioactive waste storage tunnel that is at risk of collapse, but a Seattle watchdog group is attempting to halt the work. On Sept. 28, the state gave the DOE approval to start filling the second PUREX plant waste storage tunnel with concrete-like grout. Seattle-based Heart of America Northwest expects to appeal.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Carolyn Long speaks on Social Security, health care at union town hall — The Vancouver Democrat also said the public option — a Medicare-like health insurance policy citizens would buy from the government — should be among alternatives considered as a way to make medical care more affordable and accessible. Long spoke to about 50 active and retired pulp and paper workers at the AWPPW union hall in Longview. Audience members said they’re worried that Social Security is not enough to live on and that benefits will be cut in the future. To shore up the Social Security trust fund, Long advocated increasing the cap on wages subject to Social Security tax. The tax does not apply to income exceeding $128,400. Raising the cap only would directly affect high-wage workers.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Just one debate set for Washington’s 8th District congressional race as Dino Rossi declines other invitations — Voters may have just one chance to see Dino Rossi and Kim Schrier square off in a Oct. 17 debate before the Nov. 6 election in the 8th Congressional District. Rossi, the real-estate investor and former Republican state senator, has declined multiple invitations to appear alongside Schrier, the pediatrician and first-time Democratic candidate, at debates and candidate forums.
► BREAKING from the Washington Post — Senate votes 51 to 49 to advance Kavanaugh nomination for the Supreme Court — The Senate advanced Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination in a key procedural vote Friday morning, putting him one step closer to confirmation and ending a deeply partisan and rancorous fight. The chamber voted 51 to 49 to advance the nomination after Republican leaders secured the votes of two GOP senators and one Democrat who had not publicly announced their intentions before arriving to vote. A final confirmation vote could come Saturday.
► In today’s Washington Post — Vote ‘no’ on Kavanaugh (editorial) — We have not opposed a Supreme Court nominee, liberal or conservative, since Robert H. Bork in 1987. We believe presidents are entitled to significant deference if they nominate well-qualified people within the broad mainstream of judicial thought. But given Republicans’ refusal to properly vet Mr. Kavanaugh, and given what we have learned about him during the process, we now believe it would be a serious blow to the court and the nation if he were confirmed… the reason not to vote for Mr. Kavanaugh is that senators have not been given sufficient information to consider him — and that he has given them ample evidence to believe he is unsuited for the job. The country deserves better.
► In today’s San Francisco Chronicle — SF hotel strike by Marriott workers comes during busy convention season — Nearly 2,500 workers walked off their jobs Thursday morning from seven Marriott hotels in downtown San Francisco to demand higher wages, workplace safety and job security. Picket lines formed outside the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, the Marriott Marquis, the Marriott Union Square, the Palace Hotel, the St. Regis, the W and the Westin St. Francis, according to Unite Here Local 2, a union that represents 89 percent of the workers.
► In New York Magazine — Union leaders rip Yankees for crossing picket line at Boston hotel — Game one of the ALDS won’t be played until Friday evening, but the Yankees, who take on the Red Sox in the series, have already taken an “L.” On Thursday, several players were seen crossing a picket line outside of the Boston Ritz-Carlton. The striking workers — a group that includes cooks, maids, and bartenders — are demanding better working conditions, more stable hours, and protections against job loss. Their slogan is “One Job Should Be Enough.”
► From Reuters — U.S. job growth cools; unemployment rate falls to 3.7 percent — U.S. job growth slowed sharply in September likely as Hurricane Florence depressed restaurant and retail payrolls, but the unemployment rate fell to near a 49-year low of 3.7 percent, pointing to a further tightening in labor market conditions.
► In today’s Washington Post — ‘Closest person we have to MLK Jr.’: Pastor-activist William J. Barber wins $625,000 ‘genius’ grant — On Thursday, the day the Rev. William Barber Jr. was awarded a $625,000 “genius grant,” Barber was hard to reach, because he was being arrested. Which is related to why the North Carolina preacher was given one of the rare MacArthur Foundation awards. Barber, 55, is one of the country’s best-known public advocates fighting racism and poverty, known for successfully organizing tens of thousands of people in marches and other nonviolent acts of civil disobedience around the country. On Thursday, as MacArthur was announcing that Barber was among 25 people “on the precipice of great discovery or a game-changing idea,” Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign was tweeting about his arrest.
► Today, the Entire Staff of The Stand wishes a very happy 75th birthday to Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steve Miller. This psychedelic blues rocker was criticized by some when The Steve Miller Band shifted to a more pop-oriented sound in the 1970s, starting with 1973’s “The Joker.” But as this live jam-version of his 1976 classic “Fly Like An Eagle” demonstrates, he never lost his experimental musicianship and guitar chops. Look, if he hadn’t recorded poppier versions of such songs, how could he have possibly afforded his $18 million, 39-acre estate on San Juan Island? Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.