Good morning, CivMixers. It’s Tuesday. Happy Bastille Day!
This is a French public holiday that celebrates the storming of the Bastille – a military fortress and prison – that took place on July 14, 1789, in a violent uprising that helped usher in the French Revolution.
The Bastille was an infamous and terrible place that held political dissidents including the writer and philosopher Voltaire and the Marquis de Sade (yes, him, the one from whom the term “sadist” is derived). Many of these prisoners were locked away without a trial by order of the king.
By 1789, the prison was scheduled to be demolished and replaced by a public square. But then the peasants got angry, and, well, the rest is history.
This day, much like our own July 4, is celebrated across France with festivities that include fireworks, parades and parties – usually. A number of celebrations are still being held, but the crowds are going to be considerably smaller as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
On this side of the pond…yeah. I’m just going to leave this right here.
In today’s weather, blah, blah hot and humid, blah, blah chance of thunderstorms. More of the same, though slightly less oppressive, from a heat standpoint, then what we’ve been seeing, with temperatures forecast only to be in the low 80s.
In the headlines…
A day after President Trump’s press office tried to undermine the reputation of the nation’s top infectious disease expert with an anonymously attributed list of what it said were his misjudgments in the early days of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci returned to the White House.
Fauci said the United States is seeing a surge in new Covid-19 infections because the country never shut down entirely.
The World Health Organization’s chief slammed some government leaders for eroding public trust by sending mixed messages on the coronavirus and warned that their failures to stop their countries’ spiraling outbreaks mean there would be no return to normal “for the foreseeable future.”
After many countries reopened schools, businesses and restaurants, governments world-wide are wrestling with another coronavirus dilemma: When to throw open their borders again. It is turning into one of the most complicated decisions of the pandemic.
In Texas, Houston’s Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner proposed a two-week shutdown, days after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott raised the possibility of more stringent measures after issuing a mask wearing mandate that offended conservative orthodoxy. West Virginia called time’s up in bars in the worst-hit county.
The state of California is shutting down indoor dining and bars as COVID resurges.
The U.S. budget deficit reached $3 trillion in the 12 months through June as stimulus spending soared and tax revenue plunged, putting the federal government on pace to register the largest annual deficit as a share of the economy since World War II.
A new plan under development by the White House and Senate Republicans to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is expected to include financial incentives to push schools to reopen while also shielding health care workers and companies against lawsuits – a move that will spur a fight with Democrats.
The coronavirus pandemic stripped an estimated 5.4 million American workers of their health insurance between February and May, a stretch in which more adults became uninsured because of job losses than have ever lost coverage in a single year, according to a new analysis.
Many small business owners struggling to survive amid an ever-changing virus landscape are simply closing their doors for good.
“Keep the change” has taken on a whole new meeting in the last few weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a shortage of coins.
California’s two largest public school districts said that instruction would be online-only in the fall, in the latest sign that school administrators are increasingly unwilling to risk crowding students back into classrooms until the coronavirus is fully under control.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out the formula that will be used to reopen schools across the state.
A region must be in Phase 4 and the daily infection rate must remain below 5 percent using a 14-day average for schools to reopen. Decisions on reopening school will be made during the first week of August.
Trump has been pressing for schools to reopen in the fall, threatening to cut funding to school districts that don’t. But Cuomo stressed that New York is “not going to use our children as guinea pigs.”
About two-thirds of New Yorkers believe schools will reopen in the fall – even as they anticipate a second wave of the coronavirus and strongly prefer a slow economic restart in the interest of public health, according to a new Siena College poll.
State AG Letitia James sued the Trump administration over a new policy that forces international students to leave the country or face deportation if their school offers online-only classes this fall.
James said the ICE directive endangers public health, as well as the immigration status of over 100,000 international students studying in New York.
New York plans to levy a $2,000 fine against certain travelers who leave airports in the state without submitting a form that says where the travelers are arriving from and where they’re going.
Cuomo said the fines would apply to travelers from the list of states – including Texas and Florida – who are required to quarantine for 14 days under New York’s travel advisory. New Jersey and Connecticut do not have this rule in place.
Gov. Ron DeSantis had issued a similar quarantine order in March when New York was a hot spot for the virus. But a resurgence of infections that began in June has turned the tables on Florida, which now ranks among the country’s worst-hit states.
As new cases surge in Florida, including 15,300 reported on Sunday, more Republicans are taking a wait-and-see approach on whether to attend the Republican National Convention in the Golden State next month, or deciding to skip it all together.
On the heels of a 24-hour period without coronavirus deaths in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio and city health officials issued new guidance for wearing face coverings indoors.
New Yorkers should wear a mask or face covering indoors (though not in their own homes) at all times, even at work and in large spaces regardless if social distancing can be met.
During a press briefing with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Cuomo announced that New York will deploy testing and contact tracing teams to Atlanta as the city continues to experience an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Cuomo disputed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s theory that rent struggles could be to blame for the city’s recent crime wave, calling the suggestion “factually impossible.”
The state is asking the public to complete surveys under a statewide effort to examine segregated living patterns and housing disparities, Cuomo’s office announced.
The governor unveiled a pandemic-themed poster commemorating New York’s battle against coronavirus.
…Cuomo designed the artwork, inspired by 19th and early 20th Century campaign posters, which depicts a mountain symbolizing the state’s “111 days of Hell” and a crew of New Yorkers, as well as the governor’s three daughters, using a rope to flatten the curve.
The poster is being sold at cost, and not everyone is on board with that, with some saying the whole enterprise is offensive and makes a mockery of tragedy.
Cuomo’s youngest daughter, Michaela, made a social media pitch for love after her famously picky father left her sister’s beau — “the boyfriend” — dangling off a cliff in his latest political poster.
After celebrity chef and internet personality Chrissy Teigen questioned the “Boyfriend Cliff” on the poster, Cuomo assured Twitter users that “We do like the boyfriend,” adding” “All boyfriends face a steep climb.”
Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady announced that it will likely be laying off approximately 1,000 employees who have been on furlough since March. Other casinos upstate offered the same notice as there are no sure answers about when they will be able to re-open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid a statewide death toll that’s the sixth-highest in the world and continuing controversy over his handling of New York’s nursing homes during the crisis, Cuomo attacked Trump’s coronavirus response — calling it worse than Watergate.
The state Legislature will conduct a series of hearings between July 28 and Aug. 25 on New York’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, including two that will evaluate the spread of the virus in nursing homes.
Other joint legislative hearings will focus on the state’s response to the pandemic related to higher education, hospitals, elections, veterans and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Sen. Gustavo Rivera, chairman of the Senate health committee, said he plans to tailor a portion of his inquiry for that hearing on a Wall Street Journal investigation published in June that looked into what went wrong in New York’s response to Covid-19.
Community-based mental health provider advocates fear the state’s withholding of $5.5 million in funding could leave people with serious psychiatric disabilities homeless, and are calling on New York officials to adequately fund the programs.
If wealthy NYC residents who fled the virus for second homes aren’t counted in this year’s Census, the city could lose out on crucial federal money — and congressional seats.
Montgomery County sounded the alarm about its largest weekly increase in coronavirus cases since the pandemic first hit the area. County Executive Matt Ossenfort reported yesterday that the county saw a 21-case increase over the week for 132 virus cases to date.
Albany County officials once again sounded the alarm about out-of-state travel as Capital Region health officials continue to trace recent coronavirus clusters to travelers who failed to follow the state’s 14-day quarantine policy.
Jimmy Fallon was back in 30 Rock studios for last night’s episode of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” after nearly four months away due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo appeared as a guest via Zoom and welcomed Fallon back.
The Fox News star Tucker Carlson said that he would leave on a “long-planned” vacation, starting immediately, days after a writer on his program, Blake Neff, resigned over racist, sexist and misogynist messages that Neff published pseudonymously on an online message board.
Two of New York’s biggest attractions — the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island — could reopen as soon as next week.
A Long Island construction company was a hotbed for sexual harassment, with bosses demanding sex from female employees in exchange for pay and overtime, the New York Attorney General has alleged.
AG James is accusing Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez of abusing his power in seeking the release of a convicted murderer, claiming the DA only did so to push his political agenda.
The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., has two big recent victories, but still has not said whether he is seeking re-election.
Tali Farhadian Weinstein, who stepped down last week as general counsel to Brooklyn DA Gonzalez, is jumping into next year’s already-crowded race for Manhattan district attorney.
Protesters blocked the four doors in and out of Schenectady City Hall yesterday afternoon but never got inside to occupy the facility as they took their demands for police reforms to the building following a video last week that showed a police officer using a controversial knee hold on a man he was trying to arrest.
Direct references to law enforcement were dropped out of a Democratic-sponsored resolution that calls for the Republican-controlled Rensselaer County Legislature to support the Black Lives Matter movement and racial justice for people of color.
A police officer’s use of a Taser gun on a Black Lives Matter protester is under investigation, according to the New York City mayor, after a weekend marked by contentious encounters between pro- and antipolice demonstrations.
Five people were shot in Brooklyn yesterday in what the police described as three drive-by attacks within 20 minutes and about a mile of each other, continuing a wave of gun violence that has gripped New York this summer.
At least 17 people were shot in New York City yesterday, a tally that would be considered high for a weekend day, but is “astronomical” for early in the week, law enforcement sources said.
A judge dismissed charges against a man who was arrested in June after he argued with police while he tried to record their arrest of another man in Albany’s South End.
A 1-year-old was killed and three other people were shot late Sunday night while the family was enjoying a cookout on the sidewalk in Brooklyn.
The boy was shot in the stomach when gunmen opened fire on a gathering in a park in Brooklyn, according to New York Police Department officials. The child, Davell Gardner, was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the officials.
“This isn’t something we can allow,” de Blasio told reporters in a a City Hall press briefing. “To wake up this morning and learn that a 1-year-old child was killed on the streets of our city by gunfire is just so painful.”
“We’ve seen such tough days in the past and we fought our way back, and it means the whole community has to be involved,” the mayor said. “It’s never just about police. It has to be community and police together.”
An unidentified man walked up to the giant “Black Lives Matter” mural outside Trump Towner in Midtown Manhattan and poured red paint on the bright yellow letters shortly after noon yesterday, then ran off before cops showed up to survey the damage.
In Catskill, on the western banks of the Hudson River, the debate over whether to allow a Black Lives Matter painting directly on Main Street has only exacerbated racial tensions in a village where just over a fifth of the population is Black.
New York came in 41st in a new study by the WalletHub website that examines the level of racial equality within the economies of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, based on eight key dimensions.
A Nassau legislative committee voted to create a commission to study new ways for police to handle encounters with mentally ill people, including embedding mental health professionals with police officers as they respond to mental health distress calls.
Albany Police are investigating after two men were shot early yesterday morning – the second double shooting in as many days.
The city this week will interview three companies named as finalists in the competition to manage the Cohoes Music Hall, winnowed from six initial applicants.
The Lincoln Park Pool will reopen today after it was temporarily closed for repairs Sunday evening. Part of the repairs included fixing a leak in a recirculation pipe.
The MTA’s plan to implement congestion pricing and tax cars in the busiest parts of Manhattan will be delayed by “roughly a year” thanks to holdups by the Trump Administration, the agency’s chief development officer Janno Lieber said.
A New York judge lifted a temporary restraining order against Mary Trump that briefly blocked the president’s niece from promoting her highly controversial tell-all book set to be released today.
The White House doubled down on criticism of the Washington Redskins for retiring their name and logo, citing a news report that found the majority of Native Americans were not offended by it.
…The Chiefs, Blackhawks, and Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves still exist, and more than 2,200 high schools still use some form of Native American imagery.
Roger Stone, whose sentence has been commuted by the president, said his trial for lying to Congress was “the most horrible experience you can have” — and slammed the federal justice system for his prosecution.
A proposed $18.9 million settlement to compensate victims of Harvey Weinstein faced more criticism ahead of a key court hearing. Doug Wigdor, an attorney for six Weinstein accusers, called the deal “if approved, one of the most one-sided and unfair class settlements in history.”
NYC Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. announced he will not seek re-election in 2021, likely bringing his career in Bronx politics to an end. This decision follows his distant third-place finish in the June Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. José Serrano in Washington.
Cuomo announced four appointments to fill vacancies in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, in the First Department of New York.
A federal lawsuit is looking to make it easier for independent candidates to get on New York’s election ballots this November, and maybe beyond.
Before disappearing in a California lake, “Glee” actress Naya Rivera used her last bits of strength to get her 4-year-old son onto their drifting boat, but didn’t have the energy to save herself, officials said.
A body discovered yesterday morning at Lake Piru has been identified as Rivera, 33, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said during a news conference.
Belmont Stakes winner and New York native Tiz the Law has arrived at his summer home: Saratoga.
Photo credit: George Fazio.