Monday, November 16, 2020
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Nov. 16 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 130,040 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,552) and 2,519 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 11)
► From Medium — Inslee announces statewide restrictions for four weeks — The restrictions are statewide and will take effect tonight (Monday, Nov. 16) at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until Monday, Dec. 14. The modified restrictions of restaurants, however, will take effect Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 12:01 a.m. Indoor gatherings with people outside the household will be prohibited unless they quarantine for the 14 days prior to the social gathering. Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people. For long-term care facilities, only outdoor visits will be allowed. Restaurants and bars will be closed for indoor service, with to-go services and restricted outdoor dining allowed. In-store retail, grocery stores and personal services are limited to 25% of occupancy and must close any congregate areas. Religious services will be limited to 25% indoor capacity or 200 people, whichever is less, and choirs, bands or ensembles are prohibited from performing. Indoor service will be closed at fitness facilities and gyms, and youth and adult amateur sporting activities are limited to outdoors only with facial coverings. Bowling alleys, museums, zoos, aquariums, and movie theaters will be closed for indoor services.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear healthcare corporations and other employers of essential workers: It’s time to REINSTATE HAZARD PAY!
► From the PSBJ — Inslee shuts down open houses, but construction can continue — for now
► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane ICU nurse: ‘We can control this virus, but it will take everybody’s efforts’ — After eight months dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as an intensive care unit nurse at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Clint Wallace is overwhelmed, exhausted and asking the community for help. “We have been working hard for eight months now in this pandemic, and a lot of it overworked,” Wallace said. “Even though there may be some bed capacity in Spokane right now, we’re running beyond our capacity currently with staffing.”
► From the News Tribune — Tacoma front-line hospital workers shouldn’t have to fight for fair pay during COVID — A dispute between Tacoma nurses and management at CHI Franciscan health system, which arose in the wake of a COVID outbreak at St. Joseph Medical Center, figures to be a litmus test. It will help determine how hospital workers are taken care of, who pays to make them whole and how many are available to report to work… Front-line hospital workers deserve the assurance of receiving full and fair pay if they contract a virus that has infiltrated their workplace. That means they shouldn’t have to draw down personal sick leave or vacation balances — hours they may have depleted or haven’t accrued. Hospital administrators shouldn’t require proof that an infection happened on the job before paying administrative leave. With the countless patient interactions nurses have on every shift, such proof may be impossible, even with contact-tracing efforts.
► From the Columbia Basin Herald — MLSD sends all middle schoolers home for remote learning, citing staffing issues — The Moses Lake School District is sending all of its middle school students home and will have them do school remotely for the next two weeks, saying the spread of COVID-19 among faculty and staff has made it difficult to keep the schools staffed.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Monroe teachers vote against in-person first grade classes
► LIVE from the NY Times — States, cities tighten restrictions as U.S. caseload soars
► From HuffPost — Trump’s COVID-19 adviser tells Michigan to ‘rise up’ over Whitmer’s new restrictions — Scott Atlas’ comments against the Democratic governor are especially alarming given she was recently the target of a far-right kidnapping plot.
► From the Washington Post — Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine found to be nearly 95 percent effective in a preliminary analysis — Biotechnology firm Moderna announced Monday that a preliminary analysis shows its experimental coronavirus vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective at preventing illness, including severe cases — a striking initial result that leaves the United States with the prospect that two coronavirus vaccines could be available on a limited basis by the end of the year. “It’s extremely good news. If you look at the data, the numbers speak for themselves,” said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
► From the NY Times — With 11 million cases in the U.S., the coronavirus has gotten personal for most people — Researchers say the United States is fast approaching what could be a significant tipping point — a pandemic so widespread that every American knows someone who has been infected. But, as reflected in the polarized response to the virus, the public remains deeply divided about how and whether to fight it, and it is unclear whether seeing friends and relatives sick or dead will change that.
► From KNKX — State patrol hands over Manuel Ellis investigation to attorney general for charging decision — The Washington State Patrol has finished its investigation into the killing of Manuel Ellis, who died in March while being restrained by Tacoma police officers. The WSP said it has forwarded the case to the Attorney General’s Office, which will review the findings and determine what course of action will be taken, including whether the officers involved will face criminal charges.
► From the Seattle Times — After years of preamble, Tim Eyman’s trial begins. Could it mean the end of his initiatives? — On Monday morning, after years of investigations, contempt of court citations and bankruptcy filings, Tim Eyman will stand trial in a case that could bring an end to his decades of leading anti-tax initiatives in Washington. Eyman stands accused in Thurston County Superior Court of laundering political donations to enrich himself, accepting kickbacks from a signature-gathering firm and a yearslong refusal to comply with campaign finance laws. Attorney General Bob Ferguson, whose 2017 lawsuit against Eyman precipitated the civil trial, seeks millions of dollars in damages and he hopes to permanently bar Eyman from accepting money on behalf of any political committee or handling their finances.
► From Crosscut — Late Republican ballots thwart Democratic gains in WA Legislature — Several races where Democrats led on election night have since flipped to the GOP, leaving the overall balance of power in Olympia unchanged.
► From the Columbia Basin Herald — State Republicans say they’ve been iced out of decision making, call for special session — Following announced restrictions Sunday for restaurants and other businesses by Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington Republican legislators quickly issued statements reiterating requests for the governor to involve them in the decision-making process and to call a special session of the legislature.
► From the News Tribune — Dual office holding: Puyallup state rep to also keep seat in city council — Puyallup council member Cyndy Jacobsen (R) won a seat in the state legislature, and intends to simultaneously fill both seats.
► From The Olympian — Washington should follow Oregon’s lead in decriminalizing hard drugs (editorial) — The voter-backed action is another sign of growing national recognition that addiction is a brain disease and a public health problem.
► From Solid Ground — Honoring the life and legacy of Tony Lee — All around Washington state, tears of grief are rolling up against memories of the booming, mountainous laugh of Tony Lee, who died on Thursday of complications from Primary Lateral Sclerosis. Tony will be remembered as many things: passionate, committed, smart, a man of integrity, a keen analyst, tireless champion of racial justice and the source of a wondrously infectious laugh. Many aspire to leave this world having made a positive difference. Tony fulfilled that aspiration many times over in his 30 plus years working on behalf of the most vulnerable populations in Washington state.
► From the News Tribune — Laid-off Tacoma hotel workers need City Hall on their side, says Catholic priest (by Matthew Holland) — Now more than ever, we’re being made aware of the importance of our moral obligation to care for each other, to show solidarity, to act, and stand with our brothers, sisters, neighbors and friends who have been left vulnerable by the pandemic. We need to consider who is most at risk. Recall rights for hotel workers are a racial equity issue. We know that service, hospitality and hotel workers in Tacoma comprise more women and men of color than our overall population. Getting these hotel workers back to their jobs is just, is part of making sure every member of our community is part of our economic recovery and would be a tangible win for equity in Tacoma.
► From the (Everett) Herald — With industries in flux, retraining gives workers options — Edmonds College and Everett Community College report increases of workers interested in education.
► From Reuters — Support for MAX brand wavers as Boeing jet nears green light — Boeing is set to win approval for its grounded 737 MAX this week, but chinks are appearing in the brand as the most traumatic chapter in the jetmaker’s history overshadows the planes’ original billing of superlative performance. When it returns to the skies next month as expected after a nearly two-year safety review, the “MAX” name will still be officially in place. Some airlines, however, have begun to soft-pedal references to the aircraft following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. Industry sources familiar with the branding say the name will likely be phased out over time as a strategy unfolds among airlines to de-emphasize the “MAX” label in favor of the formal names assigned to each variant, like “737-7” or “737-8.”
► From the WSJ — DACA is restored after court rules DHS head served illegally — A federal judge in New York invalidated Trump administration rules narrowing the program that protects immigrants living in the U.S. since childhood without legal permission, ruling the restrictions were improperly issued. The ruling Saturday restores the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, to near-full operation, after multiple attempts by the Trump administration to end or curtail it. That means, for the first time since September 2017, new applicants who weren’t previously eligible, typically because they were too young, may now apply.
► From the WSJ — Millions of unemployed Americans face loss of benefits at year’s end — Two key programs Congress passed this year to expand and enhance unemployment insurance expire on Jan. 1, leaving millions of people without benefits unless lawmakers can break a monthslong deadlock over a fresh round of pandemic relief. That raises the risks that families of jobless workers will miss payments on mortgage or auto loans, face foreclosure or eviction and fall into poverty, economists warn—just as a rising tide of coronavirus infections threatens to undercut the economic recovery.
► From Roll Call — Short-term punt seen likely for spending bills, coronavirus aid — Stopgap spending bill with pandemic relief appears likely.
► From the Tri-City Herald — U.S. Senate proposal rejects Trump’s $748 million budget cuts for Hanford — The U.S. Senate has joined the House in rejecting a deep cut to Hanford spending proposed by the Trump administration.
► From NBC News — ‘Joe’s a blue-collar guy’: After years of declining power, union leaders look to Biden — President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign began at a union hall in Pittsburgh, a city with deep ties to organized labor, and it ended nearby with an election-eve promise to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” After a strained relationship with Obama’s White House and a sometimes downright hostile one with Trump’s, organized labor turned out to help elect Biden and is now pinning its hopes on his administration to help fight the long decline in union membership and influence.
► From MarketWatch — Biden wants to undo Trump executive orders on federal workers — Trump used executive orders to put up roadblocks for unions representing federal employees, and now President-elect Joe Biden seems poised to reverse those moves.
► From Politico — Trump’s student loan cliff threatens chaos for Biden — At midnight on New Year’s Eve, Trump’s pause on student loan payments for 33 million Americans is set to expire, just three weeks before Biden is slated to take over. That means he could inherit the confusion of monthly payments restarting for tens of millions of Americans amid a pandemic.
► From the Washington Post — As Trump era ends, massive new Asian trade deal leaves U.S. on the sidelines — On Sunday, 15 countries, led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc and joined by China, Japan and others, announced they had struck the world’s largest trade deal, covering about 30 percent of the global population and a similar share of economic output, after eight years of negotiations… Biden has said he would prioritize first strengthening American worker competitiveness and infrastructure before considering entering trade deals.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Seattle Times editorial board, unsurprisingly, wasted no time in calling on Biden to resurrect the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal that Obama couldn’t get through Congress and Trump later withdrew from. The Times has dusted off its old playbook of parroting fanciful trade and job creation figures that bear no resemblance to reality in America after decades of similar free-trade deals: manufacturing jobs all but disappeared and American working families’ wages and standard of living declining. (For bonus points, they dismiss TPP opposition as the work of “labor and xenophobes.”) As much as the Times would like to go back to the heady neoliberal days when Democrats routinely abandoned the working class on corporate-written free trade deals, as Stan Sorscher says, that approach “is exhausted socially, politically and economically.”
► From the Washington Post — Trump campaign jettisons major parts of its legal challenge against Pennsylvania’s election results — Trump’s campaign on Sunday scrapped a major part of its federal lawsuit challenging the election results in Pennsylvania. Cliff Levine, an attorney representing the Democratic Party in the case, said on Sunday evening that Trump’s move meant his lawsuit could not possibly change the result.
► From the Washington Post — Abolish the electoral college (editorial) — Americans are not going to be satisfied with leaders who have been rejected by a majority of voters, and they’re right not to be. It’s time to let the majority rule.
► From the Herald-Dispatch (WV) — Kroger, union workers reach tentative contract agreement — Months of negotiations could be about to bear fruit, as representatives for United Food and Commercial Workers 400 and Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division have reached a tentative agreement. Details of the deal won’t be fully divulged until the UFCW Local 400 membership has had a chance to review it. Union leaders, however, did say the potential contract does address key issues that have stymied negotiations for months.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.