Tuesday, October 27, 2020
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Oct. 27 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 103,500 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 665) and 2,321 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 8)
► From the Ellensburg Daily Record — Ellensburg teachers express concerns as the COVID case rate rises
► From the Washington Post — Hospitals in nearly every region report a flood of COVID-19 patients — More than 42,000 people were hospitalized nationally with the virus Monday, a figure that is steadily climbing toward the midsummer peak caused by massive outbreaks in the Sun Belt. In the places hit the hardest, this is nudging hospitals toward the nightmare scenario of rationing care.
► From the NY Times — Nurses are at high risk for COVID among health workers, CDC says — About 6 percent of adults hospitalized from March through May were health care workers, according to the researchers, with more than a third either nurses or nursing assistants. Roughly a quarter, or 27 percent, of those hospitalized workers were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 4 percent died during their hospital stay.
► From The Hill — Trump shrugs off COVID-19 surge in closing days of campaign — The White House is striking a dismissive and fatalistic tone toward the coronavirus in the closing days of a campaign that has been defined by the pandemic and as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations tick upward across the country.
► From the Washington Post — Trump falsely declares coronavirus is ‘ending’ as virus rates spike and financial markets dip — Faced with record levels of U.S. coronavirus infections and a new White House outbreak, Trump declared Monday that the pandemic was “ending anyway,” further tying his reelection bid to his ability to convince voters, including those at large rallies that defy health authorities, that the viral danger is fading.
► From Roll Call — Senate packs up with coronavirus relief bill on ice until after elections — Senators prepared to leave town Monday night for their October recess with virtually no prospect of passing new COVID-19 aid legislation before the Nov. 3 elections. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke by phone for 52 minutes on Monday in what has become a near-daily attempt to narrow differences on pandemic relief between Democrats and the Trump administration. But there was no indication of any major progress. Republican senators, meanwhile, had no expectation of any pandemic relief deal this week as they focused on confirming Amy Coney Barrett to be the next Supreme Court justice Monday night before heading home until after the elections.
The Stand (TODAY) — Labor must step up to defend democracy (by Cherika Carter) — We’ve got one week to make sure Joe Biden and other champions for workers are elected.
► From the Stranger — Democrats convene to call BS on Maia Espinoza’s BS, and to rally around Chris Reykdal — Gov. Jay Inslee highlighted the dangers of Espinoza’s public school privatization scheme, which would provide $2,500 vouchers for students to spend on private schools or for “desks, internet access, and other supplies need to learn from home.” Reykdal told The Columbian such a program would cost $2.5 billion, which Inslee said would “undermine education” in the state and lead to “fewer teachers.” Seattle Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA, 7th) said “the ease and the frequency with which Republican Maia Espinoza lies is troubling,” and pointed to the fact that the candidate “never served as a certified K-12 teacher” even though she lists “school teacher” under “other professional experience” in the voters’ pamphlet. Jayapal also called Espinoza the “Betsy DeVos of Washington state,” but noted that “at least Betsy DeVos is honest about what she wants to do” and doesn’t “hide her privatization agenda.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO has joined teachers and other education professionals in endorsing Chris Reykdal for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
► From Crosscut — WA election campaign staff protest working conditions, poor pay — A collective of campaign workers across the state says its members are tired of working long hours with no job security or health care.
► From the News Tribune — Immigrant workers affected by COVID-19 now can apply to the state for relief money — The $40 million Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund is now accepting applications until Dec. 6. The governor’s press release Wednesday said the $40 million is “federal funds allocated by the state to assist Washington workers who miss work due to COVID-19, but are unable to access federal stimulus programs and other social supports due to their immigration status. While the fund is operational, eligible recipients will receive $1,000, with a limit of $3,000 per household.”
The Stand (Oct. 21) — Applications now open for WA COVID Immigrant Relief Fund
► From the Seattle Times — Law enforcement unions push Washington ballot initiative to regulate protests, protect police jobs — Contending public officials in Seattle and elsewhere have failed to keep all citizens safe during ongoing racial injustice protests, a group of law enforcement unions announced Monday they’re pushing a statewide ballot initiative that would require Washington cities and counties to create and enforce detailed plans for regulating free-speech demonstrations.
► From the Bellingham Herald — More Washington community and technical college students eligible for assistance — More college students in Washington state will be eligible for a program that provides food assistance, tuition help and other support.
► From the Seattle Times — As Boeing struggles to stay competitive, top jet buyers describe daunting outlook — The world’s biggest buyers of commercial jets believe Boeing, which is set to report more heavy financial losses Wednesday, has fallen significantly below parity with rival Airbus — with limited options for recovery as it bleeds cash during the pandemic-driven aviation crisis.
► From the Washington Post — Senate confirms Barrett to Supreme Court, cementing its conservative majority — A bitterly divided Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett as the 115th justice to the Supreme Court on Monday, elevating just the fifth woman to the court in its 231-year history and one who further cements its conservative shift — a legacy that will last even if Republicans lose power in next week’s elections.
► From the Washington Post — Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin’s deadline for counting mail-in ballots — The Supreme Court on Monday night rejected a pandemic-related request from Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the deadline for counting mail-in ballots received after Election Day in the key battleground state of Wisconsin. The vote was 5 to 3, with the Republican-nominated conservatives in the majority.
► From The Hill — GOP files second request for Supreme Court to block Pennsylvania mail-in ballot extension — Pennsylvania Republicans have returned to the Supreme Court in another effort to roll back the state’s mail-in ballot extension, filing their second such attempt just ahead of the imminent confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett and days after the court deadlocked on the issue. If successful, the GOP’s bid could disenfranchise a number of mail-in voters, with the harm likely to fall disproportionately on Biden supporters, who are considered about twice as likely as Trump backers to vote by mail.
► From the Washington Post — Barrett joins a Supreme Court that’s largely out of step with the national consensus (by Ruth Marcus) — The court’s makeup is determined by the electoral landscape (control of the presidency and the Senate). But its rulings — on gerrymandering, on campaign finance, on voting rights — help define the contours of that landscape.
► From the Washington Post — Trump issues sweeping order for tens of thousands of career federal employees to lose civil service protections — The directive, issued last week, strips long-held civil service protections from employees whose work involves policymaking, allowing them to be dismissed with little cause or recourse, much like the political appointees who come and go with each administration. Federal scientists, attorneys, regulators, public health experts and many others in senior roles would lose rights to due process and in some cases, union representation, at agencies across the government.
► From AFGE — Trump’s order to strip hundreds of thousands of feds of due process rights, open door to cronyism — “This is the most profound undermining of the civil service in our lifetimes,” said AFGE President Everett Kelley.
► From the Washington Post — Trump’s historic assault on the civil service was four years in the making — Trump’s extraordinary directive allowing his administration to weed out career federal employees viewed as disloyal in a second term is the product of a four-year campaign by conservatives working from a little-known West Wing policy shop. Civil service experts and union leaders have assailed the order as an effort to impose political loyalty tests on a nonpartisan workforce. The directive likely would not survive if Joe Biden is elected president.
► From Reuters — The Rust Belt boom that wasn’t: Heartland job growth lagged under Trump — With the U.S. election just a week away, recently released government data and new analysis show just how little progress Trump made in changing the trajectory of the Rust Belt region that propelled his improbable rise to the White House.
► From the Washington Post — Trump’s Carrier deal fades as economic reality intervenes — The Carrier plant in Indianapolis is where outsourcing was supposed to have stopped. But this year alone, Indiana employers have sent more jobs to Mexico, China, India and other foreign countries than were saved at Carrier.
► From Reuters — Food workers, rural Americans go hungry despite U.S. government farm aid — Trump has funneled a record amount of aid to the agricultural sector, the majority going to big farms over food workers or small-scale farmers.
► BREAKING from the NY Times — Justice Dept. blocked in bid to shield Trump from rape defamation suit — The Justice Department tried to intervene to represent Trump against the lawsuit by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who claims he lied when he denied raping her.
► From the Washington Post — Bonuses before bankruptcy: Companies doled out millions to executives before filing for Chapter 11 — Major brands like Hertz and J.C. Penney issued six- and seven-figure payouts before asking bankruptcy courts to shield them from creditors during restructuring — often before erasing thousands of jobs — court and regulatory documents show.
► From the AFL-CIO — Labor Radio Podcast Network launches interactive network map — Launched in 2019, the Labor Radio Podcast Network focuses on working-class issues that are often overlooked in the corporate-controlled media. The goal of the network is to help raise the voices of working people and strengthen organized labor to demand and achieve better treatment from workplaces and elected officials.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.