Rise and Shine: Aug. 26, 2020

Good Wednesday morning, CivMixers, and Happy Women’s Equality Day.

This day commemorates the anniversary – the 100th this year! – of the adoption of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. This day was first celebrated in 1972, designated by Congress in 1973, and is proclaimed annually by the president.

The proclamation giving women the right to vote was issued on this day in 1920 by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby – eight days after the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

In 1971, following the 1970 nationwide Women’s Strike for Equality, and again in 1973, as the battles over the Equal Rights Amendment continued, New York’s own Rep. Bella Abzug introduced a resolution to designate Aug. 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.”

In 1973, then-President Nixon issued Proclamation 4236 for Women’s Equality Day, which stated:

“The struggle for women’s suffrage, however, was only the first step toward full and equal participation of women in our Nation’s life. In recent years, we have made other giant strides by attacking sex discrimination through our laws and by paving new avenues to equal economic opportunity for women. Today, in virtually every sector of our society, women are making important contributions to the quality of American life. And yet, much still remains to be done.”

Amen, Mr. Nixon. Amen.

As of 2019, every president since Nixon has followed his lead.

Ahem. Soapbox time, folks.

Ladies, LADIES! Are you listening? We fight so hard for equality – for equal treatment, equal pay, to feel respected and safe in our homes and in the workplace and in the world at large. While it is true that “much still remains to be done,” we have come a long way.

Please let us not blow it and make sure that we are fully exercising the right that our foremothers – and their male allies – worked tirelessly to achieve. Let’s make sure we vote. I don’t care who you vote for, really, just as long as you do your duty by small-d democracy and participate in this beautiful system of ours, flawed as it might be.

Yes, I know the Post Office is a mess. And I know the president keeps talking about fraudulent outcomes and darkly hinting he might not recognize the results of the November election and refuse to vacate the Oval Office. I know it seems like a single vote is just a useless shout into the void.

Do it anyway. Because it matters. I promise you: Every vote matters. I have seen too many cliffhanger elections to believe otherwise.

Oh, and by the way? We still don’t have an Equal Rights Amendment, which is kind of a travesty – and also an embarrassment. Just saying. (Learn more here).

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Some other historical moments of note that occurred on this day….

In 1968, the Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago. The four-day event, which resulted in the nomination of Hubert H. Humphrey for president, was marked by a bloody police crackdown on antiwar protesters.

In 1971, New Jersey Gov. William T. Cahill announced that the New York Giants had agreed to leave Yankee Stadium for a new sports complex to be built across the Hudson in East Rutherford.

In 1974, pilot Charles Lindbergh — the first man to fly solo, non-stop across the Atlantic — died at his Hawaii home at the age of 72.

It’s going to be downright brisk today, with temperatures only in the low 70s. Oh, fall. I am so not ready for you. We’ll have mostly sunny skies throughout the day, with clouds gathering in the evening and periods of showers after midnight, according to The Weather Channel.

In the headlines…

President Trump and the Republican Party placed the powers of the federal government in service to Trump’s reelection yesterday, staging pardoning and naturalization ceremonies as part of the RNC and using the White House Rose Garden for a speech by the first lady, who extolled “my own American Dream” of citizenship after a childhood under communist rule.

Melania Trump offered a polished portrait of her husband’s presidency that was often at odds with the crises, division and unforgiving actions of his administration, portraying him as an authentic, uncompromising leader.

In a convention marked by glossy tributes to the president, the first lady made the most direct acknowledgment of the toll that the coronavirus pandemic has taken, with more than 178,000 Americans killed, saying: “I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know you are not alone.”

The first lady has reportedly been taped making disparaging remarks about Trump, as well as his daughter, Ivanka.

Overall, the Republicans tried last night to show a softer Trump, one who cares about the little guy: the lobsterman in Maine, the dairy farmer from Wisconsin, the police office from New Mexico.

An Arizona “angel mom” set to speak at the RNC last night was pulled from the lineup just minutes before her planned appearance after promoting an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory over social media.

Many Trump supporters said in interviews with the NYT that he had succeeded on issues that matter to them. And they dismissed as unimportant the behavior that critics say makes him unfit for office.

A pair of European patients have reportedly contracted COVID-19 after previous bouts with the infection, raising concerns that infections might not grant long-lasting immunity to everyone who wrestles with the virus.

The American Civil Liberties Union is declaring victory on behalf of men and women in uniform who want to call the Unites States home, permanently, after a court ruled the Trump administration cannot deny citizenship to military personnel who’d been promised that right by Congress.

Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Wisconsin man shot at least seven times in the back by police after reportedly trying to break up a fight, is paralyzed from the waist down, and his family members shared their anguish at his shooting — and the violence that followed.

American Airlines said it would shed 19,000 workers Oct. 1, the first big wave of the tens of thousands of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and other airline employees in jeopardy of losing their jobs when protections tied to federal aid to U.S. carriers expire this fall.

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Trump, the U.S. Postal Service and the postmaster general for what she claims is their unlawful plan to slow down the mail to repress mail-in votes in November to help Republicans win elections.

Travelers returning from a trip outside the country or their state no longer face recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return.

…But New York, New Jersey and Connecticut still have no plans to rescind their two-week mandatory quarantines on travelers arriving from areas deemed to have high or increasing COVID-19 cases.

Five states – Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Maryland and Montana – were removed from the tri-state quarantine list yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. Guam was added, bringing the total number of restricted states and U.S. jurisdictions to 31.

Sheriff’s deputies have stopped more than 3,000 vehicles and issued two tickets for noncompliance to drivers at NYC checkpoints to enforce the state’s two-week coronavirus quarantine rule.

The state is moving its fight to contain the spread to Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, where the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey along with New York City Health and Hospitals will set up new testing sites for travelers from out of state, Cuomo said.

The lingering pandemic continues to wreak havoc on New York’s economy and workforce — more than four months after the virus arrived here, sobering new data from the state Labor Department reveals.

…The state’s unemployment rate in July was 15.9 percent — three-tenths of a percent higher than in June.

New York was approved late Monday by the federal government for a $300 a week supplemental payment for unemployed residents.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called for borrowing $4 billion and raising taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents to fill a $5.7 billion budget shortfall fueled by the coronavirus shutdown – something Cuomo has thus far resisted.

A new lobbying organization is pushing back against the idea of raising taxes on the wealthy in New York to close budget holes caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s called the Campaign for New York’s Future, an organization made up of civic and business groups.

“There are probably about 7,000 people who are paying 70 percent of the taxes in New York, so we just have to make them understand that we’re not going to make them bear the brunt of all of this,” said former Gov. David Paterson, who is leading the Campaign for New York’s Future.

State lawmakers are gearing up for a potential session in September to maybe address the state’s finances. That’s heightened talk for new revenue-raisers. Large spending cuts are not a route lawmakers want to take so deep into the fiscal year and so close to election day.

Many recipients of Paycheck Protection Program loans are holding off on seeking loan forgiveness in hopes Washington will make the application process easier or automatically convert the smallest loans to grants.

After six grueling months, the coronavirus pandemic continues to be an uphill battle for the New York City restaurant industry. With over 1,000 closures, some desperately hanging on by a thread, restaurants are forging ahead but with fleeting certainty of a prosperous future.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested that the city might have to wait awhile — potentially into next year — before indoor dining will be allowed to resume.

Three banquet halls in Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood appeared to be hosting Hasidic Jewish wedding parties less than a week after de Blasio warned that a similar gathering there led to an “uptick” in coronavirus cases.

The state Department of Health is investigating the practices at multiple Jewish summers camps in Ulster County that local officials have asked a judge to shut down due to allegations they may be violating zoning laws and COVID-19 restrictions.

The NYC Council is planning to amend a portion of the controversial new chokehold law in an attempt to assuage concerns by the NYPD that the ban makes it more dangerous for cops to do their jobs.

Nearly two dozen Bronx principals say they’d love to have outdoor classrooms — if only they didn’t have to worry about their students getting shot or picking up used drug syringes off the ground.

De Blasio unveiled an 11th-hour plan to inspect ventilation systems at city schools to guard against coronavirus exposure — about two weeks before the scheduled start of the new academic year.

The Department of Education said that it has deployed teams to inspect ventilation systems, fans and windows in all schools through Sept. 1. The agency promised to begin posting results online this week, with all results posted by Sept. 4.

A coalition of 16 unions representing teachers and school staff in the Capital Region released an open letter calling on districts to hold off on in-person learning until early October.

City school districts in the Capital Region hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic could see a majority of their families choosing a fully virtual learning option at the start of the academic year, according to preliminary parent surveys released by school officials.

An uptick in coronavirus cases in Danbury, Conn., has prompted officials to close down athletic fields and boat launches and delay in-person learning, likely until October.

College students across the country are returning to school, but given the spate of infections at a growing number of institutions that have forced the restoration of all-virtual learning, they’re making COVID-19 back-up plans.

As hundreds of thousands of students arrive back on campuses across the country, college and university administrators are greeting them with a variety of methods to monitor behavior and discourage large gatherings, all in an effort to keep the students healthy and on campus.

University at Albany students who were near the main fountain on campus between 8 and 11 p.m. Thursday night may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, university officials announced.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced a new internship program that will make the production of personal protective equipment a faster process at SUNY colleges and universities statewide.

With the possibility of massive municipal layoffs looming, de Blasio suggested he’s open to freezing or reducing worker pay — and that union leaders are too, but only as a last resort. “Those are fair ideas,” he said.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer wants to regain his oversight of city contracts — a power that was suspended to fast-track the purchase of emergency coronavirus supplies — after a major political donor to de Blasio obtained a $90 million deal that he couldn’t fulfill.

A group of residents are furious and are considering suing New York City because scores of homeless people were resettled in hotels on the Upper West Side. The homeless were moved to the hotels from homeless shelters because of coronavirus.

An MTA transit worker who survived COVID-19 lashed into agency brass during a state legislative hearing over their response to the pandemic, which has killed 131 transit workers to date.

Laying off workers will be a “last resort” if the MTA is forced to take drastic measures to close a COVID-19-related budget deficit that is expected to reach $10 billion next year, the agency’s chief told state lawmakers.

Straphangers who refuse to wear masks on public transit should be fined $100, Transport Workers Union Local 100 president Tony Utano said.

An expansion of the Good Samaritan law in New York state allows more businesses and public places to administer opioid overdose reversal medication without fear of liability.

A man who was among those charged in the notorious 1989 killing of Yusuf Hawkins, a Black teen set upon by a white mob and shot, was fired from a New York hip-hop radio station – WQHT-FM, known as Hot 97 – after a new documentary brought the murder case renewed attention.

The co-owner of an Upper West Side comedy club that was dinged by Jerry Seinfeld after his colleague declared the Big Apple “dead forever” has come out swinging against the “cold and arrogant” comedian.

De Blasio publicly thanked Seinfeld for his essay, saying: “(T)his is what a true New Yorker does: stands and fights and works to make this place better no matter what is thrown at us.”

Rebuffed by real estate agents the first time, the state Senate has slated a September hearing to gather testimony in an ongoing investigation of housing discrimination brought to light in Newsday’s “Long Island Divided” series.

Albany County reported no new COVID-19 cases yesterday — the first time since June 23 the county had no new infections to report.

A former student has filed a lawsuit against East Greenbush Central School District, alleging officials conspired to allow a sexual predator to teach social studies at Columbia High School — a position he allegedly used to prey on students.

American Red Cross volunteers from the Northeastern New York chapter say they’ve given emergency aid to 20 people after a fire Monday night on Albany’s Second Street.

Pinto & Hobbs Tavern, a popular bar in Albany for a decade and a half, is closing following business on Friday after losing its lease at 142 Washington Ave. The owners hope to reopen elsewhere.

Mohawk Ambulance has jumped into the court fight over whether it or another ambulance company will provide EMS services in the city of Rensselaer — a dispute that has become a political and legal struggle between the Republican mayor and Democratic Common Council.

The Town of Bethlehem is set to name its fist female police chief.

North Country Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik took issue with the fact that her political opponent, Democrat Tedra Cobb, touted an endorsement on her website of veterans legislation that Stefanik authored and helped pass.

The New York Racing Association paid a black Spanish-language horse-racing announcer less than half the salary of white broadcasters who were required to perform fewer duties — and axed him after he complained about the disparity, according to a new federal lawsuit.

RIP Raymond Watkin, a former three-term city mayor who is credited for saving the Canfield Casino and building the classical ballet audience at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. He has died at the age of 91.

A highly aggressive and invasive “Frankenfish” that could threaten the local trout and shad populations has been spotted in the Delaware River, and officials are urging anglers to be on the lookout for it.

New York Fashion Week will go on, starting Sunday, Sept. 13 to Thursday, Sept. 17 at Spring Place Studios in Tribeca, but like many other live events like baseball and the US Open Tennis, it will be fan-less amidst coronavirus restrictions.

McDonald’s Corp. said its continuing investigation into former CEO Steve Easterbrook’s conduct is examining whether he covered up improprieties by other employees alongside allegations of potential misconduct within the human-resources department.

A former employee of TMZ and its sister site TooFab is accusing the news outlets of firing her after she complained of sexism.

Stewart’s Dairy in Saratoga Springs creamed the competition in New York’s annual fluid milk competition, as judged by Cornell University’s Milk Quality Improvement Program. Stewart’s also won for best-tasting chocolate milk, besting a field of 21 dairies from across the state.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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