Scotties Toy Box

August 9, 2020

These groups gave $1.2M to senators leading fight against workers’ rights

Corporate money in politics is not only crushing workers it is also killing democracy.   I find it is weird that corporations are people with all the rights included but no responsibility to society,  yet females have government interference with their reproduction rights.  Then there is this.   Hugs

https://americanindependent.com/gop-senators-liability-shield-coronavirus-lawsuits-mitch-mcconnell-john-cornyn-covid-19/

 

A bill written by Senate Republicans would make it harder for workers to sue their employers if they contracted the coronavirus on the job.

 

Business groups pushing to make it harder for employees to sue the companies they work for if they contract the coronavirus on the job have given more than $1.2 million to the two Senate Republicans leading the charge to include a corporate “liability shield” in any new pandemic relief legislation.

And one of those senators is threatening to block any relief legislation until the shield becomes law.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are the co-authors of the so-called Safeguarding America’s Frontline Employees To Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy Act. The act requires workers who contract the coronavirus to show that they did so due to their employer’s “reckless disregard” for safety measures.

The act says that a plaintiff must establish “clear and convincing evidence that the individual or entity was not making reasonable efforts in light of all the circumstances to comply with any of the conflicting applicable government standards and guidance issued by any government to whose jurisdiction the individual or entity is subject.”

Cornyn has received more than $430,000 from trade associations’ political action committees since 2016. McConnell has received more than $825,000.

Under current law, if a business’s customer or employee gets sick, in most states they can sue if they can prove the business was responsible and did not take reasonable precautions. Proving this is already an “uphill battle,” employment lawyer Jonathan Segal told USA Today in April.

Corporations are pushing to make that hill even steeper.

Though relatively few cases have been brought by employees so far, businesses have argued that expensive bogus lawsuits could bankrupt them without such a shield.

Workers say such a law would put them at even greater risk than they already are.

“We’re getting $12 an hour. We have no sick days,” airport security guard Mercedes Taylor told Time magazine last Thursday. “For them to be concerned about the liability of employers and them not being sued versus the employees who have been consistently showing for work and providing a service? I’m very disappointed.”

“Black, Latinx, and workers of color will be most directly impacted by the corporate immunity bill,” National Employment Law Project staff attorney Hugh Baran told the American Independent Foundation in a recent interview. “Gross negligence is already as a general manner an extremely difficult thing to prove. You virtually have to prove intent — that you wanted your workers to get hurt or sick. This actually raises the bar so high that no worker or consumer will ever be able to” meet its standard.

Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 494 other business groups sent Congress what they titled a “Coalition Letter on Coronavirus Liability Protections.”

“The undersigned organizations urge you to support the timely, targeted, and temporary liability relief provisions contained in S. 4317, the ‘SAFE TO WORK Act,'” the groups wrote:

These crucial protections would safeguard healthcare workers, providers, and facilities, as well as businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions against unfair lawsuits so they can continue to contribute to a safe and effective economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation is critically needed and should be enacted as soon as possible. To that end, we strongly urge you to support the inclusion of these provisions in a Phase IV COVID-19 relief package.

Cornyn wrote last month, “As states gradually reopen their economies, front line health care workers, small businesses, and schools face a second pandemic of frivolous lawsuits threatening to bankrupt them. This legislation would protect those acting in good faith from being sued into oblivion while ensuring bad actors who willingly put their patients, employees, or customers in danger will still be held accountable.”

McConnell said in April that the Republican majority would not let the Senate pass any new virus relief legislation that does not contain the provision. “Let me make it perfectly clear that the Senate is not interested in passing a bill that does not have liability protection,” he told Fox News. “So, that’s an integral part of our economy getting back to normal. … What I’m saying is, we have a red line on liability. It won’t pass the Senate without it.”

Donald Trump has backed the liability shield.

A review of Federal Election Commission data finds that of the 495 trade groups pushing for the shield, at least 72 have sent political action committee contributions to Cornyn, McConnell, or both in the past few years. Their combined donations exceeded $1.2 million.

The contributions were made over the 2016, 2018, and 2020 campaign cycles and included donations to both the senators’ campaign committees and their leadership political action committees.

The donors were:

  • AdvaMed – Advanced Medical Technology Association: Gave $1,462.92 to Cornyn and $5,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Airlines for America: Gave $10,000 to McConnell. A spokesperson said in an email that the group supports “candidates who understand and appreciate the value that U.S. airlines deliver to our nation’s economy, jobs and the traveling public” and appreciates “the efforts of the Senate as they work to provide relief for both individuals and businesses that are critical to relaunching the economy as our country continues to combat challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to working with Congress as they address vital economic needs including measures that would ensure liability protections, help businesses retain employees and provide safe workplaces.”
  • American Academy of PAs: Gave $1,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Bakers Association: Gave $2,500 to Cornyn and $5,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Bankers Association: Gave $20,000 to Cornyn and $12,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Chemistry Council: Gave $10,000 to Cornyn and $7,000 to McConnell. A spokesperson said in an email that the group backs the liability protection: “We believe that companies that are following federal, state and local public health guidelines, and are committed to controlling the spread of this disease, deserve appropriate legal protection to help ensure businesses are not hampered by unnecessary litigation, so that the U.S. economy is well positioned for recovery.” He added that the group’s donations go to members of Congress in both parties who “are working to advance sensible policies and regulations that drive creation of groundbreaking products that improve lives and our environment and enhance the economic vitality of communities everywhere.”
  • American Council of Engineering Companies: Gave $2,500 to Cornyn and $5,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Council of Life Insurers: Gave $5,000 to Cornyn and $12,000 to McConnell. A spokesperson said in an email that “life insurers have been providing invaluable support to consumers and the U.S. economy” throughout the pandemic.
  • American Dental Association: Gave $25,000 to Cornyn and $30,000 to McConnell. In an emailed statement, the group said, “Dentists continue to care for patients throughout this pandemic helping people maintain both oral and overall health. Yet dentists remain vulnerable to the threat of unwarranted and unfair lawsuits,” adding that it “urges Congress to consider targeted and limited liability protections for dentists in the same way they are considering liability protection for other health care professionals who continue to treat COVID-19 under unprecedented conditions. … The American Dental Political Action Committee (ADPAC) is a bipartisan political action committee that supports candidates from all political parties, in order to provide dentists a voice in the public policy arena on behalf of their patients, dental practice and profession.”
  • American Forest and Paper Association: Gave $6,000 to Cornyn and $10,000 to McConnell. A spokesperson said in an email that the group’s political donations “are consistent cycle after cycle in that we give to both Democrats and Republicans in House and Senate leadership,” and that the group signed on to the letter because “Essential businesses are facing unprecedented challenges. They deserve commonsense protections so they can continue to focus on fueling our recovery and helping manufacturers respond to this crisis.”
  • American Gas Association: Gave $11,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Health Care Association & National Center for Assisted Living: Gave $3,000 to Cornyn and $17,500 to McConnell. A spokesperson said in an email that the group is “advocating for limited and reasonable liability protection to cover providers and staff members for making good faith efforts. Our health care heroes in long term care are on the frontline of this pandemic response, and it is critical that the federal government and states provide the necessary liability protection staff and providers need to continue to offer quality care during this challenging time without fear of reprisal.”
  • American Hotel & Lodging Association: Gave $25,000 to Cornyn. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Institute of CPAs: Gave $22,500 to Cornyn and $28,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Medical Association: Gave $20,000 to Cornyn and $5,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Property Casualty Insurance Association: Gave $7,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Resort Development Association: Gave $2,500 to Cornyn. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Trucking Associations: Gave $3,000 to Cornyn and $2,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • American Veterinary Medical Association: Gave $2,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Argentum: Gave $12,500 to Cornyn. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Asian American Hotel Owners Association: Gave $12,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Associated Builders and Contractors: Gave $20,000 to Cornyn and $30,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Associated Equipment Distributors: Gave $10,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Associated General Contractors of America: Gave $40,000 to McConnell. A spokesperson confirmed the information in an email, writing that the group’s political action committee supports “candidates of either party that support common-sense, pro-growth economic measures that stimulate demand for new infrastructure and development projects” and that “the majority of our members tell us the measure they need most out of Washington is liability reform so that employers who have put in place all appropriate coronavirus safety precautions are not forced to endure needless litigation.”
  • Biotechnology Innovation Organization: Gave $1,000 to Cornyn and $1,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: Gave $21,000 to Cornyn and $30,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Consumer Bankers Association: Gave $7,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers: Gave $2,500 to Cornyn and $5,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Credit Union National Association: Gave $1,000 to Cornyn and $32,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • CTIA-The Wireless Association: Gave $2,000 to Cornyn and $7,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Distilled Spirits Council of the United States: Gave $10,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Edison Electric Institute: Gave $25,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Federation of American Hospitals: Gave $10,000 to Cornyn and $28,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Independent Electrical Contractors: Gave $1,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America: Gave $2,500 to Cornyn and $5,000 to McConnell. A spokesperson said in an email that the group’s PAC “is bipartisan and distributes millions of dollars each election cycle, supporting the campaigns of Democratic and Republican candidates for federal office that support small business.”
  • International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions: Gave $1,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • International Council of Shopping Centers: Gave $11,000 to Cornyn. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • International Foodservice Distributors Association: Gave $10,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • International Franchise Association: Gave $6,500 to Cornyn and $10,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Manufactured Housing Institute: Gave $7,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Medical Device Manufacturers Association: Gave $5,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Motion Picture Association: Gave $3,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Apartment Association: Gave $26,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Association of Broadcasters: Gave $25,000 to Cornyn and $52,400 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Association of Chain Drug Stores: Gave $10,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions: Gave $11,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Association of Manufacturers: Gave $5,000 to McConnell. A spokesperson noted in an email that in April the group “released targeted Pandemic Liability Policy Recommendations as part of the American Renewal Action Plan” and pointed to a July 28 statement in favor of the legislative proposal.
  • National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies: Gave $12,500 to McConnell. A spokesperson said in an email: “NAMIC believes that businesses, health care providers, non-profits, and other entities making a good faith effort to adopt health guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should not also have to worry about frivolous lawsuits as they try to survive this pandemic.”
  • National Association of Professional Employer Organizations: Gave $2,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Association of REALTORS: Gave $30,000 to Cornyn and $35,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors: Gave $5,000 to Cornyn and $5,000 to McConnell. A spokesperson responded to an inquiry for this story by sending a conservative group’s description of the American Independent Foundation.
  • National Automobile Dealers Association: Gave $25,000 to Cornyn and $35,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Community Pharmacists Association: Gave $2,500 to McConnell. A spokesperson said in a phone interview that the group tries to balance donations to both parties and typically supports leadership and committee chairs. “We’re certainly grateful that both of them support that legislation but it isn’t the singular factor. There’s lots of other reasons,” he said. He noted that the liability shield is a “huge priority for independent pharmacists because they’ve remained open, they’re essential businesses, and they’ve done so to take care of their patients. One lawsuit can wipe them out,” adding that they have “operated in completely good faith and should have some protection from the kind of predatory lawsuits that are bound to come when this is all over.”
  • National Cotton Council: Gave $17,000 to Cornyn. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Electrical Contractors Association: Gave $5,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Grocers Association: Gave $5,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Independent Automobile Dealers Association: Gave $2,500 to Cornyn. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Mining Association: Gave $10,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Multifamily Housing Council: Gave $10,000 to Cornyn and $35,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Ready Mixed Concrete Association: Gave $7,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Restaurant Association: Gave $20,000 to Cornyn and $25,000 to McConnell. A spokesperson said in an email that the group is working to help restaurants stay open safely. “As the nation’s second-largest private sector employer, the restaurant industry will be an essential component of our recovery from this national health crisis,” he wrote. “We engage with elected officials through our grassroots network, through restaurant owners and employees, and through our political action committee to ensure their understanding of the unique business operations of this industry and the role it plays in driving the economy.”
  • National Retail Federation: Gave $5,000 to Cornyn and $6,000 to McConnell. A spokesperson confirmed the information.
  • National Roofing Contractors Association: Gave $17,500 to Cornyn and $5,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Shooting Sports Foundation: Gave $24,500 to Cornyn and $10,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • National Federation of Independent Business: Gave $9,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • North American Meat Institute: Gave $5,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: Gave $5,500 to Cornyn and $12,500 to McConnell. The group declined to comment for this story.
  • Portland Cement Association: Gave $1,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association: Gave $7,500 to Cornyn and $12,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • The Aluminum Association: Gave $2,500 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • The Real Estate Roundtable: Gave $1,000 to Cornyn and $15,000 to McConnell. The group did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Gave $5,000 to Cornyn and $12,500 to McConnell. A spokesperson said in an email that the letter “states our position on the issue.”

Neither McConnell nor Cornyn responded to inquiries for this story.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

This was never about the war, it was about pushing hate for people with darker skin.

Save the Postal Service

Filed under: Cartoons, Economics, Fascism, Greed, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 12:20

US teacher

Tax the wealthy

Filed under: Cartoons, Economics, Greed, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 11:54

King tRump the US ruler in chief

It is all about Republican desire to privatize the government for profits

Filed under: Political, News, Cartoons, Questions, Greed, Economics, History, Reason, Memes — Scottie @ 11:41

Starvation wages should be illegal

Filed under: Cartoons, Economics, Greed, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 11:36
image

Starvation wages should be illegal. Companies who can’t pay their workers can’t exist without taxpayers subsidizing their workers. End corporate welfare.

The Church needs to separate from Trump

image

The Church needs to separate from Trump.

August 8, 2020

Over 250 students and teachers quarantined in Georgia district after first week of school

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/over-250-students-and-teachers-quarantined-georgia-district-first-week-school/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7e&linkId=96503392

More than 250 students and teachers from one Georgia school district are now quarantined, just one week into the new school year. Multiple teachers and students across the district’s schools have tested positive for COVID-19 after classes resumed Monday.

Cherokee County School District is sharing ongoing updates on coronavirus cases in its schools on its website. As of Friday, over a dozen students and teachers have tested positive, sending home hundreds of people after just five days of school.

Since the beginning of the week, at least 11 students and two staff members across elementary, middle and high schools have tested positive for coronavirus. The students’ ages span from first grade to twelfth grade.

After conducting contact tracing, the district said at least 250 students and staff who had possible exposure to positive cases must quarantine for two weeks. During that time, students will receive online instruction.

Cherokee County schools resumed in-person learning on Monday, August 3. In a letter to families on Friday, Superintendent Dr. Brian V. Hightower said that the trend of students and staff testing positive every day “will continue as we operate schools during a pandemic.”

“We know we’re under a microscope, as national media follows the reopening of schools across the country,” he wrote. “But know that our decisions are not based on what people in New York or Kansas think, nor are we concerned about ‘optics’ or ‘image’ – we’re focused on what’s doing best for our community.”

There is a video at the link above.  However is this what we think is successful opening up of schools?   At this rate in two months ever teacher and student will be in home quarantine anyway.   Really there is no need to go through the failed experience and all the costs.   We do not have the virus under control, kids are not immune, and kids also are super spreaders.  SPTV and politics in support of tRump may want some to deny the truth but the fact is reality is here to stay and raising it ugly head here about this.   Close the schools, invest in remote learning and realize the world has changed.   How many damn children need to die to sooth the Republicans butt hurt?   Hugs

Daily morning cartoon / meme roundup: The wealthy Republicans do not care about the needs of the people, just wealthy businesses

Political Cartoon U.S. Mitch McConnell coronavirus relief bill

 

 

Ken Catalino Comic Strip for August 07, 2020

Chris Britt Comic Strip for August 07, 2020

Steve Benson Comic Strip for August 07, 2020

Political Cartoon U.S. Trump USPS 2020 election

John Deering Comic Strip for August 08, 2020

 

 

 

August 7, 2020

Congress of millionaires robs the unemployed

Thanks to Polly, who posted the link I followed to the article.  Hugs

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/03/pers-a03.html?pk_campaign=newsletter&pk_kwd=wsws

The refusal of the US Congress to take action as supplemental federal unemployment benefits expired July 31 for as many as 30 million American workers demonstrates the social interests that drive the corporate-controlled political system in the United States. A Congress whose average member is a millionaire has not the slightest concern for the mass suffering the cutoff of benefits will inflict on the working class.

Tens of millions of workers and their families have already begun to experience the impact of this act of class savagery. Their weekly incomes will be cut by 60 to 90 percent, depending on the level of state unemployment benefits they may continue to receive. Nearly 20 million households will be unable to afford their monthly rent, under conditions where a limited moratorium on evictions was allowed to expire on the same day, Friday, July 31. Millions more will be unable to buy sufficient food, let alone afford health insurance and medical care under conditions of a nationwide COVID-19 pandemic.

The cutoff of supplemental benefits is not the byproduct of “gridlock” in Washington or the unintended consequence of election-year conflicts between Democrats and the Trump administration, as the corporate media presents it. This is a deliberate policy.

For all their mutual mudslinging and displays of partisan ferocity, the Democratic and Republican parties and the Trump administration serve the same class interests and are pursuing the same goal. They aim to use the threat of poverty, hunger and homelessness to force millions of workers to return to work producing profits for the capitalist class, regardless of the spreading danger from the coronavirus pandemic.

Appearing on Sunday television interview programs, after a three-hour negotiating session on Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (net worth $120 million), speaking for the Democrats, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (net worth $300 million), speaking for the Trump administration, agreed that the $600-a-week supplemental benefit would not be renewed in its previous form.

On the ABC program “This Week,” Mnuchin flatly attacked the supplemental benefit, repeatedly describing jobless workers who received the $600-a-week payment as “overpaid” and complaining that the payments had led to widespread refusal by workers to go back to their jobs when recalled after the end of state lockdowns imposed because of COVID-19.

When his interviewer expressed skepticism that an “extra $600” was a disincentive to finding a job, Mnuchin replied, “There’s no question in certain cases where we’re paying people more to work—stay home than to work. That’s created issues in the entire economy.”

On the same day that federal supplemental benefits expired, the House of Representatives passed, on a near-party-line vote, a $1.3 trillion bill to fund the Department of Defense, as well as the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Justice, Transportation, Energy and several other agencies.

The military component of that bill, close to $750 billion, would by itself have paid for more than 40 weeks of supplemental unemployment benefits. It includes such items as $70 billion—four weeks of supplemental benefits—for Overseas Contingency Operations, the slush fund the Pentagon uses to cover expenses for wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, as well as drone missile strikes across a much wider area.

The most recent bill for a single weapons system, the F-35 fighter jet, at $34 billion, would pay for two weeks of supplemental benefits. A single Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier (there are five on order, and 10 planned in total) comes to $18 billion for research, development and construction—one week’s worth of supplemental unemployment benefits to keep 30 million American families alive.

Senator McConnell claimed that 15 to 20 members of his Republican caucus opposed any extension of supplemental benefits at all, and several of these diehards have been quoted bemoaning the colossal federal borrowing that has been carried out since the coronavirus pandemic forced the temporary lockdown of the US economy.

The figures cited above, however, demonstrate the lying character of the claims that “there is no money” to provide necessary support to allow workers and their families to survive without being forced back into workplaces that would quickly become focal points of a deadly infectious disease.

Resources aplenty exist, created by the labor of workers. There could be no more fitting disposition of these resources than to confiscate them from the capitalists and put them to use to ensure the survival of the principal productive class in modern society, the proletariat.

There is more at the link above.    I do not agree entirely with the last paragraph, right now is not the time to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Instead we need to have an overwhelming Democratic party victory winning the executive and legislative parts of government and then fight to make the Democrats a more progressive party willing to work for the people.   That starts with voting reform.  Get rid of the dirty tricks the Republican minority party uses to stay in power.   Once everyone can vote the Democrats will have no choice but respond to the will of the people.   Hugs

‘I’m sorry, but it’s a fantasy’

The information included in this article is so important I am going to be quoting the whole thing.   Some people struggle to open the site, but if you can please go over to the link.   Thanks.   Again this really is a important read, every school that has reopened with in person classroom teaching has had spikes in cases and needed to quarantine both staff and students.   One student who embarrassed her school district by posting a picture of kids massing in the hallways to change classes with no masks was suspended in retaliation.   I remember my school days and the halls were filled, crowded, and loud.  We need to get people, including the dunce in chief tRump to understand this is going to kill students, families, and teachers.   We must stop this insanity.      Hugs

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/01/schools-reopening-coronavirus-arizona-superintendent/?arc404=true

‘I’m sorry, but it’s a fantasy’

Jeff Gregorich, superintendent, on trying to reopen his schools safely

This is my choice, but I’m starting to wish that it wasn’t. I don’t feel qualified. I’ve been a superintendent for 20 years, so I guess I should be used to making decisions, but I keep getting lost in my head. I’ll be in my office looking at a blank computer screen, and then all of the sudden I realize a whole hour’s gone by. I’m worried. I’m worried about everything. Each possibility I come up with is a bad one.

The governor has told us we have to open our schools to students on August 17th, or else we miss out on five percent of our funding. I run a high-needs district in middle-of-nowhere Arizona. We’re 90 percent Hispanic and more than 90 percent free-and-reduced lunch. These kids need every dollar we can get. But covid is spreading all over this area and hitting my staff, and now it feels like there’s a gun to my head. I already lost one teacher to this virus. Do I risk opening back up even if it’s going to cost us more lives? Or do we run school remotely and end up depriving these kids?

This is your classic one-horse town. Picture John Wayne riding through cactuses and all that. I’m superintendent, high school principal and sometimes the basketball referee during recess. This is a skeleton staff, and we pay an average salary of about 40,000 a year. I’ve got nothing to cut. We’re buying new programs for virtual learning and trying to get hotspots and iPads for all our kids. Five percent of our budget is hundreds of thousands of dollars. Where’s that going to come from? I might lose teaching positions or basic curriculum unless we somehow get up and running.

I’ve been in the building every day, sanitizing doors and measuring out space in classrooms. We still haven’t received our order of Plexiglas barriers, so we’re cutting up shower curtains and trying to make do with that. It’s one obstacle after the next. Just last week I found out we had another staff member who tested positive, so I went through the guidance from OSHA and the CDC and tried to figure out the protocols. I’m not an expert at any of this, but I did my best with the contact tracing. I called 10 people on staff and told them they’d had a possible exposure. I arranged separate cars and got us all to the testing site. Some of my staff members were crying. They’ve seen what can happen, and they’re coming to me with questions I can’t always answer. “Does my whole family need to get tested?” “How long do I have to quarantine?” “What if this virus hits me like it did Mrs. Byrd?”

We got back two of those tests already — both positive. We’re still waiting on eight more. That makes 11 percent of my staff that’s gotten covid, and we haven’t had a single student in our buildings since March. Part of our facility is closed down for decontamination, but we don’t have anyone left to decontaminate it unless I want to put on my hazmat suit and go in there. We’ve seen the impacts of this virus on our maintenance department, on transportation, on food service, on faculty. It’s like this district is shutting down case by case. I don’t understand how anyone could expect us to reopen the building this month in a way that feels safe. It’s like they’re telling us: “Okay. Summer’s over. It’s been long enough. Time to get back to normal.” But since when has this virus operated on our schedule?

I dream about going back to normal. I’d love to be open. These kids are hurting right now. I don’t need a politician to tell me that. We only have 300 students in this district, and they’re like family. My wife is a teacher here, and we had four kids go through these schools. I know whose parents are laid off from the copper mine and who doesn’t have enough to eat. We delivered breakfast and lunches this summer, and we gave out more meals each day than we have students. I get phone calls from families dealing with poverty issues, depression, loneliness, boredom. Some of these kids are out in the wilderness right now, and school is the best place for them. We all agree on that. But every time I start to play out what that looks like on August 17th, I get sick to my stomach. More than a quarter of our students live with grandparents. These kids could very easily catch this virus, spread it and bring it back home. It’s not safe. There’s no way it can be safe.

If you think anything else, I’m sorry, but it’s a fantasy. Kids will get sick, or worse. Family members will die. Teachers will die.

Jeff Gregorich, superintendent of schools at Hayden Winkelman Unified School District in Arizona, shows results of a district survey. (Photos by Caitlin O’Hara for The Washington Post)

Mrs. Byrd did everything right. She followed all the protocols. If there’s such a thing as a safe, controlled environment inside a classroom during a pandemic, that was it. We had three teachers sharing a room so they could teach a virtual summer school. They were so careful. This was back in June, when cases here were starting to spike. The kids were at home, but the teachers wanted to be together in the classroom so they could team up on the new technology. I thought that was a good idea. It’s a big room. They could watch and learn from each other. Mrs. Byrd was a master teacher. She’d been here since 1982, and she was always coming up with creative ideas. They delivered care packages to the elementary students so they could sprout beans for something hands-on at home, and then the teachers all took turns in front of the camera. All three of them wore masks. They checked their temperatures. They taught on their own devices and didn’t share anything, not even a pencil.

At first she thought it was a sinus infection. That’s what the doctor told her, but it kept getting worse. I got a call that she’d been rushed to the hospital. Her oxygen was low, and they put her on a ventilator pretty much right away. The other two teachers started feeling sick the same weekend, so they went to get tested. They both had it bad for the next month. Mrs. Byrd’s husband got it and was hospitalized. Her brother got it and passed away. Mrs. Byrd fought for a few weeks until she couldn’t anymore.

I’ve gone over it in my head a thousand times. What precautions did we miss? What more could I have done? I don’t have an answer. These were three responsible adults in an otherwise empty classroom, and they worked hard to protect each other. We still couldn’t control it. That’s what scares me.

We got the whole staff together for grief counseling. We did it virtually, over Zoom. There’s sadness, and it’s also so much fear. My wife is one of our teachers in the primary grade, and she has asthma. She was explaining to me how every kid who sees her automatically gives her a hug. They arrive in the morning — hug. Leave for recess — hug. Lunch — hug. Locker — hug. That’s all day. Even if we do everything perfectly, germs are going to spread inside a school. We share the same space. We share the same air.

A bunch of our teachers have told me they will put in for retirement if we open up this month. They’re saying: “Please don’t make us go back. This is crazy. We’re putting the whole community at risk.”

They’re right. I agree with them 100 percent. Teachers don’t feel safe. Most parents said in a survey that they’re “very concerned” about sending their kids back to school. So why are we getting bullied into opening? This district isn’t ready to open. I can’t have more people getting sick. Why are they threatening our funding? I keep waiting for someone higher up to take this decision out of my hands and come to their senses. I’m waiting for real leadership, but maybe it’s not going to happen.

It’s me. It’s the biggest decision of my career, and the one part I’m certain about is it’s going to hurt either way.

Daily morning cartoon / meme roundup: tRump’s America …

(cartoon by Nick Anderson)

(cartoon by Stuart Carlson)

Political Cartoon U.S. Trump COVID it is what it is

Political Cartoon U.S. Trump R Crumb it is what it is Mr Natural

Political Cartoon U.S. Trump coronavirus Axios interview

Rob Rogers Comic Strip for August 06, 2020

 

 

 

Steve Breen Comic Strip for August 07, 2020

 

 

 

Chip Bok Comic Strip for August 07, 2020

 

Chris Britt Comic Strip for August 06, 2020

John Deering Comic Strip for August 07, 2020

 

Walt Handelsman Comic Strip for August 06, 2020

 

 

 

 

August 6, 2020

But … but … prosperity gospel scam ?

Filed under: Atheism, Cartoons, Criminal, Greed, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason, Religion — Scottie @ 17:28

Mitch McConnell’s ‘liability shield’ is a weapon aimed at COVID-19 victims

Mitch McConnell’s ‘liability shield’ is a weapon aimed at COVID-19 victims

Last week, Senate Republicans unveiled the HEALS Act, their proposal to address the continued devastation that COVID-19 is wreaking on the country. The Act, a collection of discrete bills authored by various Senators, would have far-reaching consequences. One of the bills, Texas Senator John Cornyn’s SAFE TO WORK Act, would restrict lawsuits based on coronavirus exposure against employers, businesses, and many other potential defendants. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that the liability restrictions are a critical Republican requirement for further COVID-19 relief measures.

Senator Cornyn claims that his bill “would protect those acting in good faith from being sued into oblivion while ensuring bad actors who willingly put their patients, employees, or customers in danger will still be held accountable.” Employers and businesses no doubt are dealing with great challenges given these extraordinary circumstances. And it is sensible for legislators to seek a balance between accountability for bad actors who fail to take reasonable precautions and the threat of ruinous liability for employers and businesses doing their best. Yet the bill’s complex procedural requirements make any hope of accountability impossible. In fact, the bill actually encourages harmful behavior.

The legislation’s provisions are complex, but here’s a brief overview of how it works. It creates a new federal cause of action that preempts other federal, state, or tribal causes of action “related to recovery for personal injuries caused by actual, alleged, feared, or potential for exposure to coronavirus.” The federal cause of action requires plaintiffs to prove that the defendant’s “gross negligence” or “willful misconduct” caused injury. That means that even if, say, Missouri law permitted a line cook harmed by a restaurant’s ordinary negligence that caused them to contract COVID-19 to sue for damages, federal law would forbid the suit. The only exception is for laws that are more restrictive, meaning the goal isn’t uniformity, just limits on liability.

But the bill goes much further. It contains numerous interlocking procedural restrictions that make it essentially impossible for a plaintiff to prevail. For one, the bill requires proof by “clear and convincing” evidence—an unusually high burden for most civil cases. It requires plaintiffs to detail their factual allegations with a much higher degree of specificity than is usually required.

The bill also creates a “safe harbor” for defendants, which says that whenever a defendant can point to any “written or published policy” in line with applicable government regulations, the defendant will be presumed to have acted reasonably, even if the “policy” is just boilerplate language they did not actually follow. If a defendant’s motion to dismiss the suit is unsuccessful, it can take an immediate appeal—potentially delaying litigation for years. Plaintiffs’ ability to obtain relevant evidence through discovery is sharply limited. Damages for any plaintiff lucky enough to achieve a victory are restricted.

Each one of these requirements individually puts a big thumb on the scale in favor of defendants. Collectively, they pose nearly insuperable obstacles to recovery for plaintiffs—even when they seek recovery from actors who engaged in egregious misconduct that caused death or serious injury. The effect will be to discourage entities, such as warehouse operators or meat-packing plants, to take even reasonable precautions to prevent harm.

But few plaintiffs would really ever risk getting this far. That’s because of the worst provisions in what is already a bad bill. The Act doesn’t just make it hard for plaintiffs to win; it makes it potentially devastating for them to even consider suit. If a victim requests compensation “in exchange for settling . . . or otherwise not pursuing a claim that is, or could be, brought as part of a coronavirus-related action,” the recipient of the request can seek compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees if the claim is “meritless.”

There is much more at the link above.   However it is clear that the Republicans are using the economic recession / depression to absolve business of any responsibility for a safe workplace.   Republicans have long hated rules that protect workers and cost business money.   Hey they loves them businesses, workers not so much.   So this makes it so business can force you to put your health and life in danger and have no responsibility when you get sick or die.   You peons, serve your betters and then die, but first breed up the next generation of labor slaves to feed the wealth of the stock market and pay for a government that serves only the wealthy.  Hugs

tRump desperate to move the hustle and dump the merchandise to the rubes.

Filed under: Criminal, Death, Drugs, Economics, Fascism, Greed, Health, News, Political, Questions, Reason, Science — Scottie @ 16:21

https://www.thedailybeast.com/peter-navarro-cites-dilbert-cartoonist-to-prove-experts-wrong-on-hydroxy

 

The Trump aide, meanwhile, seemingly revealed the real reason he’s so intent on pushing the drug even while the FDA has revoked its emergency use for coronavirus treatment.

“Let me tell you why I got involved with this,” he barked. “I got involved with this because as a Defense Production Act coordinator I’m literally sitting on 63 million tablets, 63 million tablets, of hydroxychloroquine that would help possibly four million Americans stay alive. And so I’ve got that stake in the game.”

Chaos, shared irrationality and fear: Experts explain why supporters are still clinging to Trump — despite his many failures

Filed under: Bigotry, Economics, Fascism, Greed, News, Political, Questions, Reason, Science — Scottie @ 16:05

Chaos, shared irrationality and fear: Experts explain why supporters are still clinging to Trump — despite his many failures

Multiple psychological factors seem to influence and explain his supporters.  We have divided these factors into four major categories: Rebelliousness and Chaos; Shared Irrationality; Fear; and Safety and Order.

Security and Order

Social dominance orientation. People who score high on social dominance orientation prefer an established societal hierarchy. They are attracted to Trump because he promotes and normalizes the belief that high-status people and groups should be dominant over low-status people and groups. Trump’s clear distinction between groups on top of society (Whites) and those “losers” on the bottom (immigrants, Blacks, and Latinos) is a classic social dominance view. Individuals who are high on social dominance orientation are typically domineering, tough-minded, disagreeable, and relatively uncaring seekers of power. As such, these individuals have an attraction to authoritarianism.

Great article.  There is much more than the quotes I pulled.     I learned a few things.    Hugs

people are underpaid

Filed under: Cartoons, Economics, Greed, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 13:41

taxpayer money for corporations, not for the people

Filed under: Cartoons, Criminal, Death, Economics, Fascism, Greed, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 13:38

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