While You Were Out: Oct. 22, 2019

I’ve got to cut out early this afternoon, CivMixers. Some not-so-happy personal business to attend to, and the weather is gray – just like my mood. The rain looks like it will start somewhere in the 8 o’clock hour, so I hope you all get home safe and dry before the heavens open.

This photo of people with their furry companions is making me smile – just a little. I love dogs living their best lives in the park.

I’ll be back bright and early tomorrow morning. In the meantime, some headlines…

President Donald Trump triggered outrage by comparing the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry to a lynching, assigning the horrors of a deadly and racist chapter in U.S. history to a process laid out in the Constitution.

Former U.S. Ambassador William Taylor, a diplomat who has sharply questioned Trump’s policy on Ukraine, has provided lawmakers with a “disturbing” account of events at the center of the impeachment probe, Democrats said.

With doubts growing about the current 2020 field, Democratic leaders are engaging in a familiar rite: fretting about who is in the race and longing for a white knight to enter the contest at the last minute.

Today WeWork agreed to hand over control to its lead investor, SoftBank Group, which now has the awesome task of trying to turn the red-ink-gushing office-subleasing firm into a viable business.

The author of the infamous New York Times anonymous op-ed who claimed to be part of the “resistance” within the Trump administration is coming out with a book next month, which will also be published anonymously.

Federal prosecutors brought new bribery charges against the actress Lori Loughlin and 10 other parents who have pleaded not guilty in the college admissions case, signaling an effort to increase the potential consequences for parents who intend to fight the accusations.

New York’s Medicaid program is on track for a $2.9 billion shortfall, potentially complicating next year’s state budget. The program has already spent more than 60 percent of its state-funded budget by the end of September, based on a cash report released this week by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office. ​

California and New York City sued the U.S. Postal Service to stop tens of thousands of cigarette packages from being mailed from foreign countries to U.S. residents, saying the smugglers are engaging in tax evasion while postal workers look the other way.

After four years of legal sparring and finger-pointing, New York’s lawsuit against Exxon Mobil is finally underway.

Former President Jimmy Carter had another fall at his home in Plains, Georgia, fracturing his pelvis and going to the hospital for treatment and observation, a spokeswoman said.

New state Department of Transportation emails released in the Schoharie limousine crash criminal case reveal that the Hussain family had tried unsuccessfully to obtain the proper operating authority from the DOT for their small limousine business, Prestige Limousine.

The crash of a limousine last year in Schoharie that killed 20 people was caused by a cataclysmic malfunction of the vehicle’s brakes due to long-time neglect, a forensic expert hired by the State Police wrote in a report earlier this year.

Slingerlands estate lawyer Albert Hessberg III ripped off more than $2 million from unsuspecting clients and his firm, but he’s got a friend in brother-in-law James Taylor and many members of Albany’s legal establishment.

Republicans in the state Senate criticized the commission determining how a system of publicly financed campaigns will work in New York as the Democratic Suffolk County executive pushed the panel to curtail fusion voting in the state.

A painting stolen by Nazis in 1933 from the descendants of a German publisher and philanthropist was seized recently by the FBI from the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie.

A bill that will increase special benefits for family members after the accidental deaths of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Another bill approved by Cuomo aims to boost state funding for public library in economically struggling communities.

MTA subway boss Andy Byford today addressed reports that he briefly resigned from his post this month amid tensions with Gov. Andrew Cuomo — saying he had unspecified “concerns” but insisting he is now “here to stay.”

A 25-year-old Ballston Spa woman has sued the maker of Juul electronic cigarettes, alleging she was misled about the health risks of vaping devices and has suffered a lung disease because of it.

The Monroe County Republican Committee has made a formal complaint to the state Board of Elections, alleging illegal coordination between the Democratic candidate for district attorney and a political action committee connected to billionaire Democratic donor George Soros.

Eleven Republican women running for Congress are getting a boost from the PAC of NY-21 Rep. Elise Stefanik this cycle, after E-PAC announced its first slate of endorsements this morning.

The Capital Region’s jobless rate rose to 3.4 percent of the workforce in August from 3.3 percent a year earlier, the state Labor Department reported.

A Manhattan judge sentenced two members of the right-wing Proud Boys group to four years in prison for pummeling leftist Antifa members during a brawl on the Upper East Side.

State Police hope the public can help them find whomever smashed car windows parked in the lot to the popular Vroman’s Nose hiking area off of Route 30.

RIP Judith Johnson, a Hudson Valley educator and member of the state Board of Regents since 2015.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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