Monday, January 11, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Jan. 11 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 271,595 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 2,542) and 3,698 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 15)
► LIVE from the NY Times — In 5 U.S. states, crushing numbers and hospitals at capacity — In earlier stages of the pandemic, the states with the most coronavirus cases often bordered one another. Major outbreaks were concentrated in geographic regions of the U.S.: the Northeast in the spring, the Sun Belt over the summer and the country’s midsection in the fall. Now, the five worst-hit states are scattered around the country: Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Carolina are averaging the most daily new cases per person.
► From the Kitsap Sun — St. Michael emergency room plagued by staffing shortage, hospital workers say — According to interviews with a half-dozen ER staff and hospital workers, staffing levels have progressively worsened at the new Silverdale hospital, spurred by several compounding factors that include moving into a larger department, widespread staff burnout, and a nursing shortage exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic… “It’s a bigger department. There are more rooms. More rooms are more patients. And we don’t have any more nurses,” one nurse said.“It’s just not sustainable. It’s just not safe.” The nurse recalled a recent shift that left her in tears after there were only two nurses to care for nearly a dozen patient rooms, including a patient who needed highly intensive care. At the Bremerton hospital, the standard was one nurse to three patients.
► From Crosscut — Top Seattle Children’s doctor forced to resign after complaints of racism — Dr. Jim Hendricks, a prominent official official at Seattle Children’s Hospital, was forced to resign Friday after a decade-old complaint that he had used racist language resurfaced in recent weeks — part of the expanding fallout after a beloved doctor in the Black community, Dr. Ben Danielson, quit last month in protest of what he said were patterns of racism at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
► From the PSBJ — Former leader at Odessa Brown clinic takes practice to UW Medicine — Dr. Ben Danielson, a highly esteemed physician, is taking his practice to UW Medicine, two months after resigning as senior medical director of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) in Seattle.
The Stand (Jan. 6) — WSNA, others call on Seattle Children’s to address racism
► From the Kitsap Sun — South Kitsap School District teachers, staff vote to delay return plan — SKSD Superintendent Tim Winter, school board president Eric Gattenby and South Kitsap Education Association (SKEA) president John Richardson released a joint statement Friday morning that puts the district’s reopening plan for
next this week in jeopardy, after members of the SKEA voted earlier this week to not return to school, citing COVID-19 safety concerns.
► From the Peninsula Daily News — Sequim schools may return to hybrid model in late January
► From the Columbian — Evergreen Public Schools employees union treasurer accused of stealing $70,000 — Jeana Wright-Smith, 41, the former treasurer of Public School Employees Union of Washington’s Evergreen Public Schools chapter has been accused of stealing from the union’s bank account and spending the money on gambling and shopping.
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Legislature to begin in Olympia amid expected Capitol protests — In Olympia, the state Legislature begins its 2021 session on Monday, which is also the only day legislators are scheduled to be at the Capitol in person. The Legislature is operating largely remotely for the first time, because of COVID-19 restrictions. Right-wing protesters plan to be at the Capitol on Monday to oppose those restrictions, among other things. Gov. Jay Inslee, citing last week’s insurrection in D.C. and local threats, has authorized up to 750 members of the National Guard to deploy to the Capitol for added security.
► From the News Tribune — Conservative group gathers in Olympia to protest Inslee’s directives — About 100 people gathered on the state Capitol Campus on Sunday to protest Gov. Jay Inslee’s directives, including his recent decision to use the National Guard to defend the campus. Speakers included conservative activist Glen Morgan, Tim Eyman and state Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen).
► From the Seattle Times — State jobless benefits caught up in fight between Inslee, GOP — Earlier this week, state Republican leaders, frustrated over Inslee’s restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, refused to extend several of the governor’s emergency measures, including ones that hasten payment of unemployment checks and reduce some employers’ costs. As a result, jobless Washingtonians who apply for benefits starting Sunday may wait an extra week for their first benefit checks and may also miss one of the $300-a-week federal payments Congress authorized in December. Republicans’ actions drew sharp criticism from labor leaders and from Democrats. “This is just leaving money on the table that would be helping people during a crisis,” said Joe Kendo, government affairs director with the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
EDITOR’S NOTE — To sum up: Washington’s Republicans are punishing people who’ve lost their jobs — and some employers — because they oppose COVID-19 restrictions that are saving people’s lives. Also, according to Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia), Republicans are “frustrated” at being marginalized by the governor.
► From the Bellingham Herald — Here’s how Whatcom Democrats want to address Washington racial, environmental disparities — Several state legislators are reviving the Healthy Environment for All Act, a law that aims to address decades of racial and economic disparities that affect the health of people who live and work in more heavily polluted areas of Washington state. Called the HEAL Act, it is being re-introduced as SB 5489.
EDITOR’S NOTE –The HEAL Act is among the legislation supported by the WSLC in its 2021 Workers Recovery Agenda.
► From the News Tribune — Washington needs system to investigate cop violence; Tacoma’s Ellis case is Exhibit A (editorial) — Washington needs an independent, permanent system for investigating police use-of-deadly-force cases. The current system, in which neighboring jurisdictions handle investigations when someone dies in law enforcement custody, is clearly flawed and has spawned a growing level of community unease. Nothing underscores this more than the newly released Washington State Patrol investigation of the Manuel Ellis homicide, months after the 33-year-old Black man died on the street after being taken down by Tacoma Police.
TRUMP’S CAPITOL MOB
► From the AP — The unfolding of ‘home-grown fascism’ in Capitol assault — Under battle flags bearing Donald Trump’s name, the Capitol’s attackers pinned a bloodied police officer in a doorway, his twisted face and screams captured on video. They mortally wounded another officer with a blunt weapon and body-slammed a third over a railing into the crowd. “Hang Mike Pence!” the insurrectionists chanted as they pressed inside, beating police with pipes. They demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s whereabouts, too. They hunted any and all lawmakers: “Where are they?” Outside, makeshift gallows stood, complete with sturdy wooden steps and the noose. Guns and pipe bombs had been stashed in the vicinity. Only days later is the extent of the danger from one of the darkest episodes in American democracy coming into focus. The sinister nature of the assault has become evident, betraying the crowd as a force determined to occupy the inner sanctums of Congress and run down leaders — Trump’s vice president and the Democratic House speaker among them. This was not just a collection of Trump supporters with MAGA bling caught up in a wave.
► From the AP — Records show fervent Trump fans fueled U.S. Capitol takeover — They came from across America, summoned by Trump to march on Washington in support of his false claim that the November election was stolen and to stop the congressional certification of Joe Biden as the victor. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” Trump tweeted a week before Christmas. “Be there, will be wild!” The insurrectionist mob that showed up at the president’s behest and stormed the U.S. Capitol was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Records show that some were heavily armed and included convicted criminals, such as a Florida man recently released from prison for attempted murder.
► From the Washington Post — Video shows Capitol mob dragging a police officer down stairs. One rioter beat the officer with an American flag pole. — As a mob of pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol on Wednesday, one man in a white hat and backpack grabbed a police officer by the helmet, dragging the officer down the stairs. Soon, other rioters kicked and punched the officer, and one man even bashed the prone figure repeatedly with a pole flying an American flag.
► From Vox — Donald Trump is the accelerant — A comprehensive timeline of Donald Trump encouraging hate groups and political violence.
► From the Seattle Times — President of Seattle police union lambasted for comments claiming Black Lives Matter among those to blame for U.S. Capitol siege — Mark Solan, the president of Seattle Police Officers Guild, is under fire from a state police group, the city’s mayor and other public figures for his comments on social media this week suggesting Black Lives Matter and other liberal activists are partly to blame for Wednesday’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a mob supporting President Donald Trump.
SPOG President Mike Solan’s comments on the right-wing mob are out of line & an affront to those fighting for racial justice. This is part of a pattern of behavior that shows Solan is more interested in building his public profile than representing his members. He should resign.
— MLK Labor (@MLKLabor) January 9, 2021
► From the Seattle Times — Seattle police officers who were in DC during riot at U.S. Capitol placed on administrative leave
► From the Washington Post — Talk-radio owner orders conservative hosts to temper election fraud rhetoric — After months of stoking anger about alleged election fraud, one of America’s largest talk-radio companies has decided on an abrupt change of direction. Cumulus Media, which employs some of the most popular right-leaning talk-radio hosts in the United States, has told its on-air personalities to stop suggesting that the election was stolen from Trump — or else face termination.
► From The Hill — AFL-CIO calls on Trump to resign or be removed from office ‘at once’ — The AFL-CIO called on President Trump to resign or be removed from office “at once, whether through impeachment or the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” following the riots at the U.S. Capitol.
The Stand (Jan. 8) — AFL-CIO General Board: Trump must resign or be removed
► From The Hill — Pelosi: Democrats will move to impeach Trump — House Democrats will stage a vote to impeach President Trump for encouraging mob violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Sunday night. Pelosi said the Democrats’ preferred response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol is for Vice President Pence to remove Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment — an unlikely scenario less than two weeks before Trump is set to leave office.
► From the AP — Trump faces ‘incitement of insurrection’ impeachment charge
► From the Seattle Times — Did Trump finally go too far for his Washington state supporters? The answer, it seems, is ‘No’ — Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, Washington’s three GOP members of Congress, condemned the attack, but not the president who incited it. Even as Trump lauded the attackers after they stormed the Capitol — “We love you, you’re very special,” he said — none of the three said anything negative about the president. All three have echoed the president’s false claims of a stolen or fraudulent election, although McMorris Rodgers reversed her plans to officially object to the election results after the attack. None of the three responded to repeated interview requests for this article.
EDITOR’S NOTE — It appears that we’ll find out Wednesday whether these three will excuse Trump’s actions to incite a violent deadly mob to attack the U.S. Capitol.
► From the Washington Post — Republicans largely silent about consequences of deadly attack and Trump’s role in inciting it — Three days after a mob attack on the U.S. Capitol carried out in Trump’s name, Republican leaders have yet to outline plans to hold anyone accountable or to alter a platform and priorities lashed to the outgoing Republican president. Senate Republicans have not moved to investigate the assault on their workplace, which forced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to flee with the help of his security team while Vice President Pence was whisked to a secure location.
► From the Washington Post — Republican AGs group sent robocalls urging protesters to the Capitol
► From Politico — Democrats to Biden: Go big on executive actions, even with Senate control — The Georgia Senate elections may have given Democrats more opportunities to pass their legislative agenda. But progressives want quick action, and they’re still pressuring President-elect Joe Biden to use executive power to revamp everything from the economy to climate change policy.
► From Roll Call — Cleaning up SolarWinds hack may cost as much as $100 billion — American businesses and government agencies could be spending upward of $100 billion over many months to contain and fix the damage from the Russian hack against the SolarWinds software used by so many Fortune 500 companies and U.S. government departments.
► From Politico — Trump’s final trade battles create an early test for Biden — The president-elect’s hope to rebuild global alliances is about to run headlong into the debris from Trump’s trade wars.
► From CNN Business — Nearly 4 million Americans have been out of work for at least six months — Although employers have hired back millions of Americans since the coronavirus pandemic upended the economy last spring, nearly 4 million workers are now in the ranks of the long-term unemployed, up from 2.4 million in September. These folks, who have been out of work for at least six months, make up more than 37% of the jobless. And once the unemployed hit this grim milestone, it’s often harder for them to re-enter the labor force -— slowing the nation’s economic recovery even more.
► From Business Insider — Google is reportedly monitoring staff emails for ‘disruptive’ language after 400 employees set up a union — Google is reportedly asking its staffers to scrutinize emails for “disruptive” language as disgruntled workers in the US and Canada double down on their plans to unionize.
The Stand (Jan. 5) — New union at Google invites all Alphabet employees to join
EDITOR’S NOTE — Are you tired of Orwellian restrictions at work? Get a union! Find out more about how you can join together with co-workers for a real voice at work and to negotiate a fair return for your efforts. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.