Rise and Shine: Jan. 15, 2020

Good Wednesday morning, CivMixers.

Today is the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was actually born “Michael King” in Atlanta, GA in 1925. His father changed both his own name and his son’s to “Martin” in 1934 in honor of the Protestant leader Martin Luther. But MLK Jr., as we know him, didn’t officially change his birth certificate until July 23, 1959.

King’s role in the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 made him a national figure in the civil rights movement. In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the “Poor People’s Campaign,” when he was assassinated on a second-floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just 39 when he died.

The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination. But it wasn’t until Nov. 2, 1983 that President Ronald Reagan signed a bill marking the third Monday of every January a federal MLK Day holiday.

At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

Generally speaking, MLK Day falls anywhere from Jan. 15 to Jan. 21 – in other words, not always on King’s birthday. This year, it’s next Monday, Jan. 20.

The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen.Harris Wofford and Atlanta Rep. John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act.

On this day in 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent his famed “Green Light Letter” to MLB Commissioner Judge Landis, encouraging baseball to continue playing during World War II.

In 1965, in one of the biggest trades in NBA history; the San Francisco Warriors sent Wilt Chamberlain to the Philadelphia 76ers for Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, Paul Neumann and cash.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon suspended all U.S. offensive action in North Vietnam.

in 1974, the TV sitcom “Happy Days” began an 11-year run on ABC, starring Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross and Ton Bosley.

In 2009, pilot Chesley Sullenberger (AKA “Sully”) landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in NYC. All the passengers and crew members survived in what became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

Expect cloudy skies this morning, with a partial clearing in the afternoon and temperatures reaching into the mid-40s, according to The Weather Channel. There could be some rain showers this evening.

Rapper Pitbull is turning 39 today. He shares his birthday with DK Skrillex (32), football player Drew Bees (41), and actor Chad Lowe (52).

The House is set to vote today to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate for a landmark trial on whether the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are grounds for removal.

In the headlines…

The final Democratic 2020 primary debate before the Iowa caucuses took place last night, with just six candidates qualifying to participate.

The candidates clashed in starkly personal terms over who had the best chance to defeat President Donald Trump, as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren sought to jump-start her campaign by highlighting her electoral success and that of other female candidates in the Trump era.

It was hotly anticipated heading into the evening that Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would mix things up.

Prompted by the moderators, Warren and Sanders continued a back-and-forth over the fraught subject of whether a woman could be elected president, an issue that in recent days had caused the first serious breach in their relationship.

There was little consensus – either in the Twittersphere or among political pundits – about who won the debate.

Meanwhile, back in D.C., new details emerged on of Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, intensifying demands on U.S. Senate Republicans on the eve of a historic impeachment trial to include witness testimony and additional documents in the proceeding.

A measure that would force Trump to win congressional authorization before taking further military action against Iran now has enough Republican support to pass the Senate, a key Democratic senator – Virginia’s Tim Kaine – said.

Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, filed court papers seeking to withdraw his guilty plea — a week after the Justice Department said he deserves up to six months in jail for lying to the FBI.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized the Trump administration’s response to a series of powerful earthquakes that has shaken Puerto Rico for weeks, toppling homes and knocking out power to parts of the island, which has still not fully recovered from Hurricane Maria.

Cuomo traveled with state Budget Director Robert Mujica, Gil Quiniones, the president of the New York Power Authority — the state’s electric utility — state and NYC officials, and representatives from nonprofits like the Red Cross. His daughter Michaela also joined, and will be paying for the trip out of pocket.

When the Cuomo administration announced the hiring of Shoshanah Bewlay as the executive director at the Committee on Open Government last week, it came as news to many of the body’s 11 commissioners – by design.

The state Senate and Assembly agreed last week on a 10-bill legislative package to improve limo safety, including installing seat belts for passengers and allowing the state to take defective vehicles off the road. Cuomo announced his support for the measures hours before both chambers swiftly passed the bills yesterday.

A federal judge in Brooklyn ruled that victims of NXIVM leader Keith Raniere can speak at his sentencing under anonymity.

A Brooklyn judge freed a man without bail following his arrest in a shooting that sparked a reprisal, which ended up wounding three innocent bystanders.

A devastated family says their son was killed in a crash with a drunk driver who should’ve never been on the road. They’re blaming bail reform for putting him there.

The NY Post’s Bob McManus: “Gov. Andrew Cuomo was off first-responding in Puerto Rico Tuesday as the rule of law in the Empire State continued its no-bail-driven descent to low comedy.”

The Rensselaer County Legislature sent a clear message to state lawmakers last night, unanimously passing a resolution urging the state to immediately suspend or amend the new criminal justice reform laws.

The rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman in Queens became a flash point in the broader debate over immigration when federal authorities contended that the 21-year-old suspect should not have been in the country.

Dozens of people rallied at the state Capitol yesterday morning in support of the Protect Our Courts Act, proposed legislation that would outlaw U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests without a judicial warrant in or around all courthouses in the state.

New York’s state and local governments spend nearly twice as much to provide services as Florida — particularly on education and welfare — even though their populations are roughly the same, a new study claims.

The more officials change the state’s property tax relief program known as STAR the more confusing it becomes, local officials said. And they always change it.

The LED lights have been out on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge? That’s news to the man who named it. Cuomo was puzzled this week when asked by a Journal News/lohud reporter about the fact that the lights have been dark for months on the $4 billion bridge.

Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola is continuing his effort to stop the process of undocumented immigrants getting driver’s licenses, the so-called Green light Law.

Ex-Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse, scheduled to be sentenced next month for his guilty plea to federal criminal charges, has asked a judge for a lenient sentence, citing his family troubles, his bravery as a former firefighter and his devotion to the city — including a practice of dressing up as Santa and delivering gifts to impoverished families.

A bill being considered in the state Senate Judiciary Committee would make the huge fallout from the shutdown of MyPayrollHR a thing of the past.

The Gloversville Police Department is asking the public to assist it in locating a missing 15-year-old girl.

Three neighborhoods shaken by tractor-trailers will ask Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin to meet to discuss the delays in getting the county to approve easements the city needs to build the South Troy Industrial Road.

An Amsterdam man who has a penchant for swiping vacuum cleaners was arrested for allegedly stealing from Target yet again, State Police said.

A vehicle that rolled over at the intersection of Route 32 and Onesquethaw Creek Road yesterday afternoon injured its 86-year-old driver, Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple, Sr. said.

A developer paid an ethically tarred City Hall lobbyist — and the law firm that defended NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio against pay-to-play allegations — to press the administration for permission to expand a 10-story office tower in the East Village.

Billionaire grocer and real estate developer John Catsimatidis might try to run for NYC mayor again – this time as a Democrat.

Staten Island GOP Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis won the full support of the state and local Conservative parties this as their nominee for Congress in the race against freshman Democratic Rep. Max Rose.

The International Center of Photography will reopen in a four-story, 40,000-square-foot space in the massive new Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side of Manhattan on Jan. 25. It is the fourth location for the museum since its opening in 1974.

The Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex’s new gondola is open to the public, allowing access from the base lodge to the 90 and 120-meter towers.

iHeart media is doing a re-organization and it’s affecting staffers at outlets around the country, including here in the Capital Region.

Ken Jennings won the “Greatest of All Time” title on “Jeopardy!”

Yankee fans may soon be able to meet outside the Bronx stadium at the corner of Jeter Street and Rivera Avenue.

The House this week passed the Bush Coin Act, which would put Former Pres. George H. W. Bush’s image on a dollar coin and his wife, First Lady Barbara Bush, on the First Spouse $10 commemorative coin.

Meghan Markle had tea at a women’s center in a down-trodden neighborhood in Vancouver yesterday, in one of her first public appearances since her and Prince Harry announced their “Megxit” from the royal family.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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