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Our political spike ● End our national crisis! ● Paak-down

Friday, October 16, 2020




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Oct. 16 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 96,185 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 576) and 2,232 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 7)

► From Reuters — U.S. coronavirus cases surpass eight million as infections spike nationwide — U.S. coronavirus cases crossed 8 million on Thursday, rising by 1 million in less than a month, as another surge in cases hits the nation at the onset of cooler weather.

► From Politico — Hospitals search for enough beds and nurses as virus rebounds — The coronavirus is engulfing big city hospitals in states including Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana that are running low on nurses and beds and are setting up overflow facilities.

► From The Hill — Key model predicts nearly 80% rise in COVID deaths by February

► From the AP — White House puts ‘politicals’ at CDC to try to control info — The Trump White House has installed two political operatives at the nation’s top public health agency to try to control the information it releases about the pandemic as the administration seeks to paint a positive outlook, sometimes at odds with the scientific evidence.

► From HuffPost — OSHA doesn’t expect employers to report COVID-19 hospitalizations anymore — Employers are legally required to notify OSHA promptly whenever a worker ends up hospitalized due to a work-related injury or illness. But the way the Trump administration is choosing to read the rules, there is almost no scenario in which a COVID-19 hospitalization must be reported to the agency. Workplace safety experts are concerned the lack of employer reporting will leave the federal government unable to track large workplace outbreaks and intervene to stop the spread. Some of the worst COVID-19 clusters in the country have revolved around workplaces like meatpacking plants and nursing homes.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Schools told to pause resumption of classes as virus surges — The Snohomish Health District is asking schools to freeze their reopening plans amid rising COVID-19 infections.

► From the LA Times — California teachers unions fight calls to reopen schools

► From HuffPost — Janitors, bus drivers on returning to schools: Damned if they do, damned if they don’t — As many schools return to in-person classes even as coronavirus cases are mounting nationwide, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers and janitors are left in an impossible bind: worried about being exposed to COVID-19 but also terrified they’ll lose their jobs if schools stay shut.




► From the (Everett) Herald — State Supreme Court nullifies Eyman’s $30 car-tab measure — A unanimous state Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the $30 car-tab initiative passed by voters in 2019. Justices said Initiative 976 violated provisions of the state Constitution limiting the scope of ballot measures to no more than one topic. Eight of nine justices also concluded the subject of I-976, as described on ballots, was unconstitutional because it misled voters. The ruling comes nearly a year after 53% of state voters approved I-976, which, like previous car-tab-limiting measures, was the handiwork of serial initiative promoter Tim Eyman.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Like previous Eyman initiatives, it failed to pass legal muster.




► From the Seattle Times — Seattle starts COVID-19 relief fund helping undocumented immigrants — Seattle launched a $9 million COVID-19 relief fund Thursday that will give cash grants to undocumented immigrants unable to access federal stimulus money.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Lightning bolt gives Edmonds ferry worker shock of her life — Leslie Saber was alone in the overhead passenger loading walkway that runs from the Edmonds terminal to the boat when it struck. “It was an instantaneous flash and sound,” Saber said. “It’s the biggest explosion I ever heard. The world exploded around me. I was knocked off my feet from the shock wave and slammed down on my knees.” Saber finished her shift and was back at work the next day, but not on “the plank.” She’s been in the auto ticket booth since. “Bruised knees is the diagnosis. And shaken nerves,” she said.

► From Crosscut — Ahead of Seattle Police layoffs, officers are leaving on their own — An increase in retirements and resignations in the department could make budget cuts easier for the Seattle City Council.




► A MUST-READ from the NY Times — END OUR NATIONAL CRISIS (editorial) — Donald Trump’s re-election campaign poses the greatest threat to American democracy since World War II. Trump’s ruinous tenure already has gravely damaged the United States at home and around the world. He has abused the power of his office and denied the legitimacy of his political opponents, shattering the norms that have bound the nation together for generations. He has subsumed the public interest to the profitability of his business and political interests. He has shown a breathtaking disregard for the lives and liberties of Americans. He is a man unworthy of the office he holds. The editorial board does not lightly indict a duly elected president. During Mr. Trump’s term, we have called out his racism and his xenophobia. We have critiqued his vandalism of the postwar consensus, a system of alliances and relationships around the globe that cost a great many lives to establish and maintain. We have, again and again, deplored his divisive rhetoric and his malicious attacks on fellow Americans. Yet when the Senate refused to convict the president for obvious abuses of power and obstruction, we counseled his political opponents to focus their outrage on defeating him at the ballot box. Nov. 3 can be a turning point. This is an election about the country’s future, and what path its citizens wish to choose.

► From the NY Times — A combative Trump and a deliberate Biden spar from afar at town halls — With less than three weeks left in the campaign, there was no sign that either candidate was diverging from the political tracks they laid down months ago.

► From WFLA — Granddaughter of labor union leader César Chávez advising Biden Campaign to mobilize Latinos — César Chávez was a hero to many farmworkers across America. Even now, 27 years after the labor leader’s death, the legacy of César Chávez is still front and center in the 2020 election. The Biden Campaign has turned to Chávez’s granddaughter, Julie Chávez Rodriguez, for help with the Latino vote.




► From the NY Times — 8 million have slipped into poverty since May as federal aid has dried up — After an ambitious expansion of the safety net in the spring saved millions of people from poverty, the aid is now largely exhausted and poverty has returned to levels higher than before the coronavirus crisis, two new studies have found.

► From The Hill — McConnell shoots down $1.8 trillion coronavirus deal, breaking with Trump — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday shot down the prospect of a coronavirus deal totaling between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion — the goalposts of the current talks between Democrats and the White House.

► From the Washington Post — Pelosi did her job. It’s Trump and McConnell holding up pandemic aid. (by Eugene Robinson) — It makes no sense to blame House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Two weeks ago, the House passed a $2.2 trillion package that would include $1,200 stimulus checks, $600 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits, more than $400 billion in aid for pandemic-devastated state and local governments, and nearly $300 billion for education and child care. Pelosi (D-Calif.) has done her job. But McConnell (R-Ky.) refuses even to bring that bill up for consideration. He’s far too busy rushing Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett through the confirmation process to worry about the millions of Americans who have neither jobs nor prospects — and will slide into poverty unless more help arrives.

► From Roll Call — Senate Judiciary lines up Oct. 22 vote on Barrett’s nominationSenate still on path to putting nominee on high court by the end of the month.

► From Roll Call — Census count wraps up early amid questions about accuracy — Once the Trump administration ends its count for the 2020 census early Friday morning, advocates and even former Census Bureau directors fear the administration won’t take the time to correct what could be the most inaccurate count in decades. Congress could still pass legislation to extend the Census Bureau’s deadline for delivering apportionment results. The House has already passed such a proposal, which has bipartisan support. But that would mean getting Trump to give up the goal of controlling the results used to reallocate congressional seats regardless of who wins the general election next month. That would allow Trump to pursue his plans to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment process, assuming the administration wins a pending Supreme Court battle on that issue.

► From the Washington Post — White House was warned Giuliani was target of Russian intelligence operation to feed misinformation to Trump — U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was the target of an influence operation by Russian intelligence. The warnings led national security adviser Robert O’Brien to caution Trump in a private conversation that any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia. But O’Brien emerged from the meeting uncertain whether he had gotten through to the president. Trump had “shrugged his shoulders” at O’Brien’s warning and dismissed concern about his lawyer’s activities by saying, “That’s Rudy.”




► From Reuters — Dying inside: The hidden crisis within America’s jails — Harvey Hill’s is one of 7,571 inmate deaths Reuters documented in an unprecedented examination of mortality in more than 500 U.S. jails from 2008 to 2019. Death rates have soared in those lockups, rising 35% over the decade ending last year. Casualties like Hill are typical: held on minor charges and dying without ever getting their day in court. At least two-thirds of the dead inmates identified by Reuters, 4,998 people, were never convicted of the charges on which they were being held. Unlike state and federal prisons, which hold people convicted of serious crimes, jails are locally run lockups meant to detain people awaiting arraignment or trial, or those serving short sentences. The toll of jail inmates who die without a case resolution subverts a fundamental tenet of the U.S. criminal justice system: innocent until proven guilty.

► From The Hill — Will voters side with the continued exploitation of gig workers? (by William Gould) — On Nov. 3, California voters will have a fairly clear-cut choice with Proposition 22 — continued exploitation of workers without benefits and below the minimum wage, or some measure of dignity for those who have been left behind in the age of inequality.

► A related story from MarketWatch — Spanish labor authorities tell Amazon to give more than 4,000 gig workers contracts: report — has reportedly been ordered to give more than 4,000 drivers delivering packages in Barcelona and across Spain proper work contracts, and cover more than $7.2 million (€6.16 million) in back social security payments.




► Brandon Paak Anderson was a church drummer who got a job working on a marijuana farm in Santa Barbara. When he was fired without cause or warning, he became homeless for a time with his wife and infant son. Eventually he got a job working as an assistant for Sa-Ra, an L.A. alternative hip-hop group. Before long this talented multi-instrumentalist was recording his own music under the name Anderson .Paak, music that combined jazz, soul, funk and rap. Success and fame came soon after. His latest work includes this song where he reflects on racial injustice, police brutality, unemployment and COVID-19. The hard-hitting video for “Lockdown” is a must-see, but as always, The Entire Staff of The Stand prefers a live performance. Enjoy.


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

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