Rise and Shine: May 26, 2020

Good Tuesday morning, CivMixers.

It’s going to be a short work week after a lovely Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer 2020. Technically speaking, though, it’s the 68th day of spring and there are 26 days remaining until summer truly starts, marked by the summer solstice.

It’s National Sorry Day in Australia, also known as the the National Day of Healing – an annual event held on this day since 1998, to remember and commemorate the mistreatment of the country’s Indigenous peoples, as part of an ongoing process of reconciliation between the Indigenous peoples and the settler population.

Something to think about as you go about your day.

It’s going to be a HOT one, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures reaching up into the high 80s and flirting with 90 degrees. Hello, upstate spring, which basically doesn’t exist.

In the headlines…

Photos and video of Memorial Day weekend celebrations across the U.S. showed plenty of people going to the beach and gathering on boardwalks, but not a lot of social distancing or masks.

Images of a jam-packed pool party at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri over the Memorial Day weekend prompted St. Louis County to issue a travel advisory and the Kansas City health director to call for self-quarantine of the revelers.

On a holiday that usually mixes somber remembrance and blissful renewal, the nation marked an unusually grim Memorial Day in which losses from the past merged with ones from the present.

The coronavirus pandemic will have a “disastrous” impact on children’s rights worldwide, making them more vulnerable to forced labor and underage marriage, a rights group has said, as the WHO warned of an “immediate second peak” in cases if restrictions were lifted too soon.

The WHO announced that it was pausing an ongoing trial of how hydroxychloroquine impacts hospitalized COVID-19 patients over safety concerns of the anti-malaria drug—medicine that President Donald Trump said he was taking for at least two weeks.

Trump spent the long holiday weekend bemoaning everything but the tragic roll call of death, while also finding time to claim he got “great reviews” for handling the crisis.

Trump has issued a call for schools forced to close amid the coronavirus pandemic to be “opened ASAP,” as new polling suggests that Americans do not believe it is safe yet to send children back to school.

Trump threatened to move the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if the state’s governor can’t guarantee that the event will take place at full capacity.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced the end of his state of emergency declaration for the novel coronavirus pandemic, with just 851 deaths reported and without ever implementing a lockdown.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser Dominic Cummings insisted he “behaved reasonably” when he drove 260 miles during lockdown — but admitted he should have been clearer about his actions and spoken out sooner.

International markets rose, as optimism about economic reopening outweighed concerns over escalating U.S.-China tensions.

While the FCC estimates more than 94 percent of Americans – or about 309 million people – have access to high-speed internet services, it acknowledges that number is based on flawed data from internet-service providers.

Covid-19 testing regimes are taking hold at big companies as they try to get back to business and prevent outbreaks on the job.

As dozens of meatpacking plants that closed because of outbreaks begin reopening, companies’ reluctance to disclose detailed case counts makes it difficult to tell whether the contagion is contained or new cases are emerging even with new safety measures in place.

A small study of 16 pregnant women who tested positive for Covid-19 found evidence of injury to the placenta, the organ that acts as the gut, kidneys, liver and lungs for a fetus during pregnancy.

U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ben Sasse of Nebraska last week introduced bipartisan legislation that, if passed, would give Americans who are unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic a $4,000 tax credit.

The governor of Michigan — whose strict coronavirus lockdown policies have caused infamous revolts in the state — is taking heat after her husband appeared to have flouted some of her own advice about holiday travel.

California released a framework that will permit counties to allow in-person worship services. They include limiting worshipers to 100 or less, taking everyone’s temperature, limiting singing and group recitations and not sharing prayer books or other items.

The Trump administration’s new testing strategy, released Sunday to Congress, holds individual states responsible for planning and carrying out all coronavirus testing, while planning to provide some supplies needed for the tests.

The inconsistent distribution of federal coronavirus aid to higher education institutions has created a scenario where some small schools say they will eventually return funds to the DOE, while larger colleges and universities are desperate for more relief.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins plan to hold committee meetings today and convene in session in the following days to vote on legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Legislature’s return to work after a six-week virus-induced hiatus is positive, but warned lawmakers against spending state money as New York faces a minimum $13.3 billion budget shortfall. The state projects a $61 billion hole over four years because of unforeseen pandemic expenditures.

Tax revenues for New York City and the state are on the line as some of the region’s wealthiest residents flee to the suburbs or beyond while employers keep out-of-state commuters in their homes.

Cuomo admitted that coronavirus projections from experts were all wrong, and he’s getting out of the business of speculating because of it.

“There are a lot of variables,” the governor said. “I understand that. We didn’t know what the social distancing would actually amount to. I get it, but we were all wrong. So, I’m sort of out of the guessing business, right?”

Bob McManus: “So Gov. Cuomo killed grandma and cratered New York’s economy. But he looked good doing it. Too harsh? Well, report cards are snapshots, and the pandemic is an evolving event. Numbers are shifting, and surely things will look different down the road.”

The Syracuse Post-Standard: “Now that the immediate crisis posed by the coronavirus has eased, we can look back at the decisions public officials made in the heat of the moment, analyze them and learn from them. This exercise is called accountability.”

Cuomo said the state would pay death benefits to the families of frontline workers who died fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cuomo said economic activity nationwide is unlikely to “just bounce back” from the pandemic shutdown, and government will need to “think big” in efforts to rebuild and reshape the economy – building new airports, shoring up roads and bridges, and investing in mass transit and in new technology for education and telemedicine.

Applications for a new New York State small business loan program open today for businesses that didn’t get money from federal COVID-19 relief programs.

Nassau County will offer $500,000 in loans to help small businesses, nonprofits and landlords struggling during the coronavirus pandemic in a bid to distribute up to $10 million to the entities from a new state lending program.

Campgrounds and RV parks are open again in New York as of yesterday. Veterinarian services can begin again today.

Janet DiFiore, New York’s Chief Judge, says state courts are restoring in-person operations in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, and Washington Counties today, following openings last week in Fulton, Montgomery, and Schoharie Counties.

City University colleges are rolling out plans to slash their adjunct teaching staffs as the system faces a nearly $150 million cut in aid thanks to the coronavirus budget crises at City Hall and in Albany.

Long lines are snaking around the corners of Big Apple bicycle stores as transit-averse New Yorkers seek a safe way to get around during the coronavirus crisis.

A group of Staten Island lawmakers is pushing Cuomo to let the borough reopen separately from the rest of the city. (The governor rejected that idea).

A viral video shows a mob of Staten Island grocery-store shoppers screaming at a customer who wasn’t wearing a mask.

Memorial Day weekend brought a wave of violence to the Big Apple, with five homicides, including three fatal stabbings and a man bashed to death with a chunk of concrete, police said.

Faced with an explosion of gun violence in Brooklyn amid the coronavirus pandemic, NYPD commanders said they are pulling officers from social distancing detail and deploying them to parts of the borough and other places affected by the increase in shootings.

Despite seeing two homicides in four days, the mayor of Schenectady continues to say his city may need to reduce the size of its police force as a result of cornavirus-related financial stress.

A 30-year-old city man was shot numerous times on Colonie Street in Albany’s Arbor Hill yesterday afternoon in a crime police believe is tied to a feud between the victim and his assailant.

An 87-year-old man shot and killed his 75-year-old wife before killing himself early yesterday in shootings that Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said appeared to have been motivated by the couple’s concern about their medical problems.

Over the weekend, Cuomo shared a sweet message to his youngest daughter Michaela, 22, who graduated from Brown University this year.

Cuomo’s Memorial Day coronavirus press briefing at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum began with his tossing a wreath in the Hudson River, the playing of taps and a moment of silence.

With more people than ever staying home to lessen the spread of COVID-19, their sedans, pickup trucks and SUVs are parked unattended on the streets, making them easy targets for opportunistic thieves.

The National Hockey League sent a memo to players and members of the news media detailing a plan to resume its season with voluntary workouts as soon as early June after a layoff of more than two months.

Right now, it looks like the 152nd meet at Saratoga will be like no other, as NYRA prepares to race without fans.

More than 1 million spectators were admitted during the 2019 Saratoga meet. Pat McKenna, spokesman for the New York Racing Association, which operates the track, said it would look to the state for guidance on whether fans could be allowed.

“The Match: Champions for Charity,” a golf exhibition matching Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, drew an average of 5.8 million viewers Sunday across TNT, TBS, TruTV and Headline News, the largest golf audience ever on cable TV.

Facing a summer with no baseball and no picnics, the makers of the original Coney Island red hot feared the worst. But even with an empty boardwalk, business is booming.

Gucci has joined the chorus of brands and retailers calling for a permanent reset of the fashion system thanks to Covid-19, adding the weight of a giant global name to the movement.

Georgetown basketball coach and former NBA great Patrick Ewing has been released from the hospital and is recovering from COVID-19 at home, his son said.

There were some long lines outside some Massachusetts pot shops yesterday as recreational marijuana sales back on in the bay state for the first time since march.

In non-virus news…

Former Democratic presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang used the Memorial Day weekend to advocate for a four-day workweek on Twitter.

The U.S. Department of Justice is officially investigating the February shooting death of Georgia man Ahmaud Arbery as a possible hate crime, his family’s attorney confirmed.

Connecticut State Police are searching for a University of Connecticut student in connection with the killing of two people and an abduction, according to law enforcement officials.

Peter Manfredonia, 23, is suspected of killing a 62-year-old man and seriously injuring another man “with an edged weapon” on Friday morning. He was last seen in Pennsylvania.

A lawyer representing Manfredonia’s family said the suspect has a history of mental illness and urged him to surrender.

The head of the nation’s top LGBT rights group, Alphonso David, a former top Cuomo aide, is trying to stop conservative Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. — a Bronx councilman known for his anti-gay stances — from getting elected to Congress.

The Air Force said it was dispensing with a height restriction that effectively eliminated about 44 percent of American women between the ages of 20 and 29 from becoming pilots.

The investment company that employs a white woman who went viral after calling the cops on a black man in Central Park yesterday has placed her on administrative leave.

Queen guitarist Brian May, 72, has revealed that he was rushed to the hospital by his doctor after suffering a heart attack.

SpaceX plans to launch NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station tomorrow — a first for a private company.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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