Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekly Address: "Made in America"

From a GM plant in Detroit, President Obama highlights the landmark trade agreements passed this week which will support tens of thousands of American jobs, level the playing field for American workers, and help us meet our goal of doubling our exports.

"Las Damas de Blanco" Leader Dies

Laura Pollán

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Death of Laura Pollan

The President's thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and colleagues of Laura Pollán, the founder of Las Damas de Blanco, who passed away Friday in Havana. Pollán and the quiet dignity of the Ladies in White have courageously voiced the core desire of the Cuban people and of people everywhere to live in liberty.

Through their brave actions, the Ladies in White draw attention to the plight of those who are unjustly held in Cuba's prisons and pushed Cuban authorities to release those political prisoners wrongly jailed in the Spring of 2003.

Since the beginning of the Administration we have worked to reach out to the Cuban people in support of their desire to freely determine their future and Cuba's future. We will continue that work in Pollán's memory.

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KC Bishop and Diocese Indicted for Porn Cover-Up

The dioceses of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Bishop Robert Finn are accused of failing to report child pornography in their church to officials.

By Erik Shute
Anchor: Christina Hartman
Link courtesy of

Key Piece of Health Care Law on Hold

Part of the president's health care overhaul called for a long-term care insurance plan. But insolvency concerns have put that part on hold.

By Christina Hartman
Anchor: Christina Hartman
Link courtesy of

G20 Split on Boosting IMF’s Role in Euro Crisis

Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) are proposing a plan to bolster the IMF’s firepower to finance Europe.

By Ruisha Qian
Anchor: Erica Coghill
Link courtesy of

Berlusconi Confidence Vote

Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi overcomes vote of no confidence but his government may not be able to tackle the country’s economic woes.

By Mikkel Noel Lansky
Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
Link courtesy of

British Defense Secretary Resigns Amid Scandal

British Defense Secretary Liam Fox resigns amid claims of an unethical relationship with a lobbyist and businessman.

By Adam Smith
Anchor: Christina Hartman
Link courtesy of

Court Blocks Alabama Immigration Law

A federal appeals court blocked several parts of the controversial Alabama immigration law HB 56.

By Lucia Lee
Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
Link courtesy of

Thailand Flood Disaster

Some 280 people have been killed and 8 million residents affected as Thailand faces its worst flooding in 50 years.

By Shelly Yang
Anchor: Christina Hartman
Link courtesy of

Congress Jobs Debate

There have been many plans to try and help the economy grow jobs, but none have passed Congress. So what's the real reason behind unemployment?

By Victoria Craig
Anchor: Victoria Craig
Link courtesy of

Cuomo Signs Agreement to Rebuild St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

"We Lost St. Nicholas Church in the Destruction of September 11"

Governor Andrew Cuomo, joined by Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward, representatives of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and St. Nicholas Parish and Majority Leader Dean Skelos, signed the agreement that permits the rebuilding of the Church with a nondenominational bereavement center at the east end of Liberty Park, at 130 Liberty Street.

The agreement follows a four-month independent engineering study commissioned by the Port Authority and the Archdiocese, which found that the Church could be built on the site with minor modifications to the original plan and with no impact on the World Trade Center construction schedule.

"We lost St. Nicholas Church in the destruction of September 11 and for too long its future has been uncertain," Governor Cuomo said.

"Rebuilding St. Nicholas Church, with a nondenominational bereavement center, is not just good news for the Greek Orthodox community, but for all New Yorkers. With this agreement, we are continuing New York's collective healing, restoration, and resurgence. Now we are finally returning this treasured place of reflection to where it belongs."

As a result of settlement discussions mediated by the Governor's office, the Port Authority and Archdiocese agreed to an independent engineering study to determine the feasibility of siting the Church at various locations in Liberty Park.

The four-month study was led by Peter Lehrer, a nationally renowned construction expert, who worked on the project on a pro bono basis with Director of World Trade Center Construction Steven Plate and independent engineers Gorton & Partners and McNamara/Salvia, Inc.

The study concluded that structural issues could be resolved to site the Church at 130 Liberty Street at significantly reduced cost compared to the original agreement and with no delay to construction at the World Trade Center site.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A "From The G-Man" Milestone: 1,000th Post for 2011

A Very Special Posting to Thank Supporters and an Extraordinary Woman

With two and a half months remaining in 2011, From The G-Man has experienced an amazing surge in readership and support. The numerous emails and phone calls I've received over the course of the year -- from elected officials, respected news veterans, aspiring journalists, family members and friends -- are a clear indication that my independent news and information site is doing what I intended from the very beginning, which is make a difference in media and the world.

Efforts to build, promote and gain a national audience has been extremely difficult, especially since From The G-Man is operated by one man. I realize the site will probably never reach the level of success as Matt Drudge's Drudge Report or Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post. Nonetheless, I will continue in my quest to provide vital news, information and commentary from a variety of sources because the times we're living in demand it... more than ever.

I'm elated to mark this statement as my 1,000th posting, but nothing makes me happier than knowing I have the support of many wonderful people I met in 2011. I don't take any of you or your stories for granted, and I thank you.

I also thank my mom, Mrs. Bertha Sutton; and my phenomenal three sisters, Linda, Tonya and Nejla Toms. They told me to never give up on my dream of building an independent news source, despite battling financial hardship and moments when it seemed as though I had no support, whatsoever. I love you, "fam".

Finally, I would like to thank someone that I consider to be an extraordinary woman on a number of levels. I had the pleasure of meeting her back in May of this year, and she is now one of my closest and most trusted friends. In many respects, she has changed my life and my world. Her compassion, encouragement and support are major reasons why The G-Man is still standing and fighting the good fight. I love you, Gissette.

Again, a very special thanks to all those who embraced From The G-Man in 2011. It has truly been a remarkable and rewarding experience. As always......stay cool.....stay safe....and stay informed!

Number image courtesy of

UAW President: 'The UAW Fully Supports This Trade Agreement'

Bob King

An Op-Ed by UAW President Bob King: UAW Backs Korea Trade Agreement

The op-ed was originally published in the Detroit Free Press

President Barack Obama and U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, a Royal Oak Democrat, should be commended for their effective efforts to substantially revise the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which Congress overwhelmingly approved Wednesday night. The UAW fully supports this trade agreement because the automotive provisions, which are very different from those negotiated by President George W. Bush in 2007, will create significantly greater market access for American auto exports and include strong, auto-specific safeguards to protect our domestic markets from potentially harmful surges of Korean automotive imports.

Unlike the 2007 negotiations with South Korea, the labor movement, and particularly the UAW, had an opportunity to be part of the 2010 discussions on strengthening the trade deal. Working with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and other members of the Obama administration, then-Ways and Means Committee Chairman Levin and top management from the auto companies, the UAW believes the new agreement will help protect current American auto jobs, contains meaningful trade law enforcement and makes stronger labor and environmental commitments.

Under the 2007 proposed agreement, almost 90% of Korea's auto exports to the U.S. would have received immediate duty-free access. Under the agreement passed this week, the 2.5% U.S. tariff on automobiles will stay in place until the fifth year after implementation of the agreement, and the 25% tariff on light trucks remains until the eighth year, when it starts to be phased out. Moreover, South Korea will immediately reduce its electric car tariffs from 8% to 4%, and will phase out the tariff by the fifth year of the agreement. The delay in tariff reductions will allow the domestic automakers time to strengthen their global competitive positions in both traditional and advanced energy efficient auto markets.

The agreement also includes standards for the protection of worker rights, including obligations for South Korea to respect core International Labor Organization labor rights and to effectively enforce labor laws designed to ensure a level playing field for American workers to compete.

Unlike China and many other Asian countries, South Korea has a robust trade-union movement that developed rapidly after the end of the military dictatorship. In fact, the UAW supported the organization of the Korean Metalworkers' Union, which now represents workers at Hyundai, Kia and the other Korean automakers. Combined with the labor provisions of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, our bilateral trading relationship will not be based on the exploitation of labor and the denial of trade union rights in either country.

President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will travel to Detroit today to highlight the deal's potential economic and employment benefits to the automotive sector and the overall American economy. The UAW strongly believes that the revised agreement, along with Obama's earlier financial assistance to the auto industry during the 2009 financial crisis, will not only support the nation's economic recovery, but will improve our economic relationship with South Korea and provide UAW members with the opportunity to make products for export to Asia.

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Rajaratnam Gets Longest Prison Term For Insider Trading

Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam was sentenced to eleven years in prison for insider trading.

By Noe Gandillot
Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
Link courtesy of

China's Export Growth Plummets, Bittersweet?

China's export growth of September dropped 7% compared to last month.

By Wen Yan
Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
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Inmates as Firefighters

A county in Georgia is considering letting prison inmates work as firefighters. But, the proposal has some fuming.

By Kim St. Onge
Anchor: Lauren Gores
Link courtesy of

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fast and Furious Subpoenas

New subpoena issued for personnel and documents related to botched "Fast and Furious" operation.

By Blake Hanson and Marc Steidler
Anchor: Blake Hanson
Link courtesy of

President Obama and President Lee Press Availability

President Obama and President Lee of South Korea hold a joint press availability in the East Room of the White House.

Remarks at the State Lunch in Honor of President Lee Myung-bak and First Lady Kim Yoon-ok

Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and 200 guests welcomed President Lee Myung-bak and First Lady Kim Yoon-ok to the Benjamin Franklin State Dinning Room of the State Department.

South Korea Official Visit Arrival Ceremony

President Obama, joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden, welcomes Lee Myung-Bak, President of the Republic of Korea to the White House for an official visit.

In Memoriam...Sergeant Nathan L. Wyrick

From the Executive Chamber of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Monday, October 17 in honor of a Fort Drum soldier who died in Afghanistan on October 10.

Sergeant Nathan L. Wyrick died in Kandahar province while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Wyrick was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd
Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team stationed at Fort Drum. Sergeant Wyrick was from Enumclaw, Washington.

"I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of Sergeant Wyrick and I extend my deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow soldiers," Governor Cuomo said.

"We will honor his service and his dedication to our country."

From The G-Man would like to honor Sergeant Nathan L. Wyrick, his love of country, and his service with the following video tribute. May he rest in peace.

Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

Spielberg, Hanks and Winfrey Join Forces to Support U.S. Troops

Stars Film Public Service Announcements for "Joining Forces" Initiative

Three beloved celebrities are lending their voices to Joining Forces, the initiative started by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr.Jill Biden to bring attention to the unique needs and strength of America’s military families.

Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg have each created public service announcements (PSAs) that tell real stories about America's military families and call on all Americans to give back to ensure service members and military families have the support they have earned.

"The entertainment community answered the Joining Forces call and has done what they do best -- bring to life stories that move us," said Mrs. Obama.

"Through this PSA campaign, Americans will learn more about the unique challenges and needs of our military families, see their strength, resilience and service, and find out how they can give back to these extraordinary troops and families who have given us so much."

The project was conceived by Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen, who leads the Inter-Guild Joining Forces Task Force, an entertainment industry coalition that provides creative and production support for Joining Forces.

Each of the PSAs tells the story of a military family as they endure the hardship of a deployment overseas. The PSAs will be airing on A + E, CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and WB networks.

Dr Biden, whose son served in Iraq, said, "As a military mom, I know just how much it means when people reach out to show their support for our service members and their families. The first lady and I hope that this campaign will inspire more Americans to take action and reach out to military families in their own communities around the country."

Videos courtesy of

Black Plague Genome Reconstructed Almost Entirely

New research indicates the pathogen that spread through Europe during the Black Plague is an almost genetic mirror of a strain that exists today.

By Lukas Udstuen
Anchor: Adam Falk
Link courtesy of

Biden: Unite the World Against Iran

Joe Biden says the world must unite against Iran in response to a foiled terrorist plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

By Jennifer Long
Anchor: Emily Spain
Link courtesy of

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

White House Briefs

President Obama at Forum on American Latino Heritage

The White House hosts an event to celebrate Latino culture and honor the contributions that so many Latinos have made to our nation.

Obama: 'Tonight's Vote, with Bipartisan Support, Will Significantly Boost Exports That Bear the Proud Label "Made in America"'

Statement by the President on the Passage of Trade Agreements and Trade Adjustment Assistance

The landmark trade agreements and assistance for American workers that passed tonight are a major win for American workers and businesses. I’ve fought to make sure that these trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama deliver the best possible deal for our country, and I’ve insisted that we do more to help American workers who have been affected by global competition. Tonight’s vote, with bipartisan support, will significantly boost exports that bear the proud label “Made in America,” support tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs and protect labor rights, the environment and intellectual property. American automakers, farmers, ranchers and manufacturers, including many small businesses, will be able to compete and win in new markets. I look forward to signing these agreements, which will help achieve my goal of doubling American exports and keeping America competitive in the 21st century.

Meeks: 'With Passage of These Agreements, We Leveled the Field for American Businesses'

Congressman Lauds the Passage of Colombia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreement and Renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee today voted in favor of free-trade agreements (FTA) between the United States and Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, and renewal of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA) for those who may be displaced by trade.

“With passage of these agreements we leveled the playing field for American businesses so that they have access to the markets of these important allies and can then create more jobs here at home. These agreements will lead to billions in exports added to the United States economy. The Korea agreement alone is estimated to increase U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $10 billion once fully implemented, and that estimate does not take into full account the impact of the reduction of barriers to trade in services and to foreign investment flows and the impact of changes in regulations as a result of the KORUS FTA,” said Congressman Meeks.

Representative Meeks continued by stating, “Deepening our ties in our hemisphere and in Asia is not only the right thing to do; it is the strategically smart thing to do for our country’s economic prosperity and long-term security. I voted for these agreements with a sense of urgency because, while we have been waiting on passage of the agreements South Korea, has moved forward on trade with Europe, and Colombia and Panama are moving forward on several bilateral agreements of their own with Canada, China and others. The economic costs of not acting up to this point are astounding.”

Nearly 40 million jobs in the U.S. depend on trade, and thousands of those jobs are in New York’s Sixth Congressional District.

“As a representative of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), I also represent foreign freight forwarders and brokers that are responsible for the movement of goods throughout our region and nation, and many financial services sector workers who understand the linkage between their jobs and the global market place,” noted Meeks.

“Thousands of families in my district depend on increased trade of goods and services for their economic survival. Over 10,000 jobs in my district are directly supported by exports alone; many more depend on two way trade directly or indirectly. Not since the early 19th century have exports been more important to the U.S. as we look to recover from the financial crisis,” added Meeks.

The Obama Administration improved all three agreements by addressing critical issues. The Administration secured greater U.S. access to South Korea’s auto market; enhanced tax transparency in Panama; and advanced worker protections and labor rights in Colombia with an agreed upon action plan.

Several organized labor groups in Colombia have made public statements about the importance of the Labor Action Plan on the ground in Colombia. The Administration has been clear that Colombia must continue to honor the plan, and must successfully implement key elements before the trade agreement can enter into force.

Significantly, enhancements by the administration facilitated broad support of the U.S.-South Korea agreement including support from United Auto workers, and the big three auto makers.

TAA is traditionally in tandem with trade agreement passage and is designed to help workers, firms and farmers transition to alternative employment by providing training and economic support for workers who are negatively affected by trade. A crucial aspect of the bill is the coverage of American workers in the services sector where most Americans are employed.

Disaster Averted!

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Readout of the President's Call with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

President Obama spoke to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia today about the successful disruption of the Iranian-directed conspiracy to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Washington, DC.

The President and the King agreed that this plot represents a flagrant violation of fundamental international norms, ethics, and law.

They also praised the work of intelligence and law enforcement agencies that led to the disruption of this plot, and reiterated the joint commitment on the part of the United States and Saudi Arabia to pursue a strong and unified international response that holds those responsible accountable for their actions.

Finally, the President and the King reaffirmed the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Photo source: Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOPUS)
Author: EOPUS
Permission: EOPUS

Addabbo Seeks to Legalize Full Casino Gaming in Queens

Polls Show Majority of New Yorkers Support Amending New York State Constitution to Allow Casino Gambling

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) has indicated that intends to work towards beginning the process of legalizing full casino gaming at Resorts World in Queens, ‘similar to those in Atlantic City and Las Vegas’, following the release of a recent Quinnipiac University poll of New Yorkers who support full casino gaming: 56 percent vs. 37 percent of NYS and NYC voters overall support casinos; 58 percent vs. 36 percent in the suburbs, and 54 percent vs. 37 percent upstate.

A more recent Siena College poll found that 57 percent of New Yorkers surveyed would allow non-Indian-run casinos to be built around the state, compared with 36 percent opposed. All groups support casinos, with the strongest support, 61-32 percent, among voters with a union member in the household.

Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos and most recently, Democrat Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, have all indicated their support as well.

"Rather than see the money keep going to Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indian casinos upstate, in this stagnant economy I believe we must start the process, including public input, for the expansion of VLT racinos into full casino gaming to increase our revenues and to boost education initiatives,” Addabbo stated.

The senator is working with the operators of Resorts World, the racino at Aqueduct, to ensure a partnership that benefits the surrounding communities exists for many years.

There are even programs in place in order to work with those in the community who believe they have a gambling addiction and need assistance.

“There is much more to offer at Resorts World than just gambling,” Addabbo added.

“People can go there to enjoy the restaurants, live entertainment, food court, buffet, and eventually, other amenities.”

Addabbo wants to initiate the discussion in Albany to advance the New York State Constitutional change to allow full gaming. That process requires the measure to be voted on by the State Legislature and once it is passed in two consecutive sessions, it is followed by a vote by the public in a referendum.

“The smart bets are that voters would want to amend the NYS Constitution and 'let the games begin' -- making it a win-win situation for the economy of our state and for our people," Addabbo said.

From The G-Man posed a series of questions on this issue, and Senator Addabbo offered the following comments.

G-Man: For those that may not be aware, what does the New York State Constitution state regarding casino gambling?

Senator Addabbo: Gambling is prohibited in New York State, unless on American-Indian reservation/land.

G-Man: Why have previous attempts to amend the regulation failed?

Senator Addabbo: Unsure, but, as previously noted, recent polls state most New Yorkers favor a Constitutional amendment to allow full gaming.

G-Man: Some say Atlantic City has proved to be a successful venture, while others cite the alarming and undeniable increase in crime, homelessness, poverty and unemployment in the area. Are you concerned that the same thing will happen if casinos are built in Queens?

Senator Addabbo:
I am concerned about many related issues, and I intend to address them all, once the casino is operational.

G-Man: In the past, community activists have opposed bringing casinos to Queens because of the specter of organized crime. Will their concerns be taken into consideration as you move forward with efforts to amend the regulation?

Senator Addabbo: I intend to work with the NYS Lottery Division, Genting and other governmental agencies to ensure the legitimacy of Resorts World.

G-Man: If successful in your bid and casinos are allowed to be built in Queens, how many long-term jobs are likely to be created?

Senator Addabbo: An additional 500-1500 jobs, not including those created with future growth: for example, a convention center.

G-Man: Will those jobs be offered solely to people within your district?

Senator Addabbo: The open application process allows anyone regardless of residence to apply for jobs there.

G-Man: When you served in the City Council, you represented the Rockaways, which has been mentioned as a potential casino site for years. Would you be in favor of having casinos built in the Rockaways, too?

Senator Addabbo: I am in favor of an open and transparent process which includes public input with regard to future casino sites.

G-Man: Taking a rough guess, how much revenue would Queens casinos generate for the state and what do you suspect would be done with the money?

Senator Addabbo: Since Resorts World is the first of its kind in the city, revenues are difficult to predict. A certain portion of the monies from the casino get allocated to the education provisions in the state budget and also to its General Fund.

G-Man: What SHOULD be done with the money generated from Queens casinos?

Senator Addabbo: I will work toward funding going to the communities from Resorts World.

G-Man: With thousands of people losing jobs and other income sources, and no clear indication of when the economy will pick up, why do you believe this is a good time to push this initiative?

Senator Addabbo: At this single site, approximately 1500 construction jobs and 1500 post-construction jobs were created for Phase I of Resorts World, with additional job openings to follow.