Saturday, June 25, 2011

'Newsy.com' to Share News with 'From The G-Man'


From The G-Man Welcomes Newsy.com as Contributing News Source

Newsy.com, which has offered to share its news content with "From The G-Man" beginning next week, showcases multi-source, multi-platform video news.

According to the company's website, it's the only video news service that allows users to compare bias by highlighting nuances in reporting (http://www.newsy.com/).

Through short professionally produced videos for mobile devices and the web, Newsy provides context with convenience - making you smarter, faster.

It's MSNBC next to Fox News, CNN next to ABC, The Huffington Post next to the Daily Beast. From Tech Crunch to TMZ, it's a broader view, in a concise format.

Newsy gives you context with convenience - when you want it, how you want it, where you want it. You can download their award-winning, highly-rated free apps from iTunes, the Android Market and BlackBerry App World today.

The Newsy.com management team consists of the following:

Jim Spencer, president and founder, has helped lead several successful Internet start-up and established online companies. Jim was VP of Content and Answers at Ask Jeeves (Ask.com) where he was responsible for all search queries and helped lead the company to a top 15 website and through a successful initial public offering. Prior to Ask Jeeves, Jim was the GM of News and Information Programming at AOL (News, Sports, Health, Research and International) leading the content, business and partnership operations for one of AOL’s major business units.


Spencer also served as director of strategic partnerships at NBC for MSNBC.com, leading the direction of the MSNBC.com website and the coordination of the newsrooms of NBC News in New York and MSNBC’s newsroom on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, WA. Jim began his online career as GM of New Media at Multimedia, Inc. Prior to graduate school, Jim represented and distributed motion pictures including Academy Award-winning movies, foreign films and U.S. independent cinema. Jim earned his M.A. in journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and his B.F.A. from New York University’s Film School.


Jim Flink, vice president of news operations, joined the company after serving as news anchor and reporter for KMBC-TV (Hearst) in Kansas City for 15 years. His work has been featured on "Larry King Live," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," CNN, BBC, NBC-Mutual Radio and the Korean Broadcasting System. While at KMBC-TV, Jim received a regional Emmy Award for spot news coverage, and he anchored the newscast that won both the national Edward R. Murrow Award and the top national honor from Sigma Delta Chi.


In addition to his 20 years of domestic news coverage, Flink has also worked overseas, for the Korean Broadcasting System, with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with journalists in developing countries, and teaching peers and students in the Philippines. More recently, he served as an adjunct professor at UMKC, Park and Avila Universities. Jim received his B.A. in Political Science from Westminster College, and his M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Alexandra Wharton, vice president of marketing and community, has helped develop Internet marketing practices for the past 13 years. Her career began at The Well, the world’s earliest online community; she later joined the first interactive public relations practice at Cybernautics. At USWeb/CKS and MarchFirst, Alexandra delivered online audience development solutions for Apple, Levi’s, and American Airlines.


Wharton created thought leadership projects with Capgemini and Accenture for marketing executives at Fortune 500 companies at Montgomery Research. Most recently, Alexandra covered interactive marketing as senior reporter for Revenue magazine. She graduated from Tulane University with a B.A. in English.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Marriage Equality Act Passed!

Cuomo: 'New York Has Finally Torn Down the Barrier'

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced passage of the Marriage Equality Act, granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry under the law, as well as hundreds of rights, benefits, and protections that have been limited to married couples of the opposite sex.

"New York has finally torn down the barrier that has prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry and from receiving the fundamental protections that so many couples and families take for granted," Governor Cuomo said.

"With the world watching, the Legislature, by a bipartisan vote, has said that all New Yorkers are equal under the law. With this vote, marriage equality will become a reality in our state, delivering long overdue fairness and legal security to thousands of New Yorkers."

"I commend Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Minority Leader John Sampson for their leadership and Senator Tom Duane for his lifetime commitment to fighting for equality for all New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo continued. "I also thank Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell for ushering this measure through their chamber."

The Marriage Equality Act amends New York's Domestic Relations Law to state: A marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex; no government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being the same sex or a different sex; all relevant gender-specific language set forth in or referenced by New York law shall be construed in a gender-neutral manner; and no application for a marriage license shall be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same or a different sex.

The Marriage Equality Act was amended to include protections for religious organizations. The Act states that no religious entity, benevolent organization or not-for-profit corporation that is operated, supervised or controlled by a religious entity, or their employees can be required to perform marriage ceremonies or provide their facilities for marriage ceremonies, consistent with their religious principles. In addition, religious entities will not be subject to any legal action for refusing marriage ceremonies.

The Act will grant equal access to the government-created legal institution of civil marriage while leaving the religious institution of marriage to its own separate and fully autonomous sphere. Additionally, the Act was amended to include a clause that states that if any part is deemed invalid through the judicial process and after all appeals in the courts, the entire Act would be considered invalid.

The Act was made a reality thanks largely to New Yorkers United for Marriage, a coalition of leading New York LGBT rights organizations who have fought so that all couples in New York have the freedom to marry. The partners include Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality New York, and Log Cabin Republicans.


A Renaissance in American Manufacturing


President Obama kicks off the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a national collaboration between the government, industries, and universities to invest in cutting-edge technologies, create new jobs and bring about a renaissance in American manufacturing.

First Lady Michelle Obama Addresses Young African Women Leaders


First Lady Michelle Obama delivers the keynote address to a U.S.-sponsored Young African Women Leaders Forum from Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, Johannesburg. Forum participants include young women from across sub-Saharan Africa who are leading or involved in social and economic initiatives in their own countries. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/YoungAfrica to follow the First lady's trip.

BREAKING NEWS: Yvette Marie Torres Rally Rescheduled for July 2

Organizers Need Additional Week to Prepare, As Extremely Large Turnout is Anticipated

"From The G-Man" has just been informed that the rally set for Saturday, June 25, from 11:30am to 6pm, has been rescheduled for July 2.

Nelson Figueroa, one of the event organizers, noted they will need an additional week to set up the event because of the enormous response they have received from various agencies, individuals and community groups since the announcement was made earlier in the week.

"This event is becoming bigger than I ever imagined. The response has really been great," said Figueroa.

The rally will still be held in the Fordham section of the Bronx at 2396 Valentine Avenue, which is where the 15-year-old Yvette Marie Torres, a DeWitt Clinton High School student, was shot after a confrontation with two young men.

For more information about the event, contact Nelson Figueroa at 347-592-3507.

West Wing Week: "The Receding Tide"


Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, President Obama addressed the nation on his plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, delivering on a promise he made to the American people in December of 2009. The President also traveled Fort Drum to meet with soldiers and their families, welcomed young elected officials to the White House, and talked to mayors from across the country about job creation and economic growth.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vice President Joe Biden on Keeping Our Promises


Following President Obama's address to the nation on the way forward in Afghanistan, Vice President Biden takes a few minutes to share his thoughts about the promises this Administration has made -- and kept -- when it comes to the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and our commitment to defeat al Qaeda.

"Intifada" App Removed by Apple

An Anti-Hate Group Asked Apple to Remove 'The Third Intifada', an App Available in the Company's App Store

Apple removed an application from its App Store on Wednesday after a Jewish human rights group and a top Israeli official said it contained anti-Semitic content and promoted violence against Israel.

The app, “The Third Intifada,” notified people of upcoming protests against Israel and also highlighted anti-Israel news and opinion from around the Web.

“We removed this app from the App Store because it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people,” an Apple spokesman said Wednesday evening.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a group dedicated to stopping anti-Semitism, put out a statement on Tuesday asking the company to “immediately withdraw its approval” of the application. The center said that its researchers had found that the app “contains anti-Israel content — articles, photographs of ‘martyrs’ and stories — and updates its users on further incitements to protest and violence.”

According to Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, Yuli Edelstein, an Israeli minister of public affairs, also sent a letter to Apple asking for the “immediate removal” of the application from the App Store.

Apple states in its App Store policy, under section 19, which pertains to religion, culture, and ethnicity that “Apps containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected.”

In March, Facebook removed a group, “3rd Intifada,” that was said to be promoting violence against Israel. A Facebook representative told The Jerusalem Post that the group’s page was taken down after Facebook “received repeated warnings about posts that violated our policies.

Politics in Action: H.R. 2219

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

H.R. 2219 — Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2012

(Rep. Rogers, R-KY)


This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration’s views on the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2012, as reported by the House Appropriations Committee. The Administration is committed to ensuring the Nation lives within its means and reducing the deficit so that the Nation can compete in the global economy and win the future. That is why the President put forth a comprehensive fiscal framework that reduces the deficit by $4 trillion, supports economic growth and long-term job creation, protects critical investments, meets the commitments made to provide dignity and security to Americans no matter their circumstances, and provides for our national security.


The Administration strongly opposes a number of provisions in this bill. If a bill is presented to the President that undermines his ability as Commander in Chief or includes ideological or political policy riders, the President’s senior advisors would recommend a veto.


While overall funding limits and subsequent allocations remain unclear pending the outcome of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral discussions between the Administration and congressional leadership on the Nation's long-term fiscal picture, the Administration has concerns regarding the level of resources the bill would provide for programs necessary to meet national security, including:


Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS). Current systems do not provide the President with a timely, global, non-nuclear strike capability to address fleeting, time-sensitive targets. The importance of this requirement is documented in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and was an element in support of ratification of the New START Treaty. This bill would limit the Department of Defense's (DOD's) ability to assemble critical CPGS technology data, delay transition from technology development to an acquisition program, and ultimately delay deployment of a CPGS system by two years.


Advance Appropriations for Acquisitions. The bill would provide only incremental funding – undermining stability and cost discipline – rather than the advance appropriations that the Administration requested for the procurement of Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites and certain classified programs.

Joint Urgent Operational Needs Fund (JUONF). The bill would eliminate base and Overseas Contingency Operations JUONF funding, critical to DOD's ability to quickly respond to urgent warfighter needs and effectively address Combatant Commanders' urgent operational requirements in a timely manner.

Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) Spacecraft. The level of resources the bill would provide for the Air Force’s Rocket Systems Launch Program would prevent DOD from launching the refurbished DSCOVR spacecraft, part of an interagency partnership with the Department of Commerce, which would provide forecasts of geomagnetic storm conditions and imminent warnings of adverse solar events, helping to protect the Nation's military and economic assets including our commercial electric grid and communications and airline operations.


Medium Extended Air Defense Systems (MEADS). The Administration appreciates the support for DOD's air and missile defense programs; however, the level of resources the bill would provide for the MEADS program could trigger unilateral withdrawal by the U.S. from the MEADS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Germany and Italy, which could further lead to a DOD obligation to pay all contract costs – a scenario that would likely exceed the cost of satisfying DOD’s commitment under the MOU. This reduction also could call into question DOD's ability to honor its financial commitments in other binding cooperative MOUs and have adverse consequences for other international cooperative programs.


Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Actions. Section 8112 of the bill would impede the Secretary's ability to make and implement force management decisions that would ensure resources are directed to the highest priorities.


Investment in Innovation. The bill’s funding level for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for high-priority science and technology programs would undermine the Nation’s ability to invest in innovation and ideas that would have long-term benefits for the country’s national security and economy.


Assured SATCOM Services In Single Theater (ASSIST). Acquiring the satellite as part of the ASSIST program as proposed in the 2012 Budget would be far more cost effective than the Committee's proposed alternative which would result in DOD continuing to lease commercial satellites while procuring a Wideband Global Satellite that would not be ready for many years.

C-17 Transport Aircraft. Additional funding for an unrequested C-17 airlift is unnecessary and diverts resources that could be used for higher priority programs, since analyses by DOD have shown that there are already more C-17s in the force and on order than are needed to meet the Department's current and future airlift needs, even under the most stressing situations.


Intelligence Community Management Account. The reduction in funding for this account would impair the Director of National Intelligence's ability to lead Intelligence Community integration and oversight.


Classified Programs. The Administration looks forward to providing its views on the Classified Annex to the bill once it becomes available.


The bill includes the following problematic policy and language issues:


Prohibition of TRICARE Prime Increases for One Year. Language in the report, which is incorporated into statute by section 8006, would seek to prohibit TRICARE Prime enrollment fee increases for one year. This language is contrary to the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012, and would hinder implementation of the TRICARE proposals included in the President’s Budget. The Administration understands this language was added inadvertently, and requests that it be deleted from the report.


Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I). The Department appreciates the funding provided for OSC-I; section 9013 of the bill does not authorize funding for Security Assistance Teams (SATs) in Iraq or the operations and activities of the OSC-I within the funds provided. The requested funding supports SATs for 2012, which is needed to accomplish the OSC-I mission. Section 9013, as currently worded, would eliminate the Department's ability to support SATs, which implement the Iraqi Security Forces Mission Essential Capability development program.


Intelligence Community Reprogramming Thresholds and General Transfer Authority (GTA). The Administration objects to sections 8091, 8092 and 8120, which would reduce the Director of National Intelligence's ability to respond quickly to unforeseen and emergent requirements.


Military Information Support Operations. Section 8119 of the bill restricts the use of funding in the base budget for Information Operations/Military Information Support Operations activities. These activities are a core capability of the Department and support military objectives during peacetime and contingency operations.


Detainee Matters. The Administration strongly objects to the provisions that limit the use of authorized funds to transfer detainees and otherwise restrict detainee transfers. Although the Administration opposes the release of detainees within the United States, section 8123 is a dangerous and extraordinary challenge to critical Executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and national security interests.


It unnecessarily constrains the Nation's counterterrorism efforts and would undermine national security, particularly where Federal courts are the best – or even the only – option for incapacitating dangerous terrorists. For decades, presidents of both political parties have leveraged the flexibility and strength of this country's criminal justice system to incapacitate dangerous terrorists and gather critical intelligence. The prosecution of terrorists in Federal court is an essential element of counterterrorism efforts – a powerful tool that must remain an available option.


The certification requirement in section 8124, restricting transfers to foreign countries, interferes with the authority of the Executive branch to make important foreign policy and national security determinations regarding whether and under what circumstances such transfers should occur. Broadly speaking, the detention provisions in HR 2219 seek to reduce the flexibility and decision making of our military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel.


Those professionals have successfully led a Government-wide effort to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al–Qa’ida over several Administrations. The Administration believes strongly that it is a mistake for members of Congress to overrule or limit the tactical flexibility of the Nation’s counterterrorism professionals, including our military commanders, intelligence professionals, seasoned counterterrorism prosecutors, or other operators in the field.


The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process moves forward to ensure the Administration can support enactment of the legislation.


Image courtesy of http://www.cksinfo.com/military/missiles/index.html


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

President Obama Addresses the Nation


President Obama addresses the nation on the way forward in Afghanistan.

On Board: First Day with The First Lady in South Africa


After arriving in South Africa, First Lady Michelle Obama spent her first day in Johannesburg where she dropped by the Mandella Foundation, visited an under-served community center to donate books, toured the Apartheid Musuem. Also, In an anticipation of the Young African Women's Leaders Forum, the First Lady held an inspirational gathering with the 76 participants.

Cuomo, CSEA Reach Labor Agreement


If Ratified, Pact Would Provide CSEA Protection From Broad Layoffs

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that his administration has reached a five-year labor agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA). CSEA represents 66,000 New York State employees and is one of the largest public employee unions in the state. Upon ratification, this agreement would provide CSEA protection from broad layoffs.

The agreement includes a freeze on base wages for 3 years and a redesign of the employee health care contribution and benefit system, saving $73 million this fiscal year and $93 million next fiscal year.

If adopted by the state's other collective bargaining units, the agreement will reduce workforce costs by $1.63 billion over the course of the agreement, including $1.27 billion of savings in healthcare costs, and would achieve sufficient savings to avoid the need for broad layoffs arising from the gap in the state operations budget.

Overall, the five-year agreement if adopted statewide would be $3.8 billion less expensive to the state than the previous four-year agreement reached in 2007.

"I applaud CSEA's leadership for their hard work to reach this deal which is a win-win for CSEA members and the State of New York," Governor Cuomo said.

"This tentative contract, if adopted by the other bargaining units, means layoffs needed to achieve needed workforce savings would be avoided. CSEA members are the backbone of state government, responsible for delivering services to 19 million New Yorkers. I commend the union and its leadership for making a significant contribution to help get the state's fiscal house in order and making the shared sacrifices these difficult times require. Working together, we will turn this state around and get our economy moving once again."

CSEA President Danny Donohue stated, "These are not ordinary times and CSEA and the Cuomo Administration have worked very hard at the bargaining table to produce an agreement that balances shared sacrifice with fairness and respect. CSEA stepped up to help produce the Labor savings that Governor Cuomo sought while the Governor responded to CSEA's concerns about job security along with a wage and benefit package that recognizes the pressures on working people. I have known Governor Cuomo for many years and I know that his commitment to organized labor and working families is deeply held and second to no one."

Base Wages: Under the five year agreement, there will be no general salary increase in Fiscal Year 2011-12; 2012-13; 2013-14. Employees will receive a 2 percent increase in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
2014-15
2015-16
0%
0%
0%
2%
2%

    Savings: The 2011 wage agreement is $2.5 billion less costly to the state than the 2007 agreement, if adopted through the state workforce.

Health Care System Redesign: The agreement includes a series of reforms in the employee health care system which saves $61 million annually in the CSEA contract and $263 million over the contract term. If adopted by all bargaining units, these reforms would save $1.27 billion. The components of the health system redesign are:

Health Care Contributions: The agreement includes substantial changes to employee health care contributions bringing public employee benefits more in line with the private sector. The contribution for health care benefits have not changed in 30 years, while the cost of the state's health care program has increased 100 percent in the past decade. The agreement reflects a two percent increase in contributions for Grade 9 employees and below, and a six percent increase for Grade 10 employees and above. (Under the agreement, for example, the state will pay 69 percent of family coverage for a Grade 10 employee and above, and the employee will pay 31 percent. The prior split was 75 percent state/25 percent employee. For individual coverage, a Grade 10 employee and above will pay 16 percent and the state share will be 84 percent. The prior split was 10 percent employee/90 percent state).

    Savings: The CSEA agreement results in $30 million in annual savings from this provision, and $141.7 million over the contract term. If adopted for the entire workforce, this change will save $165 million per year, and $764 million over the term of the contract.

Health Care Opt Out: For the first time, the state is offering an opt-out option. Health care premiums cost $16,600 for family coverage and $7300 for individual coverage. Employees electing to opt out of the health insurance program must provide proof of alternative coverage and will receive $1000 or $3000 for the cessation of individual or family coverage, respectively. This will save the state thousands of dollars for each employee who opts out.

    Savings: The opt-out will save $7.3 million annually and $31 million over the contract term for CSEA alone. The opt-out achieves $21.6 million in annual savings, and $91.8 million over the five year term if adopted statewide.

Health Benefit Redesign: The health benefit plan system of co-pays, deductibles, and programs has been redesigned to encourage healthy choices and control costs of pharmaceutical products. For example, for the first time the plan will cover the use of nurse practitioners and "minute clinics" and encourage employees to use these services when appropriate instead of hospital emergency rooms.
    Savings: The CSEA savings for this provision are $22.3 million annually and $95.7 million over the contract term. If adopted by all bargaining units, these changes generate $85.5 million annually when adopted statewide, and $361.4 million over the term of the contract.

Deficit Reduction Leave: Under the agreement, employees will take a five day unpaid deficit reduction leave during fiscal year 2011-12 and four days unpaid leave during fiscal year 2012-13. The value of the days taken not worked will be deducted from employee pay over the remaining pay periods equally during the fiscal year in which they are taken. Employees will be repaid the value of the 4 days from 2012-13 in equal installments starting at the end of the contract term.
    Savings: The furloughs will yield $360 million in savings if adopted by all bargaining units.

Performance advances, longevity and retention payments: Performance advances and longevity payments will continue to be in effect. Current employees who remain active through 2013 will earn a onetime retention payment of $775 in 2013 and $225 in 2014 in recognition of working without a wage increase for three years.

Patient Abuse Reforms: Both CSEA and the State agree that the system in place for investigating allegations of abuse of patients at state facilities does not adequately protect our most vulnerable population in state care. While CSEA employees are dedicated caretakers, allegations of abuse must be dealt with thoroughly. Under the agreement, the State and CSEA will take a number of steps to improve the quality of care, including creating a completely new Select Panel on Patient Abuse with A-list arbitrators and creating a table of penalties for increasingly severe acts of misconduct, along with a number of other reforms.

Review of Temporary Employees: The State and CSEA will form a joint committee to review the use of temporary employees and contractors and make recommendations to the Division of Budget and Department of Civil Service.

Layoff Protection: CSEA employees will receive broad layoff protection for fiscal year 2011-12 and 2012-13 arising from the $450 million budget gap. Workforce reductions due to management decisions to close or restructure facilities authorized by legislation, SAGE recommendations or material or unanticipated changes in the State's fiscal circumstances are not covered by this limitation.

The tentative agreement must be ratified by CSEA rank and file members.

Negotiations for the State were led by a special team appointed by the Governor comprising Todd R. Snyder, Senior Managing Director of Rothschild Inc. and Co-Head of Rothschild's Restructuring and Reorganization group; and Joseph M. Bress, former head of the Governor's Office of Employee Relations and former Vice President of Labor Relations at Amtrak, under the direction of Howard Glaser, Director of State Operations.


Image courtesy of csea830.org

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Major Rally Scheduled for Yvette Marie Torres

Family, Friends Requesting New Yorkers and National Media Attend

On Saturday, June 25, from 11:30am to 6pm, a rally will be held in the Fordham section of the Bronx at 2396 Valentine Avenue. The location is the site where Yvette Marie Torres was shot on June 12.

Torres, who was recently removed from a medically-induced coma, is still on life support. Doctors at New York Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital will continue to monitor her closely over the next 36 hours to see if there is any response or brain activity.

Family, friends and supporters will be on hand to hand out and post flyers. They will also be in attendance to urge the community to take a stand against gun violence and to ask people to come forward if they have any information that could lead to the capture of the alleged gunman.

"We need as many people as possible, including the national media, in order to completely blanket the area and make the world aware of what happened here," said Nelson Figueroa, who is helping set up the event.

"For those that may not be able to attend, we're asking that they spread the word, please. A teenage girl's life hangs in the balance."

New Warnings for Tobacco Products


Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg announce new graphic warning labels for tobacco products designed to encourage people to quit and young people to not acquire this dangerous habit.

White House Briefs


Politics in Action: H.R. 2021 and H.R. 1249


STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

H.R. 2021 – Jobs and Energy Permitting Act

(Rep. Gardner, R- CO, and 26 cosponsors)

The Administration is committed to a common sense approach to cut oil imports by a third by 2025, in order to secure America’s energy future and protect consumers. The Administration intends to do this by both producing more oil at home and reducing our dependence on oil by using cleaner, alternative fuels and improving our energy efficiency.

In support of more safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production, the Administration is already taking steps including: expediting the search for resources; leasing new areas both offshore and onshore; providing incentives for the development of existing leases; and issuing permits to drill, consistent with rigorous safety standards and environmental responsibility.

However, the Administration opposes H.R. 2021, because it would curtail the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to help ensure that domestic oil production on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) proceeds safely, responsibly, and with opportunities for efficient stakeholder input.

H.R. 2021 would limit existing EPA authority to protect human health and the environment. The bill would: (1) preclude EPA from requiring offshore sources to demonstrate compliance with health-based air quality standards anywhere but in a single onshore area; (2) reduce the length of time during which exploration platforms and drill ships are emission sources under the CAA, thereby limiting the time when emissions would be controlled; and (3) make it impossible to use the permitting program to set emission control requirements for service vessels associated with offshore sources. These changes could result in increased air pollution from OCS sources, including nitrogen dioxide, particles, and sulfur dioxide.

H.R. 2021 would increase Federal court litigation and deprive citizens of an important avenue for challenging government action that affects local public health. H.R. 2021 would replace a relatively fast, inexpensive process for citizens to challenge government action with a longer, more expensive review process in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.


*******

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

H.R. 1249 – America Invents Act

(Rep. Smith, R-Texas, and 5 cosponsors)

The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 1249 as modified by the Manager’s Amendment, but final legislative action must ensure that fee collections fully support the Nation’s patent and trademark system.

The bill’s much-needed reforms to the Nation’s patent system will speed deployment of innovative products to market and promote job creation, economic growth, and U.S. economic competitiveness – all at no cost to American taxpayers.

The bill represents a balanced and well-crafted effort to enhance the services to patent applicants and America’s innovators provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It does so by supporting the USPTO’s efforts to improve patent quality and reduce the backlog of patent applications, reducing domestic and global patenting costs for U.S. companies, providing greater certainty with respect to patent rights, and offering effective administrative alternatives to costly and complex litigation.

By adopting a first-inventor-to-file system, the bill simplifies the process of acquiring intellectual property rights. This provision provides greater certainty for innovators, reduces legal costs that often burden small businesses and independent inventors, and makes it easier for innovators to market their inventions in the global marketplace.

This legislation also provides authority for the USPTO to establish and adjust its fees to reflect the actual costs of the services it provides. In addition, the Manager's Amendment provides important authority for a 15 percent surcharge on patent fees and additional fees for "fast-track" patent applications, which will enable the USPTO to reduce the backlog.

Finally, to increase the quality and certainty of patent rights and offer cost-effective, timely alternatives to district court litigation, the Administration also supports provisions in the legislation that would enhance the opportunities for post-grant review of patents by the USPTO.

To carry out the new mandates of the legislation and reduce delays in the patent application process, the USPTO must be able to use all the fees it collects to serve the users who pay those fees. In this light, the Administration is concerned that Section 22 of the Manager's Amendment to H.R. 1249 does not by itself ensure such access.

The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to provide additional direction that makes clear that the USPTO will have timely access to all of the fees collected, subject to the congressional oversight provisions in the bill.

House passage of H.R. 1249 would foster innovation, improve economic competitiveness, and create jobs at no expense to taxpayers – all of which are key Administration goals. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to finalize this important bipartisan legislation and ensure that the USPTO can effectively accomplish its mission to support America’s innovators.

BREAKING NEWS: Yvette Marie Torres Taken Out of Medically-Induced Coma

Doctors and Family Hopeful "The Brave One" Will Respond

12:35 am - From The G-Man has just been informed that Yvette Marie Torres, the 15-year-old Bronx girl that was shot after confronting two gunmen during the early hours of June 12, is still on life support. However, doctors at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia have removed her from a medically-induced coma.

A close friend of the family, who continues to provided exclusive details to From The G-Man, stated the following.

"She is still on life support. The doctors will wait 48 hours to see if Yvette will respond in some way. They will also be looking to see if there is any brain activity."

From The G-Man will continue to report on new developments as they become available.

Monday, June 20, 2011

White House Briefs


In Memoriam.....Private 1st Class Brian J. Backus

From the Executive Chamber of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Thursday, June 23 in honor of a Fort Drum soldier who died of wounds in Afghanistan on June 18.

Private 1st Class Brian J. Backus died when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire in Kandahar province. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team. He was from Saginaw Township, Michigan.

"I join with all New Yorkers in extending our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family, friends, and fellow soldiers of Private 1st Class Backus," Governor Cuomo said.

"We embrace all of the soldiers stationed at Fort Drum as part of the New York family. We will mourn his passing and honor his contribution to our nation."

From The G-Man would like to take this opportunity to honor Private 1st Class Brian J. Backus, his love of country and his service with the following video tribute. May he rest in peace.


Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

Electeds Co-Sponsor Free Tax Lien Help Event

Addabbo, Miller and Crowley Offer Assistance to Area Property Owners

New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., is co-sponsoring a free Tax Lien Assistance Outreach Event, along with New York State Assembly Member Mike Miller and New York City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.

Constituents whose tax liens are on the list to be sold and who are struggling with tax lien issues should come on Wednesday, July 6, to P.S. 91, 68-10 Central Avenue, Glendale
(entrance on 68th Place), between 4 – 7 PM.

All are welcome to this free community outreach event. Representatives from New York City Environmental Protection (DEP), New York City Department of Finance (DOF) and New York City Department of Housing and Preservation (HPD) will be there to assist residents.
In order to prevent the sale of a lien in property, the debt must be resolved by August 1, 2011 through one of the following methods: pay your outstanding debt in full; enter into a payment agreement; apply to receive an exemption that will exclude the property from Lien Sale; dispute the charges by filing a formal dispute with DEP or Finance.
In order to prevent the sale of a lien on property, the debt must be resolved by August 1, 2011 through one of the following methods: pay your outstanding debt in full; enter into a payment agreement; apply to receive an exemption that will exclude the property from the Lien Sale; dispute dispute the charges by filing a formal dispute with DEP or Finance.

A representative from the DOF will be available at the July 6 session to meet one-on-one with homeowners with tax liens to help them avoid the Lien Sale by discussing eligibility for exemptions from the sale or ways of resolving them.

A tax lien sale is the transfer of the lien to a single authorized buyer who hires a collection agency. It is not a sale of the property, but if the taxes and/or charges are not paid or resolved, the lien holder can begin a foreclosure proceeding in court.

A tax lien usually involves real estate, although it can also involve other forms of personal property. A lien is placed on the property when the owner fails to pay, or is delinquent in paying certain taxes. Less common are tax liens that involve other fees owed to a government agency. In most situations, however, tax liens are issued because a tax lien servicer is not paid.

Residents of Senator Addabbo’s district who have been sent a legal claim against their property for unpaid taxes, or whose property was on a published lien sale list, are encouraged to attend this outreach session to obtain advice and to take the necessary steps to prevent the sale of their lien. The Finance representative will provide assistance in developing payment agreements, resolving billing disputes and helping complete exemptions applications for those who qualify.

Property owners must bring their water/sewer bills, property taxes and Department of Housing and Preservation loan paperwork. In one-on-one sessions, the City will have representatives on hand to offer customer service and will be able to check your eligibility for billing programs, including their new Water Debt Assistance Program and provide help with setting up payment plans.

The Department of Environmental Protection will provide customer service regarding payment of water and sewer bills, water conservation education and water assistance program; the Department of Finance will cover will cover its exemption programs (if you have a water lien on a property, NYC Finance may be eligible to sell lien to private debt collector); the Department of Housing and Preservation will provide assistance in preventing foreclosures and predatory lending and assist with securing low-interest loans.

When a tax lien does involve real estate and the property does exchange hands, this obligation of repayment is said to "run with the land." That means the new property owner is now responsible for repayment of taxes owed even if the non-payment occurred because of a prior owner. This is one of the reasons a title search and title insurance is so important to new homeowners.

“My office is sending out invitations to this free session in Glendale to those of my constituents whose tax liens are in danger of being sold. I strongly urge them to come to our outreach event in order to obtain the help they need to avoid the sale, which can have serious consequences in the future,” urged Senator Addabbo.

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