Rise and Shine, Feb. 6, 2020

Hello, on this snowy Thursday morning.

The main news at this moment is the weather.

We’ve got a winter weather advisory in place until later this afternoon, with the total sleet and snow accumulation expected to range from a coating to two inches in the Albany area, according to The Weather Channel. Isolated power outages are possible due to ice buildup, and the commute is going to be a mess.

You know the drill: Leave extra time to get to your destination. Slow down. Be careful.

There will be a transition to rain at some point, and that will continue on into the evening and tomorrow morning. Then…more snow, with a potential three inches of the white stuff.

Temperatures will be in the mid-to-high-30s both days.

In a number of states – including New York, thanks to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, apparently, though I can’t recall him ever formally announcing this – today is Ronald Reagan Day, the anniversary of The Gipper’s birthday.

This tradition started in 2011 in the state of California. Reagan served as the Golden State’s governor from 1967 to 1975, and, of course, he was president from 1981 to 1989. Reagan was born in 1911 and died in 2004. He was an Aquarius.

Some Democratic governors have refused to issue any recognition of Reagan. It looks like New York decided to get on board the Reagan train sometime around 2013.

An interesting juxtaposition: Today is also International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, according to the UN.

Reagan it turns out, shared a birthday with famous baseball player George Herman “Babe” Ruth, (AKA “The Babmino” and “The Sultan of Swat”), who was born on this day in 1895 in Pigtown, Maryland, and died in 1948 after suffering for two years from nasopharyngeal cancer.

President Donald Trump posthumously awarded Ruth the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018.

Also born on this day and no longer with us: Jamaican singer/songwriter Bob Marley, who died in 1981 after a long battle with acral lentiginous melanoma. He was posthumously honored by Jamaica, designated the nation’s Order of Merit award.

Still on the planet and celebrating birthdays today are: Singer Rick Astley (54), former basketball player (and very briefing Mr. Kim Kardashian) Kris Humphries (35), TV journalist and author Tom Brokaw (another Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, though he got his from President Barack Obama – 80), author Michael Pollan (56), singer Axl Rose (58) and actress Kathy Najimy (63).

In the headlines this morning…

Following his acquittal on impeachment charges by the U.S. Senate yesterday, Trump today will make an announcement at the White House about what he called “our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax.”

…Trump last night tweeted an attack ad against Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who broke GOP ranks to vote in favor of impeachment, calling Romney a “Democrat secret asset.”

One mile from the scene of Trump’s acquittal, members of his defense team, family and administration gathered at the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, turning its marbled lobby into a hive bursting with “Keep America Great” hats, well-done steaks and bottles of red wine.

Trump supporters in Glens Falls waved flags to celebrate his acquittal, while protestors elsewhere in New York – including Albany – expressed their dismay over the vote.

Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s slim lead in the Iowa caucus results has evaporated. The Iowa Democratic Party released another batch of results late last night, and with 97 percent of precincts reported, Buttigieg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were in a near tie.

The lockdown in Wuhan, China in an attempt to contain a coronavirus outbreak has entered its second week, but the number of infections – as well as the death toll – continues to soar.

The Department of Homeland Security temporarily barred New Yorkers from enrolling in Global Entry and similar programs that allow travelers to speed through borders and airport lines, escalating a conflict between the Trump administration and the state over a law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

…Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News the move was a response to the state’s “Green Light Law” supporting undocumented immigrants. “Today, we sent a letter to New York indicating, because they took these measures, that New York residents are no longer eligible to enroll in these Trusted Traveler Programs,” Wolf said.

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz filed an ethics complaint against Nancy Pelosi that said the House Speaker possibly violated numerous House rules — and maybe even broke the law — by tearing up a copy of Trump’s State of the Union speech.

Joyce Mitchell, 55, the former prison tailor who helped two killers escape the state prison in Dannemora in 2015, is scheduled for release this week after serving her sentence.

While Mitchell’s tentative release date was scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 8, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said inmates cannot be released on the weekend.

The killing of a witness who agreed to testify against members of the MS-13 gang on Long Island has become a new flash point in the debate over criminal justice changes enacted by the state Legislature in 2019 at the urging of progressive lawmakers – specifically discovery reform.

Human service organizations across New York urged state lawmakers this week to increase their funding, saying rising costs and a decade of disinvestment has left their sector at a “breaking point.”

The sixth and final woman to take the stand in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial testified that the former Hollywood mogul trapped her in a bathroom of a hotel room, groped one of her breasts, masturbated and ejaculated onto the floor.

SUNY is investigating the Chinese government’s ties to the Confucius Institutes across the system – including at UAlbany. The institutes are part of a cultural exchange program designed to promote diplomatic relations between China and the U.S.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to tackle homelessness and the property tax system in his final two years in office, but his clout is in question due to his lame duck status. He needs to get New Yorkers to believe in him again, and he’ll try to do that when he delivers his State of the City address today.

De Blasio rebutted a claim by Trump in his State of the Union address that New York’s sanctuary city policy led to the murder of a Queens woman earlier this year, accusing the president of trying to “exploit” the victim’s death.

The New York Mets’ big-headed, iconic mascot — Mr. Met — is going to help presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg open his presidential campaign office in Queens tonight. (This is not an official endorsement by the team).

The city of Troy and Rensselaer County have reached agreement on moving ahead with the delayed construction of the $10 million South Troy Industrial Road project, Mayor Patrick Madden said last night.

St. Peter’s Health Partners and WellNow Urgent Care announced that they have opened an urgent care center in Guilderland.

Bernard Madoff, the mastermind of the largest Ponzi scheme in history, said in a court filing that he was dying and asked for an early release from prison. Madoff, 81, has less than 18 months to live after entering the final stages of kidney disease, the filing said.

Barnes & Noble has suspended its plan to release “diverse editions” of classic novels for Black History Month after getting slammed on Twitter for “literary blackface.”

RIP Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch, the movie legend whose rags-to-riches roots were planted in the Capital Region (specifically, Amssterdam) more than a century ago and who often returned to visit relatives. He died yesterday, family members said, at the age of 103.

RIP Deborah A. Batts, the first openly gay judge to sit on the federal bench, who presided over prominent cases involving political corruption, terrorism and the Central Park Five civil case, who died on Monday at her home in Manhattan. She was 72.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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