Rise and Shine: Feb. 4, 2020

It’s that time again, CivMixers. Tuesday time!

It was an epic day in politics yesterday as two realities collided: The first votes of the 2020 presidential cycle were cast during the Iowa caucuses, while back in Washington, closing arguments were made by both sides in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Phew. Where to even begin?

First off, things didn’t go so well in Iowa, where the state Democratic Party still had not reported official vote totals as of early this morning.

It was a largely unexplained and unprecedented delay due to “inconsistencies” that has raised questions about the legitimacy of the contest, which provided fuel for Trump, who called the caucuses “rigged.”

It looks like the main culprit behind the problems was a mobile app that precinct chairs were supposed to use to report results, which crashed.

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price faced intense criticism from multiple Democratic campaigns during a call this morning, with senior advisers repeatedly questioning the transparency of the process. The candidates’ supporters aren’t too thrilled about the situation, either.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said Iowa “had shocked the nation” in a caucus night address that sounded like a victory speech despite the lack of results in a nominating contest riddled with reporting inconsistencies.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign released internal reporting numbers from about 40 percent of precincts that participated in the Iowa caucus.

A Democratic caucus organizer in Iowa tried to call in results to his state party last night — only to get hung up on…on live TV.

It appears the results will be out sometime today. Meanwhile, a number of candidates are already en route to the site of the next contest: new Hampshire.

Of course, the candidates who also happen to be U.S. senators are not out on the campaign trial. They’re back in D.C., dealing with the impeachment trial, in which both sides delivered final arguments yesterday.

Today, in a very odd twist, the president will will have an unimpeded platform to make his own final case when he delivers his annual State of the Union address from the floor of the very House that impeached him in December.

The theme of the address is “The Great American Comeback,” a senior Trump administration official said.

A Ground Zero responder, a 6-year-old boy from the Bronx, and a lawmaker’s own grandson: those are some of the New Yorkers who are going to the 2020 State of the Union. (Each member of Congress gets to bring one guest).

The impeachment battle has boiled down to a fight over the votes of a handful of centrists who could give either Trump or his Democratic opponents a victory heading into the general election.

A vote for the president’s acquittal is set to be held tomorrow afternoon.

Man, but U.S. politics is weird.

Closer to home, there will be dueling bail reform rallies in Albany today…

State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay will be joined by members of the law enforcement community to call for a rollback of the criminal justice reforms enacted in last year’s budget. (11:30 a.m. Million Dollar Staircase, state Capitol). At 1:30 p.m. on the Capitol’s 3rd floor, SEIU 1199, Citizen Action and other advocates will rally in favor of keeping the reforms as they are.

In non-political news, it’s World Cancer Day, which is held to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.

It’s going to be unusually warm today, with highs reaching up close to 50 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. Skies will be generally cloudy.

Rocker Alice Cooper is turning 72 today. He shares his birthday with singer Gavin DeGraw (43), comedian Hannibal Buress (37), and former pro boxer Oscar de la Hoya (47).

Rosa Parks, an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott, was born on this day in Tusekegee, Alabama. She died in her apartment in Detroit, Michigan in October 2005 at the age of 92.

In the headlines…

China’s Communist Party leadership called the month-old coronavirus epidemic a “major test” as other nations escalated efforts to isolate China, unnerving China’s stock market, depressing global oil prices and raising new anxiety about the world’s most populous country.

The death toll in mainland China from the new type of virus has risen to 425, with the total number of cases now standing at 20,438, officials said.

Concerts and shows are being canceled, not just in China but across much of Asia, as a virus outbreak that has reached more than 20 countries spooks the entertainment industry.

While the new coronavirus ravages much of China and world leaders rush to close their borders to protect citizens from the outbreak, the flu has quietly killed 10,000 in the U.S. so far this influenza season.

Two lawmakers in Sweden have nominated Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

The evening commute was thrown into chaos for thousands of New Jersey-bound riders yesterday after a power failure disabled a train going into Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, creating a cascade of cancellations and delays at North America’s busiest train hub. (BTW, I got caught in this, and it really sucked).

Shaun Donovan, a former housing secretary and budget director under President Barack Obama, filed paperwork to run for mayor of New York City.

New York City teachers’ union president Mike Mulgrew is backing former Vice President Joe Biden for president.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, the North Country congresswoman who became an overnight GOP superstar with her performance in the impeachment inquiry, raised $3.2 million in campaign contributions over the last quarter of 2019, beating out Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Jeff Freeland, a top player on Trump’s anti-impeachment team – and the latest possible candidate for Congress in New York’s 27th Congressional District – made his political debut at the age of 13 when then-President Bill Clinton came to Buffalo.

A key accuser in the Harvey Weinstein rape trial broke down in tears on the witness stand when it came out in court that she had been sexually assaulted when she was younger.

A Rensselaer County grand jury declined to file vehicular manslaughter charges against a Michigan man involved in a drunken-driving crash that left a Columbia County man dead more than two years ago.

A mid-level appellate court has reinstated a Glens Falls law firm’s efforts to collect payment from the village of Hoosick Falls for work it did during the municipality’s water contamination crisis.

During a closed-door meeting between the City of Troy and members of the police department, body cameras were a topic of discussion. Chief Brian Owens says it was a productive meeting, but he’s still unable to provide a specific timeline on when the cameras will be implemented.

New York announced that it will award more than $3 million in federal grants to addiction treatment providers who pledge to bring services to hard-to-reach communities.

The new head of the Street Vendor Project in NYC, Mohamed Attia, has gone from slinging chicken to selling the idea that his members deserve a niche in New York.

The new head of Brooklyn’s Democratic Party, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, who says she lost her father to cancer due to a menthol cigarette addiction, is trying to light a fire under Speaker Corey Johnson and the rest of the City Council to pass long-stalled legislation to ban them.

Officials at 10 suburban and rural Capital Region school districts convened a panel of state legislators to discuss “school sustainability,” an advocacy push for more school aid, in the auditorium of East Greenbush’s Columbia High School last week.

Manhattan federal Judge Deborah Batts who was slated to oversee Michael Avenatti’s Stormy Daniels-related embezzlement trial, has died. She was 72.

Officials at local county fairs are scrambling to figure out their scheduling after hearing that the New York State Fair is extending its run.

Are the Rolling Stones coming to Buffalo this summer? Rumors are swirling across the 716 that the legendary band will make a stop in the area this year.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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