Rise and Shine: Feb. 14, 2020

Happy Friday, and also Happy Valentine’s Day.

If you’re interested, CivMixers, there’s a WHOLE lotta Valentine’s Day history here. I personally found this little gem amusing:

“In the Victorian era, and into the 20th century, lovers exchanged elaborate lace-trimmed cards on Valentine’s Day, expressing their undying love and devotion with sentiments and poems. For those not on good terms, or who wanted to fend off an enemy or unwanted suitor, ‘vinegar valentines‘ offered a stinging alternative.”

Instead of chocolate, vinegar? That’s a switch.

BTW, if you celebrated Galentine’s Day yesterday, you were DEFINITELY not alone.

It’s going to be a good day for cuddling up with someone you care about. We’ll have clouds in the morning giving way to generally sunny skies, but temperatures will hover around a frigid 20 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. Thankfully, the weekend is looking to be quite a bit warmer.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is making quite a splash with his 2020 presidential campaign, is a Valentine’s Day baby. He’s turning 78 today. Also celebrating on this Day of Love: Actor Brett Dier (30), actor Simon Pegg (50), and actress Tiffany Thornton (34).

Frederick Douglass, the social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman, was born on this day in 1818.

Interesting fact: In 1848, Douglass was the only African American to attend the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention, in upstate New York. His second wife as Helen Pitts, a white suffragist and abolitionist from Honeoye, New York. (She was white and 20 years younger than him, both of which caused controversy).

On Feb. 20, 1895, Douglass attended a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, he was brought to the platform and received a standing ovation. Shortly after he returned home, he died of a massive heart attack at the age of 77.

Also born on this day and no longer with us: Actress Florence Henderson, AKA Carol Brady. She was born in Dale, Indiana in 1934 and started her career performing in musicals.

Interesting fact: Henderson’s best friend, Shirley Jones, had turned down the role of Carol Brady, but the following year, she accepted the similar role of a mother with five children, named Shirley Partridge, in “The Partridge Family,” which aired from 1970–1974.

Henderson died of heart failure on Nov. 24, 2016 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California at the age of 82.

In the headlines…

The U.S. Senate voted to require President Trump to seek congressional authorization before taking further military action against Iran, as Democrats joined forces with eight Republicans to try to rein in the president’s war-making powers weeks after he escalated hostilities with Tehran.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr delivered an extraordinary rebuke of Trump, saying that his attacks on the Justice Department had made it “impossible for me to do my job” and that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.”

The Pentagon plans to divert $3.8 billion intended for military equipment to the construction of a wall at the southwestern border, drawing bipartisan outrage and reviving a long-running battle with Congress over funding for Trump’s signature campaign promise.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Trump met for an hour at the White House to discuss the federal government freezing New York’s residents out of registering for trusted traveler programs. The get together was preceded by bellicose language and accusations, and ended with vows to continue talking.

China reports 5,090 new coronavirus cases and 121 new deaths in the past 24 hours.

Flu season still in full swing. In fact, New York state health officials said they’re expecting a record number of cases this year.

A former clerk to Stephen R. Reinhardt, a prominent liberal appellate court judge who died in 2018, told a congressional committee that he “routinely and frequently” sexually harassed her and other female clerks and raged against the #MeToo movement.

Lovely Warren of Rochester became the latest New York elected official – and mayor of a city – to endorse former Bloomberg’s presidential campaign.

Former 2020 presidential contender Andrew Yang hasn’t ruled out a run for NYC mayor in 2021. More here.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admitted this week that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders may have to compromise and nix his ambitious Medicare for All plan if he is elected president.

The Equal Rights Amendment is one step closer to becoming reality after a resolution to override the expired deadline passed in the House.

The bail reform battle raging at the state Capitol is a bitter, often racially tinged debate that is tearing the Democrats apart.

The Nassau County District Attorney’s office is getting “walloped” by the state’s new discovery reform, officials said at a public forum.

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy touted the county’s fiscal progress under his watch and various health and social justice programs he started in years past at his ninth State of the County address.

Siena College will introduce its 12th president today at a celebratory event showcasing Siena’s spirit and traditions. School officials did not disclose who was tapped to lead the private Loudonville college.

Just after midnight this morning Cuomo announced the “Do Not Drink” advisory for the Village of New Paltz Water System is now lifted. This after the State Department of Health flushed the distribution system and re-sampled the water.

New York’s Medicaid Redesign Team is holding its first public comment forum in New York City today.

Nurses from Ellis Hospital and Bellevue Woman’s Center plan to rally today at noon at Ellis Hospital. They say the hospital and women’s care center are refusing to create better working conditions and better patient care. They also say senior managers earn over-sized salaries.

Students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are pushing back against legislation to expand the capabilities and authority of the campus’ Public Safety officers.

A felony DWI trial in Rensselaer County Court ended abruptly with a plea deal after the public defender said prosecutors failed to share complete information about the arresting city police officer’s conduct in an unrelated traffic stop when he worked for another law enforcement agency.

Ready or not, New York’s plastic bag ban goes into effect March 1, and the way you do things is going to have to change.

A former Guilderland elementary math teacher, forced to resign after pleading guilty in 2018 to a child endangerment charge over claims he fondled a female student, now works as a legal secretary for a freshman state Supreme Court Justice.

It seems like Super Bowl Sunday was a super day for Schenectady’s Rivers Casino when it comes to sports betting.

Hunters took 1,505 black bears during the 2019 season, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The NYC Campaign Finance Board hit disgraced Queens politician Hiram Monserrate with more than $26,000 in fines Thursday for repeatedly violating regulations, including violating spending limits and blowing reporting deadlines.

A veteran prosecutor who backs Trump’s reelection bid believes his opposition over bail reform and the planned closing of Rikers Island’s jail complex could put him over the top in the competitive Queens borough president’s race.

NYC City Councilwoman Vanessa L. Gibson, chair of the public safety committee, called the commanding officer of the 44th Precinct in 2014 after she was pulled over for using a cellphone while driving in order to avoid a $50 ticket. Now she’ll pay a $5,000 fine.

A really nice public bathroom in NYC? It is not a unicorn.

Fried chicken Crocs. Now I’ve seen everything. And I’m sorry about it.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are continuing to distance themselves from royal life, letting go of all 15 of the UK staffers who served their office in Buckingham Palace.

Mika Brzezinski is on a crusade to get women to stop wearing high heels.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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