Rise and Shine: June 11, 2020

Good Thursday morning, CivMixers. And happy Kamehameha Day!

Oh, you’re not familiar with that one? Perhaps it’s because we don’t live in Hawaii. (Maybe we should consider it).

Kamehameha the Great was the monarch of Hawaii between 1782 and 1819, known for uniting and establishing the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810. Kamehameha Day is held in his honor on this day annually.

It’s an official public holiday in Hawaii, traditionally marked by fairs, carnivals and running, horse and cycle races. It’s best known as the date of the King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade, which, at four miles, clocks in as the longest parade route in the nation.

Sadly, like so much these days, the celebration has been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Locally, we’re in for another day of tropical weather, with heat (high 80s) and humidity and the threat od thunderstorms in the morning. The forecast looks like we’re headed for cooler temperatures this weekend…almost there.

In the headlines…

The U.S. surpassed two million coronavirus cases yesterday as a second wave of the virus emerges. Infections are rising in 21 states, as governments ease restrictions and Americans try to return to their routines.

The spike in numbers highlights how complicated it is to stop the spread of the virus despite early hotspots such as New York and New Jersey seeing improved numbers. An additional 100,000 more people will die from coronavirus by September, said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

New York continues to make giant strides against the coronavirus pandemic with under 3 percent of people testing positive for the virus in the Big Apple and Long Island — two of the regions hardest hit by the deadly disease.

Dr. Anthony Fauci blasted the World Health Organization, saying an official at the international health agency was dead wrong when she claimed it was “very rare” for an infected person to transmit the deadly bug to a healthy person.

The federal government plans to fund and conduct the decisive studies of three experimental coronavirus vaccines starting this summer, according to a lead government vaccine researcher.

The embattled New York State Health Department plans to partially reverse a controversial mandate ordering nursing home staff to be tested twice a week for the coronavirus.

Anti-vaccine advocates will converge Saturday in Albany outside of the state Bar Association’s offices as that body discusses a report that recommends mandating a coronavirus vaccine statewide.

The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged yesterday and committed to maintaining its unprecedented stimulus plan until the economy “has weathered recent events.”

International stocks declined after the Federal Reserve vowed to keep its monetary policy aggressive and struck a cautious note on jobs, prompting investors to revisit their assumptions about U.S. economic recovery.

Fed officials projected the economy would contract by anywhere between 4 percent and 10 percent this year. Projections for next year were unusually uncertain, with at least one official projecting an additional 1 percent contraction while most expected growth of around 5 percent.

President Trump and his advisers are weighing a possible executive order or other policy actions to address abuses by police, responding to widespread public anger following the killing of George Floyd in police custody last month.

A growing number of cities and states are moving to ban the use of neck holds by police following protests over Floyd’s killing.

…Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy signed an executive order explicitly banning the use of knee-to-neck and choke holds by the city’s police department.

Trump responded to waves of demonstrations for racial justice by picking a fight over the legacy of the Confederacy, further inflaming the nation’s culture war at a time when tensions were already high after the killing of Floyd and widespread street protests against police brutality.

Protesters tore down a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis along Richmond, Virginia’s famed Monument Avenue last night.

Trump on Twitter demanded that Seattle officials “take back” what has become a cop-free protest space in the center of the city.

Trump will return to the campaign trail on June 19 with a rally in Tulsa, Okla., for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak forced most of the country into quarantine three months ago, as polls show former Vice President Joe Biden establishing a significant national lead in the race for the White House.

Trump plans to speak at the West Point Military Academy’s graduation this week, a White House spokesman said Tuesday — though the ceremony flouts Gov. Cuomo’s social distancing directives and more than a dozen cadets have tested positive for the coronavirus.

In a blow to the Trump administration’s tough tactics, a federal judge ruled that ICE’s practice of making immigration arrests in and around New York State courthouses was illegal.

Floyd’s brother delivered an emotional plea for Congress to act to stop police violence against minorities, formally launching the congressional effort to revamp laws after his brother’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked protests across the country.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he was withdrawing immediately from contract negotiations with the city’s police union as he tries to get ahead of a drive to dismantle the department following protests sparked by Floyd’s killing in police custody.

The first of the four former Minneapolis cops involved in Floyd’s death is out of jail. Thomas Lane, who was fired by the Minneapolis Police Department, was released from Hennepin County Jail after posting bond.

Amazon has removed for sale a children’s T-shirt that featured an image of former Officer Derek Chavin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.

Amazon said it is halting law-enforcement use of its facial-recognition software, adding its voice to a growing chorus of companies, lawmakers and civil rights advocates calling for greater regulation of the surveillance technology amid widespread concern about its potential for racial bias.

Chauvin was reportedly considering a guilty plea in Floyd’s death, but the deal fell apart.

Houston police chief Art Acevedo suggested that Chauvin may have had a personal motivation when he knelt on Floyd’s neck shortly before his May 25 death, and urged investigators to examine the relationship between both men “very closely.”

A man who worked at the same club with Floyd and Chauvin – and previously told CBS News the two had “bumped heads” – changed his story, saying he had mistaken Floyd for another unnamed African-American employee.

A Bronx middle school student on the sidelines of a chaotic protest was tasered, bruised and blooded during his arrest on Fordham Road — and afterward, hauled away to a hospital without his mother ever being contacted, the teen’s family charges.

…New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet that he has spoken to the family of the alleged victim, 16-year-old Jahmel Leach, and he came away “really troubled by what they told me.” The NYPD has launched an investigation into the incident.

A police car accidentally struck and injured a young girl as she tried to cross a Bronx street last night.

High-ranking police officials nationwide — including members of the NYPD — have had their personal information posted online amid nationwide unrest over the police killing of Floyd, the federal government is warning.

Top city lawmakers are looking at chipping away at the New York Police Department’s contact with civilians by cleaving off its school safety and parking enforcement divisions, moves that would amount to the biggest overhaul of Big Apple law enforcement in decades.

The New York attorney general has enlisted former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to help probe violent clashes between the NYPD and George Floyd protesters, the office announced.

Cuomo said he intends to quickly sign the package of police reform bills approved this week by the state Legislature.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first African-American woman, and first woman to lead the Senate, delivered a very personal speech on how systemic racism has affected her life.

Cuomo announced the opening of the brand-new, state-of-the-art Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall at LaGuardia Airport, the biggest milestone to date in the airport’s ongoing $8 billion transformation into a unified 21st century facility

During a ribbon-cutting for a new concourse at LaGuardia Airport, the governor scoffed at the notion that the bus is a quicker trip to the plane than the $2 billion AirTrain he’s proposed — and declined an invitation to ride the bus himself.

The governor vowed to have the best reopening from the coronavirus pandemic of any state in the country.

New York City officials are building a supply line of locally made coronavirus viral test kits, which they say is essential to safely reopening the economy.

The city has released an updated guide on how to practice extra-safe sex during the coronavirus pandemic.

New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza offered a glimpse into the kinds of safeguards that would need to be in place before schools can reopen, which he said would ideally occur in September.

In an email sent this week to school administrators and other stakeholders, Carranza outlined an eight-point checklist that must still be blessed by unions, stressing the details are still being debated.

Cuomo will allow school districts that lose their budget votes on June 16 to hold a second vote, apparently responding to concerns that districts would have to make steep spending cuts if forced to adopt contingency budgets.

Avenues, a for-profit school based in Manhattan, is pitching two new ventures for families seeking flexibility and safety during the coronavirus pandemic: An outpost in the Hamptons and a service dispatching full-time teachers to students’ homes.

Labor leaders say the MTA is refusing to come to the table for contract negotiations amid the coronavirus pandemic — denying all workers benefits that were granted to some staffers earlier this year.

The experience of taking the subway in New York City transformed during the pandemic. Even as riders trickle back, their commutes may have a distinctly different feel.

Some Big Apple businesses are coming up with creative ways to peddle their wares on sidewalks now that curbside pickup is allowed.

State AG Tish James has sued a trio of shady loan companies headed by a convicted pot kingpin that she says threatened to physically hurt customers and kidnap the kids of delinquent debtors.

Walmart will end its practice of locking up African-American beauty care products in glass cases, the retail giant said after a fresh round of criticism that the policy was a form of racial discrimination.

Starbucks will close up to 400 company-owned locations over the next 18 months while also speeding up the expansion of “convenience-led formats” such as curbside pickup, drive-thru and mobile-only pickup locations.

With the COVID-19 pandemic easing, the approximately three dozen people who had been in isolation at the state’s power grid control rooms are once again going home to their families at night.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy made a pitch to Cuomo to start phase three early in the Capital Region.

The Albany County Legislature is creating a recovery task force to help small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to address any potential budget issues ahead of the 2021 budget.

The Albany Public Library System will start a reopening process beginning next week.

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said that with no guidance provided by New York on how and when to open pools during the pandemic, Rensselaer County is going by the normal permitting process for the opening of public pools, which includes pools at campgrounds and private clubs.

Two curators – one in the arts, the other from a history museum – have embarked on a journey unimaginable before the Troy Rally for Black Lives transformed the downtown business district into a plywood canvas of art and living history.

City of Troy officials don’t want to shovel out from a white Christmas this December after cutting 25.4 percent of the year’s snow removal budget this week.

The U.S. reckoning on race hit the sports world, as NASCAR banned Confederate flags at its events, and a National Football League team removed the statue of its founding owner who had been accused of racist remarks.

On the same day that NASCAR announced it was prohibiting the presence of the Confederate flag at all events, driver Ray Ciccarelli announced he would be leaving the sport at the end of the season due to his disagreement with the new policy.

NASCAR has also removed its rule mandating that racing team members stand for the national anthem.

The Carolina Panthers have removed the statue of former owner Jerry Richardson from outside of the team’s Bank of America Stadium “in the interest of public safety,” the franchise announced.

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced last night that its board of directors voted to repeal a policy requiring players to stand during the national anthem.

The N.B.A. superstar LeBron James and a group of other prominent black athletes and entertainers are starting a new group aimed at protecting African-Americans’ voting rights.

Six women have sued U.S.A. Swimming, saying the national governing body for the sport failed to protect them from coaches who were sexual predators when they were preteens and teenagers decades ago, according to multiple civil lawsuits filed in two California courts.

The New York Philharmonic has canceled its fall season over the coronavirus pandemic.

…The lost performances will cost the orchestra approximately $9 million in ticket revenue.

Also cancelled, the 2020 Altamont Fair.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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