Saturday, June 25, 2016

CDC Confirms Lead Levels Shot Up in Flint Kids After Water Switch

Lead levels in kids' blood shot up just after Flint, Michigan changed its water supply and didn't fall until months later, federal health officials confirmed Friday.

They said children who drank Flint water had a 50 percent higher risk of dangerously elevated blood lead levels than before the switch.

The analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot say just how many children were affected, or what it might mean for their futures. But it does confirm that the water poisoned them.

"What we have documented is there is a clear increase in blood lead levels in the children who were screened over time," said Patrick Breysse, director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health, who led the analysis.

"It provides a sound basis for providing services to children in Flint." 

Click here for the full article.

Weekly Address: Designating Stonewall National Monument

West Wing Week: 6/24/16

President Obama Participates in a Discussion with Mark Zuckerberg and Entrepreneurs

Dr. Jill Biden Visits Peru

Dr. Jill Biden travels to Peru to meet with students, teachers, government official and civil society leaders to promote girls' education and women's empowerment.

Democratic National Convention Preview

Jim Kenney, Leah Daughtry, and Kevin Washo previewed the Democratic National Convention to take place in Philadelphia July 25-28, 2016, and talked about its planning. Some of the topics they discussed included preparations for security and protests as well as party diversity and unifying efforts. They responded to questions from reporters at the National Press Club. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Discussion on the U.S. Terrorist Watch List

Timothy Healy, former director of the FBI Terrorist Screening Center, discusses why he thinks the terrorist watch list is necessary, who is included on the list, and the process by which individuals are removed from the list.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Oval Office Chat: Chancellor Angela Merkel and PM David Cameron

On June 24, The President spoke by phone with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany regarding the British people’s decision to leave the European Union.  Both said they regretted the decision but respected the will of the British people.  

The two leaders agreed that the economic and financial teams of the G-7 partners will coordinate closely to ensure all are focused on financial stability and economic growth.  The President and the Chancellor affirmed that Germany and the EU will remain indispensable partners of the United States.  

The leaders also noted that they looked forward to the opportunity to underscore the strength and enduring bond of transatlantic ties at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, July 8-9.

President Obama also spoke by phone with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom to discuss the outcome of yesterday’s referendum on membership in the European Union, in which a majority of British voters expressed their desire to leave the EU.  

The President assured Prime Minister Cameron that, in spite of the outcome, the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, along with the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO, remain vital cornerstones of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy.  

The President also expressed his regret at the Prime Minister’s decision to step aside following a leadership transition and noted that the Prime Minister has been a trusted partner and friend, whose counsel and shared dedication to democratic values, the special relationship, and the Transatlantic community are highly valued.

The President also observed that the EU, which has done so much to promote stability, stimulate economic growth, and foster the spread of democratic values and ideals across the continent and beyond, will remain an indispensable partner of the United States.  

The President and Prime Minister concurred that they are confident that the United Kingdom and the EU will negotiate a productive way forward to ensure financial stability, continued trade and investment, and the mutual prosperity they bring. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary       

Friday, June 24, 2016

Another Shutdown at Indian Point Nuclear Facility

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo

"The unexpected shutdown of the reactor at Indian Point 2 because of a weld leak is just the latest example of the repeated and continuing problems at the plant. In the last year alone, there has been unprecedented degradation of Indian Point Unit 2 baffle-former bolts, groundwater contamination, and increased NRC oversight at Unit 3 due to numerous unplanned shutdowns. This is yet another sign that the aging and wearing away of important components at the facility are having a direct and unacceptable impact on safety, and is further proof that the plant is not a reliable generation resource."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Note: Additional information regarding the latest shutdown is available here

It’s Official — Bernie Sanders Is Staying In The Race And Will Not Concede

By H.A. Goodman
Contrary to the conventional wisdom saying that Bernie Sanders would never have been able to force a contested Democratic convention, Hillary Clinton has less than 2,383 pledged delegates. Thus, Bernie Sanders has recently confirmed his desire to continue, as stated by Time:

Bernie Sanders Vows to Continue ‘Political Revolution’ in New York 

But that did not stop the Vermont Senator from defiantly promising to continue the political revolution in a town hall on Thursday, giving a glimpse into his possible future role in the Democratic Party in which he campaigns for progressive candidates across the country.
Speaking with the cadence and conviction of a viable candidate in midtown Manhattan, Sanders again did not concede the nomination…and did not endorse his opponent. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post

De Blasio Stands By His Complaints About Cuomo, A Year After Feud Spilled into Public

Nearly a year after he held an extraordinary press conference in City Hall to denounce his one-time boss Gov. Andrew Cuomo as "vindictive," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he had no regrets about his public criticisms of the state's top Democrat.

Asked whether "it was a mistake" to criticize Cuomo, who has what could be described as an elephant's long memory for slights, de Blasio said he had no regrets. 

"The first answer is no," the mayor said. "I said the truth. I stand by it."

Click here for the full article.

Source: Politico and The Empire Report

Mayor de Blasio Rails Against NYPD Officers Busted for Being 'Cops on Call' for Mayoral Donors

By Erin Durkin and Thomas Tracy

Mayor de Blasio railed against the high-ranking NYPD officers busted for being “cops on call” for two deep-pocketed mayoral donors on Thursday.

But he made it clear that none of their shenanigans started under his watch, or under Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

“These instances began before Commissioner Bratton and I were in office, and the U.S. Attorney said very affirmatively they had nothing to do with City Hall, they had nothing to do with me,” de Blasio said during a press conference in the West Village, where the NYPD outlined the city’s security plans for Sunday’s Gay Pride March.

On Monday, three high-ranking NYPD officers, along with Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg were hit with federal charges that they traded gifts for favors. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The New York Daily News and The Empire Report

President Obama Designates Stonewall National Monument

Cuomo Applauds President Obama's Historic Deisgnation of Stonewall National Monument

The following statement was issued today by Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

"There is no more fitting location for the first monument to LGBT history than Christopher Park across from the Stonewall Inn. Since 1969, New York has led the nation in the fight for LGBT rights. The Stonewall Uprising sparked a movement that we still feel to this day, and I am proud that we uphold that legacy by continuing to push for equal rights for all New Yorkers. From marriage equality, which I signed into law five years ago today, to groundbreaking hate crimes legislation, to securing and protecting transgender rights, New York is a state of unrelenting progress in the LGBT movement. The Stonewall National Monument will honor that history of progress, and I am proud to have signed legislation to help create a symbol that demonstrates to the world how much we have achieved and how much more we must accomplish for equality for all."

The new Stonewall National Monument will preserve Christopher Park, located directly across from the Stonewall Inn, and be the first ever monument to LGBT history in our nation allowing visitors and residents to honor the many brave individuals who have, and continue to, stand up for their rights.

In April, Governor Cuomo signed legislation (S.6891/A.9454) which made President Obama's historic designation possible by allowing the city of New York to transfer Christopher Park to the United States government in order to create a park, monument, or for another historic or recreational purpose. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

HIV-Positive Individuals in NYC to Become Eligible for Housing and Other Forms of Support

On June 23, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced all HIV-positive individuals in New York City will become eligible to receive housing, transportation and nutritional support. The significant expansion of eligibility for Emergency Shelter Assistance is a result of a policy issued by the State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute that eliminates the technical distinction between those who are considered in need of care and those who are not. It has long been proven that all individuals who are diagnosed with HIV – whether they show symptoms or do not – benefit from receiving care.
“With today’s compassionate and common sense guidance, we are creating a better future for all New Yorkers living with an HIV positive diagnosis,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our commitment to fighting this disease is unrelenting and guided by our remembrance of those we lost. Every individual living with HIV should have access to life-saving care, regardless of whether or not they are symptomatic of the disease at that moment.”  

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said: “New York was once the epicenter of the AIDS crisis, but we have made remarkable progress to reverse that trajectory, and get New Yorkers the proper care and treatment they need to live healthier lives. I commend Governor Cuomo and the AIDS Institute for recognizing the need to expand access to every HIV positive individual and continue the momentum to end the epidemic once and for all.”
Today, it is common knowledge and consistent with recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that care and treatment should begin immediately upon diagnosis of HIV in order to achieve viral load suppression. For this reason, HIV status is the current standard by which determinations are made for eligibility to receive care and treatment in a broad array of programs.
However in New York City, benefits for housing, transportation and nutrition are unnecessarily restricted to individuals on public assistance pursuant to obsolete terms such as “symptomatic” HIV or AIDS, and who are receiving HASA services. The guidance issued by the AIDS Institute, available here, clearly confirms that, to the extent permitted by law, the terms “clinical/symptomatic HIV illness or AIDS”, “AIDS or HIV-related illness”, and other similar terms shall mean laboratory-confirmed HIV diagnosis.
Consistent with the policy statement, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance has determined that those diagnosed with HIV will be eligible for Emergency Shelter Allowance, which includes a monthly transportation and nutrition allowance as well as a 30% income contribution cap toward rental costs for New York City Public Assistance recipients.
The new rule will go into effect in 60 days.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

President Obama's Statement on the UK Referendum

The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision.  The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy.  So too is our relationship with the European Union, which has done so much to promote stability, stimulate economic growth, and foster the spread of democratic values and ideals across the continent and beyond.  The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary