5 Things That Happened While You Were Out: Aug. 25, 2020

Today is another Tuesday, another day in a year that has lasted for a long time. Longer than any year should.

Of course, here at CivMix, this day is a little something we like to call “Travaaael baan Tuesday.” By we, I, of course, mean me as I have not put this to anyone else in case they vote it down. (Editor’s note: No need to worry; I approve).

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has removed Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Maryland, and Montana from the state’s quarantine list and added Guam. (How many people do you think are actually coming to New York from Guam these days?)

In Kenosha, WI, protests are escalating nightly as people turn out in droves, despite a city-wide curfew, in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake. His family is voicing support for peaceful protests, saying they understand the need to be heard but also begging for protestors not to engage in violent or illegal actions.

There is also a contingent of people – both supporters of the Black Lives Matter Movement and those opposed to it – who have increased their pleas for people to stop sharing videos of brutality against black and other POC on social media. Some say it begets violence, others say it amplifies the pain of POC communities, and still others that claim it is desensitizing the public to violence against blacks and POC.

The other side maintains that sharing these videos holds people accountable and is an unfortunate but necessary evil. I see both sides. However, the focus should be less on the videos and more on ensuring the conditions that lead to the incidents being caught on video are addressed so that all people can feel safe from incidents of brutality by those sworn to protect them.

Let’s move on to the 5 Things, shall we?

1) Tonight is Night 2 of the Republican National Convention, and it will be coming to viewers from the White House, featuring First Lady Melania Trump speaking on behalf of her husband and to voice her support for his re-election.

In recent days, the Trump campaign has gotten more aggressive towards his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. Much of the opening night of the RNC focused on Republican leaders and their supporters claiming that if Trump loses in November, all of their worst fears for a liberal agenda taking hold will come true and destroy the country completely.

Today, Democrats denounced the RNC’s gloom and doom imagery, accusing them of fear-mongering. They also pointed out that Trump has been in charge throughout the coronavirus pandemic and mishandled it, bringing the country to the brink of disaster. More than 177,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19 and millions are impacted by the economic fallout the virus has wrought.

All of this happened as Kenosha, WI, burned with angry protests, and the RNC put on display a couple who was charged for pointing their guns at BLM protestors marching past their property after the George Floyd murder.

Also yesterday, President Donald Trump, who will officially nominated this Thursday – again railed against the Post Office and mail-in voting. Due to the pandemic, approximately half of registered U.S. voters are likely to vote by mail. That will be twice as many as those who voted this way in 2016.

Tonight, Melania Trump will speak from the Rose Garden, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will speak from Israel, where he is on a diplomatic trip. The president is expected to give his acceptance speech from the White House South Lawn. Democrats are questioning if the use of the White House in such a blatantly political fashion violates the Hatch Act, passed in 1939 to restrict certain political activities.

In July, Pompeo allegedly told diplomats that no presidential appointee should act in a partisan manner – and tonight he will speak in support of Trump while on a diplomatic trip.

The president’s children, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump, are also slated to speak tonight, along with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

2)Yesterday, Tropical Storm Marco made landfall in Louisiana. Tomorrow, both Louisiana and Texas are predicted to be hit by Hurricane Laura. Both were expected to hit as hurricanes, but Marco lost steam and ended up a tropical storm. But he still packed a punch, bringing with him plenty of rain and wind.

The Caribbean was the last place to get hit by both storms, which left much devastation in their wake.

Trump has issued a disaster declaration for the state of Louisiana and sent federal assistance for relief aide.

Marco can wreak some more havoc before it should fall apart entirely, no later than tomorrow. Laura will bring deadly storm surges to both Louisiana and Texas, as well as more rain – up to 2 inches.

Though Louisiana luckily avoided making state history by having two hurricanes hit back to back once Marco lost power. However, the two storms hitting back to back can still cause a lot of issues for the coastal areas.

3) New York has joined New Jersey and Hawaii in a lawsuit against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Trump, and the US Postal Service.

The suit questions the constitutionality of recent changes in the USPS, and states that there should have been an opinion sought by the Postmaster General from the Postal Regulatory Commission before any of these efforts were undertaken.

Initially, DeJoy said all changes would be suspended until after the November election. However, when he appeared before Congress a few days later, he walked back that promise somewhat, saying that nothing that has already occurred – including the removal of sorting machines from many locations – would be altered.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is among those alleging that this is a Republican attempt to suppress votes, and she has accused the Trump administration of interfering with states’ rights to handle their own elections.

Fuel was added to the fire during hearings last week, when the former vice chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, David Williams, alleged that Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin had been interfering with the operations of USPS.

All of this is occurring ad Trump continues to make claims, which many experts have categorically condemned as false, about the possibility of widespread fraud as a result of increased mail-in voting.

As the election is now under 70 days out and the pandemic continues, more Americans are planning to vote by mail. There are more than 5.7 million confirmed cases of COVID in the U.S., and many people are understandably scared to cast a ballot in person.

Hopefully, the issue with service many have been experiencing by USPS lately can be resolved, and people can be sure of the sanctity of their right to vote is upheld by those in charge.

4) On May 31, 26-year-old James Vail was arrested and accused of throwing bricks at both a police car and a police officer and causing damage to both. The officer was hit by the brick and suffered a bulging disc in his neck, shoulder pain, and a concussion.

Now Vail has been arraigned on five charges in Albany County Court and pleaded not guilty to all of them. He was then remanded back to custody.

The charges are all felonies ranging from Class C to Class E are two counts of  Assault in the Second Degree (both Class D Violent), one count of Attempted Assault in the first degree (Class C Violent), One count Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree (Class E) and one count of Riot in the First Degree (Class E).

5) If you follow local high school baseball, you may know the name Ian Anderson from Shenendehowa High School. Tonight, everyone in Braves Nation will learn his name as he makes his Major League debut against the New York Yankees in Cumberland, GA, at the Braves Trust Park Stadium.

He was called up from an alternate camp for the Atlanta Braves and tapped to start tonight’s game. He will be wearing number 48.

Anderson is 22 and was the third pick overall in the 2016 MLB Draft. Days after, the Braves picked him. He went on to help Shen capture the Class AA championship.

In 2019, Anderson was named to the all-star team for the Southern League and started in the Futures Game during the MLB’s All-star celebration.  He was also named the Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the Braves organization.

He is rated as a top prospect for pitching in the Braves farm system, and is ranked 42 for all of baseball by MLB.com.

Though I am a proud, life-long Yankees fan, I wish the hometown player luck in his start tonight. I hope it is the beginning of a long and fruitful career for him.

Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.

Stay woke.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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