Rise and Shine: Oct. 14, 2019

Good Monday morning, CivMixers! I hope you had a stellar weekend and have arrived here at the start of the work week refreshed and revived and ready to get going. (Except some of you might not be returning to work just yet…more on that below).

It’s going to be a warm one for mid-October, with temperatures reaching up near 70 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. There will be a mix of sun and clouds, with humidity at about 70 percent.

It’s Columbus Day – the celebration of the Italian-born explorer Christopher Columbus in the Americas on October 12, 1492. In 1937, President FDR declared October 12th every year as Columbus Day. In the US, Columbus Day is celebrated by every state except for Hawaii, South Dakota and Alaska, and now occurs on the second Monday in October.

As you’ve probably heard by now, Columbus Day is controversial (more here) and a growing number of communities across the nation are dropping it in favor of “Indigenous Peoples Day,” or perhaps simultaneously celebrating both.

Regardless of what it’s called, Columbus Day’s position as a federal holiday, meaning most banks are closed and federal government workers get a paid break, still stands.

If you’re not comfortable with the whole Columbus Day thing but have the day off, perhaps you might celebrate National Kick Butt Day or National Dessert Day?

If you’re driving anywhere, be on the alert: The State Police are conducting special traffic enforcement efforts this holiday weekend to crack down on speeding and impaired motorists.

The Google Doodle is an interesting one today. It celebrates the 218th “birth anniversary” as some outlets have taken to calling it of the Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau, who one of the first people to demonstrate the illusion of a moving image using counter rotating disks with repeating drawn images in small increments of motion on one and regularly spaced slits in the other.

Put another way, the Google logo “has been replaced with an animation representing animation itself — a modern artist’s interpretation of the phenakistiscope, a spinning disc invented in 1833 that’s considered one of the precursors to modern cinema.”

Notable birthdays: Fashion designer Ralph Lauren turns 79 today, and shares his special day with R&B singer Usher (41), wrestler Stacy Keibler (40) and the late former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who died in 1969, among others.

In the headlines…

Congress is set to continue closed-door depositions this week regarding the growing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Fiona Hill, a former top national security adviser on Russia who left the administration just before the president’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine, plans to meet with lawmakers today.

Trump had lunch on Saturday at his golf course in Sterling, Virginia with Rudy Giuliani amid revelations that prosecutors were investigating the former NYC mayor for possible lobbying violations, and speculation that his position as the president’s personal lawyer was in jeopardy.

Trump threatened to sue congressional Democrats Rep. Adam Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid the House impeachment inquiry, calling them “bad, bad people.”

Hunter Biden, whose overseas business dealings have drawn relentless attacks from Trump and posed a threat to the 2020 candidacy of his father, former Vice President Joe Biden, intends to step down from the board of a Chinese company, BHR, by the end of the month.

A disturbing video of a fake Trump shooting, assaulting and stabbing his critics and the media was played at a conference held by a pro-Trump group at his Miami resort last week.

Kurdish forces long allied with the United States in Syria announced a new deal yesterday with the government in Damascus, a sworn enemy of Washington that is backed by Russia, as Turkish troops moved deeper into their territory and Trump ordered the withdrawal of the American military from northern Syria.

Congressional Republicans appear poised to hand Trump a stinging rebuke of his Turkey and Syria policy when they return to Washington.

The IRS has slapped Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, with a $1.9 million-plus federal tax lien.

The Spanish Supreme Court today sentenced former leaders of the Catalan independence movement to lengthy prison terms after finding them guilty of sedition for their botched attempt to break away from Spain in 2017.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, turned 30 yesterday – and received a birthday message from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – amid a controversy over the cost of her most recent haircut.

California is set to become the first state to require later start times for some public schools after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation into law yesterday. (The matter is under consideration here in New York).

Assemblyman David Buchwald has formally announced a bid for retiring Rep. Nita Lowey’s seat, kicking off what’s likely to be a very crowded race to represent a district that could well be drawn out of existence in the next round of redistricting.

Buchwald unseated incumbent Republican Robert Castelli in 2012 and was also cosponsor of the Reproductive Health Act, according to his Twitter account.

Buchwald joins Rockland County’s Mondaire Jones as the two officially announced Democrats who have entered the NY-17 race. Jones, 32, a lawyer who would become the first openly black gay member of Congress if he was elected, joined the fray in July.

Other possible contenders include: Assembly members Amy Paulin and Tom Abinanti, state Sen. David Carlucci and Chelsea Clinton, who has been widely speculated to be interested in running for Congress, but hasn’t actually said anything about that herself…though she did get a medal this weekend from her mom.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie vowed at a recent fundraiser to flex his political muscle and campaign resources to help veteran Democratic state lawmakers — like fellow Bronxite Jeff Dinowitz and Brooklyn’s Joe Lentol — beat back primary challenges.

The legislative session may still be a season away, but lobbyists are already stalking the halls and pitching their funding priorities to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has broad power over the state’s $175.5 billion spending plan. The legislative session convenes Jan. 8.

Records indicate that in creating a nine-member panel that’s now ironing out major changes to state campaign laws, the Cuomo administration quietly inserted a provision that allowed state Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs, a longstanding critic of fusion voting, to be appointed by the governor.

Speaking this weekend at the Columbus Citizens Foundation Gala, Cuomo pledged his “full support” for a statue of Saint Frances Cabrini — in what attendees described as a “slap in the face” to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for the controversial snub.

A lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany on Friday is the fourth civil action to accuse former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard of child sex abuse.

A cut in state funding for homeless shelters has some New York organizations scrambling to make up the difference.

The state Senate’s Democratic majority next week will kick off a series of education funding roundtables across the state, followed by a rare public hearing in New York City, during which lawmakers will hear from stakeholders on how the decade-old system can be improved.

Convicted sex offenders at Central New York Psychiatric Center are joining a political action committee, which could conceivably raise money for candidates they favor and serve as a vehicle to mobilize voters. They hope to form a voting bloc where they could back state – and even local candidates – based in Oneida County.

Advocates are pushing back against law enforcement criticisms of new criminal justice reforms. ‘

New research reveals you will pay more to be buried or cremated in or near New York City — particularly in the Hamptons and other parts of Long Island.

State AG Tish James won’t appeal court decisions that overturned the outside income ban for New York lawmakers.

A federal judge in New York has temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule from taking effect nationwide.

Police are investigating a knife assault early yesterday morning at the Union Inn in Schenectady.

Troy police blocked off a large portion of 5th Avenue yesterday afternoon as part of an investigation in to a shooting.

The former Hoosick Falls bus driver who was charged this past week with inappropriately touching children was previously suspended for how he broke up an alleged bullying incident in 2014.

Authorities in Troy continue to investigate a body found along the Hudson River bank near the Ingalls Avenue Boat Launch.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is amending required registration documents due to last year’s tragic limo crash in Schoharie.

A concerned mom is warning about a New York bill that would require children to get the HPV vaccine before they could attend school.

Food and drink are still being sold with CBD in New York City, months after health officials banned restaurants and cafes from selling edibles spiked with or accompanied by the trendy cannabis derivative because of safety concerns.

With just days left before the NYC Council takes a vote on de Blasio’s plan to close Rikers Island, supporters of the proposal are turning up the pressure.

Gunfire broke out inside an illegal gambling club in Brooklyn early Saturday, police said, leaving four people dead, three wounded, and investigators trying to piece together what prompted the bloodshed.

Barney Greengrass, the 111-year-old restaurant and Jewish deli, whose sturgeon was mailed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was closed by the Health Department and ordered to clean up violations, including mouse droppings and roaches. The owner hopes to reopen soon.

Five rappers with New York roots were removed from the local edition of the traveling hip-hop festival Rolling Loud, scheduled for this past weekend in Queens, at the behest of the New York Police Department.

Adam Neumann, the ousted founder of the company WeWork, once said there would be WeLive apartments around the globe. But now, it has only two sites and is under investigation.

Simone Biles is the greatest gymnast of our time – or any time in history. She proved that yesterday at the World Championships, where she raked in her 24th and 25th world medals, both gold.

The R-rated comic book villain origin story “Joker” had a phenomenal second weekend at the box office, topping the charts once more over newcomers such as the animated “The Addams Family” and the Will Smith action pic “Gemini Man.”

This is concerning.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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