Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events scheduled.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will attend a dinner for Computer Science for All tonight, which is closed to members of the press.

At 9 a.m., the MTA board meets, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., the Syracuse Joint Schools Construction Board along with the Syracuse Board of Education holds a joint special meeting, Common Council Chambers, City Hall, third floor, Syracuse.

At 9:45 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul will provide the opening keynote address at the New York offshore wind supplier forum sponsored by NYSERDA, The Roosevelt Hotel, 45 E. 45th St., Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Assemblyman Charles Lavine hosts a public hearing to discuss election reform, early voting and improving voting opportunities, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz holds a public hearing on land use, Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the PSC holds its regularly scheduled meeting, 19th Floor Board Room, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany

At 11 a.m., Miss America Nia Franklin and a group of artists and their supporters from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Long Island announce the formation of a coalition to advocate for the local arts, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corp. board conducts its monthly meeting, The Brisbane Building, 403 Main St., Room 521, Buffalo.

At noon, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey board meets, 4 World Trade Center, 150 Greenwich St., Manhattan.

Also at noon, a coalition of health care professionals, unions and activist groups pickets the annual conference of the New York Health Plan Association, which represents the state’s health insurance companies, Hilton Garden Inn, 235 Hoosick St., Troy.

At 4 p.m., the SUNY board of trustees holds a public hearing, State University Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

At 4:30 p.m., affordable housing advocates, tenants, homeless New Yorkers, members and leaders of Housing Justice for All march against corrupt landlords, and call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to enact universal rent control, 1 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., state Attorney General Barbara Underwood and Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright provide the keynote addresses at the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute New York City Fall Reception, Penn Club of New York, 30 W. 44th St., Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., former Vice President Joe Biden will be the featured speaker at the 15th annual Gala to End Hunger, InterContinental Barclay, 111 East 48th St., Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosts his annual Puerto Rican Heritage Celebration, Bronx County Building, Veterans’ Memorial Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump threw his support behind a substantial rewrite of the nation’s prison and sentencing laws, opening a potential but narrow path to enacting the most significant criminal justice overhaul in a generation.

A bipartisan effort to provide legal protections for special counsel Robert Mueller and his Russia investigation failed on the U.S. Senate floor.

House Republicans elected Representative Kevin McCarthy of California to be their leader, embracing continuity of leadership despite steep losses in last week’s midterm elections that cost the party a majority for the first time in eight years.

The French president responded to Trump’s scathing personal attack on him, declining to lash out and instead taking the long view, saying: “I do not do policy or diplomacy by tweets.”

New York’s Chuck Schumer was named U.S. Senate Democratic leader as both parties met to decide their leadership teams for the next Congress.

A day after First Lady Melania Trump took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement condemning Mira Ricardel, the deputy national security adviser who had made enemies throughout her tenure, Ricardel was spotted in her office, packing her bags, though she is remaining with the administration.

Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, has been arrested for domestic violence.

Avenatti denied the allegations being levied against him after he was released on bail last night, stating that he would not be “intimidated” from advocating for women’s rights. His ex-wife, Lisa Storie-Aveantti, has denied via her lawyer that she was the victim of the alleged domestic violence.

As the conservative legal group the Federalist Society prepares to hold its annual convention, several lawyers – led by the husband of Trump aide Kellyanne Conway – have formed a new organization called Checks and Balances, to to speak up about what they say are the administration’s betrayals of bedrock legal norms.

The U.S. Army is one step closer to having its first female Green Beret since all combat jobs were opened to women.

Trump said he plans to nominate former Central New York Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei to a $155,000-a-year commissioner’s post on the Federal Maritime Commission – a decision that comes four months after he declined to reappoint Maffei to the commissioner’s job.

As wildfires ravage large swaths of California for a second year, one of the state’s biggest utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric, has declared that it faces billions of dollars in potential liability — far more than its insurance would cover, which could leave customers on the hook to pay the bill.

As the scope of a deadly Northern California wildfire set in, the sheriff said more than 450 people had now been assigned to comb through the charred remains in search for more bodies. The blaze has killed at least 56 people and authorities say 130 are unaccounted for.

Migrants in a caravan of Central Americans scrambled to reach the U.S. border, arriving by the hundreds in Tijuana, while U.S. authorities across the border were readying razor wire security barriers.

Trump’s campaign team is hard at work on a new crop of nicknames with which to torment his 2020 rivals.

A salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey has sickened 164 people, including 12 in New York, while authorities seek to contain the food poisonings looming over Thanksgiving’s big star.

Trump’s administration is trying to fend off a legal challenge from CNN and other outlets over the revocation of journalist Jim Acosta’s White House “hard pass.”

Backed by members of labor unions and progressive grassroots organizations, a bevy of elected officials gathered at Gordon Triangle, a pocket park in the shadow of Long Island City’s tall towers, and blasted the $3 billion in subsidies handed to Amazon to put a corporate campus in the neighborhood.

The deal has outraged lawmakers who say they were left on the sidelines, unable to weigh in on perks that helped reel in the online giant.

In the eyes of the federal government, the census tract that will house Amazon’s new headquarters in New York is an “opportunity zone,” eligible for tax credits meant to spur investment in low-income communities.

The NYC Council is reviewing its legal options to challenge the epic deal to bring Amazon to Queens, as a growing number of Democrats voiced opposition.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she’s “concerned” about how little input local community leaders and politicians were given into the Amazon deal, as well as the idea of giving billions of dollars in tax breaks to one of the wealthiest corporations on the planet.

State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is not happy the governor negotiated the massive Amazon deal without input from the state Legislature, and says this and other wealthy companies should come to the state because they want to – not due to big taxpayer funded handouts.

Some conservatives have grudgingly agreed with incoming socialist Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that the $2.5 billion sweetheart tax break that New York gave to Amazon to locate in Long Island City was a lousy deal for taxpayers.

More >

Extras

The White House has reportedly created a new strategy to get Trump to zero in on policy matters – a schedule block called “policy time,” reminiscent of his “executive time,” which seemed to consist of tweet storms and cable TV viewing.

After more than 10 hours of discussion and public input, the Texas State Board of Education tentatively agreed to keep Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller in the state’s social studies curriculum.

A federal judge rejected NYC’s agreement to bring in an independent monitor to oversee public housing, saying the deal doesn’t have enough teeth to trigger actual reform for NYCHA’s long-suffering tenants.

The White House went to federal court to defend its right to revoke the press pass of CNN’s Jim Acosta, arguing that Trump’s authority to grant interviews and press access meant he did not violate the journalist’s First Amendment or due-process rights.

More than a dozen news outlets – from the AP to USA Today, The Washington Post and Politico – are filing friend-of-the-court briefs to support CNN and Acosta’s lawsuit against Trump and several top aides. The most notable name on the list: Fox News.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a potential 2020 White House contender, dodged a question about whether she could support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in another presidential run following statements that Gillibrand made last year about former President Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

In “The Clinton Affair,” a docuseries that premieres this weekend in A&E, the 45-year-old Lewinsky provides an in-depth reflection about her affair with the former president and how the scandal forever changed her life.

The Justice Department previously advised the White House that Trump could appoint someone like Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker — who has not been confirmed by the Senate — to the role, according to a new memorandum from the department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

The Queens Amazon development has to pass muster with the Public Authorities Control Board, which means it’s not yet a done deal.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office is reportedly exploring whether longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone tried to intimidate and discredit a witness who is contradicting Mr. Stone’s version of events about his contacts with WikiLeaks.

Trump spoke today with Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown to offer support as the state deals with catastrophic wildfires, a shift in tone after the two men exchanged barbs over the fires a few days earlier.

Having spent a fortune to help elect Democrats this fall, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, 76, declared lifetime allegiance to the Democratic Party and outlined an aggressive timeline for deciding whether to run for president.

House Republicans have selected House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to serve as minority leader in the next Congress, choosing the California Republican who was a key architect of the 2010 GOP wave.

In a case originating in Suffolk County, a court ruled that state and local law enforcement have no authority to arrest people on behalf of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for deportation purposes.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg posted on its website a list of 28 priests who it says have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a minor or vulnerable adult.

The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board has a new head – Saranac town Councilman Jerry Delaney, replacing longtime head Fred Monroe, now semi-retired.

Bill Hammond takes a look at what the impact of a single payer health care system would be on New York’s hospitals.

The tedium of ballot counting fueled dueling political theater today as Democrat Nathan McMurray claimed that tallies of absentee ballots in NY-27 will produce a “dead heat” with Republican incumbent Rep. Chris Collins if the current trend continues.

McMurray, like other candidates from around the nation in similar situations, came to DC for freshman orientation in case he ends up being the winner, but was blocked by the GOP from participating in the class photo and other events.

A retired government employee from Harlem came forward to claim last month’s $343.8 million Powerball jackpot — the largest in New York state history.

In his new book, The Curse of Bigness (out this week from Columbia Global Reports), onetime LG candidate Tim Wu examines the history of monopolies in America and asks why we’ve stopped fighting them.

The state Health Department issued its second two-year report on New York’s medical marijuana program, recommending changes to improve patient access and overall performance.

Bitcoin tumbled below $6,000 for the first time since August and reached the lowest level in over a year, breaking the recent stretch of tranquility exhibited by the notoriously volatile digital alternative to cash.

The Capital, a Maryland community newspaper where five employees were killed in June in a mass shooting, is pushing to unionize under the auspices of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild.

Extras

President Donald Trump is reportedly considering yet another shakeup of his administration, preparing to remove Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and looking at possible replacements for Chief of Staff John Kelly, including Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayers.

Capping a long-running feud, CNN today sued the Trump administration, demanding that it restore the press credentials of chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

The White House seems to be changing its tune about why it sanctioned Acosta. In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders suggested the decision was because he refused to yield the microphone while questioning the president, not, as initially claimed, that he placed his hands on, and got too rough with, an intern.

Trump took to Twitter to lash out at his French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, over military spending and trade – two days after returning from a trip to Paris that exposed the underlying tensions between the leaders.

First Lady Melania Trump, in a remarkable move carried out by her spokeswoman, publicly pushed for the ouster of deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel.

An Environmental Protection Agency official in the Trump administration was indicted on charges stemming from a previous job.

Matthew Whitaker should not be allowed to serve as acting U.S. attorney general since he hasn’t gained congressional approval and poses a “partisan” threat to the integrity of the Justice Department, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh charged in the first legal challenge to Trump’s appointment.

Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim plans to introduce legislation to slash New York’s economic development subsidies and use the money to buy up and cancel student debt — a move he said would provide a bigger boost to the state’s economy, and also would halt any Cuomo administration offer of taxpayer money to Amazon for the Long Island City project.

Queens Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Amazon over its selection of Long Island City for one of two new headquarters, arguing it will hurt the local community in the New York City borough.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the state, New Era Cap Co. is planning to close the Derby plant where caps for Major League Baseball are made, costing the WNY region 219 jobs, though its headquarters – and its 337 employees – will remain in Buffalo.

A crucial question: “How does a city define – and hold onto – its identity when a big, powerful, and influential company moves in?”

Ocasio-Cortez joined about 200 environmental activists as they stormed House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office and staged a sit-in, calling for Democratic leaders to put forward a “Green New Deal” that includes a swift transition to 100 percent renewable energy in line with findings of a recent report on climate change by the UN.

It will be a longer wait for opening arguments in the long-awaited trial of the notorious drug lord known as “El Chapo,” after one of the 12 jurors was excused due to anxiety.

Thomson Reuters confirmed it would be closing its Rochester offices, but otherwise is releasing few details.

Here’s a dose of good economic news: Bausch + Lomb’s parent company will heavily invest in expanding contact lens manufacturing at sites in Rochester and Waterford, Ireland, over the next four years, Bausch Health Companies announced.

Catholic bishops that ignored sexual abuses by clergy should resign, the chairman of a National Review Board established to advise bishops on sex abuse issues said.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, is nearing a decision on who he will select to become the next Assembly majority leader, and Buffalo Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes is on the short list of candidates.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is mulling a 2020 White House run, has some advice for the more than 100 women elected to join Congress after this historic midterm election cycle: Follow your heart, focus on issues and speak up loudly about the things you care about.

Federal prosecutors have opened an investigation into New York City contracts awarded to private companies that operate the city’s massive yellow school bus system.

Former four-term Cheektowaga Councilman James P. Rogowski, whose legal troubles began in February after he was arrested for violating an order of protection against his wife, was sentenced in Erie County Integrated Domestic Violence Court to one year of probation.

Juul, the nation’s leading e-cigarette maker, says it has halted store sales of some flavors to deter use by kids.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events scheduled.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is also in the city with no public events scheduled.

At 10 a.m., a coalition of harm reduction organizations, drug policy reformers, and treatment providers will join Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and state Sen. Jamaal Bailey in calling for access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in all New York jails and prisons, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the opening of the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center, 25 South St., Auburn.

At 11 a.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney, state Sen. Brad Hoylman, both Manhattan Democrats, and leaders of the LGBTQ community call on U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to not take away protections and rights for transgender and gender non-conforming people, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 245 E. 47th St., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features Manhattan Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler and others, WCNY.

Also at 11 a.m., members of the #FixTheSubway Coalition will rally in favor of a comprehensive transit funding plan with congestion pricing at its core and against the prospective transit fare hike, Bowling Green, on plaza opposite the MTA’s 2 Broadway Headquarters, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on For-Hire Vehicles holds a hearing on several pieces of legislation related to the Taxi & Limousine Commission, including Intro-304, which would establish a task force to study the sales prices of taxi-cab medallions, 250 Broadway, Committee Room, 16th Fl., Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Hochul makes an announcement, Bausch + Lomb Vision Care, 1400 Goodman St. N., Rochester.

At 1 p.m., Assemblyman Ron Kim will announce details of the 2018 Turkey Giveaway for Flushing residents this holiday season, 136-20 38th Ave., Suite 10A, Flushing, Queens.

At 1:30 p.m., state Sen. David Carlucci will announce at Ossining High School that he secured $25,000 in state funding for a teen pregnancy program run by non-profit, Westchester Jewish Community Services, 29 S. Highland Ave., Ossining.

At 2:15 p.m., Hochul tours Perry’s Ice Cream on its 100th anniversary, 1 Ice Cream Plaza, Akron.

At 3 p.m., NYC Councilwoman Margaret Chin, state Sen. Brian Kavanagh and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick – all Manhattan Democrats – join students and parents of P.S. 150 to rally to save their award-winning school, P.S. 150, 334 Greenwich St., Manhattan.

Also at 3 p.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli attends the Compensation Committee Meeting, SUNY Global Center, Boardroom, 116 E. 55th St., Manhattan.

At 4:15 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks at the 10th Anniversary Broadway Salutes ceremony, Sardi’s, 234 W. 44th St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz hosts a town hall on the 2020 census, Helen Marshall Cultural Center, Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 7 p.m., state Sen. Kevin Parker and Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, Brooklyn Democrats, urge the state and Cuomo to stand up to Trump by supporting the goal of powering 1 million households with solar by 2023, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Palm House, 1000 Washington Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 7 p.m., Bay Ridge’s new community center, the former campaign headquarters of Ross Barkan for state Senate, will hold its grand opening, 307 82nd St., Brooklyn.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump spent yesterday at the White House and did not make the traditional visit Arlington National Cemetery in northern Virginia as America observed the Veterans Day holiday. Vice President Mike Pence was not there, either. Instead, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie represented the administration.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is suffering from a series of information technology glitches that has caused GI Bill benefit payments covering education and housing to be delayed or — in the case of Roundtree — never be delivered.

Trump’s demand that Florida election officials stop recounts and declare his favored candidates the winners could disenfranchise members of the US military serving overseas.

At least 42 people were confirmed dead in the wildfire that turned the Northern California town of Paradise and outlying areas into hell on earth, making it the deadliest blaze in state history.

Acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker will consult with ethics officials about “matters that may warrant recusal” amid criticism of his oversight of the Mueller investigation.

Jerome Corsi, a far-right conspiracy theorist and associate of prominent Trump ally Roger Stone, revealed that he expects to be indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller “in the next few days.”

A Georgia federal judge ruled in favor of Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign last night, ordering election officials to review thousands of provisional ballots that have not been counted in the contested election for governor.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama says she took a page out of Laura Bush’s playbook and reached out to Melania Trump to offer advice on the years ahead — and the current FLOTUS ghosted her.

In one of the tightest races of the 2018 midterm elections, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema was elected the first female senator from Arizona.

Janelle Monae, Hillary Clinton, Amber Heard hit the 2018 Glamour Women of the Year awards ceremony.

A formal announcement about Amazon’s new HQ in Long Island City, Queens is expected today.

The company has decided to move to the Long Island City and to the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., a Washington suburb, where it already has more employees in those two areas than anywhere else outside of Seattle, its home base, and the Bay Area.

The new Queens facility will be a stone’s throw from Queensbridge Houses, the country’s largest public housing project, and it’s unclear if the online retail behemoth will deliver any benefits to the roughly 6,000 people who live there, or others in disadvantaged parts of the neighborhood.

“Amazon’s nondisclosure clause set up a process that allowed it, in effect, to crowdsource vast swaths of information about cities while preventing their citizens from knowing what their elected officials were doing to entice the $860 billion company.:”

The L train shutdown will bring thousands more riders, and an Amazon headquarters in the neighborhood could cause long-term crowding.

The state Legislature will consider a controversial bill next year that would allow illegal immigrants to apply for a driver’s license, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign it if it passes, the governor’s office said.

The incoming state Senate Democratic majority has offered to take Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder, who has been caucusing with the Republicans since he arrived in Albany, back into the fold – but only as a back bencher, an anonymous source said.

Two political action committees created by the state teachers union, NYSUT, have been accused of violating election law while helping Senate Democrats during the 2016 election campaigns.

A group representing affordable housing developers is teaming up with low-income tenant activists for the first time to push for rent regulation reforms. The current rent laws are set to expire in June.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will have to go up against political allies – including Brooklyn Democratic leader Frank Seddio, and his Bronx counterpart, Assemblyman Marcus Crespo – if he wants to overhaul the city’s widely criticized Board of Elections.

Republican NY-27 Rep. Chris Collins would not be able to regain his seat on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee under proposed House Republican Conference rules set to be considered when lawmakers meet this week.

Almost a week after election day, there are still thousands of absentee ballots left to be counted in the race between Collins and his Democratic opponent, Nate McMurray. While that’s going on, McMurray says he’s been invited to Washington by members of Congress to take part in new member orientation.

RIP Herbert London, a self-described “New York liberal mugged by reality” who was transformed into an eloquent and consistently conservative academic, social critic and political candidate, who died at the age of 79.

More >

Extras

Trump wielded the GOP’s new catchphrase for congressional oversight — “Presidential Harassment” — to blame Democrats for the morning’s downturn on Wall Street.

More than 16 months after New York lawmakers named the $4 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement after his father, Gov. Andrew Cuomo came through with his end of the deal, announcing the state would spend $10 million to significantly expand the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in Orange County.

The incoming members of the House Democratic conference is the most diverse, most female freshman class in history, which means they could have a tough time all getting on the same page when it comes to a legislative agenda. But they must remain unified to be competitive in 2020.

The 2018 elections smashed records for overall midterms spending and for spending by independent political groups. But voters won’t know the sources of a significant portion of that money, which funded TV and radio ads, mailers, phone banking and more, until December.

The NYC Council is reportedly considering introducing a bill soon to ease fundraising restrictions for politicians with government-related legal troubles in response to a push from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Manhattan Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell has formed a campaign committee to raise money for a possible run for New York City Public Advocate, according to state Board of Elections records.

Tom Precious: “The Republicans should have lost the Senate at least 10 years ago and, in fact, probably a lot longer ago than that were it not for the state’s arcane way of determining how legislative seats are drawn.”

GOP consultant Bill O’Reilly: “With the loss of the State Senate majority, Republicans are free to be Republicans. Arrangements with public employee unions have been mercifully severed; there are no longer Republican senators to protect in the five boroughs, save State Sen. Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, who can survive on his own, and Democrats in Albany are sure to overstep their unbridled power.”

Despite calls for his resignation after New York Republicans last week lost three congressional seats and control of the state Senate, a defiant state GOP Chairman Ed Cox said he has no plans of going anywhere and even expects he will seek a new, two-year term after his current one runs out next fall.

With Democrats poised to take control of the state Senate, upstate New York secessionists, who have pushed for New York to be divided into autonomous regions, are trying to drum up support for their idea of a two- or three-part state,

A Syracuse priest has been named by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo as a clergyman with substantiated allegations of child sex abuse against him.

Democratic insiders are wondering whether Bronx state Sen. Gustavo Rivera is ready for prime time after he boasted on Facebook that he’s going to be a “muthaf####n chairman.”

One of the losers in last Tuesday’s election is the charter school movement, which lost a big and reliable advocate when Republicans gave up control of the majority to Democrats in the State Senate, both sides said.

A student group at Syracuse University is hoping to improve sexual health on campus with a unique vending machine.

If a “community grid” is chosen to replace Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse, what will happen to the land that’s now under the aging viaduct’s shadow? Whether it will be turned into green space or developed commercially is still an open question.

An elephant that wandered away from an animal sanctuary in Orange County was escorted home by State Police, the troopers said in a Facebook post.

Stan Lee, the man who co-created Marvel Comics, has died at the age of 95.

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin took to Twitter late last week to lambaste fellow Republican and North Greenbush Town Supervisor Louis Desso after Desso used a town board meeting to announce his own re-election.

New York Media, the parent company of New York magazine, will become the latest publisher to institute a paywall when it starts charging for access to its websites. The paywall will not apply to The City, a soon-to-debut nonprofit site focused on coverage of New York City.

A number of stars have been forced to evacuate their homes due to the California wildfires, and several – actor Gerald Butler and singer Miley Cyrus – have lost their Malibu residences altogether.

Here and Now

It’s Veterans Day, observed, so city, county, state and federal offices are closed.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events scheduled.

Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence are in Tokyo, Japan.

At 9:10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Flight 587 17th Annual Memorial Service, Flight 587 Memorial Park, Beach 116th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Park.

At 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the grand opening of IDEX Health & Science’s new optical center, 1180 John St., Henrietta.

At 6 p.m., Broadway Housing Communities and The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, will hold their annual gala titled “Community Matters,” honoring Hillary Clinton, 583 Park Ave. at E. 63rd St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio will appear on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

Headlines…

Trump reportedly plans to stop financial aid to millions of Americans in Puerto Rico still dealing with the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria, because he believes – without evidence – that the island’s government is using the disaster relief funds to pay off debt rather than help its citizens rebuild.

Drenched in criticism for letting rain cancel his visit to an American World War I cemetery, Trump braved Parisian showers to attend another solemn ceremony honoring veterans of what was called the Great War.

French President Emmanuel Macron is no fan of Trump’s style of Twitter diplomacy, telling CNN’s Fareed Zakaria: “I always prefer having direct discussion or answering questions than making my diplomacy through tweets.”

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” Macron said in a speech at the Arc de Triomphe, welcoming the leaders and extolling an old system now under siege. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying: ‘Our interest first. Who cares about the others?'”

As relatives desperately searched shelters for missing loved ones yesterday, crews searching the smoking ruins of Paradise and outlying areas found six more bodies, raising the death toll to 29, matching the deadliest wildfire in California history.

The infernos raging at both ends of California have created a double nightmare: Many who fled fires found themselves stuck on clogged roads.

Marching bands played patriotic songs and onlookers waved American flags as the annual Veterans Day Parade made its way through New York City yesterday.

About 40 people gathered in front of a WWI monument Sunday morning in Syracuse’s Billings Park to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.

Top congressional Democrats demanded that Trump’s acting U.S. attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel investigation, and vowed to use their newfound powers as the incoming House majority to block him from interfering with it.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who expects to maintain her title as speaker of the House, said that Democrats will be “very strategic” when it comes to subpoenaing Trump and protecting Bob Mueller’s investigation.

The recount of Florida’s razor-thin Senate and gubernatorial races got off to a bumpy start yesterday with some mishaps and litigation, bringing back memories of the 2000 presidential fiasco.

In a vivid example of how Trump’s trade tactics abroad can hurt business at home, the U.S. beer industry, which needs aluminum to make cans, is seeing costs rise.

Hillary Clinton will run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, according to Mark Penn, a pollster and senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton and ex-Secretary of state Hillary Clinton from 1995-2008.

Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, has reportedly assembled an “elite” public relations team, prompting even more rumors that the businessman will soon be adding his name to a growing list of 2020 presidential candidates.

Michael Goodwin: “For Andrew Cuomo, running for president will not be a case of like father, like son. Sure, he will be coy and protest too much that he has no plans to run, and, like ­Mario, will take both sides of an argument in the same sentence. But when the time is right, he will get on the plane.”

Canadian teenagers use more pot than youths anywhere else. The government hopes legalization and an $83 million public education campaign will change that.

NYC teachers-union chief Michael Mulgrew accepted $8,250 in US Open tennis tickets from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, a law firm the union uses, records show.

New York Republicans are discussing changes in leadership and strategy for both the party and the GOP conference in the state Senate, after being swept from suburban areas where they’ve long held sway. Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan will huddle in Albany with his reduced flock as early as next week.

Child sex abuse survivors are celebrating last week’s Democratic takeover of the state Senate, saying it bodes well for quick passage of the Child Victims Act.

Catholic bishops from around the country will meet today for the first time since an explosive grand jury report exposed a cover-up of hundreds of clergy abuse cases in Pennsylvania, and since several states – including New York – launched new investigations into the manner in which dioceses addressed allegations of abuse.

More >

The Weekend That Was

For Democrats, the midterms have intensified a debate over how to retake the White House, with moderates arguing they must find a candidate who can appeal to Trump’s supporters and historically Republican suburbanites, and progressives claiming they need someone with the raw authenticity to electrify the grass roots.

Here’s a list of potential 2020 Democratic contenders. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand makes the cut, coming in at No. 6; Gov. Andrew Cuomo does not. Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is at No. 9.

After taking back control of the House, Democratic lawmakers are reportedly planning to launch an investigation into Trump’s attacks on some media outlets like CNN. and the Washington Post.

Former journalist Sam Donaldson says he has been asked to prepare an affidavit to support CNN’s case after the Trump White House banned reporter Jim Acosta earlier this week.

First Amendment legal expert Floyd Abrams told CNN’s Brian Stelter that he believes the cable network should sue over the yanking of Acosta’s White House press access, and that “it’s a really strong lawsuit.”

Two members of congress, a cabinet official, a presidential confidant and a frequent guest on Fox News are among those reportedly being considered by Trump to be the next attorney general.

Momentum is building within the House Democratic conference to move aggressively on campaign finance reform next year after candidates promised the issue would be at the center of their agenda if they took back the majority.

Former FBI Director James Comey used his personal email account to discuss his agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized private email server.

Florida officials Saturday ordered recounts in a trio of tight midterm races as Trump claimed, without evidence, that Democrats are “trying to steal” the elections.

Acting US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker can hold office through June under the law Trump used to appoint him, but he probably won’t last that long.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday he’s given the US and three other countries an audio tape of Jamal Khashoggi being murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

Top Saudi intelligence officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asked a small group of businessmen last year about using private companies to assassinate Iranian enemies of the kingdom, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

California was ablaze this weekend — with massive, fast-spreading wildfires claiming 25 lives, while forcing a quarter-million people from their homes, including in celebrity-thronged Malibu.

Trump threatened to withhold federal funds from California as the death toll in the state’s worst wildfire rose, blaming “gross mismanagement of the forest” for the devastation.

Guns N’ Roses front man Axl Rose tore into Trump after the president blamed the wildfires in California on mismanagement by state officials and threatening to withdraw federal dollars.

Trump faced a deluge of criticism Saturday after blaming bad weather for skipping out on a scheduled visit to a French cemetery to honor U.S. soldiers killed in World War I because it was raining.

The Florida man, Cesar Sayoc Jr., accused of mailing 16 pipe bombs to critics of Trump was indicted in Manhattan on Friday on charges that carry a potential sentence of life in prison.

Hudson Valley Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who was re-elected after a failed state AG bid, announced his candidacy to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the House Democrats’ campaign arm.

Queens Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed Fox News after its hosts had a ball mocking her for saying she couldn’t afford rent in Washington, D.C.

A state Supreme Court judge on Friday ordered all ballots impounded from Tuesday’s election between Rep. Claudia Tenney and Anthony Brindisi in NY-22.

In its 11 months of existence, Democrat Nate McMurray’s NY-27 campaign employed four campaign managers and at least 17 consultants performing various tasks, federal records show. This who left were frustrated by his reluctance to raise money or stick to a schedule or take advice.

Bob McCarthy reflects on the fallout from last week’s elections.

A DOT official says the limo company involved in the fatal Schoharie accident in October by treated with “kid gloves” despite numerous violations. Also, records show the state often fails to verify that repairs are made on vehicles like the that crashed, killed 20 people.

New York’s Department of Health has rescinded regulations that sought to ban flavored e-cigarettes and liquids after industry insiders raised concerns over their legality.

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Extras

President Trump reportedly was personally involved in arranging hush money to a porn star and a Playboy centerfold despite his repeated denials that he was aware of the details.

Trump hit back at former first lady Michelle Obama after she wrote in a new book she’ll “never forgive” the president for promoting the birther movement — chiding her husband, ex-President Barack Obama, for “what he did to our United States military.

Trump said that he has not yet spoken to the new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, about the special counsel investigation, and he distanced himself from Whitaker by suggesting that he did not know him, though he has visited the Oval Office several times and is said to have an easy chemistry with the president.

Trump said that more journalists could be barred from the White House following the decision to rescind the credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta. He specifically singled out April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, calling her a “loser” and saying that “she’s very nasty and she shouldn’t be.”

Trump also commented on his latest move to tighten the nation’s asylum rules, saying: “We want people to come into our country, but they have to come into the country legally.”

A new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations will be nominated by the president by the end of the year to replace the departed Nikki Haley.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, was released from the hospital today after being admitted Thursday for fracturing three ribs in a fall, the Supreme Court said. She’s “doing well” and working from home.

Without a whiff of evidence, the commander-in-chief suggested that there’s something sinister about ongoing efforts to determine winners in several tight midterm races.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat likely to lead the House Intelligence Committee during the next Congress, is signaling an interest in interviewing former Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the circumstances of his firing.

Three days after he was elected to a third term, Cuomo announced that the chairman of the MTA, Joe Lhota, who returned to the agency just last year to help fix the beleaguered subway system, is stepping down.

Queens Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reflects on lessons learned behind the bar at a Manhattan Mexican restaurant: “For me it was especially potent that I was working in the food service industry while running for office because I wasn’t, like, reminiscing on some summer job I had when I was a teenager. This was the life I was living.”

A state panel will meet Tuesday to come up with recommendations to boost salaries for legislators and state agency executives for the first time in 20 years.

Asked if he might want to join the growing list of potential 2020 Democratic White House contenders, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said he hopes to run for a new office when his term at City Hall expires in 2021.

The State Board of Regents wants to extend the moratorium on using student test results as part of the teacher evaluation process through the 2019-20 school year.

A 22-year-old man was in critical condition after being shot in the head while he sat in a parked car just blocks from the governor’s mansion in Albany, police said.

With Amazon reportedly poised to announce it will locate one of its two new headquarters in New York City, some experts are wondering why the state seems prepared to heavily subsidize that decision when its fellow tech behemoths have come to the city without similarly lucrative enticements.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events scheduled.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray are in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the Somos el Futuro conference.

At 8 a.m., Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services present the 13th annual Taking the Road to Eliminate Health Disparities conference, Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, 225 Eastview Drive, Central Islip.

At 10 a.m., de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, taking calls from listeners.

At 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features state Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, City & State Editor-in-Chief Jon Lentz, and others, WCNY.

Also at 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the nation’s first African American veterans monument, Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, 1 Naval Park Cove, Buffalo.

At 11:15 a.m., Assemblyman Ron Kim will be joined by Fennie Wang, Co-founder of ixo, on a livestream discussion of how blockchain technology can easily track and measure the impact of all public funding and investments, especially corporate incentives and big economic development projects, www.twitter.com/rontkim.

At 11:30 a.m., de Blasio and McCray will make an announcement about increasing behavioral health services in Puerto Rico, HealthproMed Center, Avenida Borinquen 2020, Barrio Obrero, San Juan.

At 1 p.m., Hochul participates in a Western New York Healthcare System Veterans Day ceremony, Buffalo VA Medical Center, 3495 Bailey Ave., Freedom Hall, Room 301, Buffalo.

At 1:30 p.m., Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams joins Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the African American Women in Cinema to speak at the final stop on their multicity Anti-Gun Violence Tour, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

Headlines…

Some of the people who survived the mass shooting in California also attended – and managed to escape – the mass shooting in Las Vegas just last year, but at least one person who was at both incidents didn’t survive the second one.

The authorities said the gunman, Ian D. Long, 28, of Newbury Park, Calif., was found dead at the scene after killing 12 people, including a sheriff’s deputy, and being confronted by officers who had stormed the bar.

The .45-caliber handgun Long used had been purchased legally, and was outfitted with an extended magazine.

Anger and frustration were at a boiling point last night as several hundred protesters stood along Broadway in Midtown to protest President Donald Trump firing U.S. AG Jeff Sessions and replacing him with a man who has openly criticized the investigation of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

The acting AG, Matthew Whitaker, once espoused the view that the courts “are supposed to be the inferior branch” and criticized the Supreme Court’s power to review legislative and executive acts and declare them unconstitutional, the lifeblood of its existence as a coequal branch of government.

Democrats, who regained control of the House in Tuesday’s midterm elections, are preparing for a Saturday Night Massacre situation in which Trump fires top Justice Department officials in an attempt to quash Mueller’s investigation.

In a last-minute act, Sessions has drastically limited the ability of federal law enforcement officials to use court-enforced agreements to overhaul local police departments accused of abuses and civil rights violations, the Justice Department announced.

The Trump administration, invoking national security powers meant to protect the United States against threats from abroad, announced new rules that give the president vast authority to deny asylum to virtually any migrant who crosses the border illegally.

A federal appeals court upheld a nationwide injunction against the Trump administration’s attempt to revoke deportation protections for some 700,000 young “Dreamers” who were brought into the United States illegally as children.

In an email with the subject line “Two years later,” Hillary Clinton marked the second anniversary of her presidential election defeat at the hands of Trump by celebrating “our wins” in this week’s midterm elections.

The Democrats’ success in winning back the House this week was mainly due to a suburban revolt against Trump and his party.

Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott, who is facing a potential recount in the Florida US Senate race against Democratic US Senator Bill Nelson, claims that thousands of election ballots haven’t been counted, more than 48-hours after polls closed.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand gave her strongest public indication yet that she was contemplating a run for president in 2020, telling the late-night show host Stephen Colbert she would “give it a long, hard thought of consideration.”

Former First Lady Michelle Obama blasts Trump in her new book, writing how she reacted in shock the night she learned he would replace her husband in the Oval Office and tried to “block it all out.”

The book, “Becoming”, will be released Tuesday, but the Associated Press purchased an early copy. The former first lady will kick off a 10-city book tour the day of the memoir’s release, opening in her hometown of Chicago at the United Center in an event moderated by Oprah Winfrey.

A federal judge issued a major ruling halting construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline until the Trump administration carries out a valid updated environmental review of the project’s impact.

The Democratic Party that Tom Perez promised emerged on Election Night in places like Kansas and Oklahoma City. And to hear the Buffalo-born chairman of the Democratic National Committee tell it, unexpected wins in such places only mark the start of the party’s resurgence.

Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will not face criminal charges for allegedly abusing multiple women with whom he was romantically involved.

Nassau County DA Madeline Singas, charged by the governor with investigating the Schneiderman case, announced the decision while proposing legislation to criminalize such behavior even if there isn’t proof it caused a victim “substantial pain,” which is the current standard.

Singas said the women who accused Schneiderman of abuse were credible, but there were legal hurdles to bringing charges. She did not elaborate on those obstacles, except to say that some of the accusations were too old to pursue under state law.

In a series of posts on Twitter, one of Schneiderman’s accusers said that she felt “completely vindicated” by his admission of misconduct — but added that “we need more than words.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who ran into trouble when he tried to help the Democrats re-take control of the state Senate several years back, is thrilled this has finally occurred, and has a long wish list of things he hopes the new majority will take up and approve.

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Extras

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, fractured three ribs after falling in her Supreme Court office last night. She was therefore not present at today’s investiture of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s appointee confirmed last month that gave the court a solid 5-4 conservative majority.

This is a health issue that Ginsburg has some previous experience with, not that she let it faze her. In 2012, she broke two ribs in a fall at home, which she worked through. “At first I thought it was nothing,” she told Reuters at the time.

Some Americans jokingly offered to make a supreme sacrifice for Ginsburg, pledging on Twitter to donate their ribs if necessary. (This is not actually a medically accepted treatment).

New acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has given no indication he believes he needs to step aside from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling, and the White House reportedly doesn’t think he has to, either.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a longtime friend of Trump, is reportedly being considered to fill Jeff Sessions’ role as US attorney general.

Also under consideration for the AG job: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, former Attorney General William Barr, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, though no decisions are expected soon, and the list of candidates is likely to grow.

Using a smoke bomb and a handgun, a hooded Marine combat veteran dressed all in black opened fire during college night at a country music bar in Southern California, killing 12 people and sending hundreds fleeing in panic before apparently taking his own life, authorities said.

Hours after the latest mass shooting, which took place in her home state, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed to advance “bipartisan, commonsense” gun-control legislation.

Christine Blasey Ford is still being harassed after leveling sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, her lawyers say.

House Democrats are planning to hold a vote to protect people with pre-existing conditions, a key issue that powered their victory on Tuesday, quickly after taking the majority next year.

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Queens Democrat, said that she will need to wait for her congressional salary to kick in before she can rent an apartment in D.C.

Billionaires Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer became powerful kingmakers for Democrats running to unseat Republicans in this year’s midterm elections as they each contemplate a run for president in 2020.

Top Fox News executives condemned the “reprehensible” threats made by a chanting mob outside the home of network host Tucker Carlson overnight.

Frontrunners have emerged as the next majority leader for the state Assembly, according to three Democratic Assembly members. Crystal Peoples-Stokes, of Buffalo, Bill Magnarelli, of Syracuse, and Donna Lupardo, of the Southern Tier, are considered the favorites to succeed Joe Morelle, who was elected to Congress on Tuesday.

New York Attorney General-elect Letitia “Tish” James said she would name her predecessor, Attorney General Barbara Underwood, to return to the role of New York solicitor general.

A Cuomo spokesman said today that the announced resignation of DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos on Wednesday was “100 percent his decision,” and he will be remaining on the job through the transition to a third term.

Also departing: Rose Harvey, who has led the state’s parks department for Cuomo’s first two terms in office. She’s looking forward to spending more time with family, and didn’t have defined plans beyond that at the moment.

Newly re-elected Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued a comprehensive solicitation seeking 800 MW or more of new offshore wind projects for New York.

The Long Island Nine is no more.

Fort Ann Mayor Denis Langlois is under fire for calling Democratic voters “retarded” in a post on the social network. He initially claimed he didn’t remember writing the post, but later defended it by saying he wrote it as a private individual and not as a public official.

Confronting a need to consolidate operations and simplify recruitment, Russell Sage College in Troy, founded as a women’s school in 1916, may be going co-ed.

Delaware North has agreed to acquire Skycity Darwin, a casino and resort in Australia. Terms were not disclosed. The deal is subject to the approval of Australian authorities.