Rise and Shine: Dec. 19, 2019

Good Thursday morning, CivMixers. The big news: Voting nearly along party lines, the House approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, making him the third president in history to face removal by the U.S. Senate.

…the votes on the two articles of impeachment fell largely along party lines, after a bitter debate that stretched into the evening and reflected the deep polarization gripping American politics in the Trump era.

At a press conference following the House’s vote last night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced a measure of uncertainty to the process, seemeing to suggest managers would not be named until Senate Republicans agreed to a “fair” process, which could result in a delay in the transmission of articles of impeachment to that chamber.

Pelosi had ordered her colleagues not to gloat when the impeachment articles passed, and wore a funereal black dress to what she repeatedly called the “solemn” proceedings.

The president attacked U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, of New York, during a campaign rally in Michigan, claiming the Democrat used to “kiss his ass” in the past when Trump was a supporter.

Moments after the House passed the articles of impeachment against him, the president told rally attendees that the vote was an attempt to “nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans.” (Trump won Michigan in 2016, and the state is crucial to his re-election effort).

Schumer and Pelosi plan to meet today to discuss strategy for the Senate impeachment trial amid a debate over whether Democrats should hold back the articles of impeachment.

Meanwhile, today lawmakers are scheduled to deliberate and likely pass a major bipartisan trade agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement – the United States Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Perhaps in sort of a metaphor for what’s happening in D.C., it’s going to be VERY cold in the Albany area today. As I write this, it’s just 11 degrees, and though there’s going to be plenty of sunshine, the high temperature is only likely to hit 21 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.

A wind chill advisory remains in effect for parts of the region through 10 a.m.

Another potential metaphor: On this day in 1997, the movie “Titanic” – one of the highest-grossing movies of all-time – opened in American theaters, staring Kate Winslet (Rose DeWitt) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Jack Dawson).

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal is turning 39 today. He shares his big day with actress/activist Alyssa Milano (47) and model Tyson Beckford (49). Also born today (in 1915): french singer Edith Piaf, whose music “was often autobiographical and…specialized in chanson and torch ballads about love, loss and sorrow.” She died of liver cancer in October 1963.

In non-impeachment news…

A federal appeals court struck down a central provision of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that the requirement that people have health insurance was unconstitutional. But the panel did not invalidate the rest of the law, sending the case back to a federal district judge in Texas for “a more searching inquiry.”

Trump called Boeing’s chief executive on Sunday to discuss the company’s plans to halt production of the 737 Max, according to three people with knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk about a private call.

The Trump administration, eager to show progress on prescription drug costs, moved forward on its plan to allow Americans to safely and legally get access to lower-priced medicines from abroad.

Here in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans on creating a new commission to study the process of legally and safely importing drugs from the Canadian market as part of his 2020 State of the State proposal.

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg dumped on his Democratic 2020 rival Joe Biden, saying the former vice president is not qualified to be president because he’s never run anything.

State judges in New York won’t get a pay raise next year after members of a panel created by the Legislature to evaluate such an increase declined to grant one yesterday, citing a looming $6.1 billion budget deficit. The decision marks the first time in nearly a decade the judges will be paid the same amount as the year before.

Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger led a prayer service for survivors of sex abuse at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception that was attended by about 40 people.

Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman, the 40-year-old former director of operations for Keith Raniere’s cult-like organization NXIVM, is requesting an adjournment of her Jan. 8 sentencing in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, according to a filing late yesterday.

A new pro-criminal defendants’ law that kicks in January is turning into a costly injustice to taxpayers, local government officials fume.

Cuomo signed legislation raising the limit on what small claims court can address from $5,000 to $10,000.

By the time Schenectady Democrats met Saturday to discuss the issue, City Councilman John Mootooveren had already secured enough votes from fellow Democrats to become the new city council president.

Two weeks after 6-week-old Eli Ojeda-Harmon died of an apparent drug overdose in his crib, his tiny body remains unclaimed in the morgue at Ellis Hospital, an Albany County coroner said.

Police are investigating a possible stabbing in Rensselaer.

Also in Rensselaer, two minors were taken into custody, accused of stealing cars, crashing one into a building.

The Bronx teenager who became the first person in New York to die of a vaping-related illness in October was identified as Denis Byrne, Jr., 17, a Catholic school student who had just graduated.

A longtime state employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said workers in Troy are “really afraid” after a massive concrete beam came crashing to the ground at the Uncle Sam Parking Garage on Saturday morning.

A “gang-related” fight broke out in the halls of Schenectady High School on Monday morning, leaving at least six students potentially facing longterm suspensions, according to school district officials.

Water rates are going up in Niskayuna.

People who live in Schodack say they are watching as the Amazon Distribution center is going up fast, and wondering where the promised sound wall went.

Incredible time-lapse footage shows the snow squall that hit New York City yesterday, appearing to swallow up skyscrapers and causing whiteout conditions, before swiftly disappearing.

Amid public backlash, the MTA board voted to approve the agency’s $17 billion 2020 budget, which includes the controversial hiring of 500 new MTA police officers to combat fare evasion, address the system’s homeless issues and deter assaults against transit workers.

Jewish parents of students at the elite Fieldston School in Riverdale are fuming over what they say is growing anti-Semitism on campus and a failure on the part of the administration to call out it out, according to an article published yesterday.

Yesterday marked the 5th anniversary of the death of Kenneth White, a 5-year-old boy was murdered by his cousin in December of 2014.

A Long Island man was found guilty for driving drunk and plowing into a group of hiking Boy Scouts last year and killing a 12-year-old.

Amazon removed the FedEx Ground option on Prime orders this week, saying the ban will last until “delivery performance improves.”

The CDC has issued a warning about a drug resistant infection connected to pet store puppies.

Albany International Airport is celebrating a new food venue, Wolfgang Puck Pizza.

Disgraced R&B star R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to a new bribery charge related to his illicit marriage to Aaliyah — and Kelly’s attorney revealed that the “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner is composing new music behind bars.

RIP, Niko.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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