While You Were Out: Aug. 5, 2019

Well, looks like we’ve almost made it through another Monday, CivMixers.

On the news front, most of the headlines today – at the national, state and even local level – are focused on the ongoing fallout from the back-to-back mass shootings that took place in a 24-hour period this past weekend.

Making his first formal remarks after the shootings, President Donald Trump said the U.S. was “overcome with shock, horror and sorrow” and that the nation must condemn “racism and white supremacy.”

The president said a “wicked man” went to a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in that mass shooting and said a “twisted monster” carried out the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, just hours later.

“These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation and a crime against all of humanity,” Trump said.

Trump blamed mental illness and video games but made no mention of more limits on sales of firearms.

The president took no responsibility for the atmosphere of division in the nation, nor did he recognize his own reluctance to warn of the rise of white nationalism until now.

Trump maintained video games and their “glorification of violence” is desensitizing potential real-life killers.

The president, conservative media and pundits immediately pivoted to blaming mental illness for the violence despite an abundance of research that says otherwise.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a Democratic 2020 contender, expressed his irritation with the administration’s response, referring to Trump’s address about the shootings as “bullshit soup” in a group text message that included his campaign manager.

Trump misstated the location of one of the mass shootings that rocked the nation over the weekend – referring to Toledo, Ohio instead of Dayton, spurring Ohio Rep. Tim Dayton, a Democratic 2020 contender, to tweet a short and profane message about the president jumbling the two cities in his home state.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden expressed his sympathy for the victims of the weekend’s mass shootings in Houston and Michigan, bungling the locations of the tragedies in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

Three mass shootings that killed 34 people over the past week involved semi-automatic weapons and magazines capable of holding dozens of bullets — all of which were legal to purchase by the shooters.

Two more victims of the El Paso massacre have died, bringing the total number of fatalities to 22, officials said.

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton dismissed some lawmakers’ suggestion that the spate of mass shootings in the U.S. can be linked to the prevalence of violent video games or mental illness.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he will propose bipartisan legislation to encourage more states to adopt “red flag” laws after the pair of horrific mass shootings.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a longtime gun corolla advocate, writes: After the weekend atrocities carried out by homegrown terrorists, it’s time for the U.S. to channel disgust and dismay into political action.

Khalid, one of the hottest artists in the music industry, will perform a benefit concert later this month in the wake of tragedy in his adopted hometown of El Paso, Texas.

The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office today held a previously scheduled active shooter drill at the Mechanicville District Public Library.

In other news…

Cesar A. Sayoc Jr., the fervent supporter of Trump who rattled the nation last fall when he sent homemade pipe bombs to former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Stocks tanked again today on worries about how much Trump’s worsening trade war will damage the economy, and the S&P 500 was headed for its worst drop since late last year, when the market was wrapped in the throes of recession fears.

July 2019 was the warmest month worldwide on record, narrowing beating July 2016, a European climate agency announced.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is joining 37 other state attorneys general who are calling on Congress to remove federal barriers to addiction treatment.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD for faulty training after police officers walked away from punks who doused them with buckets of water — making cops look “impotent.”

Criticism by Democratic presidential candidates of Obama’s record is part of a “circular firing squad” that Trump will be able to exploit, Cuomo warned.

Cuomo also deflected criticism from good-government advocates over his failure to fulfill two anti-corruption promises: that he would restore state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s oversight powers on economic-development contracts and stop taking campaign contributions from companies seeking or receiving business from his administration.

Top executives with the IUE-CWA, the union that represents workers in Schenectady, met with General Electric Co. negotiators in Nashville, Tenn., yesterday for the first sit-down talks since IUE-CWA members voted down the company’s four-year contract proposal back on July 10.

An Albany resident who allegedly killed a 38-year-old man last spring on Clinton Street will not be charged with his death because prosecutors believe he was defending another man.

RIP Gerald F. Fleck, known widely as Gerry, a chef who ran the kitchen at the Albany Pump Station for about a decade, until 2014. he Saturday at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany at the age of 59. No cause of death was given.

Frajees Grill, a fast-casual place serving increasingly popular Mediterranean/Middle Eastern fare, opened recently at 189 Lark St. in Albany, on the west side of the block between Washington Avenue and Spring Street.

NYRA will celebrate women and their contributions to both the thoroughbred industry and the world of sportsduring Fabulous Fillies Day on Thursday at Saratoga Race Course. All fans are encouraged to wear pink to show their support for breast cancer awareness.

New York Republicans have found a new finance director for the party, turning to Brielle Appelbaum of Inspire Capital and Development to lead its fundraising operation.

A driver who was allegedly more than three times the legal blood-alcohol limit crashed his car into a motel in Lake George.

A Greenwich man is facing a felony charge under Leandra’s Law after troopers found the 34-year-old acting erratically with a young child in his car, State Police in Queensbury said.

If you’re planning on being in the Western part of the state, pay a visit to the Erie County Fair, which kicks off this week.

A Schenectady man has been arrested, accused of driving the suspect in a July 1 shooting from the Vale neighborhood scene, along with the suspect’s gun, authorities said. The man holed up inside a Union Street apartment building, leading to an hours-long standoff before police went in and arrested him.

More than two in five Americans spend up to $500 per child on back-to-school items, according to a TopCashback survey.

GateHouse Media owner and USA TODAY owner Gannett have agreed to merge in a deal aimed at cutting overlapping costs and enabling the combined company to pursue a digital transformation.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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