Good morning, CivMixers. Somehow we muddled along, and made it to another Friday.
On this day in 1789, the First Congress of the United States proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution and sent to the states for ratification, which went on to become the Bill of Rights.
For all the time we spend these day venerating the Constitution, it’s interesting to note that there was a real battle over the document back in the day.
Not everyone in the new country was on board with the idea of small-d democracy government.
An Anti-Federalist named George Mason fanned the flames of dissent with a pamphlet (kind of like the viral social media post of his day), arguing in favor of adding a list of rights for the people. (Mason was actually one of three delegates who refused to sign the Constitution on Sept. 1787 specifically BECAUSE it lacked a BIll of Rights).
James Madison was among the dissenters who said that the document was fine just the way it was.
What changed the mind of Madison and his fellow Federalists was the possibility that ratification of the state of Massachusetts was called into question as a result of the Anti-Federalists’ opposition. And thus, the Bill of Rights was born, and, in true American style, we’re still fighting over it today – particularly the Second Amendment, which speaks the to “right to bear arms.”
There were actually 19 rights included in the document that Madison drafted – in New York City, by the way – but that got whittled down to 12, two of which the state’s rejected.
The first rejected idea dealt with apportioning representation in the House; the second prevented members of Congress from voting to change their pay until the next session of Congress (this was eventually added as the 27th Amendment, more than 200 years later).
The 10 amendments that are now known as the Bill of Rights were ratified on Dec. 15, 1791, and thus became part of the Constitution.
There are a bunch of made-up holidays occurring today – including one celebrating the quesadilla, and another commemorating comic books.
I hope you haven’t packed your shorts away just yet, because we might well hit 80 degrees today – at the very least, we’ll be in the high 70s, with morning clous giving way to generally sunny skies. And the weekend is looking flat-out fabulous. Soak in that Vitamin D while you can.
In the headlines…
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led a parade of Republicans seeking to calm widespread outrage over President Trump’s refusal to commit to leaving office peacefully if he loses the election.
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th,” McConnell wrote on Twitter. “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”
As he was leaving the White House yesterday for an event in North Carolina, Trump again questioned the integrity of the election, saying: “We want to make sure the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be. I don’t know that it can be with this whole situation—unsolicited ballots.”
People of Praise, a self-described charismatic Christian community, has faced renewed interest since Trump put one of its purported members, Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on his short list of candidates for elevation to the Supreme Court.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will pay his final respects to Ginsburg today as she lies in state at the U.S. Capitol Building.
Republicans appear to be planning a Supreme Court confirmation schedule that would place a final vote on the nominee under two weeks before the Nov. 3 election — possibly just a matter of days before.
House Democrats are readying a new, scaled-down package of coronavirus aid that would include assistance to airlines, restaurants and small businesses, according to people familiar with the matter, but Republicans said the chances of a deal before Election Day remained slim.
Novavax said it has started a final-stage, 10,000-person study of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine in the U.K., where a recent surge in cases could hasten an answer about whether the inoculation safely protects people from the new coronavirus.
A new COVID-19 mutation appears to be even more contagious, according to a study — and experts say it could be a response by the virus to defeat masks and other social-distancing efforts.
New CDC data show that outbreaks linked to parties, bars, dormitories and other crowded venues are hazardous not just to the 20-somethings who are present, but to more vulnerable Americans with whom they are likely to come into contact.
Michael Caputo, the top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services who recently began a two-month medical leave, has been diagnosed with a metastatic head and neck cancer, a spokesman for the Caputo family said.
WNY Republican Assemblyman David DiPietro, acting as Caputo’s spokesman, said that the HHS spokesman on leave from his assistant secretary post has “squamous cell carcinoma, a metastatic head and neck cancer which originated in his throat.”
Google users experienced a widespread service disruption for just over an hour yesterday evening that affected the company’s email, YouTube and Google documents services.
Trump took aim at the Manhattan district attorney’s office, saying in new court papers that prosecutors were using “speculation and innuendo” to justify an unfair subpoena seeking eight years of his tax returns.
The number of applications for unemployment benefits has held steady in September at just under 900,000 a week, as employer uncertainty about the economic recovery six months into the coronavirus pandemic continued to restrain hiring gains.
First-time applications for unemployment benefits jumped in New York and New Jersey last week as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic drags on. Initial jobless claims in New York totaled 71,641 last week, a 13.3 percent increase from the prior week.
Long Island jobless claims rose for the first time in more than a month, hitting 5,923 claims last week as New Yorkers begin receiving their final payments from federal unemployment supplements, the state Labor Department reported.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he doesn’t trust the Trump administration to deliver a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine because the approval process has become so politicized that its integrity can’t be taken for granted.
…as a result, New York State will launch “a massive undertaking” to review options for a COVID-19 vaccine and potentially procure up to 40 million doses ahead of the federal government’s expected completion of the research process.
Cuomo also announced he is appointing a committee to help handle logistics of vaccine distribution. With talk of each person potentially needing two doses to be fully vaccinated, that means New York would need 40 million doses.
“The choice by states to independently review products for safety and efficacy is a troubling sign. This country is in trouble if we get to the point that we don’t trust the FDA…or the CDC…or the EPA,” said Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious disease expert at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Air travelers coming to New York from Europe will be required to fill out state-issued COVID-19 contact tracing forms after the CDC nixed its own screenings earlier this month, the Cuomo administration said.
Cuomo continues to blame what he says is the federal government’s mishandling of the coronavirus for New York’s deficit.
New Jersey officials approved a budget that hinges on borrowing $4.5 billion to cover basic operating costs, making the state one of the first to take on debt to plug a gaping financial hole during the pandemic.
The state Health Department would finally have to reveal how many nursing home residents died of COVID-19 after being sent to hospitals, under a pair of bills introduced in the state Senate.
The number of women running for the state Legislature has hit an all-time high – 119 – shattering the record set just two years ago.
In November, New York City public school teacher Jabari Brisport, 33, is expected to become the first Black openly gay member of the New York state Legislature.
Cuomo took a swipe at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying crime in the city is “a problem,” and “everybody has a sense that crime is worse.”
Cuomo said shootings with victims in New York City are up 103 percent and, under an executive order he signed in August, every locality must adopt a plan for reforming their police by April 1, 2021, to be eligible for future state funding. But the City has yet to begin the process.
In a speech delivered in front of a new Pandemic Response Lab, de Blasio outlined a vision tying the city’s long-term economic recovery with public health, saying “there will be a renaissance for New York City.”
…He went on to outline four areas of focus for the recovery: greater investment in the city’s public health infrastructure, creating “high-quality” jobs and continuing to fight COVID, all while focusing on “historically underserved” communities.
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced he wouldn’t run for mayor in 2021, removing a high-profile candidate from a crowded field of contenders seeking the city’s highest office next year.
Johnson said he was already dealing with his work at City Hall and with his ongoing struggle with depression, not to mention a life — and city — “upended” by the pandemic, and “something had to come off my plate.”
With Johnson’s decision not to run for mayor next year, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer moves into the front-runner position along with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
The NYC Health Department said it will shut non-essential businesses and limit gatherings in the city’s coronavirus hotspots if cases continue to rise in the areas.
NYC could order private schools to close and shut down non-essential businesses in neighborhoods undergoing a surge in COVID cases if the trend is still continuing by the night of September 28th, the Health Department said.
One employee’s positive COVID-19 test led to 14-day quarantine orders for about 50 teachers and staffers at a Staten Island middle school, officials said.
The Shenendehowa Central School District announced that two Orenda Elementary school students and a middle school staff member have tested positive for COVID-19 — marking the district’s fourth, fifth and sixth cases so far this week.
A new online tool that publicly reports COVID-19 cases in New York schools could allow flawed information to reach the community, educators warned.
The Pac-12 Conference is joining the other four most powerful leagues in college sports in deciding to play football this fall, defying the risks of the coronavirus pandemic to salvage a season for fans and shore up the financial health of its schools.
Syracuse University finished the 2020 fiscal year in July with a $5 million deficit, Chancellor Kent Syverud said at a virtual University Senate meeting.
Thousands of New York City tenants were potentially “left in the cold” because of a glitch with the city’s tracking system that “wrongly” ignored new heat and hot water complaints, a stinging state audit claims.
Ex-NYPD officer Robert Cascalenda says he was forced off the job for using medical marijuana, even though a department doctor said he could use it to cope with chronic medical issues as an alternative to dangerous prescription painkillers.
A New York police accountability database that tracks lawsuits against cops will be expanded into a nationwide project.
Mounting criticism over the death of Daniel Prude in Rochester has prompted officials there to make quick and drastic changes to the local police department. But law-enforcement experts say moving forward won’t be easy.
Rochester police spent more than $1.4 million on overtime in under three weeks responding to Black Lives Matter demonstrations stemming from the police-custody death Prude.
The Nassau County Police Department has named a Black woman as its chief of detectives for the first time in its 95-year history.
The City of Albany recorded its 15th homicide yesterday, the second time in three years it reached that mark.
The Schenectady police department is now an accredited agency.
Buffalo police officers no longer have to wear their names on their uniforms. Mayor Byron Brown announced that officers can now wear their badge number instead.
Police videos of a defendant telling an Albany detective about suspects in other crimes, and offering to help police buy two guns, have thousands of views on YouTube — a scenario that prosecutors warned about under the state’s new criminal justice reforms that require them to swiftly turn over evidence in criminal cases.
A 20-year-old Cohoes man was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing 11-year-old Ayshawn Davis in a drive-by shooting on Old Sixth Avenue on Sept. 13, city police said.
A Columbia County judge took less than three hours to acquit former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove of all charges, including perjury and allegations that he skewed a grand jury presentation to clear the police sergeant who fatally shot Edson Thevenin in 2016.
The Clifton Park music venue Upstate Concert Hall is planning to relocate to the former Capital Repertory Theatre space at 111 N. Pearl St., where the eventual goal is to have a two-stage facility with a total capacity of as many as 1,300 people, according to the new owner of the building.
More than 700 workers at the Remington Outdoors gun factory in Ilion received a brief reprieve this week as an Alabama bankruptcy judge extended to the end of September the deadline for finding a buyer for the bankrupt company.
Onetime New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, a Buffalo developer who in April stood with a bullhorn blasting state Covid-19 restrictions as cars circled Niagara Square in protest, is recovering from the disease.
Though he was hospitalized as a result of his illness and remains in quarantine, Paladino, 74, said he still opposes Cuomo’s restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Former Gov. David Paterson’s autobiography comes out Monday.
Photo credit: George Fazio.