It’s Thursday, and it’s already mid-September, CivMixers. Fall is flying by. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
But today is not for belly-button gazing, today is for celebrating a very important document – the very foundation of our democracy, in fact: The U.S. Constitution.
Constitution Day is observed today because it was on this day way back in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia. We commemorate that signing on this day and also recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.
The origin of this day dates back to 1940, when Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing and requesting the president to issue annually a proclamation setting aside the third Sunday in May for the public recognition of those who attained the status of American citizenship in what was to be known as “I Am An American Day.”
In 1952 Congress repealed this joint resolution and passed a new law moving the date to Sept. 17. The day was still designated as “Citizenship Day” and the law urged civil and educational authorities of states, counties, cities and towns to make plans for the proper observance and “for the complete instruction of citizens in their responsibilities and opportunities as citizens of the United States and of the State and locality in which they reside.”
In 2004, Congress changed the designation of this day to “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” and added two new requirements, 1) that the head of every federal agency provide each employee with educational and training materials concerning the Constitution on Sept. 17, and 2) that each educational institution that receives federal funds should teach students about the Constitution on this day.
Of course, because of COVID, everything is different this year. (I feel like I’m writing that sentence, or something akin to it, a lot these days). There’s online programming you can follow, if you’re so inclined.
Here’s an obscure one: On this day in 1916, WWI flying ace The Red Baron of the German Luftstreitkräfte, won his first aerial combat near Cambrai, France.
We have a mostly cloudy day on tap, with temperatures predicted to be in the low 70s.
In the headlines…
President Trump threw the head of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, under the bus, claiming the seasoned health expert was “incorrect” when he testified that a coronavirus vaccine likely won’t be ready for mass distribution until late next year.
“We’re very close to that vaccine as you know and I think much closer than I think most people want to say,” Trump said. “We think we can start some time in October. So as soon as it’s announced we’ll be able to start. That will be from mid-October on. It may be a little bit later than that.”
Redfield said that masks may be a more effective protection against coronavirus than any potential vaccine that the president can’t stop hyping. And he laid out a timeline for when the general U.S. public could expect to start seeing results from widespread coronavirus vaccination the second or third quarter of 2021.
With deaths from the coronavirus nearing 200,000 in the United States, former VP Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, assailed Trump for playing politics with a potential coronavirus vaccine, saying he did not trust the president to determine when a vaccine was ready for Americans.
Covid-19 can be removed as a public-health threat with good, widely administered vaccines and strong public-health measures, and a degree of normality might return by the end of 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr suggested that the calls for a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties” in history “other than slavery.”
Barr told federal prosecutors in a call last week that they should consider charging rioters and others who had committed violent crimes at protests in recent months with sedition, according to two people familiar with the call.
Michael Caputo, the top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services, is taking a two-month leave of absence from his post after he apologized for a conspiracy theory-laden rant he made against career government scientists in which he accused them of “sedition” and working to undermine Trump.
The coronavirus crisis cost the global tourism sector $460 billion in lost revenue during the first six months of 2020 as the number of people traveling plunged, the U.N. says.
A study out of China has found a correlation between wearing glasses and a lower hospitalization rate for coronavirus.
Even as progress is made in the fight to end cancer and lengthen lives of sufferers, Black Americans still register the highest overall death rate from the spectrum of diseases as any racial or ethnic group in the nation — in keeping with the past four decades, according to a new report.
Trump administration officials are looking to give American investors a majority share of the company that will take over the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok, according to people familiar with the matter.
America’s Got Talent finished first in total viewers in primetime Tuesday, and an NBA playoff game on ESPN dominated the adults 18-49 rankings. An ABC News special featuring Trump answering questions from voters ranked seventh in viewers for the night.
Trump urged congressional Republicans to seek a bigger and more expensive package of coronavirus relief aid, injecting himself into stalled talks with Democrats and drawing a cool reception from some GOP lawmakers skeptical of a growing price tag.
Chris Rock blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats for prioritizing impeachment earlier this year, accusing them of letting the coronavirus into the country as they attempted to oust Trump, who he likened to a “five-year-old.”
The Big Ten will kick off its football season the weekend of Oct. 24 after the league’s presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to resume competition, citing daily testing capabilities and a stronger confidence in the latest medical information, the conference announced.
Minneapolis City Council members, who just two months ago moved to eliminate the police department, sounded the alarm during a meeting yesterday about a surge in crime seen by their constituents.
The Department of Homeland Security is investigating allegations that immigrant women detained at a privately run detention center in Georgia underwent gynecological procedures without fully understanding or consenting to them.
Two Republican U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would keep the country on daylight saving time through at least November 2021, an effort to provide more sunshine and stability for families already dealing with numerous disruptions during the pandemic.
Most of New York’s congressional Republicans broke party ranks this week and condemned the Trump administration for stripping millions of dollars from the FDNY’s 9/11 health care program — even as GOP leaders and lawmakers from other states remained conspicuously silent.
The suit, filed by NYSUT, argues school districts have no more local resources to tap and are dependent on state funding. In such districts, a 20 percent cut “could be catastrophic, and certainly would lead to a “gross and glaring inadequacy.”
“NYSUT should be embarrassed as the facts are clear: There has been no 20 percent cut to school aid even as we’ve waited six months for the federal government to deliver the resources the State needs to offset a $62 billion, four-year revenue loss,” a state Budget Division spokesman said in a statement.
State budget officials say school districts in the Capital Region planning or initiating sweeping program cuts and layoffs are acting “prematurely,” as they have yet to experience any drastic reductions in state aid.
Despite a fiscal crisis that led the governor to withhold aid payments for school districts and local governments, the Cuomo administration since spring has approved more than $46 million in new pork-barrel capital grants, the Empire Center found.
Any potential move by Albany to cut financial assistance to school districts probably would be announced in November and take into account the economic needs of individual districts, state budget officials said.
New York businesses still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic – including movie theaters and live-music venues – will have to wait longer for restrictions to relax further, Cuomo said.
Service providers, state lawmakers and community advocates say the Cuomo administration’s blanket approach to reducing funds has disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable New Yorkers — communities also devastated by the coronavirus — and charge that a more equitable and systematic approach could be taken.
After months of complaints about testing delays, New York City officials are set to announce that they have opened a lab in Manhattan that should significantly cut down on wait times as the city prepares for its most ambitious period of reopenings, with public school classes and indoor dining scheduled to begin this month.
The first day of online orientation for New York City students had surprises for many families, including technical glitches and a last-minute policy switch to drop requirements for live instruction for some students on remote-learning days.
New York City’s public schools opened their virtual doors yesterday for an orientation to a new year like no other. With the start of in-person classes just days away, and debate still raging over the reopening plan, 1,600 public schools greeted kids with online welcomes that were met with a mix of joy, relief and apprehension.
A Brooklyn mom says her sixth-grade kid had the first day of school interrupted by apparent hackers who bombarded an online class with various images — including porn. The Department of Education says they are probing the disturbing allegations.
An already chaotic start to the school year took another twist hours before classes began when the city Department of Education announced that kids signed up for blended learning aren’t guaranteed real-time virtual learning.
Nearly half of New York City residents earning six figures or more have considered fleeing the Big Apple during the coronavirus crisis over cost-of-living concerns, according to a new Siena poll.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the nearly 500 employees dedicated to his office – including his wife, First Lady Chirlane McCray – will take one week of unpaid leave as the Big Apple desperately tries to shore up its balance sheet amid a new bid for budget aid.
The furloughs would yield $860,000 in anticipated savings, but the move has symbolic implications and could be a precursor to similar maneuvers to slash the budget.
With a mayoral salary of $258,541 per year, de Blasio is expected to miss out on around $4,972 in a week-long furlough. The mayor’s office found $12 million in savings over previous budgets, he said.
Asked about de Blasio’s furloughs including himself and his oft-repeated threat of widespread municipal layoffs to shore up the Big Apple’s balance sheet, Cuomo said there’s “a lot of waste” in the Big Apple’s budget and layoffs are the “last option.”
De Blasio promised not to increase property taxes for New York City homeowners to help bridge the city’s $1 billion budget gap caused in part by the coronavirus pandemic, saying it’s “off the table, period.”
New York City restaurants will be allowed to tack up to 10 percent onto their bills under a law passed by the City Council. The bill’s sponsor, Councilman Joe Borelli, of Staten Island, says the fee will help struggling restaurateurs get back on their feet.
Forty streets in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens will be closed to traffic on weekdays to facilitate outdoor dining, de Blasio announced.
In an unusual opinion, a federal judge criticized the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan for its handling of a high-stakes Iranian sanctions case.
Republican state lawmakers launched a petition drive in an effort to push for an investigation into the number of coronavirus deaths in New York nursing homes.
DNA tests will help the NYPD create “virtual mugshots” of criminal suspects with help from a Virginia-based tech company — but advocates wonder how accurate the process is.
A pair of maskless NYPD cops inside a subway stop snapped back at a New Yorker who questioned why they weren’t covering their faces — calling the straphanger a “male version of Karen,” a new clip shows.
Just weeks away from reopening to the public on Oct. 3, the Guggenheim Museum has announced an 11 percent reduction of its staff. Yesterday, the museum laid off two dozen employees with another eight workers taking voluntary separation agreements.
The Brooklyn Museum is putting 12 works up for auction at Christie’s next month — including paintings by Cranach, Courbet and Corot — to raise funds for the care of its collection.
The coronavirus pandemic had the state board of elections preparing for what they expected would be “a critical shortage” of poll workers for this year’s election cycle, but Capital Region officials said they have received a flood of applicants willing to do the work.
Rochester police dispersed demonstrators from in front of City Hall yesterday morning as protests over the suffocation death of Daniel Prude continued.
The Rochester City School District announced that all of its high school fall sports teams will remain on the sidelines, due to the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak at the University at Albany had spread to 88 students and staff as of yesterday, according to the State University of New York’s COVID-19 tracker. If the university hits 100 cases by Sept. 25, it must switch to all-remote learning and limit on-campus activities for up to two weeks.
Students say they are on edge after Siena College officials took sweeping disciplinary action following a Derby Day gathering that students say got out of control. And a recent email from campus safety to Siena students requesting photos of the weekend bash has some nervous that they could be next.
The disarray at SUNY Oneonta has left university officials scrambling to explain why they did not put in place a strict monitoring system to prevent the virus from gaining a foothold. The oversight of the broader State University of New York system has also been called into question.
An elementary student in the Gloversville Enlarged School District has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Rensselaer County shut down four departments yesterday and sent 56 employees home after a worker tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.
Schenectady County health officials are warning anyone who visited Luca’s Bar and Grill Saturday that they may have been exposed to a person who has since tested positive for coronavirus.
A McDonald’s employee potentially exposed customers visiting the McDonald’s in Halfmoon to coronavirus last Friday and Saturday evening.
The lead investigator of the fatal 2016 police shooting of Edson Thevenin testified that former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove put the case before a grand jury before the police department’s probe into the killing was complete.
A negotiated agreement with Momentive Performance Materials that reduced its assessed value has caused a 26.5 percent spike in September’s Waterford school tax bills.
The owner of New York Sports Clubs and Lucille Roberts gyms is preparing to sell itself out of bankruptcy to lenders that have agreed to supply the financing needed to keep the fitness chains open.
Police in Nassau and Suffolk counties said they are increasing security at synagogues across Long Island as the holiest time of the year in the Jewish faith begins — with the added complication of the coronavirus pandemic. Many synagogues will be holding services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur outdoors/
The wrong-way crash that killed four early Tuesday “destroyed” a Hempstead family that must now cope with the loss of a much-beloved and hardworking patriarch as well as one of his daughters.
Stanley Crouch, a former Daily News columnist and a renowned jazz critic, whose searing — and controversial — commentary on race kept readers enthralled for years, has died at the age of 74 after nearly a decade spent battling serious health issues.
DJ Jaffe, an ad executive-turned-mental-health advocate, who pushed for passage of Kendra’s Law in New York, which mandates outpatient psychiatric treatment for patients deemed dangerous, has died at the age of 65.
A 76-year-old woman from Westchester County died after contracting the West Nile virus, health officials announced.
Photo credit: George Fazio.