I have just two words for you this Thursday morning, CivMixers: Hanging chads.

Yeah. That brings those of us of a certain age back, doesn’t it?

On this day in 2000, Republican George W. Bush became president-elect over former Democratic Vice President Al Gore as a divided U.S. Supreme Court reversed a state court decision for recounts in Florida’s contested election.

Also, on this day in 1915, singer Frank Sinatra was born. He died on May 14, 1998 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA after suffering a heart attack.

Still with us and celebrating a birthday today is actress Mayim Bialik, who is turning 44, actress Jennifer Connelly (49), TV game show host Bob Barker (96), and gospel singer Dionne Warwick (79).

We’ll have sunshine and clouds today, with temperatures in the low 30s, according to The Weather Channel.

In the news…

The House Judiciary Committee opened debate on two articles of impeachment against President Trump, starting a somber and deeply partisan confrontation over Democrats’ charges that the president abused his power and obstructed Congress.

Democrats said they had a clear-cut case against Trump and were determined to hold him to account for his actions. Republicans accused Democrats of trying to “overturn the results of an election,” of being blinded by their hatred of the president and, yes, of his supporters and their “way of life.”

The state inspector general’s office is investigating the State Police’s handling of an internal probe that ended earlier this year with no charges being filed against members of a federal drug task force in New York City who were alleged to have padded their overtime or used government vehicles for personal use.

A lawyer for Jeffrey Epstein’s estate said he is disappointed that women who say the financier sexually attacked them aren’t suspending lawsuits to join a special compensation fund, but an attorney for one woman says lawsuits are the better route, at least for now.

A state judge increased bail for Harvey Weinstein after prosecutors said he had mishandled his electronic ankle monitor, causing it to stop transmitting dozens of times and leaving prosecutors with no idea of where he was.

A tentative $25 million settlement revealed yesterday to end nearly every sexual misconduct lawsuit brought against Weinstein and his former film studio’s board was praised by a plaintiff and some lawyers but criticized by others who say those who opt out are punished.

One of the “Black Hebrew Israelite” killers who targeted a Jewish grocery store in Jersey City left behind a handwritten note that said: “I do this because my creator makes me do this and I hate who he hates,” law enforcement sources told The NY Post.

Thousands of mourners showed up in Brooklyn and New Jersey last night for the funerals of two of the victims killed the Jersey City shootout.

Michael D. Cohen, the disgraced lawyer and former fixed for Trump who is imprisoned at Otisville, portrayed himself as a broken man in a letter to a federal judge and asked the court to allow him to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said that his lengthy investigation into the origins of the probe into Russia and Trump’s campaign didn’t vindicate the former FBI chief James Comey — or anyone else.

Rensselaer County Child Protective Services has not yet turned over records to detectives about the 6-week-old boy the agency was responsible for supervising – more than a week after the infant died from ingesting methamphetamine, city police said.

Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger will lead a prayer service at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, for survivors of sex abuse. The service, held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 125 Eagle St., will be open to the public.

An email from Albany Medical Center CEO James Barba sent to hospital staff this week has incited strong reactions and highlighted the growing tension between hospital management and the union elected to represent its nurses.

Nearly a third of New York’s state Senate Republicans are calling it quits ahead of the 2020 election, ceding ground to Democrats keen on pushing the Empire State further to the left.

Gary Greenberg, a longtime activist who spearheaded the push for two laws supporting survivors of child sex abuse, will run for the state Senate seat soon to be vacated by Republican Sen. George Amedore, setting the stage for a three-way Democratic primary in June.

State GOP Chair Nick Langworthy is suing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Board of Elections, claiming that by not calling for a special election to fill the vacant NY-27 seat, Cuomo has denied approximately 750,000 residents their right to representation in the House.

Middle-income earners and working class New Yorkers should not take the brunt of closing a $6.1 billion budget gap, but there’s a “discussion to be had” over whether richer people should be asked to pay more, Deputy Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris said.

Despite a temporary restraining order on New York State’s flavored e-cigarette ban, the Public Health and Health Planning Council is expected to vote today on an extension.

Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have conducted a feasibility study on making five years old as the mandatory age for starting kindergarten.

A federal lawsuit filed in Albany this week alleges widespread sex trafficking at dozens of Motel 6 locations across the country, including one in the Capital Region: the Motel 6 location at 1600 Central Avenue in the Town of Colonie.

Newly obtained documents set to be released today are expected to shed some light on the St. Clare’s Hospital pension shortfall.

The defense team representing the business operator charged in the deadly limousine crash in Schoharie still does not have all of the grand jury material and evidence promised by the district attorney for a November 15 deadline.

Tessa Majors, 18, a freshman at Barnard University, was stabbed to death in an upper Manhattan park by a group men who had tried to rob her, police said.

A 2-year-old boy was fatally hit by a subway train in Lower Manhattan after he became separated from his mother at one of New York City’s busiest stations during the evening commute, officials said.

A New York City program that relocates its homeless to other cities around the country is drawing fire from Marietta, Georgia leaders who say they learned it was happening from a newspaper article.

Former Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota wielded “immense power” and would do anything to protect it — even cover up for a police chief pal who beat a prisoner for stealing his stash of porn, prosecutors said as his federal corruption trial wound down yesterday.

Local officials gathered yesterday morning for a ceremony to mark the opening of the $82 million Knick apartment building, which occupies the former home of the Times Union and Knickerbocker News. The project at 16 Sheridan Ave., by Redburn Development, includes 132 apartments.

If you’re look for some temporary work in the Capital Region, the U.S. Census Bureau is holding a big job fair today at the Watervliet Public Library.

Some significant Adirondack projects are on hold until a court clarifies how many trees can be legally cut in the state forest preserve.

Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro is looking for extras for “Nightmare Alley,” a 1940s remake to be filmed in Buffalo early next year.

Photo credit: George Fazio.