Good morning, CivMixers, welcome to Friday. We made it through another week! So much is going on today…
First, for those who celebrate, Happy Rosh Hashanah – often referred to as the Jewish New Year, because it literally means “head of the year” in Hebrew – which starts at sundown tonight and ends at sundown Sunday.
According to the Talmud, the world was created on the first day of Tishrei, (that’s the seventh month of the Jewish calendar). Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on the first and second days of Tishrei, which generally corresponds to September or October on the Gregorian calendar.
This is the kickoff, so to speak, of the High Holy Days or Ten Days of Repentance or the Days of Awe, take your pick there, which end with Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish year.
It’s traditional for the shofar to be blown on this day, and for Jews to attend services in synagogue. It’s also a day to eat apples dipped in honey, to symbolize a sweet start to the new year. Of course, gathering indoors in large numbers as the pandemic continues is not allowed.
A number of congregations will be holding online services, though these in many cases will be truncated because sitting in front of a screen for hours on end is – as we all know now – very tiring. There are also outdoor services being offered in some areas, and outdoor shofar blowing ceremonies, too.
On a more secular note, today is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, which was launched by the AIDS Institute to bring awareness to the aging-related challenges of HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment.
People with HIV are living longer thanks to advancements in treatment. According to the CDC, in 2015, an estimated 47 percent of people in the U.S. with diagnosed HIV were aged 50 and older, and this population faces treatment-related challenges, such as drug interactions between HIV medicines and medicines used for other conditions.
Older people in the U.S. are also more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage HIV.
Also today is NationalPOW/MIA Recognition Day, which was established in 1979 through a proclamation signed by then-President Jimmy Carter to honor those who were held captive and returned, as well as those who remain missing.
Since then, each subsequent president has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. A national-level ceremony is traditionally held at the Pentagon to commemorate this day, with attendance by members from each branch of military service.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, 83,114 Americans who fought in those wars are still missing – about 75 percent of those are somewhere in the Asia-Pacific, and more than 41,000 have been presumed lost at sea.
And let’s end on this very lighthearted point: Sept. 18 is National Cheeseburger Day. A number of restaurants are celebrating with discounts and free burgers. Did you know that the origin of the cheeseburger is in dispute? Yup. Three different states claim to have been the home of its invention.
We’ll have clouds this morning giving way to sunshine in the afternoon, with temperatures in the low 60s.
In the headlines…
The White House scrapped an effort to send hundreds of millions of cloth masks to every U.S. household in April, choosing instead to distribute the masks to nonprofit organizations and state and federal agencies.
White House officials insist that President Donald Trump strongly supports face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus and always has. But his own words and actions tell a very different — and sometimes puzzling — story.
Former model Amy Dorris has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 1997. A legal adviser to the Trump campaign, said in a statement that the allegations were “totally false.”
Marylou Whitney’s widower John Hendrickson, a longtime Trump friend, said he and his wife were with the future U.S. president and Dorris on the day in September 1997 when Dorris claims Trump assaulted her, and he doubts the alleged attack took place.
Lawmakers are aiming to unveil a bipartisan spending bill today averting a government shutdown next month, but Democrats and Republicans remain at an impasse over another round of coronavirus relief despite Trump’s renewed interest in a deal.
House Democrats delayed a vote to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level after an outcry from centrist lawmakers who want the caucus to keep the focus on coronavirus relief as the election looms.
A second coronavirus wave rippling across Europe has sent weekly case counts on the continent above their previous peak in the deadly days of March, health authorities said.
New coronavirus cases in the U.S. remained below 40,000, as Texas moved to loosen some restrictions and New York City pivoted again on school reopening.
A large, pivotal study of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine could yield a preliminary answer about whether the shot works safely as early as October, though it’s more likely to be November, the company’s leader said.
As the Trump administration pushes ahead with its Covid-19 vaccine distribution plans, state health authorities are expressing concerns that the government hasn’t resolved critical issues, complicating their efforts to deliver any shots that get cleared for use to those most in need.
Guidance about coronavirus testing posted in August on the CDC website was not written by the agency’s scientists and was posted despite their objections.
A former staffer on the White House coronavirus task force endorsed former VP Joe Biden and accused Trump of having blood on his hands because of his “horrific” handling of the pandemic.
Trump dismissed former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye, as someone who was “let go” — denouncing her after she cut an ad saying she supports Biden.
Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., warned a House committee that Russia is actively pursuing a disinformation campaign against former Biden and expressed alarm about violent extremist groups.
Biden cast the United States as unsafe under Trump and claimed he could unite the country last night in a CNN town hall less than two weeks before their first debate.
In a rare show of bipartisanship, New York’s congressional delegation joined in demanding that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “immediately” restore millions of dollars that the Trump administration has withheld from the FDNY’s 9/11 health care program.
The Federal Reserve’s $500 billion short-term borrowing program intended to give state and local government agencies and entities access to cash has barely been touched, despite mounting budget shortfalls in many states across the country.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, but employers continue to lay off workers at an extraordinarily high pace that exceeds the worst levels of past recessions.
Initial claims for state benefits totaled 790,000 before adjustments for seasonal factors, the Labor Department reported. The tally, down from 866,000 the previous week, is roughly four times what it was before the coronavirus pandemic shut down many businesses in March.
Continued jobless claims, counting workers who have filed for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 12.6 million, down significantly from the number in last week’s report. But that’s still about four-times higher than they were before the pandemic.
Six months after coronavirus lockdown orders closed workplaces across the country, most offices in the U.S. are still quiet.
Facebook is moving to curb internal debate around divisive political and social topics, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said, after a spate of disputes and criticism that has fueled discord among staffers.
A federal judge blocked controversial changes within the U.S. Postal Service that have been blamed for a nationwide mail slowdown ahead of the November election, where a record number of mail-in ballots are predicted.
Atlanta-based UPS is planning to offer buyouts to some management employees, according to a person familiar with the matter, as Chief Executive Carol Tomé aims to trim payroll costs at the delivery giant.
Federal officials will promise $10 billion to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid today – three years after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria, two New York-area members of Congress say.
Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider slammed a group of anti-maskers who paraded around a Target in Florida while blasting the band’s hit song, “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
Eric Trump will cooperate with New York state Attorney General Letitia James’ probe into possible financial misdeeds by the Trump Organization — but not until after the election, his lawyers said in a new court filing.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has reached a deal with the leaders in the state legislature to raise taxes on millionaires, ending a fight within his own Democratic Party and allows him to pass his top priority since taking office in 2018.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo rejected calls for New York to follow New Jersey’s lead, with state Budget Director Robert Mujica saying NYC millionaires and billionaires already pay a tax rate higher than the one announced by Murphy.
New York’s overall jail population rose for the first time in a year, just as a rollback to bail reform took effect, new data released by the state shows.
Sales tax revenue in New York’s cities and towns plunged by an average of 7.8 percent last month compared to figures from August 2019, according to a new report from state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.
Cuomo launched the third year of the largest artificial reef expansion in New York history as part the state’s ongoing efforts to develop a stronger, more diverse marine ecosystem and provide shelter for fish and other marine life off Long Island’s shores.
Just two weeks after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio first delayed the start of in-person classes to address safety and planning concerns, the mayor delayed again — this time over concerns there aren’t enough teachers to handle both in-class and at-home live learning.
Under the new plan, kindergarten through fifth grade students will begin in-person instruction on Sept. 29, while middle and high school kids will start on Oct. 1.
The abrupt announcement was a blow to the mayor’s effort to make New York one of the few major cities in the nation to hold in-person classes. And it threatened to deepen concerns and confusion over whether the mayor and his administration had mishandled the reopening by announcing deadlines and then pushing them back.
The hijacking of a Brooklyn school’s remote-learning class with porn and pictures of Trump appears to be an inside job, Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza said.
The Cuomo administration will make full school-aid payments to municipalities across the state later this month, officials said, after previously withholding funds because of revenue losses from the coronavirus pandemic.
…But a significant portion of the $2.5 billion in education aid set to be disbursed on Sept. 30 will be diverted to the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), and it is unknown whether public schools or the retirement fund would have absorbed the 20 percent cut.
Three days into the new school year, Schenectady School Board members signed off on slashing dozens of additional staff and administrators as the district struggles to make up for a projected $28.7 million loss in state aid tied to the coronavirus crisis.
Students at Newfield High School were not notified promptly by the Suffolk County Department of Health that they needed to quarantine because of exposure to someone at the school infected with COVID-19, Middle Country School District officials said.
Lev Parnas and David Correia – two associates of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani – were slapped with new charges in Manhattan Federal Court alleging they used more than $2 million of Fraud Guarantee investors’ money on personal expenses while promising the money would only be spent on the business.
Health systems across the nation have kept a tight rein on employee numbers and expanded outpatient care, helping their finances but making them less prepared for a medical crisis like the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of deaths reported to the New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s Office more than doubled amid the coronavirus pandemic — described as “the largest mass fatality incident in modern NYC history” in the mayor’s new management report released yesterday.
New York City will soon let restaurants add a temporary charge of up to 10 percent as help in the pandemic, but the reaction in the business is divided.
Eight protesters were taken away in cuffs during an anti-ICE demonstration in Lower Manhattan last night.
New York City saw a spike in murders over the last year — and a more than 50 percent surge in gang violence, according to data released by City Hall.
The number of New Yorkers sleeping on the Big Apple’s streets or in its subways climbed to a near-five year high in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic rocked the city’s sprawling shelter system. However, the number of new families seeking a roof over their heads fell dramatically over the same period of time.
NYC’s correctional officers took a serious beating last year from inmates, as new data shows a dramatic increase — and a five-year high — in serious injuries sustained as the result of an assault.
A federal appeals court has temporarily barred the release of all NYPD disciplinary records as a lawsuit by cops seeking to prevent the information from going public under new legislation makes its way through the courts.
A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to reissue a stay preventing the publication of the records after the unions appealed a Manhattan federal judge’s ruling that the disciplinary records should be made public.
The NYPD will not work with a private Virginia tech company that uses DNA analysis to produce sketches of crime suspects and victims, a spokesman for de Blasio said.
Dozens of yellow taxi drivers shut down Manhattan-bound traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday afternoon in a desperate call for relief from de Blasio.
A new study says that New York nursing homes affiliated with labor unions had fewer COVID-19 deaths and infections than those without union representation.
During a state Senate hearing, real estate agents from Long Island fervently denied accusations that they steered certain homebuyers to particular communities and engaged in other alleged discriminatory practices.
The Senate took the unusual step of issuing 31 subpoenas requiring testimony by agents from some of the largest brokerages on Long Island after 67 of 68 professionals who were invited to appear at a previous hearing declined to attend.
More than just inconveniencing LIRR commuters, the deficit-shrinking measures the MTA says it would be forced to take without a $12 billion federal bailout would devastate Long Island’s economy and jeopardize its future, transportation leaders said.
Albany County is seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of residents looking for help getting food, a surge local officials blame on the coronavirus and the subsequent loss of jobs caused by the shutdown to stop its spread.
A customer at Minogue’s Beverage Center in Malta — about 22 miles north of Albany – bought the winning Powerball ticket worth $94.8 million, officials said.
The Troy City Council will vote on installing 120 street surveillance cameras in the wake of an 11-year-old boy who was killed in drive-by shooting Sunday.
A Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk student has been charged with a felony after police say he threatened to shoot up two local schools.
Saratoga County’s rival economic development entities that were supposed to be uniting their efforts to better the county’s fiscal future appear headed for a legal battle over alleged hacked Zoom meetings.
The city of Cohoes reached a deal with its firefighters union to cut overtime by $133,000 over 27 months in return for a guarantee of no layoffs, both sides announced at the city’s Central Fire House.
Two members of the state attorney general’s office testified that former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove and Troy police stonewalled their requests for information after the 2016 police shooting of Edson Thevenin.
Revenge porn is on the rise in the United Kingdom and experts are pinning the scourge, at least partially, on the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings award Harvard University the top spot for the fourth straight year, followed by its next-door neighbor, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in second place, and Yale University in third.
Princeton University could be forced to pay back millions of dollars in federal funding — and also be fined — over its president’s recent admission that racism persists at the Ivy League institution.
Photo credit: George Fazio.