What We're Reading

Morning Reads: Trump’s Labor Secretary Opponent of Minimum Wage and Fan of Automation; Inauguration Protests Banned Around DC Monuments

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Trump's Labor Pick Opponent of Minimum Wage Hikes

Andrew Puzder, chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Inc., listens during a panel discussion at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on Monday, April 30, 2012.(Photographer: Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Fast food nation –> Donald Trump has chosen fast food CEO Andrew Puzder to be his secretary of labor. Puzder’s company, CKE Restaurants, owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr, and Puzder is a prominent critic of minimum wage hikes and the Affordable Care Act. He’s also a fan of the idea of automation, a mechanism that is already taking jobs away from America’s working class. “In an interview with Business Insider in March, Puzder said fast-food workers could be replaced with kiosks and other automated technology to offset the cost of wages,” BI’s Emily Cohn and Kate Taylor write. “‘I want to try it,’ Puzder said of automated restaurants. ‘With government driving up the cost of labor, it’s driving down the number of jobs.'” Allegations reported in a St. Louis local paper in 1989 also resurfaced yesterday: His ex-wife accused him of abuse in three instances.

Park Service bars women’s march from Lincoln Memorial –> Shortly after the election, a call for women to march on Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration went viral on Facebook. In an unusual move, Amber Jamieson and Jessica Glenza report for The Guardian that the National Park Service has filed a “massive omnibus blocking permit” to prevent protests at “some of Washington DC’s most famous political locations for days and weeks before and after the inauguration on 20 January.” In a press conference, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a constitutional rights litigator, said, “It hasn’t come up in any way previously, where you’ve had a groundswell of people trying to have access on the Saturday, Jan. 21, and thousands of people want to come, and the government is saying we won’t give you a permit.”

Send in the goons –> After Wednesday’s Twitter attack on a union rep, Jenna Johnson at The Washington Post tells another story about “what happens when Trump targets a private citizen who publicly challenges him.” At one event during the campaign, Lauren Batchelder, an 18-year-old college student, told Trump that she didn’t think he was a “friend to women.” Trump later attacked her on Twitter, calling her an “arrogant young woman” and suggesting she was a “plant” sent by one of his political opponents. “Her phone began ringing with callers leaving threatening messages that were often sexual in nature,” writes Johnson. “Her Facebook and email inboxes filled with similar messages. As her addresses circulated on social media and her photo flashed on the news, she fled home to hide.” Batchelder told The Post: “He was only going to tweet about it and that was it, but I didn’t really know what his supporters were going to do, and that to me was the scariest part.”

Leaky pipes –> An analysis released earlier this week by the Center for Biological Diversity underscores the pipeline protests happening in North Dakota. In that state alone, pipelines “have spilled crude oil and other hazardous liquids at least 85 times since 1996,” David Kirby writes for TakePart. “Those spills — an average of four a year — caused more than $40 million in property damage, the center said, citing data from the United States Department of Transportation.” The largest spill saw 840,000 gallons pour over a wheat field; it went unreported for two weeks and ultimately cost $17.5 million to clean up.

Rooting out Obama’s actors –> The Trump transition team is trying to “identify staff” in the Energy Department who have been implementing Obama’s plans to combat climate change, Bloomberg’s Catherine Traywick and Jennifer A. Dlouhy report. In a memo including 65 questions, Trump’s “team has asked the agency to list employees and contractors who attended United Nations climate meetings, along with those who helped develop the Obama administration’s social cost of carbon metrics, used to estimate and justify the climate benefits of new rules. The advisers are also seeking information on agency loan programs, research activities and the basis for its statistics, according to a five-page internal document circulated by the Energy Department on Wednesday.”

Trump’s Carrier deal involved money to automate workers –> CNN’s Chris Isidore reports: “The company’s deal with President-elect Donald Trump to keep a furnace plant from moving to Mexico also calls for a $16 million investment in the facility. But that has a big down side for some of the workers in Indianapolis. Most of that money will be invested in automation, said Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies, Carrier’s corporate parent. And that automation will replace some of the jobs that were just saved.”

Water bill passes –> “In one of the House’s last acts of the year, the chamber easily passed a major water bill on Thursday that includes emergency aid for Flint, Michigan, and boosts US ports, dams and waterways,” The Hill reports. The bill, however, was stripped of a provision supported by Senate Democrats that “would have required certain drinking water projects to use American iron and steel products.”

Now that provision, and another to help workers, could prompt a government shutdown: Jon Reid and Eli Yokley report for Morning Consult: “The prospect of a short-term government shutdown appears likely this weekend unless Senate Democrats decide not to hold up a must-pass spending bill over two unrelated provisions: one to extend benefits for retired coal workers and another meant to spur iron and steel manufacturing in the United States.”

Glenn on clean elections –> John Glenn, who passed away yesterday, was an original cosponsor of the 1997 Kerry-Wellstone “Clean Elections” bill. From a speech he gave on the Senate floor in 1998:

“What you should do on some of these votes, I think, is think of what you would like the ideal political system to be when your grandchildren have grown up and long after most of us will have left the Senate of the United States. What kind of law do you want to see in place that deals with them fairly? What kind of law do you want to see in place that makes them feel that their voice is heard in government as much as those who can contribute millions or at least hundreds of thousands of dollars worth, to get their voices heard?”

(h/t Every Voice’s Daily Clips Newsletter)

Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Theresa Riley. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!



We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email newsletter each morning.