Good Wednesday morning, CivMixers. The action is all down in D.C. today, where the House marks a new phase in only the fourth impeachment inquiry in U.S. history as public hearings begin with high drama and even higher stakes.

The risks are enormous for everyone involved.

The hearings are scheduled to star at 10 a.m. Expect a lot of rhetoric and posturing before they get down to business. (Oh, OK, that’s like to continue throughout this whole mess).

The first witnesses before the House Intelligence Committee will be Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat for Ukraine and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

After opening statements, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chair, and Devin Nunes, the committee’s ranking Republican member, who’s also from California, will each be given 45 minutes to ask questions. Then other lawmakers will be allowed to question the witnesses.

The witnesses reportedly will emphasize the “simple abuse of power case” and illustrate the damage that abuse has caused. Republican lawmakers are expected to focus on the witnesses’ lack of direct interaction with the president while giving credence to a debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine and not Russia that meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

There are 13 Democrats – including New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney – and nine Republicans – including New York Rep. Elise Stefanik – on the committee.

The hearing will take place in the House Ways and Means Committee hearing room because the Intelligence Committee doesn’t have its own hearing room. This is the same room where Hillary Clinton testified before the Benghazi Committee for more than eight hours in 2015.

House Democrats yesterday unveiled a new slate of witnesses scheduled to appear in public hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry next week, with eight officials set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee over the course of three days.

The committee will hold two hearings on Tuesday, Nov. 19, and two on Wednesday, Nov. 20. A single hearing will be held on Thursday, Nov. 21.

President Donald Trump is expected to watch some of the impeachment inquiry hearings on TV today, White House officials said.

The administration plans to “react in real time” with a “rapid response” on TV, radio, in print, with digital efforts (which, of course, will include Twitter). Expect the White House to focus on the “incredibly unfair process” the president believes the Democrats are employing.

This will be the first test of how the modern media environment handles a public viewing of impeachment. It’s a very different media landscape than what existed during the Nixon-era Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

In other news…

The weather is still making headlines, with near record-low temperatures expected to continue. In Buffalo, nearly nine inches of snow broke a 77-year old record.

Expect sun today, with a high of 30 degrees and an overnight low of 19 degrees. (Yikes). It will be cloudy tonight and tomorrow, according to The Weather Channel.

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for relatives of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims to sue the Remington Arms Company, the maker of the rifle used in the massacre.

A bare majority of the U.S. Supreme Court appeared likely yesterday to let the Trump administration follow through on its plan to shut down DACA, the federal program that has allowed nearly 800,000 young people, known as “dreamers,” to avoid deportation and remain in the U.S.

…With hundreds of DACA supporters rallying outside — so many that police shut down the street in front of the Supreme Court — the justices heard nearly an hour and a half of oral arguments.

A federal judge in Washington State blocked the Trump administration from allowing blueprints for making plastic guns on 3-D printers to be posted on the internet, ruling that the move violated federal procedures.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is due to testify today in Congress about the outlook for the U.S. economy, giving his perspective two weeks after the Fed cut interest rates for a third time this year.

Personal attacks motivated by bias or prejudice reached a 16-year high in 2018, the F.B.I. said, with a significant upswing in violence against Latinos outpacing a drop in assaults targeting Muslims and Arab-Americans.

Trump says a ban on flavored vaping products, who was proposed two months ago amid an outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses across the country, will be rolled out this week.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has rocketed to the front of the Democratic pack in the hotly contested Iowa caucuses, a new survey released yesterday shows.

The Albany County Legislature failed last night to muster the 20 votes needed to pass a controversial ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products throughout the county.

In a 22-to-14 vote, the Albany County Legislature did manage to agree on opting in on the state’s five cent bag fee.

The Antiques Warehouse in Troy is closing and the building where it has been housed for the past 14 years is for sale.

A small band from the newly formed Upstate Constitutional Coalition came out to City Hall in Glens Falls last night to protest the city’s proposed law that aims to keep the peace during the city’s increasingly combative political rallies.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is preparing to offer legislation that would place PFAS under control of the federal Clean Water Act.

Well before GOP Rep. Peter King announced that he would retire next year, enough evidence existed that his prospects for re-election were narrowing. Like so many suburban areas around the country, Long Island is undergoing a profound political shift – a transformation evident in the voter rolls, in the county seats, in recent election tallies and in census data.

As the federal push for a $15 minimum wage gains momentum, local examples in New York offer insight into how a hefty wage increase might work and whether concerns that higher pay could lead to job or income losses for vulnerable workers are justified.

A city of Troy man serving a 25-year prison sentence, Ariel Myers, 28, is seeking a fourth trial to overturn his 2014 conviction for shooting a man in the head outside his home in 2009, according to Rensselaer County Court records.

The Pulitzer Prize winning book “Evicted” tells a story of tenants, poverty, landlords and profit in Milwaukee in 2008 and 2009, but for tenant advocate Laura Felts, it was like reading the notes from cases she handles every day in Albany.

Eviction numbers are particularly hard to track and gather in New York.

The Schenectady County Legislature again approved a resolution to continue supporting the former employees of St. Clare’s hospital, who are still fighting for their pensions.

New Yorkers summoned for jury duty will soon no longer have to describe themselves as just “male” or “female.” The state court system plans to add four new categories — transgender, nonbinary, intersex and other — to the anonymous demographic survey that’s distributed to all potential jurors who report for service.

The sprinkler system at the Harlem building where a blaze killed a firefighter during filming on Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn” had been tampered with, according to a lawyer for the man’s widow.

The MTA’s construction chief said the transit authority is just beginning to examine why it costs more money to build a subway in New York than other major cities.

NYC collected just $10,000 in fines against landlords for violating its strict lead laws since 2004 — a less-than-1 percent-sliver of the nearly $2 million in penalties handed out, according to a damning new report.

For the first time in its long history, The Financial Times will be led by a woman: Roula Khalaf, a 24-year veteran of the venerable paper based in the UK.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, was scheduled to set sail from Hampton, Va. this morning en route for the next round of United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Spain. It’s much sooner than she had planned, but not before she makes her mark in the United States.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and three of his collaborators on “Hamilton,” seeking to breathe new life into the cherished but challenged Midtown retailer, the Drama Bookshop, said they will reopen it in the spring on West 39th Street, in a garment district storefront just a block south from its previous location.

Disney’s brand-new streaming service Disney Plus suffered some technical difficulties after its launch yesterday.

The cast of the long-running daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives” have been released from their contract, with the program set to go on indefinite hiatus at the end of November.

Dean Foods, America’s biggest milk producer, filed for bankruptcy, blaming a decadeslong drop in milk consumption that has seen people turn to alternatives like soda, juice and almond milk.

Photo credit: George Fazio.