Friday, August 7, 2020
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Aug. 7 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 60,917 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 778) and 1,653 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 12)
► From the Kitsap Sun — South Kitsap school district moving forward with in-person start — South Kitsap School District will stay the course in its decision to offer in-person learning at the start of the school year, despite a recommendation Wednesday by the Department of Health and state officials that districts where specific thresholds of control over COVID-19 are not being met start the school year entirely online. South Kitsap remains the outlier, as all other districts in Kitsap and North Mason counties, as well as most in surrounding King, Pierce and Snohomish counties have opted to start the school year entirely online. “I think it’s a dangerous move at this point,” said SK Superintendent Tim Winter.
The Stand (July 24) — WEA demands safety first in any plans to return to school this fall
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle School Board members criticize district proposal and push for outdoor option — With just a week before the Seattle School Board is scheduled to vote on a plan for instruction this school year, which begins Sept. 2.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Outdoor school in Seattle? What could possibly go wrong?
► From the Daily Record — Ellensburg schools opening fully online in the fall
► From the Washington Post — Virus keeps spreading as schools begin to open, frightening parents and alarming public health officials — Mississippi, now experiencing the country’s highest rate of positive tests, is emblematic of the pandemic’s new reality. The virus is no longer principally an urban problem: It is present throughout every state, and those infected often don’t know it, leading to what top public health officials call “inherent community spread.”
► From the Washington Post — Georgia teens shared photos of maskless students in crowded hallways. Now they’re suspended. — At least two North Paulding High School students have been suspended after sharing images of a school hallway jammed with their mostly maskless peers, and the principal has warned other students against doing the same.
► From Politico — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says 2nd COVID-19 test is negative
EDITOR’S NOTE — Seems like a lot of trouble just to get out of meeting with Trump.
► From the Wenatchee World — H-2A employees file class action suit against Stemilt — H-2A workers employed by Stemilt Ag Services in 2017 have filed a class-action lawsuit that alleges the company threatened to fire employees if they didn’t meet production demands and send them to their home country without paying travel expenses.
► From the AP — Two women, both Democrats, will face off in 10th CD — Former Tacoma mayor Marilyn Strickland advanced to the November ballot with just over 21% of the vote, while Democratic state lawmaker Beth Doglio and former state lawmaker Kristine Reeves were vying for the second spot. Doglio had nearly 15% of the vote as of Thursday night, while Reeves had just under 13%.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The WSLC has endorsed Beth Doglio in this race.
► From the News Tribune — Outside PACs pouring money into Puyallup’s 25th District Senate race to oppose Democrat — Two Lacey political committees have sent several mailers and paid for at least one TV ad in the Puyallup area accusing the Democratic candidate in a state senate seat of supporting higher taxes. Some of the ads include false information about Julie Door, the mayor of Puyallup who is seeking to become a senator for the 25th Legislative District.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Door’s opponent, Rep. Chris Gildon (R-Puyallup), said he feels horrible — just horrible — about these negative independent expenditures on his behalf. But the News Tribune doesn’t bother to follow the money to explain who is funding them. So we did. People For Jobs Enterprise Washington is funded by Enterprise Washington’s Jobs PAC. Its top funder is Phillips 66. Other funders include Koch Industries, Wal-Mart, and PACs for builders, railroads, and school privatizers. The other PAC funding the attacks, South Sound Future Enterprise Washington, is funded entirely by the Washington Association of Realtors.
► From the Seattle Times — Not much of a blue wave in Washington’s primary election. But results show the state is getting more polarized. (by Danny Westneat) — unlike in the big blue wave year of 2018, there weren’t signs of a broader washout of Republicans down the ballot. If anything, what the primary results suggest is that the blue parts of the state are getting strongly bluer, and the red parts redder.
► From Civic Skunk Works — Democrats are peddling trickle-down B.S. — even right here in Seattle (by Paul Constant) — Since the first big surge of unemployment numbers in March, the trickle-down status quo has loudly called on local leaders to slash budgets as a response to the complete lack of leadership from Washington, D.C. We’ve come to expect this from business lobbyists, corporation-run chambers, and Republicans. It shouldn’t be what we expect from Democratic lawmakers and blue metropolitan mayors… Corporate-friendly Democrats like Washington State Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) are virtue-signaling to the trickle-down cabal that spending cuts, furloughs, and other austerity measures are the only way forward. In fact, we should do the exact opposite: studies show the states that chose the austerity path of large budget cuts during the Great Recession of 2008 rebounded slower than states which rejected cuts. It sounds simple because it is: you can’t cut your way to growth.
► From the AP — Inslee releases virus guidelines for nursing home visitors
► From The Hill — Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats had asked Republican negotiators “to meet us in the middle,” and the GOP refused. “They said, ‘No, it has to be mostly in our direction’,” Schumer said. Republicans have resisted new state funding, wary of “bailing out” states for bad budget decisions made prior to the pandemic. With that in mind, the Senate GOP is offering no new money. Democrats, meanwhile, are asking for roughly $1 trillion in new funding to help state and local governments as the spread of the coronavirus has heightened the need for emergency services while simultaneously drying up their tax base.
► From Roll Call — McConnell won’t force senators to stick around until there’s a coronavirus relief deal — After today’s confirmation vote on a U.S. district judge, senators are expected to leave for the week.
► From the NY Times — Coming next: The greater recession (by Paul Krugman) — The U.S. avoided a major second round of job losses driven by plunging consumer demand. Millions of workers lost their regular incomes; without federal aid, they would have been forced to slash spending, causing millions more to lose their jobs. Luckily Congress stepped up to the plate with special aid to the unemployed, which sustained consumer spending and kept the nonquarantined parts of the economy afloat. Now that aid has expired. Democrats offered a plan months ago to maintain benefits, but Republicans can’t even agree among themselves on a counteroffer… The suffering among cut-off families will be immense, but there will also be broad damage to the economy as a whole. How big will this damage be? I’ve been doing the math, and it’s terrifying.
► From Vox — Why Republicans are dragging their feet on
more stimulus a lifeline for workers — While some Republicans acknowledge the necessity of doing more, and may even depend on it for reelection, others seem eager to stake out a more fiscally conservative position to prevent blowback from the base down the line.
► From the AP — Congress urges Postal Service to undo changes slowing mail — Lawmakers from both parties are calling on the U.S. Postal Service to immediately reverse operational changes that are causing delays in deliveries across the country just as big volume increases are expected for mail-in election voting. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that changes imposed by the new Republican postmaster general “threaten the timely delivery of mail — including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers and absentee ballots for voters — that is essential to millions of Americans.”
► From AFGE — Largest federal employee union scores major contract victory for Environmental Protection Agency employees — AFGE signed a new collective bargaining agreement with the EPA on Thursday after the Federal Labor Relations Authority found that the agency violated the law by discarding the previously negotiated contract and imposing new workplace rules on 7,500 EPA employees represented by AFGE in July 2019. For two months, AFGE negotiators pushed back against EPA’s anti-worker proposals and achieved improvements in all 13 articles negotiated.
► From Vice — NLRB rules in favor of trippers who want to unionize — Strippers have been fighting for fair labor practices for years. Until now, they’ve faced barriers to forming unions; most clubs hire dancers as independent contractors, making them exempt from laws protecting official collective organizing efforts within their workplaces. On July 31, the NLRB upheld a ruling that a stripper named Brandi Campbell was a statutory employee of the Centerfold Club in Columbus, Ohio, and that she was fired for engaging in activities protected by the NLRA.
► From the NY Times — Trump’s census shenanigans have a nefarious purpose (by Jamelle Bouie) — It’s a last-ditch effort to rig the nation’s politics for the sake of its exclusionary political vision. The goal is to freeze political representation in place as much as possible; to keep demographic change — the growing share of Americans who are Black, Hispanic and Asian-American — from swamping the Republican Party’s ability to win national elections with a white, heavily rural minority.
The Stand (May 5) — Be counted: Participate in the 2020 Census by mail, phone or online
► MAIL — Fill out and return the census form you received in the mail, OR
► PHONE — Participate by calling 1-844-330-2020 toll free (click here for other phone numbers with your preferred language), OR
► ONLINE — Get counted at my2020census.gov online. Your mailed notice included a Census ID number on it, but that number is not necessary to go ahead and fill it out online.
► From Yahoo News — Out of work and with families to feed, some Americans are lining up at food banks for the first time in their lives — In July, the Census Bureau reported that nearly 30 million Americans said they didn’t have enough to eat in the prior week, a situation that is likely to worsen since the expanded unemployment insurance of $600 per week ended last month. Food banks across the country are bracing for both another spike in food insecurity and the fact that the effects of the pandemic are likely to last until 2021 and beyond.
The Stand (Aug. 3) — WSLC foundation is delivering ‘gift of hope’ to families in need — As the Foundation for Working Families prepares to help its 1,000th family in need, contributions are needed to sustain this critical effort.
PLEASE MAKE A DONATION! — Contribute online or mail a check to the Foundation for Working Families, 321 16th Ave S., Seattle, WA, 98144. The FFWF is a 501(c)(3) organization — federal tax ID 91-1702271 — so all donations are tax-deductible charitable contributions.
► From the AP — Utah Black Lives Matter protesters face charges with potential life sentence — Some Black Lives Matter protesters in Salt Lake City could face up to life in prison if they’re convicted of splashing red paint and smashing windows during a protest. The felony criminal mischief charges are more serious because they carry a gang enhancement penalty. Prosecutors said Wednesday that’s justified because the protesters worked together to cause thousands of dollars in damage.
► From the NY Times — This is inequity at the boiling point — For 150 years of industrialization, the combustion of coal, oil and gas has steadily released heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, driving up average global temperatures and setting heat records. But a hotter planet does not hurt equally. If you’re poor and marginalized, you’re likely to be much more vulnerable to extreme heat. You might be unable to afford an air-conditioner, and you might not even have electricity when you need it. You may have no choice but to work outdoors under a sun so blistering that first your knees feel weak and then delirium sets in… Extreme heat is not a future risk. It’s now. It endangers human health, food production and the fate of entire economies. And it’s worst for those at the bottom of the economic ladder in their societies. See what it’s like to live with one of the most dangerous and stealthiest hazards of the modern era.
► From Reuters — Canada’s last fully intact Arctic ice shelf collapses — The Arctic has been warming at twice the global rate for the past 30 years.
► The Entire Staff of The Stand loved, loved, loved writer/director Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical movie Almost Famous. So last week when Rolling Stone hosted a reZoomion celebrating the 20th anniversary of its release, of course we watched the whole hour-long thing. Among the fun facts we learned: Elton John was so pleased with the bus scene where everyone sings “Tiny Dancer” together — “You understand that song!” he told Crowe (unlike some) — that Elton started performing it again at his concerts, and still does to this day. When it was released, it was considered too long to be a single and didn’t get much play. But today, it’s considered one of the rock legend’s all-time greatest songs. Check out this incredible 1971 performance of it from BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.