Rise and Shine: Nov. 8, 2019

IT’S FRIDAY!

Just had to get that one off my chest.

Good morning, CivMixers. I hope you all survived the great November storm of 2019 that…really wasn’t after all. There were a few flakes mixed with rain in most of the Capital Region, though reportedly there was more of the white stuff out in the Hilltowns.

Of course, your reality really all depends on where you’re located. They’ve been getting snow up in the ‘dacks for some time now. Also, there could be some patchy black ice on the roads in some places, so exercise caution on that morning commute.

As for today, it’s going to be chilly, with high temperatures only in the mid-30s. There will be intermittent sun, and perhaps a flurry or snow shower two, according to The Weather Channel. The wind chill factor could make things feel quite a bit colder.

In short, it’s time to break out the scarf, hat and gloves. You can’t fool yourself any longer. Winter is well on its way – if not already here, (though not technically speaking).

It’s National Cappuccino Day and also National Harvey Wallbanger Day, so pick your poison. (In case you’re wondering, like I was, the Harvey Wallbanger is a mix of vodka, orange juice and Galliano, and it was one of the preeminent drinks of the 1970s. Why is it called what it’s called? To go down the internet rabbit hole on that one, click here).

It’s also National STEM/STEAM Day, which was created to inspire kids to explore and pursue their interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

On this day in 2016, Donald Trump was elected as 45th president of the United States. I’ll just leave that one here for you to think about.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is celebrating his 52nd birthday today. He shares his day with actress Parker Posey (50), actress Tara Reid (43), journalist David Muir (45), rapper Tech N9ne (47) and others.

The big news of the last 24 hours is that another New Yorker might be running for president.

Remember when former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg said he wasn’t going to run in 2020, even though he believed he could beat Donald Trump? Yeah, well, he has apparently has had a change of heart and is actively preparing to enter the Democratic presidential primary.

The 77-year-old billionaire is expected to file paperwork this week designating himself as a candidate in at least one state with an early filing deadline: Alabama.

For the record, Bloomberg has prepared to enter presidential races before, in 2016 and then earlier this year, only to pull back in the end. Yet in those flirtations with the presidency, he has never taken the step of filing to put his name on a state ballot.

Advisers to Bloomberg said he has not made a final decision about running and would likely do so within days, rather than weeks. But even if he enters the race almost immediately, it would likely be impossible for him to qualify for the next debate on Nov. 20. The deadline is just six days away.

Bloomberg switched his enrollment from Democrat to Republican to run for mayor of NYC and then became an independent. He never actually ran on the Democratic line in the three times he won City Hall in Manhattan, so not everyone in the party is enthusiastic about the idea of him in the 2020 field. Said AG Tish James:

“Obviously, there is going to be a lot of excitement, there’s buzz in this room with regards to former mayor of the city of New York Michael Bloomberg getting into this race. We’ll see if this country has an appetite for another billionaire.”

The big question is how much of his own copious fortune Bloomberg might spend in an effort to oust his fellow New Yorker (until recently, anyway).

Bloomberg spent more than $110 million backing Democrats during the 2018 congressional midterms. The gun control group he backs, Everytown for Gun Safety, spent $2.5 million in Virginia alone this year. This past July, he launched Beyond Carbon, a $500 million group that advocates for energy reform.

In other news…

George P. Kent, the senior State Department official in charge of Ukraine told impeachment investigators last month he was alarmed at President Trump’s insistence that Ukraine “initiate politically motivated prosecutions,” casting the effort as the kind of tactic the U.S. typically condemns in the world’s most corrupt countries.

House Democrats have subpoenaed acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in their impeachment probe, demanding his testimony today as they investigate Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Mulvaney isn’t expected to appear, as the White House instructed its officials not to comply with the investigation.

The U.S. and China have agreed that an initial trade deal between the two countries would roll back a portion of the tariffs they are placing on each other’s products, officials from both countries said, a significant step toward defusing tensions between the world’s largest economies.

An appearance by Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, the Fox News host turned Trump campaign adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle, on ABC’s “The View” to promote his new book quickly spiraled out of control as he and the show’s politically outspoken hosts traded shouts and accusations that spilled over into the partisan echo chamber of social media.

While his brother Donald Trump Jr. was being grilled uptown by the hosts of “The View,” the president’s second son, Eric, was able to give lighthearted answers as a potential juror during voir dire in a felony weapons-possession case.

A forthcoming book by an anonymous author identified only as “a senior official in the Trump administration” describes the president as volatile, incompetent and unfit to be commander in chief, according to excerpts published today.

The Trump Administration has proposed a rule change that would remove protections for LGBTQ families who want to adopt or provide other services to children.

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he’s entering the race for his old Alabama Senate seat.

Hillary Clinton this week said she hoped for a return to “boring, normal times” after the 2020 election, voicing skepticism of her party’s populist wing and predicting that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal for single-payer health care would never get enacted.

With Mexican soldiers standing guard, a mother and two sons were carried to the grave in hand-hewn pine coffins yesterday at the first funeral for the victims of a drug cartel ambush that left nine American women and children dead.

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin has proposed a 12 percent increase in the county salary for one of his chief Republican political operatives, Jim Gordon, according to the county’s tentative budget for 2020.

Parents are unhappy that the Mechanicville School Board has decided to end its practice of transporting him and 25 other children living in the district to the area private and parochial schools they attend.

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo drove Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1932 Packard across the new Northway exit to Albany International Airport on Wednesday, it wasn’t the first time the vintage convertible had played a role in airport history.

At the Somos Conference in San Juan, Cuomo announced that he and his three daughters will spend the Thanksgiving holiday in Puerto Rico to help boost tourism on the American island that was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

The Albany Police Department plans to reduce the number of neighborhood engagement units, or beats – from 18 areas to 10 – as part of the department’s larger reorganization to help address imbalances in staffing and safeguard the department from shortages in the future.

More than a year and a half after a majority of Albany Medical Center nurses voted to unionize, a contingent of nurses has begun circulating a petition to decertify the results.

A former U.S. Postal Service employee in Albany is accused of stealing from packages sent through the mail system, federal authorities.

The start of classes at Troy High School was delayed by two hours yesterday morning while the staff dealt with issues from the construction of a ceiling on the third floor of the building.

Warren County has the highest overall cancer rates in New York, according to new state data. Cuomo is now putting nearly $700,000 in grant funding toward providing education and resources to the county.

Maple Avenue Extension in Amsterdam will be dedicated to a New York State trooper today. Sgt. Jeremy VanNostrand died in November 2018 when his vehicle was rear-ended on his way to work in Fonda.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants federal help to battle algae blooms upstate.

Troy mayoral candidate Rodney Wiltshire took to Facebook to officially concede the race to incumbent Mayor Patrick Madden.

The judge’s decision yesterday put a temporary injunction on Medicaid formula changes that nursing home advocates say would jeopardize $352 million in state and federal funding.

The U.S. Department of Education currently has two open investigations at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for possible discrimination under Title IX – one for sexual harassment, the other for sexual violence.

The federal watchdog for NYCHA signed off on the agency’s plan to use $450 million in state aid to replace decrepit boilers and elevators in its developments, officials said.

The woman who climbed into the Bronx Zoo’s lion den shouted “shalom” and exclaimed her devotion to Allah and Jehovah in a wild arraignment in Bronx criminal court early this morning.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was harvested in Florida, NY and will be erected in its new home tomorrow.

Six current and former NYPD employees are accused of steering car accident victims to specific health clinics, doctors and lawyers in exchange for kickbacks.

A new digital ad takes aim at the “Long Island Six,” the half-dozen Democratic senators from Long Island, most of whom won their seats just last year from Republicans, saying they’re not progressive enough.

The vaping industry has dropped its federal lawsuit challenging Massachusetts’ temporary ban on the sale of vaping products while a separate suit advances in state court.

The sommelier Anthony Cailan, 29, who was a rising star in the wine world, has resigned from the downtown Manhattan hotel where he worked, after a New York Times report last week in which several women said he had sexually assaulted them.

Plans are moving forward for the demolition and replacement of a McDonald’s restaurant on upper Union Street that would feature a sleeker, more modern design.

The Montgomery County Business Development Center received a check for $300,000 from National Grid this week, part of a grant to help pay for the cost of remediating the eastern side of the former Beech-Nut baby food plant in Canajoharie.

If you woke up yesterday to a weird text that seemed totally out of place, you aren’t alone. A mysterious wave of missives swept America’s phones overnight, delivering largely unintelligible messages from friends, family and the occasional ex.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area held its annual Futures Gala last night at the Franklin Plaza in Troy. This year’s theme was Superheroes Unmasked.

MetLife Stadium officials said the search for the fleet black feline that briefly delayed the nationally televised game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys on Monday night has been unsuccessful.

Listen up, women runners.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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