Good Tuesday morning, CivMixers.
I feel duty-bound to inform you that it’s National Junk Food Day, which, given all the time we’re spending at home these days, with less overall movement – generally speaking – doesn’t really help anyone. So we’ll just leave that one right there.
Worth noting: On this day in 1988, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis accepted the Democratic nomination for president in Atlanta, Georgia, beating out the Rev. Jesse Jackson of Illinois, Tennessee Sen. Al Gore, and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt. He went on to lose the November general election to Republican George H.W. Bush, who received 54 percent of the popular vote to Dukakis’ 46 percent.
Bush’s win remains the only time since Harry S. Truman’s victory in the 1948 presidential election in which either party won more than two consecutive presidential elections.
Dukakis actually carried only 10 states and Washington, D.C. in that election, but he improved on the Democratic performances in the previous two elections. After the election, Dukakis announced that he would not seek another term as governor, and he left office in 1991.
This year’s presidential race is gaining steam, but also shaping up to be very unusual as it has been taking place during an unprecedented public health crisis.
The party’s respective nominating conventions are scheduled for next month – in Milwaukee (Democrats) and changed to Jacksonville, Florida from Charlotte, North Carolina, after that state’s Democratic-led government clashed with President Donald Trump over safety concerns over holding a convention during a pandemic. And now Florida isn’t looking so great, either, from a COVID-19 perspective.
The Democratic nominee, former VP Joe Biden, has maintained a big lead in the polls – the biggest of any candidate in decades. But, then again, it’s only August. And the president just this past weekend, in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News, suggested he won’t be beholden to the results of the November election anyway because the need to resort to mail-in voting due to the pandemic will “rig the election.”
It could be a very wild – and long – ride indeed.
We’re looking at slightly cooler temperatures today, in the high 80s instead of 90-plus, with sun in the morning and clouds in the afternoon.
In the headlines…
President Donald Trump acknowledged a “big flareup” of COVID-19 cases, but divisions between the White House and Senate Republicans and differences with Democrats posed fresh challenges for a new federal aid package with the U.S. crisis worsening and emergency relief about to expire.
Ahead of negotiations with Democrats, congressional Republicans and the White House haven’t yet reached agreement on many issues for the package, including whether to include a payroll-tax cut and additional funding for coronavirus testing and tracing and distribution of an eventual vaccine.
After nearly five days of intense haggling, European Union leaders early today stepped up to confront one of the gravest challenges in the bloc’s history, agreeing to a landmark 750 billion euro ($857 billion) stimulus agreement to rescue their economies from the ravages of the pandemic.
The race for a vaccine against the coronavirus intensified yesterday as three competing laboratories released promising results from early trials in humans. Now comes the hard part: proving that any of the vaccines protects against the virus, and establishing how much immunity they provide — and for how long.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams pleaded with Americans to wear masks to stem the spread of coronavirus — but said calls for a national mandate wouldn’t work and might potentially spark new conflict in resistive cities.
Trump encouraged his supporters to wear face masks in public — 108 days after his administration recommended the practice as an effective way to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Trump said Gov. Andrew Cuomo must squash a spike in violent crime in New York City — or he will send in federal authorities to restore order.
The president threatened to send federal law enforcement officers into New York City to “grab” protesters who “hate our country” after squads of feds in tactical gear conducted similar sweeps in Portland, Ore.
Governors and other officials reacted angrily to the president’s move, calling it an election-year ploy as they squared off over crime, civil liberties and local control that has spread from Portland across the country.
Cuomo threatened to roll back New York City’s reopening yesterday, the same day it enters Phase IV, if compliance and enforcement don’t improve. He cited ongoing crowding among maskless young people that he says “has to stop.”
“These restaurants and bars are breaking the law and they are going to make it bad for everyone else, because if this continues we’re going to have to roll back the reopening plan and close all bars and restaurants,” the governor warned.
The governor said people congregating in large numbers and not wearing masks is still a “big problem,” and he had a pointed message for young partiers in New York City who refused to socially distance: “Don’t be stupid.”
Long Beach is barring nonresidents from the beach on weekends and cutting off oceanfront and boardwalk access nightly for all in reaction to a close-up Saturday night gathering of maskless revelers by the hundreds, city officials said .
Cuomo flew to Savannah, Georgia to talk with local officials there about building systems to test for the virus and trace contacts of infected individuals.
When asked, Cuomo said he didn’t plan to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to New York, even though Georgia is on New York’s quarantine list. He said he’s exempt as an essential worker. (Critics blasted the trip as a public relations stunt).
Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, also pointed out that the quarantine requirement does not apply for anyone “passing through” a state for less than a day. “But I will take the test when I get back,” Cuomo told reporters.
Cuomo admitted that New York made “a lot of mistakes” in its battle against coronavirus which has so far claimed 25,056, according to state data.
After more than 20 people were infected with COVID-19 earlier this month at a large July 4th party, city of Albany and higher education officials said they’re warning college students that they need to follow the state’s pandemic safety guidelines as campuses prepare to welcome them back next month.
Authorities believe an attorney found dead of an apparent suicide near Liberty was the shooter who killed a New Jersey federal judge’s son and wounded her husband a day earlier.
The attorney, Roy Den Hollander, a self-described “anti-feminist” lawyer, may have been hunting down enemies after being diagnosed with cancer — and may be linked to the July 11 California slaying of another attorney.
The F.B.I. yesterday contacted New York State’s chief judge, Janet M. DiFiore, to notify her that Den Hollander had her name and photo in his car, according to her spokesman, Lucian Chalfen. The agents did not indicate whether Den Hollander had intended to target her as well, he said.
Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will finally go to prison for his crimes — but not for another month, a judge ruled as she sentenced him to 6 1/2 years in federal prison, nearly five years after he was first convicted of corruption.
“The time has come, Mr. Silver. You need to go to jail,” Manhattan Federal Judge Valerie Caproni said as she imposed the sentence, which also included $1 million in fines and two years of supervision upon his release from prison.
His lawyers had asked that Silver be allowed to serve a term of home confinement, arguing that sending him to prison would increase his chances of becoming ill or even dying from the coronavirus. They cited the former lawmaker’s history of cancer and chronic kidney disease.
A federal judge in Brooklyn denied NXIVM leader Keith Raniere’s bid for a new trial, rejecting his argument that two key witnesses lied under oath about their plans to sue the disgraced personal growth guru known as “Vanguard.”
State lawmakers are considering legislation this week that would provide generous pension benefits to the family members of two Brooklyn judges who died of the coronavirus.
…With widespread unemployment, massive profit losses to businesses and huge tax revenue shortfalls, the pro-business group called for greater “public-private” partnerships and lots of tech-savvy to save the city from economic doom.
NYC teachers with underlying health risks can apply for permission to teach from home this fall as part of New York’s initial school reopening plans — but the protection doesn’t extend to educators who live with at-risk family members.
Newsday: “The move to distance learning revealed unacceptable inequities in our schools and our society, and an education system that’s done too little to embrace technology and champion flexibility. Now schools must navigate their way through an emergency, and use the lessons taught by bad times to learn to do better at all times.”
With enrollment falling and a projected $20 million shortfall in a $75 million budget, Canisius College President John J. Hurley said the college will lay off 96 employees, including 25 professors.
Candidates for the 2021 mayoral race blasted fellow City Hall contender Eric Adams for his “deadly” guidance after a constituent followed the Brooklyn borough president’s suggestion that New Yorkers settle disputes about illegal fireworks neighbor-to-neighbor instead of calling 911.
Shootings in New York City rose for the third weekend in a row, even as Mayor Bill de Blasio and police officials have sought to implement new programs to stop the violence.
Gun violence rocking New York City won’t go away anytime soon, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. But the city’s top cop sounded optimistic that the department he leads will eventually slow a plague of shootings that has caused so much bloodshed in 2020.
De Blasio sounded a diplomatic note when asked about inflammatory comments from Shea, who’d blasted city leaders as “cowards” in the wake of police reforms, saying the language was neither “constructive” nor “helpful.”
Unemployed New Yorkers who claimed unemployment benefits this week were shocked to find their additional $600 federal pandemic payments had not been processed. According to the Department of Labor, an update to its claim system created a glitch and caused a delay in the release of the supplemental payments.
Reports provided to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show that occupancy rates at 146 of the state’s nursing homes and rehab facilities plummeted by more than 20 percent since the end of last year– with most of the soaring vacancies occurring in New York City and the surrounding suburbs.
A second resident of the Riverside Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Castleton-on-Hudson has died after becoming infected with COVID-19.
State lawmakers are seeking to repeal a provision in this year’s budget that protected healthcare facilities and professionals from liability during the pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will distribute $684 million to 86 New York hospitals this week to bolster institutions in coronavirus “hot spots.”
A temporary hospital built at the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to relieve the city’s overwhelmed hospitals, treated just three patients from the nearby overwhelmed Queens Hospital Center emergency department, records show. Over all, the field hospital cost more than $52 million and served only 79 patients.
New Yorkers have logged 100 million Citi Bike rides, de Blasio announced. The milestone came last week, he said, more than seven years after the bike-rental program launched.
Attorney General Letitia James has accused three online companies of violating the state’s new laws banning the sale of vaping products through mail order and selling products with flavors, including cotton candy, pineapple mist and green apple, to youths.
The city of Cohoes has laid off two furloughed employees as it faces declining revenues as the coronavirus pandemic has cut sales tax income and state aid is expected to be impacted, officials said.
The number of tractor-trailer trucks hauling debris into the S.A. Dunn construction and demolition debris landfill in Rensselaer has dropped by nearly 50 percent, cutting down on heavy truck traffic, but also leaving a hole in the city’s 2020-21 budget.
Michael Cohen is suing Attorney General William Barr, claiming he was thrown back in prison because he refused to put the kibosh on his tell-all book about Trump.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to speed up the release of Trump’s long-sought tax returns and business records and that the matter would be sent back to the lower courts
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich is expected to speak at the Democratic National Convention on Biden’s behalf next month — one of several prominent Republicans being courted to back the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Biden said he is putting Russia and other foreign governments “on notice” that he would act aggressively as president to counter any interference in U.S. elections. The statement came hours after Democratic leaders issued a new warning that Congress appears to be the target of a foreign interference campaign.
Workers from the service industry, fast-food chains and the gig economy rallied with organized labor yesterday to protest systemic racism and economic inequality, staging demonstrations across the U.S. and around the world seeking better treatment of Black Americans in the workplace.
Barbara Fedida, a high-ranking ABC News executive, who was under investigation after allegations of racism and other problematic workplace behavior, is no longer employed by the Walt Disney Company.
Voters in growing numbers believe that Black and Hispanic Americans are discriminated against, and a majority of 56 percent holds the view that American society is racist, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.
A white St. Louis couple who pointed a semiautomatic pistol and a semiautomatic rifle at a group of Black Lives Matter protesters as they passed in front of their mansion last month are facing felony charges, despite a vow from Missouri’s governor that he would pardon them if they were convicted of any crime.
Troy Powell, a senior artistic director at one of the most prominent dance companies in the country, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, has been fired amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Fox News executives provided an environment for veteran broadcaster Ed Henry to sadistically rape and abuse young female staffers — and they only fired him after learning about a lawsuit coming down the pipeline, a bombshell lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court alleges.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, will throw out the first pitch of the Yankees season-opener against the Nationals in Washington D.C.
Merchants and residents of the blocks that surround Yankee Stadium in the Bronx have been staggered by the toll the pandemic has taken on their community, which sits in the country’s poorest congressional district. And the return of players without fans won’t help.
The Warren County lacrosse club that violated state pandemic guidelines when it traveled to New Jersey for a tournament earlier this month said it believed the decision was allowed at the time.
…Among the team parents was Queensbury Superintendent of Schools Kyle Gannon, who went to the New Jersey scrimmages with about 100 other parents. He said he was there as a father, not a school official.
Albany has a new Tulip Queen.
Photo credit: George Fazio.