Wednesday, June 24, 2020
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 24 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 29,386 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 359) and 1,284 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 8)
► From the AP — Washington issues statewide requirement to wear a mask — Washington state will require people to wear facial coverings in public settings, under a statewide public health order announced Tuesday by Gov. Jay Inslee. The order, issued by Secretary of Health John Wiesman, takes effect Friday. The order requires face coverings when people are indoor in a public area, and outdoors in a public area when six feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained. Washington joins several other states that already have statewide mask orders in place, including California, which issued its order last week.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Masks required in public starting Friday — “Essential workers face higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 in order to serve our communities,” said Faye Guenther, president of UFCW21. “Many are already required to wear masks at work for 8 to 12 hours or longer, and we do that to help keep everyone safe. We’re very glad the public is joining in and we appreciate the governor’s proclamation, because face coverings are most effective when we’re all wearing them to protect each other. The safety of workers and our entire community, and the stability of our health care system, is dependent on customers and patients joining in a shared effort to prevent transmission and keep bending the curve. To all our customers and patients: We care for you and your family. When you come into a store, pharmacy or clinic wearing a face covering, we see you caring about us and our families. We know we can protect each other.”
► From the Yakima H-R — Memorial CEO: Hospital has beds — it’s staffing that’s the issue — Care for a single COVID-19 patient often requires a team of multiple critical care physicians, nurses and other staff, Memorial CEO Carole Peet said Tuesday. “It limits our ability to care (to) a certain number of people,” she said. Memorial had increased its overall bed capacity to 256 beds, anticipating a surge in patients. But at the hospital’s highest level of occupancy last week, there were still more than 50 beds available, Peet said. She also
clarified claimed that the hospital workers Virginia Mason Memorial furloughed were not caring directly for patients.
► From the AP — U.S. virus cases surge to highest level in 2 months — They are now back to where they were at the peak of the outbreak.
► From the Washington Post — Seven states report highest coronavirus hospitalizations since pandemic began — Seven states are reporting new highs for current coronavirus hospitalizations, according to data tracked by The Washington Post — Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — as the number of infections continues to climb across the South and West. More than 800 covid-19 deaths were reported in the United States on Tuesday, the first time fatalities have increased since June 7.
► From the Washington Post — Federal government to scale back testing support even as hospitalizations reach new highs — The federal government is poised to stop providing federal aid to testing sites in some hard-hit states, including Texas, where new cases have spiked sharply in recent weeks. Trump said Saturday he told officials to “slow down” testing to lower the number of newly reported coronavirus cases in the country. While his team initially claimed that the statement was a joke, Trump contradicted that claim Tuesday, saying, “I don’t kid.”
► From Vox — Trump’s catastrophic failure on testing is no joke (by Matthew Yglesias) — The president is continually more focused on good numbers than good policy.
► From HuffPost — Las Vegas casino workers beg guests to wear masks as Nevada cases rise — The Culinary Workers Union is urging state leaders to issue a mask-wearing requirement since too many customers apparently can’t take a hint.
► From Eater — Restaurants across the country are closing after workers test positive for COVID-19 — As states begin to allow restaurants to reopen, service industry workers are again at high risk of catching and spreading the novel coronavirus.
► From KIRO — Employment Security Department restricting incoming calls for a week to focus on complicated cases — The Washington Employment Security Department will be restricting incoming calls starting today through July 2 to focus on more complicated cases, according to a press release. Less call volume will allow claims agents to resolve complex issues for people who have been waiting the longest to get their benefits.
► From The Columbian — Clark County residents frustrated as they wait for unemployment benefits — It’s been 14 weeks since Ronnie Miller-Watts, 51, applied for unemployment insurance. But she hasn’t seen any money.
► From the News Tribune — June is too soon. Bring back Washington Legislature in August to fix COVID-19 crisis (editorial) — In our view, the second week of August makes sense, free from the distractions of the Aug. 4 primary election but before the politics of the November general election really heat up. It also allows time to avoid some painful cuts, if Congress comes through with a bailout. It will also help ensure the wheels of open government don’t fall off under the weight of pandemic restrictions.
► From Crosscut — Ongoing stimulus for low-income residents can save Washington communities (by Marcy Bowers and Beto Yarce) — We are calling on state lawmakers to enact a broad-based cash stimulus to people with low incomes in the form of an immediate Recovery Rebate that lays the foundation for a permanent, annual rebate… We have the wealth in this state to pay for investments that will support our communities. It’s time for legislators to consider visionary solutions to advance an equitable recovery.
► From the Seattle Times — Washington’s police accountability law doesn’t work, say families of people killed by officers — The families of three people killed in Washington came together Tuesday to express anguish at their loss and to say what they think needs to be done to bring accountability and stop more deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Initiative 940 was a particular sore spot for relatives of Shaun Fuhr, Manuel Ellis and Charleena Lyles. The initiative, passed in 2018, was supposed to bring independent investigations of law-enforcement killings and ensure communication with families of those who died. In reality, it has not, they said.
► From KNKX — Manuel Ellis case prompts attorney general to review dozens of deadly force cases — State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office is reviewing at least 30 cases in which police killed or wounded people in 2020, amid concerns law enforcement agencies are not following new rules governing how they hold each other accountable in cases of deadly force.
► From the Seattle Times — Durkan proposes $20 million in cuts to Seattle police as part of proposal to balance budget
► From the Spokesman-Review — There may be a tool to block paramilitary demonstrations — and the Supreme Court has sanctioned it (by Shawn Vestal) — The response of local law enforcement to armed yahoo brigades that have shown up at Black Lives Matter demonstrations has been dismissive, if not supportive. The yahoos have their First Amendment right to assemble and Second Amendment right to bear arms and that’s that. But a constitutional law project out of Georgetown Law School is challenging that idea, reaching out to cities large and small to point out that these militias – when they organize, coordinate and engage in a supposed law enforcement or military purpose – are violating well-established laws against private paramilitary action.
► From The Hill — Police reform hits impasse in Senate — The Senate is headed for a stalemate on police reform with the prospects for a bipartisan deal unraveling ahead of a Wednesday vote.
► From KNKX — Seattle postal workers stage caravan to press Congress for funds to save U.S. Postal Service — U.S. postal workers drove around the Seattle federal building in a car caravan Tuesday, their vehicles plastered with signs urging Congress to approve $75 billion in stimulus money to keep the U.S. Postal Service afloat.
► From Inequality — Postal workers deliver a message to Capitol Hill: Save the USPS — The American Postal Workers Union, MoveOn.org, and many other supporters of the U.S. Postal Service took part in a socially distanced car caravan on June 23 to deliver more than two million petition signatures to Capitol Hill demanding emergency postal relief. Caravan organizers aimed to boost support for the HEROES Act, which includes $25 billion in emergency aid to help USPS get through the crisis and continue to serve the American public. It also includes hazard pay for postal workers on the frontlines and removes onerous conditions on a $10 billion Treasury credit line offered in the CARES Act. The Republican-controlled Senate was the primary focus of the solidarity action, as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has already passed the bill.
► From the Washington Post — More than 13,000 federal workers face a possible furlough of 30 days or longer — Three-fourths of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services workforce — more than 13,000 employees — could be told as soon as Wednesday that they face extended furloughs starting August 3 that would cut off their salaries and severely curtail the agency’s work, the union representing the employees has said. The agency has said it will need to take that action unless it receives a cash infusion from Congress because the fees from visa and citizenship applications and other services it provides are down sharply in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Those fees largely fund the operations of USCIS.
► From the Seattle Times — The federal government must step up and support cities (by Will Hall and Don Britain) — Simply put, relief for cities directly supports the quality of life of our residents. Without investment in local government, our communities will be less safe, less healthy and less prosperous. Congress must include funding for cities in the next COVID-19 legislation. The quality of life for our residents depends on it.
► From The Columbian — Congress must devise long-term fix for DACA (editorial)
► From the AP — Appeals court orders dismissal of Michael Flynn prosecution — The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said in a 2-1 ruling that the Justice Department’s decision to abandon the case against Flynn settles the matter, even though Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to prosecutors in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
► From the Washington Post — Prosecutor to tell Congress of pressure from ‘highest levels’ of Justice Dept. to cut Roger Stone ‘a break’ — A federal prosecutor and another Justice Department official plan to tell Congress on Wednesday that Attorney General William Barr and his top deputies issued inappropriate orders amid investigations and trials “based on political considerations” and a desire to cater to Trump.
► From The Hill — Ocasio-Cortez fends off challenger in House primary — AOC easily won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th District, virtually guaranteeing herself a second House term in the safe blue district. She fended off Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC television anchor who attracted the support of moderates and had the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which usually endorses Republicans, and Wall Street executives.
► From Reuters — Black challenger Bowman leads in bid to oust veteran congressman Engel in U.S. primaries — Jamaal Bowman, a liberal Black middle-school principal, was ahead in early Democratic primary election results Tuesday in his bid to oust long-time U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY).
► From the NY Times — The jobs we need (editorial) — Over the past four decades, American workers have suffered a devastating loss of economic power, manifest in their wages, benefits and working conditions. The annual economic output of the United States has almost tripled, but, with the help of policymakers from both political parties, the wealthy hoarded the fruits… It is time to ensure that all Americans can share in the nation’s prosperity… America’s business leaders once bragged about how well they looked after their employees, and how much they contributed to society in taxes. But in recent decades — as the U.S. economy has expanded and CEO salaries skyrocketed — the workers have been left behind… Change is possible. A government more inclined to help workers would have ample opportunity. But as in the early 1930s, political change must proceed economic change. For the voices of workers to be heard, the influence of the wealthy must be curbed.
► From the NY Times — American workers deserve to live with dignity (by Kevin Delaney) — Today too many Americans don’t possess the basic freedom to earn a living that allows them to feed and house their families with dignity and security. The past 50 years have been a period of great prosperity for some, and disillusionment and suffering for many more. We need to save democracy from capitalism, and save capitalism from itself.
► From the NY Times — Why do we pay so many people so little money? (by Thomas Edsall) — The coronavirus pandemic is forcing America to confront its epidemic low-wage problem.
► From the NY Times — Tax the rich and their heirs (by ) — How to tax inheritances more fairly.
► From the — Hertz paid out $16 million in bonuses, days before bankruptcy — Executives at car-rental firm are latest group of corporate leaders to get cash before their companies file for bankruptcy.
► From WABI — Union workers at Bath Iron Works continue to strike — About 4,300 production workers in Maine went on strike on Monday after voting to reject a three-year contract proposal. The IAM Local S6 says the employees are ready to resume negotiations once there’s an invitation from the company.
► From the
EDITOR’S NOTE — Tired of being disrespected? Get a union! Find out more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
RACIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
► From the NY Times Magazine — What is owed (by ) — On its own, police reform cannot bring justice to America. If we are truly at the precipice of a transformative moment, the most tragic of outcomes would be that the demand be too timid and the resolution too small. If we are indeed serious about creating a more just society, we must go much further than that. We must get to the root of it… The lack of wealth that has been a defining feature of black life since the end of slavery. Wealth, not income, is the means to security in America… If Black lives are to truly matter in America, this nation must move beyond slogans and symbolism. Citizens don’t inherit just the glory of their nation, but its wrongs too. A truly great country does not ignore or excuse its sins. It confronts them and then works to make them right. If we are to be redeemed, if we are to live up to the magnificent ideals upon which we were founded, we must do what is just. It is time for this country to pay its debt. It is time for reparations.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Which brings us to this video, shared by a reader, and now shared by The Stand…
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