Takin’ it to the streets ● Kneecapping Medicaid ● They killed Billie Holiday

Thursday, January 30, 2020




► TODAY at The Stand — Community backs Swedish strikers in Seattle — Striking nurses and frontline caregivers at Swedish-Providence hospitals in the greater Seattle area got a big dose of union solidarity Wednesday when more than 1,000 strikers and their supporters marched through downtown Seattle and rallied together. They delivered a loud message that Swedish management needs to do something about chronic understaffing and to put patients before profits. The three-day strike and picketing outside seven Swedish facilities continues Thursday, and will conclude Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. when the strikers will return to work. Check out some photos from Wednesday’s march that went from Swedish’s First Hill campus to Westlake Park downtown.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Not all Swedish Medical Center workers can return to work Friday when strike is over — As striking Swedish Medical Center nurses and caregivers prepare to return to work Friday, they say there’s some confusion about who will be allowed back that day.

► From KOMO News


► From KIRO 7


► From KING 5




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Could it be a 737 replacement? Boeing is rethinking the 797 — The launch of the Boeing Co.’s much-anticipated New Midsize Airplane, the so-called NMA or 797, is on a slower track now while the company re-evaluates airline needs. CEO David Calhoun, who took the reins Jan. 13 after former CEO Dennis Muilenberg was fired, said Wednesday that the company’s plan to rethink the NMA’s feasibility is “not intended to delay but refresh.”




► In today’s Seattle Times — State bill would allow King County to tax big businesses with highly paid employees — Lawmakers unveiled a bill Wednesday that would allow King County to impose a tax on big businesses with employees who earn at least $150,000 a year. The money raised would have to be spent on affordable housing, public-safety needs, homeless services and behavioral-health services.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Western State Hospital to open special wards to reduce violence and assaults — A 10-patient ward — set to open Monday — will combined increased staffing, more therapy for patients and tighter security to help stabilize and treat those who are hardest to handle.

► From the Seattle P-I — Washington launches law enforcement hiring initiative after departments struggle with recruitment — The program, called “Wear the Badge Washington” is a social media and web campaign produced by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.




► In the Washington Post — Congress’s most ambitious attempt to strengthen unions in years is set for a House vote next week — One of the most significant bills to strengthen workers’ abilities to organize in the past 80 years is headed to a vote next week in the House, where it will probably pass amid a newfound momentum for progressive legislation. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act would amend some of the country’s decades-old labor laws to give workers more power during disputes at work, add penalties for companies that violate labor law, and grant potentially hundreds of thousands of workers collective-bargaining rights they don’t currently have. It would also weaken “right-to-work” laws in 27 states that allow employees to forgo participating in and paying dues to unions.

EDITOR’S NOTE — All seven of Washington’s Democratic House delegation are co-sponsors of the PRO Act. Will any of the state’s three Republicans vote for it?

► From Politico — Trump releases block grant plan that would transform Medicaid — The Trump administration took a big step forward Thursday to let states convert a portion of Medicaid funding into block grants, a long-sought conservative overhaul of the safety net health care program that Democrats will wield as a political weapon during the election. Capped Medicaid payments would represent a radical departure in how the 55-year-old program is financed. The federal government has long provided open-ended matching funds to states.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump signs trade deal with Canada and Mexico — Through months of tough negotiations last year, Trump’s trade advisers hammered out significant concessions that ultimately won over congressional Democrats, as well as the AFL-CIO. “What the president will be signing is quite different from what the president sent us,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.

The Stand (Dec. 10, 2019) — AFL-CIO endorses USMCA after negotiating labor improvements

► BREAKING from the Washington Post — State AGs file lawsuit demanding addition of ERA to Constitution — The attorneys general for the last three states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment filed a lawsuit in federal court on Thursday arguing that the amendment must be added to the U.S. Constitution.




► In today’s NY Times — Republicans move to block impeachment witnesses, driving toward acquittal — Efforts to bring wavering Republicans into line appeared to be working as Trump’s lawyers argued that anything a president did to win re-election was “in the public interest.”

► From The Hill — GOP senators believe they have the votes to block witnesses — Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), emerging from the Senate GOP lunch, said, “I think I can say the mood is good.”

► In today’s NY Times — To Senate Republicans, a vote for witnesses is a vote for trouble — Lawmakers fear allowing new testimony would tie up the Senate indefinitely and open the door to a cascade of new accusations.

► From HuffPost — Republicans now say it doesn’t matter if there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine — For months, they adamantly denied that Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in exchange for an announcement of investigations into Joe Biden.

► In the USA Today — Senators must honor their oaths at Trump impeachment trial, just like I did for Clinton (by former Sen. Slade Gorton, R-WA) — I worry that today’s Senate is falling short. This trial should be a model for countries everywhere, not a partisan food fight or a kangaroo court.




► From the AP — Actors union to sex scene supervisors: We have standards — SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents actors and television performers, issued a series of standards and guidelines Wednesday for crew members who supervise scenes involving sex and nudity. The goal is to combat on-set sexual harassment. “These protocols and guidelines will help to normalize and encourage the use of intimacy coordinators in productions, therefore ensuring the safety and security of SAG-AFTRA members while they work,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.




► The Entire Staff of The Stand is taking tomorrow off, so today we present a song chosen in honor of Black History Month, which begins Saturday. It has a truly disturbing history:

Jazz legend Billie Holiday routinely performed “Strange Fruit,” a 1939 song calling attention to the devastating impact of white supremacy and the lynching of blacks in America’s South. Harry Anslinger — the commissioner for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, an extreme racist and a pioneer in the “War on Drugs” that continues to target and imprison black Americans to this day — ordered Holiday to stop singing “Strange Fruit” at her performances. She refused. So Anslinger had her framed on drug charges. When Holiday got out of prison 18 months later, her license was revoked so she could no longer perform in nightclubs. This severely undermined Holiday’s career, fueled her drug and alcohol addictions, and sent her health spiraling. When she was hospitalized for the final time in 1959, Anslinger’s men showed up, had her handcuffed to her bed, and prevented hospital staff from treating her until she died.

Read the whole horrible story and then watch this powerful British TV performance of “Strange Fruit” recorded just months before Holiday’s death.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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