Good morning, CivMixers. It’s Thursday, and it’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which translated into “Non-Resident Indian Day.”
It is, according to Wikipedia, “a celebratory day observed (starting in 2015)…by the Republic of India to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community towards the development of India. The day commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Ahmedabad on 9 January 1915.”
On a less serious note, it’s also Static Electricity Day – a day to honor this unexpected, mostly unpleasant, and sometimes hair-rising phenomenon.
It is cold. Very. Very. Cold. The strong winds we experienced yesterday that made it seem even colder have largely died down, but temperatures are only in the teens at the moment, and not expected to even hit a high of 30 today, according to The Weather Channel. Skies will be clear, though, and mainly sunny.
The temperature is going to soar this weekend to a predicted high of more than 60 degrees (on Sunday). Yes, that’s not a typo. Unfortunately, it’s also going to rain.
Happiest of birthdays to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (AKA Kate Middleton), who is turning 30 today.
This comes at a rather difficult time for the royals, as Prince Harry (Kate’s brother-in-law) and his new wife, Meghan Markle, have just announced they’re going to “step back” as senior members of the family, and split their time between the U.K. and North America – presumably Canada, where they spent an extended Christmas holiday break, but maybe LA. They hope to become “financially independent” and carve out a “progressive new role” for themselves.
Buckingham Palace had this to say: “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
Among those issues, one royal watcher said, was how a partial self-exile would work. Other members of the family have been exiled, either because of divorce, abdication or their own behavior. But no one has attempted the half-in, half-out arrangement that Prince Harry and his wife appear to be pursuing.
Not surprisingly, anonymous observers are blaming Meghan, who has had a very tough time with the British press, for this move.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.
Also marking birthdays today are actress Nina Dobrev (31), rapper Sean Paul (47), guitarist Jimmy Page (76), rocker Dave Matthews (53), actor J.K. Simmons (65)and race car driver Sam Bird (33).
The late former President Richard Nixon was born on this day in 1913. He died in 1994 after suffering a stroke.
On this day in 1431, judges’ investigations for the trial of Joan of Arc begin in Rouen, France – the seat of the English occupation government.
In 1909, Ernest Shackleton, as part of the British Nimrod Expedition, reached a record farthest South latitude (88°23′ south).
In 1941, 6,000 Jews exterminated in a pogrom in Bucharest, Romania.
In 1969, the first trial flight of Concorde supersonic jetliner took place in Bristol, England.
In 2001, Apple announced iTunes at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, for organizing and playing digital music and videos.
In 2007, Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPhone.
In the headlines…
President Donald Trump backed away from further military action against Iran and called for a new diplomatic effort as the bristling confrontation of the last six days appeared to ease after Iranian missile strikes that proved more symbolic than deadly.
A classified briefing on the Iran crisis from Trump administration officials did little to convince Democrats that the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was justified, and some Republicans were unhappy about the White House’s failure to include lawmakers in the decision-making process.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 86, whose health has become a preoccupation of the American public as the Supreme Court hews rightward under Trump, announced this week that she is cancer free.
Cuomo rolled out a slew of environmental and climate-oriented initiatives in his annual State of the State address Wednesday, including a proposed $3 Billion “Restore Mother Nature Bond Act.”
…if approved by voters, would fuel efforts to meet targets set forth by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The law, signed last summer, mandates that greenhouse gases be cut by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.
Chris Churchill notes that while Cuomo mentioned both Henry David Thoreau and Leonard Cohen in his big speech, he said nothing about the continued outflow of people from New York.
The governor also mentioned, but did not dwell long on, the looming $6.1 billion budget deficit, which is largely the result of Medicaid cost overruns.
Details of how he plans to address that fiscal hole assumedly will be in his forthcoming budget proposal, but will clearly include the legalization of adult use recreational marijuana.
Cuomo also didn’t mention bail reform, despite saying recently that the new law needs “changes.”
New York State Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs said it was an error for the Legislature to not include a judicial discretion piece when eliminating cash bail for some criminal charges.
Last night, the Rensselaer County Legislature held its fourth public hearing on the state justice reforms. This was the first one scheduled after the reforms took effect. Surprisingly, not one person attended the meeting to support or oppose the resolution.
Cuomo is proposing to invest $1 million toward suicide prevention efforts to help veterans, law enforcement, and first responders.
Newly elected Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay called Cuomo’s State of the State address “damage control.”
Republican state Sen. Kenneth LaValle, 80, the longest-serving member of the chamber, will announce Friday that he will not run for reelection this year, ending a 44-year career in the Senate marked by significant accomplishments in land preservation, education and health care.
Former Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb says he will pay for repairs to the state-owned SUV that he crashed on New Year’s Eve.
New York State officials are investigating a business representing a major Christian group offering an alternative to health insurance, joining several states scrutinizing these cost-sharing programs that provide limited coverage.
NXIVM leader Keith Raniere dictated that his victims adhere to 500-calorie-a-day diets, avoid personal grooming and be branded in agony with his initials. And now he apparently wants to dictate the conditions of their victim impact statements at his sentencing in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
Newly sworn-in Schenectady Councilman John Polimeni’s use of the word “colored” at a recent meeting, which he insists was a verbal gaffe, has angered some people in the city’s black community.
A state Attorney General’s office investigation that uncovered financial improprieties by executives of a Rexford senior home and prompted a multiyear legal battle is nearing its end.
It appears the last act of the town of Milton’s previous administration was to wipe its computer system of nearly all the town files and programs – leaving its incoming Supervisor Benny Zlotnick scrambling to even get an agenda out for his first Town Board meeting.
University at Albany wide receiver Juwan Green has accepted an invitation to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, a postseason all-star game to be played at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Seasoned, SUNY Adirondack’s student-run restaurant in Glens Falls, will resume service for the college’s spring semester starting Wednesday, Feb. 12.
A 112,000-square-foot warehouse/distribution center proposed in DeWitt in Central New York is “100 percent” for Amazon, according to a logistics expert.
Two teenagers charged with plotting to attack their rural Orleans County middle school with guns and explosives have pleaded guilty to conspiracy, prosecutors said.
The brief farewell that Alex Trebek says will close his final “Jeopardy!” episode isn’t on the horizon, despite his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer.
Queens Councilman Robert Holden has asked the NYC Conflicts of Interest Board to investigate how Mayor Bill de Blasio was able to bill taxpayers over $60,000 for NYPD security as he laid the groundwork for his 2020 run.
An entire fleet of New York City’s newest subway cars was abruptly pulled out of service yesterday after two recent episodes raised concerns that doors could open while trains were moving, according to people involved in the transit system who were told about the defects.
Nearly eight months after Jennifer Dulos, a mother of five from an affluent Connecticut suburb, was reported missing, the authorities revealed a chilling new detail in the case. A friend of Dulos’s estranged husband, now charged with her murder, may have dug a six-foot-long hole that was described as “100 percent a human grave” by someone who saw it.
A WNY rescue dog is getting a turn in the national spotlight with a spot in the upcoming “Puppy Bowl.”
Fourteen lucky(?) people across the country beat out more than 10,000 other applicants to become members of the 2020 Disney Parks Moms Panel, a website where people planning to go on a Disney cruise, or visit a Disney park or Disney Vacation Club in the United States, can ask questions and get responses from these experts. (These folks are working for free).
Photo credit: George Fazio.