Wednesday, August 14, 2019
► Today from the Guardian — Republican lawmaker aided group training young men for ‘biblical warfare’ — Washington state Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) connected close allies with a group offering training to young men in “biblical warfare” that includes how to use knives, pistols and rifles, with lessons based in part on the teachings of a Georgia-based neo-Confederate pastor, emails obtained by the Guardian reveal. Shea later made videos in support of the group, and appeared alongside them at a gathering at a religious community in remote eastern Washington. He also paid the founder of the group money from his campaign fund in 2018.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — $23 billion of Hanford contracts delayed. Current contractors to continue cleanup — for now — The Department of Energy will extend two of the major environmental cleanup contracts at Hanford for up to a year, rather than putting new contracts into place before the others expire Sept. 30 as planned. The extensions give some certainty to cleanup work being done by about 5,000 workers, allowing them to continue work uninterrupted without contractors starting to gear down for a transition period to a possible new contractor.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — School board set to adopt budget that includes large cuts in staff — Capping a summer of conversation and revision, the Spokane Public Schools board of directors is poised to adopt a $461 million balanced budget for the upcoming school year. The budget is a reflection of changes in the state funding model following the landmark McCleary court decision, which led to large cuts at almost every district in the state.
► From KIRO — Seattle teachers rallying along I-5 in support of negotiating better contracts — Seattle teachers are rallying along I-5 this morning, asking for support in negotiating better contracts this school year. The contracts are initially due in one week. The teachers will be using the visibility of a spot over I-5 to grab attention from people traveling in and out of Seattle.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Southwest, a stalwart Boeing 737 MAX customer, eyes other jets — The airline’s management has proposed new language in the contract with its flight-attendants union that would grant it the flexibility “to fly more narrowbody aircraft types.” Southwest management told the union, TWU Local 556, in a proposal this month that the ability to operate aircraft other than the 737 “would give us the flexibility … to better compete and grow.”
► In the PS Business Journal — Boeing delivers three KC-46 tankers to Air Force as production ramps up — Boeing delivered three KC-46 aerial refueling tankers to the Air Force this month and expects to hand over three per month for the rest of the year. The company has delivered 16 KC-46 tankers overall as production ramps up, a spokesman said.
► From Bloomberg — Pilot turns self-styled whistle-blower after 737 Max crash — For months, he said, he voiced concerns about potential risks of the 737 Max flight control feature.
► In the LA Times — Social Security isn’t in crisis. It just needs a tune-up. (by Nancy Altman) — Social Security’s current projected shortfall, modest in size and still years away, is not a “crisis,” as too many politicians assert, but a call for simple maintenance. If your car needs an oil change, it’s not a crisis. But if you do nothing, and wait until your engine is blown, it can become a crisis. We are still 16 years away from a blown engine. The common-sense maintenance needed is twofold. Congress should increase Social Security’s revenue, as it did about every other year, on average, between 1950 and 1983. And Social Security benefits, which average only about $16,000 a year per person, should be increased.
ALSO at The Stand — Protect Social Security Administration workers to protect your benefits
► From Telemundo — Trump defends immigration raids in Mississippi to deter illegal immigration — Immigrant rights advocacy groups, including the AFL-CIO, the Hispanic Federation, and other civic groups, have also condemned the raids. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that the raids are only intended to sow fear and ingratiate themselves with divisive elements of the country, and that the only “crime” of those arrested “is to work hard for a better life.”
► From HuffPost — Cuccinelli: Statue Of Liberty poem about ‘people coming from Europe’ — Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, reinforced his controversial interpretation of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty ― this time giving it a racist twist.
► In the NY Times — Trump’s push to bring back jobs to U.S. shows limited results — Foreign investment in the United States grew at a slower annual pace in the first two years of Trump’s tenure than during Obama’s presidency, according to Commerce Department data released in July. Growth in business investment from all sources, foreign and domestic, accelerated briefly after Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax-cut package in late 2017 but then slowed. Investment growth turned negative this spring, providing a drag on economic output.
► In today’s NY Times — This drug will save children’s lives. It costs $2 million. (editorial) — Safety, innovation and affordability need not be mutually exclusive goals for cutting-edge treatments.
► In today’s Washington Post — How a McConnell-backed effort to lift Russian sanctions boosted a Ky. project — A spokesman said the Senate majority leader did not know the measure would help a company building an aluminum mill in an impoverished part of his home state.
► In today’s Dallas News — 58 arrested, fined outside American Airlines HQ in catering workers protest — Fort Worth police arrested, released and fined 58 catering workers and other protesters who blocked traffic to American Airlines’ headquarters Tuesday. The arrests were part of a coordinated demonstration of civil disobedience on behalf of 11,000 airline catering workers across the country who are bargaining for better wages and benefits from their employer, LSG Sky Chefs. About 600 supporters showed up at the protest, including catering workers at DFW International Airport along with union members from other airports and local supporters such as American Airlines mechanics.
► From Varierty — Barstool Sports founder threatens to fire employees engaged in unionizing, Which is against the law. — Dave “El Presidente” Portnoy, founder of media company Barstool Sports, says he really hates unions. Now he’s made explicit threats to fire employees who engage in union-organizing activity — which, even if Portnoy is “joking,” has drawn scrutiny of what would represent violations of federal labor laws.
If you’re a boss tweeting firing threats to employees trying to unionize, you are likely breaking the law &can be sued,in your words, “on the spot.”
ALL workers in the US have the protected freedom to organize for better conditions.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 13, 2019
► From Press Progress — A&W tells anti-union conference it keeps a secret ‘watch list’ to make sure workers don’t unionize — Fast food giants tell anti-union conference they monitor “high risk” restaurants fearing the spread of unions in the service sector.
► From CBS — NC-based Lowe’s spent billions on share buybacks, zero on severance for laid-off workers — The roughly 300,000 employees at Lowe’s are “without question” the home-improvement chain’s “greatest asset,” according to their boss, CEO Marvin Ellison. Yet when thousands of those workers recently got the boot, they received no notice and no severance. Instead, Lowe’s — a profitable company that spends billions buying back its own stock — offered the equivalent of two weeks “transition” pay to full-time workers, some with the company more than a decade. Laid-off workers were also invited to re-apply for jobs at Lowe’s, though not necessarily for the the same pay.
► From Bloomberg — The world’s wealthiest family gets $4 million richer every hour — The numbers are mind-boggling: $70,000 per minute, $4 million per hour, $100 million per day. That’s how quickly the fortune of the Waltons, the clan behind Walmart Inc., has been growing since last year’s Bloomberg ranking of the world’s richest families. At that rate, their wealth would’ve expanded about $23,000 since you began reading this. A new Walmart associate in the U.S. would’ve made about 6 cents in that time, on the way to an $11 hourly minimum. Even in this era of extreme wealth and brutal inequality, the contrast is jarring. The heirs of Sam Walton, Walmart’s notoriously frugal founder, are amassing wealth on a near-unprecedented scale — and they’re hardly alone. The Walton fortune has swelled by $39 billion, to $191 billion, since topping the June 2018 ranking of the world’s richest families.
► A related story from The Onion — Harvard streamlines admission process by directly growing new students from DNA of top donors — Dean of Admissions William R. Fitzsimmons: “This saves a lot of time we would otherwise spend tediously pretending to review applications, allowing us to focus on ensuring every student we accept is a good fit for Harvard.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.