Good Wednesday morning. Happy middle of the week, CivMixers.
On this day in 1981, Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London – a union that was widely billed as a “fairytale wedding” and was watched by an estimated global TV audience of 750 million people.
For those who go in for weird statistics, like yours truly, this was the most watched royal wedding of all time.
Despite all the hype surrounding the event, that title does NOT go to the union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who clock in at No. 5 for their 2918 wedding, or Prince William and Catherine Middleton (better known as Kate), at No. 2 in 2011.
Anyway, the whole thing was a sham when it came to Charles and Diana. The marriage was a bad match, to say the least, and the couple divorced after engaging in well-publicized extra marital affairs. She ended up dying tragically in a car accident in 1997 at the age of 36. He remarried the woman he really loved, Camilla Parker Bowles, in 2005, and is heir to the throne, though his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, shows no signs of going anywhere at the ripe old age of 94.
On a more pressing note for non-royal watchers, especially for our Western New York readers, today is National Chicken Wing Day.
A 2017 Moore’s Marinades & Sauces poll found that Americans eat almost 16 wings per sitting, which is kind of a lot…and, generally speaking, more than you’ll be able to find in various freebie deals going on today.
More than 27 BILLION wings were eaten in the U.S. 2013 and 1.23 billion were consumed during Super Bowl weekend alone. That’s more than 100 million pounds of wings, which, if laid out end to end, would circle the perimeter of the Earth not once but twice.
National Chicken Wing Day has been on the calendar since the 1970s, when the city of Buffalo designated this date to celebrate its legendary culinary masterpiece. If you have not ever been to the Anchor Bar, which is the storied birthplace of wings, (yes, I know, there are people who are screaming at the screen right now and disputing this, sorry, it’s a local legend, OK?), you should make a pilgrimage…when it’s safe to do so, of course.
If you are going to indulge in some wings today, you’ve got nice weather on tap to enjoy them outside, with temperatures in the high 80s and partly cloudy skies. There MIGHT be a stray shower or thunderstorm, as per usual.
In the headlines…
A misleading coronavirus video, shared online by the president and his son, Donald Trump Jr., was taken down by social media companies within hours – but not before it had already been viewed tens of millions of times.
The video was created by right-wing media outlet Breitbart. It depicts a group of people dressed in white lab coats — who call themselves “America’s Frontline Doctors” — staging a press conference outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington.
A Houston doctor who made false statements about the coronavirus in the video has previously made other unfounded claims about medical conditions, sexual contact with spirits, the U.S. government, children’s television shows and more.
Dr. Stella Immanuel blasted Facebook and Twitter after it removed her controversial video touting hydroxychloroquine as a “cure” for COVID-19. The Houston physician, who went viral for her video, declared on Twitter that Jesus Christ would destroy Facebook’s servers if her videos weren’t restored to the platform.
President Trump revived his support for an antimalaria drug to treat Covid-19 and spread messages attacking the government’s top infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, in several overnight retweets of statements at odds with his government’s policy that also prompted another run-in with Twitter.
Trump insisted his relationship with Fauci is “very good” but wondered why the doctor’s approval rating is so high when his is so low.
“Nobody likes me,” the president said in a rare moment of self-reflection. “It can only be my personality, that’s all.” His lament came on the same day that the nation surpassed the grim benchmark of 150,000 deaths as a result of the pandemic.
Big Tech will come under the glare of a national spotlight today, as four of its leaders face questions from members of Congress aiming to rein in what they believe is excessive power in the hands of a few giant companies.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warned of the potential of a large COVID-19 outbreak in the city and encouraged residents to stay indoors as new restrictions take effect in the city.
Researchers culling data from coronavirus patients in the UK and US have identified six distinct “types” of COVID-19 infections that come with particular clusters of symptoms.
Eastman Kodak soared after Trump announced a deal to work with the photography pioneer to produce ingredients in generic drugs in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Regal Cinemas has announced plans to reopen theaters across the county on Aug. 21, just in time for the release of Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated film Tenet.
Attorney General William Barr clashed with congressional Democrats at a hearing in which he rejected accusations he is working to politically boost Trump on a number of fronts, including by deploying federal agents in response to protests and his personal intervention in criminal cases involving the president’s allies.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler was uninjured in a car accident that delayed the Barr hearing until later in the day.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore into Barr after his testimony on Capitol Hill, saying he was “like a blob” and accusing him of acting like a “henchman” for Trump.
The Trump administration will not accept new applications for DACA, the Obama-era program that shields from deportation certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, and will limit renewals to one year instead of two while it reviews the program, the Department of Homeland Security said.
The administration’s move comes in response to a recent Supreme Court ruling that rejected its earlier attempt to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as legally inadequate.
Twin government memos show how a gung-ho federal law enforcement response to anti-racism protests may have been driven by a shaky understanding of the demonstrations’ roots.
The Trump administration has started talks with the Oregon governor’s office and indicated that it would begin to draw down the presence of federal agents sent to quell two months of chaotic protests in Portland if the state stepped up its own enforcement.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called for the arrest of violent protesters while taking questions for the first time in 28 days.
A day of shuttle diplomacy on Capitol Hill over a coronavirus aid package produced few results, with stark differences between the $3 trillion proposal from Democrats and $1 trillion counteroffer from Republicans as millions of Americans’ jobless benefits, school reopenings and eviction protections hang in the balance.
An unrelated measure tucked into the Republicans’ coronavirus relief proposal that would provide funding for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new headquarters has sparked opposition from top leaders in both parties.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that without federal aid New Yorkers could face property tax increases and fare hikes on subways, buses, trains and bridge tolls, in addition to painful budgetary cuts and stunted projects.
The governor put the pressure specifically on federal leaders from New York, calling out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand by name, and saying they should not to give in to Republican stimulus plan, which does not include aid.
Congressional Republicans showed no hesitation in firing back at Cuomo after he prodded them to deliver federal stimulus aid directly to state and local governments.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ripped the Senate Republicans’ newly unveiled stimulus plan as a “nonstarter” — and insisted it’ll force him to layoff 22,000 city workers including first responders, teachers and sanitation workers.
Three more states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico were added to the tri-state quarantine list Tuesday, bringing the current list of viral hotspots near 40 as the nation struggles to contain COVID-19 outbreaks the CDC has warned may already be beyond the nation’s ability to control.
Colleges and universities in the Capital Region, which are set to start classes in late August, are struggling to account for the growing number of travel advisories mandating that visitors to New York from other countries and states self-quarantine for 14 days when they arrive.
Local officials in the Hamptons could face “civil fines and potential criminal liability” over a packed weekend concert featuring The Chainsmokers that flaunted social distancing restrictions, Cuomo said.
Why the town issued the concert’s permit, “what the promoters thought they were doing,” “how the event as it was going on was allowed to get out of control” and “why the local law enforcement didn’t do anything when they saw that they had an event that was out of control and all the rules were being violated” are among the questions the investigators will probe, Cuomo said.
Cuomo said Major League Baseball teams should come play in New York state if they are unable to play ball in their home state due to coronavirus restrictions or outbreaks.
“New York state has one of the lowest infection rates in the U.S.,” Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters. “New York state has a full Department of Health protocol system in place. I offer to the MLB, if you are having problems playing in other states, come play here. We will set up a health protocol.”
Yesterday saw an avalanche of NFL players exercising their option to opt out for the 2020 season due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Albany County officials confirmed a dozen new cases of novel coronavirus among residents yesterday, and continued to sound the alarm on rising cases among young people.
The county sheriff’s office has received 575 complaints about violations of COVID-19 restrictions but has made no arrests, according to Sheriff Craig Apple.
Revel, the moped-sharing company that brought scooters to New York City last year, has shut down operations in the city after a second person was killed early yesterday while riding one of its scooters.
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson punished VOCAL-NY, a nonprofit that had protested against his recently passed budget, by cutting $2.25 million in city funding for its new headquarters, the group alleges.
Johnson denied the claims from VOCAL-NY, which organized multiple protests against the budget – including a march on his boyfriend’s apartment building.
New York City police say 303 department vehicles have been vandalized since George Floyd’s May 25 death, causing nearly $1 million in damage.
Cuomo said he was “very concerned” about the “devastating” crime wave sweeping the Big Apple, casting blame on anti-police sentiment, de Blasio’s decision to release inmates from Rikers Island during the COVID-19 pandemic and the cratering economy.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) confirmed that officers arrested a protester and placed her in an unmarked van after videos of the episode quickly spread across social media.
Videos of the encounter drew intense criticism on social media, including accusations that the New York police were adopting tactics similar to those used by federal agents during recent protests in Portland, Ore., where some people were pulled into unmarked vans.
…the protestor, Nikki Stone, 18, was released from the 1st Precinct station house after getting slapped with numerous charges stemming from numerous instances of alleged vandalism.
A former SUNY Buffalo football player was shot in Queens and remains in critical condition.
Maya D. Wiley, a former top counsel for de Blasio and a Black former chairwoman of the city’s police oversight agency, is leaving her role as a contributor on MSNBC and NBC News to explore a run for mayor of New York City, an official at MSNBC confirmed.
Some contact tracers hired by NYC described the program’s first six weeks as poorly run and disorganized, leaving them frustrated and fearful that their work would not have much of an impact.
Workers from a slew of state agencies have been enlisted to go undercover to find violations of social-distancing rules at bars and restaurants in New York City and Long Island.
Seven Capital Region bars and restaurants are among the 443 businesses statewide that have been cited by the State Liquor Authority since mid-March for not following regulations instituted as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
At a meeting of the Shenendehowa school board yesterday, the superintendent said that the district is following state guidance on reopening schools – including allowing students to learn remotely.
There’s a surging interest in home schooling as some parents balk at the idea of sending their kids back to the classroom.
Randi Weingarten, who leads the American Federation of Teachers, told members that the union’s leadership would support “safety strikes” if health precautions are not met amid calls for schools to reopen as coronavirus cases surge.
Eight employees in the city of Schenectady sanitation department are in quarantine after a co-worker last week tested positive for COVID-19, according to Mayor Gary McCarthy.
The Rensselaer City School District will operate on a contingency budget for the 2020-21 school year after voters rejected a proposed $27.1 million budget that carried a 9 percent tax increase, according to preliminary results released last night.
Recently retired town of Niskayuna comptroller Paul Sebesta is alleging the town and supervisor are flouting state labor laws and illegally confiscating $26,313 in unused vacation time that is owed to him, according to a notice of claim filed by his attorney Kevin Luibrand.
Yale commissioned artist Barbara Earl Thomas, a descendant of sharecroppers, to produce several pieces for its dining hall commemorating the life of Grace Murray Hopper, a renowned computer scientist and naval officer after whom its residential college is now named.
A New Yorker who identifies as neither male nor female is suing Cuomo and the head of the state Department of Motor Vehicles because Empire State-issued driver’s licenses do not have an “X” gender option.
A great white shark savagely killed a 65-year-old Manhattan woman just 60 feet from the Maine shoreline as her daughter watched helplessly near their long-time summer home, state officials said. It was the first fatal shark attack in the state’s history.
As New York cautiously reopens in the shadow of a potential second wave of infections, home buyers and sellers are racing to complete the almost impossible task of closing on time and safely moving.
UAlbany says the appropriateness of the name Indian Quad has been raised periodically over the years, but the sociopolitical climate makes revisiting the name now the right thing to do. A new task force will review the matter and make a recommendation.
The state DEC has issued a Drought Watch for four regions of New York, including Long Island, the Upper Hudson/Mohawk area, the Adirondacks, and the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence area.
About those seeds you’re getting in the mail…don’t plant them. Instead, send them to the USDA.
Photo credit: George Fazio.