Rise and Shine: Aug. 27, 2020

Good Thursday morning, CivMixers. I come to you this morning hat in hand and full of shame.

Confession: I am a terrible dog mom.

How could I have missed the fact that yesterday was National Dog Day?!! Especially when those of you who know me are all too aware that Henry, my mini Goldendoodle, is – without question – the love of my life. (Sorry, husband).

OK. So it was admittedly important to highlight Women’s Equality Day and the historical significance of the 19th Amendment. And I do feel passionately about voting. But I also feel passionately about dogs, and Henry in particular. I hope he can find it in his furry heart to forgive me.

Anyway, a day late and a dollar short, I know, but here’s the background:

Founded in 2004 by animal welfare advocate, dog trainer, author and “pet lifestyle expert” Colleen Paige, National Dog Day celebrates all breeds, mixed and pure and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, either from public shelters, rescues and pure breed rescues.

New York was apparently the first state in the nation to pass legislation acknowledging National Dog Day in an official capacity.

Also interesting, since this is a presidential election year, here’s a rundown of past canine occupants of the White House.

This year’s Democratic White House contender, former Vice President Joe Biden, adopted a German shepherd named “Major” with his wife, Jill, from the Delaware Humane Association in November 2018. The couple had been fostering the dog, and then decided to give it a forever home.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is the only president in the last century who hasn’t kept a dog as a pet in the White House. Also, the president’s ex-wife, Ivana, wrote in her memoir about how much Trump hated her poodle Chappy. (The feeling was evidently mutual).

Now, I know one or two people who don’t like dogs. I don’t understand this sentiment, but they generally say something like it’s because they’re afraid of them, or allergic, or they didn’t grow up with them, or they think dogs are too much work, dirty, expensive, etc.

I am not advocating for you to make a decision about who should be our next commander in chief at a critical time in our nation’s history SOLELY based on how that person appears to feel about (wo)man’s best friend. I’m merely suggesting that you should take the matter into consideration. For the sake of the nation, if nothing else. If you have never experienced for yourself the unconditional love of a dog, I have to question your capability for empathy.

But that’s just me.

Now back to today….

Something weird is going on – or, more accurately, people THOUGHT something was supposed to be going on – with TikTok. I must confess that I don’t fully understand it because, well, frankly, I’m old.

Another hoax debunked: Mars and the moon will NOT appear to be the same size today – or any day, for that matter.

On this date back in 2008, then-Democratic Illinois Sen. Barack Obama made history when he became the first African American to be nominated to be a major party’s presidential candidate.

Tonight, the current incumbent president, Republican Donald Trump, will deliver his acceptance speech (from the White House, which is causing considerable controversy) after being formally nominated at the RNC to run for a second four-year term.

It’s going to be another unseasonably cool day, with temperatures hovering in the low 70s and scattered showers and thunderstorms possible – some of those storms might be severe, so be on the alert.

In the headlines…

Vice President Mike Pence hailed President Trump’s support for law enforcement during what he called a “time of testing” spurred by recent protests against police shootings and the coronavirus pandemic, as he accepted the Republican Party’s vice-presidential nomination last night.

Speaking before a small audience at the Fort McHenry military bastion in Baltimore, Pence sought to use the location of his speech to prop up Trump as a defender of American history, while accusing Democrats of trying to erase it.

“The American people know we don’t have to choose between supporting law enforcement and standing with African American neighbors to improve the quality of life in our cities and towns,” Pence said, later adding: “The hard truth is…you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

Burgess Owens, a former New York Jets player who is a Black conservative and is now running for a Utah congressional seat, says America needs more leaders like Trump who stand by their principles, won’t compromise and who “will stand up to the lawlessness supported by the radical left.”

Kellyanne Conway, one of the longest-serving advisers to Trump, spoke of “everyday heroes” during her convention speech, which was also something of a farewell address as she steps away, she said, to spend more time with her family.

In his RNC speech, Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin sought to portray Trump as delivering for Americans on the coronavirus pandemic, saying the president’s much-criticized performance actually was “phenomenal.”

Five new American citizens were stunned to be naturalized at a White House ceremony during the Republican National Convention. Some said they did not know they were being broadcast until friends called to tell them.

Hurricane Laura battered the Louisiana and Texas coasts as it made landfall early this morning as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm.

The U.S. Department of Justice said that it is requesting data from governors of states that implemented coronavirus policies that may have resulted in deaths of the elderly at nursing homes, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The department said it may launch a probe into state-run nursing homes in the four states under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, a federal law that protects the rights of people in state-run facilities, pending a review of the data.

Democratic Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim welcomed the possibility of a federal inquiry, saying: “It’s the right thing to do. We need to know if any of the policies contributed to the deaths of 6,400 nursing home residents. What happened to nursing home residents is a human right violation.”

The New York State Bar Association is launching its own investigation into why a disproportionate number of people died from the coronavirus in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities across the state.

The Justice Department’s announcement came the same day that Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted the CDC for changing its guidance on COVID-19, including no longer recommending that someone be tested for coronavirus if they may have been exposed — unless the test is recommended by a health official or doctor.

Cuomo said the state won’t follow the new federal guidance on coronavirus testing and urged others to do the same.

Cuomo called the change “political propaganda.”

White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was undergoing surgery and not in the Aug. 20 task force meeting for the discussion on updated CDC guidelines that suggest asymptomatic people may not need to be tested for Covid-19, even if they’ve been in close contact with an infected person.

“I am concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern,” Fauci said. “In fact it is.”

Trump administration officials defended the new recommendation that people without Covid-19 symptoms abstain from testing, even as scientists warned that the policy could hobble an already weak federal response as schools reopen and a potential autumn wave looms.

The U.S. Justice Department announced a civil rights investigation into the police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wis., as new details emerged in the case.

Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation officials released the name of the officer who shot Jacob Blake Sunday, Aug. 23. He is Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the department. DOJ officials also said Blake “admitted that he had a knife in his possession.”

Much of the sports world screeched to a sudden and stunning halt as professional athletes made their collective voices heard following the police shooting of Blake.

The NBA called off its playoff games, pausing contests in its Orlando, Fla., bubble after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court against the Orlando Magic in the first game of the day.

Also cancelled: some games in Major League Baseball, the Women’s National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer. A top women’s tennis star, Naomi Osaka, pulled out of a tune-up for next week’s U.S. Open.

A white, 17-year-old police admirer was arrested yesterday after two people were shot to death during a third straight night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of Blake.

The mayor of Minneapolis declared a state of emergency after a man’s suicide was rumored to be a police shooting and sparked fresh unrest in the city, months after George Floyd was killed in police custody.

TikTok’s Chief Executive Kevin Mayer said he would be leaving the social-media platform about three months into the job, as the company comes under increasing pressure from the White House over its ties to China.

The Cuomo administration dragged its feet for weeks after Trump initially offered states expanded unemployment insurance — and then waited 10 days to apply for the $300-a-week bonus for cash-strapped New Yorkers even after the feds called to walk the governor’s team through the program and met its demands.

Nurses working at an intensive care unit at Vassar Brothers Medical Center (VBMC) in Poughkeepsie say they discovered used N95 respirator masks in a storage closet that are being made to look new and distributed for use by hospital officials.

Anticoagulants may increase survival rates in coronavirus cases and decrease the need for intubations, according to a new study.

The FDA has granted emergency-use authorization to Abbott Laboratories for a $5 rapid-response Covid-19 antigen test that is roughly the size of a credit card.

Moderna said its experimental coronavirus vaccine induced immune responses in people aged 56 years and older that were comparable to those seen in younger adults in a small study, a promising sign for a vulnerable age group.

France is experiencing a COVID-19 spike while most Europeans return to a sense of normalcy in the coronavirus era.

The mayor of Moscow has announced that Russia is accepting candidates to participate in phase 3 trials of a coronavirus vaccine.

Many immigrants and people of color are among the more than 1,000 health workers who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Women produce a more powerful immune response to COVID-19 than do men, a new study finds.

Alleging that small farmers are being left behind, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand demanded that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture immediately fix “disparities” allowing large corporate farms to receive more coronavirus relief.

The chair of the City Council’s Education Committee said Cuomo should force New York City to delay the start of the school year.

Kids who are reeling from the emotional effects of the pandemic will get extra mental health support when they return to school virtually or in-person this fall, New York City leaders said.

If New York City’s mayor won’t stop weddings in Brooklyn’s Hasidic neighborhoods from happening, Cuomo said he will.

Facing lawsuits over its restrictions on live music, the New York State Liquor Authority is defending its efforts to use its enforcement power to contain the coronavirus.

More than five years after being charged with bribery and corruption, former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reported to a federal prison yesterday afternoon to begin serving a term of more than six years.

Silver, 76, reported to a federal prison in Otisville, New York, according to a statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was sentenced earlier this year to 6 1/2 years behind bars in a corruption case.

The MTA, the largest public transit system in North America, says it needs a $12 billion bailout from the federal government in order to withstand the worst financial crisis in its history.

The MTA could be forced to slash New York City’s subway and bus service by 40 percent if it doesn’t receive the relief it needs from the federal government through the end of 2021.

The electric-moped-sharing company Revel will relaunch in New York City tomorrow with new safety measures after suspending service in July following a surge in reckless-driving complaints and two rider deaths.

The New York City Police Department is increasing weekend patrols citywide in response to a rise in violent crime and other factors, officials said.

New York City residents who haven’t fled the five boroughs during the pandemic are enjoying the perks of a city that is largely without tourists and crowds.

The coronavirus has retreated in New York, but the rituals of September are disrupted, and a sense of foreboding remains about a possible second wave.

The Museum of Modern Art reopens tomorrow, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art reopens its Upper East Side home on Saturday. The American Museum of Natural History plans to reopen to the public Sept. 9.

New York City’s largest municipal union filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the American Museum of Natural History over the institution’s plan to require employees to record possible coronavirus symptoms on an app. The head of the union called it overly intrusive.

The Whitney Museum of American Art has canceled an upcoming exhibition after artists of color objected to the institution’s having obtained their work through discounted sales largely meant to benefit racial justice charities.

Four New York lawmakers are proposing a new program to entice commercial landlords to renegotiate leases and offer long-term, affordable rents to small business owners in an effort to revitalize the small business sector as it seeks to recover from the economic damage caused by COVID-19.

Tens of thousands of students across the U.S. are facing the prospect of starting school over the coming weeks without the computers needed for remote classes.

Over the past six months, about 1.5 billion children around the world have been told to stay home from school to help minimize transmission of the coronavirus. More than 30 percent of these students — around 463 million — were unable to gain access to remote learning opportunities, according to a report by Unicef.

An infected Ballston Spa School District staff member’s participation in an in-school meeting where attendees were allowed to take off their masks is being blamed for sending 42 administrators, teachers and staff into COVID-19 quarantine.

High school sports in Nassau County has been postponed until 2021, but the plan is to still try to play in Suffolk this fall.

Coronavirus has exacerbated a cash strain occurring at many small residential colleges that dot upstate New York, and some of them won’t survive.

In a major victory for families, New York State will allow childcare subsidies to be issued for time school-age children spend at facilities during remote or virtual learning hours, a spokesperson for the Office of Children and Family Services said.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says most of the state’s schools are going to have students studying both at home and in school to start the upcoming school year.

Syracuse University has placed a professor on administrative leave for using derogatory language against Chinese, international and Asian American students in a course syllabus.

A week after staging a rally in Albany, and hearing no response, workers at upstate’s shuttered private casinos are taking their message on the road.

Saratoga County is advising anyone who recently visited two local eateries to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms after the facilities’ each had an employee test positive for the virus.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he would allow gyms to reopen on Sept. 1 – with mask requirements and reduced capacity – as the rate of coronavirus transmission remained low in the state.

Albany County will soon be able to conduct point-of-care testing for coronavirus at its nursing home thanks to a federal initiative that is providing the county with new testing equipment and kits, County Executive Dan McCoy said.

A proposed Costco Wholesale store next to the Crossgates mall cleared one of its last regulatory hurdles when the town Planning Board voted to accept the findings of a State Environmental Quality Review study that declared they could mitigate environmental concerns as well as traffic and other issues.

A teenager who fired a gun inside Crossgates Mall on July 22 was charged with reckless endangerment yesterday, police said.

The battle for charter change in Saratoga Springs is back – pitting those who argue change is essential for a well-functioning city against those who say the city is fine the way it is.

A trove of documents from the federal investigation of the Oct. 6, 2018 limousine crash that killed 20 people offers a glimpse into the final horrifying moments inside the doomed limo and the chauffeur’s ongoing worries about the safety of the vehicle.

Ismat Alam, who has previously presided over budgets and finances in the cities of Schenectady, Albany, and Proctors, is Niskayuna’s new comptroller. She succeeds Paul Sebesta, who retired in June amid a controversy that resurfaced over him posting a picture of himself in blackface on Facebook.

There is an apparent dispute in the Monroe County Legislature over the position of the Democratic Minority Leader – and just who holds the role.

The state-sponsored Adirondack Diversity Initiative, in partnership with the Adirondack North Country Association, has begun a regional Antiracism Mobilization and Education Campaign.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



1 Comment

  1. Dave

    People who don’t like dogs probably don’t like a lot of people either.


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