Saturday, August 15, 2015

Continuing Work To Improve Community Policing

In this week's address, the President spoke about the work the Administration is doing to enhance trust between communities and law enforcement in the year since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

West Wing Week: 8/14/15 or

This week, we sat down with senior administration officials to take a look back at some of the history-making moments of recent months that illuminated the fabric of America.

The U.S. Re-Opens Our Embassy in Havana, Cuba

Friday, August 14, 2015

Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush at the Iowa State Fair

Republican 2016 presidential candidate and former Governor Jeb Bush (FL) spoke at the Des Moines Register Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. Iowa traditionally holds the nation’s first presidential caucus.

Source: C-Span

Senator Marco Rubio Remarks on Foreign Policy

2016 presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) discusses his strategy to deal with tyrannical regimes at an event hosted by the Foreign Policy Initiative in New York City.

Source: C-Span

The U.S. Foster Care System

Rob Geen, Policy Reform and Advocacy Director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation,  talked about the U.S. foster care system, which included over 400,000 individuals in 2013, and efforts to reform the system.

Source: C-Span

D.C. Circuit Court Dismisses Immigration Lawsuit

Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz

We are pleased that the D.C. Circuit did not allow Sheriff Arpaio's lawsuit to stand in the way of commonsense measures to advance public safety and bring greater accountability to our immigration system. The court correctly recognized that the Constitution does not permit federal courts to hear lawsuits that rest on baseless speculation.  As the district court properly observed, the deferred action programs that Sheriff Arpaio challenged represent the “valid exercise of prosecutorial discretion.” We will continue to work toward resolving the legal challenges so that the Administration can move forward with implementing all of the President's commonsense immigration policies.  

Source: The White House Press Office

Joint Statement: 2015 United States--India Cyber Dialogue

To increase global cybersecurity and promote the digital economy, the United States and India have committed to robust cooperation on cyber issues. To that end, the United States and India met at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC on August 11 and 12 for the 2015 U.S.-India Cyber Dialogue.

The whole-of-government Cyber Dialogue, fourth in the series, was led by the U.S. Cybersecurity Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President Michael Daniel and by India’s Deputy National Security Advisor Arvind Gupta. The Department of State Coordinator for Cyber Issues Christopher Painter and the Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary for Policy Planning, Counterterrorism, and Global Cyber Issues Santosh Jha co-hosted the Dialogue. U.S. whole-of-government participation included the Departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Commerce. The Indian government was represented by the National Cyber Security Coordinator at the National Security Council Secretariat, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.

The delegations discussed a range of cyber issues including cyber threats, enhanced cybersecurity information sharing, cyber incident management, cybersecurity cooperation in the context of “Make in India,” efforts to combat cybercrime, Internet governance issues, and norms of state behavior in cyberspace.

The two delegations identified a variety of opportunities for increased collaboration on cybersecurity capacity-building, cybersecurity research and development, combatting cybercrime, international security, and Internet governance, and intend to pursue an array of follow-on activities to bolster their cybersecurity partnership and achieve concrete outcomes.

In addition to the formal Dialogue, the delegations met with representatives from the private sector to discuss issues related to cybersecurity and the digital economy. The Indian delegation also met with Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco.

The two countries decided to hold the next round of the Cyber Dialogue in Delhi in 2016.
Source: The White House Press Office

White House Responds to Japanese Prime Minister's Statement on the 70th Anniversary of the End of World War II

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price

We welcome Prime Minister Abe’s expression of deep remorse for the suffering caused by Japan during the World War II era, as well as his commitment to uphold past Japanese government statements on history. We also value Prime Minister Abe’s assurances of Japan’s intent to expand upon its contributions to international peace and prosperity in the years ahead.  For 70 years Japan has demonstrated an abiding commitment to peace, democracy, and the rule of law.  This record stands as a model for nations everywhere.

Statement on Lisa Monaco’s Meeting with Indian
Deputy National Security Advisor Dr. Arvind Gupta
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Lisa Monaco, met with Indian Deputy National Security Advisor Dr. Arvind Gupta in conjunction with the United States-India Cyber Dialogue.  The leaders discussed a wide range of issues including cybersecurity, enhanced law enforcement cooperation, and U.S.-India collaboration against Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and other terrorist threats.  Building on the commitment that President Obama and Prime Minister Modi made in New Delhi in January to make the U.S.-India partnership “a defining counterterrorism relationship for the 21st Century,” they agreed to deepen their already close collaboration on these issues.

Source: The White House Press Office 

NY Elected Officials and Livery Taxi Leaders to Meet on Monday August 17

A meeting including elected officials and leaders of different organizations from the Livery and Green Car Taxi Industry will take place on Monday, August 17, 2015 starting at 9AM at the Christian Community Neighborhood Church located at 1437 Longfellow Avenue (between Jennings and Freeman Avenues) in Bronx County.  

According to Senator Diaz "This meeting is exclusive – by invitation only – to the leaders of organizations that deal with the taxi industry will hear from experts from all sides of the spectrum to discuss the current status of New York City’s efforts to cap the taxi industry and to see that it includes protection of the livery industry."

Among the elected officials who have confirmed their attendance are: State Senators Ruben Diaz and Adriano Espaillat, Assemblymembers Marcos Crespo, Luis Sepulveda and Victor Pichardo. NYC Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Merra Joshi has also confirmed her participation. 

Source: Press Office, New York State Senator Ruben Diaz 

"Flashback Friday": Walter Cronkite Announces President Nixon's Resignation (1974)

Bonus Video: President Nixon Resigns from Office

Trailblazers in Black History: Gordon Parks, Photographer

Today in History: August 14th

Girls Lured to Meet Online Stranger in Shocking Social Experiment

The provocative YouTube video aims to show how easily teenage girls can be lured into meeting strangers.

Parents of Teen Killed in Drug Sting: 'He Murdered Our Son'

Police say 19-year-old Zachary Hammonds tried to run over an officer, causing them to open fire.

Kelly Rutherford Speaks Out About Her International Custody Battle

Iraq War Questions Dog Jeb Bush at Iowa State Fair

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush took to the Iowa State Fair's famed soapbox on Friday where he faced more tough questions about his brother's presidency and current instability in Iraq.

The soapbox is a rite of passage for candidates competing in the Iowa caucuses, and the crowd is often filled with Republicans, Democrats and, at times, protesters. The former Florida governor, who has spent this week tying the policies promoted by President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the rise of ISIS, faced pointed questions about President George W. Bush's role in creating instability in the region.

One questioner wanted to know why Bush has retained Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the Iraq war, as a foreign policy adviser. 

Full article and video available here: Iraq War Questions Dog Jeb Bush...

Source: NBC News 

Connecticut Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Unconstitutional

Judges declared capital punishment to be unconstitutional for all death row inmates. The ruling comes three years after the state abolished the death penalty.

American Flag Flies at Embassy in Cuba for First Time Since 1961

The American flag was hoisted Friday over the U.S. Embassy in Cuba for the first time in more than half a century, marking the end of a Cold War-era diplomatic freeze between two countries 90 miles apart.

"We are gathered here because our leaders made a courageous decision to stop being prisoners of history," Secretary of State John Kerry declared. He is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the communist island since World War II.

"My friends, it doesn't take a GPS to realize that the road of mutual isolation and estrangement that the United States and Cuba were traveling is not the right one and that the time has come for us to move in a more promising direction," Kerry said. "In the United States, that means recognizing that U.S. policy is not the anvil on which Cuba's future will be forged." 

Full article and corresponding videos available here: American Flag Flies at Embassy....

U.N. Warns of Mounting Political Crisis in Burundi

Reuters, 14/08 16:44 CET

GENEVA (Reuters) – Burundi’s leaders need to renounce violence and resume their dialogue to prevent the country’s political crisis from escalating, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday.

Tensions have been high in the central African state since late April when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term in office, a move his opponents and Western powers said violated the constitution and which triggered a failed coup in May.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a news briefing in Geneva that at least 96 people had been killed since the start of election-related violence in April.

Full article available here: U.N. Issues Warning 

Source: Euronews

Nuclear and Biochemical Experts Arrive at Scene of Tianjin Explosion

Source: Euronews

Greece: Bailout Approved But Syriza is Divided

Source: Euronews

Tianjin Blasts: Relatives Anxiously Await News of Dozens Still Missing

By Sarah Joanne Taylor | With XINHUA, REUTERS

Source: Euronews

Kos: Migrants Head for Greek Mainland, While Thousands Wait to Be Registered

Source: Euronews

Japan’s Abe Gives No Fresh Apology on WWII Anniversary

Source: Euronews

Poland’s President Criticises NATO for Treating Country Like ‘Buffer Zone’

Source: Euronews

Red Cross Reunites Lost Refugee Children with Families in Rwanda

Source: Euronews

Turkey PM: Prospect of Snap Election ‘Increasing’ After Failed Coalition Talks

Source: Euronews

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ukraine: An Update on the Conflict (August, 2015)


With the Ceasefire Violated and Russia Banning Imported Food, Editor of "The Ukrainian Weekly" Says Options Are Limited for President Putin


These Videos May Contain Copyrighted (©) Material. The Use of Which Has Not Always Been Specifically Authorized by The Copyright Owner. Such Material is Made Available to Advance Understanding of Ecological, Political, Human Rights, Economic, Democracy, Scientific, Moral, Ethical, Social Justice Issues, Teaching, and Research. It is believed that this Constitutes a ''Fair Use'' of Any Such Copyrighted Material as Provided For in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In Accordance With Title - 17 U.S.C. Section 107, This Material is Distributed Without PROFIT to Those Who Have Expressed a Prior General Interest in Receiving Similar Information For Research and Educational Purposes. For More Information:


Joining me once again to provide the latest information on the crisis in Ukraine is Matthew Dubas, editor of nationally-distributed publication The Ukrainian Weekly. The newspaper is also distributed throughout Canada and serves as a major source of news and information for the Ukrainian community in America and abroad.

Mr. Dubas has reported on many of the country’s political and social conflicts and worked with ambassadors, politicians, policy advisors, activists and scholars on a range of issues concerning Ukraine.

The interview was conducted on August 11, 2015.

Information pertaining to this episode is available through the following link:

The Ukrainian Weekly website:

Cuomo Signs Bill to Honor Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed legislation to rename several bridges and portions of the state highway system in honor of three New York law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.

“These exceptional law enforcement professionals paid the ultimate price while working to protect their neighbors and their communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This legislation memorializes their service and will ensure their sacrifice and commitment will always be remembered.”

Police Officer Arthur Lopez Memorial Bridge: A portion of the highway system on the Cross Island Parkway, New York Route 907-A, between Exits 26 and 27 in Nassau and Queens Counties will be renamed the “Police Officer Arthur Lopez Memorial Bridge” (S.4836-A/A.6611-A). Police Officer Lopez was a nine-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department who served with distinction. While working in the department’s Emergency Services Unit, the 29-year old officer was shot and killed on Oct. 23, 2012 by the subject of an investigation.

Senator Jack M. Martins said, “Heroes like Arthur Lopez, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, must never be forgotten. This is a fitting tribute that will help ensure he is always remembered by the communities he gave his life to protect. I thank my colleagues in the legislature and Governor Cuomo for working together to honor Officer Lopez' heroism and service to the residents of Nassau County.”

Assemblywoman Michelle Solages said, "Police Officer Arthur Lopez was a rising star in the Nassau County Police Department. I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this bill that will establish a permanent memorial to a young man that made the ultimate sacrifice. This memorial will serve as a constant reminder to all New Yorkers of his heroism and valor as he gave his life to serve and protect the community." 

Deputy Sheriff Glenn Searles Memorial Bridge: A portion of the highway system on New York State Route 481 between Exits 5 and 6 in the town of Dewitt, Onondaga County, will be renamed the “Deputy Sheriff Glenn Searles Memorial Bridge” (S.5335-A/A.7359-A). Deputy Sheriff Searles was struck and killed by a vehicle on I-481 in 2003 while attempting to assist a stranded motorist in a snowstorm. Searles had served as an investigator with the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office before reaching his goal of becoming a deputy sheriff.

Senator David Valesky said, “Deputy Sheriff Searles lost his life while simply trying to help a citizen in distress,” Sen. Valesky said. “By designating a portion of I-481 as the ‘Deputy Sheriff Glenn Searles Memorial Bridge,’ his life of public service will be honored and remembered in a public way.”

Assemblyman Al Stirpe said, “Deputy Searles devoted his career and his life to keeping the citizens of Onondaga County safe from harm. Unfortunately, these selfless actions ultimately led to his passing. We are forever grateful for his devotion to public safety. This bridge will serve as a daily reminder of his bravery and heroism and ensure his service to our community will not be forgotten.”

Trooper Christopher G. Skinner Memorial Bridge: The northbound and southbound bridges on Interstate 81 crossing U.S. Route 11 at Exit 7 in the town of Chenango, Broome County, will be renamed the “Trooper Christopher G. Skinner Memorial Bridge” (S.3468-A/A.5239-A). Trooper Skinner was intentionally struck and killed on May 29, 2014 while issuing a traffic ticket on Interstate 81 between Exits 6 and 7 in Chenango. He was assigned to the New York State Police Traffic Incident Management detail, which was created to ensure the safety of construction workers and motorists in highway work zones in New York State.

Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch said, "I want to thank the governor for signing this bill and recognizing one of our fallen law enforcement officers. The fact is, law enforcement is out there every day risking their lives, making sure that the public is safe. We are talking about people’s lives, and the death of any family member has a lasting impact. This legislation is but a small token of appreciation and gratitude that we can show to honor and remember Trooper Skinner, and also to thank him for his dedication and service in keeping our state, communities, and families safer.”

Governor Signs Bill Prohibiting Smoking Near After-School Programs 

Governor Cuomo also signed legislation to protect children across New York State from exposure to second-hand smoke. The bill prohibits individuals from smoking near schools while after-school programs are in operation.

“This commonsense measure will help protect children from the dangerous effects of second-hand smoke and complements ongoing efforts that have resulted in smoking in New York hitting an all-time low," Governor Cuomo said. “I thank the sponsors for their efforts to make this a stronger and healthier New York."

This bill (S.993-A/A.5917-A) expands the ban on smoking within 100 feet of the entrances, exits or outdoor areas of public and private schools to prohibit smoking during after-school programs. The ban would be in effect only during those hours in which the after-school programs are in session. Residences or residential property within the 100 foot perimeter would be excluded from the new law's smoking ban. In addition, the new law requires such programs to post signs specifying the times at which smoking is prohibited.

Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “I commend Governor Cuomo for signing into law this bill to ensure that children in our communities are not subjected to the dangers of second hand smoking when entering or exiting their after school programs. After school programs should be safe learning spaces and Assemblymember Pichardo and I will continue to work hard to safeguard our community’s public health.”

Assemlymember Victor Pichardo said, “I am elated at the news of this bill’s passage. It is critical that we do everything we can to protect the health of our children, and I want to thank the Governor for signing this important legislation into law. With the help of Speaker Carl Heastie, Senator Gustavo Rivera and my colleagues, our children will no longer be exposed to the harmful and dangerous effects of secondhand smoke while participating in after-school activities that enrich their lives.”

Bill to Assist Grandchildren of Homicide Victims Signed by Cuomo 

Additionally, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that will expand services from the state to the grandchildren of homicide victims, who will now be able to receive reimbursement for counseling expenses. This expanded eligibility takes effect immediately for claims filed from today onward, and applies to grandchildren of any age.

“This new law extends compassion and care for those left in the wake of horrific and tragic circumstances," Governor Cuomo said. “I thank the sponsors of this bill for their hard work in ensuring that more New Yorkers will have the opportunity to get help during a difficult and painful time in their lives."

The state, through the Office of Victim Services, is committed to providing compensation to innocent victims of crime and will do so for certain eligible out-of-pocket losses associated with the crime. New York is the only state in the nation that has no limit on the reimbursement to crime victims or their family members seeking compensation for counseling – meaning eligible individuals can receive help as long as they need it.

This bill (S.5956 / A.8235) expands the eligibility requirements to include grandchildren for this counseling reimbursement, which is already available to most other family members, such as parents, stepparents, siblings and spouses, among others.

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan said, “As a former State Trooper and Sheriff of Erie County and current chair of the Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction, I have seen firsthand how the family of homicide victims are impacted by such acts of violence. The counseling services reimbursed by the Office of Victim Services are critically important and should be offered to all of the victim’s immediate family members, including grandchildren.”

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “It is difficult to imagine the pain that a family goes through when a member is a victim of homicide. Mothers, fathers, children, and grandchildren alike should all be able to seek counseling or therapy, and that is why I was honored to sponsor this bill to bring that service to those who have lost a grandparent. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this bill, which will help more New Yorkers throughout the grieving process and find solace after a tragic loss.”

Last year, the Office of Victim Services provided more than $20 million in compensation to crime victims and/or their family members. Funding for crime victims’ compensation and the cost of the agency’s day-to-day operations comes entirely from the fines, mandatory surcharges and crime victim assistance fees that certain offenders must pay following conviction in New York State or federal courts. Those fines and fees also fund nearly all of the $36.2 million provided to 228 victim assistance programs across the state.

Under state and federal law, those eligible for assistance must be innocent victims of crime. An award can be reduced or denied if the state determines that a victim’s conduct contributed to their injuries. In addition, the agency is a payer of last resort: all other sources of compensation must be exhausted before the agency can assist a victim or their family. For example, benefits must first be obtained from health or other insurance policies or workers’ compensation before the agency can provide assistance.

For more information about services offered by the Office of Victims Services, including eligibility guidelines and a list of victim assistance programs that provide direct help, such as counseling and crisis intervention, advocacy and legal assistance, to crime victims across all 62 counties in New York, visit or call 1-800-247-8035.

Source: Press Office,, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo  

'The Silencing': How the Left is Killing Free Speech

Washington Journal: Author Kirsten Powers discusses her book, The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech, about what she says are liberal attempts to shut down debate on a variety of topics.

Video link: "The Silencing" 

Source: C-Span

NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on the Explosion in Tianjin

At this time of tragedy, the United States extends its heartfelt condolences to the Chinese people over the deadly explosion that occurred on August 12 in Tianjin.  Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and with China's first responders who are working to help those who were injured.

Source: The White House Press Office

Cuomo Requests Federal Waiver for Superstorm Sandy Homeowners

Governor Andrew Cuomo today requested that U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Castro use his executive discretion to waive the Duplications of Benefits regulation for homeowners affected by Superstorm Sandy. Unless waived, the regulation would require impacted New Yorkers who will now be receiving additional funds from FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program as a result of recent legal settlements to pay back funds granted to them by NY Rising.

“Waiving this requirement not just smart policy – it’s the right thing to do,” said Governor Cuomo. “In a matter of days, Superstorm Sandy turned millions of lives upside down, and many people are continuing to put back the pieces of what was lost. They deserve our full support, and I am urging HUD Secretary Castro to help us build back better.”

“Governor Cuomo’s long term recovery efforts for Sandy, Irene and Lee, have been extremely successful, in part because of New York State’s strong, productive partnership with HUD,” said Jamie Rubin, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal. “Waiving the duplication of benefits requirement in these cases is public policy that makes sense for both the Federal and State government, in terms of time, money and precious resources, which must continue to be directed to rebuilding resilient communities. Importantly, our mission is also to quickly and effectively serve the homeowners who live in these communities and experienced Sandy’s devastating effects first-hand, which we believe is best accomplished by sparing them additional hardship.”

“Enforcing the Duplications of Benefits requirement in this instance is patently unfair to these particular Superstorm Sandy victims, who have already waited long enough to be adequately compensated for their storm damage,” said Lisa Bova-Hiatt, Interim Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. “It is clear there is no reasonable procedure for administering these funds and the cost in both staff time and resources allocated far outweigh any potential recoupment New York State might achieve on behalf of HUD.”

Federal storm recovery funds granted through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery program to regions affected by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee are regulated by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act ensuring that homeowners do not receive multiple federal benefits for the same purpose.

The NY Rising Housing Recovery program has provided nearly $800 million to approximately 11,000 homeowners in accordance with these guidelines, deducting federal funding including FEMA and National Flood Insurance Program grants from the total NY Rising award, before homeowners complete the program.

Recent legal challenges to FEMA/NFIP and new cases brought before FEMA for reassessment, will now require homeowners who receive settlements or additional monies, to potentially return funds to the NY Rising program. This process would create an administrative burden to numerous government agencies, and pose a significant financial burden and additional delay to homeowners who have suffered for nearly three years while recovering from this devastating storm.

The Stafford Act permits the waiver of the Duplications of Benefits requirements when the head of an agency considers it to be in the best interests of the federal government. There are 902 individuals in New York State who have sued FEMA to receive an additional flood insurance payout totaling more than $45 million, as part of the NFIP.

Average awards for homeowners are approximately $20,000, with as much as 60 percent deducted for attorney fees and expenses. Further mandatory deductions potentially include payments to homeowners’ mortgage companies, the Small Business Administration to payback post-storm loans, as well as other third party lenders, grantors and insurers. Once these repayments are established on a case-by-case basis, NY Rising would then have to recalculate each of the 902 recovery awards, and then deduct the settlement balance, which could range from $0 to $8,000, as a duplication of benefits. The recoupment to New York State is potentially less that the cost of administering this process, which is estimated at $1.5 million in staff time and resources.

Moreover, there are at least 3,900 individuals in New York who have asked FEMA to re-open their NFIP claims, hoping for an additional NFIP award. If these individuals receive additional NFIP funds, they will be also be subject to paying legal fees, mortgage companies and the Small Business Administration first, as well as all of the other third parties mentioned.

Source: Press Office, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Stop the Violence Movement - 'Self Destruction' (Old School Hip-Hop Message)

Published on YouTube on Aug 6, 2012

Featuring: BDP, Stetsasonic, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Doug Fresh, Just-Ice, Heavy D, Chuck D, Flavour Flav - Self Destruction

Link to the Official Old School Hip Hop page on facebook:

The Stop the Violence Movement was begun by rapper KRS-One in 1989 in response to violence in the hip hop and African American communities.

In 1988, during a concert by Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy, a young fan was killed in a fight. The killing occurred shortly after Scott La Rock, a founding member of Boogie Down Productions, was killed in a shooting. KRS-One responded to these tragedies by forming the Stop the Violence Movement, to advance a vision of hip hop that would restore hip hop's "original principles" to the music industry.

Trailblazers in Black History: Nina Simone, Jazz Icon

Published on YouTube on Feb 21, 2014

Black History Mini Docs presents NINA SIMONE.

There was truly no one like Nina Simone. She composed over 500 songs, recorded almost 60 albums. First woman to win the Jazz Cultural Award "Woman of the Year" 1966. In the 1960s, Nina Simone was part of the civil rights movement and later the black power movement. Her songs are considered as anthems of those movements.

Today in History: August 13th

Donald Trump Responds to Rand Paul's Attack Ad: 'He's a Mess'

An ad for Sen. Rand Paul used video of Donald Trump's saying, "I probably identify more as a Democrat."

Locked Up for Life on a Nonviolent Drug Bust

Former federal judge who imposed Weldon Angelos's 55-year prison sentence says the case still haunts him.

Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed in Police Killing of Tony Robinson

The family of an unarmed 19-year-old man fatally shot by a Wisconsin police officer in March on Wednesday filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, accusing the officer of acting unconstitutionally and lying to investigators.

Tony Terrell Robinson Jr. was shot and killed by Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny on March 6, after police said Kenny responded to a report of a possible battery, entered a home where he believed an assault was taking place, and was then allegedly attacked by Robinson in a stairwell. The shooting sparked protests amid claims of excessive use of police force.

"At no point during Tony Robinson's encounter with Defendant Kenny did Robinson take any action that would justify the use of deadly force," the lawsuit reads. The suit names Kenny and the city of Madison as defendants. 

Full article and accompanying video available here: Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed... 

Source: NBC News

US Ambassador Becomes Face of Vietnam's LGBT Evolution

Since assuming his post late last year, Osius and his husband, Clayton Bond, have become public figures in the LGBT advocacy community in Vietnam, where same-sex activity is already legal, but cultural norms in some regions are still catching up to the country's policies.

Many Southeast Asian countries still have laws criminalizing homosexual sex, including Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, as well as some Indonesian provinces. A 2015 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association found that Brunei, a small Southeast Asian nation bordering Malaysia, is planning to phase in a Shariah Penal Code Order by the end of 2016 "at which point the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual behavior is due to apply." 

Full article available here: US Ambassador..... 

Cubans Awaiting Better Economy As Relationship With U.S. Changes

HAVANA, Cuba - Yoanny Amaro says she is optimistic that the upcoming U.S. embassy opening will bring improvements in commerce, international relations and on a personal level, easier ties between Cubans here and their loved ones in the U.S.

But what looms large for the 42-year-old orthodontist and dental implant specialist is whether better U.S.-Cuba relations will eventually translate to an improved local economy - and more money in her extremely stretched paycheck.

Black, Hispanic Kids Targeted by Ads for Soda and High-Calorie Foods

Black and Hispanic kids are disproportionately targeted by ads for sugary sodas, snacks and calorie-laden restaurant foods, researchers reported Tuesday.

They say their report confirms what public health experts have suspected for years — that advertisers of junk foods find a lucrative audience among minorities.

And the researchers who wrote the report say it helps explain why black and Hispanic kids are more likely to be obese than their white peers. 

Full article and video available here: Black, Hispanic Kids Targeted.... 

Unauthorized Drone Reports Soaring Into the Clouds, FAA Says

Airplane and helicopter pilots are being beset by drones, and the Federal Aviation Administration wants them to buzz off.

Pilots' reports of unmanned aircraft this year have already more than doubled all of the reports filed last year, the FAA said Wednesday — from 238 in all of 2014 to more than 650 from Jan. 1 to Sunday, Aug. 9.

Even worse, firefighters in the West have had to ground their operations several times because unmanned aircraft flew too near them.

Jimmy Carter Announces He Will Undergo Treatment for Cancer

Dozens Dead as ISIL Claims Responsibility for Baghdad Bomb Blast

Source: Euronews

Chemical Weapons Used on Kurdish Peshmerga – German Report

Source: Euronews

Ruling Party Chief Ousted in Myanmar Power Struggle

Source: Euronews

Tony Blair Warns Labour Party of ‘Annihilation’ if Left-Winger Corbyn is Elected Leader

Source: Euronews

Sweden to Drop Sex Assault Investigations into Wikileaks Founder

Source: Euronews

CAR: UN Peacekeeping Chief Resigns Amid Fresh Abuse Allegations

Source: Euronews

China Blasts Death Toll Rises to 44, with More Than 500 Injured

Source: Euronews

Caught Red-Handed: The Russian Major Fighting in Ukraine


Source: Euronews

Croatia Attempts to Confirm Hostage Beheading After ‘Horrific’ Photo is Posted

Source: Euronews

Human Rights Groups Divided Over Amnesty International Prostitution Position

Source: Euronews

Ukraine and Rebels Accuse Each Other of Ceasefire Violations

Source: Euronews

Russia Remembers Kursk Disaster

Source: Euronews

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

President Obama to President Jimmy Carter: 'We Are Rooting for You'

Michelle and I send our best wishes to President Carter for a fast and full recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rosalynn and the entire Carter family as they face this challenge with the same grace and determination that they have shown so many times before. Jimmy, you're as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you.

Source: The White House Press Office

President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea to Visit White House

President Obama will welcome President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea to the White House on October 16.  President Park’s visit, her second to Washington since taking office, will underscore the strength and breadth of the U.S.-Republic of Korea partnership and demonstrate the close personal ties between the American and Korean people.

President Obama and President Park will exchange views on a broad range of security, economic, and global issues, including the U.S.-ROK alliance and the critical role it plays in assuring regional stability and security.  They will chart the expansion of our cooperation into new areas that will increasingly shape the relationship in the 21st century, such as environment, energy, space, health, and cybersecurity.  They will also discuss the current security situation on the Korean Peninsula in the face of the continued threat from North Korea.  President Park’s visit is rescheduled from June.

Source: The White House Press Office

Immigration Policy and the 2016 Election

The Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a panel of immigration advocates and scholars to talk about border security and prospects for immigration reform ahead of the 2016 election.

Source: C-Span

Donald Trump's Presidential Campaign

Weekly Standard Staff Writer Michael Warren talked about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s declaration that his feud with Fox News is over and where he stands on a variety of policy issues.

Source: C-Span

Former Governor Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy

Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL), who is seeking Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election, gives a speech focusing on foreign policy and Islamic extremism at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. The speech was given on August 11, 2015.

Source: C-Span

Washington Journal: Mark Perry on U.S. Military Approach Toward China

Politico Contributor Mark Perry discusses his recent piece examining Department of Defense infighting over the Pentagon’s AirSea Battle doctrine, which outlines military strategy in the event of conflict with China.

Source: C-Span

Issues Facing the Millennial Generation

Young Invincibles Executive Director Jen Mishory discusses policy issues that affect millennials, including student loan debt and health care coverage.

Source: C-Span 

UITC Presents "Stop The Violence" (A Powerful PSA)

Published on YouTube on Jul 22, 2015

Executive Produced by: Anton Moore & Matt Canon, Matt Canon Films

From The G-Man proudly joins the ongoing battle to save America's young people.

Trailblazers in Black History: Frederick Douglass

Today in History: August 12th

Big Decision in Kelly Rutherford's Custody Battle

The "Gossip Girl" actress was ordered to return her two kids to their father in Monaco after a six-year fight.

FDA Warns Kim Kardashian After Drug Endorsement on Instagram

The reality TV star used Instagram to endorse a morning sickness drug made by the company, prompting the federal response.

Donald Trump: Polls Prove I Haven't Crossed the Line

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday cited his frontrunner status as proof that none of his comments have been over the line and threatened to fight back if activists attempt to takeover an event like recently happened to Democrat Bernie Sanders.

"The people that we're dealing with and whatever's happened, it is what it is. You just look at the results," Trump told reporters ahead of a campaign stop in Michigan. 

Full article and accompanying video available here: Trump 

First Read: A One-Two Punch of Tough News for Hillary Clinton

'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.

A Double-Whammy for Clinton, Part One:

After months of resistance, Hillary Clinton's campaign says that the former secretary of state will turn over to the Justice Department her private server and a thumb drive containing copies of her emails. (And that news came on the same day that we learned that two of the emails that the inspector general for the intelligence community reviewed contained "top secret" information, the highest classification of government intelligence.) This is exactly the scenario that many people assumed would play out beginning six months ago - that Clinton would resist and resist and resist and then relieve the pressure when it became absolutely necessary. The big problem for her camp is that now, instead of looking proactive, Clinton looks like she's been dragged into turning these materials over. Team Clinton argues, by the way, that the "top secret" designation can be attributed to a bureaucratic fight between the State Department and the intelligence community about how information should be categorized. (The State Department says that it is still assessing the information.) The bottom line: We know we sound like a broken record in saying that this issue isn't going away for Clinton, but these fights over potentially classified materials guarantees a continued drip-drip-drip. 

Full article and video available here: First Read 

Source: NBC News

ISIS Group Claims to Have Hacked Information on U.S. Military Personnel

A hacker group claiming to be affiliated with the terror organization ISIS on Tuesday posted what it said was the personal information of hundreds of members of the military and government personnel, and urged terrorists to carry out attacks.

Flashpoint Intelligence, a global security firm and NBC News consultant, said it could not authenticate the claim by the so-called "Islamic State Hacking Division" or the accuracy of the information. Islamic State is another name by which ISIS is known.

Full article and video available here: ISIS Group Claims to Have Hacked.... 

Source: NBC News

ISIL Militant Group Claims to Have Killed Croatian Hostage in Egypt

Source: Euronews

Stocks Fall as China Devalues Yuan Currency for Second Straight Day

Source: Euronews

Ceasefire Begins for Three Towns in Syria

Source: Euronews

OAS Observers Back Haiti Poll Despite Irregularities

Source: Euronews

UN Envoy Calls for Libyan Unity Government by August

Source: Euronews

South Korean ‘Comfort Women’ Demand Japan Apology

Source: Euronews

Erdogan Promises ‘No Terrorists Will Be Left’

Source: Euronews

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

NY's Political Leaders Announce Joint Emergency Regulations to Combat Legionnaires' Disease

Today, Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and New York City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito announced the State and City would take the unprecedented step of jointly crafting and instituting uniform regulations to combat Legionnaires’ disease. The regulations and legislation are being drafted by the Governor’s office, Mayor’s office and City Council representatives. The unparalleled outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx this summer, and other outbreaks across the state, have posed new challenges which government must respond to rapidly.

The regulations will mandate timeframes and processes for maintenance and testing of cooling towers, fines for failure to comply, and a statewide registry. This package to systematically register and maintain cooling towers for the purposes of fighting Legionnaires’ disease would be the first of its kind.

City legislation will be passed by the City Council and adopted by Mayor, while the Governor will use his emergency powers to make the policy statewide. The goal is to have the regulation completed in the next several days.

"Protecting the public health is our number one priority," said Governor Cuomo. "I want the people of New York to know that we are doing everything necessary to tackle this outbreak and stop it from happening again. This unified approach will help in this effort, and I want to thank the City for working hand-in-hand on these emergency regulations to prevent the occurrence of Legionnaires’ disease in the future."​

“An unprecedented event like this outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in the South Bronx requires an unprecedented response,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This legislative action will be the first of its kind for a major American city, as well as first set of regulations by any state in the union, and it will establish new registration, cleaning and monitoring standards for cooling towers in the fight against Legionnaires’ Disease. As the current outbreak tapers off, we now look to how to prevent these outbreaks in the future, and this groundbreaking legislation provides the tools needed to safeguard our communities. The Mayor’s Office continues to work in coordination with the City Council, as well as with our state and federal partners, to keep our people safe and protect public health.”

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said: “The New York City Council is proud to serve as a model for the rest of New York state as we work together to create new regulations for cooling towers to fight Legionnaires’ Disease. The legislation which I am sponsoring with my colleagues Vanessa Gibson, Corey Johnson and Jumaane Williams will create new registration, maintenance and inspection requirements for cooling towers and will give the City the information and tools it needs to enforce them The City under Mayor Bill de Blasio and Dr. Mary Bassett, the state under Governor Andrew Cuomo and Dr. Howard Zucker and federal governments have all been collaborating throughout this outbreak and we look forward to continuing to work together for all New Yorkers.” 

Source: Press Office, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Netroots Nation Conference, Immigration Laws

Activists talked about immigration laws, focusing on workplace raids and traffic stops ordered by Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They also discussed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments about immigrants.

Source: C-Span

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Power Plant Emissions

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy discusses the Obama administration’s new regulations on power plant emissions in remarks at Resources for the Future in Washington, D.C.

Source: C-Span