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Vaccines first ● Biden gets to work ● “We can no longer be silent”

Thursday, January 21, 2021




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, Jan. 21 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 294,017 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 2,391) and 3,940 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 9)

► From KNKX — Bellevue district will bring 2nd-graders back even after teachers union votes against it — Bellevue Superintendent Ivan Duran says the district will continue with its plan to welcome about 770 second-graders back for in-person learning on Thursday, even though teachers may not show up. The Bellevue Education Association voted on Tuesday to call on the school district to pause its expansion of in-person learning, saying it should be delayed until all educators have had full access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

TODAY at The Stand Bellevue teachers: Pause school openings until vaccines available

► From the News Tribune — WA teachers, school staff could be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine earlier than expected — Changes to the state Department of Health vaccination plan by Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday moved the state into Phase 1B of the plan, allowing everyone over the age of 65 to receive the vaccine. The changes also created flexibility for providers administering the vaccine starting in Phase 1B Tier 2. Prior to the changes, only teachers 50 and older were eligible to receive the vaccine, and all other teachers had to wait until Tier 4. Now, providers can combine Tiers 2 and 4, making all school staff eligible for the vaccine regardless of age.

► From the Bellingham Herald — Four Lynden Middle School students test positive

► From the News Tribune — Restaurants hit with $780,000 in fines over COVID rules, Washington officials say — The decision by Spiffy’s in Lewis County and the Farm Boy Drive-In in Thurston County to defy COVID-19 restrictions is getting expensive. They have racked up nearly $780,000 in fines — and that amount grows every day they continue to offer indoor dining, according to the Department of Labor and Industries.

► From The Hill — Unions wade into debate over requiring COVID-19 vaccine — Unions have fought hard to get their workers near the top of the vaccination list but now are girding for the likelihood that some of their members will push back on businesses that mandate shots for employees. “Obviously, we want priority, but we also want freedom of health care choices,” said UFCW’s Kim Cordova, adding that she expected that some workers, because of allergies or religious objections, won’t want to take the vaccine. If a union employee’s contract doesn’t specifically address vaccinations or include anything like medical testing and vaccines, the dispute becomes an issue of mandatory bargaining, experts said.

► From the Washington Post — Yes, people with coronavirus vaccinations should still distance from each other. Here’s why. — There are still unanswered questions about whether vaccinated people can transmit the virus — a major concern among public health and infectious-disease experts. It is possible that people who are vaccinated can be exposed to the coronavirus and become unknowing carriers, said Joshua Barocas, an infectious-disease physician at Boston Medical Center. People with no symptoms transmit more than half of all cases of the coronavirus, according to findings from a CDC model published this month.

► From the Philadelphia Inquirer — Essential workers exposed to COVID-19 are reporting to work when they can’t get paid to quarantine — Many essential workers aren’t getting extra paid leave to quarantine, even though their work puts them at higher risk of exposure. Often, they have to use their own paid time off. And for those who had some form of paid COVID leave, some have exhausted it as they’ve had to quarantine multiple times.

► From the Washington Post — Biden issuing pandemic plan that aims to expand access to testing and vaccines, reopen schools — Biden plans Thursday to issue a new national strategy to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and to take executive actions intended to make tests and vaccines more abundant, schools and travel safer, and states better able to afford their role in the long road back to normal life. On his second day in office, aides said, Biden will sign an additional 10 executive orders, plus presidential memorandums, dealing with many aspects of the public health crisis the new president has defined as his top priority.




► From PSBJ — Pandemic delays add $18.2M to project cost for Sea-Tac international facility — The cost for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) just grew by $18.2 million, and the project won’t be completed until June or July — almost a year late.

► From the Stranger — SPD says 5 Seattle cops attended Trump’s insurrection rally

► From the Seattle Times — Protesters march through downtown Seattle, arrests made for property damage — Biden’s inauguration was met Wednesday evening in downtown Seattle with protest and scattered property damage from anti-fascist marchers who have demonstrated for months.

► From The Hill — Anti-government protesters in Portland smash windows, vandalize buildings — Anti-government protesters smashed windows at Oregon’s Democratic Party headquarters in Portland after gathering for an Inauguration Day rally.

EDITOR’S NOTE — When peaceful protests devolve into senseless destruction of property, anyone who commits these crimes should be arrested and prosecuted.




► From the (Everett) Herald — At the State Capitol, a quiet day amid heightened security —  There were no protests or arrests as troopers patrolled and the National Guard assumed a lower profile.

► From the Seattle Times — Seattle man charged with assault, felony harassment, accused of targeting journalists during protests at State Capitol — Damon Huseman, 26, was arrested Tuesday, accused of dousing two photojournalists with bear spray and threatening a newspaper reporter during the Jan. 6 protests at the Washington State Capitol, where supporters of former President Donald Trump breached a fence outside the Governor’s mansion in Olympia.

► From Crosscut — Why Washington state’s constitution bans armed militias — Before statehood, mob violence and labor suppression raised serious questions about who had the right to maintain public order.




► From the NY Times — A call for unity to a nation facing a pandemic and division (analysis) — In his Inaugural Address, President Biden spoke of a return to the ordinary discord of democracy, with a reminder that “politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path.”

► From Politico — Biden turns the page on Trump in a surprisingly effective Inaugural Address (analysis) — He preaches respect to a country that’s become addicted to contempt.

► From the Washington Post — Vice President Kamala Harris. Yes, it really happened. (by Jennifer Rubin) — Since the 2020 presidential election was called in November, we knew that Sen. Kamala D. Harris would be the first woman, the first Black woman and the first Indian American to hold the office of vice president. We saw her at each rollout of President Biden’s Cabinet picks. Yet seeing her on the Capitol platform on Wednesday in bold purple colors was still an emotionally charged moment. She often instructs young people to own their power and walk “with chin up and shoulders back.” That is precisely how she appeared, effectively announcing, “I am here. I belong.”

► From the NY Times — Amanda Gorman captures the moment, in verse — The youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history read “The Hill We Climb,” which she finished after the riot at the Capitol. “I’m not going to in any way gloss over what we’ve seen,” she says.

► From the NY Times (Nov. 3, 2017) — Meet Amanda Gorman, America’s first National Youth Poet Laureate — “This is a long, long, faraway goal, but 2036 I am running for office to be president of the United States,” she said matter-of-factly. “So you can put that in your iCloud calendar.”




► From the Washington Post — Biden administration to pause deportations, curtail arrests — The Biden administration has ordered U.S. immigration agencies to focus their energies on threats to national security, public safety and recent border crossers, ending a four-year stretch during the Trump administration that exposed anyone in the United States illegally to deportation… Biden has unveiled legislation that would allow millions to apply for citizenship, following in the footsteps of former presidents George W. Bush (R) and Barack Obama (D), who attended his inauguration Wednesday, and also advocated, albeit unsuccessfully, for immigration reform.

► From Bloomberg Law — Biden fires NLRB General Counsel after he refuses to resign — Biden fired Peter Robb, the Trump-appointed general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board, after Robb refused a request from the new administration to resign. The NLRB enforces private-sector workers’ rights to organize, and its general counsel has sweeping authority to determine which types of cases the agency does or doesn’t pursue.

TODAY at The StandWorkers First Agenda: AFL-CIO applauds Biden’s Day 1 actions — Trumka: “A union-busting lawyer by trade, Robb mounted an unrelenting attack for more than three years on workers’ right to organize and engage in collective bargaining.”

► From the NY Times — Biden’s 17 executive orders and other directives in detail — The moves aim to strengthen protections for young immigrants, end construction of Trump’s border wall, end a travel ban and prioritize racial equity.

► From Politico — Democrats weigh their stimulus options: Go big or go fast — Though President Joe Biden rolled out a $1.9 trillion relief proposal last week, big questions have yet to be settled in the Capitol, including what exactly Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will put forward, if Republicans will participate in negotiations or even when Congress will act. What Biden, Pelosi and Schumer decide — and how much GOP cooperation they get — will do much to shape the direction of Democrats’ first opportunity to govern in a decade.

► From Roll Call — Buttigieg to push big infrastructure bill to boost economy“Infrastructure can be the cornerstone” for post-pandemic recovery, Transportation nominee says.

► From Politico — Democrats poised to rebuff McConnell’s filibuster demands — Senate Democrats are signaling they will reject an effort by Mitch McConnell to protect the legislative filibuster as part of a deal to run a 50-50 Senate, saying they have little interest in bowing to his demands just hours into their new Senate majority.


► From Roll Call — VP Harris new to wielding Senate gavel in challenging time

► From Bloomberg — In switch, Chamber backs climate action, possible carbon tax

► From In These Times — The labor movement has a game plan for the Biden era — As the Democrats take control of the White House and both houses of Congress amid overlapping national crises, labor leaders say it is now more critical than ever that Washington deliver significant material gains for the working class.




► From The Hill — 900,000 more Americans file for unemployment benefits — States also received 423,734 applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a program created to expand jobless benefits to gig workers, contractors and others who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment insurance.

► From the AP — Screen Actors Guild may discipline, expel Donald Trump — The Screen Actors Guild said Tuesday that the SAG-AFTRA board voted “overwhelmingly” that there is probable cause that Trump violated its guidelines for membership. The charges, the guild said, are for Trump’s role in the Capitol riot on January 6, “and in sustaining a reckless campaign of misinformation aimed at discrediting and ultimately threatening the safety of journalists, many of whom are SAG-AFTRA members.”




► From the People’s World — MLK conference strategizes on gaining power for people of color — Some 400 delegates, attending the AFL-CIO’s annual Martin Luther King commemorative conference by zoom and video, spent their two-day event strategizing on how to gain more political power—and use it—for people of color. “The legacy of Martin Luther King is in each of us,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in his Jan. 15 keynote address. “We have a moral responsibility to carry the torch he lit.” One key way to keep the pressure on politicians, speakers said, is to keep organizing and talking political issues, especially on the local level, led by individuals—rank-and-file unionists and others—whom leaders must convince to come forward and act. Leaders must be friends, co-workers and neighbors, and year-round… “White supremacy constantly asks for silence, and we can no longer be silent,” said April Sims, secretary-treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council.


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

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