Rise and Shine: Sept. 13, 2019

Good morning, CivMixers! The good news: It’s Friday. The bad news: It’s Friday the 13th.

So, why is this day considered unlucky? Here’s what History.com has to say on that:

“According to biblical tradition, 13 guests attended the Last Supper, held on Maundy Thursday, including Jesus and his 12 apostles (one of whom, Judas, betrayed him). The next day, of course, was Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The seating arrangement at the Last Supper is believed to have given rise to a longstanding Christian superstition that having 13 guests at a table was a bad omen—specifically, that it was courting death.”

A September full moon, also known as a “Harvest Moon,” is making an appearance tonight as well, so expect some extra weird behavior out there. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, a full moon on Friday the 13th is a very rare occurrence, and this will be the first time for the phenomenon since since Oct. 13, 2000.

We here at CivMix are not terribly superstitious. But we MIGHT be avoiding ladders, black cats and breaking mirrors on this particular day, just to be on the safe side.

Apparently fear of the number 13 has even earned a psychological term: triskaidekaphobia.

Some places, like Italy, consider 13 to actually be a LUCKY number.

Colgate University, which happens to be in Hamilton, NY, is also one of those places. The private liberal arts college was started by 13 men with $13 and 13 prayers, so 13 is considered a lucky number indeed at the school, and Friday the 13th is the luckiest day of all there.

Some fairly good news today about the weather, though it’s on the brisk side (under 50 degrees) at the moment, things are expected to warm up to the mid-70s, according to The Weather Channel. It will be mostly sunny in the morning, with a few afternoon clouds showing up later, partly cloudy skies in the evening and showers expected tomorrow. Boo.

Well, you know what they say about living for today. Let’s enjoy the sunshine while we can, and move on to the headlines.

About that Democratic debate last night – the third thus far of the 2020 primary battle – which was held in Houston, TX…

Not surprisingly, the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, was the top target (again), as he asked voters to view him as a stand-in for the former president and an array of progressive challengers, led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, brandished more daring policy promises.

The former vice president, meanwhile, went on offense against Warren and Sanders, cornering the two progressive senators on health care, saying their “Medicare for All” plans would bankrupt the government and increase taxes on everyday Americans. Biden even went so far as to call Sanders a “socialist.”

Biden is being roundly mocked for invoking record players while discussing, of all things, segregation.

Onstage together for the first time, with less than five months to go before the voting begins, the top 10 candidates made clear that the moment for oblique contrast and above-the-fray wishcasting is quickly passing.

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro raised eyebrows by going for the jugular on Biden’s age (76) and seeming to question his mental acuity in a mean-spirited way. (Castro later said he wasn’t actually being ageist).

Andrew Yang used his first debate appearance to announce that his campaign will randomly select 10 families and give them a total of $120,000 over the next year as part of a pilot program for his universal basic income plan. (Is that even legal?)

President Donald Trump was in Baltimore, Maryland – a city he once disparaged as a “rat and rodent infested mess” – where he sought to boost the spirits of Republican lawmakers, mocking Democrats and promising a new tax cut package.

A Republican-affiliated political action committee aired a controversial TV ad during the Democratic primary debate that showed a picture of freshman New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez burst into flames.

In non-debate news…

The Trump administration revoked regulations that shielded many U.S. wetlands and streams from pollution, but was opposed by developers and farmers who said it amounted to regulatory overreach.

The president pledged to protect the Second Amendment, hours after huddling with top advisers to discuss gun control measures he might be willing to publicly stand behind.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a resolution defining the rules of the panel’s impeachment investigation, the first vote the committee has taken related to the potential impeachment of Trump.

HUD investigators found no evidence that Secretary Ben Carson acted improperly when he tried to buy a $31,000 dining room set for his office in 2017, according to an inspector general’s report.

In a rare legal broadside by a politician against a major news organization, Virginia LG Justin Fairfax sued CBS for defamation, saying the network’s news division smeared him by airing interviews with two women who accused the lawmaker of sexual assault.

Thousands of workers across the country still have unanswered questions after the sudden closing of Clifton Park-based MyPayrollHR drained their bank accounts a week ago. Among them: Who is the company’s chief executive, Michael Mann, and — perhaps more importantly — where is he?

The NYC subway system continues to dig itself out of a deep hole, and its leaders are left facing an even bigger challenge — transforming it into a modern subway worthy of a global capital.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy signed an executive order that would ban single use plastic straws and stirrers in county departments and operations, including vendors who supply goods to the county.

this comes the same week the county legislature agreed to hold a public hearing about Local Law F, which would only allow vendors to give out plastic straws if a customer specifically asks for one.

The governor signed an executive order directing state agencies overseeing anti-tobacco programs to address the newer methods of tobacco use, like vaping and e-cigarettes.

State resources are being directed toward vaping education awareness in response to the recent rash of respiratory illnesses connected to the use of electronic cigarettes.

Trump said said that he and first lady Melania have warned their teen son, Baron, about the dangers of vaping.

Companies and trade groups are weighing the risks of waging a fight against a proposed federal ban on most flavored vaping products, to protect mint and menthol brands.

A new law expanding the time to perform a background check for a firearm purchase in New York took effect yesterday.

Capital Region mental health professionals and advocates gathered at Capital West Park yesterday afternoon to speak on the dangers of separating and detaining immigrant families and their children.

The NYC Council rescinded a ban on conversion therapy due to fears that if a federal lawsuit challenging the ban were to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, the panel could issue a ruling that protected the practice.

There’s a local effort underway to phase out plastic water bottles at Albany International Airport.

Columbia Memorial Hospital confirms it will stop delivering babies beginning Oct. 1, due, a spokesperson says, to a nationwide doctor shortage.

Hoosick Falls Police have arrested a fourth person who they say assisted three others in vandalizing parts of the village Sept. 4.

Facing the possibility of life behind bars without parole, the triggerman behind the Nov. 8 contract killing of 22-year-old Ty-son Williams pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a 25-years-to-life term.

The town of East Greenbush is going back to residents later this month to get more guidance on a new comprehensive plan as the community deals with robust industrial growth and a need for updated subdivision regulations for new housing construction.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area will operate the universal pre-kindergarten programs in the Cohoes City School District to provide services to 162 children at the district’s three schools.

Taxes on an average home will rise $4 under the Troy Public Library’s proposed 2020 budget of $1.3 million that goes to city voters on Sept. 24 for consideration.

There’s a serious fight over dogs – but not a dog fight, per se – taking place on Long Island.

The NYC Department of Education will excuse city kids who ditch school next Friday to partake in a Manhattan climate change protest, officials said.

Thanks to an early glut of rain, hot days and cool evenings, New York apples this year should be bigger and brighter than usual, according to three Cornell University experts.

The Capital Region and Southern Saratoga County chamber of commerce boards have decided to affiliate, which will ideally help the Albany area operate more as a region, and less as individual counties and cities.

Cuomo recently announced the 18 companies selected for round one of the Grow-NY food innovation and agriculture technology business challenge.

Among the more than 16,200 condo units across 682 new buildings completed in New York City since 2013, one in four remain unsold, or roughly 4,100 apartments — most of them in luxury buildings, according to a new analysis by the listing website StreetEasy.

Little Italy is among the three neighborhoods the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation hopes to include in its proposed expansion. But not all local business owners are sold on the idea, saying it’s too early to predict how DSIC membership would affect them.

In the wake of protests at Tuesday’s meeting of the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, the panel escalated its probe of alleged rape victim Kat Sullivan for potential lobbying violations.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy protection amid its massive financial and legal exposure to child sexual abuse claims.

Five state senators who last year toppled the Independent Democratic Conference are urging New Yorkers to approve a referendum that would bring “ranked-choice voting” to NYC.

The Mario M. Cuomo Bridge was lit up orange last night to mark Hunger Action Month.

The marriage of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his third wife, Judith, is coming to an end in a very dramatic fashion. Despite a judge’s urging for a private settlement, a trial date has been set for January next year, and the underlying reason stems from money.

Police are searching for 95-year-old David Erb, who they say has dementia, and may be in need in medical attention. He was last seen on Braim Road in the town of Greenfield around 5 p.m. yesterday.

Starting tomorrow, Henry Street in Saratoga Springs will be made temporarily one-way southbound, as part of an experiment to see whether two-way bicycle traffic can co-exist with vehicle traffic and parking on one of downtown’s well-traveled side streets.

Shane Gillis, a newly announced “Saturday Night Live” cast member, posted a video last year in which he used a racial slur for Chinese people and derided Asians trying to learn English.

If you’re a qualified truck driver, you are in demand in the Capital Region.

Albany-native Sherry Ellis of Honey B’s Boutiques was invited to Fashion Week in New York City as an up-and-coming designer.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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