Community Log & News Digest
Comments on items posted in the Editor's Log are welcome in the Forum and via the Comment link following each article (members only). Selected items by participating bloggers are also posted to the Community Log as indicated by the by-line beneath the respective articles. Arts reviews and commentaries may include opinions by the writers that are not necessarily shared by the editors or publishers.
Latter Day 'Greetings'
Greetings from the President of the United States!
Your friends and neighbors have selected you to help make America great again by participating in an innovative program in international relations.
Along with other selected citizens, you will receive an all-expense paid trip from a designated US point of departure to Russia, where you will be interrogated by friendly officials of the State Security Service (AKA KGB, GRU, or whatever replacement euphemistic acronym they may choose).
Prepare now! You will be notified when to arrive at the point of departure (you will be responsible for costs of travel within the US). Bring a toothbrush and several changes of underwear.
John Bolton, Program Manager and Chief Apologist
Note to trumpeteers and the very young: This message is in the style of WWII draft notices. The difference is that none who are drafted will be bolstered by millions of volunteers. Oh, and for trumpeteers only: This is satire.
WA Jobs Report Shows Continued Growth
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 4,100 jobs in June and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for June was 4.7 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The June unemployment rate was unchanged from May 2018 unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.
“Payroll growth slowed a bit in June compared with last May,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “What’s positive is that the consecutive string of jobs added per month continues and is scheduled to reach six years next month.
The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report. The department also announced that May’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.8 percent was slightly lower at 4.7 percent. Job gains in May were revised upward from 8,500 to 8,700 jobs.
The national unemployment rate was at 4.0 percent in June. In June 2017 last year, the national unemployment rate was 4.3 percent.
Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 45,868 people in June.
The state’s labor force in June was 3,760,500 – an increase of 100 people from the previous month. However, in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 2,600 over the same period.
From June 2017 through June 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 38,800 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 36,300.
The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.
Nine sectors expanded and four contracted. Private sector employment increased by 4,800 while the public sector lost 700 jobs in June.
This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in professional & business services up 3,800, information up 1,000, and transportation, warehousing & utilities up 900. Other sectors adding jobs were education & health services up 600, wholesale trade and manufacturing both up 300, retail trade and leisure & hospitality both up 200, and other services up 100.
Construction experienced the biggest reduction in June losing 2,200 jobs while government lost 700 jobs, financial activities lost 300 jobs and mining & logging lost 100 jobs. Year-over-year growth is strong. Washington added an estimated 83,500 new jobs from June 2017 through June 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.9 percent, up an estimated 80,500 jobs, and the public sector increased by 0.5 percent, adding 3,000 jobs.
From June 2017 through June 2018, all thirteen industry sectors added jobs. The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were Professional & business services with 17,500 new jobs;
Retail trade with 17,400 new jobs; and Education & health services with 13,800 new jobs.
Summer in DC
Fun in the Sun!
Alaska Legislature May Ponder Requiring Russian Language in Public Schools
Moved by Pres. Trump's performance in Helsinki, the Alaska Legislature has reportedly appointed a panel to consider requiring the study of Russian in the state's public schools.
No one in the legislature or the state Republican party has confirmed or denied that the Trump government may soon return Alaska to Russia as part of a strategic global plan so clever that no one can figure it out.
The idea of a withdrawal of the US was prompted by a statement by Pres. Trump in 2016, when he asserted "Seward's Folly, as I call, it many people called it that at the time, I call it that now, as do many other people, as I learned at the Wharton School while Hillary was in Benghazi scheming to hide her emails, was a bad deal, a very bad deal, one of the worst deals ever for America, many people opposed it, $720 million down the drain, sad" to a campaign crowd. (The actual amount paid by the US was $7.2 million, and US Treasury revenue from Alaska in 2015 was $5,717.6 billion.)
He continued "..." (omitted for brevity and the sensibilities of thinking people everywhere).
One ranking member of the state senate, who asked not to be identified, stated the reasoning this way: "The meeting made it pretty clear that accommodating Russian political objectives will become an ever more important aspect of US foreign policy, As we've learned from the case of other states, when Trump grabs his ankles in the parlor, citizens should be waiting in the bedroom with a smile."
Some support for the addition of Russian to school curricula has previously been attributed fo descendants of pre-1863 Russian settlers in the vast territory.
"I'm sick and tired of people mispronouncing my name," said Rep. Nikolas Rapemenow, referring to the correct pronunciation Ra-pem-me-noff of the original Cyrillic spelling,
The Trump family has strong roots in the region. Pres. Trump's grandfather was a well known bordello operator there during the Gold Rush era (graphic).
We'll have community reaction from other parts of the state in a forthcoming edition.
Lynnwood Non-profit Partners with UW Bothell to Promote Latino Event
Three University of Washington Bothell courses with a total of 50 students are engaged in community-based learning and research (CBLR) projects this summer with the Latino Educational Training Institute (LETI), a Lynnwood-based nonprofit that serves the Latino community in south Snohomish County.
UW Bothell started its partnership with LETI three years ago, and some faculty involve their classes almost every quarter, said Kara Adams, UW Bothell's director of community engagement. The University has dozens of such partner organizations and businesses, and LETI is one of just six on its community engagement council, she added.
The students' projects in these courses all relate to the annual Latino Expo, scheduled for Aug. 4 at Edmonds Community College where as many as 1,000 people will enjoy food, music and cultural dance along with educational workshops and medical screening. As part of its mission to strengthen community ties, the expo also showcases products and services for and by the Latino community.
WA Secretary of State Cautions RE Non-profit Fraud Scheme
Secretary of State Kim Wyman is cautioning Washington business owners to be aware of a misleading and potentially fraudulent mailing that purports to be an official bill related to business registration requirements, according to a press release today from Washington Non-profits, a statewide service organization. Nonprofits are targets of this phishing scheme and we caution all nonprofits to be on the look out for this letter.
“We’re working with the Attorney General’s Office – the agency that investigates and prosecutes consumer fraud – to see if further action should be taken to protect businesses in Washington,” said Wyman, whose office includes the Corporations and Charities Division.
A mailing sent recently to an Edmonds business requested $121.86 be sent to an Olympia post office box by July 31. It warned that “your state annual report will not be filed until payment is received.” However, the mailing does not mention the Office of Secretary of State or include its logo, which can be found on all official correspondence.
Wyman added that any business owner who receives a registration-related bill from an unknown third-party company should contact the Attorney General’s consumer protection division or file an online complaint at atg.wa.gov/fileacomplaint.aspx.
Similar solicitations in the past several years have resulted in an investigation and legal action taken against the senders of the fraudulent letters. Businesses and charities in Washington can always verify their filing status with the Office of Secretary of State by visiting the website, sos.wa.gov/corps. Registration-related questions can be answered at (360) 725-0377 or e-mailed to email@example.com.
Washington’s Office of Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering business entities and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, as well as documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington.
Solid gain in payroll employment, unemployment rate little changed
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 7,100 jobs in April and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for April was 4.8 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The April unemployment rate was slightly higher than the revised estimated March 2018 unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.
“Washington’s employment situation remains on a positive course,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Jobs keep being added each successive month and the unemployment rate has been at or around 4.8 percent for more than a year.”
The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report. The department also announced that March’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.8 percent was revised slightly lower to 4.7 percent. Job gains in March were revised upward from 3,900 to 5,100 jobs.
The national unemployment rate was at 3.9 percent in April. In April 2017 last year, the national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent.
Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 56,813 people in April.
Labor force decreased slightly in Washington
The state’s labor force in April was 3,760,800 - a decrease of 700 people from the previous month. However, in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 1,300 over the same period.
From April 2017 through April 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 59,600 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 47,600.
The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.
Nine sectors expand, three contract and one remained constant
Private sector employment increased by 6,500 while the public sector gained 600 jobs in April.
This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in construction up 2,100, education & health services up 1,900, professional & business services up 1,800 and leisure & hospitality up 1,200. Other sectors adding jobs were government up 600, wholesale trade up 500, other services up 200, with information and mining & logging both up 100.
Retail trade experienced the biggest reduction in April losing 600 jobs while manufacturing lost 500 jobs and financial activities lost 300 jobs.
Transportation, warehousing & utilities was the only sector that remained unchanged.
Year-over-year growth remains strong
Washington added an estimated 85,100 new jobs from April 2017 through April 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3 percent, up an estimated 80,200 jobs, and the public sector increased by 0.8 percent, adding 4,900 jobs.
From April 2017 through April 2018, all thirteen industry sectors added jobs.
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
Education and health services with 16,600 new jobs;
Retail trade with 16,300 new jobs; and
Professional and business services with 13,000 new jobs.
A Day in the Life of Joe the Conservative
"Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffee pot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good, because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.
With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take, because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan, because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.
He prepares his morning breakfast: bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat, because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.
In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents, because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body.
Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean, because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.
He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees, because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.
Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation, because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays for these standards, because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.
If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get worker's compensation or an unemployment check, because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home, because of his temporary misfortune.
It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured, because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.
Joe has to pay his insured mortgage and his below-market student loan, because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.
Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world, because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.
He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration, because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.
The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.
He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension, because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.
Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Conservatives have fought against every protection and benefit Joe has enjoyed throughout his day.
Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."
(Republished after Facebook; original venue unknown.)
Interior Dept. Shamed into Abandoning Fee Hike
Alt National Park Service Reports:
Attn: Your voices have been heard! The Interior Department is backing off from substantially raising the entrance fee for national parks after more than 100,000 Americans wrote to complain about the proposed hikes. Last October, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed raising the entrance fee for 17 major parks from $25 to $70, a change that would mark the largest price increase since World War II.
The idea that public parks should show a profit is as public policy patently insane.
As of 2016, the National Park Service has an annual budget of about $3 billion and an estimated $12 billion maintenance backlog. The National Park Services budget is divided into two primary areas, discretionary and mandatory spending (Wikipedia). That annual budget is about $10 per citizen. For another $2 each per year (total about $1 per month per citizen) we could create a sinking fund that would clear the repair deck in about 40 years, leaving the National Parks as they were in my childhood. Maintaining that $12 fee or (saints preserve us doubling it to a whopping $24 per year could make the parks free to all forever. (Feel free to suggest a progressive income related rate structure.)
The (R)eally selfish people who came up with the fee increase idea don't care a whit about the parks. The Secretary of the Interior who oversees this is the beloved Ryan Zinke (often referred to as Who?, yes the guy who took a batallion of security agents along on his European vacation at public expense), the same guy who wants to strip mine most of North America and charge bargain rates to industry for whatever is exposed. Like most of the current Cabinet, he was appointed not as a steward but as a liquidator of the national patrimony (if this were the 19th Century I'd have added "upon the altar of Mammon," but I won't go there.)
Training and arming classroom teachers as school guards; costly, bad idea
Donald Trump, ever our protector, has proposed arming 20% of school teachers as part-time guards. That's 600,000 teachers. We can evaluate the proposal superficially rather quickly (fearless analysis: this article has taken longer to write than DT has thought about the issue).
Average teacher salary in US (2014) is $56,383 plus benefits. With est. fringe of 25% = $70,000.
Average training period for a sworn police officer is six months; we might assume three months for limited-duty training. There is ample reason to doubt that police-training agencies could gear up for this effort, but we won't count that for now.
Cost of training = one-fourth of a teacher's annual salary plus cost of training a police officer. Averages $7,000 across the US. Total with three months teacher salary $18,500 approx. The trainees might reasonably ask for a bonus for giving up their summer vacation, but we won't count that.
Presumably the teachers accepting the risk would get combat pay, let's say 25% bonus for half their career span. Figure 25% of $70,000 for 20 years or $300,000. Of course that would raise their pensions by a commensurate amount; est. 10% rise in pension cost; we won't try to calculate that permanent cost either.
So to summarize.
Ban and collect all "assault" weapons (define it yourself).
Government(s) might reimburse owners @ $400 each (currently advertised price of used AR-15 on 26 Feb 2018). (This is a good deal for most owners, whose guns are mostly hidden in closets, improperly maintained and rusting away.)
This would put a lot of money into circulation, almost entirely at a scale conducive to re-spending, which could be a boost to the economy, or perhaps equally to savings, which has lagged in recent decades.
If 10M are in circulation the one-time cost would be (400*10M)=$4 billion — about one-fifth of the armed-teacher plan — with no annual incremental cost.
To assuage anti-"Big Gub'mint" fears, there could be a federal license to carry with reasonable qualifications, e.g., an age limit; training requirement and certification; documentation while in possession; storage and protection obligations... Such a license might carry fees roughly equivalent to a passport, around $200 initially plus a periodic renewal. Further open and honest dialogue could work that out. Thus we protect the Second Amendment, as we should for a host of reasons.
Summary of Alternative
The nay-sayers are probably right that nothing can entirely eliminate the possibility of mass shootings, but this is about probabilities, not metaphysics, and imperfection is no excuse for inaction..
DJT Immigration Pronouncements Ring Hollow
Trump stated that the U.S. should admit more immigrants from Norway. In a recent meeting with the leader of Norway he announced the sale of F52 fighter jets, planes that only exist in a video game. However, the main problem with his statement is that very few people from Norway WANT to immigrate to the U.S.
I'm reminded of the time Lyndon Johnson misread the name of the RS-71 as SR-71 during a speech, whereupon the Pentagon renamed the spy plane (on the fly, as it were) to Johnson's version. Today, of course, our Fearless Leader would change its name to TRUMP FIGHTER 1 and try to charge the government for the use of his name.
Net Neutrality on the Auction Block
In what universe is turning over unfettered control of the Internet to ISP and telecomm giants consistent with the core objectives of the US government, namely " to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."?
You can still make a difference. The FCC, following the lead of their industry-tool chairman, will vote to protect corporate power and to screw you on Thursday, Dec. 14. Write your congressional representatives NOW! (https://dearfcc.org) It is VERY important that you write a personal message in the comment section; otherwise your message will be ignored as a bulk mailing. Say something about how you expect the proposed changes will harm you or your community (they will).
NEED EVIDENCE? Check out the latest Comcast ad that just arrived in my email, no doubt in anticipation of the end of Net Neutrality. The headline "What to Watch" is a harbinger of their future posture, in which there will be no other choice.
Hydroponic Garden Training at Tacoma Urban League
The Atrium @ Tacoma Urban League is alive and well. A variety of hydroponic technologies yield a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables - all year round.
"From Seed To Table" is a three-hour workshop presented by Garden of Eden Urban Farming in cooperation with Maxine Mimms Academies with just the right mix of knowledge and hands-on learning to prepare you for growing your favorite herbs, fruits and vegetables at home.
Give yourself a special gift - the freshest basil, lettuce, collards, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, swiss chard, and over 100 other varieties of produce.
We call what we grow "Better Than Organic" - no pesticides, no herbicides, GMOs, or other preservatives to get between you and healthy, nutritious taste.
The workshop is ($495) and includes professional training and your very own hydroponic system for your home. Space is limited and full payment is required by December 6th to insure your equipment is available the day of the workshop.
Trump, Flynn and the Nature of Lying
I cannot be the only one who has realized Donald Trump has incriminated himself.
Headline: “Trump tweets from motorcade he fired Flynn for lying to Pence, FBI.” (Chicago Tribune ). See also accompanying “Tweet” from Dec 2.
This appears to be prima facie evidence from Trump’s own tiny fingers that he knew of Flynn’s lies to the FBI well before they were publicly documented.
Supposedly the FBI discovered the lies in the summer, and Flynn’s guilty plea became public only last week. If Trump knew in February and did not reveal his knowledge, he clearly participated in a conspiracy to cover up Flynn’s crime. Both ignorance and knowledge of a fact cannot simultaneously be true.
The problem with lying, to the FBI or to the nation, is that one cannot keep the lies straight. In this case, Trump cannot have known in February that Flynn would lie to the FBI later in the spring or summer. So either he knew in February that the lies were coming — a clear indication of conspiracy — or he made up his prior knowledge yesterday. Either way, he either was or is a liar.
Latest Bad Health Care Idea Dies in Congress
The idea that abandoning our national affordable care system and turning over health systems policy to the states will resolve the fiscal crisis in our nation is absurd. Simple demographics make it a bad idea.
With the exception of age-related maladies such as senile dementia and a few others, illness strikes in ways that are best understood as random. Almost no state has a population whose age distribution, ethnic mix, income, education, etc., closely mirror the national equivalents. Thus it is entirely predictable that the distribution of illness in some states will overload specific forms of care while in states with younger, healthier populations, medical services will abound and may be surplus or squandered.
Consider two hypothetical states A and B. A is in the rust belt, and its population is relatively old due to the decline of traditional industry and economy and consequent out-migration of young people, who take their earning power and their children (AKA future earners) with them. B is experiencing rapid in-migration its modern economy is creating new wealth and infrastructure that will continue to expand for decades.
A will likely be unable to provide adequate services to its population based on some national average block grants; it will be unable to pay for home care or even common services. It will be forced to raise the share of costs that must be borne by the individual, leading to increasing poverty. Parents will be obliged to pause before seeking care for their children’s injuries or minor illnesses, leading to long-term health consequences that will further unbalance the system. Certain high-cost medical procedures and specialties will become unavailable. Although it is purported that “choice and options” will increase, the real choice will be between medical care and other essentials, with the only option being relocation. Yet because the majority of A’s citizens’ wealth is tied up in their homes and their income is tied to declining local industry for which they were trained long ago, relocation is not a viable option.
B’s citizens, in contrast, will never have had it so good, at least for a while. Their economic and demographic advantages will mean that no one will have to pause before seeking care. Cosmetic surgery and other non-essential specialties will be growth industries; noses and breasts will be reshaped and augmented in every village and town. Medical specialties and procedures now unavailable in A will be a net revenue producer for B, leading to further outflow of A’s wealth and thence to further decline it A’s ability to finance health care. Medical training will continue to migrate to large, rich states, while small, poor states struggle to buy aspirin and adhesive bandages.
These effects will also operate at the local level. Poor counties will get poorer; rich ones will get richer; this will be most apparent in large states like California, Texas and Florida at one end and in Michigan, Mississippi and the Great Plains at the other.
Today we’ve learned that the “(R)eject and (R)egress” effort in Congress has failed again. Good news, but have no doubt they’ll be baa-ack one day soon. Beware!
Latest Bad Health Care Idea Dies in Congress © 26 Sep 2017