Rise and Shine, Feb. 20, 2020

Good Thursday morning, CivMixers.

We have some very nice symmetry in today’s date – 2/20/20.

Also, the UN decided back in 2007 to observe this day as National World Day of Social Justice, the purpose of which is to focus on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights.

On a somewhat lighter note, it’s National Love Your Pet Day – a day on which we are supposed to lavish extra attention and pampering on our furry friends and recognize the important roles they play in our lives.

Anyway familiar with my relationship with my mini Goldendoodle Henry, who is the unabashed love of my life, knows that there is no possible way I could love or spoil him more. So, suggestions are welcome.

As I write this, a band of lake effect snow is working its way through southern Schoharie, Albany and Rensselaer counties, bringing with it the potential for up to an inch of accumulation. After that’s over, though, we’re looking at a forecast that calls for intervals of clouds and sunshine and temperatures hovering just shy of 30 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.

On this day in 1792, the U.S. postal service was created, can postage cost 6 to 12 cents – depending on the distance one wanted to send a letter.

In 1922, WOR-AM in New York City began radio transmissions.

In 1952, the film “African Queen,” directed by John Huston, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn was released in the U.S.

In 1959, at the tender age of 16, guitarist Jimi Hendrix played his first gig in the Temple De Hirsch synagogue basement in Seattle. He was fired from the band after the first set due to his “wild” playing.

In 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7.

In 1986, boxer Mike Tyson Tyson sexually propositioned a sales clerk in an Albany shopping mall, becoming violent and abusive when she rebuffed him. Later the same night, he was ejected from a movie theater after a similar incident.

In 1988, Peter Kalikow purchased the NY Post from Rupert Murdoch for $37.6 million.

In 1992, Ross Perot announced he planned to run for president during an interview on the “Larry King Show.”

Singer Rihanna turns 32 today. Other birthdays of note: Model Cindy Crawford (54), comedian Trevor Noah (36), former model and ex-wife of the current president Ivana Trump (71), former basketball star Charles Barkley (57), and actor Sidney Poitier (93).

Grunge rocker Kurt Cobain was born on this day in 1967. Best known as the guitarist and frontman of the rock band “Nirvana,” Cobain was regarded as a Generation X icon. He took his own life in April 1994.

In the headlines…

The Democratic presidential candidates turned on one another in scorching and personal terms in a debate last night, with two of the leading candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg, forced onto the defensive repeatedly throughout the evening.

The first hit at the NBC/MSNBC two-hour debate came from Sanders, who ripped Bloomberg — who was participating in his first presidential faceoff — for his record as mayor. Bloomberg promptly fired back, telling the senator he cannot beat President Donald Trump.

Though Bloomberg took the earliest and perhaps fiercest fire, his meek rebuttals seemed to inspire a wider reckoning among his peers, who slashed and bickered with an eagerness the race had not seen before.

Also going for Bloomberg’s jugular was Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who said: “Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like redlining and stop and frisk. Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.”

The general consensus seems to be that Bloomberg 1) had a very bad night; 2) wasn’t able to adequately defend himself; and 3) displayed some of that infamous testiness for which he was so well known during his tenure was NYC mayor.

The question now is whether the torching that unfolded after Bloomberg’s first turn on the debate stage in Las Vegas will matter more than the billions of advertising dollars he’s doling out to purchase a poll surge and saturate the airwaves with a positive image of himself.

Trump blasted Bloomberg’s performance early this morning, calling the former New York City mayor’s showing “perhaps the worst in the history of debates.”

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, a Schenectady native, has joined CNN as a political commentator.

Trump named Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany who quickly antagonized the establishment after arriving in Berlin in 2018, to be the acting director of national intelligence overseeing the nation’s 17 spy agencies. Grenell has little experience in intelligence or in running a large bureaucracy.

Two passengers who were suffering from coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan have died, officials said.

For the second time in over a week, China has changed its criteria for confirming coronavirus cases, throwing into confusion the methodology that the country at the heart of the outbreak uses to track transmissions and resulting in a dramatic decrease in new infections.

A cyberattack on Albany accounting firm BST’s computers likely was the work of the so-called Maze ransomware ring. BST was among 25 victims listed by the cybercrime ring on its website, according to a Jan. 29 article by technology website Ars Technica.

A lawyer for a former University at Albany student convicted of falsely reporting a hate crime aboard a CDTA bus in 2016 told an appellate court his client was found guilty for activity that included tweets he said should be protected by the First Amendment.

The findings of an engineer, who last month inspected the facade and fire escapes of the landmark Wedgeway building for the city of Schenectady, go against key determinations reached by a private engineer hired by the owner.

Be on the lookout: Parts of the southbound Northway in Albany County will be closed early this morning to patch potholes, the New York State Department of Transportation said.

State Attorney General Letitia James has joined a group of attorney generals suing the EPA over failure to act on ozone pollution in New York.

A student activist group at Syracuse University has rejected a college administration attempt to end its three-day sit-in protesting the handling of racist graffiti and other bias-related incidents on campus.

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud in his first public remarks on renewed protests by #NotAgainSU students has ordered their suspensions to be revoked.

A controversial decision has kept some Siena basketball fans out of the Times Union Center. The building can technically seat almost 14,000 people for college basketball, but Siena has set the capacity at nearly half that by blocking off the Upper Bowl.

Work to rehabilitate the Central Warehouse in Albany has stalled as the owner faces several code violations.

Two 14-year-old boys pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the death of a Barnard College student who was fatally stabbed during a robbery in a park.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was met at a Queens town hall last night with boos from residents mad as hell about homelessness, criminal-justice ­reform and controversial Schools Chancellor Richard ­Carranza.

The man who was shot in the face during a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrest in Brooklyn earlier this month is now suing the agent who blasted him.

A state Supreme Court judge ruled that Happy the Elephant can’t be sprung from the Bronx Zoo because she’s not legally “a person.”

Thousands of sick people or family members of those who died of 9/11-related illnesses and missed the deadline to qualify for aid from the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund will get extra time to reapply.

A Suffolk County legislator is proposing banning smoking inside apartment units in the county in an effort to curb exposure to second-hand smoke.

Tensions ran high at Lee High School in Berkshire County last night where hundreds of people came to express their outrage over plans to remove PCB’s from the Housatonic River.

Bank branches are shuttering at an ever-faster rate in the New York area while more consumers turn to mobile apps for their financial business.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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