Saturday, October 17, 2015

Weekly Address: Working for Meaningful Criminal Justice Reform


In this week's address, the President highlighted the problems in our criminal justice system.

West Wing Week: 10/16/2015


This week, the President traveled to Roseburg, Oregon, celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, and hosted world-class musicians at the White House. That's October 9th to October 15th or, "The American Soundtrack."

Why is the U.S. Using a Baking Ingredient That Major Countries Banned Years Ago?




A Warning If Your Bread Contains Potassium Bromate!  

"The G-Man Interviews" will be investigating this deeply disturbing and frightening development that has the potential to impact millions in the United States, if it hasn't already. 

A Yahoo News report recently stated the following:

"Regulators in the United States and abroad have reached troubling conclusions about the risks of potassium bromate that you probably don’t know about, but should. In 1999 the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that potassium bromate is a possible human carcinogen. It is not allowed for use or is banned as a food additive in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and the European Union. The state of California requires food with potassium bromate to carry a warning label."

"The G-Man Interviews" has purchased numerous bags of Palagonia Sliced Hero Bread, and not one had a warning label. This may be the case for all New York State products containing potassium bromate. On Monday, October 19, "The G-Man Interviews" will be contacting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) New York State Senators and Palagoina Bread Company, Inc. to find out why.

Here's the full article. https://www.yahoo.com/…/does-your-bread-contain-this-potent…

Here's the list of foods being sold that contain potassium bromate. http://www.ewg.org/research/potassium-bromate

Finally, here's the bigger question. Why is potassium bromate still being used -- and Palagonia bread and bakery goods being sold -- in the United States when other major countries have banned it?

Stay tuned. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Politics in Action: H.R. 2835, S. 986, S. 1300, and S. 2078

 
Statement by the Press Secretary


On Friday, October 16, 2015, the President signed into law:

H.R. 2835, the “Border Jobs for Veterans Act of 2015,” which requires the Department of Homeland Security to:  (1) consider the expedited hiring of qualified veterans who have the ability to perform the functions of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers; and (2) enhance its efforts to recruit members of the Armed Forces who are separating from military service to serve as CBP officers;

S. 986, the “Albuquerque Indian School Land Transfer Act,” which directs the Secretary of the Interior to take into trust four parcels of Federal land in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the benefit of 19 Indian Pueblos;

S. 1300, the “Adoptive Family Relief Act,” which authorizes U.S. consular officers to waive immigrant visa renewal or replacement fees for an immigrant child that is adopted by U.S. citizens if the child was unable to use the original visa during its period of validity as a direct result of extraordinary circumstances that were beyond the control of the child or the parents, including the denial of an exit permit; and

S. 2078, the “U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2015,” which reauthorizes and amends the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Vietnam Bird Flu Study Confirms Urban Fringes Are Hot Spots for Emergence of Infectious Disease


HONOLULU (October 15, 2015) – A new study led by East-West Center researchers and funded by the National Science Foundation has confirmed suspicions that “peri-urban” areas at the outer fringes of cities are particular hot spots for the emergence of animal-to-human infectious diseases.
 

The study led by EWC researchers Sumeet Saksena and Jefferson Fox and published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, focused on outbreaks of the highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, strain H5N1 in Vietnam between 2003 and 2005, which resulted in 45 million bird deaths and 106 confirmed human cases with 52 deaths. Their research concluded that the outbreaks in large part sprang from converging environmental and social risk factors brought on by development in these rural-urban transition zones (peri-urban areas), confirming what is known as the “convergence model” of animal-human disease emergence. 
 

“Our research model for the first time presents data-based evidence for the common-sense notion that the process of urbanization combines risk factors to produce peri-urban landscapes with significantly higher potential for infectious disease emergence,” said lead researcher Saksena.
 

The study notes that these areas have higher densities of domestic chickens, ducks and geese living alongside dense human populations, creating ideal conditions for HPAI transmission. Previous research suggested that disease outbreaks can be associated with environmental changes as societies evolve, but this is the first study of its kind to examine land-use diversity as a risk factor for H5N1. “Land-use diversity serves as a proxy measure for mixing of virus host species,” said project Principal Investigator Fox.

Since 2003, the virus has killed millions of poultry birds in countries throughout Asia, Europe and Africa, and 402 humans have died from it in 16 countries, according to World Health Organization data as of January 2015.  Just this year in the Midwestern United States, 48.8 million poultry were affected across 21 states with a strain of HPAI – although it is important to note that this strain is not a threat for spread to humans. The biggest known outbreak of bird flu in U.S. history, the epidemic has hit flocks in Iowa and Minnesota the hardest, where producers are scrambling to implement bio-security measures.
 

Researchers said the East-West Center study implies the need to go beyond facility-level bio-security measures. Planners need to develop and implement landscape-level bio-security measures to improve emerging infectious disease prevention and control, they said, by combining geographic monitoring of risk factors along with pathogen surveillance programs.

The EAST-WEST CENTER promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.

Source: The East-West Center News Wire Service 

The President Speaks on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics


President Obama Joint News Conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye

 
President Obama holds a joint news conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Both leaders field questions on a range of topics, including Middle East violence, the presidential race, and relations on the Korean peninsula.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

State Department Daily Briefing


 
Mark Toner briefed reporters and responded to questions on a variety of international topics.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

U.N. Security Council Meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


 
The United Nations Security Council meets to discuss recent violence between Israelis and Palestinians and the security situation on the ground.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Representative Elijah Cummings on Benghazi Committe Proceedings

 
House Benghazi Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) speaks to reporters following former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's testimony. He criticizes House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) comments connecting the former secretary of state's polling numbers in the 2016 election to the committee's investigation into her involvement in the 2012 consulate attacks. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Representative Mike Pompeo on Huma Abedin's Testimony


Representative Pompeo says that the House Benghazi Committee's questioning of former State Department Chief-of-Staff Huma Abedin is ongoing. He says that Abedin is answering questions to the best of her knowledge and appreciates her ongoing cooperation. Representative Pompeo blames the State Department for the investigation taking a long time. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will appear in front of the House Benghazi Committee next week. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Common Core Task Force Holds First Executive Meeting

 
Announces Plan to Host Public Engagement Sessions and Establish Advisory Committee to Guide Review of State’s Learning Standards

Today, the first official executive meeting of the Common Core Task Force was held in Manhattan at the CUNY Graduate Center. The meeting included planning for at least a dozen public sessions in the near future to engage New Yorkers and generate feedback, as well as the creation of an advisory committee to help guide the Task Force throughout its review. The Task Force also announced that Andreea Musteata, a junior at Tech Valley High School, will serve as the group’s first student ambassador and will lead an effort to encourage student involvement throughout the process.

The Common Core Task Force is chaired by Richard Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners Inc. and former Chairman of the Board, Citigroup Inc.

Mr. Parsons said: “Today’s meeting was about setting the stage for a comprehensive review of common core – a review that will help us fix and strengthen the state’s learning standards and ensure that every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential. This was a productive meeting that will guide our efforts in the weeks and months to come, and I look forward to beginning the work ahead.”

Today’s preliminary discussion focused on the history and timeline of Common Core standards development and implementation in New York State, as well as the development of related assessments, and problems that have arisen as a result of that implementation. The Task Force also determined a preliminary schedule for future public sessions – exact dates will be announced in the coming days, but at least a dozen public sessions are being planned, including at least one local session in each of the State’s 10 regions. 

Student Ambassador
Andreea Musteata, a junior at Tech Valley High School in Albany, will serve as the Task Force’s student ambassador. In this role, Ms. Musteata will lead efforts to engage students across New York State through social media. In addition to her digital outreach, roundtables with students will be held to discuss ideas. Ms. Musteata will later present that feedback to the Task Force.

Advisory Committee
The Task Force members also discussed the formation of an advisory committee that will include a variety of subject matter experts and stakeholders, including educators, administrators and parents, which will be regionally diverse, to help guide the State’s review. Additional details on the advisory committee will be announced next week.

The Task Force was created by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in late September and charged with performing a comprehensive review of the State’s learning standards, instructional guidance and curricula, and tests in order to improve the system’s implementation and reduce text anxiety. More information, as well as a video of the Governor discussing the Task Force is available here.

The members of the Task Force include:
  

Richard D. Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners, LLC and Former  Chairman of the Board of Citigroup, Inc.  

Heather Buskirk, Mohawk Valley Master Teacher; Science Teacher at Johnstown High School
Geoffrey Canada, President, Harlem Children’s Zone  
Carol L. Conklin-Spillane, Principal, Sleepy Hollow High  
MaryEllen Elia, Commissioner of the New York State Education Department  
Constance Evelyn, Superintendent, Valley Stream School District  
Catalina R. Fortino, Vice President, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) 
Kishayna Hazlewood, 3rd Grade Teacher at P.S. 156 in Brooklyn
   
Tim Kremer, Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association
Senator Carl Marcellino, Chair of the Senate Education Committee  
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee 
Samuel Radford III, President, District Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo 
Carrie Remis, Rochester Area Parent & Founder of the Parent Power Project 
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFL-CIO 
Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor, State University of New York (SUNY) 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Over 132,000 Positions Available on 'Jobs Express' Website


More than 132,000 available jobs, a new record high, are now listed on New York State's Jobs Express website.

“Businesses need skilled and qualified workers to fill the new jobs that are being created all across the state and Jobs Express has been outstanding resource for connecting these employers with prospective employees," said Governor Cuomo. "I encourage all businesses that are hiring to post their jobs in the system and I urge all job seekers to start their search with Jobs Express.”

As of September 2015, New York's private sector jobs count stood at 7,821,700 and the unemployment rate dipped to 5.1 percent. Significant job creation under Governor Cuomo has led to an expanded need for qualified workers and employers are, more than ever, utilizing Jobs Express to help fill those vacancies.

Jobs Express sorts thousands of jobs by region and occupation, and allows users to search jobs based on zip code and travel distance. There is also a one-stop-shop website that provides information about and resources for Jobs Express.

Below is the current number of available jobs on Jobs Express, broken down by region:

    Region
    Positions
    Capital
11,000
    Central NY
7,400
    Finger Lakes
10,800
    Hudson
15,500
    Long Island
16,200
    Mohawk Valley
3,100
    New York City
50,200
    North Country
3,500
    Southern Tier
4,700
    Western NY
9,800
    Total
132,200

Acting New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta L. Reardon said, "As New York's economy continues to grow, businesses' needs for a ready workforce will only increase. The Department of Labor and Jobs Express can help meet that need by providing a connection between businesses and job seekers. I echo Governor Cuomo in urging employers and job seekers alike to make use of this free service."
 

Businesses across New York have successfully utilized Jobs Express to help find qualified candidates for their open positions.

Daigle Cleaning Systems, Clifton Park, NY – "The Department of Labor’s Jobs Express is a great resource for businesses. The Department of Labor staff has been, and continues to be, very helpful in referring candidates whose skills match our needs. We have been very happy with our experience."

Elite Plumbing and Heating Contractors, Inc., Walden, NY – "We were looking for an agency that could help us find new employees and were pleasantly surprised to learn that the Department of Labor offered this kind of service at no cost. Being a small business, the use of DOL offices for our recruitment events has been great! We've hired some really talented people as a result of these events and are looking to hire again. We would definitely recommend DOL services to any business."

Management Advisory Group of New York, Catskill, NY – "Jobs Express is a wonderful resource for businesses. We can post job listings with ease, and can save the posting for future use. Once a position is posted, resumes begin arriving the very next morning. The website also offers a resume search function which is very useful. The staff is very helpful in referring qualified candidates and they keep us informed about grant funding available for new hire subsidies. We have been very pleased with our experience and have hired three employees using this process."

Jobs Express is just one of the free services available to job seekers and businesses through the New York State Department of Labor. At Department of Labor Career Centers around the state, job seekers can receive one-on-one help with their job searches. For more information, visit www.labor.ny.gov/career-center-locator.

Businesses interested in listing their jobs should visit: www.labor.ny.gov/hire.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

Why Diehard Defenders Will Never Stop Believing Bill Cosby Is Innocent



By Goldie Taylor

To some, the comedian is a god, plain and simple—never mind his legions of accusers, the latest of whom was just a kid. And any attempts to question his legacy will be met with anger.

My grandmother loved her Jesus, her husband, and her pastor—and not always in that order. Say a foul word about one or the other and you had better tell it walking.

Bill Cosby is not a pastor and, if your name is not Camille, he almost certainly is not your husband. But for some people, it seems, Cosby is a god—deified based on his career as a legendary comedian and actor, a Hollywood icon who generously invested countless millions in historically black institutions.

When I was invited to write a cover story for Ebony magazine and offer an analysis of that legacy, I accepted the assignment with both honor and trepidation. My focus was not on the allegations but on how Cosby’s widely acclaimed, record-breaking television show came to be the standard against which black families would be measured—by others and by us. What social model did it reinforce, and does its power endure in the face of Cosby’s crumbling public reputation?

Over the course of 72 breathtaking hours, I interviewed dozens of thought leaders, cultural experts, industry veterans, and academicians about that legacy and how deeply it was intertwined with his on-screen fictional persona, Heathcliff Huxtable. An excerpt of the cover story was released online Thursday afternoon.

As the cover art began to circulate on social media, both support and pushback began almost immediately. The cover, a framed photograph of the fictional Huxtable family behind shattered glass, evoked strong feelings, even before the 3,000-word story itself hit newsstands. Some voices were glad to see the story about how Cosby’s legacy and that of his alter ego, Cliff, have been challenged in recent months. Others cried foul, angered because they believe Cosby himself is “under attack.”

Click here for the full article and related video. 

Source: The Daily Beast

Trailblazers in Black History: Wilson Pickett



Published on YouTube Dec 30, 2012

Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who and a Wilson Pickett fan, tells the story of the soul legend.

Contributors include Wilson's brother Max; his ex-partner Dovie Hall; and soul stars like Bobby Womack and Eddie Floyd, who experienced the exceptional singing talent first hand; as well as the wild side, which earned him the nickname "The Wicked Pickett".

Pickett died in 2006, aged 64, but he left a legacy of classic hits like Mustang Sally, The Land of 1,000 Dances, and In The Midnight Hour. He was determined to be a singing star from an early age and his brother Max remembers how Wilson would always be getting into fights, whilst also singing gospel in church.

Little Richard spoke fondly of his friend at Wilson's funeral and those who loved him, and were influenced by him, sum up the "Wicked One's" legacy.

Today in History: October 16th


Clinton Leads All Candidates in Latest Fundraising Numbers


Carson Edges Closer to Trump Thanks to White Evangelicals

In the latest snapshot of an unpredictable Republican primary season, Ben Carson has minimized Donald Trump's lead to just 5 points, according to the latest NBC News online poll conducted by SurveyMonkey. These two "outsider" candidates are the only contenders with double-digit support among Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters. The next tier of presidential candidates is led by Marco Rubio at 9%, followed by Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz who each have 6% of support, and Jeb Bush at 5%. 

Click here for the full article, graph and related video. 

Source: NBC News 

Palestinians Set Fire to Joseph's Tomb Amid Calls for 'Day of Rage'

JERUSALEM — Hundreds of Palestinians entered the Joseph's Tomb compound in the West Bank town of Nablus late Thursday and set it on fire, severely damaging the Jewish holy site in what Israel called a "despicable" act.

The overnight violence came amid calls for another "day of rage" in the region — although by 5:30 p.m. local time (10:30 a.m. ET), the violence did not appear to be as severe as other recent days. At least 40 people have been killed over the past two weeks. 

Click here for the full article and video.

Rape Film Banned in India Gets Meryl Streep’s Backing for Oscar


Reuters, 16/10 16:45 CET

By Sebastien Malo

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A film banned by Indian authorities about the deadly rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi has opened in the United States to acclaim, with Hollywood star Meryl Streep saying it deserves to win an Academy Award.

Depicting the rape and murder of a medical student in 2012 that sparked violent protests, the documentary “India’s Daughter” has been mired in controversy since the Indian government implemented its ban.

But Oscar-winning actress Streep, who introduced the documentary at its U.S. theatrical release in New York City on Wednesday night, said it was worthy of the movie industry’s highest honour.

“I’m on the campaign now to get her nominated for best documentary,” said Streep, speaking of the film’s director, Leslee Udwin.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Two New Ebola Cases Found in Guinea, Dashing Hopes


Reuters, 16/10 16:28 CET

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) – Two people have fallen ill with Ebola in Guinea, the World Health Organization said on Friday, dashing hopes of an imminent end to the worst recorded outbreak of the disease after a two-week spell without any new cases across West Africa.

Guinea was weeks away from joining Liberia in being declared free of the virus that has killed more than 11,000 people in a near 2-year rampage. Neighbouring Sierra Leone is also halfway through the 42-day countdown to being Ebola-free.

Authorities in Guinea said one of the cases, in Forecariah, western Guinea, appeared to be linked to a previously known chain of infection, while the other in the capital Conakry appeared to be new.

“On the bumpy road we keep talking about – the high risk of recurrence – once again we are navigating a few bumps,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a briefing in Geneva. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews 

More Than 400 Dead in Southeast Congo Measles Outbreak – U.N.


Reuters, 16/10 16:26 CET

KINSHASA (Reuters) – A measles outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo’s copper-mining southeast has killed 428 people and infected about 30,000 since the start of the year, the United Nations said on Friday.

More than 100 deaths and 10,000 additional cases have been recorded since mid-August, when the United Nations committed $2.4 million to fight the outbreak in the former province of Katanga, which was recently divided into four.

Humanitarian groups said the money was not enough and poor roads and health services in the region were hindering vaccination drives. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

China: Joint Exercises Planned for South China Sea

 
China says it is willing to hold joint exercises with other Southeast Asian countries in the disputed South China Sea.

Regional relations have been strained due to Beijing’s policy of pushing maritime territorial claims.

The drills will cover accidents and search-and-rescue operations.

Click here for video.

Source: Euronews

Egypt Devalues Pound for Third Time This Year


Egypt’s Central Bank has devalued the pound for the third time this year.

It came after the country’s foreign reserves tumbled and the currency fell to a record in black-market trading.

Egypt has been under pressure to cheapen the pound since China’s surprise devaluation of the yuan in August hit many emerging-market currencies as they tried to preserve the competitiveness of their exports.

Click here for the full article and video.

Source: Euronews

EU Leaders Offer Turkey Aid in Plan to Stop Migrant Flow to Europe


Source: Euronews

Israel Defends ‘Aggressive’ Security Measures


Source: Euronews

Clashes Escalate in Gaza and the West Bank as Israel Mobilizes Soldiers to Help Police


Source: Euronews

Afghan Refugee Shot Dead on Bulgarian – Turkish Border


Source: Euronews

Former Soviet Nations to Crackdown on ISIL Fighters


Source: Euronews

‘Dozens Dead’ in Nigeria Mosque Blasts


Source: Euronews

New Ebola Vaccine is Tested on Spanish Volunteers


Source: Euronews

“Support Assad” T-shirts Are Latest ‘Must Have’ Fashion in Russia


Russia’s Defence MInistry is whipping up public enthusiasm for the country’s intervention in Syria.

It’s issued “T shirts emblazoned with a support Assad slogan and a picture of a Russian war plane.

At 20 euros they are not cheap…. but according to Russian web forums they’ve been flying off the shelves.

The shop owner says its a chance to show solidarity with the fight against Islamist extremists but its not the first time so-called political fashion has taken off in Russia. After the annexation of Crimea T-shirts were printed with a photo of President Putin.

Click here for video.

Source: Euronews

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Oval Office Chat Session: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey


The President spoke today by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about deepening cooperation in the fight against ISIL.  The President reiterated his condemnation of the October 10 terrorist attack in Ankara and offered condolences as well as U.S. solidarity in the face of the security threats Turkey faces.  The two leaders reaffirmed their shared goal of stepping up military pressure on ISIL and strengthening moderate opposition elements in Syria to create conditions for a negotiated solution to the conflict, including a political transition.  The two leaders also agreed on the urgent need for an end to PKK attacks in Turkey.  In addition, they noted the positive momentum towards a negotiated settlement in Cyprus and pledged their support to settle the conflict. They also discussed the agenda for the upcoming G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

The Deadly Cargo Inside MH370: Exploding Batteries Explain the Mystery

 
By Clive Irving

Exclusive insight from inside Boeing and urgent new warnings from the FAA make a compelling case—based on fact, not conspiracy—about what happened.

Why have both the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing suddenly both gone public in issuing warnings about the “immediate and urgent risk” (quoting the FAA) of allowing consignments of lithium-ion batteries to be shipped in the cargo of passenger-carrying flights?

Last Thursday’s statement by the FAA’s Angela Stubblefield, a hazardous materials expert, that there is now a body of evidence that the batteries can cause explosions and fires capable of destroying an airplane echoes the urgency of a warning sent to all airlines by Boeing in July that the shipment of batteries created “an unacceptable risk” to crew and passengers.

A week later Airbus followed, issuing a similar warning recommending that operators of all of its airplanes conduct “a full risk assessment” of what was rather vaguely termed “high quantities” of the batteries in cargo.

The Boeing warning was issued as a Multi Operator Message. These are normally issued to inform airlines of a newly detected safety problem experienced by an airline during operations and are related to a specific airplane type—but in this case the warning covered all Boeing airplanes. The warnings are also issued following a crash if investigators have homed in on a possible cause.

Specifically, the Boeing warning recommended that “high density packages of lithium-ion batteries and cells not be transported as cargo on passenger airplanes until such time as safer methods of transport are established and followed.”

No precursor event was cited—publicly. However, as I have previously reported, as part of the investigation into the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, Boeing has run computer simulations aimed at re-creating the behavior of the Boeing 777 during the last hours of its course into the southern Indian Ocean.

One persistently discussed scenario is whether the airplane was stricken by a fire in a cargo hold initiated in a consignment of lithium-ion batteries. There is now certainly a solid body of circumstantial evidence to justify including this scenario’s effects in a simulation.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Daily Beast

Veep Meet and Greet: Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye

 

Vice President Biden hosted Republic of Korea (ROK) President Park Geun-hye for a lunch meeting today at the Naval Observatory. The Vice President and President Park reviewed recent progress within the U.S.-ROK alliance - bilaterally, regionally, and globally. The two discussed the importance of strong regional relations and close coordination on common strategic interests. The Vice President commended President Park for her efforts to improve inter-Korean ties and reaffirmed unwavering U.S. commitment to deter and defend against North Korean provocations.  

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

White House Press Briefing

 
Josh Earnest briefed reporters and responded to their questions on a variety of topics.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Defense Department Briefing on Military Operations in Afghanistan


Defense Secretary Ashton Carter delivered a statement ahead of a press briefing with Spokesperson Peter Cook.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

President Obama's Use of Executive Orders

 

USA Today White House Reporter Gregory Korte talked about President Obama’s use of executive orders. He also discussed his assertion that the president has taken advantage of the federal government’s buying power to influence economic and social policy.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Hillary Clinton Campaign Rally in Las Vegas

 
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Jeb Bush Town Hall Meeting in Concord, New Hampshire


Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL), who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination, holds a town hall meeting at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, New Hampshire.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Discussion on Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

 
State officials and academics discuss the decision by some states to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain and renew driver’s licenses.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Trailblazers in Black History: Jimi Hendrix


Today in History: October 15th


FBI, Justice Department Launch Inquiry into Fantasy Sports Websites


New York's Attorney General has already launched his own probe after accusations of inside information sharing.

NFL Star DeAngelo Williams Pays for 53 Mammograms to Honor Mom


By Molly Blake

Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams announced earlier this month that his nonprofit organization, The DeAngelo Williams Foundation, will cover the cost of 53 mammograms at hospitals located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh.

Williams is a staunch supporter of breast cancer awareness. In 2014, Williams' mother, Sandra Hill, died after battling breast cancer. She was just 53 years old. He also lost his four aunts to the disease, but not before leading a push in 2009 to allow NFL players to wear pink cleats throughout October, Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

Ever since then, fans have become accustomed to seeing pink — pink headphones, pink cleats, pink pompoms — on gobs of NFL gear throughout October — but only October. That's not sitting well with Williams, who wanted to show his support for breast cancer awareness all season long by wearing pink accessories during games.  

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News/TODAY

Prison Meditation Program Helps Inmates Rebuild Minds, Restart Lives


The men filed into the chapel, pulled chairs into circles, and sat. Then this corner of New Jersey's Bayside State Prison got quiet.

A short meditation opens each weekly session of Heart-to-Heart, a mindfulness and nonviolence program run at three east coast prisons. Silence, said founder Stephen Michael Tumolo, helps bring "present moment awareness."

That's where he believes transformation starts.

"One thing we have choice in is where our mind is," said Tumolo. "Present moment awareness can radically alter one's experience in the moment. And then it can radically reshape the next steps we take."

Gossip, drugs, love—most of the outside world seeps through prison walls. In recent years, the nation's growing interest turning inward has crept in, too. Though there's no official tally, mindfulness programs now stretch from yoga at New York City's Rikers Island jail to Transcendental Meditation at an Oregon state prison. 

They represent a growing shift from tough-on-crime policies of the 1990s. Most seek to offer some daily calm inside and provide tools to keep prisoners from coming back. Research is scant, but small studies indicate they may help prisoners address anxiety, substance abuse issues and violence. There's indication they could also help those released from prison from coming back.  

Click here for the full article.

Your Stolen Data Is Worth as Little as 55 Cents Online: Intel Security Report

Ever wonder how much your stolen personal information sells for online? Turns out not much, according to a report released Thursday by Intel Security Group's McAfee Labs.

McAfee researchers monitored websites, chat rooms and other places on the Dark Web where stolen data — everything from credit card numbers to hotel loyalty account info — are packaged, bought and sold.

They found that going prices ranged this year from as little as 55 cents to $1 for account login credentials to online video streaming services, to several hundred dollars for bank login credentials.

First Read: Explaining the Ben Carson Phenomenon

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.

Trying to figure out the Ben Carson phenomenon

On this FEC filing day, we already know Ben Carson will have raised the most money on the GOP side. He's now running neck-and-neck with Donald Trump nationally, per a recent Fox News poll. And it all comes after a week that could have sunk a more traditional candidate (his Holocaust/guns remarks, not appearing to know the difference between the debt limit and the debt/deficit). What's more, Carson rarely holds campaign events, and ABC even reports that he's taking two weeks off to sell his book. Trying to explain the Ben Carson phenomenon is one of the best political stories out there.
 
  • Here's Donald Trump taking a stab at it: "I think he's a nice person," Trump told NBC's Katie Tur. "I don't really know why he's doing well. I mean, I will bring America to a new level…. Ben is-- you know, that's not his thing. But he certainly seems to be resonating."
  • Here's National Journal's Josh Kraushaar: "Ben Carson is following Jimmy Carter's presidential playbook."

U.N. Says Iran Meets Deadline for Investigation of Atomic Past



Reuters, 15/10 17:34 CET

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has met a deadline to give the U.N. nuclear watchdog what it needs to assess whether Tehran’s past activities had anything to do with nuclear weapons, the agency said on Thursday, a step towards implementing a deal between Tehran and world powers.

The deal struck in July calls for the lifting of sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities.

Under a roadmap agreement reached along with that deal, Iran had to provide by Thursday the cooperation necessary for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to complete an assessment of Iran’s activities by Dec. 15.

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Source: Euronews

US to Slow Down Afghanistan Troop Pull Out


Source: Euronews

Ebola Can Survive in Semen for Up to Nine Months, Study Finds


Ebola may have been beaten back after the outbreak in West Africa, but that is no reason for the world to drop its guard on the deadly incurable disease, especially after the shocking findings from the latest research.

Scientists previously knew that fragments of the virus could survive on after the patient had been cured in male sperm for some 82 days, and be transmissible, but that figure has now been revised up to a full nine months.

The report, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, provides the first results of a long-term study being jointly conducted by the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone Ministry of Defence, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Source: Euronews

EU Leaders Meet for Summit Where Refugees Will Dominate Talks


Source: Euronews

Abbas Slams Israel as Deadly Violence Continues


Source: Euronews

Catalan Leader Artur Mas in Court Over Independence Referendum


Source: Euronews

Myanmar’s President Hails Ceasefire Deal with Rebels as “Historic”


Source: Euronews

Turkey Imposes Media Blackout on Reporting of Saturday’s Twin Bombing


Source: Euronews

Boko Haram: US Sends Troops to Cameroon


Source: Euronews

Portugal’s President to Nominate Prime Minister After Post-Election Talks Break Down


Source: Euronews

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

White House Daily Briefing


 
Spokesman Josh Earnest briefs reporters and responds to questions on a range of issues, including the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the U.S. strategy against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

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Source: C-Span

Donald Trump Campaign Rally in Richmond, Virginia


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Richmond, Virginia.

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Source: C-Span

Marco Rubio Town Hall in Derry, New Hampshire


Republican presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) holds a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire. Topics include federal spending, the defense budget, Social Security, energy production, and health care reform.

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Source: C-Span

Captain Florent A. Groberg, U.S. Army (Ret), to Receive Medal of Honor


WASHINGTON, DC – On November 12, 2015, President Barack Obama will award Captain Florent A. Groberg, U.S. Army (Ret), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.  Captain Groberg will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Personal Security Detachment Commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during combat operations in Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on August 8, 2012.

Captain Groberg will be the tenth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan.  He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.

Captain Florent A. “Flo” Groberg was born in Poissy, France on May 8, 1983. He became a naturalized U.S. Citizen on February 27, 2001, and graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland in June 2001.

Captain Groberg attended the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and competed in Track and Cross Country. In May 2006, he graduated from UMD with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Captain Groberg entered the Army in July 2008 and attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He received his commission as an Infantry Officer on December 4, 2008. After completing Infantry Officer Basic Course, Mechanized Leaders Course, U.S. Army Airborne and U.S. Army Ranger Schools, he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, as a Platoon Leader.

Captain Groberg deployed to Afghanistan's Kunar Province in November 2009 and again in February 2012.  In between deployments, he served as a Platoon Leader, Infantry Company Executive Officer and a Brigade Personnel Security Detachment Commander at Fort Carson.

At the time of his August 8, 2012 combat engagement, Captain Groberg was serving as a Personal Security Detachment Commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.  His heroic actions were performed in Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.  Injured during combat, he spent his recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from August 2012 through May 2015 and was medically retired from Company B Warriors, Warrior Transition Battalion, on July 23, 2015.

Captain Groberg’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three Bronze Service Stars; the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutists Badge, the Ranger Tab, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary