Rise and Shine: Feb. 17, 2020

Good Monday morning, CivMixers. I hope a lot of you are sleeping in today as it’s the third Monday in February, which means it’s Presidents’ Day – a federal holiday.

This day is sometimes called “Washington’s Birthday,” though George Washington was born on Feb. 22, 1732. The birthday of our nation’s first president was celebrated for the first time in the late 18th century, while he was still in office, and President Chester Arthur signed a bill making it a federal holiday in 1885.

The the meantime, Feb. 12, President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, was being celebrated by some, but not all, states. (Basically, states outside the old Civil War Confederacy).

In 1968, Congress passed the Monday Holidays Act, which moved the official observance of Washington’s Birthday from Feb. 22 to the third Monday in February.

There were some who pushed for the renaming of this day to “Presidents’ Day,” and while the name change was never actually formally adopted by Congress, there’s apparently a widespread misconception that the switch was made and the name is now commonly accepted.

Aside from a lot of retail sales taking place today, there are various commemorations scheduled around the state and nation – including one in Washington, D.C.

Schools are closed today, (many are on winter break). Also, the post office, government offices, most banks, and many libraries are closed. Most stores and restaurants are open, but hours may vary. Basically, the rule of thumb is: Call before you head out to your destination to make sure wherever you might be headed is in fact open.

It will be a mostly sunny day with highs in the mid-to-high 30s, according to The Weather Channel. If you’re luck enough to be off today, maybe take this opportunity to get outside – especially since we’re in for another of those snow/rain days tomorrow.

Former basketball great Michael Jordan is turning 57 today. Also celebrating birthdays: Singer Ed Sheeran (29), heiress Paris Hilton (39), actor Chord Overstreet (31), actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (39), actress Denise Richards (49), and actor Jason Ritter (40).

In the headlines…

Mainland China today reported a slight upturn in new virus cases and an increase by 105 in deaths caused by the illness for a total of 1,770 since the outbreak began.

Fitfully and painfully — and with some worried prodding from Beijing — China is trying to reopen for business. The world’s second-largest economy practically shut down three weeks ago as the coronavirus sickened tens of thousands of people, unexpectedly lengthening a Chinese holiday.

Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton repeated an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that has spread from small-town China to the right-wing news media in the U.S.: The new coronavirus originated in a high-security biochemical lab in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the outbreak’s center.

Fourteen passengers, who were believed to be well before they were evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan today, were found to be infected before boarding a charter plane to the U.S.

President Donald Trump gave an election-year embrace to NASCAR and its fans yesterday when he became the second president ever to attend the Daytona 500.

Trump went from the Daytona 500 to attending the wedding of two top members of his administration, senior adviser Stephen Miller and Katie Waldman, press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence.

More than 1,100 former federal prosecutors and Justice Department officials called on Attorney General William Barr to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone.

The Democratic presidential candidates raced yesterday to make the most of their final weekend day before the Nevada caucuses, selling their messages and tearing into their opponents. And they mainly focused on one candidate who isn’t even there: Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Amid reports that Bloomberg could team up with Hillary Clinton by making her his running mate, a powerful Clinton ally, Capricia Marshall, reportedly is joining the former New York City mayor’s presidential campaign.

Bloomberg is looking well beyond Super Tuesday March 3, and is already planning to staff up and roll out endorsements in Kentucky in time for the May 19 primary there, an anonymous campaign insider told The NY Post.

A topless protester disrupted Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign rally in Nevada yesterday, moments after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced the Democratic presidential candidate to the stage.

New York is ending its fight to stop T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion takeover of rival Sprint, Attorney General Letitia James announced.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the country is more divided than ever, pointing to recent anti-Semitic attacks in New York.

On Saturday, almost two months after Barnard student Tessa Majors’s killing, the authorities arrested Rashaun Weaver, 14, who will be tried as an adult, on two counts of second-degree murder and several counts of robbery. Police said he fatally stabbed Majors.

…Investigators had long believed Weaver wielded the knife that killedMajors after she bit his hand during a violent struggle with three assailants. Majors, 18, was found severely wounded on steps outside Morningside Park the night of Dec. 11.

An NYPD sex crimes unit has a new deputy chief after a series of errors allowed a suspect to go free and attack several more women.

One of the few remaining Democrats in the state Senate who previously allied herself with the GOP, Staten Island Sen. Diane Savino, is facing a primary challenge on June 23.

The notorious squeegee men, panhandling window-washers who became the face of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s quality-of-life crackdown in the 1990s, were back peddling their services in Manhattan over the weekend.

A Brooklyn judge believes he found a loophole for the state’s controversial new bail reform law — and used it to send a serial burglar to jail.

The NYT’s Mara Gay weighed in on the bail reforms, saying that rolling them back now would be a “mistake,” though “small changes” might be warranted.

A 49-year-old computer specialist who vanished in early January had been preparing to go into hiding after allegedly being threatened by a person acquainted with a woman who had attacked him two days before he disappeared.

An Albany woman has been arrested in connection with the Valentine’s Day stabbing of another woman at Crossgates Mall.

Robert Tembeckjian, administrator for the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, which oversees New York judges, says the governor’s proposed budget is shortchanging his agency $330,000.

The question marks raised by Cuomo’s state budget plan, and how New York will ultimately close a multi-billion-dollar gap in the Medicaid program, is fueling uncertainty for beneficiaries, providers and local governments, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found in a report.

The State University of New York headquarters in downtown Albany will be renamed in honor of Carl McCall, the former chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees, Cuomo announced.

Halfway into a one-year window under the Child Victims Act that allows victims of childhood sex abuse from decades ago to press their claims in court, more than 95 percent of the 350 lawsuits filed in Western New York have targeted institutions such as the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, school districts and the Boy Scouts of America, not individuals.

Out-of-state and Canadian tourists can head to the Adirondacks next month for a free snowmobiling weekend, Cuomo announced while in Saranac Lake yesterday.

The maximum number of drinks you can have a week to be a healthy person is five. Total. That’s about 100 grams of alcohol, or five standard size glasses of wine or pints of beer. Drink more and you run a higher risk for heart failure, stroke, fatal aneurysm or death.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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