Good morning, CivMixers. It’s Tuesday, and I’ve gone down the internet rabbit hole, compliments of our good friend Wikipedia.
I Googled “Nov. 26” and came up with the following:
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln proclaims November 26 as a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated annually on the final Thursday of November. Following the Franksgiving controversy from 1939 to 1941, it has been observed on the fourth Thursday in 1942 and subsequent years. And this is why Thanksgiving moves around, falling somewhere between November 22 and 28, but never on the month’s last two days.
“Franksgiving” controversy? What? There’s something I didn’t learn in school. (Or, at least I have no recollection of learning it, like so many other things). Turns out, this is actually a thing.
In 1939, FDR moved the Thanksgiving holiday one week earlier than normal, believing that doing so would help bolster retail sales during one of the final years of the Great Depression.
Upheaval and protest promptly ensued. There was a Hitler reference and political opponents publicly denounced the president. (Sound familiar?) This all led some to deride the holiday as “Franksgiving” – was a portmanteau of “Franklin” and “Thanksgiving.” The term was coined by Atlantic City mayor Charles D. White.
Something else I discovered while noodling around the interwebs: One this day in 1825, a group of students at Schenectady’s Union College formed the Kappa Alpha Society – the first college social fraternity.
And so ends today’s history lesson. You’re welcome.
Oh, one more thing: It’s National Cake Day.
On to today’s Sagittarius birthdays, which include: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Tina Turner (79), music producer DJ Khaled (43), pop singer Rita Ora (28), Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes (35), and actor Peter Facinelli (45).
Also, cartoonist Charles Schulz (of “Peanuts” fame) was born on this day in 1922. He died of a heart attack on Feb. 12, 2000.
On the weather front, it’s going to be downright balmy today, with temperatures reaching up into the mid-50s in the Albany area. There will be intervals of clouds and sunshine. If you’re heading downstate today (raises hand), you might not even want to bother with that jacket, as the high temperature will flirt with 60 degrees.
BTW, regarding the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and whether high winds will ground its famous balloons: Officials say it’s still too early to tell, though high winds are expected on Thursday morning.
In other news…
A federal judge ordered former White House counsel Donald McGahn to appear before Congress – a setback to President Donald Trump’s effort to keep his top aides from testifying that could lead to renewed efforts by House Democrats to compel other high-ranking administration officials to testify.
Trump defended his decision to sack Navy Secretary Richard Spencer for his handling of SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s disciplinary review, saying he will always have the backs of those who serve — except for deserters like Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
An impeachment report from the House Intelligence Committee could come as early as next week.
David Pecker, the head of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, reportedly has spoken with prosecutors with the New York district attorney’s office as part of its investigation into the Trump Organization’s handling of hush money payments to women who alleged affairs with Trump.
The most consistent theme of the day from Mike Bloomberg’s first in-person appearance in Virginia as a presidential candidate was not the size of the crowd but the size of how much he’s spent on building political good will.
A judge set an April 20 trial date for Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, two jail guards accused of failing to make required checks on Jeffrey Epstein the morning he died.
Lawyers for the guards suggested in court that their clients were being made into scapegoats for larger problems in the federal prison system that contributed to Epstein’s death.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was deluged with hate mail following the collapse of his $3 billion deal to build a giant Amazon headquarters in Queens — with many of the missives mocking the fact he’d been bested by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who in 2015 released a 20-year economic development plan to boost tourism and employment, said that “the loss of Amazon made our job tougher — no doubt.”
A commission recommended stricter campaign contribution limits for donors to statewide and legislative campaigns while instituting a new public matching funds program. But the changes won’t kick in until 2026, which means Cuomo can continue collecting donations of up to $70,000 for a 2022 re-election campaign.
…lower campaign contributions limits of $10,000 for the Senate and $6,000 for Assembly wouldn’t kick in until 2024, so incumbents and challengers have two more election cycles to collect higher donations — $19,300 for Senate races and $9,400 for Assembly races.
What drew most attention was the commission’s decision, despite an outcry from activists, to raise the number of votes needed for minor parties to maintain a ballot position from 50,000 every four years to 130,000 every two.
In 2018, the Conservative Party was the only third party to receive more than 130,000 votes in the New York governor’s race; the Working Families Party, with Cuomo at the top of their ticket, received some 114,000.
The commission’s decisions become law unless rejected by the Legislature within 20 days.
State GOP Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy said the state Legislature should hold a special session next month to overturn the commission’s plan that he says threatens the viability of minor parties.
A 17-year-old Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School student faces multiple felony charges after he secretly filmed himself having sex with a 16-year-old female student in the boys’ locker room, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple’s office said.
A Niskayuna development’s dog poop DNA testing program as a “pick up after your pet” tactic is not a joke. In fact, it mirrors existing programs in Latham and Saratoga Springs.
Finding a parking spot in downtown Saratoga Springs, which is already a challenge, has become a little more difficult as a result of construction…on a new parking garage.
The Troy Uniform Firefighters Association president is raising concerns about the staffing in the Troy Fire Department.
Foie gras will be illegal in the five boroughs of NYC by 2022, compliments of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The NYC Council today will consider bills to regulate the distribution and enforcement of the placards, including one to let the NYPD yank permits from cops and other officials who use them to park illegally.
New York City warned FedEx to “terminate” any operation of its delivery robots in the Big Apple, after a fleet of the androids were spotted rolling around lower Manhattan last week.
The onetime executive director of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has been busted for pocketing more than $500,000 in church funds, according to prosecutors.
A prominent downtown Schenectady building has been deemed dangerous by the city after bricks recently became dislodged and rained down onto the pavement below.
The rail company that has operated on the rail tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake may yet challenge a state proposal to replace the 34 miles of track with an off-road recreation trail.
The dog who chewed off her own leg in Otsego County had a home visit yesterday with her future forever home.
RIP Alfred E. Smith IV, who sustained the legacy of his great-grandfather, Al Smith, the New York governor known as “the Happy Warrior,” by good-naturedly ribbing presidential aspirants and other potentates as the master of ceremonies at an annual white-tie charity dinner. He died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 68.
Photo credit: George Fazio.