Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Power of the Pen: S.45B/A.8097 Gives LGBTQ Veterans the Right to Fight to Have Benefits Restored

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation (S.45B/A.8097) enacting The Restoration of Honor Act, giving LGBTQ veterans who were denied an honorable discharge because of their sexual orientation or gender identity the right to apply to have their New York State veterans' benefits restored. Under Don't Ask Don't Tell and similar policies hundreds of thousands of veterans received less than honorable discharges. As a result of that those individuals are ineligible for veterans' benefits.  While military discharge decisions can only be formally changed by the federal government, The Restoration of Honor Act allows these veterans to apply to claim their New York State benefits.

"Countless service members were discharged from the military simply because of who they are. Adding insult to injury, they were then denied the services and benefits they earned as members of our armed forces who fought to protect our country and defend our ideals," Governor Cuomo said. "With this measure we are righting that wrong and sending a message to LGBTQ veterans that we have their backs, just as they had ours."

The bill also restores benefits eligibility for veterans who received less than honorable discharges as a result of military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This makes New York the first state in the nation to restore the benefits of veterans who received less than honorable discharges either because of these traumas or because of their LGBTQ identity.

Senator Brad Hoylman said, "According to a study my office conducted in 2015, there are more than 50 New York State benefits denied to LGBTQ veterans who were less than honorably discharged on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Even as gay and lesbian Americans have been able to openly serve in the military for nearly a decade, generations of LGBTQ Americans are still unable to access many veterans' benefits due to the status of their military discharge. We are finally addressing this injustice by passing the Restoration of Honor Act, thanks to a new Senate majority led by Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins that stands resolutely in favor of LGBTQ rights. I'm grateful to my co-sponsor Assembly Member Didi Barrett for her work with me to pass this bill, to Assembly Member Buchwald for his years of advocacy for this legislation, to LGBT rights groups like SAGE which have been fighting for our community for decades, and to Governor Cuomo for signing it into law today."

Assembly Member Didi Barrett said, "The brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms are owed nothing but respect and support when they return home. Yet sadly, this has not been the case for too many of our veterans in the LGBTQ community, those suffering from trauma, and those struggling with mental and behavioral health disorders. 'Bad papers' shouldn't prevent service men and women from accessing the benefits and resources they've earned when they return home. With the enacted Restoration of Honor Act, we can finally put this immoral practice to an end. I thank the governor for signing this groundbreaking legislation and helping us right this terrible wrong."

Today's bill signing is the latest step in Governor Cuomo's commitment to further protections and equality for New York's LGBTQ community.  Last month, New York became the first state in the country requiring all of its veterans' services staff to be certified in LGBTQ and HIV+ competency training. All Division of Veterans' Services staff in the state must receive the MMAA Rainbow Shield cultural competency training, designed to help educate and empower providers and advocates who serve the LGBTQ and HIV+ military and veteran community. 

This past August, the Governor announced multi-agency opposition to the federal government's proposed rollback of healthcare protections for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals, with the New York State Department of Financial Services, Division of Human Rights and the Office of Children and Family Services calling on the federal government to abandon the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposal that would undermine discrimination protections for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals and limit the types of insurance that must comply with the Affordable Care Act's nondiscrimination protections. 

In June, Governor Cuomo signed legislation banning the use of the "gay and trans panic" defense in criminal proceedings.  In April, as the federal government's transgender military ban took effect, the Governor directed the Division of Veterans' Services, the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, and the Division of Human Rights to provide all necessary services and resources to transgender service members who are displaced by the abhorrent federal policy which endorses discrimination in the armed forces and undermines national security.

In January, Governor Cuomo signed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, landmark legislation that prohibits employers, educational institutions, landlords, creditors, and others from discrimination against individuals on the basis of gender identity or expression. 

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

The Trump Impeachment Hearings - Day 1 (Full Coverage)


Amb. William Taylor and deputy assistant secretary of state George Kent testify in an open impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Trump Addresses the Economic Club of New York


Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer Weigh in on Supreme Court DACA Case


Hedge Fund-Backed GOP Group is Digging Up Dirt on Elizabeth Warren, Documents Show

 
Click here for the report.

Source: The Intercept_

Everything So Far Has Failed: Why Exxon Mobil Is Being Taken to Court Over Climate Change

Click here for the report. 

Source: The Intercept_

Vowing to End Cash Bail and Reform Justice System, Chesa Boudin Wins San Francisco DA Race


'Seattle Is Not For Sale': Voters Rebuke Amazon, Re-electing Socialist Kshama Sawant


Dems Release Depositions Ahead of Public Impeachment Hearings


Former President Jimmy Carter Hospitalized


This report was published on YouTube on November 11.

DR Congo Doctors Hope to Eliminate Ebola by End of Year


Al Jazeera English: Doctors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have told Al Jazeera they hope to reduce the number of Ebola cases to zero by the end of the year. 

More than 2,000 people, including dozens of health workers, have died since the most recent outbreak last year. 

Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi reports from Mangina, where the first case was diagnosed.

Rockets Fired at Israel After Death of Militant Commander in Gaza


Spanish Election: Socialists Promise to Act Fast to Form Government


Ex-Bolivian President Evo Morales Accepts Political Asylum in Mexico


Lebanon Faces General Strike Amid Mounting Frustration


Southeastern France Rocked by 5.4-Magnitude Earthquake


Google Accesses Patient Data Via Deal with US Hospital System


Hong Kong Police Defend Shooting Protester, to Investigate Man Set on Fire


This report was published on YouTube on November 11. 

Global News: Hong Kong police defended an officer's decision to shoot a live round at a protester on Monday saying he was protecting himself as a protester was trying to grab his gun. 

The officer shot and wounded one protester who, hospital officials said, was in critical condition on Monday, as the Chinese-ruled territory spiralled into rare working-hours violence in its 24th straight week of pro-democracy unrest. 

Police also condemned the setting of fire of a man who was allegedly in disagreement with protesters. Videos circulating online and played in the news conference showed a man pouring petrol on another and setting him on fire (blurred).

Governor Cuomo Comments on Racist Graffiti Found at SU Residence Hall


Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at Flight 587 18th Annual Memorial Service


Some Renovations Move Ahead at The New York Public Library


This report was published on the PIX 11 News website on November 11.

New York’s Jails Are Failing. Is the Answer 3,600 Miles Away?

 
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Source: The New York Times

City and State (New York): The 2019 Nonprofit Power 100

 
Click here for the listing.

Incoming NYPD Commissioner Meets with Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network


This report was published on YouTube on November 11.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Remembering The Vietnam War: Combat


This video was published on September 26, 2017. 

Source: WDSE WRPT - PBS

Black Women Serve as Nurses in World War II


This video was published on YouTube on December 1, 2015.

Construction Begins on $17 Million Expansion of National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

 
Construction is beginning on a $17 million expansion of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in Orange County, not far from where George Washington first established the Badge of Military Merit, the inspiration for the modern Purple Heart. Located in New Windsor, a few miles from the Washington Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, the Hall of Honor is being expanded with almost 4,300 square feet of new and refurbished exhibit space, with an increased emphasis on stories of individual award recipients.

 "The Purple Heart is awarded to our country's bravest service members who were wounded or killed in combat while defending this state and this nation," Governor Cuomo said. "The expansion of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor will serve as a tribute to these men and women who have made our freedom possible and help ensure we never forget their service and sacrifice. This project will also honor the memory of Senator Larkin, a decorated war hero who spearheaded the establishment of this museum and dedicated 70 years of his life to public service."

Opened in 2006, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is the first facility in the nation dedicated to the estimated 1.8 million recipients of the Purple Heart, which is awarded to American military personnel who have been wounded or killed by enemy action.

The project will involve expanding the Hall of Honor to incorporate integrated audio-visual and media presentations, as well as museum-quality casework for each area with interpretive graphics, locally controlled lighting, touch-screen interactive monitors, and multiple large-format graphic displays. Once completed, the Hall will feature new exhibits that tell stories about joining the service, the day of the incident, field treatment and evacuation, the changing nature of warfare, the consequences of war, road to recovery and the ultimate sacrifice. The expanded exhibits will include more personal stories, interactive displays, and artifacts that highlight the experiences of featured Purple Heart recipients.

Click here and scroll down for the full announcement. If not listed, check the site a little later.

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

The Harlem Hellfighters and Their Historic Accomplishments


This report was published on YouTube on July 8, 2014.

Bob Parsons’ Marine Corps Birthday & Veterans Day Salute 2019


This video was published on YouTube on November 7.

Trump Speaks at Veterans Day Parade in New York


Bills Signed Enhancing Services and Bolstering Protections for New York Veterans


Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed a package of bills to enhance support and bolster protections for New Yorkers who serve or have served in the armed forces. The package consists of 14 bills that protect the rights of active duty military members and veterans in a number of areas, including access to education, employment, voting, discharge status protection, and general services and benefits.        

"Our veterans put their lives on the line to defend our nation, and we must honor them and support them just as they supported us," Governor Cuomo said. "This package of bills includes a wide range of protections and benefits to help ensure the veterans across our state get the services, educational and employment opportunities, and respect they have earned through their many sacrifices."     

Governor Cuomo's actions today build upon his longstanding commitment to the nearly 750,000 veterans living in New York State.  Under his administration, New York has enacted the nation's largest fund for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, certifying over 600 businesses to date; convened the State's first-ever Summit on Veterans and Military Families; launched the Justice for Heroes Initiative to fund legal clinics at law schools that provide assistance to veterans; provided funding for nonprofits that offer peer-to-peer support for veterans and their families; and waived the application fee for veterans taking Civil Service exams.  Governor Cuomo's efforts have made New York the most veteran-friendly state in America.
 
Click here for the full announcement.

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Mayor de Blasio Hosts Veterans Day Breakfast Reception


A Veteran's Day Salute from David N. Dinkins, former U.S. Marine and New York City Mayor


Every Veteran's Day, we salute our heroes and commemorate traditions that define those called to serve.  This Veteran's Day, I commend and salute members of all branches of the US Armed Services for their exceptional service to our country and the tremendous sacrifices they continue to make each day to guarantee the safety of this great nation. Because of their sacrifice, we, the people of the United States, will not succumb to fear, be held hostage by threats terror, or attacks on our cities or government.

It is important that we recognize the tremendous sacrifices that the families of these men and women make every day.  They, too, are heroes in service to our country as they endure the journey of those perilous roads with their unflagging dedication and commitment to their loved ones.  These families stand as a testament to the power of the human spirit and this great nation.

I salute as well as add my voice to the collective celebration of the 244th Birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps, the 54th Anniversary of the National Montford Point Marine Association, and the 52nd Anniversary of the New York Metropolitan Chapter - of which I am a proud member.

After a lifetime in public service, my experience as a Montford Point Marine has never failed to serve me. In the words of General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr, USMC of the 24th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps:

“The footprints of the Montford Point Marines were left on the beaches of Roi-Namur, Saipan, Guam, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.  The tides and winds have, long ago, washed them out into the seas of history; but, “The Chosen Few” in field shoes and canvas leggings, also left their marks in the firm concrete of Marine Corps history.  And as new generations of Marines learn to march in those footprints, their cadence assumes the proud stride of the men of Montford Point."

God Bless America and Semper Fidelis!

Brooklyn-Born Marine Corps Vet Now Makes His Own Museum-Quality Warships

Raymond Daughtry
 
Click here for the report.

Source: The New York Daily News

Stars Who've Served Our Country

Music icon Elvis Presley

Click here for the report.

Source: The New York Daily News

Why You Should Hire Veterans

 
Click here for the report. 

Source: The New York Daily News

Governor Cuomo Announces Commitment to Establish New York's First State Veteran's Cemetery

 
For the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the state's commitment to establish New York's first State Veterans Cemetery. The Governor will introduce legislation to streamline the process established to select and access federal funding for a State Veterans Cemetery. Additionally, a committee chaired by the Director of the NYS Division of Veterans' Services will work to develop an action plan and determine the location of the cemetery.

"We owe the men and women who served in our nation's military the greatest debt of gratitude — and we owe it to those who have passed away a place of rest in New York alongside their fellow service members," Governor Cuomo said. "By establishing the state's first veterans cemetery, we can provide a permanent monument to these heroes who've made our freedom possible and provide their family members — and people from across the state — a place to visit to honor their memories."

New York is one of only a few states nationwide that does not have a State Veterans Cemetery. Veterans and their families have advocated for the establishment of a State Veterans Cemetery for many years, but any site considered must first set aside 15 years' worth of perpetual care costs prior to moving forward with the selection process. That is why the Governor will introduce legislation to streamline the process for accessing federal funding necessary to move forward with the creation of the State Veterans Cemetery. The Governor also announced the creation of a committee, chaired by the Director of the NYS Division of Veterans' Services, that will oversee the development of the cemetery, including the site selection process that will determine the location of the cemetery.

New York State Division of Veterans' Services Director Colonel (U.S. Army, Ret.) Jim McDonough said, "New York's Veterans and their families earned the honor of having a revered and sacred final resting place. The creation of New York's State Veterans Cemetery Program delivers on the Governor's commitment to care for those who have served. In death, as in life, they deserve nothing less than our highest esteem and our everlasting tributes. I commend Governor Cuomo for establishing New York's first-ever state veterans cemetery program and keeping the commitment to those who serve our nation honorably."

The announcements build upon Governor Cuomo's longstanding commitment to the nearly 750,000 veterans living in New York State. Under his administration, New York has enacted the nation's largest fund for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, certifying over 600 businesses to date; convened the State's first-ever Summit on Veterans and Military Families; launched the Justice for Heroes Initiative to fund legal clinics at law schools that provide assistance to veterans; provided funding for nonprofits that offer peer-to-peer support for veterans and their families; and waived the application fee for veterans taking Civil Service exams. The state has also dedicated over $50 million to establishing supportive housing projects and other developments for homeless and at-risk veterans and their families throughout the state. Governor Cuomo's efforts have made New York the most veteran-friendly state in America.

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

SUNY and CUNY Will Waive Application Fees for Veterans and Their Spouses


Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced SUNY and CUNY will waive application fees for veterans and their spouses. Applicants are required to pay a fee ranging from $50 to $65 when applying to SUNY or CUNY campuses, and this measure will waive that fee for all veterans and their spouses for all state operated campuses. The Board of Trustees for both SUNY and CUNY will include resolutions on the agenda for their next board meetings to implement the change. The Governor also announced One World Trade Center, the Kosciuszko Bridge, the Alfred E. Smith building, SUNY Central, the State Education building and the State Fair Expo Center will be lit red, white and blue on Monday, November 11 in recognition of Veterans Day.

"Generations of New Yorkers have fought to preserve the freedoms and ideals of this state and nation at great personal sacrifice, and we must do everything we can to support them once they get home," Governor Cuomo said. "Waiving the SUNY and CUNY application fees for veterans and their spouses will help these brave men and women and their families take the next steps in adapting back to civilian life and will help ensure they have the tools they need to succeed. And in honor of all those who served in our nation's military, landmarks across the state will be lit in the colors of the American flag on Veterans Day as a reminder of their service, bravery and sacrifice."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "The least we can do for our servicemen and women who have served valiantly is to assist in any way possible with their education ambitions to study, learn and advance their lives.  I applaud Governor Cuomo for recommending this needed action that will serve as a constant reminder to our veterans that at SUNY we honor their service and sacrifice and we stand ready to provide the highest quality education as they transition into civilian life."

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, "CUNY is proud of the diversity and academic excellence that the more than 3,300 veterans enrolled in the university bring to our campuses. Extending the fee waiver to their spouses will represent an important addition to the roster of services and opportunities the university already provides its student-veterans. CUNY applauds Governor Cuomo for this worthy recognition of the contributions of veterans, not only to our country, but to our campus communities as well."

New York State Division of Veterans' Services Director Colonel (U.S. Army, Ret.) Jim McDonough said, "SUNY and CUNY are home to some of the largest student Veteran populations in the country. This is a testament to the value they bring to Veterans and their families who are advancing themselves through education. The elimination of application fees for those who have served and their spouses represents another way Governor Cuomo and New York are working to create an easy and affordable transition back home with this important measure."

Senator John E. Brooks, Chair of the Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, said, "It is a simple enough thing to honor military service with words but today we hope to demonstrate our appreciation with the deeds of a grateful public. By waving application fees for SUNY and CUNY institutions to New York veterans and their spouses, Governor Cuomo is providing an important head start on achieving higher education and success for our veterans in returning to civilian life."

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Friday, November 8, 2019

First Lady Melania Trump Visits Boston Medical Center

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

First Lady Melania Trump, joined by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, participates in a roundtable on Boston Medical Center’s Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Program, Nov. 6, 2019. 


First Lady Melania Trump poses for a photo with a mother and her 6-week-old baby participating in the SOFAR (Supporting Our Families through Addiction and Recovery) program.  


First Lady Melania Trump, joined by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and hospital staff, greets patients  during a tour of the pediatric wing.
 

Photos courtesy of Andrea Hanks.

S
ource: The Office of the First Lady