Without further ado, here’s a fresh list of article ideas.
What’s Being Done About The People Locked Up?
- Attorney General Bill Barr ordered the early release of some federal prisoners in certain states.
- Colorado gave its Department of Corrections the authority to award earned time credits to reduce its prison population.
- Illinois commuted some sentences and released some prisoners, and that move created some backlash.
- Maryland is planning expedited releases.
- Michigan gave local authorities the power to release vulnerable inmates and isn’t taking in new ones.
- New Jersey is considering releasing over 1,100 inmates who are either age 60 and over or have a health condition.
- New Mexico announced plans to commute the sentences of some of its prisoners.
- North Carolina has started releasing some inmates.
- Virginia ordered an expedited review of those eligible for parole, proposed authorizing the release of prisoners with less than a year remaining, and directed jails to reduce their inmate populations.
But, some states aren’t so soft-hearted…
- Arizona’s governor, Doug Ducey, said he’s not releasing any prisoners. Still, hundreds of inmates made a plea, hoping he’ll reconsider.
- South Carolina has also resisted calls to downsize its prison population. But the ACLU said the state isn’t doing enough to protect the most vulnerable people in its custody and filed a lawsuit against Governor Henry McMaster, the state’s Department of Corrections director, and the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.
- Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tried to bar the release of jail inmates, but misdemeanor judges in Harris County basically said screw you, we have a green light from the feds, and they allowed the release of misdemeanor defendants without bail.
Use this list to help you:
- Create a state-response slideshow.
- Create a human-interest slideshow with accounts of how real people in different locations are affected by the government’s actions or lack thereof.
- Track the progress and outcome of these efforts.
- Write about clashes between federal, state and local governments.
Are The Fed Really Seizing PPE?
The word on the street is they are. And they’re reportedly so gangsta about it that they don’t pay or offer details.
Indutex, a Delaware medical equipment supplier, claimed that after FEMA seized two shipments, and given that they didn’t roll off any cash for the goods, the company canceled the remainder of the $4 million order.
The Town of Milford, MA had a shipment snatched by FEMA. The state’s governor said a lot of the public sector’s orders were disappearing.
Bay State Health concocted a scheme to pick up PPE in trucks disguised as foodservice vehicles, but the FBI got wind of the deal and showed up to “redirect it.” In the end, they let the hospital slide.
FEMA responded, kinda, by telling the country’s emergency managers to “continue to bust myths.” And to lead the way, the agency said:
FEMA is neither seizing or taking PPE from local or state governments or taking PPE from hospitals or any commercial entity lawfully engaged in the PPE distribution.
Other Bad Business…
Food delivery companies, including GrubHub, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates, are facing a lawsuit for “exorbitant fees,” which range from 13.5% to 40% of purchases.
- Instead of waiting for a court to work it out, San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, imposed a 15% cap on the businesses.
McDonald’s employees in Florida filed a $500 million class-action lawsuit for a “systemic sexual harassment problem”.
- McDonald’s also had to go into damage control after a location in China posted a sign saying “from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant.”
France ordered Amazon to limit its delivery operations to essential goods such as food, hygiene and medical products amid concerns about worker safety.
- Amazon threw a temper tantrum and shut down all of its warehouses, which employ about 10,000 people.
What About Coronavirus Immunity?
Chile plans to offer immunity passports, documents clearing recovered coronavirus patients to return to work.
The Washington Post says details have been sparse. And right now, the story is under-reported, so maybe you can follow up and fill us in. If so, here are a couple pieces of meat that may help:
- The U.S. is also reportedly considering certificates of immunity.
- In South Korea, 91 people who had coronavirus tested positive again, which seems to counter the theory that being infected makes you immune. But Korea’s CDC director, Jeong Eun-kyeong, maybe the virus was “reactivated” rather than the patients being re-infected.
Tropical Cyclone Harold
Don’t let Tropical Cyclone Harold go down in history as the tragedy that the world missed. This natural disaster is extremely under-covered.
USAID is committing $400,000 to support the Pacific Islands facing the effects in addition to over $3 million the nation’s providing to help those communities in the fight against the coronavirus.
You could follow those U.S. tax dollars. Or, you could cover the region’s other sources of aid, and whether the world is giving more money than it is media coverage.
Is Celebrity Influence Waning?
“Unfortunately for those with blue checkmarks on Twitter and Instagram, the era of star-studded thoughts and prayers appears to be over.”
“With no red carpet premieres or glamorous awards shows, the only stars being clapped for are healthcare workers every evening at 7 pm,” says Rohit Thawani in the Guardian.
- How are you feeling about celebrities and celebrity gossip these days?
- How much lockdown time is the world investing in celebrities?
- What are celebrities doing to remain relevant?
Writing About Opening vs Stay-At-Home Orders?
Here’s a quote you may have missed:
“These are very, very burdensome impingements on liberty, and we adopted them, we have to remember, for the limited purpose of slowing down the spread, that is bending the curve. We didn’t adopt them as the comprehensive way of dealing with this disease. You can’t just keep on feeding the patient chemotherapy and say, well, we’re killing the cancer, because we were getting to the point where we’re killing the patient. and now is the time that we have to start looking ahead and adjusting to more targeted therapies.”
That bit of wisdom came from U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr.
As Always, You Need A Bit More, Right?
- Amazon donated over $300,000 to The Book Trade Charity, which helps the entire book industry. But it looks like the company had it to spare…
- Analysts project Amazon made $10,000 every second of the first quarter of 2020. The company releases its Q1 financials on April 30.
- Forever 21 is/was selling $5 face masks and for every purchase was supposed to donate one to a non-profit, but they’re currently sold out. What’s up with that? Was the effort that successful?
- Wet markets are reopening in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization deems them a critical source of food. Australia’s prime minister said the WHO’s support for the operations is “unfathomable,” and he and the health minister condemned them. Where can you take that debate?
- Millions of homeowners aren’t paying their mortgages…according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. And that sounds like it’s a good time for personal finance writers to provide the scoop on forbearance—the pros, the cons, the fine print. Let us have it.
- Oregon issued an interesting public service infographic about sex amid COVID-19.
- New York City also released a memo providing guidance on sex. Why not look for other government sex advice and the cover tips, encouraging us to masturbate, sext and use sex toys but to “press pause” on rimming?
As always, if you have thoughts, comments or requests for the list of article ideas, don’t hesitate to share’em.
And if you missed the last list of article ideas, it’s not too late.
Until next time… stay well!