While You Were Out: Aug. 21, 2019

Good afternoon, CivMixers. I’m a bit early with the end-of-day round-up…more of a middle-of-the-day check-in, due to travel requirements for my day job.

The weather continues to be top of everyone’s mind, with the National Weather Service warning of powerful thunderstorms moving through the Mohawk Valley that could bring tornadoes with them.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect through 9 p.m. for NYC, the Hudson Valley, the Capital Region and a bit beyond. What does that mean? Well:

“A severe thunderstorm by definition is a thunderstorm that produces one inch hail or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour. The size of the watch can vary depending on the weather situation.”

“They are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours. They are normally issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review severe thunderstorm safety rules and be prepared to move to a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

The Washington County Fair was closed today because of the weather. The fair runs through Sunday at the fairgrounds in Greenwich.

In other news…

President Donald Trump declared himself “the Chosen One” as he defended his administration’s actions in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

In a tweetstorm this morning, Trump quoted Wayne Allen Root, a conservative radio host and conspiracy theorist, who declared that Israeli Jews love Trump “like he’s the King of Israel; they love him like he is the second coming of God.”

Trump once again backed tighter background checks for gun purchases, but said he wants to be careful that closing what he calls “loopholes” doesn’t clear the way for more gun control.

The student activists who survived the Parkland high school massacre released a sweeping gun control plan aimed at slashing firearm deaths in the US — including a call to ban assault-type rifles.

The president is expected to direct his administration to permanently forgive student loan debt held by disabled veterans.

The Trump administration unveiled a regulation that would allow it to detain indefinitely migrant families who cross the border illegally, replacing a decades-old court agreement that limited how long the government could hold migrant children in custody and mandated the level of care they must receive.

The federal budget deficit is growing faster than expected, and headed for the $1 trillion mark, even as Trump muses about more tax cuts and other ideas that would add to government debt.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo & Co. arrived safely at the State Fair after taking the trainwrapped especially for the day – from Albany.

The governor announced that the fair will be going green, with a goal for it to be off the grid by 2023.

Cuomo came onto the train bearing a gift for a member of the Capitol press corps. Jon Cambpell, of Gannett, received….baloney. (Back story here and here).

Cuomo is a big fan of this year’s butter sculpture. He stopped by the Rainbow Milk Bar, and, of course, sampled a sausage sandwich – as one must.

The state Public Campaign Finance Commission met for the first time today, and kicked things off with a closed-door executive session.

Shawn Morse says he’s still in charge as mayor of Cohoes, despite pleading guilty in federal court to transferring campaign funds to his personal accounts. He didn’t show up to work today, but Acting Mayor Christopher Briggs did.

New York is suing the federal government to ensure General Electric Co. continues its cleanup of the Hudson River.

Police have identified the man accused of going on an anti-Muslim diatribe at The Crossings earlier this week but have not filed charges, citing a lack of evidence.

A pick-up truck towing a trailer caught fire on the Northway after the trailer blew a tire and the truck hit the center median, State Police said.

A man was found dead in his bunk this morning in the Schenectady County jail.

A bill to save local governments extra costs of maintaining vacant properties – so-called “Red-X” building – now awaits a signature by the governor. It deals with urban blight.

The family of Karen Johnson, the first female mayor of Schenectady who died in June, announced they will be hosting a celebration of her life next month.

While kids are preparing to go back to school soon, the South Troy Pool still hasn’t reopened, despite promises it would this summer.

Five people were reported killed in four separate shootings in New York City yesterday in one of the deadliest 24-hour sprees in the city in recent memory.

As the number of cyclist deaths climbs in New York City, there are growing calls to increase the legal culpability of drivers.

Illegal immigrants will be able to jump into New York City’s highly competitive lotteries for affordable housing as part of broader rules changes announced by City Hall meant to expand eligibility.

The judge overseeing the criminal case of late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein has ordered a hearing to discuss prosecutors’ motion to dismiss the case.

The Ballston Republican Town Committee has formally announced the start of their campaign for November’s election.

Liam Hemsworth is seeking a divorce from Miley Cyrus after seven months of marriage.

The “crazy cat lady,” an enduring entertainment stereotype, turns out not to be a real thing, according to a UCLA study.

Should pole dancing be an Olympic sport? Some people think so.

Best. Thing. Ever.

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