Wednesday, October 28, 2020
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Oct. 28 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 104,027 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 661) and 2,337 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 9)
► From the NY Times — Hospitals are reeling under a 46% spike in COVID-19 patients — Approaching the eve of the election, Trump has downplayed the steep rise in cases, attributing much of it to increased testing. But the number of people hospitalized for the virus tells a different story, climbing an estimated 46 percent from a month ago and raising fears about the capacity of regional health care systems to respond to overwhelming demand. Twenty-six states are at or near record numbers for new infections. More than 500,000 cases have been announced in the past week. No states are seeing sustained declines in case numbers.
► From the Seattle Times — As losses mount, Boeing almost doubles planned job cuts — Boeing on Wednesday announced it will shrink its workforce further, saying that by the end of next year it will employ 31,000 fewer people companywide than at the beginning of this year. That’s a cut of just over 19% — from 161,000 to 130,000 — almost double the previous plan to cut 16,000 jobs or 10% of the total workforce. Though Boeing did not break down the local impact, most of those cuts will inevitably fall on the pandemic-hit Commercial Airplanes division in the Puget Sound region.
► From the AP — More than half of Washington’s voters have returned ballots — One week out from Election Day, more than half of Washington state’s more than 4.8 million voters have already cast their votes. The secretary of state’s office reported that as of Tuesday night, 2,560,531 ballots have been returned. In 2016, 28.5% of ballots had been returned in the same timeframe.
EDITOR’S NOTE — If you’re among the half that hasn’t yet returned your ballot, VOTE TODAY and support candidates who support working people. Can’t find your ballot? Got to Vote.WA.gov to order a replacement.
► From the Seattle Times — In Southwest Washington, health care and the president dominate Herrera Beutler, Long rematch — Carolyn Long has made health care a focus of her campaign, proposing shoring up the Affordable Care Act by creating a public health insurance option that people could buy into. Herrera Beutler has voted dozens of times over the last decade to repeal the ACA in its entirety. Just days after the Nov. 3 election, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case, supported by the Trump administration, that could see the entire health care law thrown out. On a nonbinding resolution last year, Herrera Beutler voted in support of the administration’s efforts in that case to have the landmark health care law thrown out, but last week she declined to say what she wants to see the court do.
EDITOR’S NOTE — If Herrera Beutler and the Trump administration succeed, regardless of the election’s outcome, Americans will lose protections for pre-existing conditions, coverage guarantees for adult children, and millions will lose access to affordable health insurance. That’s just one of the reason’s why Washington’s labor movement voted long ago to Go Long!
The Stand (July 30, 2019) — WSLC endorses Carolyn Long for Congress in 3rd CD
► From the Seattle Times — ‘Wretched human being’ for president: How the Spokane paper’s bizarre plug for Trump revealed a hard truth (by Danny Westneat) — Trump is “a wretched human being,” the Spokesman-Review editorial remarkably concluded, adding: “We recommend voting for him anyway.” Trump is no joke, it states. He really is a bigot and a know-nothing charlatan. But we back him anyway … why? Because we think he’ll be better for business… This may be the most revealing thing written about the moral bargaining that’s at the root of the Trump era. It goes to how it is that the elite classes, from D.C. down to the Chamber of Commerce level, all could tut in public how “concerned” they were about Trump’s “inappropriate” behavior, while for the most part enabling it. Money isn’t the only thing that matters, as any fantastically rich person will tell you. But if to get some tax cuts or goose the business cycle all you have to do is tolerate some rank bigotry, crazed conspiracy theorizing, polarizing name-calling and autocratic demagoguery, is the choice even difficult?
► From the Spokesman-Review — I didn’t like that endorsement either, but I hope you’ll stick with the paper (by Shawn Vestal) — A newspaper endorsement favoring a man who assaults the truth hourly, and calls journalists the enemy of the people, is impossible to understand. An endorsement that lays out all the reasons to oppose the worst president in the history of the nation – and, by implication, the reasons to support his fundamentally decent, mainstream, boring, honest opponent – and then says go ahead and vote for the worst president in history anyway is an utter mind-twister. It was also one voice – the publisher’s… You can ignore it and still find a ton of useful, important information in the newspaper. I hope that you will.
► From CNN — Court sets plan to make sure Postal Service delivers ballots quickly, one week ahead of Election Day — One week from Election Day, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the DC District Court told the Postal Service to inform its employees that late and extra delivery trips are allowed and the delivery of ballots by state deadlines is important. Sullivan’s order largely follows a proposed plan agreed upon by the USPS and those suing the Postal Service, which include the NAACP and the group Vote Forward.
► From HuffPost — They lost their jobs in the pandemic. Now defeating Trump is full-time work. — Norberto Meniano feels as though everything in his life is riding on this election. So when the 49-year-old unemployed restaurant worker knocks on doors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in Las Vegas, he starts the conversation by talking about himself… Meniano is one of millions of workers who lost their jobs earlier in the pandemic and still haven’t been hired back. With his schedule wide open, he is now canvassing full-time in hopes of ousting Trump from the White House. His union, UNITE HERE, has been paying him and other out-of-work members an hourly wage to knock on doors and get out the vote for Joe Biden and other Democrats.
► From the NY Times — Kavanaugh’s opinion in Wisconsin voting case raises alarms among Democrats — The Supreme Court justice’s suggestion that ballots arriving after Election Day could “flip the results” left voting rights activists concerned about how the court might rule in postelection fights.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Folks in this Washington know that late-arriving ballots can and do often flip the election results in close races. As Justice Elena Kagan noted in her dissent, “there are no results to ‘flip’ until all valid votes are counted.”
► From the UW Daily — UW postdoc health insurance policy denies coverage to dozens of postdocs — Tanya Brown, a postdoc in the UW biology department, spent her first month as a postdoctoral researcher reading and writing a fellowship application for the National Science Foundation’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology. This March, she received the fellowship. Then she found out her benefits would be stripped away. “It feels as though you’re being punished for getting your own funding,” Brown said. “The lack of communication was frustrating.” Under current university policy, postdocs who receive funding from external paid-direct mechanisms are ineligible for university health insurance through the Public Employee Benefits Board. Every year, 40 to 60 postdocs — most of them international — at the UW are denied PEBB coverage.
The Stand (Oct. 5) — Postdocs rally to demand UW stop denying health care
► From the Columbian — Vancouver Public Schools educators protest school staffing cuts — The district temporarily laid off 447 employees and reduced hours for another 182. The cuts affect bus drivers, secretaries, clerks, food service workers, paraeducators and district security officers. Those protesting said distance-learning models require more staffing to support students and teachers. They urged the school board to overturn the staffing cuts.
► From the Columbian — Clark College workers protest proposed cuts — Clark College classified staff and the Washington Public Employees Association waved signs near Fourth Plain and Fort Vancouver Way today to protest the college’s handling of its budget deficit, including recommendations to cut classified staff and outsource jobs.
► From KIRO 7 — Safeway, Albertsons hiring hundreds across Western Washington at Tuesday job fair — Available jobs include positions in the deli, meat, bakery, produce, fuel stations and customer service departments. Stores also need delivery drivers, cashiers, courtesy clerks and people to fill curbside pickup orders. Candidates should apply online before the job fair at careersatsafeway.com or albertsons.com.
► From the Seattle Times — Washington will join other states to review coronavirus vaccines approved by the federal government — Washington will join a handful of other Western states to review coronavirus vaccines once they are approved by the FDA, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday. The move is intended “to give Washingtonians the highest confidence that when a [coronavirus] vaccine is available, that it’s safe and works,” he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE — There’s no substantive news from Washington, D.C. today. Why? Because after rushing through the confirmation of their latest Supreme Court justice, Senate Republicans skippped town rather than negotiating to provide some desperately needed COVID-19 economic relief. Meanwhile, infections/hospitalizations are spiking, the stock market is plummeting, and millions of unemployed Americans are suffering.
► From the Guardian — “Bills or food”: crisis mounts for unemployed Americans — Americans struggling with broken state unemployment systems throughout the U.S. are still fighting to obtain benefits, as utility shut off moratoriums are expiring and evictions continue despite a federal suspension.
► From the Philadelphia Inquirer — Looting, skirmishes follow peaceful protests over police abuse against Black people and killing of Walter Wallace Jr. — After an evening of peaceful protests in the wake of the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., tensions flared between officers and demonstrators Tuesday evening, and scattered looting broke out in several areas of the city. The protests after the fatal shooting of Wallace by two police officers, an incident captured on a widely circulated video, evoked the demonstrations against police abuse stirred by the killing of George Floyd in May by police officers in Minneapolis.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.