Folks, we gotta deal: We haven't combed through all the details of the $2 trillion "stimulus" package yet, but here's what we know right now, according to the New York Times.
• One measly payment of $1,200 for tax payers who make up to $75,000, plus $500 per child. (Sorry, poor people without taxable income.)
• "Significant" expansion of unemployment benefits, including for "freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers." The program will be extended by 13 weeks with a "four-month enhancement of benefits."
• Loans for small businesses that "pledge not to lay off their workers."
• $500 billion slush fund included, but not so slushy. Democrats won some stronger oversight measures of that money, including "installing an inspector general and congressionally appointed board," and a prohibition on stock buybacks "while [the giant corporation] receive[s] government assistance, and an additional year after that."
Paul Krugman calls it: "Not perfect but pretty good."
Matt Stoller calls it: "A disaster."
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it will be: Only a "'drop in the bucket'" compared to the need."
Seattle Rep. Pramila Jayapal ain't happy:
A comprehensive list of who no-strings-attached corporate bailouts help:
2. Their wealthy shareholders
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) March 25, 2020
Paid leave provisions in the bill still suck:
Thread on Senate bill and #paidsickdays and #paidleave: It's disappointing that Congress could not fill the enormous gaps in emergency leave - continuing to leave half the workforce without access to guaranteed leave for personal illness of family care during this crisis. (1/6)
— Vicki Shabo (@VShabo) March 25, 2020
Long, detailed thread from a conservative wonk, just for fun:
I'm pretty dang certain this is final, so we're going to start the live tweeting. Overall, this looks pretty similar to last night's version, but I do see a big new provision. We'll get to that in a moment.— Nicole Kaeding (@NKaeding) March 25, 2020
As Italy's numbers slowly decline, Madrid is turning an ice rink into a morgue: "So many people have died that Madrid’s municipal funeral home has stopped collecting bodies. A large ice rink is now being used as a makeshift morgue, and the government plans to extend the state of emergency by another 15 days in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus," reports Democracy Now.
Big-ass earthquake in Russia last night: The 7.5 magnitude underwater quake triggered a tsunami warning for Hawaii and the West Coast of the U.S., but no major waves materialized that far out from the epicenter, reports Reuters.
It's time to shame your neighbors: According to a new data deep dive by the Seattle Times's Gene Balk, 5% of Seattleites haven't been social distancing at all. That's around 32,000 people, Balk points out. What! Do better! We've gotta flatten this curve, baby.
Weed is essential: Don't stress, stoners. Weed dispensaries have made the cut as an "essential business" that will stay open through Gov. Inslee's
shelter-in-place order "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. Liquor stores are also on that essential VIP list. Your panic buying gave dispensaries a 20 to 30% boost in business, though! Your stress is showing, Seattle.
State parks, on the other hand, are closed: Nope, sorry, you can't summit Rainier to get away from COVID-19. For at least two weeks, campgrounds, overnight accommodations, entrances to parks, and more will be shuttered. Some staff will be kept on to make sure everything is running smoothly.
It's been a good run Prince Charles: Look, I'm not trying to "give someone a death sentence" or anything but 71-year-old Prince Charles has tested positive for COVID-19. The son of the queen and heir to the throne only has mild symptoms, apparently, so I may be wrong here. Still. For those worried, the one million-year-old (read: 93-year-old) Queen Elizabeth is still in good health.
A Washington State Trooper died last night: Trooper Justin Schaffer, 28, was putting out spikes on I-5 when the suspect sped through and hit him. He was killed. It happened on the freeway near Chehalis. Gov. Inslee lamented Schaffer's death and celebrated his life in a statement.
My mom keeps telling me to leave packages outside: "Some packages came and we left them outside for a day," she'll text me and my brother. Apparently, she's only semi-crazy. According to GeekWire, COVID-19 can live on cardboard for 24 hours. But, the risk of transmission is low. “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low," the Centers for Disease Control has said.
Remote church made interesting: An Italian priest did a little video sermon. He didn't realize the Facebook filters were on.
Expect the West Seattle bridge repairs to take months: We're not talking about weeks here. The West Seattle Bridge, which suddenly was closed for repairs due to cracks on Monday, is the busiest thoroughfare in Seattle. City officials haven't even had a chance to adequately think of alternate routes for residents, especially since the lower West Seattle bridge is only being used for freight, transit, and emergency vehicles. After the virus passes, whenever that is, this will become a huge headache for commuters. The bridge is only 36-years-old.
Bonnie is ready to fight: She sees your "this virus is a political hoax" and raises you her fucking fist.
PETA released a guide to play Animal Crossing with vegan values: The game, which is primarily catching bugs and fish and digging up fossils and donating all of these things to a museum or selling them to a raccoon, is very "un-vegan" as far as PETA is concerned. So, they made a guide to make it, the video game about a virtual animal town, more ethical.
Sad times: Another hit from quarantine. A dog, too excited by its owner being home all the time, sprained its tail from wagging it so much. Have you no mercy, universe?
This cute fish from UW's Friday Harbor Labs is dead. Rich knew this fish. He followed Rich's finger around as it hovered it over the holding tank. He thought the fish was being cute, but he later learned from a marine biologist that the fish was sizing up his finger for a fight.