Rise and Shine: Feb. 5, 2020

Good Wednesday morning, CivMixers.

If we lived in Mexico, we would have the day off today. Feb. 5 (or the first Monday in February, whichever comes first) is a public holiday – Constitution Day, better known as Día de la Constitución – to celebrate the anniversary of Mexico’s current constitution, which was promulgated on this day back in 1917.

Of course, we don’t live in Mexico. So, we have to go to work. Whomp, whomp.

On a brighter note: It’s World Nutella Day and National Weatherpersons Day. So we’ve got that going for us.

It’s going to be partly cloudy today and 38 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. But don’t get too complacent, because we’re in for nasty weather over the next two days, with rain, sleet and snow in the forecast…because, February. At this point, the accumulation is expected to be light-to-moderate, but the driving conditions won’t be great.

On this day in 1825, Hannah Lord Montague of New York created the first detachable shirt collar.

In 1850, an adding machine employing depressible keys was patented in my hometown of New Paltz (!).

In 1870, the first motion picture shown to a theater audience in Philadelphia, PA.

In 1922, “Reader’s Digest” magazine was first published.

In 1942, the first ever Winter Olympic Games came to a close in Chamonix, France.

In 1944, the serial film “Captain American” premiered, starring Dick Purcell, marking the first appearance of a Marvel superhero outside a comic.

In 1991, a Michigan court barred Dr. Jack Kevorkian from assisting in suicides.

In 1997, O.J. Simpson was found liable in the deaths of Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson in a civil court action.

Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is celebrating his 35th birthday today. Also marking another year on the planet are: Actor Darren Criss (33), actor Henry Golding (33), former baseball great Hank Aaron (86), and retired NHL player and sports commentator Don Cherry (also 86).

It’s going to be a big day for President Donald Trump, who is all-but certain to be acquitted of impeachment in the U.S. Senate. Last night, he delivered a triumphant State of the Union address on the floor of the House, which voted to impeach him just a few weeks earlier.

Trump claimed credit for a “great American comeback” in his SOTU, boasting of a robust economy, contrasting his successes with the records of his predecessors and projecting optimism in the face of a months-long Democratic effort to force him from office.

The address provided the newly emboldened Trump with the ultimate platform to steal the spotlight and project an air of victory directly to the American people.

Trump returned to his roots as a reality TV star, peppering in flourishes and surprises meant to delight the viewing audience. He brought home a soldier from Afghanistan and reunited him with his family and announced a scholarship for a nine-year-old girl.

Trump also awarded the conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh, who was recently diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer, the Presidential Medal of Freedom — complete with a ceremony in the First Lady’s box.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up a copy of Trump’s address as he ended his speech. This came after the president refused to shake her hand at the beginning of the address.

Trump blasted the “Sanctuary City of New York” for causing the brutal rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman last month by failing to turn over a criminal alien to the federal government for deportation.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used the Democrats’ response to Trump’s State of the Union address to swivel from impeachment to working-class voters’ worries, saying her party is focusing on easing health care costs and other pocket-book concerns.

In other news…

New Iowa caucus results released late last night showed Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg continuing to lead the Democratic field, just ahead of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

…Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren remained in third place, and former Vice President Joe Biden was a distant fourth. Seventy-one percent of precincts have now reported results.

The results followed 24 hours of chaos as technical problems marred the complicated caucus process, forcing state officials to apologize and raising questions about Iowa’s traditional place atop the presidential primary calendar.

An untested technology, novel reporting requirements, nearly a dozen competitors to tally across 1,600 precincts — what could go wrong? As the Iowa Democratic Party discovered Monday night, nearly everything.

The biggest winner in the Iowa Democratic caucus debacle may well have been a candidate who didn’t bother to campaign in the Hawkeye State — billionaire Mike Bloomberg, his supporters say.

The China National Health Commission said that as of last night, a total of 24,324 coronavirus cases have been confirmed and 490 people have died in the country.

American Airlines said it has suspended flights to Hong Kong through Feb. 20 due to weak demand , and United Airlines will do the same next weekend.

A report that suggested Wuhan coronavirus could spread before the onset of symptoms was flawed, according to public health experts.

Cruise ships in Japan and Hong Kong are being scrutinized amid infection fears.

A suspected coronavirus patient at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital has tested negative for the fast-moving flu-like disease.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of a new hotline and website that New Yorkers can consult if they have questions or concerns about a deadly new coronavirus that has spread to the U.S. in very small numbers, while confirming there are thus far no known cases in the state.

Cuomo announced the members of his Medicaid Redesign Team II, which is charged with come up with $2.5 billion worth of savings in the health care program for low-income New Yorkers prior to the April 1 budget deadline.

…The group’s first public meeting will be Feb. 11, and it will submit its findings and recommendations to Cuomo and the state Legislature in March.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie pushed back against what he called “sensationalized” stories about the failure of bail reform, which was the subject of dueling protests at the state Capitol yesterday.

As the state Board of Elections continues its certification process to adopt controversial touch-screen voting machines, the head of the Senate elections committee, Zellnor Myrie, a Brooklyn Democrat, is urging the board’s commissioners to hit pause while lawmakers gather feedback about the new technology.

State Senate Democrats passed a slew of bills geared toward combating the opioid crisis that’s plagued New Yorkers.

A day after the prosecution’s key witness in the Harvey Weinstein trial dissolved into tears on the stand, defense lawyers yesterday again chipped away at her allegation that he raped her — portraying her as an opportunist who had a long romantic relationship with the movie mogul.

Over the objections of the Oscar-winner’s defense, five photos of a naked Weinstein were passed around to the Manhattan jurors considering the sexual abuse case against the disgraced Hollywood producer.

For the last year, the New York City Commission on Human Rights has been investigating and in settlement talks with Prada, a process culminating in a deal signed yesterday – just in time to set nerves on edge during fashion month.

With protests and a viral video, the popular pop-up Taste of Persia NYC is at the center of a classic New York story of turf and displacement.

As yet another community in the Capital Region – Cairo – has discovered contaminants in its drinking water, advocates are urging the state Department of Health to abandon a plan to allow delays in reporting and tackling such problems.

Sam’s Club is seeking to add a gas station to its store at Latham Farms. The warehouse club’s engineers were to present their plans at last night’s Colonie Planning Board meeting.

Both drivers who collided head-on Monday night on Curry Road in Rotterdam were drunk, town police said.

December’s multi-day snowstorm brought more than 20 inches of snow to the city of Albany, putting stress on public services and residents as they struggled to dig out from the storm or navigate the snow-filled streets – not to mention the city budget.

Pet store representatives are dogging state lawmakers calling for a ban on the sale of canines and felines from shops, arguing the proposal would rob consumers of choice while boosting unregulated breeders.

Macy’s, the struggling department store chain, is planning another round of store closings and job cuts.

The City University of New York named its first Asian-American college president this week, appointing David Wu to lead Baruch College in Manhattan.

Attendees at an Ichabod Crane Board of Education meeting last night called for the resignation of a member who accused a student of being on drugs.

Former Watertown Mayor Joe Butler Jr. was behind the wheel of a vehicle that struck a woman Monday afternoon, Watertown police said.

Actress Shannen Doherty has revealed that her breast cancer diagnosis has returned, saying she’s at “stage four” and “it’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways.”

The Central New York brewery behind such products as Utica Club lager and Saranac craft beers is about to enter the surging market for hard seltzer with a fruity beverage that’s also infused with green tea.

Syracuse University plans to sell sections of the old Carrier Dome roof, the stadium’s managing director says.

RIP former Troy City Manager Steven G. Dworsky, a Democrat who led the city as its finances collapsed, resulting in an eventual state bailout, who has died at the age of 75.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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