Good FRIDAY morning, CivMixers. This week just blew by.
Did you know that the World Meteorological Organization defines a heat wave as 5 or more consecutive days of prolonged heat in which the daily maximum temperature is higher than the average maximum temperature by 5 °C (9 °F) or more?
In that case, I cannot in good conscience say that we are in for a heat wave this weekend. Maybe a mini-heat wave? Anyway, it’s going to be hot, no matter what you call it. Like close to 100 degrees hot (on Sunday). We could even break a record. So, there’s that to look forward to.
Today, though, we’re in for rain and temperatures in the mid-80s.
Worth noting: It’s the sixth anniversary of Eric’ Garner’s Staten Island chokehold death at the hands of a former NYPD officer. Six years later, and the debate over police misconduct and the death of unarmed Black Americans while in the custody of white officers rages on.
On this day in 1955, Disneyland – “The Happiest Place on Earth” – was opened by Walt Disney in Anaheim, California. It cost $17 million (a very large sum at the time) to construct on 160 acres of land, and it was an enormous hit right off the bat.
Admission was just $2.50, compared to $235 today. But even if you were willing to spend that to get in, you can’t at the moment because Disneyland and Disney California Adventure remain closed until further notice, though the downtown shopping area, which is outdoors, has been open for a few weeks now.
Also worth noting: Today is the birthday of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, (she’s 66), who shares her special day with American actor David Hasselhoff, who, by the way, set a Guinness World Record as the most watched man on TV. He’s 68 years young. (And I am SO OLD, because I watched – and loved, mind you – “Knight Rider”).
In the headlines…
Previously public data has already disappeared from the CDC’s website after the Trump administration quietly shifted control of the information to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Department of Health and Human Services got into an ugly blame game with the CDC over an unusual shakeup in how the government collects and presents data on COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The number of new coronavirus cases reported each day is reaching dizzying new heights — and topped 70,000 for the first time yesterday, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
The CDC extended its ban on passenger cruising from U.S. ports through Sept. 30, citing “ongoing” coronavirus outbreaks aboard ships.
After facing backlash, USA Today responded to publishing White House trade advisor Peter Navarro’s controversial op-ed attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying it “did not meet fact-checking standards.”
…The newspaper explained the decision in a note by Bill Sternberg, editorial page editor, attached to the column online. Navarro’s column originally moved online late Tuesday and was published in Wednesday’s newspaper.
Sternberg did not elaborate on the fact-checking process that might have occurred before publication, nor did he say how the paper’s editorial review had broken down. A spokeswoman for USA Today did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A prominent state-backed Russian hacking group was blamed by U.S., U.K. and Canadian government officials for ongoing cyber espionage against organizations involved in the development of coronavirus vaccines and other health-care-related work, reflecting an escalation of security risks at a crucial time in the global pandemic response.
Trump is that guy who gets lost, then refuses to hear it when everyone else wants to pullover and get help, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in summing up the country’s delayed response to the pandemic.
Top U.S. Senate Republicans are pushing to give federal courts jurisdiction over personal injury and medical liability claims stemming from the coronavirus pandemic as part of a temporary set of legal protections for businesses, schools and other organizations.
Foreign students coming from Europe, along with some au pairs and family members of visa holders in the U.S., are exempt from the Trump administration’s various travel bans imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a memo the State Department sent to Congress.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is suing Atlanta to block the city from enforcing its mandate to wear a mask in public and other rules related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuomo said there was “significant evidence” restaurants in New York City were violating social distancing policies designed to contain the spread of Covid-19 and threatened to close establishments that don’t follow the rules.
The governor announced a new, stricter set of rules for NYC bars and restaurants to enforce compliance with social distancing and takeout booze regulations following hundreds of complaints made to the city about social-distancing violators.
One of the new rules: Bars and restaurants across the state now must sell food with alcohol orders – a change that threw the state’s hospitality industry into turmoil at least temporarily, as operators and trade associations sought guidance that was not immediately forthcoming from the governor’s office.
In Saratoga Springs, Harvey’s Irish Pub Owner Matthew Bagely decided to put “Cuomo chips” on everyone’s bill, so customers don’t have to buy a full meal.
Cuomo fired back at CNN anchor Jake Tapper over criticisms he made over a poster he had made that touts the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Oh, we’re not celebrating at all,” Cuomo told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “Newsroom” when pressed about the poster, which he released earlier this week. “What we’re saying is New Yorkers did step up and did flatten the curve. That is a fact…I applaud New Yorkers. I’m proud to applaud New Yorkers.”
Cuomo said the state would issue a final decision at 4 p.m. today on NYC’s Phase IV, which is slated to start on Monday and will reopen low-risk outdoor venues like zoos and botanical gardens with strict capacity limits and mandatory COVID precautions in place, but won’t extend to many indoor venues.
Cuomo threw cold water on hopes that museums and other cultural institutions — like the Metropolitan Museum of Art — might be able to reopen by the end of the summer, saying: “What’s gonna happen Aug. 29? I don’t know. Nobody knows. I think they can plan to reopen and then we’ll see what the facts say.”
Carlos Suarez, owner of Manhattan dining spots Rosemary’s and Claudette, and Yann De Rochefort, founder of the New York-based, Spanish-themed Boqueria chain, have created Safe Eats, a nonprofit organization they said would help restaurants better understand and follow safety guidelines, particularly as pandemic-related protocols change.
Books returned to New York City’s newly reopened libraries are undergoing an ordeal now familiar to the city’s residents: quarantine.
Cuomo launched a “Mask Up America” national ad campaign that will include eight TV spots, produced by Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal and featuring stars such as Robert De Niro, Ellen Pompeo, Kaitlyn Dever, Jamie Foxx, John Leguizamo, Rosie Perez, Anthony Mackie and Jeffrey Wright.
Cuomo’s office confirmed the videos were completed by their in-house, social media team and the clips will be given to the Ad Council to use as PSAs nationwide. They were produced with no cost to state taxpayers, an aide confirmed.
Bronx Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on Cuomo to get onboard with a soak-the-rich tax plan that would siphon wealth from the state’s billionaires and redistribute it to working-class New Yorkers suffering from coronavirus-related economic hardships.
There are at least three tax-the-rich bills, including one that would impose an ultra-millionaires’ tax, that will greet the state Legislature when it returns for a rare July session on Monday. (The Cuomo administration remains opposed to the idea).
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is polling members on whether they’d back the legalization of mobile sports betting as New York’s tax base has been decimated by the recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
State tax receipts plummeted by $1.5 billion, or 17.3 percent, in June compared to the same time a year ago as New York continues to suffer from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from the state Comptroller’s office.
Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, first elected in 1994, conceded the Democratic primary race to challenger Marcela Mitaynes, who was also backed by the Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany emphasized that schools reopening this fall shouldn’t be contingent on science surrounding coronavirus, but then claimed the “science is on our side here” as the pandemic continues unabated.
School districts across the country have abandoned special education kids amid the coronavirus crisis, according to a class action Manhattan federal lawsuit slated to be filed today.
Across the country, public schools plan to open not at all or just a few days a week, while many neighboring private schools, which tend to have more flexibility and also more resources, are opening full time.
City Hall hopes to provide daycare for 100,000 families by the start of next school year to help parents grapple with remote learning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
But many centers say they remain closed as they have been unable to meet the high costs of reopening safely or to draw back enough families to make reopening financially feasible. Childcare facilities around the country face similar challenges as states emerge from outbreaks and try to restart their economies.
The Capital Region in June had 55,000 fewer jobs than it did a year earlier, illustrating the deep impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the area’s economy.
Twitter is now under scrutiny from the FBI, Congress and state authorities in New York. Officials are demanding details about a breach that targeted some of the social network’s most high-profile users.
New York State will launch a “full investigation” into the massive Twitter hack that compromised dozens of high profile accounts this week, the governor announced.
“Foreign interference remains a grave threat to our democracy and New York will continue to lead the fight to protect our democracy and the integrity of our elections in any way we can,” Cuomo said.
Over the past six months, Cuomo raised more than $2 million for his reelection campaign in 2022. The three-term incumbent now has more than $13.3 million in cash on hand.
The New York State bar exam scheduled for Sept. 9 and Sept. 10 was canceled by the state Board of Law Examiners, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Arrest numbers in NYC have plummeted even as shootings have spiraled up, and some elected officials contend that rank-and-file NYPD officers are staging a work slowdown in response to protests over police brutality and systemic racism that erupted after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Defense leaders, who for weeks have been tied in knots over the incendiary issue of banning the Confederate flag, are weighing a new policy that would bar its display at department facilities without actually mentioning its name, several U.S. officials said.
The Republican National Committee announced that it is sharply restricting attendance on three of the four nights of its convention in Jacksonville, Florida next month.
Trump, fresh off losing a historic case before the U.S. Supreme Court over a subpoena for his taxes, is still arguing he’s entitled to special privileges as commander-in-chief.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office accused Trump of purposely dragging out a court battle over a subpoena seeking eight years of his tax returns in an attempt to effectively shield himself from criminal investigation.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance raised only $2,182 for a potential reelection campaign over the last six months, amid doubts over whether he’ll even mount another run.
A hardhat died and at least three other people were hurt in a chain-reaction accident at a Manhattan building undergoing facade repair work, authorities said.
The Bronx man who allegedly punched NYPD Chief Terence Monahan and two other officers during protests on the Brooklyn Bridge Wednesday has been released without bail.
Monahan joined “Your World” for his first TV interview since he and a group of officers were attacked while making an arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge a day earlier.
Cops made strides toward cracking the murder and dismemberment of tech CEO Fahim Saleh in his Lower East Side apartment, zeroing in on a “person of interest” and determining just how he met his end.
The High Line park reopened for a lucky and socially-distant first few visitors, and oddly enough, many of the neighbors were just as happy.
The South Troy Pool will open tomorrow for the first time since 2016, giving residents an opportunity to cool off when temperatures are forecast by the National Weather Service to approach 90 degrees.
Chuck Woolery, who hosted the venerable game show “Wheel of Fortune” from its 1975 inception through 1981, now admits that the coronavirus pandemic is not a hoax after his son apparently tested positive for the disease.
After winning a commutation from the president, Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone alleged two of Trump’s top defenders advocated against clemency for him, naming North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in multiple interviews. A Stefanik spokeswoman said she did not intervene in the case.
A state Appellate Court upheld the rape and sexual assault conviction in Albany County of a former Erie County official, saying that the sentence was not harsh or excessive.
A high-ranking member of the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has been placed on leave as State Police investigate a sexual assault allegation made against him for an incident at the agency’s training academy in Albany.
On the first day of racing at a spectator-less Saratoga Race Course, the New York Racing Association offered a pair of graded stakes races.
In the long and storied history of the Capital Region’s horse park, spectators have never been told they could not come – until now.
The day before the thoroughbred season was set to begin with no on-track spectators, two of the city’s best-known businesses, the Gideon Putnam hotel and Saratoga Casino Hotel, issued notices of long-term layoffs.
The start date for the fall high school sports season was delayed to Sept. 21, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced following the recommendations of its COVID-19 Task Force.
The Colonial Athletic Association, which includes the University at Albany in football, is going to cancel its football season because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to national reports.
In yet another reminder of how difficult it will be to pull off a baseball season in the middle of a pandemic, the Yankees aren’t sure where they will open the season with just seven days to go in training camp.
The Washington Post published a bombshell report in which 15 women accuse several ex-employees of D.C.’s NFL team of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.
Photo credit: George Fazio.