Good Thursday morning, CivMixers. Happy World Maritime Day.
This is a UN observance, and on this day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has made a point of highlighting what he says is a humanitarian crisis involving the 2 million seafarers who serve on the world’s merchant fleet, many of whom have seen their time at seat extended far past their contracts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Guterres wants governments to designate seafarers essential workers so safe crew changes can occur. He noted that more than 80 percent of the world’s trade – including medical supplies and other good critical to meeting the needs of those struggling during this viral outbreak – are transported via ship.
The theme for this year’s World Maritime Day is “sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet.”
You’ve heard of “friendsgiving”- an event for which one hosts a non-traditional holiday meal with an assemblage of unrelated individuals (perhaps to avoid one’s biological family)? Well how about Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving?
Doesn’t ring a bell?
Well, it’s the oldest continuously observed Thanksgiving event in the United States. Yep.
The Schwenkfelders are the descendants of a small Protestant sect that sprang up in Germany around the time of the Reformation. They were followers of Caspar Schwenkfeld, a theologian who separated from Protestant circles and formed the brotherhoods that still survive as the Schwenkfelder Church. Most Schwenkfelders now live in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
In 1733, a handful of Schwenkfelder’s followers arrived in Philadelphia, and then a second group arrived from Germany on Sept. 22, 1734; swore their allegiance to the British king; then, two days later, spent the day expressing their thankfulness to God for delivering them from persecution.
This day is NOT celebrated with a massive meal of turkey and all the fixings, but rather a simple repast of bread, water, butter and apple butter.
It’s going to be in the low-to-mid 70s today, with a mix of sun and clouds in the morning giving way to mostly clouds this afternoon. A little last-ditch tease of summer is on the way, with the thermometer flirting with 80 degrees on Sunday.
In the headlines…
President Donald Trump would not commit to providing a peaceful transition of power after Election Day, lending further fuel to concerns he may not relinquish his office should he lose in November.
“Well, we’ll have to see what happens. You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster,” Trump said at a news conference at the White House.
It is highly unusual that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process. But Trump also declined four years ago to commit to honoring the election results if his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, won.
The U.S. Senate failed to agree on language for a resolution honoring the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a sign of how divided the chamber is over the Supreme Court vacancy.
Ginsburg has been lying in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court so Americans can pay their respects to the second woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
In a short, simple and modest ceremony in keeping with her own reputation for humility, Justice Ginsburg’s family and fellow members of the Supreme Court paid their respects in the Great Hall of the building where she served for 27 years.
“Justice Ginsburg’s life was one of the many versions of the American dream,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said during a ceremony inside the court.
Ginsburg’s former clerks, the exclusive group of people who worked by her side during her years as a judge and justice, remembered her in more personal ways, as an exacting mentor who treated them like family.
Trump is expected to travel to the Supreme Court today to pay his respects to Ginsburg, even as he moves forward with defying her reported dying wish not to fill her seat before the election.
Ginsburg will become the first woman in history to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol when her casket is placed in National Statuary Hall tomorrow. A private interment will be held next week at Arlington National Cemetery.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said it’s “a gigantic mistake” for Trump to replace liberal icon Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
Two Louisville police officers were shot amid local protests hours after it was announced only one officer involved in the police killing of Breonna Taylor was indicted by a Kentucky grand jury.
The offer was indicted on first-degree wanton endangerment charges. The other two officers who also fired shots during the botched March raid were not indicted, meaning no officer was charged with killing the 26-year-old Black emergency room technician and aspiring nurse.
Protesters took to the streets in Chicago, Milwaukee, Seattle and Washington, D.C, among other places, following the announcement from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, which also spurred demonstrations that turned violent in Taylor’s home city of Louisville.
Trump called Cameron’s announcement “really brilliant” and said he’s a “star” doing a “fantastic job.”
Florida’s Republican attorney general has requested that the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to reinstate the voting rights of felons by paying their fees.
Hunter Biden allegedly sent “thousands of dollars” to people who appear to be involved in the sex industry, according to a report released by U.S. Senate Republicans.
A New York judge ordered Eric Trump to sit for a deposition with state investigators before Oct. 7, denying his attempt to push it off until after Election Day.
With the hopes of creating an effective vaccine against coronavirus with just one inoculation, American company Johnson & Johnson has launched one of the world’s largest late-stage studies to the fight to beat the global pandemic.
A global vaccine manufacturer has begun producing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate of Long Island-based Codagenix Inc. even before it begins its Phase 1 human clinical trials in the U.K.
Government watchdogs are pressuring Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stop wishing on rainbows and present a plan to fix New York’s $14.5 billion projected budget hole assuming no relief will come from Washington.
Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced that the individual saliva swab diagnostic test for COVID-19 developed by SUNY Upstate Medical University and Quadrant Biosciences has been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA.
…The approved tests allow individuals to self administer the collection of a sample by swabbing their mouths, rather than the swab being inserted in a person’s nose. The tests are currently processed at SUNY Upstate Medical Center’s laboratory.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase rates as the state battles a massive coronavirus-induced multi-billion-dollar budget hole.
Another 9,000 city managerial and non-union employees will be furloughed for five days, saving the city $21 million, in a bid to balance the budget, de Blasio announced.
Leftists are planning to hold a rally outside Bloomberg’s townhouse Saturday to demand a Green New Deal and higher taxes on the rich — despite the former mayor having backed an income tax surcharge on the wealthy and his huge donations to fight climate change.
Two Republican state senators called for the leaders of four Democratic-led committees to subpoena the state Department of Health for information on the number of COVID-19 deaths in New York nursing homes.
For the first time in 114 years, there will be no crowd in Times Square to cheer the famed New Year’s Eve ball drop, which will be a virtual celebration as a result of the pandemic.
The Metropolitan Opera has canceled all performances for its 2020-21 season, saying the coronavirus pandemic remains too great an ongoing health concern.
At least one coronavirus case had been reported in more than 100 school buildings and early childhood centers in the New York City school system by the first day of in-person instruction on Monday, according to the Department of Education. Nearly all the buildings remained open, though six closed temporarily.
A New York University student demanded that her professor be fired for allegedly telling students that wearing face masks doesn’t prevent the spread of COVID-19.
De Blasio said that “urgent action” is needed to try to contain a significant uptick in COVID-19 cases, which he says is affecting “multiple neighborhoods simultaneously” and could spiral to others.
New York City authorities will increase enforcement of social-distancing rules in a handful of neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens that have seen a sharp uptick in novel coronavirus infections, officials said.
As NYC educators are diagnosed with coronavirus, school safety agents are being shuffled from site to site, creating chaos and confusion, according to the union repping the officers.
Shenendehowa schools notified the district community that a Chango Elementary teacher has tested positive for COVID-19.
The Niskayuna school district is dealing with its first confirmed positive coronavirus case since school started a little more than a week ago.
With no new information from the state on how sweeping aid cuts will impact Albany City Schools, more than 200 teachers, administrators, and staff will lose their jobs tomorrow.
Washington County contact tracers have traced recent COVID-19 cases to a Hudson Falls school and local travel baseball teams, and are warning anyone who recently visited a Fort Edward restaurant to monitor for symptoms after a diner there tested positive.
Industry City developers withdrew their application to rezone the Brooklyn property, prompting cheers from local elected officials and neighborhood groups who said the proposal would exacerbate unaffordability and gentrification in the working-class neighborhood.
…It was slated to be one of the biggest real estate projects in New York City in years, a major expansion of the Industry City complex on the Brooklyn waterfront that could have created as many as 20,000 jobs at a time when local unemployment has soared because of the pandemic.
Cops have given out just one ticket to a straphanger for refusing to wear a mask on transit since Cuomo instituted a $50 fine last week, officials said.
MTA board members voted unanimously to make official emergency rules enacted in April that make it easier for cops to remove homeless from the subways.
The MTA is considering borrowing nearly $3 billion from the federal government to stay afloat this year amid the financial blow dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.
Even as the coronavirus is ravaging the country and the world, a new reality is emerging in New York City.
According to a report released this week by the Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Black neighborhoods in NYC continued during de Blasio’s tenure to be policed at a higher rate than white ones.
More than 4,400 lawsuits have been filed against alleged child abusers under New York’s Child Victims Act, but there are still many victims remain unable to access the court system in order to seek justice.
In one of the first court cases since New York legalized disclosure of police misconduct records, a judge gave the city of Schenectady’s police union a week to refine their arguments for why part of the personnel record of a police officer involved in a controversial incident should be blocked.
Former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove testified that he allowed the police sergeant who fatally shot Edson Thevenin in 2016 to testify with immunity before a grand jury because Abelove was never planning to charge the officer with a crime.
Officials in the tiny Adirondack town of Swastika voted to keep the name of their community, which they say predates WWII.
A hunter was killed by a grizzly bear this weekend in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, marking the park’s first known bear mauling fatality.
A Buffalo firearms instructor accused of falsifying firearm training courses and skirting state training requirements was sentenced to four months in jail followed by three years of probation, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
Erie County appears to be outspending other New York counties in COVID-19 overtime.
New Jersey out-ranks New York in a list of “happiest” states in the U.S.
Hillary Clinton wants to get in front of listeners with her new podcast covering topics ranging from politics to the pandemic and from food to friendship, which is set to debut five weeks before the November U.S. election.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an order that aims to end the sale of new gasoline and diesel-powered passenger cars in the state by 2035.
A scientist who is a leading expert on leeches was fired this month from his curator’s post at the American Museum of Natural History after the museum found that he had sexually harassed and bullied a graduate student who was doing research under his supervision.
The company behind Uncle Ben’s rice has officially rebranded the food product after many deemed its longtime name and logo to be racially insensitive. The brand will now be called Ben’s Original and will no longer feature an image of an African-American man on its boxes.
Photo credit: George Fazio.