Saturday, September 12, 2015

White House Officials Meet with China Representative to Discuss Cybersecurity

 
 Meng Jianzhu

From September 9-12, senior Administration officials held a series of meetings with Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Meng Jianzhu in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Meng traveled to Washington as President Xi Jinping’s Special Envoy to discuss cybersecurity and other issues in advance of President Xi's State Visit. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson hosted Mr. Meng during his visit. In this capacity, Secretary Johnson convened a meeting between members of the Chinese delegation and representatives from the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Intelligence Community.  In addition, FBI Director Comey also met with Mr. Meng at FBI headquarters for discussions. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice received Mr. Meng for a meeting at the White House, where she had a frank and open exchange about cyber issues. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Weekly Addresss: A New College Scorecard


In this week's address, the President announced the launch of a new College Scorecard, meant to help students and parents identify which schools provide the biggest bang for your buck.

The President Holds a Town Hall with Service Members


President Obama holds a town hall with service members at Ft. Meade.

White House Press Briefing


Iran Nuclear Agreement: What's Next?

 
Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, talked about the Iran nuclear agreement and the state of global non-proliferation efforts. He also discussed the countries most likely to develop nuclear programs in coming years.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Washington Journal: Ashley Messenger on Search Engine Censorship



NPR Senior Associate General Counsel Ashley Messenger discusses a French privacy regulator’s order to Google to censor its search results in the interest of privacy. She also explains the implications of the case for internet users in the U.S.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

12 People Fasting for 18 Days Demanding FERC Issue #NoNewPermits



By Ted Glick

Twelve members of Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE), ages 19 to 72—from California, Virginia, DC, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Nebraska, Michigan and North Carolina—are in the beginning days of a planned 18-day, water-only “Fast for No New Permits” for fossil fuel infrastructure in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a virtual rubber-stamp agency for the fracked gas industry.

Each weekday until Sept. 25 we will be on the sidewalk in front of FERC from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., leafletting FERC employees—over a thousand of them—as they arrive for or leave from work. We’re also passing out leaflets to thousands of others who work or live in the area who walk by.

It’s not a very aesthetic area, mostly high-rise office buildings and condominiums. There are some colorful begonias around the FERC building and about 15 young trees growing across the street just three blocks north of Union Station. Also across the street is a 30-foot high stone wall on top of which the red line trains of the DC Metro subway system come by loudly every 10 minutes or so, interrupting any and all street conversations.

For the 12 of us, joined by supporters and people fasting for shorter periods of time, this will be our “home” until Sep. 25, the day after Pope Francis speaks to a joint session of Congress. For some who have slept and will be sleeping here overnight, it’s a 24-hour “home.”

The first two days have actually been pretty brutal because of the high humidity and temperatures in the low- to mid-90’s. The heat index where we are could well have been more than 100 degrees because of all the concrete around us.

Every morning and late afternoon we check in with each other to see how we are doing and to finalize plans for the day. This morning one of the older fasters reported that he had almost fainted when he stood up too quickly; as I’ve learned from past fasts, it’s essential during an action like this to move deliberately and consciously, very aware of how your body is dealing with the lack of food.

 Day three of the No New Permits BXE fast opposing fossil fuel infrastructure. Photo Credit: Beyond Extreme Energy

Why are we putting ourselves through this?

One reason is the upcoming Sept. 22 – Sept. 27 visit of Pope Francis to the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. BXE is very supportive of his repeated calls for action on climate, environmental and social justice. Some of us have been reading the Pope’s historic encyclical, “Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home,” on the FERC sidewalk. We see our fast and a series of other activities in DC leading up to and after the Pope’s speech before Congress on Sept. 24 as part of the process of forging a stronger and deeper climate justice movement, one capable of meeting the urgent challenges of this do-or-die decade.

We are fasting because the movement which we are representing has tried every other means available to get FERC to stop being a rubber-stamp agency for fracked gas infrastructure (pipelines, compressor stations, storage and export terminals). Fasts and hunger strikes are usually undertaken when the oppressors have refused to be moved and more serious tactics must be utilized. 

We are calling upon FERC to put renewables first. It must break its alliance with the fossil fuel industry and issue “No New Permits” for fossil fuel infrastructure until it has prioritized wind, solar and renewable energy.
What do we hope to accomplish? We hope our message will reach FERC employees, as well as the general public and Pope Francis. We are openly calling for whistleblowers. We want to strengthen the movement fighting FERC’s corrupt ways and the overall movement for climate justice and positive social change.

BXE during this fast is also working to make connections between issues. Struggles for justice are related. For example, we support the Black Lives Matter movement and on one of the days of our fast we will be doing public education in front of FERC about the importance of their efforts.

How can you be supportive of this Fast for No New Permits?

1. Join us at our fast in Washington, DC or where you live, for anywhere from one day to a couple of weeks. More information, including on how to sign up can be found here.

2. Come to DC for the actions happening Sept. 22 – Sept. 25. The big one is the morning of Sept. 24 on the national mall, between 3rd and 7th Street and near the U.S. Capitol. There will be speakers and music before and after the Pope’s 9:30 a.m. address to Congress; the Pope’s speech will be broadcast to everyone on the mall and his office has announced that he will come out to address the crowd after he speaks inside.

On Sept. 25 at Noon in front of FERC, we will end our fast. Plans are still developing, but we intend to make an effort to deliver five copies of the Pope’s encyclical to the five FERC commissioners. We will walk in a serious procession around the FERC building. We will hear from fasters about what this 18 days without food has meant to them.

3. Participate in the “No New Permits Solidarity Fasting Quilt” project. We are putting together a quilt with stories of local struggles against FERC or for justice, as well as drawings and words from people who are fasting about why they are doing so. Squares will be 12 inches on each side, with an additional inch on each side for when they are all put together to make a beautiful mosaic of our movement. Any color fabric can be used. They should be sent no later than Sept. 16 to CCAN, 6930 Carroll Ave., Suite 720, Takoma Park, Maryland. 20912, Att: Quilt project.

4. And finally, you can call FERC at 1-888-715-9918 to demand that they stop being a rubber stamp for the fossil fuel industry, prioritize renewables and issue no new permits for fossil fuel infrastructure until these changes are made.

Let’s rise up now in defense of and in care of our common home!

Ted Glick is the National Campaign Coordinator of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Past writings and other information can be found at http://tedglick.com and he can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/jtglick.

Whose Religion is it, Anyway?

 
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

You know the one (ones, actually) about “two men walk into a bar, and . . . “ Well, here’s a new variant. Two couples walk into a county clerk’s office, each wanting to get a marriage license. The gay couple belongs to the liberal branch of the Lutheran Church, and on most Sundays attends their local parish, whose minister happens to be a married lesbian. The members of the lesbian couple are both atheists.

They approach the counter, where they are greeted by the County Clerk who asks them what they are there for. The gay couple tells him that they want to get a marriage license, and that the ceremony will be held in their church the following Sunday. They are just so happy, they tell the clerk, that the Supreme Court has, under the 14th amendment, recognized the Constitutional right to marriage throughout the nation, regardless of sexuality. The clerk responds that he cannot give them a license because for him, “God” stands above the Constitution and that the deity has told him that it would be a sin for him to issue the license.

One member of the gay couple says, well, no. “God has told us that she is pleased as punch that the Supreme Court of the United States has finally recognized that marriage is about her favorite human value, love. It was not about some ancient prejudice that was written into what was supposed to be ‘God’s book’ by some homophobic men wandering around in the desert 4000 years before. Anyway, God has also told us that she is delighted that the Supreme Court has finally established gay and lesbian marriage to be permissible, as the law of the land under the highest civil law, the Constitution, which of course God fully recognizes and respects as the highest law in the civil realm. 

And of course, since marriage law is found in the civil statutes of each of the 50 states, it is a civil institution first and foremost, then to be happily celebrated in church or synagogue or mosque or temple, for those of those persuasions. Finally, God told us that while you of course have a right to your personal religious beliefs (which in this case God finds abhorrent), as a civil law official you have neither the right nor the power to place what you say is God’s word (and believe me, it isn’t) over the civil law. That,” said the gay man, “is what God really said.”

Then one of the two atheist lesbian women spoke up. “Well, with all due respect to my friends here who also want to get a marriage license, of course there is no such thing as ‘God.’ This,” addressing the clerk, “is something that of course you can believe in. But I am in agreement with my friends that in our civil society, under Constitutional Law, you have absolutely no right to impose your religious views on me. But beyond the Constitution, I am a Reasonist, not a theist. And in our pluralistic society you certainly have no right to impose your theological views on me, that is, your view of what the imaginary creature you call ‘God’ holds or does not.”

The clerk stood there shaking his head. The news media were delighted that they had something new to throw into the hopper, especially the statement from the atheist, and hoped to do it before the social media were brimming with it. The two couples, in the company of their attorneys, theists for the gay couple, Reasonists for the lesbian couple, immediately left the clerk’s office and marched off to the nearest Federal District Court.

They wanted to find out if in the end the courts would agree with the arguments of the Republican Christian Right, fronted for by Mrs. Davis and stood for by Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and Rick Santorum, Republican Dominionists all, that “what I say God says” stands above the Constitution as the law of the land.

Postscript: A recent, lengthy, and carefully analyzed Washington Post column raised the question: “When Does Your Religion Legally Excuse You from doing Part of your Job?” The question in the Davis case, and in many others that the Republican Christian Right will be raising with increasing frequency, REALLY is: "when does your religion allow you to place its considerations above the considerations of another's religion or non-religion, with the state supporting yours and repressing the other’s?" 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post, Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books. In addition to his role with The Greanville Post, he is a Contributor for American Politics to The Planetary Movement, a columnist for BuzzFlash@Truthout, a “Trusted Author” for OpEdNews,and the Editorial Director of and a Contributing Author to The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy. Dr. Jonas’ latest book is The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A futuristic Novel, Brewster, NY, Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, http://www.puntopress.com/jonas-the-15-solution-hits-main-distribution/, and available on Amazon.

Friday, September 11, 2015

9/11 Rememberance Ceremony in New York City

 
Victims of the World Trade Center terror attacks on September 11, 2001, were remembered in a ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Plaza in New York City. Family members participated in the ceremonial reading of the victims' names, and six moments of silence were observed, marking the exact times when the planes hit the towers and the Pentagon, when each tower fell, and the crash of Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Pentagon September 11 Remembrance Ceremony


 
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul Selva spoke at a September 11, 2001, remembrance ceremony for family members of those killed in the attack. The ceremony also included a moment of silence at the Pentagon Memorial to honor those killed. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-Span

Biden and Cuomo Address First Responders Participating in 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle Ride


  
Vice President Joe Biden and Governor Andrew Cuomo today were joined by more than 300 first responders representing fire and police departments across New York State as part of the 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle Ride. The 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle Ride is designed to pay tribute to the strength, courage, and heroism of the police and fire department personnel who led the response and recovery efforts following the September 11th terrorist attacks. The riders started this morning in Albany, Ulster and Suffolk Counties before converging in New York City and continuing on to the World Trade Center site. 


"Today, we honor all those who rushed into danger on September 11, who overcame their fear in order to help others," Governor Cuomo said. "We must all remember that freedom isn't free, and on that day 14 years ago, these men and women put their duty and their obligations first knowing it could cost them their life. We admire them and we hope that after all they have done for us that we show half the courage they did because they are true Americans and true New York heroes."


Audio from the Vice President and Governor addressing the first responders is available here. Photographs from the Commemoration Ceremony here, and from the Memorial Motorcycle Ride Launch in Albany here

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico said, "Fourteen years later, we still vividly recall the incredible courage and bravery of first responders, who selflessly ran toward danger to help others on September 11, 2001. The 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle Ride honors their heroism and strength, a legacy we carry with us each and every day as we protect and serve the people of New York."

Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said, "The Port Authority is proud to welcome these first responders to the World Trade Center site on today’s 9/11 anniversary, as a way to pay tribute to their brethren from New York State who displayed such heroism on that tragic day 14 years ago. Our agency will never forget the bravery of those who responded and saved lives, while in many cases losing their own.”

Patrolmens Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said, "We will always remember the heroism and the bravery exhibited by first responders on September 11. The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association lost many members, and we strive to honor their memory every day. We must pay our respects and thank the men and women who risked and gave their lives to save others. We will never forget."

Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York President Steve Cassidy said, "The September 11 attacks on our nation and city was a day that changed the course of history and changed us all as Americans. At this time every year we come together to remember our lost brothers and sisters, who continue to inspire us all today. Their courage, bravery, sacrifice and their sense of duty exemplify what it means to be a New Yorker. As each year passes, we will continue to hold these heroic individuals close to our hearts and do our best to honor their memory."


Information and photo source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Special Report: President Obama Remembers Sept. 11


"Flashback Friday": David Letterman & Jon Stewart on 9/11




Today in History: September 11th


Trailblazers in Black History: Maya Angelou

 
Uploaded to YouTube on Jan 28, 2010

A short biography of memoirist and poet Maya Angelou. The famed poet overcame personal struggles to publish the incredibly popular autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."

First Read: A Third Dose of Cold Water from Joe Biden



First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

For a third time, Biden throws cold water on a 2016 bid

Vice President Joe Biden's interview last night with Stephen Colbert was honest, heartfelt, and so emotional. It also was the third time in the last three weeks that Biden told an audience he probably doesn't have the heart for a presidential run:

  • Aug. 26: He told DNC members on a conference call about Iran that his heart and soul "are pretty well banged up."
  • Sept. 3: At a synagogue in Atlanta, Biden said, "I'll be straightforward with you: The most relevant factor in my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run."
  • Sept. 10: And last night on Stephen Colbert's new show, Biden said this: "I don't think any man or woman should run for president unless: No. 1, they know exactly why they would want to be president and No. 2, they can look folks out there and say I promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy, and my passion to do this." He added, "And I'd be lying if I said that I knew I was there. It's a um— I'm being completely honest. So nobody has a right in my view to seek that office unless they're willing to give it 110% of who they are. And I am — as I said I'm optimistic, I'm positive about where we're going — but I find my self — you understand it — sometimes it just overwhelms you."

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

CNN Unveils GOP Lineup for Sept. 16 Debate at Reagan Library


Fiorina In, Gilmore Out

The next GOP debate lineup of 11 candidates vying for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 was unveiled by CNN Thursday night.

The network said the lineup includes the 10 candidates who polled best before the first Republican debate in August, plus Carly Fiorina, who has since cracked the top 10. 

Click here to see who made the cut and related video. 

Source: NBC News

Jeb Bush Touts Tax Plan While Challenging Donald Trump




Jeb Bush challenged Donald Trump to propose a tax plan of his own during a campaign stop in New Hampshire Thursday, where the former governor continued to tout the tax overhaul he unveiled earlier in the week.

"He has to propose things and he has to be serious about it," Bush said of the Republican frontrunner. "If he wants to be a serious candidate, he has to act like a serious candidate."

Bush has been aggressively selling his tax proposal this week, starting with a stop in South Carolina and continuing with cable TV interviews.

His plan calls for reductions in both the individual and corporate tax rate and would eliminate the estate tax, among other code simplifications. On Thursday, the independent Tax Foundation said Bush's plan would reduce federal revenue by $3.66 trillion over 10 years and disproportionately benefit top income earners. 

Click here for the full article and related video.

Source: NBC News

Sen. Grassley Asks Why Probe Into Clinton Aide Not Disclosed


The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee has sent a letter to attorneys for Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin asking why they never disclosed that the State Department Inspector General had opened a "criminal investigation" in 2013 into Abedin's compensation.

Abedin's attorneys have previously said that no criminal investigation into Abedin has ever taken place. But a 2013 letter from the State Department inspector general to the FBI reveals the IG had opened "a criminal investigation" over allegation of "theft," referring to possible overpayments Abedin received while working as Clinton's deputy chief of staff when she served as secretary of state. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Hillary Clinton to Skip Clinton Foundation Meeting This Year


Hillary Clinton will have no formal role in this year's Clinton Global Initiative, the glitzy philanthropic gathering organized by her husband and the charitable foundation he started.

The former secretary of state played a large role in last year's CGI meeting, speaking on panels, participating in interviews, and appearing on the main stage with her husband and daughter. But this year's meeting, scheduled for September 26-29 in New York City, will be down one Clinton.

"Secretary Clinton doesn't have a role in the CGI program or a speaking role this year," Clinton Foundation spokesperson Craig Minassian told msnbc. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Says She Won't Seek Re-Election


The Arizona Sniper: Officials Confirm 11th Shooting as Tensions Rise

Monsanto Guilty Of Poisoning Farmer


 
Amid Global Protests Over Toxic Chemicals,
French Court Rules Against U.S. Firm


By Cristina Silva

Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, was found guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer by a French court this week. The decision Thursday by an appeal court in Lyon in southeast France upheld a 2012 ruling in which the farmer claimed he suffered neurological problems after working with the U.S. company's Lasso weedkiller, Reuters reported.

The court found Monsanto was "responsible" for the poisoning and ordered the company to "fully compensate" grain grower Paul Francois, who said he suffered memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto's Lasso in 2004. The farmer said he was happy with the ruling. “David can win against Goliath," he said.

"And a giant like Monsanto is not above the law.”

Click here for the full article.

Source: International Business Times

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Appoints Nephew Empowerment Minister


President Robert Mugabe


Reuters, 11/09 18:20 CET

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe announced his third cabinet reshuffle in less than a year on Friday, appointing his nephew as minister in charge of a government push to give blacks greater control of the economy.

Patrick Zhuwawo takes over as Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment in place of Christopher Mushohwe, who assumes the information portfolio.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Italy’s Berlusconi Rubs Shoulders with Putin in Crimea

 
Reuters, 11/09 18:16 CET

By Vladimir Soldatkin

YALTA, Crimea (Reuters) – Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi became the most prominent Western politician to visit Russian-annexed Crimea when he strolled beside the Black Sea on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Western visitors have been rare since Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014. The takeover drove relations between Moscow and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War era, and prompted the United States and European Union to slap economic sanctions on Russia. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Euronews

Greek Opinion Poll Gives Syriza Clearest Lead This Month Over New Democracy




Reuters, 11/09 18:06 CET

By Renee Maltezou

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s leftist Syriza party has pulled 5 points clear of conservative New Democracy as general elections draw near, according to a poll on Friday that gave the clearest lead to either of the two main rivals in 18 surveys.

The parties have been neck-and-neck in the run-up to the Sept. 20 election, with all other polls published this month showing a gap of 1 percentage point or less.

But Friday’s ProRata poll in left-leaning daily newspaper Efimerida ton Syndakton put Syriza, led by former prime minister Alexis Tsipras, on 28.5 percent and Vangelis Meimarakis’ New Democracy on 23.5 percent.

Other pollsters caution that it is too early to draw conclusions from the data, obtained Sept. 7-9, and that likely patterns will emerge closer to the election, notably because of a large contingent of undecided voters.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Euronews

Kenya’s Chinese-Built Railway Seen Opening to Traffic in Mid-2017




Reuters, 11/09 17:58 CET

By Edith Honan

NAIROBI (Reuters) – The tracks for a new, faster railway linking the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa to Kenya’s capital will be laid by the end of 2016 and will open for commercial traffic on target in June 2017, the chairman of Kenya Railways said on Friday.

The Chinese-financed project is the first stage in a scheme that aims to extend to Uganda and other land-locked states. The goal is to cut the cost of transport and boost trade, by replacing a narrow-gauge line that has slower top speeds.

“We’re ahead of schedule,” Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina said in Nairobi. “There’s government commitment, there’s been 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews 

New Life, New Challenges: Helping Refugees Adjust to Unfamiliar Surroundings


Source: Euronews

PM Orban Praises ‘Excellent Job’ of Police at Migrant Camp

 
As expected, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban made a public statement in response to controversial images appearing to show chaos at a migrant camp in the country.

The leader came out in support of the police force and reinforced the government’s stance on illegal entry into Hungary, which is a key transit country for migrants and refugees trying to move further into the European Union.

Click here for the full article and video.

Chaotic Pictures from Hungarian Refugee Centre Go Viral


Source: Euronews

Fighting Steps Up in Yemen, Despite New Peace Talks


Source: Euronews

Venezuela Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez Sentenced to Nearly 14 Years


Source: Euronews

Note: At 5:46 p.m., From The G-Man received the following statement from National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price regarding the Lopez sentencing.
 
The United States is deeply disappointed that Leopoldo López has been convicted and sentenced to 13 years and 9 months imprisonment on a range of politically-motivated charges.  Respect for the rights of citizens to engage in political discourse and express political views without risk of detention or harassment are essential to a functioning democracy, and the Venezuelan government has a responsibility to protect these fundamental freedoms.  The decision to prosecute and sentence López, and the conduct of his trial, have highlighted significant failures in the rule of law and judicial system in Venezuela. We call on the Government of Venezuela to release López, as well as all other political prisoners who remain unjustly detained.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Cuba Pardons 3,522 Prisoners Ahead of Papal Visit


Source: Euronews

EU Split as UN Approves Raising of Palestinian Flag


Source: Euronews

Thursday, September 10, 2015

White House: 2014 National Medal of Arts & the National Humanities Medal Ceremony


President Obama presents the 2014 National Medal of Arts and the Humanities to recipients including actress Sally Field, singer George Shirley, and writer Stephen King.

Click here for video. 

Source: C-Span

White House Daily Briefing


Josh Earnest responded to questions from reporters on a variety of topics.

Click here for video. 

Source: C-Span

House Speaker Weekly Briefing

 
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) briefed reporters and responded to questions on his party’s legislative agenda. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-Span

House Minority Leader Weekly Briefing

 
House Minority Leader Nanacy Pelosi (D-CA) briefed reporters and responded to questions on her party’s legislative agenda. Topics included the ongoing House debate over the Iran nuclear agreement and the prospects for a government shutdown at the end of the month. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Hearing on Worldwide Cybersecurity Threats




CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, and others testified at a hearing on worldwide cybersecurity threats.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Hearing on Campus Sexual Assaults

 
School administrators and policy experts testified at a hearing on responding to and preventing sexual assaults on college campuses.

Click here for video. 

Source: C-Span

State Department Briefing



Spokesman John Kirby briefs reporters and responds to their questions on a variety of military-related topics including Obama’s order to scale up the number of Syrian refugees allowed into the country. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-Span

'Let's Talk': President Obama Speaks with American Rabbis

 
The President today spoke with over 500 rabbis from the four major American Jewish religious denominations to mark Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which begins at sundown on September 13. In addition to wishing the Rabbis and their congregations a happy, healthy new year, the President discussed and answered participants' questions on a range of topics, including the nuclear deal among the P5+1, the EU, and Iran that will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Acknowledging the vigorous debate that has occurred within the American Jewish community and in Israel, the President explained that the deal is consistent with his unwavering commitment to Israel's security, and he expressed his willingness to discuss additional ways to enhance Israel's security and  further strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship as the deal is implemented. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

The "USNS Comfort" to Visit Haiti

 
Statement by National Security
Council Spokesperson Ned Price

The USNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy hospital ship, will be docking in Haiti on Friday, September 11th.  The United States has invited the Cuban Ambassador in Port-au-Prince and five Cuban medical workers to tour the ship and witness its capabilities. The United States and Cuba share certain common interests, among them the health and welfare of the people of Haiti. This engagement provides a unique opportunity to engage with Cuban medical professionals and to discuss opportunities for future cooperation. This cooperation demonstrates how our continued normalization of relations with Cuba can help us advance our interests in the Americas. 

Source: White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Governor Cuomo Annouces Flags at Half Staff to Commemorate 9/11 Anniversary

 
Flags on state government buildings will be flown at half-staff on Friday, September 11 in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 men, women and children who lost their lives in the 2001 terrorist attacks.

"With the 14th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks upon us, we pause to remember the nearly 3,000 individuals who were taken far too early. They were mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, employees who just began their day and first responders who put their own well-being aside to aid complete strangers."

"As we observe their memory, I would also ask New Yorkers to remember the bravery and sacrifice of the members of the U.S. Armed Forces, who put their safety at risk day in and day out to preserve the freedoms and ideals that this state and nation were founded upon."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor Cuomo Announces Push to Raise NY's Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour



Earlier today, Governor Andrew Cuomo, joined by Vice President Joseph Biden, announced a push to make New York the first state in the nation to adopt a $15 per hour minimum wage at the Javits Center in New York City. 

This announcement comes after Acting State Labor Commissioner Mario J. Musolino signed a Wage Order designating $15 an hour as the statewide minimum wage for fast food workers.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. 

FPWA CEO Responds to Governor Cuomo's Call for a Minimum Wage Hike




The following statement was provided by Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA).

New York, NY (September 10, 2015) -- "Governor Cuomo’s call for an across-the-board $15 wage floor for New York State is a necessary step forward in addressing the economic divide. Years of wage stagnation has unfairly limited opportunities for millions of families and hampered economic growth. The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies has advocated for a $15 minimum wage, recognizing that when employees make a living wage, they are better able to provide for themselves and their families, as well as contribute to the local economy. As we look forward to a phased-in statewide raise for workers, we must ensure that no individual is exempt.  Government contracts for nonprofit services to underserved populations must be funded at rates that ensure that service providers are able to pay their workers a living wage.”   

Trailblazers in Black History: Zora Neale Hurston


Uploaded to YouTube on Nov 12, 2008

To watch the entire documentary, to read background information and to order DVDs, click here.

This definitive film biography portrays Zora Neale Hurston in all her complexity: gifted, flamboyant, and controversial but always fiercely original.

Today in History: September 10th


NYPD Commissioner Apologizes to Retired Tennis Star James Blake for Mistaken Identity


The officer involved in the incident has been placed on modified assignment pending an internal affairs investigation.

Scott Walker Promises to Take on 'Union Bosses' As President

Seeking to re-energize a campaign that's been sagging in national polls, GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker promised on Thursday "to take power out of the hands of the big government union bosses."

"On Day One, I'm going to stop the government from taking money, money out of the paychecks of federal employees for political union dues," Walker said in remarks at Eureka College, Ronald Reagan's alma mater, on Thursday. " I don't think any worker in this country should be required to put money into a political fund that doesn't support candidates that they don't support." 

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Source: NBC News