Monday, October 24, 2016

Yonkers Firefighter Dies From 9/11-Related Cancer


A Yonkers firefighter who rescued people on Sept. 11, 2001, has died.

Yonkers Fire Lt. John Rodriguez died last Sunday at the age of 53 from 9/11-related cancer, his firehouse said.

Click here for summary/video.

Source: NBC News (4 New York) 

Suffolk County Police Get $1M for License Plate Readers to Combat Gang Crime in Brentwood


Police are looking to technology to help a Long Island city that has been plagued by gang violence.

The bodies of five teens were found throughout Brentwood over a six-week period and police believe their deaths are connected to the MS-13 gang. 

Police are looking to technology to help a Long Island city that has been plagued by gang violence.

The bodies of five teens were found throughout Brentwood over a six-week period and police believe their deaths are connected to the MS-13 gang. 

Click here for the full article/video.

Source: NBC News (4 New York)

Police Union Leader Rips NYPD Top Cop James O'Neill

 Ed Mullins, Sergeants Benevolent Association 

By Adam Shrier and Larry Mcshane

The article was originally published on October 22. 

An infuriated police union head blasted NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill as more concerned with his career than protecting his cops.

The Saturday outrage from Sergeants Benevolent Association leader Ed Mullins came after O’Neill declared a police sergeant bungled a call that left a schizophrenic Bronx woman dead.

“Even high-ranking members of this department ... are baffled by the actions of our neutered commissioner,” read Mullins’ rant to his union members.

“Commissioner O’Neill’s actions can only be explained as having a lack of courage to stand up against a failing mayor.”  

Click here for the full article.

Source: The New York Daily News (via The Empire Report)

Labor Leaders Accuse Mayor De Blasio of Betraying Unions

By Jennifer  Fermin and Erin Durkin

Bill de Blasio came into office hoping to be the most labor-friendly mayor the city had seen in years, but as he gears up for re-election his work to win over support from some unions may require serious elbow grease.

In a column exclusive to the Daily News, Transport Workers Union Local 100 President John Samuelsen called on workers to question what de Blasio did to help them during his nearly three years in office before deciding whether to support him.

“To my brothers and sisters in the labor movement, I say this: Thoughtfully contemplate whether de Blasio really shares our trade union values before you give the mayor your stamp of approval. At Bill’s core, it’s all about Bill, not the trade unionist working families we represent,” Samuelsen, head of the 42,000-member union, wrote.

De Blasio, initially considered a longshot, did not get the support of most unions in the mayoral primary in 2013, but the labor movement coalesced around him in the general election — a feat he hopes to repeat in 2017, where he does not yet face a serious challenger. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The New York Daily News (via The Empire Report) 

Cyber Security Awareness Month: 10 Actions You Can Take to Protect Your Financial Information


The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, along with the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection, today reminded taxpayers to remain vigilant against scammers and identity thieves. October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, however protecting private information should be a year-round practice. 

“Taxpayers contact us throughout the year, not just during tax season, to report fraud and identity theft,” said NYS Tax Department Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “It’s critical that New Yorkers ensure that their financial information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. That’s why we’re offering these simple steps that taxpayers can take now to guard their money and identity.”

“Online theft of private data and information can result in identity theft and a loss of time and money for those who are victimized,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, whose agency oversees the State Division of Consumer Protection. “We recommend consumers consistently monitor all their accounts, as a few easy steps now can save one a lot of aggravation later.”

1. Be wary of aggressive phone scams – Be sure to only give personal information—including social security numbers—to someone you trust. Remember, the NYS Tax Department and the IRS will contact you by mail first and will never threaten you over the phone or demand payment be made through MoneyGram, Western Union, or other wire transfer services; or using iTunes, Greendot, or other cash or gift cards.

2. Avoid phishing scams – Taxpayers may receive emails with authentic-looking government logos that offer assistance in settling fake tax issues. The NYS Tax Department and IRS will never request personal or financial information by email.

3. Protect your computer – Ensure that your computer is secure when accessing your financial accounts online by looking for “https,” with an “s” after the “http,” in the website address.

4. Use strong passwords – Use a combination of upper- and lower-case letters as well as numbers and symbols when creating a new password. Don’t use your name, birthdate, or common words. Use a different password for each of your accounts.

4. Use secure wireless networks – Always encrypt your wireless network with a strong password. Never access your personal accounts on a public Wi-Fi network.

6. Review bank accounts and statements – Check your credit card and banking statements regularly to spot any suspicious activity.

7. Review credit reports annually – Review each of your credit reports annually to spot any new lines of credit that you didn’t apply for or authorize. This can be a sign that a thief has stolen your identity and opened up a credit card, for example, in your name.

8. Think before you post – The more information and photos you share via social media, including current and past addresses, or names of relatives, can provide scammers possible answers to your security questions or otherwise help them access your accounts.

9. Secure tax documents – Store hard copies of your federal and NYS tax returns in a safe place. Digital copies should also be saved. Shred documents that contain personal information before throwing them away.

10. Review and respond to all NYS Tax Department communications – You should review and respond to all notices sent from the Tax Department. Any unexpected correspondence from the Tax Department can be a potential sign that your identity has been stolen. It’s important that you contact the Tax Department immediately to confirm any liabilities.

If you believe that you’ve been contacted by a cyber criminal attempting a scam, have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, or suspect a tax preparer is engaging in illegal activities, visit the Tax Department’s Report fraud, scams, and identity theft webpage to learn how to report it. The Tax Department takes this type of illegal activity seriously, promptly reviews each compliant, and takes corrective action when appropriate.

Source: The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

Friday, October 21, 2016

Department of Homeland Security Investigating Massive Internet Attack

White House Briefing

Spokesman Josh Earnest briefs reporters and responds to questions at the White House on a range of issues, including monitoring of U.S. elections. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

State Department Briefing

Spokesman John Kirby briefs reporters and responds to questions at the State Department, including remarks by Secretary Kerry about the “illegal and illegitimate government of North Korea,” and what the comments mean for policy toward the regime. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

'Flashback Friday': Alabama Governor George Wallace on Harlem Uprising (1965)

This video was published on YouTube on March 13, 2012. 

On the March 4, 1965 edition of Face the Nation, Alabama Gov. George Wallace on charges of police brutality in Selma, Alabama, the Sunday prior in what is now known as "Bloody Sunday." 

Source:  CBS News

Trailblazers in Black History: Bob Howard

Bob Howard, born Howard Joyner, was an African-American pianist-vocalist on swing records in the 1930s. Born in Newton, Massachusetts, Joyner began singing in New York night clubs in the mid-1920s. He began recording in 1931 under his real name for Columbia. 

Under the name Bob Howard, he played New York's Park Central Hotel, Famous Door, Hickory House and other clubs as well as theaters. He was signed to Decca in late 1934 and recorded a series of hot small group swing records between 1935 and 1938. His studio groups included Benny Carter, Buster Bailey, Rex Stewart, Ben Webster, Teddy Wilson, Russell Procope, Cecil Scott, Cozy Cole, Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, Babe Russin and others. Howard did not play piano on his Decca's, only sang.

In 1948, Howard hosted the The Bob Howard Show on CBS, making him the first African-American to host a regularly broadcast TV show. 

Additional information is available here.

Source: Wikipedia

The City: Prison’s Grip on the Black Family

The Spirals of Poverty and Mass Incarceration Upend Urban Communities

“Be a shield of protection for my baby,” she’d say as part of their daily ritual.

Though she prayed to God for a shield, she served as protector, marching him to and from school like a drum major. Her baby, Khyrie, was 13 then, a quiet, lanky boy with soft features and penetrating eyes. As much as she tried to buffer him from danger, he’d already seen too much. A cousin had recently been murdered. He’d witnessed a host of relatives cycle in and out of prison for drugs, violence or a combination of the two. And many of his friends, without drum majors of their own, seemed to be finding their own beat in the streets.

Dawn knew she didn’t have much longer before that beat got too loud for Khyrie to ignore, or before the cops would begin to see her baby-faced boy as a man. Black men don’t always fare well in neighborhoods like theirs, where trapdoors lay in abundance, ready to snatch them from city blocks and toss them straight to cell blocks, or worse, a grave.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

Second Hack Feared, After Massive Cyberattack Knocks Major Websites Offline

The internet was dealt a crippling blow Friday morning as major websites, including Twitter, Spotify and Reddit were inaccessible.

As sites and services across the East Coast began to recover, word came of a possible second wave of attacks. 

The culprit in both cases appeared to be a DDOS — that's distributed denial of service — attack on Dyn, an internet performance management company. 

Click here for summary.

Hedge Fund Investors Withdrew $28.2 Billion in Third Quarter

By Saijel Kishan and Simone Foxman

Hedge fund investors pulled $28.2 billion from the industry in the third quarter, the most since the aftermath of the global financial crisis, according to Hedge Fund Research Inc.

The net outflows, which amount to 0.9 percent of the industry, are the largest since the second quarter of 2009, the firm said Thursday. Investors redeemed $51.5 billion in the first nine months of the year, even as industry assets rose to a record $2.97 trillion, it said. 

Hedge funds have been under pressure from investors critical of high fees and uninspired performance. The Kentucky Retirement Systems’ investment committee voted Oct. 14 to exit hedge funds over a three-year period. Marc Levine, chairman of the Illinois State Board of Investment, said yesterday that the plan had moved two-thirds of its assets to passive management to reduce fees, causing it to withdraw about $1 billion from hedge funds. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Bloomberg (via The Empire Report)

$1 Million in Grant Funding Available for Farmers Across New York State

A funding grant of $1 million is available to assist new and early-stage farmers through the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund. Now in its third year, the program builds upon the success of 2015 when more than $743,000 was awarded to 25 early-stage farms across the state to support the continued growth of New York’s agriculture industry. To date, nearly $1.4 million has been provided to 41 farms throughout New York State to expand their operations and improve their profitability.

"New York's farmers are a rich part of this state's heritage and remain essential to the success of our economy," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding will support the expansion of farms as they increase production and help ensure this remains a strong and sustainable industry for generations to come."

The $1 million New Farmers Grant Fund will provide grants of up to $50,000 to assist with up to 50 percent of eligible project costs, with the remaining 50 percent being matched by the recipient. All owners of eligible farms must be within the first ten years of ownership and the farm must have a minimum of $10,000 in income from sales of products grown or raised on the farm. Eligible project costs include the purchase of farm machinery, supplies and equipment, and construction or improvement of farm structures. Empire State Development, in consultation with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, administers the fund.

This year, the program has eliminated the 150 acres or less requirement and is now accepting farm applicants of all sizes. The application and guidelines for the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund are available online. The deadline for submission is January 27, 2017.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patty Ritchie said, "Across our state, the New Farmers Grant Fund is providing people who are new to agriculture with the resources necessary to start their businesses, and those who are just starting with the support they need to continue on the road to success. I have been proud to advocate for funding of the New Farmers Grant Fund, which will continue to help to protect the future of our state’s leading industry, and encourage those looking to pursue careers in farming to apply for funding." 

Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee said, "It is important that we support beginning farmers with tools and training, and that we make available the resources they need to go forward with a career in agricultural production. The New York State New Farmers Grant Fund will benefit those who have the desire to farm, as well as everyone who has an appreciation for New York grown products, and I thank Governor Cuomo for incentivizing and encouraging careers in farming through these awards."

Additionally, the Department of Agriculture and Markets recently launched a resource page for new farmers interested in starting their own farm and early-stage farmers looking to diversify or expand operations. Resources for New Farmers, located on the Department's website, provides information on state regulations, job training, land ownership, farm financing, marketing and other areas critical to starting a farm operation.  

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

'House of Justice' Rally Will Call for Community Summit on Policing in the Wake of Deborah Danner Shooting

On October 22, at 9:30 a.m., Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network (NAN) will hold a rally at the organization's headquarters and urge Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill to  conduct a community summit on policing. 

Rev. Sharpton is calling for the summit in effort to address growing concern and dissent over shootings of African-Americans by NYPD officers, including the recent shooting of Deborah Danner in the Bronx.  

Minister Kirsten John Foy, Northeast Regional Director of NAN, Donna Lieberman, President of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), Councilman Rory Lancman, Assemblyman Michael Blake, Marisol Alacantara - Senator-elect replacing State Senator Adriano Espaillat, and other elected officials, community activists and civil rights leaders are expected to be in attendance.

The event will be held at the "House of Justice", located at 106 West 145 Street at Malcolm X Blvd., and broadcast on WLIB 1190 AM. 

The rally will also be streamed live at

Sanders to Host Community Meeting to Discuss Jamaica Bay Reformulation Study

Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) will host a community meeting where the Army Corps of Engineers and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will present the latest version of plans for protecting the Rockaway Peninsula, Broad Channel, the East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet, and the Jamaica Bay Reformulation Study.

This is a community meeting the residents of Arverne/ Historic Somerville, Edgemere, Bayswater, and the eastern end of the Peninsula have been demanding for some time.  Continuous flooding during high tide and disastrous weather have been plaguing the Rockaway community for years.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Macedonia Baptist Church located at 330 Beach 67th Street, Arverne, New York.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Senator Sanders' office at 718-327-7017. 

Source: The Office of State Senator James Sanders, Jr.