Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bombings in Nigeria Kills 63, Boko Haram Suspected

Authorities in Nigeria suspect Islamic extremist group Boko Haram for the bombings and are conducting house-to-house searches for weapons.



By Adnan S. Khan
Anchor: Blake Hanson
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

R.I.P: Andy Rooney


January 14, 1919 - November 4, 2011

From The G-Man salutes the legacy and life of the incomparable Andy Rooney. May his loved ones, colleagues, and friends find comfort during this very difficult time.
Photo source: Flickr
Author: Stephenson Brown
Permission:
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Andy Rooney Dead at 92

America’s favorite curmudgeonly commentator has died after more than a thousand popular essays for 60 Minutes.



By Megan Noe
Anchor: Blake Hanson
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

Cuomo: 'He Was a True New Yorker'


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Statement by the Governor on the Passing of Andy Rooney

“Today we mourn the passing of a great journalist and American icon. A lifetime New Yorker, born in Albany, Andy Rooney was known for his strong opinions, wit, and love of life. Never one to hold back his feelings, his weekly segment on 60 Minutes was watched across the world by viewers who admired his honesty and straightforwardness. He was a true New Yorker, outspoken, fearless, and with a big heart, and he will be missed. We send our condolences to his family and friends.”


In Memoriam....Staff Sergeant Ari R. Cullers

Governor Cuomo Directs Flags to Half-Staff

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, November 8 in honor of a Fort Drum soldier who died in Afghanistan on October 30.

Staff Sergeant Ari R. Cullers died in Kandahar province of injuries suffered when an insurgent rocket-propelled grenade exploded near him.

He was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Drum. Staff Sergeant Cullers was from New London, Connecticut.


"I join with all New Yorkers in extending our deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and fellow soldiers of Staff Sergeant Cullers," Governor Cuomo said.

"We will mourn the loss of this Fort Drum soldier and we will honor his service to our country."

From The G-Man would like to take this opportunity to honor Staff Sergeant Ari R. Cullers, his love of country and his service with the following video tribute.


Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

Gaza-Bound Ship Halted by Israeli Navy

Israeli Navy blocks ship carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. Activists accuse Israel of collectively punishing the entire Gaza population.



By Nick Adams
Anchor: Erica Coghill
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

CIA Admits Monitoring Twitter and Facebook

The CIA is now using social media sites to monitor important world events, as well as personal activity.



By: Erin Dismeier
Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

Guy Fawkes Day Inspires Protesters

The anniversary of November the 5th has inspired protesters in the Occupy and Anonymous movements to take action.



By Austin Fax
Anchor: Erica Coghill
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

Will the Arab Spring Affect This Year's Hajj?

Experts are wondering how the uprisings in the Middle East will affect this year's hajj—the annual Muslim pilgrimage to holy cities in Saudi Arabia.



By Shelly Yang
Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

Two More Tibetans Self-Immolate, China Blames Tibet

The eleventh and twelfth cases of self-immolating Tibetan protesters occurred this week.



By Lucia Lee
Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

Should Hugs Be Banned in Hallways?

A 14-year-old boy is suspended from school after hugging his friend in the hallway before class.



By Erik Shute and Christina Hartman
Anchor: Jim Flink
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

West Wing Week 11/04/11 or "Let's Get Moving"


This week, the President urged Congress to pass the infrastructure component of the American Jobs Act and continued to take executive action to strengthen the economy and put folks back to work. The President also celebrated Diwali and hosted Halloween, spoke at the Italian American Heritage Gala, signed two Executive Orders, welcomed NASA Astronauts in the Oval Office, and interviewed with local news stations from across the country.

President Obama and President Sarkozy of France Speak on Bilateral Meeting

White House Briefs


Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard, and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes on the G20 meetings, in Cannes, France.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cuomo Holds Taxi Summit


Statement from the Governor on the Taxi Summit

"Since the City's taxi plan was introduced in June, groups have voiced strong feelings and opinions on all sides of the issue. Today my administration held a summit that brought these varying groups and views together around one table to work toward a resolution. I have said from the start our shared goal must be designing a plan that provides taxi access to the outer boroughs, access to the disabled, revenue for the City, and a plan that respects the medallion franchise. Today was an important step towards achieving this goal and discussions will continue."

Krueger: 'We Need Faster Economic Growth to Put More Americans Back to Work'


Statement on the Employment Situation in October

WASHINGTON, DC – Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today.

Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the pace of improvement is not fast enough.

Private sector payrolls increased by 104,000 and overall payroll employment rose by 80,000 in October. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage point to 9.0 percent, a level that remains unacceptably high.

Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 20 straight months, for a total of 2.8 million jobs over that period.

We need faster economic growth to put more Americans back to work. Today’s report provides further evidence for why it is so important that Congress pass the President’s American Jobs Act to put more money in the paychecks of working and middle class families; to make it easier for small businesses to hire workers; to keep teachers in the classroom; to put construction crews to work rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure; and other measures that will help the economy grow while not adding to the deficit over ten years.

The report underscores that one area that remains notably weak is the construction sector. That’s why it is disappointing that the Senate was not able to proceed to the infrastructure part of the American Jobs Act.

Sectors with employment increases included professional and business services (+32,000), leisure and hospitality (+22,000), retail trade (+17,800), health care and social assistance (+16,300), and manufacturing (+5,000). Sectors with employment declines included government (-24,000) and construction (-20,000). State and local governments lost 22,000 jobs and have shed more than 430,000 jobs since February 2010.

The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. There is no better example than August’s jobs figure, which was initially reported at zero and in the latest revision increased to 104,000. This illustrates why the Administration always stresses it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.

As Deadline Approaches, Will Super Committee Come Through?

Analysts doubt the Congressional super committee will reach an agreement by its late November deadline. What happens if it fails?



By Victoria Craig
Anchor: Victoria Craig
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

Nicaragua's Ortega Up for Re-Election

Daniel Ortega faces reelection in Nicaragua on Sunday, billing himself as a populist.



By Jim Flink
Anchor: Megan Murphy
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

Berlusconi Under Pressure at G20

Italy's prime minister faces mounting pressure as he attends G20 summit in Cannes.



By Camille Maestracci
Anchor: Zach Toombs
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

Cubans Will Soon Be Able to Buy and Sell Houses

For the first time in 50 years, a new property law in Cuba will allow permanent residents to buy and sell real estate.



By Noe Gandillot
Anchor: Zach Toombs
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Politics in Action: S. 1769, S. 1786 and H.R. 2838


STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY


S. 1769 – Rebuild America Jobs Act

(Sen. Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and 20 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly supports passage of the Rebuild America Jobs Act, which will put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job and modernize America's crumbling infrastructure.

The President proposed this measure to Congress as part of the American Jobs Act as a way to create jobs and improve the Nation’s long term economic competitiveness by allowing goods and services to more efficiently reach domestic and global markets.

S. 1769 immediately invests $50 billion in the Nation's highways, transit, rail and aviation. This includes investments to improve the Nation's airports, support NextGen Air Traffic Modernization efforts, and provide resources for the TIGER and TIFIA programs, which target competitive dollars to innovative multi-modal infrastructure programs.

S. 1769 will also take special steps to enhance infrastructure-related job training opportunities for individuals from underrepresented groups and ensure that small businesses can compete for infrastructure contracts.

Together, these investments will rebuild America – upgrading 150,000 miles of roads, constructing and maintaining 4,000 miles of rail, and rehabilitating or reconstructing 150 miles of runway.

S. 1769 also includes an innovative American Infrastructure Financing Authority capitalized with $10 billion, in order to leverage private and public capital and to invest in a broad range of infrastructure projects of national and regional significance, without earmarks or political influence.

S. 1769 is fully paid for through a surtax on those Americans making over $1 million per year. What is most important is putting Americans back to work right now and making sure the debt is not increased over time – and doing so in a way that is fair. S. 1769 meets that test.

By enacting S. 1769, the Congress and the President can work together to put America back to work and lay a foundation for future prosperity, and the Administration urges prompt and favorable action.


S. 1786 – Long-Term Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011

(Sen. Hatch, R-Utah)

The Administration strongly opposes passage of S. 1786 because the bill does not give the Nation’s economy the jumpstart it needs right now, even as it would undermine key environmental and public health protections and seriously disrupt the Federal Government's services.

The President has proposed immediately investing $50 billion in the Nation's highways, transit, rail, and aviation, which would put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job and modernize America's crumbling infrastructure for the long-term.

The President has also proposed a national infrastructure bank capitalized with $10 billion, in order to leverage private and public capital in innovative and reform-minded ways without earmarks or political influence. None of these proposals are contained in S. 1786.

Among the problematic provisions that the Administration strongly opposes that are included in this bill are:

Title IV of the bill would impose an unprecedented requirement that a joint resolution of approval be enacted by the Congress before any major rule of Executive Branch agencies could have force or effect.

This radical departure from the longstanding separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative branches would delay and, in many cases, thwart implementation of statutory mandates and execution of duly enacted laws, increase business uncertainty, undermine much-needed protections of the American public, and create unnecessary confusion. There is no justification for such an unprecedented requirement.

Title V and Section 140 would undermine public health protections under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving ahead with long-overdue requirements to reduce air pollution from industrial boilers, solid waste incinerators, and cement plants.

They also weaken EPA's ability to ensure that its standards protect American families from a range of harmful pollutants including mercury and other toxic metals, as well as smog and soot.

Delaying implementation of important air pollution standards would increase exposure to mercury, which can impair children's ability to think and learn. Delay due to this title and section could mean foregoing over a hundred billion dollars in health benefits.

Each additional year of delay would mean foregoing tens of billions of dollars more in net benefits.

Title VI, the Regulatory Time-Out Act of 2011, would block implementation of critical public health and safety protections. This Administration is committed to a regulatory system that is informed by science, cost-justified, and consistent with economic growth.

Finally, S. 1786 seeks to pay for its proposals with a rescission of $40 billion of appropriated funds that runs counter to the spirit of two recent bipartisan agreements, including the recently-enacted Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA).

Disregarding the BCA agreement and cutting already-tight discretionary program levels even further, as this bill would do, would be a serious mistake.

The bill's unspecified rescission of $40 billion in appropriated funds would cause serious disruption in the Federal Government’s basic services in support of critical national goals, such as supporting education, protecting public safety, and promoting economic growth.

If the President is presented with S. 1786, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.



H.R. 2838 – Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011

(Rep. LoBiondo, R-New Jersey, and Rep. Mica, R-Florida)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2838 because it includes a provision that would require the Coast Guard to decommission the icebreaker USCGC POLAR STAR.

The Administration has requested, and Congress has appropriated, funds to reactivate the USCGC POLAR STAR by December 2012 and extend that vessel’s service life for seven to 10 years. This effort will stabilize the United States’ existing polar fleet until long-term icebreaking capability requirements are finalized.

By directing the Commandant to decommission the USCGC POLAR STAR within three years, the bill would effectively reduce the vessel’s service life to two years and create a significant gap in the Nation’s icebreaking capacity.

The Administration supports Title II (Coast Guard and Servicemember Parity), which would promote parity between the Coast Guard and the other branches of the armed forces.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to improve H.R. 2838 as the bill moves through the legislative process.

Images courtesy of the following:

An OTB Retiree Speaks Out



Former Rep Blasts Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg on Veto of Bill S. 4489

On June 27, New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., (D-Queens), a member of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming & Wagering Committee, commended the Senate for bringing to the floor a vote on requiring the State of New York to maintain the health insurance and supplemental benefits received by retirees of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation (NYC OTB) (S.4489/Rules).


The bill noted that after the closure of NYC OTB on December 7, 2010, employees who had retired from the corporation were assured they and their dependents would receive health insurance and supplemental benefit coverage under their collective bargaining representative’s welfare benefit program. However, those benefits ceased upon closure of NYC OTB.


According to Addabbo, the State breaking a promise to supply benefits to retired NYC OTB employees and their dependents was one of the many reasons why he voted in favor of this bill and helped sought its passage.


“With the Senate’s commitment to provide health insurance and supplemental benefits to retirees of NYC OTB, the State is reaffirming its commitment to provide due benefits and recognition to former workers and families of NYC OTB. No one should have to endure financial hardships and choose which benefits to leave behind,” said Addabbo.


Former employees received supplemental benefits such as prescription drugs, optical and dental insurance through welfare fund benefit plans funded through employer contributions. Upon benefits ceasing to exist with the closure of NYC OTB, retirees were left to determine which prior benefits they could attain without employer contributions.


Addabbo noted it was illogical how benefits ceased to exist with plans in place to continue funding of benefits for retirees. “This bill is long overdue, and I am proud to stand with my Senate colleagues to provide for all present and future retirees the entitlement of benefits from any city-authorized health insurance or welfare benefit program,” he explained.

Under the proposed measure, the State would have reimbursed the city or its designee for the actual cost of benefits. Ultimately, the bill was vetoed by Governor Cuomo.


"I had written an August 10 letter to the Governor stating that I would be prepared to make additional appropriate budget cuts in spending or seek to further eliminate wasteful allocations in order to absorb the cost of S4489/A5785. I stand with the union members of DC 37 Local 2021 and Teamsters Local 858, who speak for the NYC OTB retirees now in crisis, who cannot continue monthly (COBRA) premiums, which exceed their monthly pension income," stated Senator Addabbo.

"Many of the 900 retirees, unwell and aging but who do not satisfy Medicare age requirements, are in the hospital and under unmanageable stress over how to pay their medical bills. Ineligible to enroll in Medicare, retirees have considered enrolling in Medicaid, only to be told that the average OTB retiree monthly income is slightly higher than the 2011 Medicaid monthly income guideline of $1,410.83 for a family of two.
Once again, those retirees were ineligible for Medicaid. So today, these NYC OTB retirees are lying in hospital beds uninsured, through no fault of their own."


Addabbo continued by stating, "I'll fight along with the unions as we next propose a budget amendment, as soon as possible, to dispel the governor's concern that a lack of funding by the legislature to pay for the OTB health benefit was the reason he vetoed the bill. Expect to see the return of this OTB health bill in some form when the Senate convenes early next year. Until we get it right the next time, all OTB retirees under age 65 are between a rock and a hard place. No one should have to endure financial hardships and choose which benefits to leave behind.


It is truly unfortunate that the governor vetoed saving the health care and supplemental benefits for 900 NYC OTB retirees. He could have worked with the legislature to find spending cuts in other areas of the budget that would have cost the state nothing, by following the specific plan submitted by the Senate last year when a sincere proposal was offered to save those jobs.

Last December, the inaction of the former governor and the legislature cost some 1,000 OTB workers their jobs, with the financial cost to the state upwards of $500 million in pension benefits, a negative impact on the thoroughbred and horse racing industry in New York, and the possible detrimental effect that it may have on Aqueduct’s racing future.”

An OTB retiree, who served as a key figure withing the organization, recently contacted From The G-Man and requested an opportunity to comment on the situation. The person's identity is being concealed for fear of retaliation.

"Dear Editor,


Any media exposure that would foster public-attention regarding this vital issue is welcome. If that means that I enumerate the facts and expose the fallacies that have surrounded this controversy, I am a willing and able candidate.

Dc37 and Teamsters Local 858 knew well in advance that OTB retirees' health benefits were in jeopardy, yet they sat idly by until the ax had fallen, allowing the window of opportunity to close in their faces.

The Appellate Court case was a disaster; and the health legislation was thrown from pillar to post, until it finally arrived on Governor Cuomo's desk, 3 months after it was approved by the New York State Senate. Governor Cuomo waited until the last minute to veto the health legislation.

His tactics have proven that he is not the man that he claims to be. Quite the contrary, he is another typical politician who has decided to jump-ship at the first sign of inclement weather -- as he had done when he was the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary and spear-headed its irresponsible housing policies, which caused the 2008-2009 Great Depression.

Governor Cuomo is responsible for sending middle-class Americans, to the state Medicaid office, which slammed its door in OTB retirees' faces because their pension income was $9.17 more, than the Medicaid income guideline for a family of two.

Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo have done a sterling job running middle-class citizens out of town, with nothing more than the shirts on their aching-backs.
At the present time, NYC OTB retirees under age 65 are left high and dry, without health benefits.

Too young to enroll in Medicare and exceeding Medicaid income guidelines, OTB retirees have been hung out to dry, in sub-zero weather, and nobody seems to care. What else can I say?"

Image courtesy of nysenate.gov

The First Lady Honors Arts and Humanities Programs for Youth


First Lady Michelle Obama, Honorary Chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, speaks on the importance of arts programs for young people.

President Obama Speaks on Investing in U.S. Infrastructure


The President urges Congress to pass the infrastructure piece of the American Jobs Act.

Syrian Regime Agrees to Ceasefire Proposal

Months of bloodshed and violent crackdown on civilians could end as Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad agrees to ceasefire proposal from the Arab League.



By Mikkel Noel Lanzky
Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

Family Guy - Gone Too Far?

A recent episode of Family Guy dealing with domestic abuse causes outrage.



By Amy Willmott
Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

UK Plan Targets Potential Gang Members at Age 3

In the UK a new government plan is being executed to stop children from becoming future gang members.



By Allex Conley
Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
Link courtesy of Newsy.com

India Becomes Pakistan’s “Most Favored Nation”

Pakistan granted India “Most Favored Nation” status, normalizing trade relations with India.



By Ruisha Qian
Anchor: Emily Spain
Link courtesy of Newsy.com