Friday, September 18, 2015

White House Briefing



Spokesman Josh Earnest briefs reporters and responds to their questions on a variety of topics, including anti-Muslim remarks at a Donald Trump campaign rally, direct talks with Russia on the security situation in Syria, and the economy.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

State Department Briefing



Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner briefs reporters and responds to their questions on a variety of international topics.

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Source: C-Span

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Remarks at CBC Annual Legislative Conference


Attorney General Loretta Lynch delivers remarks and panelists discuss criminal justice reform and policing in minority communities. This is part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

House Debate on Abortion Legislation


 
House members debate legislation related to abortion, including a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood for a year, and another that would provide additional legal protections for infants born alive during abortion procedures.

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Source: C-Span

'Let's Talk': President Obama Speaks with President Raul Castro

 
President Obama today spoke by phone with President Raul Castro of Cuba to discuss the process of normalization between the two countries in advance of Pope Francis’s upcoming visits to Cuba and the United States.  The President underscored the importance of the United States and Cuba re-establishing diplomatic ties and the reopening of embassies in our respective countries.  The two Presidents commended the role that Pope Francis has played in advancing relations between our countries.  They noted the cooperation between U.S. and Cuban medical professionals during the U.S. Naval Ship COMFORT’s visit to Haiti this week.  In addition, the leaders discussed steps that the United States and Cuba can take, together and individually, to advance bilateral cooperation, even as we will continue to have differences on important issues and will address those differences candidly.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

$30 Million in State Funding to Support Pre-K in 34 High-Need Districts

 
$30 million has been awarded to 34 high-need school districts to increase access to high-quality pre-kindergarten for a total of 3,295 students in communities across the state. The funding, which was originally committed by Governor Cuomo in his 2015 Opportunity Agenda, supports the expansion of pre-k for both 3- and 4-year old students for the first time in more than a decade. This combined approach is part of the State’s ongoing efforts to promote early education, specifically in high-needs districts where such programs can be most beneficial in increasing academic outcomes for students.

“Access to a quality education from a young age can unlock a student’s potential and put them on a path to success years into the future,” said Governor Cuomo. “That’s what this funding is all about – it’s an investment in the future of thousands of children across the state, and I am proud that we are able to help those students begin learning early on.”

Early learning can bridge achievement gaps and provide benefits not only in life’s earliest stages but also in the long term. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, children who participated in high quality early childhood education programs have higher cognitive test scores from the toddler years to age 21, higher academic achievement in both reading and math, and were more likely to attend a four-year college and ultimately be gainfully employed. Research in neuroscience indicates that 85 percent of brain development occurs by age three and 90 percent occurs between birth and age five, according to the Harvard University Center for the Developing Child.

Awards were made to districts based on the quality of the application and factors including district and student need, efforts to target the highest need students, and efforts to maximize total number of children served in pre-kindergarten programs. 

Of this $30 million, $19.4 million was awarded to create 2,018 slots for 3-year olds and $10.6 million was awarded to create 1,277 slots for 4-year olds. Seven school districts are using grant funds to operate 3-year old slots, 17 school districts are operating 4-year old slots, and 10 school districts are operating both.

The full list of awards by district is available below: 

School District
Annualized Award
Age of Students
    Albany CSD
$2,340,899
3 & 4
    Amsterdam SD
$590,299
3 & 4
    Binghamton CSD
$467,332
3 & 4
    Brentwood UFSD
$3,587,960
4
    Central Islip UFSD
$242,083
4
    Cheektowaga Central SD
$232,200
3 & 4
    Cobleskill-Richmondville Central SD
$250,848
3 & 4
    Cohoes CSD
$273,682
4
    Copiague Public Schools
$800,705
4
    Dalton-Nunda (Keshequa) Central SD
$202,576
4
    Dundee Central SD
$352,226
3 & 4
    Edwards-Knox Central SD
$207,198
4
    Fonda-Fultonville Central SD
$271,872
4
    Geneva CSD
$167,519
3
    Groton Central SD
$224,000
3 & 4
    Jamestown CSD
$985,814
3 & 4
    Letchworth Central SD
$160,471
4
    Lyons Central SD
$275,971
3
    Mount Morris Central SD
$204,406
4
    Newfield Central SD
$174,260
4
    Niagara Falls CSD
$425,984
3
    North Rose Wolcott CSD
$75,572
3
    Northern Adirondack Central SD
$323,662
4
    Norwood-Norfolk Central SD
$183,680
4
    Ripley Central SD
$108,335
3
    Rochester CSD
$11,940,627
3 & 4
    Schenectady CSD
$608,541
4
    Solvay UFSD
$263,754
4
    South Seneca Central SD
$115,458
4
    Spencer-Van Etten Central SD
$160,600
3
    Syracuse CSD
$3,251,426
3 & 4
    Troy CSD
$299,144
3
    Waterville Central SD
$72,574
4
    Waverly Central SD
$158,322
4
    Total Awards
$30,000,000
  
Early learning can bridge the achievement gap and provide benefits not only in life’s earliest stages but also in the long term. Studies show that children who participate in high quality early childhood education programs have higher cognitive test scores through age 21, higher academic achievement in both reading and math and were more likely to attend a four-year college and be gainfully employed.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew Cuomo  

$3.6 Million in Grants Available for Superstorm Sandy Disaster Relief Program

 
$3.6 million in grants are available to businesses in New York’s fishing industry affected by the impacts of Superstorm Sandy. Funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the grants will reimburse sectors of New York’s fishing industry that suffered a loss of revenue due to the storm.

“The regions affected by Superstorm Sandy are home to significant commercial and recreation fishing industries that are critical to New York’s economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “With another round of these common-sense grants, we are furthering our efforts to support this vital industry and help it fully recover.”

The Department of Environmental Conservation, in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, will administer the Superstorm Sandy Fishery Disaster Relief Program. Businesses in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties are eligible to apply.

“Governor Cuomo was successful in obtaining federal funding for this grant, which will offer some much-needed financial relief to New York’s hard-hit fishing industry,” DEC Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman said. “We are committed to helping this industry that is so vital to the coastal economy rebuild its businesses.”

“New York’s fishing industry was one of many sectors to be severely impacted by recent storms,” said Interim Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “Through these grants, we will assist individuals and businesses in need, while upholding the State’s commitment to its multitude of small businesses.”

DEC will accept applications through December 15. Funding will be distributed to eligible applicants following the close of the application period.

Eligible applicants include businesses in the following sectors: bait and tackle; for-hire fishing boat operators; marinas; commercial harvesters; commercial seafood dealers, shippers or processors; and aquaculture facilities.
 
Fishing businesses in eligible counties must complete an application and provide documentation to demonstrate more than $5,000 in revenue or gross income loss as a result of Superstorm Sandy, and have at least $15,000 in annual earnings in one of the eligible fishery sectors.

Applicants can apply online at https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/. Several public information meetings to explain the grant program and to provide application assistance will be held in Long Island, New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. More information on the meetings to be scheduled in the coming weeks and for more information about the program or for assistance with filling out the application is available on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/102594.html
 
For additional information, applicants can also contact DEC at (518) 402-8044 or FisheryGrant@dec.ny.gov, or the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) at 1-855-NYS-SANDY (1-855-697-7263) or info@stormrecovery.ny.gov.

Established in June 2013, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery coordinates statewide recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Through its NY Rising Housing Recovery, Small Business, Community Reconstruction and Infrastructure programs, GOSR invests $4.4 billion made available through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Community Development Block-Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program to better prepare New York for future extreme weather events. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew Cuomo

Senators on Iran Nuclear Agreement

 
Senators continued debate on legislation related to the Iran nuclear agreement.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Trailblazers in Black History: The Jockeys of the First Kentucky Derby



Uploaded to YouTube on Jan 17, 2010

When one researches the very first Kentucky Derby, one will find that 13 of the 15 jockeys in the race were Black! Furthermore, of the first 28 Derby winners, 15 of them were black men. Going back to that first Kentucky Derby, held on May 17, 1875, the winner was a 19 year-old black native of Kentucky named Oliver Lewis. It was reported that mobs of white spectators cheered for Lewis as he rode his horse, ARISTIDES to a record setting victory. (Jabari Akhenamen)

Additional information is available here.

Today in History: September 18th


How the Federal Reserve Interest Rate Decision Effects Your Money


The announcement by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low sends stocks tumbling.

Fiorina Super PAC Tests Legal Limits of Campaign Coordination





The emergence of super PACs and their ability to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns has raised legal questions as to how campaigns and candidates are allowed to communicate or coordinate with them since the Citizens United decision in 2010.

In the past six years, those limits have been tested in various ways. But in the current presidential campaign, the lines are being blurred even more and no candidate is testing the legal limits more visibly or blatantly than Carly Fiorina, whose performance in Wednesday night's Republican debate has thrust her candidacy into the spotlight.

That line-testing was on display on a 90 degree afternoon in New Hampshire earlier this month as four presidential candidates sweated through the Milford Labor Day Parade - Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

All four walked along, flanked by supporters carrying signs and touting their candidate.

But Fiorina's supporters stood out. They wore shirts and carried signs pitching "CARLY for America" — the name of the super PAC backing the candidate, not her campaign.



Pope's Video Message to Cuban People Welcomed by Faithful


The Vazquez family watched attentively as Cuban TV aired a message from Pope Francis on the eve of his visit to the island.

China 'Concerned' at Call for U.S. Navy Patrol of Disputed Islands

  
 
By

China said Friday it was "extremely concerned" about a suggestion from a top U.S. commander that U.S. ships and aircraft should challenge China's claims in the South China Sea by patrolling close to artificial islands it has built.

China's increasingly assertive action to back up its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea have included land reclamation and the construction of ports and air facilities on several reefs in the Spratly Islands.

The work has rattled China's neighbors, in particular U.S. ally the Philippines, and raised concern in the United States.

China says it has irrefutable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and no hostile intent.

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Israel Ramps Up Security in Jerusalem’s Old City



Reuters, 18/09 12:04 CET

By Luke Baker

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel deployed hundreds of extra police around the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday after Palestinian leaders called for a ‘day of rage’ to protest at new Israeli security measures.

Around 800 extra police were posted in the heart of the city and adjacent Arab neighbourhoods, where tensions have been high for the past week, following violent clashes at al-Aqsa Mosque and stone-throwing attacks by Palestinians against Israeli cars.

The focus of tension is the compound housing al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest places in Islam. Jews refer to the area as Temple Mount, where an ancient Jewish temple once stood. It is the most sacred place in Judaism.

“The Israeli police have heightened security in and around Jerusalem and the Old City in order to prevent and respond to any incidents that could take place,” said spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, adding that undercover units had been deployed.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Lebanese Journalist Convicted of Defying Hague Court Order

 Karma Khayat


Reuters, 18/09 13:40 CET

By Yoruk Bahceli

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – An international court in The Hague on Friday found that a Lebanese journalist had exposed witnesses in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and defied a court order to remove the material from a website.

But the Special Tribunal for Lebanon acquitted Karma Khayat of interfering with the course of justice. Al-Jadeed, her TV station, was found not liable on both counts.

Khayat, who accuses the tribunal of gagging the free press, will be sentenced on Sept. 28. She could face a fine of 100,000 euros and seven years in prison for contempt of court – though this would be an unusually lengthy term for an international court.

Judge Nicola Lettieri said that there was no evidence that identifying the witnesses had undermined public confidence in the tribunal, but said Khayat should have taken the material down when ordered to do so.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Mining Job Cuts Haunt African Leaders Ahead of Elections


 
Reuters, 18/09 14:41 CET

By Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – When Canada’s Barrick Gold said it would close its copper mine in Zambia if the government imposed a sharp hike in mineral royalties, President Edgar Lungu had little choice but to back down to save valuable jobs that keep the country going.

Mining accounts for over 70 percent of export earnings and employs over 60,000 in the landlocked southern African economy. With his Patriotic Front(PF) facing an election next year, Lungu, promised no jobs would be lost and agreed to lower royalties than the government wanted.

Barrick kept the jobs and the mine open in a case that highlighted the challenges for African governments in dealing with powerful international miners suffering from a global commodities slump. Governments in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are also grappling with thousands of mining job cuts ahead of elections. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews 

Four Congolese Pro-Democracy Activists Sentenced to Prison

 

Reuters, 18/09 14:58 CET

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Four pro-democracy activists were sentenced on Friday to six months in prison in Democratic Republic of Congo for inciting disobedience, part of a crackdown before upcoming elections, lawyers in the case and human rights groups said.

President Joseph Kabila is prohibited by the constitution from running at elections next year to extend his 14 years in office but critics accuse him of trying to hang onto power. A spokesman for Kabila says he will respect the constitution.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Euronews 

Croatia Closes Road Border Crossings with Serbia After Migrant Influx


Source: Euronews

Burkina Faso: Protests on Streets Ahead of Curfew


Source: Euronews

Gunmen Attack Pakistani Air Force Base in Peshawar


Source: Euronews

Greek Elections: New Democracy Calls for End to ‘Dangerous Syriza Experiment’


Source: Euronews

French Scientists Reveal Details of Breakthrough in Infertility Treatment


Source: Euronews

Journalists Removed from Sanctions List Brought in By Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko


Source: Euronews

Thursday, September 17, 2015

President Obama Meets Paris Train Heroes

 
President Obama welcomed to the White House the three Americans who thwarted a terrorist attack on a Paris train: U.S. Army Specialist Alek Skarlatos, U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler.

Click here for video. 

Source: C-Span

Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties Celebratory Event


The First Lady welcomed local elected officials and representatives from across the country to celebrate their commitment to building healthier communities. The event commemorated Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties reaching 500 communities, resulting in nearly 80 million Americans impacted by the program.

White House Briefing

 
Spokesman Josh Earnest fields questions from reporters during his daily briefing at the White House. Topics include the looming budget showdown as the September 30 deadline approaches and the security situation in Syria.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen News Conference

 
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference on a variety of economic issues following a quarterly meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, including the decision to allow interest rates to remain unchanged.

Click here for video. 

Source: C-Span

'Let's Talk': Obama Speaks with King Salman

 


President Obama spoke today to King Salman bin Abd al Aziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia to follow up on their meeting at the White House on September 4, 2015.  They discussed regional issues, including Yemen and recent violence and tensions at Jerusalem’s Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount. 

On Yemen, President Obama and King Salman discussed further steps taken since the King’s visit to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, including the U.S. announcement of an additional nearly $90 million in humanitarian funding.  They reaffirmed their commitment to work expeditiously to allow for unfettered access to all forms of humanitarian assistance, including fuel, into Yemen, and the opening of Red Sea ports.  Both leaders agreed on the urgency of the full resumption of UN-facilitated Yemeni peace talks without preconditions.

President Obama and King Salman reiterated the strong, close ties between our countries and their personal commitment to continued consultations on a range of regional and bilateral issues. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

$10.5 Million in New Funding to Support Recovery Centers in New York


The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NYS OASAS) today announced $10.5 million in new funding to support the creation of up to six Recovery Community and Outreach Centers in communities across New York. These new centers, funded by NYS OASAS, will provide supports for individuals and families who are recovering from a substance abuse disorder, or are seeking recovery services.

“New Yorkers recovering from addiction will have every opportunity to succeed with the state-of-the-art services and supports offered at these new recovery and outreach centers,” said NYS OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “These locally-based centers will prove to be a valuable resource for communities throughout the state by offering a diverse range of recovery support services to help individuals in recovery improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

The new recovery centers will offer information and education to the community on how to access addiction treatment support; assist with the navigation of insurance and treatment issues; provide wellness information and activities to foster a lifetime of wellness for individuals, families and community members; and engage peers and volunteers to assist those in recovery on their path toward wellness.

“OASAS is committed to the development of a recovery-oriented system of care for all New Yorkers,” said González-Sánchez. “These new Recovery Community and Outreach Centers will create a network of services right in the local area so that services can be accessed close to home and individuals and families who are working toward recovery from a substance use disorder feel supported in their on-going journey.”

The goal of these centers is to improve outcomes for individuals in treatment for substance use disorders, including increasing employment, fostering social connections, and promoting stable housing, while also reducing substance use, improving mental health outcomes, and decreasing criminal justice involvement. The funding will be available through a Request for Proposal administered by NYS OASAS. The up to six sites that are selected through the RFP will receive annual funding for five years. 

The Recovery Community and Outreach Centers will provide a community-based, non-clinical setting that is safe, welcoming and alcohol/drug-free for any member of the community. Each recovery center will respond to the local area’s specific needs related to obtaining substance abuse treatment services and addiction recovery supports. The centers will promote long-term recovery through skill building, recreation, wellness education, employment readiness, civic restoration opportunities, and other social activities. Services are to be accessible not only during the daytime hours, but also during evening and weekends, to meet the needs of individuals and families who may be in need of assistance at varying hours.

These new centers will represent diverse geographic locations and address local and regional needs across the state. Stakeholders from those communities will be engaged in identifying local resources regarding treatment, prevention and recovery supports for individuals within their respective communities. Recovery center staff will provide assistance to individuals and families to help them navigate the addiction treatment system and secure insurance coverage for various levels of addiction treatment. The centers will also provide an opportunity for individuals and families to connect with peers who are going through similar challenges so that they can benefit from shared experiences and commitment to common goals for recovery. Access to peer advocates, recovery coaches, and addiction peer specialists through these recovery centers also will be provided to further enhance the recovery process.

Interested communities and non-profit community-based organizations can learn additional information about the Recovery Community and Outreach Centers and apply by visiting the NYS OASAS website at this link.

\New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the State’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline, 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369).

A list of addiction treatment providers available throughout the state is available here.

For information about combating heroin use and prescription opioid drug abuse, visit New York State’s #CombatHeroin website. Information about anti-opioid overdose medication training is available here.

For tools to use in talking to a young person about preventing alcohol or drug use, visit the State’s Talk2Prevent website here.

Source: New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

National Leaders, Activists and NLL to Address Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

 
Daylong October 3rd Conference at Harlem
Hospital Will Focus on Prevention and Healing
 
New York, NY (Sept. 16, 2015)—The statistics are staggering.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a woman is assaulted or beaten every 9 seconds in the U.S.; 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner. On a typical day, more than 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide, and; 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and to commemorate the occasion New York’s New Legacy Leaders (NLL) will partner with Harlem Hospital Center to host a dynamic empowerment event entitled New Legacy Leaders Domestic Violence Healing Conference on Saturday, October 3.

The event is free and open to the public and will be held at the Harlem Hospital Center, 515 Malcolm X Blvd. (at W. 135TH St.), from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Panel topics include: Rise Victorious: Women Moving Beyond Pain & Fear to Joy & Purpose and The Journey From Superman to Human: Men Creating a World Where Girls and Women are Loved, Valued & Safe
 
The conference will feature some of the nation’s most respected opinion-makers and activists in the field of domestic violence and child welfare. 

Workshops, panel discussions and keynote speeches will be led by such notables as Rosemonde Pierre-Louis (Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence); Dr. Jeff Gardere (“America’s Psychologist”); Michael Skolnik (Civil Rights Activist, President of GlobalGrind.com); Ted Bunch (Co-founder of A Call To Men); Dr. Janet Taylor (Community Psychiatrist in NYC); Charlotte Anderson-Bedford (Attorney); Megan Sanchez (Executive TV Producer); Terahshea McCray (Holistic Wellness Expert); Marsha R. Bonner (Founder, H.U.G.S. Movement); Dana London (Minister and Inspirational Speaker); Stephanie McGraw (Founder of W.A.R.M.); David C. Banks (President and CEO of The Eagle Academy Foundation); and Manny Yonko (Director, Family Wellness Center/Children’s Aid Society). Closing musical performance by Lush Tongue (A Women’s Vocal A Cappella Ensemble).

The event will be hosted by NLL Co-Founders Terrie M. Williams (Author, Mental Health Activist) and Madeline McCray (Actress, Women’s Empowerment Speaker).
 
James Brown, of CBS Sports, is lending his voice to bring awareness to the “epidemic” that is domestic violence and urges folks to attend the conference in a video posted on the NLL website: www.newlegacyleaders.com.  
 
Women of the Dream, Inc., a Camden, NJ-based nonprofit that focuses on improving the lives of disadvantaged girls in the city, will bring a busload of young women to the conference. Camden is considered the poorest city in the country with a poverty rate of 42.5 percent.

The teens will participate in a program entitled “New York City Healthy Relationship Training Academy for Teens”, sponsored by The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.  For a complete list of the workshops and breakout sessions during the conference, visit the NLL website.

Other sponsors and community partners of the Domestic Violence Healing Conference include Macy's, MetroPlus Health, The New York Amsterdam News, The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, The Terrie Williams Agency, and La Maison D’Art.

To register for the conference, go to the NLL website or visit EventBrite.com and search for New Legacy Leaders Domestic Violence Healing Conference.

“This conference is geared to be a safe haven for people impacted by all forms of domestic violence, and to help educate them about the connection of such abuse with depression and other mental health disorders,” says Williams.

“It’s important for everyone to leave the conference feeling empowered, knowing that healing is possible, and for family, friends and bystanders to understand that they too can help change and save lives. It truly does take a village to end the cycle of pain and suffering caused by abuse.” adds McCray. 

30 Civil Rights Groups, Prominent Leaders Join Campaign for Economic Justice



Growing Campaign to Support Governor in
Push to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 Statewide

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that 30 notable civil rights groups and prominent community leaders have joined the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, a statewide initiative aimed building support for a $15 minimum wage for all workers in New York State. The announcement came at the Fifth Annual Amsterdam News Labor Breakfast where Governor Cuomo was presented with the outlet's Labor Champion Award.

“Raising the minimum wage isn't just a matter of economics, it’s a matter of civil rights," Governor Cuomo said. "The current minimum wage has trapped millions of hard working New Yorkers in poverty and has prevented them from finding a way out of it. This vicious cycle has left them at a permanent disadvantage and the time for change is now."

Mario Cuomo was a fighter for workers’ rights before, during and following his three terms as Governor of New York State. He successfully increased the minimum wage twice while in office, amounting to a total increase of 28 percent. He established the Garment Workers Strike Force to protect the rights of workers and eliminate sweatshops once and for all in the state. And he established the nation’s first joint State/union health care committee to contain raising health care costs – an effort that helped workers save thousands of dollars on care. The Mario Cuomo Economic Justice Campaign will continue this legacy of fighting for the most vulnerable by pushing to raise New York’s minimum wage in 2016, with a goal of $15 an hour.

A bill will be introduced in the next legislative session for a statewide $15 minimum wage. More information is available here.

The organizations and prominent leaders joining the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice today include:

Organizations
 
    · AARP New York
    · Anti-Defamation League
    · Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
    · Asian Americans for Equality
    · Center for Popular Democracy
    · Children's Defense Fund New York
    · Demos
    · Empire State Pride Agenda
    · Hispanic Federation
    · Housing Works
    · Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
    · Latino Justice PRLDEF
    · League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
    · NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
    · NAACP New York State Conference
    · National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum
    · National Employment Law Project
    · National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
    · National Women's Law Center
    · New York Civil Liberties Union
    · New York Immigration Coalition
    · New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
    · New York Urban League
    · Southern Poverty Law Center
    · United Way of New York City
    · YWCA of the City of New York 
      
Leaders
 
    · David N. Dinkins, 106th Mayor, City of New York
    · Dolores Huerta, renowned labor leader and civil rights activist
    · Ben Jealous, former President and CEO of NAACP
    · Bertha Lewis, Founder and President of The Black Institute
      
David N. Dinkins, 106th Mayor, City of New York, said: "Governor Cuomo has shown leadership in his actions to make New York the first state to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I am proud to add my support as he calls upon the state legislature to advance these efforts to improve livelihoods for millions of hardworking New Yorkers. This issue is about basic economic fairness and social justice and is one of the many ways that New York must continue to lead the nation. Both the Senate and Assembly should make a $15 minimum wage a reality next year."

Ben Jealous, civic leader and former President and CEO of the NAACP, said: “A fair increase in the minimum wage is long overdue. For too long workers have been driven deeper into poverty due to a wage that cannot support their minimal needs. Raising the minimum wage to $15 would have an enormous impact on the thousands of workers who depend on it to support their families and I applaud Governor Cuomo’s bold vision to make this a reality.”

Hazel N. Dukes, President of the NYS Conference of NAACP, said: "The NAACP New York State Conference supports Governor Cuomo's efforts to raise the minimum wage. We know that this action is not only the right thing to do, but it is the moral thing to do."

Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, said: “LatinoJustice PRLDEF supports this effort to raise the minimum wage for low-wage workers many of whom in New York are Latino workers. This helps the employees, their families and the economy and places the spotlight deservedly on the failure of the private sector to alleviate the pressing conditions of the working poor.”

Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said: “Raising the minimum wage is an important, long overdue step toward making it possible for thousands of hard working New Yorkers to support their families. We should do it without delay.”


Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

Trailblazers in Black History: Hattie McDaniel


Published on YouTube on Oct 24, 2013
 
A mini-biography on the life of Hattie McDaniel. Actress Hattie McDaniel was born on June 10, 1895, in Wichita, Kansas. In 1925, she became one of the first African-American women on the radio. She became the first African-American to win an Oscar in 1940, for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. She died on October 26, 1952, in Los Angeles, California.

Today in History: September 17th


Mysterious, Iridescent Cloud Spotted Over Costa Rica


Ariel Joseph Petit, 11, spotted the iridescent cloud phenomenon on Sept. 15, 2015, in Escazu, Costa Rica.

Feud Between Cuomo, De Blasio Hurts New York State: Poll


New York voters say the ongoing feud between Gov. Cuomo and City Mayor de Blasio is hurting the state, according to a new survey released Thursday. 

The Quinnipiac University Poll found that 57 percent of voters say the two Democrats aren't working effectively. Among those who acknowledge the dispute, 61 percent say Cuomo is "winning" and 78 percent say the spat is harmful to the state.

"The squabble between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio isn't just media hype; it's real, voters say, and it's harmful to everyone in the state," said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

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Source: NBC News

Winners and Losers from Last Night's Debate


First, the winners:


  • Carly Fiorina: Yes, we aren't the only ones who thought she stood out. But she was prepared, took advantage of every opportunity, and certainly sounded the part. Bottom line: She made the most of her appearance at the main stage (and don't forget, she almost didn't make it!) But as her interview with NBC's Savannah Guthrie reminded us, her business and political experience -- getting fired from HP, losing her only race in California -- will receive more attention as she does.
  • Marco Rubio: Just like in the first debate, Rubio shined and demonstrated that he's a natural performer at these kinds of debate. He's always hitting doubles. That said, his water joke when talking about California's drought was tone deaf.
  • Chris Christie: Out of all the candidates who NEEDED a good debate (Walker, Huckabee, Paul, and Christie), Christie delivered the most. He scratched and clawed like this could be his last opportunity on a stage like this. And he made the most of it.
  • Jeb Bush: The first part looked like a repeat performance of the Cleveland debate for Bush. But he had to show to everyone (donors, establishment Republicans, the press) that he could beat up Trump. And he did.

GM and Justice Department Reach Settlement Over Faulty Ignition Switches

The Justice Department has reached a settlement with General Motors over the issue of faulty ignition switches that led to over 100 deaths and hundreds of injuries, according to officials familiar with the case.

The Justice Department will announce the settlement Thursday at a news conference in New York. It will include a fine of hundreds of millions of dollars, the officials say.

The agreement will settle charges that the company failed to obey federal laws that require prompt disclosure of safety problems. Last year, GM began recalling two-and-a-half-million cars with ignition switches that could suddenly shut off the engine — disabling the airbags and cutting off the power steering and power brakes. 

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