Rise and Shine: Jan. 23, 2020

Good Thursday morning, CivMixers.

It’s National Pie Day – not to be confused with National Pi Day, which will occur on March 14 this year. This is the day when we celebrate the dessert that (usually) features some sort of crust, double or single, with something in between – fruit, cream filling, chocolate, nuts, etc.

The first pies appeared around 9500 BC in the Egyptian Neolithic period or New Stone Age, according to the interwebs. More on pie history can be found here, thanks to the American Pie Council, and yes, there is such a thing. There’s a hashtag – #NationalPieDay, naturally – for sharing all your creations and consumptions. Enjoy.

It’s going to be cloudy today and slightly less cold, with temperatures heading up into the mid-to-high 30s, according to The Weather Channel. Also, it’s looking like that storm headed our way for the weekend will be rain – perhaps freezing rain, which isn’t so great – and not snow. Fingers crossed. (Sorry skiers, snowshoers and boarders).

Actress Mariska Hargitay, of “Law & Order” fame, is turning 56 today. Other birthdays of note: Dutch model Doutzen Kroes (35), actress Tiffani Thiessen (AKA Kelly Kapowski on NBC’s “Saved by the Bell” – 46), Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the Miracle on the Hudson pilot, (69), “Cheap Trick” guitarist and lead singer Robin Zander (67), and actor Richard Dean Anderson (AKA “MacGyver” – man, did I love that show – 70).

On this day in 1789, Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown College was established as the first Catholic college in the U.S.

In 1845, Congress decided all national elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

In 1849, English-born Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in America to receive medical degree from the Medical Institution of Geneva. (That’s Geneva, NY).

In 1973, President Nixon announced that an accord had been reached to end the Vietnam War.

In 1978, Sweden became the first country to ban aerosol sprays because of damage they do to the environment.

In 1979, Willie Mays was elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

In 1983, “The A-Team” debuted on TV.

In 1985, O.J. Simpson became the first Heisman Trophy winner to be elected to pro football’s Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.

In 2002, John Walker Lindh, who was charged with conspiring to kill U.S. citizens, providing support to terrorists and engaging in prohibited transactions with the Taliban while a member of the al-Quaida terrorist organization in Afghanistan; returned to the U.S. under FBI custody.

Also in 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan, and subsequently murdered.

And on this day last year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disinvited President Donald Trump from delivering the annual State of the Union address in Congress, citing a government shutdown,

….which sets us up nicely for some impeachment trial updates:

Democratic impeachment managers spent nine hours (including breaks) offering their opening arguments — laying out what they said was clear-cut evidence that President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and then obstructed Congress’ investigation.

Whether the Senate will agree to call witnesses next week — the biggest question of the trial – remains unclear. (It’s not looking good).

House Democrats get three days for opening arguments, and they’ll use their second day (today) to put forth the constitutional framework for why Trump’s alleged abuse of power merits removal from office.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said definitively that he won’t participate in any witness swap as part of the Senate impeachment trial.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters during a brief recess from the trial that he wouldn’t entertain a deal with Republicans in which Democrats secure witness testimony from someone like former national security adviser John Bolton in exchange for someone like Hunter Biden.

A protester interrupted the Senate impeachment trial yesterday evening as New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was presenting his arguments. The protester was tackled and escorted out of the gallery within seconds; he could be heard yelling: “Schumer is the devil!”

In non-impeachment news…

Trump said he plans to attend the annual anti-abortion “March for Life” tomorrow, making him the first sitting president take part in the demonstration.

The president minimized the severity of head injuries sustained by U.S. troops during an Iranian missile strike on an Iraqi air base as he was pressed on why he had claimed no troops were injured in the attack.

The Trump administration today will finalize a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and other water bodies, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had shackled them with onerous and unnecessary burdens.

There’s no keeping Stormy Daniels and Trump out of California attorney Michael Avenatti’s extortion case, a judge said as he ordered the trial to commence Monday and refused the government’s insistence that he ban mention of both the porn star and the president.

Multiple people opened fire outside a McDonald’s in the busiest part of downtown Seattle during the evening commute yesterday, killing one person and wounding seven others, police said.

Three US firefighters died while battling wildfires in Australia when the C-130 tanker they were flying crashed in the southern section of the country, officials said.

In closing off Wuhan, a city of more than 11 million people, China is deploying a centuries-old public health tactic to prevent the spread of infectious disease — a mysterious respiratory infection caused by a coronavirus. Experts said the stunning scale of the shutdown was without precedent.

Billionaire presidential long shot Michael Bloomberg is reportedly trying to poach staff from other campaigns with outsized salaries and fancy perks like three catered meals a day, an iPhone 11 and a MacBook Pro.

Bloomberg continues to rise in the Democratic primary field, according to a new poll out yesterday, reaping the benefits of plunging his personal fortune into widespread advertisements for his last minute bid for the White House.

New York’s public colleges will be required to raise millions of dollars in matching funds as a condition of obtaining state aid to renovate or build new facilities under a sweeping new proposal advanced in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget plan.

More charter schools would be allowed to open in New York City under a proposal advanced in Cuomo’s budget. The governor would reissue so-called zombie charters — the slots of charter schools that have closed.

After nixing a bill permitting the juiced-up rides last month citing safety concerns, Cuomo slipped a similar proposal into his next budget — but this time with new helmet requirements for some riders.

The governor’s budget also includes a proposal that would allow him to close state prisons if he gives at least a 90-day notice to legislative leaders. (Cuomo did not specify which facilities may be targeted).

State Sen. Peter Harckham, who opposed marijuana legalization last year, today will announce support for Sen. Liz Krueger’s cannabis bill – which she said indicates a shift in sentiment that may have held up the legislation last year.

Boating while intoxicated could impact driving on roads if legislation reintroduced recently in the state Assembly is approved this year.

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams vowed to hold the city’s worst private landlords more accountable, saying he’ll soon be introducing legislation that would strengthen regulations and subject top offenders to heftier fines.

Troy’s Pawling Avenue will be closed for part of this weekend due to scheduled repairs to the city’s water-utility systems, city officials announced.

The first of two public meetings to discuss the future of waterfront access and gateway improvement projects was held in Troy.

Yesterday marked three days since it snowed last weekend in the Capital Region. However, some businesses in the City of Albany still have not cleaned up from the snow, as required by the city code.

The trial of Nauman Hussain, the man charged with recklessly causing the Oct. 6, 2018 limousine crash in Schoharie County that took 20 lives, will now begin on May 4.

Lawmakers next month will host a forum for citizens with concerns about heavy traffic on Route 30 in Schoharie.

Heavy snow and the rugged terrain of Adirondack High Peaks played a role in two almost back-to-back rescue calls earlier this month.

A judge ruled that two additional women who have accused Cuba Gooding Jr. of unwanted sexual touching will be allowed to testify in his groping trial, giving prosecutors the chance to argue that the actor has exhibited similar behavior for years.

Harvey Weinstein went on trial yesterday in a landmark moment for the # MeToo movement, with prosecutors painting him as a sexual predator who used his Hollywood clout to abuse women for decades, while his lawyers sought to portray his accusers as willing participants.

After six years as a member and acting chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Auburn native and former congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle has a new career: She’s a lobbyist.

Fairway Market has also been regularly dogged by speculation of its financial health, but his week, a new report said the company’s demise was imminent, stunning many New Yorkers who considered the store a battle-tested survivor of the unforgiving retail landscape. (The company denied details of that report).

Hallmark’s top television executive, Bill Abbott, is leaving the company weeks after the Hallmark Channel confronted a withering backlash over its decision to pull commercials that featured a same-sex wedding.

The 2020 Syracuse football schedule has been announced by the Atlantic Coast Conference, and includes six home games in the Carrier Dome taking on Colgate, Louisville, Liberty, Georgia Tech, NC State and Florida State.

Nut lovers around the globe are in mourning following Planters’ announcement that longtime mascot Mr. Peanut has died. A Planters spokeswoman said a funeral for the monocle-wearing peanut will air during the third quarter of the Super Bowl.

Perennial favorites the Dave Matthews Band will return to Saratoga Performing Arts Center this summer, performing on Friday and Saturday nights, July 10-11, at 7:30 p.m.

Pamela Miles of Ancramdale in Columbia County won the $1 million jackpot prize on a Holiday Lucky X50 scratch-off ticket. She ‘s bringing home a lump sum payment of $671,800, and plans to use it to pay bills and take a vacation.

Skidmore College is hosting a “Be Instrumental” musical instrument drive to benefit students in the Ticonderoga Central School District band program.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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