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In Case You Missed It.
- Democrats reject the Republican stimulus bill so the impasse persists.
- A court ruled that the Trump administration cannot exclude unauthorized immigrants from the census, thereby denying them representation in congress.
- Peloton posted its first-ever quarterly profit with $607 million in revenue.
- Papa John’s Pizza announced that it is expanding with plans to open 49 new stores in the Northeast after record sales growth in July and August.
Coronavirus Update: Total confirmed U.S. cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 6,394,655 — Total deaths: 191,702 — Total recoveries: 2,403,511
Trump: Woodward saved virus quotes because “he knew they were good and proper answers.”
In Today’s Newsletter:
- Stimulus package nightmare
- The deadliest place to work
- Big pharma makes a vaccine pledge
The Lead: Big Pharma Slows Its Roll
The largest pharmaceutical companies have made a pledge not to rush out a COVID vaccine until it is good and ready, despite political pressure to do so. It was signed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Pfizer, Novavax, Sanofi, BioNTech, and GlaxoSmithKlin.
This is a bit of cold water on President Trump’s campaign pledges that a vaccine could roll out just days before the Presidential election. Drugmakers are pledging that the vaccine won’t be influenced by politics but rather by science.
The fine print
The pledge includes promises to adhere to high standards of safety, research, and ethics. It also promises that these companies will thoroughly complete Phase 3 of clinical trials, which no company has yet.
“We believe this pledge will help ensure public confidence in the rigorous scientific and regulatory process by which COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated and may ultimately be approved,” the pledge says.
Stimulus: The Skinny Bill Gets Body Shamed
As anticipated, Senate Democrats voted down Republicans’ recent stimulus package, which they called “pointless” and “emaciated.”
The bill proposed $300 per week in unemployment benefits through the end of the year, more Paycheck Protection Program funds, money for schools, and COVID testing and research. It also provided protection from COVID-related lawsuits for businesses. But it was a fraction of what Democrats are demanding for all of those things. Democrats want more of those things, and they are uninterested in the liability protection for businesses.
Republicans wanted Democrats on record as rejecting a bill so that the fault for having nothing looks to be on them. Recall that Democrats put up their bill three months ago, and Republicans refused to vote on it at all, so finger-pointing seems childish.
The stalemate continues, and none of us are surprised.
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Retail: Home Depot’s Black Friday Plans
Home Depot is canceling Black Friday, or at least Black Friday as we know it. The retailer says that it will spread the deals out for all of November and December, rather than concentrating them on a single manic day.
Safety concerns were, of course, a significant factor in this decision. You cannot have a mad rush to a store for discounted snow blowers in a socially distanced way. Home Depot says it wants to “reinvent” the idea of Black Friday by putting the same deals online and offline for a more extended period.
Meanwhile, Home Depot is also offering free online classes for hurricane and storm preparedness, starting Monday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict a record-high number of storms in November, and Home Depot wants to teach you what to do with those sandbags and how to board your house up safely. The free classes can be found here.
News By The Numbers
600. That is how many people Under Armour expects to have to lay off this year as part of the brand’s $550 billion restructuring plan.
$13,494. That is how much Smithfield Foods could pay in fines from the US Department of Labor for failing to protect employees from COVID outbreaks in their factories. That seems relatively light considering that 1,300 people were infected, and four people died. The company plans to contest the penalty.
187 miles per hour. That is how fast a North Carolina man was driving when he was arrested last weekend. The man admitted that he was trying to get to Myrtle Beach to show off his new Audi when police tried to pull him over. He attempted to outrun them and subsequently crashed the brand new car. His ride back was in a cop cruiser.
$500,000. That is how much money was smuggled in a couch cushion by customers officers in Miami last week. The money was halted before it could be sent to the Dominican Republic.
The Deadliest Catch
Do you know those oil drilling platforms in the middle of the sea? Like the ones in the Mark Walberg movie that all blew up? Well, they’re not blowing up with explosions, but they are blowing up with COVID, and the fatality rate amongst employees is the worst of any other company.
There are 240 platforms and structures in the Gulf of Mexico operated by Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, the state-owned oil company in Mexico. Pemex has reported 314 deaths from COVID, and platform workers are ten times more likely to die from COVID than the average Mexican citizen.
Workers have reported not being able to leave the rigs while feeling symptomatic and living and eating in close quarters with poor ventilation. Pemex has put stricter measures in place but continues to operate, even though a global oil demand is down.
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