Aug. 1, 2019: Rise and Shine

Good morning, and welcome to Thursday, CivMix & Co.

Summer is flying by. It’s already the first day of August. Get out there and soak up every hot and humid minute of it, because soon we’ll all be buried in snow.

It’s actually a pretty straightforward summer day, from a weather perspective. Sun, sun, and more sun. No perception in sight. Temperatures in the mid-80s. So sayeth our friends at The Weather Channel.

Dominating the headlines this morning: The second round of 2020 Democratic presidential debates is in the books. It was the most diverse presidential debate in history, featuring three women, two black candidates, one Latino, one Asian and a Pacific Islander.

The “line of the night” award seems to have gone to New York’s own Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who, when asked what the first thing she would do as president would be, quipped: “Clorox the Oval Office.”

The second thing? “Re-engage on global climate change.”

Gillibrand’s line was actually the third top tweeted moment of the debate. No. 1 came when New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker had a barbed exchange with former Vice President Joe Biden over criminal justice reform and his hiring of an official connected to former Republican NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“There’s a saying in my community – You’re dipping into the Kool-Aid and you don’t even know the flavor,” Booker said.

Biden, the perceived frontrunner in the primary thus far, was attacked from all sides last night. He reprised the verbal sparring with California Sen. Kamala Harris that marked the first debate, but also mixed it up with other fellow Democrats on stage as they sought to take him down a few pegs.

In all, Biden was attacked by seven of the nine other candidates present on the stage. But unlike in the first debate, where he turned in a less-than-strong performance, the former Vice President survived last night with comparatively minimal damage, and that was a moral victory of sorts.

Protesters briefly interrupted NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Booker’s opening statements, chanting “Fire Pantaleo” – a reference to Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer involved in Eric Garner’s death.

Gillibrand and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro criticized de Blasio for failing to fire Pantaleo. The U.S. Justice Department ultimately decided against bringing federal civil rights charges, and de Blasio indicated there would be some kind of action in “30 days” at the city level.

Gillibrand also talked about being able to explain white privilege to white suburban women.

Biden implied Gillibrand was a political opportunist for questioning his commitment to women’s rights. “You came to Syracuse University with me and said it was wonderful, I’m passionate about the concern making sure women are treated equally,” he said. “I don’t know what’s happened except that you’re now running for president.”

De Blasio managed to engage Biden during a section of the debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal former President Obama supported. “I love your affection for me, you spend a lot of time with me,” the ex-vice president told the mayor.

De Blasio touted New York’s $15 minimum wage during the debate, but a top aide for Gov. Andrew Cuomo – Melissa DeRosa – wasn’t going to let him steal all the glory.

NYPD cops turned out in Detroit to protest de Blasio’s appearance at the debate, calling on him to get back to the Big Apple, negotiate with the men and women in blue, and “finish the job that he ran for.”

In other news…

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time in more than a decade, as it tried to keep America’s record-long economic expansion going by insulating the economy from mounting global risks.

Navy officials said they are pulling achievement medals from prosecutors who argued the case against a decorated Navy SEAL who was acquitted in the death of a wounded Islamic State captive after Trump intervened.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that prevents local school districts from allowing teachers and administrators to carry guns on school grounds. “The answer to the gun violence epidemic plaguing this country has never been and never will be more guns,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko will be at the Saratoga Race Course this morning to call for action on legislation aimed at setting uniform drug testing standards for race horses.

Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier who is accused of sex trafficking, had an unusual dream: He hoped to seed the human race with his DNA by impregnating women at his vast New Mexico ranch.

Epstein made his first court appearance since he was discovered unconscious in his jail cell in what prison officials were investigating as a possible suicide attempt, and a federal judge overseeing the sex-trafficking case against the financier set a tentative trial date for mid-2020.

GE is searching for a new CFO after Jamie Miller announced she’ll step down. She plans to stay on temporarily while the company searches for her successor.

The saga of the dueling Mount Vernon mayors appears to be over.

Health officials say a Hudson Valley resident has died of a rare virus spread by infected ticks – the first known case of Powassan virus in the state this year.

There’s bipartisan agreement in the Rensselaer County Legislature to extend a newly adopted law declaring a one-year moratorium on solid waste facilities within a mile of the Hudson River to include most of the rest of the county, Republicans and Democrats say.

The Troy City Council will vote on the Sanctuary City issue again tonight. (Public hearing at 5:30 p.m., Council meeting at 7 p.m.)

Three separate cases in New York in which parents left young children to die in hot cars were treated very differently by prosecutors.

A new use-of-force reporting system for law enforcement agencies in New York could become the subject of a court challenge due to conflicting interpretations of what’s required.

New York state lawmakers passed sweeping justice reform legislation earlier this year aimed at creating a more fair and timely justice system. Now, district attorneys across the state are scrambling to figure out how to pay for the changes.

With the Trump administration rolling back restrictions on college loan providers, New York’s financial regulatory agency is stepping in to provide consumer protections for more than 2 million New Yorkers that have student debt.

As negotiations on their first-ever contract stretch on, Albany Medical Center nurses and their supporters gathered near the hospital yesterday to speak out about staffing issues they say are jeopardizing patient care.

About 100 officers from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies showed up at Albany Med in support of 11-year-old John Hoague-Rivette, the son of an officer who has an aggressive form of brain cancer and was discharged from the hospital and taken to his Whitehall home for hospice care.

The city of Albany has a plan in place to keep the Evangelical Protestant Church Cemetery in Albany from becoming overgrown and unkempt again.

A consumer watchdog group signaled this week it will oppose New York State Electric & Gas Corporation’s request for a 23.7 percent increase in its electricity rates.

Most of the bison that escaped from a Sharon Springs farm are now home.

The case of a teenager who sexually assaulted a child on a school bus in Fulton County was complicated by the new Raise the Age law.

Public defender Tiffany Caban’s campaign for Queen’s district attorney is still alive — for now. A judge ruled that he will review 28 contested ballots in the seesaw Democratic primary race for the district attorney’s job next Tuesday.

The Federal Trade Commission warned that people who are trying to get the $125 check from Equifax following the data breach might not get all of the money.

In case you’re keeping track of such things. (I find myself oddly obsessed with this of late). It’s National Mahjong Day, Respect for Parents Day, and National Girlfriends Day.

It’s a good time to be a student at Binghamton University – especially if you’re a Starbucks fan.

Mustard ice cream is a thing – for a limited time.

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