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Holiday hams ● Signs of 797? ● VA privatization failure ● Fess turns 100

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


EDITOR’S NOTE — The Entire Staff of The Stand is leaving you. For the rest of 2018. Today is our last posting of Daily News until we return to the office on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. That said, we will endeavor to post urgent breaking news from an undisclosed location between now and then. Happy holidays!




► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Local unions donate 3,000 pounds of ham to CAP — More than tripling last year’s contribution, local labor unions donated about 3,000 pounds of hams to Lower Columbia CAP to be distributed with holiday meals. This is the largest contribution in the approximately 10 years the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council and Longview Kelso Building Trades Council have made the donation, said Mike Bridges, Building Trades Council president. Both groups doubled their donations and some of the affiliate unions chipped in as well, making $4,335 to buy the hams.

► From Crosscut — City program moves Seattleites from homelessness to union jobs — The Seattle Conservation Corps has been equipping members of the local homeless population with paid jobs in construction, from bricklaying to carpentry to plumbing.

► In the Times-Herald — Kaiser Permanente unions, management at odds over contract negotiations — A union says the NLRB plans to prosecute Kaiser “for illegally refusing to negotiate a new contract that covers 85,000 employees in eight states (including Washington) and the District of Columbia, and for trying to set conditions on bargaining that would ban unions from engaging in political action that could affect the healthcare giant.”

► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma’s leaders move to send a message to Trump on immigration — Leaders in Tacoma, home to one of the nation’s largest detention centers for immigrants facing deportation, may vote to express disapproval with the Trump administration’s approach to border enforcement.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Puget Sound school districts are trying to recruit — and keep — more teachers of color. Here’s how. — Seattle, Bellevue and Highline school districts have launched ambitious efforts to recruit more teachers who represent the backgrounds of their students. But these glimmers of hope could be blunted if challenges around retention persist.

► In today’s Columbian — Ex-restaurant owner sentenced for forced labor — A former owner of Thai restaurants in Ridgefield who fraudulently obtained visas to bring cooks from Thailand and then compelled them to work long hours with minimal pay has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing explores potential expansion at Paine Field. Could it be for the 797? — Boeing has taken an exclusive lease option on 58 acres of undeveloped land west of the main runway on Everett’s Paine Field, raising speculation that it is considering the site for assembly of its next new airplane, the 797.

ALSO at The Stand — Washington #1 state (by far) to build new Boeing jet, study says (June 7) — The Aerospace Competitiveness Economics Study or “Teal Report” shows Washington far ahead of other states as the most competitive place for large aerospace manufacturing operations. According to the report, Washington would offer the lowest risk and highest return for Boeing should the company choose to build its proposed new mid-market airplane, the NMA (New Middle-Market Airplane), here.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing sets new $20 billion buyback plan, raises dividend 20 percent — Boeing directors authorized a record $20 billion share buyback program and boosted the company’s dividend 20 percent — a sign the planemaker doesn’t intend to stop showering cash on investors any time soon.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Woman says state Sen. Kevin Ranker threatened to cut her agency’s funding after she rebuffed his sexual advances — A Senate investigation into Ranker is an early test of the Legislature’s new efforts to address sexual harassment and its workplace culture.




► In today’s Washington Post — Senate to pass bill that would keep government open, deny Trump wall funding — The Senate intends to pass a short-term spending bill that would keep the government open through Feb. 8 but deny President Trump the money he wants for his border wall, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Wednesday.

► In today’s NY Times — Senate passes bipartisan criminal justice reform bill — The Senate overwhelmingly approved on Tuesday the most substantial changes in a generation to the tough-on-crime prison and sentencing laws that ballooned the federal prison population and created a criminal justice system that many conservatives and liberals view as costly and unfair.

► In today’s Washington Post — ‘I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain’: Veteran judge upends hopes of Trump allies as he spotlights Flynn’s misdeeds — For a full eight minutes, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan read aloud an inventory of Michael Flynn’s lies — describing his “disgust” that President Trump’s national security adviser sought to deceive FBI agents while “on the premises of the White House.”

► In today’s Washington Post — Turns out federal judges have little patience for Trump’s conspiracy theories (by Max Boot) — Being utterly shameless, Trump does not mind looking foolish by spreading preposterous conspiracy theories. He must figure that he will hoodwink at least a few gullible souls. But, for the life of me, I cannot fathom why so many so-called conservatives are so eager to propagate far-fetched lies on his behalf that are inevitably dispelled almost as quickly as they are created.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump signs executive order making Christmas Eve a holiday for federal workers — Federal employees will have an extra vacation day on Monday, Dec. 24. In recent years, federal workers have been given Monday off whenever Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday.

► In today’s NY Times — The postal worker’s Christmas (by Sarah Anderson) — My grandfather was part of a long tradition of postal workers who sacrificed Christmas Eve with their families to deliver holiday packages… As in my grandfather’s day, today’s postal workers have a mandate to provide universal service, delivering mail and packages to every American household at uniform rates, no matter where they live. That mandate has helped bind our vast nation. This principle of affordable universal service is under threat. This year, the White House Office of Management and Budget recommended selling the public Postal Service to a private, for-profit corporation.

► From Politico — Obamacare ruling could cut deeper than many Americans realize — From free mammograms to no lifetime limits, the health law has changed coverage in ways that are popular. A new court ruling puts that at risk.




► MUST-READ from ProPublica — The VA’s Private Care Program gave companies billions and vets longer waits — For years, conservatives have assailed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a dysfunctional bureaucracy. They said private enterprise would mean better, easier-to-access health care for veterans. President Trump embraced that position, enthusiastically moving to expand the private sector’s role. Here’s what has actually happened in the four years since the government began sending more veterans to private care: longer waits for appointments and, a new analysis of VA claims data by ProPublica and PolitiFact shows, higher costs for taxpayers… Since 2014, the two companies administering the program have been paid nearly $2 billion for overhead, including profit. That’s about 24 percent of the companies’ total program expenses — a rate that would exceed the federal cap that governs how much most insurance plans can spend on administration in the private sector.




► One hundred years ago today, the great Henry “Roy” Byrd was born. Known to the world as Professor Longhair or “Fess,” this New Orleans piano player never enjoyed much commercial success. His choked, often incomprehensible singing wasn’t much of a draw. But his piano playing was. Professor Longhair had a major influence on rhythm-and-blues and rock-and-roll, thanks to his more popular acolytes like Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and Dr. John. As a recent profile in The New Yorker put it, he was “a savant, an eccentric, a visionary, a gold tooth bobbing in the back of the barrelhouse, scrambling everyone’s brains.” Fess died in 1980 and was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Here’s some rare live footage of him at work. Enjoy!


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