Rise and Shine: Oct. 1, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, CivMixers.

Welcome to October – a month of pumpkins and witches and ghosts and, yes, overindulging on all that Halloween candy your kids haul home and then you offload at the office in hopes that your co-workers eat it.

It’s going to be mostly cloudy today, with periods of rain in the morning and scattered thunderstorms in the evening. Temperatures will hover around 80 degrees and it will be fairly humid, according to The Weather Channel. There’s more rain in the forecast tomorrow and Thursday, so keep those umbrellas handy.

A federal judge in Manhattan scheduled a hearing this afternoon where Chris Collins is expected to enter a guilty plea to unspecified charges in his insider trading case.

The Western New York Republican’s resignation from Congress, which was made public yesterday, will take effect when Congress meets in a brief session this morning.

The question of if and when a special election will take place for the seat that Collins held in NY-27 – the most GOP-dominant House district in the state – is up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (No word yet on what he plans to do there).

“Republicans shouldn’t have much trouble holding the district,” said Kyle Kondik, who helps run the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ congressional race tracking operation, Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

It’s International Coffee Day, (NESCAFE is already up and celebrating), AND ALSO National Homemade Cookies Day! How serendipitous is that?!

These just so happen to coincide with Word Vegetarian Day. A little blurbage:”Did you know that approximately 10% of the world’s population is vegetarian, and that India has the lowest per capita meat consumption in the world?”

Former President Jimmy Carter turns 95 today. He’s now the oldest living ex-president. That title had been held by the late former President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30, 2018 at the age of 94.

The Carter Center, the peace and human rights advocating organization founded by the former president, invited members of the public to share their birthday wises with the 39th president on its website.

Carter happens to share his birthday with the English actress, singer and author Dame Julie Andrews (84), and American actor and comedian Zach Galifianakis (49). Also, Brie Larson, another US actress and filmmaker, turns 30 today.

There’s an interesting Google Doodle today that honors Herbert David Kleber, who was an American psychiatrist and substance abuse researcher who changed the way we view drug addiction.

In the headlines…

President Donald Trump sought help from the Australian prime minister to investigate the origins of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, a Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed.

The White House curbed access to a transcript of the call — which the president made at US AG William Barr’s request — to a small group of aides. The restriction was unusual and similar to the handling of a July call with the Ukrainian president that is at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

With Congress out of session for observance of the Jewish holidays, Democrats moved aggressively against Trump’s person attorney, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, requesting in a subpoena by Oct. 15 “text messages, phone records and other communications” that they referred to as possible evidence.

Democrats also requested documents and testimony from three of Giuliani’s associates said to be connected to an effort to pressure the Ukrainians into investigating Democratic rivals of Trump, and promised more subpoenas for other witnesses in the coming days.

Trump warned that the Democrat-driven impeachment proceedings and any move to oust him from office amount to “treason” and would spark a civil war, prompting outrage from GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a former Air Force pilot who represents an Illinois district Trump won in 2016.

The lead attorney for the whistleblower responsible for a complaint focused on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine warned the president about retaliating against his client, saying it would be a violation of federal law.

California Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democratic 2020 contender, called for Twitter to suspend Trump’s account in light of his continued attacks on lawmakers and the whisteblower.

Although impeachment appears to be sucking the oxygen out of legislative progress on major issues, negotiations are quietly proceeding between Senate Democrats and the Trump administration on gun legislation.

In his first public comments since leaving the White House, John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, delivered a stark warning on about Trump’s approach to North Korea, undercutting the president’s insistence that its leader, Kim Jong-un, wanted to make a denuclearization deal with him.

The New York Archdiocese released the recommendations from a yearlong independent review of its procedures, which urged the church to become more technology-forward and hire someone whose sole duties would be overseeing responses to sexual abuse claims.

The cost of settling with victims of its perverted clergymen has ballooned to more than $67 million, but the Archdiocese of New York no longer has any priests or deacons with substantiated claims of abusing minors against them, an outside reviewer announced.

The NYPD officers who fatally shot hero cop Brian Mulkeen in a tragic case of friendly fire thought they were being shot at when they responded to the scene in the Bronx on Sunday morning, law enforcement sources said.

Democratic state Sen. Kevin Parker wants New York to follow California’s lead and help its amateur athletes cash in on some of the millions of dollars generated by college sports.

Four states, including New York, sued the federal government last year, arguing that its cap on state and local tax deductions – known as SALT – was an “unconstitutional assault” on their sovereignty. A Federal District Court judge in Manhattan rejected that argument yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken found no basis to conclude that the so-called SALT cap was an effort to coerce states through “economic dragooning” into lowering their own taxes and cutting services, in line with the federal government’s own policy preferences.

The head of one of New York’s top civil rights groups, Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP’s New York chapter, castigated NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson for failing to back a menthol cigarette ban as he moves to put the kibosh on flavored e-cigarettes.

Restaurant owners say Grubhub’s business model has cut into their profit margins. A New York City Council committee is investigating, and the company plans to hold the first in a series of “restaurant round tables” today to let business owners air their concerns.

Disabled Bronx residents who say they suffered years of sickening abuse at a state-run home won a $6 million settlement, according to court papers.

A controversial trash fee will continue as part of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s proposed 2020 budget, which increases spending roughly 1.4 percent, includes 1 percent raises for the city’s white collar workers and adjusts resources to tackle neighborhood concerns like traffic safety.

For the fifth straight year city residents will see their property taxes fall — this time by under a half percent — under Mayor Gary McCarthy’s tentative 2020 budget. That’s thanks to a protected $2.9 million in host fee revenue from the Rivers Casino & Resort.

McCarthy also included a pay bump for himself, from his current $96,700 annual salary to $112,485 — a 16 percent increase. If adopted by the Schenectady City Council, it would mark the fifth consecutive tax reduction, or 6.9 percent overall, since 2015.

Niskayuna Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed’s tentative budget comes without a tax increase for town property owners. The 42-page document, filed yesterday, lists a preliminary budget total of $15,798,692.

Two members of the state Legislature – Republican Sen. Ken LaValle and independent Assemblyman Fred Thiele – are criticizing the Department of Public Service for scheduling a meeting in Albany next week regarding a Long Island wind project.

Starting today, $245 million will be cut from Medicare reimbursement funds for nursing homes across New York.

Also today, the majority of cases involving 17-year-olds in New York will be heard in family court as part of the final phase-in of the “Raise the Age” law.

Police in Albany are investigating yet another shooting that happened around 7 p.m. last night. A man was found in the area of Clinton Avenue and Quail Street with a gunshot wound to the leg, which is non-life threatening.

Schoharie County Sheriff Ron Stevens is speaking for the first time about his own grief as the one-year anniversary of the fatal limo crash approaches.

An alert was sent out to the SUNY Cobleskill community to warn students after an attempted abduction took place off campus.

The start of October marks one year until the REAL ID law takes effect. Anyone without a REAL ID by October 2020 will be unable to fly within the United States.

Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union has launched an effort to unionize Chipotle and McDonald’s workers in New York.

The Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital is creating a new program to provide more services for kids with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Lowell Farms Cafe in West Hollywood, CA will be the first legal cannabis restaurant and lounge in the United States. When you walk in, you can get help from a “Flower Host.”

A review of recent research concludes eating red meat may not be as bad as once thought. But not all experts agree.

Justin Bieber and his childhood sweetheart Hailey Baldwin tied the knot for a second time at a ceremony for family and friends at a hotel resort in South Carolina.

RIP Jessye Norman, the renowned international opera star whose passionate soprano voice won her four Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honor, who has died at the age of 74.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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