Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Address on Removal of Four Confederate Statues

On Friday, May 19, 2017, Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered an address about the City of New Orleans’ efforts to remove monuments that prominently celebrate the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy.” The statues were erected decades after the Civil War to celebrate the “Cult of the Lost Cause,” a movement recognized across the South as celebrating and promoting white supremacy.

There are four prominent monuments in question. The Battle of Liberty Place monument was erected by the Crescent City White League to remember the deadly insurrection led by white supremacists against the City’s racially integrated police department and government. The Jefferson Davis statue on Jefferson Davis Parkway, the P.G.T. Beauregard equestrian statue on Esplanade Avenue at the entrance to City Park, and the Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Circle.

Source: Office of Mayor Mitch Landrieu | City of New Orleans

'The Fall' (The Donald J. Trump Show) by Mumia Abu Jamal

Click here to listen to the commentary. 

Source: Prison Radio

President Trump Address at Israel Museum

President Trump delivered a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He began with a call to U.S. allies to help defeat radical ideologies following the terrorist attack at a concert in Manchester, England.

Source: C-SPAN

Former CIA Director John Brennan on Russia and the 2016 Elections

Source: C-SPAN

DNI Director Declines to Comment on Whether President Asked Him to Push Back Against FBI Probe

DNI Director Dan Coats declines to comment publicly on a Washington Post story that President Trump asked him to push back agains the FBI's Russia probe. "It's not appropriate for me to comment publicly on any of this," he says. He also adds that such leaks jeopoardize lives."

Source: C-SPAN

Governor Cuomo Announces Aggressive Plan to Combat Long-Term Crisis at Penn Station

This video was published on YouTube on May 23, 2017. 

Governor Cuomo announced an aggressive action plan to address New York’s transportation challenges starting with the near-term crisis at Penn Station and the ripple effect it will have on the entire transit system.

Source: NYGovCuomo

The Power of the Black Woman

This video was published on YouTube on April 5, 2017. 

Ramona Smith "The Ladybug Speaker" gives the women of Hiram College a bit of knowledge about the power that lies within the Black woman.

Source:  Ladybug Speaker

Dr. John Henrik Clarke - The Slave Trade

A Song for the Soul: 'War' by Bob Marley

Trailblazers in Black History: Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745–1799) was born in Guadeloupe, in the Caribbean, the son of George Bologne de Saint-Georges, a wealthy planter, and an African slave named Nanon. Although his father also had many white children, he took a special liking to Joseph, and in 1753 took his son, age seven, to France, where he began his education in a variety of arts including fencing.

According to the son of the fencing master La Boëssière, “At 15 his [Saint-Georges’] progress was so rapid, that he was already beating the best swordsmen, and at 17 he developed the greatest speed imaginable.”

He was still a student when he publicly defeated Alexandre Picard, a renowned fencing-master in Rouen who had foolishly referred to Saint-Georges as “Boëssière’s mulatto.” Heny Angelo, son of the famous Domenico (and a highly reputed fencing master in his own right) often went to fence with Saint-Georges while in Paris, and wrote about him in his memoirs:

“No man ever united so much suppleness with so much strength. He excelled in all the bodily exercises in which he engaged…He was a skillful horseman and remarkable shot; he rarely missed his aim when his pistol was once before the mark…but the art in which he surpassed all his contemporaries and predecessors was fencing...."

Additional information is available here

Source: The Greatest African-American and Afro-American Martial Artists in History

Maryland Stabbing Death Investigated as Possible Hate Crime

Freddie Gray Death: Several Baltimore Officers Face Termination After Internal Investigation: Reports

Several Baltimore police officers involved in the Freddie Gray case are facing termination after an internal investigation found they committed administrative violations in their handling of the 25-year-old's death, according to reports.

An internal inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Gray's 2015 in-custody death found five of the six officers involved violated internal protocol, according to NBC WBAL-TV in Baltimore.

For three of the officers, the violations were enough to merit termination, the Baltimore Sun first reported. 

O.J. Simpson Will Have July Parole Hearing

by Mike Florio

The Juice could be loose, again.

Via Andrew Blankstein and Daniella Silva of NBC News, Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson will have a parole hearing in July. He has served nine years of a 33-year sentence on charges arising from a bungled effort to reclaim memorabilia that he believed was stolen from him.

Some contend the Nevada justice system threw the book at Simpson due to the perception that he got away with a double murder in California, with the alleged killing of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and Ronald Goldman.

The key question regarding Simpson’s potential freedom will be whether and to what extent discretion may be exercised by the parole board. That discretion will allow anyone who thinks he should be serving life without parole for the 1994 killings to justify keeping him behind bars for more of that 33-year term.

Source: NBC Sports (Pro Football Talk) 

Five Jurors Selected for Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Trial

PITTSBURGH — Five of the 12 men and women who will decide Bill Cosby's fate were selected Monday on the first day of jury selection in his sexual assault trial.

The anonymous jurors empaneled so far are a middle-aged white woman, a middle-aged white man with a relative who is a sexual assault survivor, a younger white man, an elderly white man and a white woman who appeared to be in her 30s.

In a case where the defense has claimed racism is a factor, it's noteworthy that three black women were questioned, but none of them were chosen. The judge struck two of them from the panel — one because she said she had a strong opinion and another for hardship — and the prosecution used a peremptory challenge to remove a third. 

Click here for the full article. 

Conservative Reps Urge Trump to Fire NIH Chief Francis Collins Over Stem Cells

A group of conservative members of Congress wrote President Donald Trump Monday, urging him to fire National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins because he is not pro-life enough.

They specifically object to Collins's support of stem cell research and the use of human embryos in scientific research. 

The 41 House members who signed the letter describe themselves as "staunchly pro-life members of Congress". They oppose abortion rights and some scientific research involving human embryos.  

Click here for the full article.

Trump Budget Would Cut Safety Net Programs, Boost Defense Spending

President Donald Trump's 2018 budget proposal includes sweeping cuts to social spending for low-income Americans, including entitlement programs that the president promised to protect as a candidate, while boosting defense spending.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney briefed reporters on the blueprint Monday, which seeks to eliminate the deficit in 10 years while avoiding cuts to Medicare and Social Security retirement benefits. The full budget is scheduled to come out on Tuesday morning.

"This is, I think, the first time in a long time the administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people paying the taxes," Mulvaney told reporters.

It would accomplish its savings goals via deep cuts to other safety-net programs. At the same time, it assumes that the White House's agenda of repealing Obamacare, reforming the tax code and investing in infrastructure will become law and unleash an economic boom that would further reduce deficits by $2 trillion over the next decade. 

Trump Asked Intelligence Chiefs to Deny Evidence of Russia Collusion

U.K. Police Name Salman Abedi as Manchester Bomber

The attack on the Ariana Grande concert was carried out by 22-year-old Salman Abedi, said Manchester's chief constable.

EU Mourns Manchester Victims

Source: euronews (in English)

UK Election Campaign Suspended After Manchester Attack

Source: euronews (in English)

Theresa May Speaks After Manchester Arena Attack

Source: euronews (in English)

James Bond Star Sir Roger Moore Dies at 89

Source: euronews (in English)

Sanders Nominates William McDonald for 2017 Veterans' Hall of Fame

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State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village) nominated William McDonald for the 2017 New York State Senate Veterans' Hall of Fame. McDonald served eight years in the U.S. Navy before being honorably discharged. He has been a community leader in Southeast Queens for many years, advocating for improvements to education as well as resources for veterans and youth.

“I am proud to be able to recognize William McDonald for his bravery and dedication to serving our country and the community of Southeast Queens,” said Senator Sanders, a Marine Corps veteran. “He has done so much to help so many and is well deserving of this honor.”

Every year senators from across the state are asked to select a veteran from their district to be inducted into the Veterans' Hall of Fame. The honor was created to recognize and celebrate outstanding service members from the Empire State who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life. McDonald was officially inducted into the Veterans’ Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Albany on May 16th.

William McDonald was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and graduated from James Madison High School. He served in the United States Navy from 1976 to 1984, rising to the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class (E4) before being honorably discharged.

PO3 McDonald earned his Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Kingsborough Community College. He went on to work as a correction officer for the New York City Department of Correction and retired after 20 years of service.  PO3 McDonald now serves as a community activist, advocating for educational excellence within the New York City Public School system.

PO3 McDonald has diligently given his time and energy to advance the education of our children, and has served on several school leadership teams. As Vice President of Intermediate School 231’s Parent Teachers Association, President of the Queens High School President’s Council, Chairman and Parliamentarian of the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council (CPAC), Mr. McDonald has advocated for all New York City public school students and parents.

A fervent champion for education reform, Mr. McDonald has travelled to City Hall, Albany and Washington D.C. to lobby for city, state and federal education funding. He has served and held several leadership positions with organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), American Legion, United Black Men of Queens County and National Action Network.

Today, Mr. McDonald continues to assist youth by taking aspiring medical students from the community to the American Association of Medical Colleges, Minority Recruitment Conference in Boston and Washington D.C.

In addition, he is an active member of the Laurelton Memorial Day Parade Committee, volunteers twice a week at the Rosedale American Legion Food Pantry and works with community civic associations to improve the district.

Source: The Office of State Senator James Sanders, Jr.

Department of Civil Service Launches First Summer Testing Program for Civil Service Examinations

The New York State Department of Civil Service today announced the launch of summer testing for State civil service exams, increasing the capacity to test candidates seeking employment with New York State and further supporting State agency hiring needs.  This year, it is anticipated that an additional 7,000 jobseekers will be tested as a result of the new expansion to the civil service examination program, resulting in access to hundreds of additional employment opportunities across a wide array of State agencies.

In addition, this is the first year that civil service exams will be held at SUNY Old Westbury, Bronx Community College, and Hudson Valley Community College, as well as other locations throughout the State, to complement the Department’s larger strategic recruitment efforts to expand testing venues and reach a diverse pool of candidates. 

“Working for New York State is a great way to get involved in public service and make a difference in the lives of others,” said Acting Commissioner Lola W. Brabham. “State employees are diverse, dynamic and dedicated and the work they perform plays an important role in providing vital services to New Yorkers. I encourage all qualified individuals to take the first step and apply for a civil service exam.”

The first series of State civil service exams scheduled for this summer are currently available on the Civil Service website and scheduled to be held on July 15, 2017. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2017. These include the following examinations open to all qualified individuals.

Additional exams, scheduled for August 12, 2017, will be announced and posted on the Civil Service website on May 26, 2017. To learn more or to apply for a civil service exam, visit the following links.

Examinations open to all qualified individuals –

Promotional and transition examinations open only to current State employees –

The New York State Department of Civil Service is the principal human resources provider for the Executive Branch of State Government, serving approximately 150,000 employees. The Department provides examination services and supports civil service administration to 70 State and 95 municipal agencies.

To receive notifications for announcements of upcoming State civil service exams, sign up for email notifications.

Source: NYS Department of Civil Service

Heroin Disguised as SweetTarts Found in Upstate NY; Police Issue Warning


Police in the Southern Tier have issued a public health warning about a new narcotics trend in the area that could pose a danger to children.

Candy-like drug tablets have been found in the Elmira area. They contain a mix of Xanax, fentanyl and heroin, but are disguised to look like SweetTarts candy.

The drugs even have a small letter "S" stamped on them that mimics the SweeTarts logo, Spectrum News reported.

Police asked anyone who encounters the drugs or has information about them to contact the Elmira Police Department at 607-737-5611, or use the anonymous tip line at 607-271-4285.

Click here for the full article.

Source: NYup.com (via The Empire Report) 

Rangel: IDC's Extra Pay 'Looks So Immoral'

Shortly after 8 a.m. this morning, former congressman Charlie Rangel walked into a gymnasium in Harlem and voted for a young protégé, Brian Benjamin, who is running in a special election for the state Senate.

“I’ve told him — and it sounds so corny — doing the right thing has worked for me for 50 damn years,” Rangel said in an interview. “I’ve also told him that if he’s going to deviate from the majority, he better have a good damn reason.”

Benjamin stood nearby, smiling and nodding. He’s heard it before. “He calls me every morning with tips and ideas,” Benjamin said.

After snagging the Democratic nomination weeks ago, Benjamin is all but guaranteed victory today in the overwhelmingly Democratic district in Harlem, but he won't be in the majority, thanks to the 8 members of the Independent Democratic Conference that have a power-sharing agreement with the Republicans in that chamber. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Politico (via The Empire Report) 

Price-Shocked Spectrum Cable Customers React, Ready to Cut Cord: 'I'm Really Upset'


Syracuse, N.Y. -- Former Time Warner Cable customers say sharply higher prices from Charter Communications' Spectrum brand are making them cut the cord or at least think about it. 

Dan Beecher, of Camillus, said he called Spectrum twice after his monthly bill for internet, television and phone service jumped from $153 to $187, a 22 percent increase. 

"Each time, they said, 'Gee, there's nothing we can do for you,'" he said. "They said, 'Oh, you were on some special promotions that have expired and we don't operate on promotions.'"

Even worse, one of the Spectrum customer service reps he spoke with told him that his bill will go up another $20 in July when the one-year free period for the four digital converter boxes he has expires.

Beecher said he was looking into switching to Dish Network, DirecTV or over-the-web television services such as Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.

Click here for the full article.

Source: syracuse.com (via The Empire Report)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Ariana Grande Concert Explosion at Manchester, At Least 19 Dead in Attack

President Trump Gives Remarks with Prime Minister Netanyahu

New York State Senate Session

Source: NYSenate

Mayor de Blasio Makes an Announcement on EMS Services

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Flynn to Invoke 5th Amendment, Decline Senate Intel Subpoena

Artist Projects Image Of Jeff Sessions In KKK Hood Across DOJ

Click on the photo to increase its size.

Artist and activist Robin Bell has captured the nation’s attention with his provocative light projections, cast across the facades of high-profile political buildings across the United States.

His most recent artistic interventions, executed late into the night on May 17, used the exteriors of the Department of Justice and FBI building as canvases. You might have been paying too much attention to Trump’s travels in Saudi Arabia to notice, but the images are pretty hard to miss: Bell projected Attorney General Jeff Sessions dressed as a Klansman in a white hooded robe adorned with the Ku Klux Klan insignia.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Huffington Post

The Case For President Pence


In raising the issue of President Trump’s removal from office, either through impeachment or finding of impairment via the 25th Amendment, I keep hearing otherwise sensible people say, “But then we’ll just get President Pence, and the Republicans will have time to regroup and recover.”

Well, think again.

For starters, Donald Trump is a unique menace to American democracy and to planet Earth. Getting him out of office should be the top priority — the sooner, the better.

Secondly, in purely partisan terms, replacing Trump with Pence would be far from a romp for Republicans. Pence is no Trump. He lacks Trump’s feral charisma, his weird genius as an entertainer, and the image of being a champion of aggrieved heartland forgotten voters.

Pence was a fairly ordinary religious conservative Republican. He was an extremely clumsy governor of Indiana, facing a defeat for re-election. Indeed, he was one of the few Republican politicians even willing to consider being Trump’s running mate, mainly because he had few other options if he wanted to stay in politics.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Huffington Post 

'Capitol Press Room' with Susan Arbetter: The Penn Station Crisis

This morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo was a guest on Capitol Press Room with Susan Arbetter to discuss his letter to President Trump calling for federal assistance to resolve the deteriorating situation at Penn Station. 

To view the statement from the New York Congressional delegation on Governor Cuomo’s call for immediate federal assistance for Penn Station, click here.

Audio of the Governor’s interview is available here. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Ronald Reagan and Robert F. Kennedy Discuss the Vietnam War

Senator Robert Kennedy (D-NY) and Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA) respond to questions via satellite from a group of international students in London at the BBC. The topic is “The Image of America and the Youth of the World” but many of the questions concerned U.S. policy in Vietnam. 

This aired on CBS on May 15, 1967. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN

Daniel and Jordan Allott on 'Trump's America'

Washington Examiner's Daniel Allott and his documentary filmmaker brother Jordan Allott discuss their new reporting project Trump’s America.

Source: C-SPAN

Hollywood & Race: 'Finding Forrester' (2000)

Trailblazers in Black History: Dr. Regina Benjamin

Dr. Regina Benjamin was the first Black woman to be elected to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. 

After Dr. Benjamin received her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, she returned to her Gulf Coast hometown, Bayou la Batre, and opened a small rural health clinic; for 13 years, she was the town’s only doctor. 

In 1995, at the age of 39, Benjamin became the first Black woman, and the first person under the age of 40, to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees, and in 2002, she became the first Black female president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. She was chosen “Person of the Week” by ABC World News Tonight, and “Woman of the Year” by both CBS This Morning and People magazine. 

Benjamin won a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” award in 2008, and was appointed the 18th surgeon general by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Source: http://blerds.atlantablackstar.com/2014/09/24/11-african-american-medical-pioneers-will-make-proud/

Study: ADHD Symptoms Are Going Untreated in Black Youth

Are troublesome ADHD symptoms going untreated in African-American youth even after they are diagnosed?

According to a recent study published in Pediatrics, the answer is yes. Researchers found that African-American youth with ADHD are more likely to go off of their medication and less likely to have adequate follow-up than their white counterparts.

But, while the study focused mainly on the medication aspect of treatment, some parents are simply managing their children's ADHD in other ways.

LaTonia Taylor, of Corona, Calif., struggled for years to find the right regimen for her two daughters with ADHD. Both tried different medications before stopping them altogether in their teens. 

Click here for the full article. 

FBI Investigating If Bowie State Univ. Student's Killing Is Hate Crime

 Richard Collins III

The FBI is helping authorities determine whether the killing of a visiting student by a University of Maryland student was a hate crime, authorities say.

University of Maryland student Sean Christopher Urbanski, 22, has been charged with first- and second-degree murder as well as first-degree assault in the death of Richard Collins III. 

University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell said at a press conference Sunday that he sought the FBI's help after finding that Urbanski is a member of a Facebook group called "Alt Reich: Nation," where members post racially charged material. Urbanski is white and Collins was black.

Click here for video.

Source: NBC News 4 - Washington

Notre Dame Students Walk Out During Pence's Graduation Speech

Full Video: President Trump's Speech from Saudi Arabia

President Trump’s full remarks to Muslim leaders at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

President Trump Makes Historic Visit to Western Wall

China’s Global Times Applauds ‘Victory’ After CIA Sources Reportedly Killed

BEIJING — An influential state-run newspaper applauded China's anti-espionage efforts on Monday after the New York Times reported Beijing had killed or imprisoned up to 20 CIA sources, hobbling U.S. spying operations.

The Chinese killed at least a dozen people providing information to the Central Intelligence Agency between 2010 and 2012, dismantling a network that was years in the making, the New York Times reported. The paper cited two senior former U.S. officials. NBC News was not immediately able to independently verify the report. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Ukrainian Culture Celebrated in New York's East Village

  Click on the photos to increase their size.

Thousands Attend the 41st Annual Saint George Ukrainian Festival  

New York, NY – The annual Saint George Ukrainian Festival was held in the East Village's "Little Ukraine".  The event ran from May 19 through May 21 and holds the distinction of being the oldest and largest Ukrainian folk dance festival outside of Ukraine. 

The festival, which featured folk dancing and singing, routinely draws thousands down to the site every year and has been featured in books such as The Suburbanization of New York as an example of a city festival that "still reflects any sense of place". 

Tens of thousands of sought-after Ukrainian dumplings, known as 'varenyky', were prepared in advance by church volunteers. Other delicacies included cabbage rolls (holubtsi), beet soup (borsch), sausage (kobasa) and sauerkraut. 

"The importance of the annual Ukrainian Festival on Seventh Street is an affirmation of the Ukrainian community's role in this neighborhood, in this city, in this state and in this country. This vibrant display of culture, dance and food is also a testament to the work of St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church, St. George Academy and the role that the local community organizations and businesses can play when they come together," said Matthew Dubas, editor of The Ukrainian Weekly, which is distributed throughout Canada and the United States. 

"Most recently, the festival exhibits have informed New Yorkers about what is going on in Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian aggression, and how Ukraine plays a vital role in combating the spread of the conflict to the rest of Europe," Dubas concluded.

The festival extended from East 7th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, bordered at its West end by Taras Shevchenko Place, a small street connecting East 6th and East 7th Streets. It is the only street in the United States officially named after Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861), the "National Bard of Ukraine".

Saint George Ukrainian Catholic Church, located at 30 East 7th Street, was founded in the East Village in 1905. The church has sponsored an annual festival since the very first one in 1976, then officially a co-celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial and 100 years of Ukrainian immigration to America. 

Photos by Gary Glennell Toms