Saturday, March 19, 2016

Weekly Address: President Obama’s Supreme Court Nomination


West Wing Week 3/18/16

The Difference Brokered and Contested Political Conventions

National Journal Political Correspondent Adam Wollner discusses the difference between and brokered and contested convention, as well as what campaigns are doing behind-the-scenes to reach out to delegates ahead of the GOP convention in July. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Senator Ted Cruz News Conference in Douglas, Arizona

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Source: C-SPAN

Flint, Michigan Water Contamination: An Update

David Shepardson, with Reuters, discusses this week’s congressional hearings on water contamination in Flint, Michigan, including testimony from Governor Rick Snyder (R-MI) and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. 

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Source: C-SPAN

The Power of the Pen: New Bills Signed into Law

On Friday, March 18, 2016, the President signed into law:

H.R. 1755, which amends the Federal charter of the Disabled American Veterans to state the specific purposes of the corporation and add a plan for transfer of assets upon dissolution;

S. 1172, the “Edward "Ted" Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015,” which authorizes the President to facilitate an efficient transfer of power to a successor President by establishing and operating:  a White House Transition Coordinating Council; and an Agency Transition Directors Council;

S. 1580, the “Competitive Service Act of 2015,” which provides agencies with the ability to share lists of eligible prospective employees with other agencies, when filling competitive service vacancies in the same occupational series and at a similar grade level;

S. 1826, which designates the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 99 West 2nd Street in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, as the Lieutenant Colonel James "Maggie" Megellas Post Office; and

S. 2426, which directs the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to obtain observer status for Taiwan at the International Criminal Police Organization and other related meetings, activities, and mechanisms. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage: A Reminder of the Work That Remains

Cohen is pictured with RFK Human Rights President Kerry Kennedy
and Congressman John Lewis.
(Credit: Faith & Politics Institute)

The following was submitted by Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I’m honored this weekend to be a participant in the 2016 Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage led by the legendary John Lewis and sponsored by the Faith & Politics Institute. Typically, we host the pilgrimage at the Civil Rights Memorial in front of our office during its journey through Alabama. But, this year, the pilgrimage is going to South Carolina instead of Alabama.

The reason for the change? To honor the memory of the nine persons killed at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015. The killer, an avowed white supremacist, hoped to spark a race war. Instead, he sparked a remarkable movement of racial reconciliation punctuated by expressions of forgiveness and by the taking down of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol.

Before we get to Charleston, we’ll visit a number of historic black churches that played pivotal roles during the civil rights movement. And we’ll go to Orangeburg to honor the three South Carolina State students – Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond Jr., and Delano Middleton – who were killed in 1968 by highway patrolmen while they were protesting segregation. Although their deaths did not garner the attention of the country as did those of the four white students killed in Kent, Ohio, while protesting the Vietnam War, the three are remembered today on the Civil Rights Memorial.

Remembering the martyrs of the movement – remembering people are still being killed because of the color of their skin, their religion, their ethnicity, their sexual orientation or other characteristic – is critical. But it is not enough. If we are to honor their sacrifices and their lives, we must rededicate ourselves to the unfinished work of the civil rights movement. Understanding and reconciliation are important first steps.

But justice is the ultimate goal.

Women in Ministry, Domestic Violence, Lead Discussion at Community Clergy Breakfast

The keynote speaker was the Rev. Dr. Ernestine Sanders.

On March 18, State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village) held a specially themed Community Clergy Breakfast in recognition of Women's History Month where the topics of discussion were domestic violence and women in ministry. The event was held at Bethel Gospel Tabernacle Church in Jamaica.

“It is important to support women because they are the backbone of our community and our culture,” Sanders said. “I understand that women hold up half the sky, and that the reason the sky hasn’t fallen is because of the strength of women."

This month’s keynote speaker was the Rev. Dr. Ernestine Sanders, pastor of the Evangelical Christian Church and Executive Vice President of Clergy United for Community Empowerment (CUCE), who gave a moving speech describing how she used her strength, intelligence and faith in God to become a leader in ministry at a time when most churches and faith-based organizations were headed by men.

“I am a minister of the gospel 24/7,” Rev. Sanders said. “What I say on Sunday, I say on Monday, on Tuesday, and late Saturday night. My ministry does not start when I walk into the church building. I’m not phony, but if you can’t laugh, you can’t enjoy life. I think we would have more people converted to Christ, if that’s what you’re trying to do, if you’re light about it, instead of being so heavy when you reach them, or so deep that they can’t find you.”

Rev. Sanders advised women not to compete against each other but to work together as a team along with their male counterparts. She also warned that there might be limitations as they try to advance in the church, and added that they should not discount the value of men.

“We don’t need to be in competition with the male, we grow together,” Rev. Sanders said. “Don’t get so wrapped up in the women’s movement that you think you don’t need men. You don’t have to bash the male to be somebody.

Rev. Sanders also encouraged attendees to network and cross denominational lines.

“I believe in empowering women to reach their God-given potential,” Rev. Sanders said. “I believe that women can do anything that their ability allows them to do.”

Tina Burke, also of CUCE, gave a presentation on domestic violence.

The organization offers an intervention program for victims and batterers, treating every client with dignity and respect, and operating with the mission that all individuals deserve to live in a world free from violence and that a safe home constitutes a safe family and that a safe family creates a safer society.

Women ages 20-24 are at the greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence and more than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners, according to CUCE.  Domestic violence costs around $47 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and loss of productivity, Burke said.

“There are some signs of domestic violence before it actually happens,” Burke explained. “A partner may accuse you of cheating or being disloyal and make you feel worthless. A lot of times a domestic violence victim’s wounds may heal, but the words that are said to you can have a long-term psychological impact."

Senator Sanders' Community Clergy Breakfasts are held monthly with a new topic each time, but always aimed at educating clergy and giving them the tools and information they need to help themselves and their congregations. 

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

Friday, March 18, 2016

President Obama Speaks at a Women's History Month Reception

Investigation Into Hillary Clinton's Emails

Former U.S. Attorney General for the District of Columbia Joseph diGenova examines the investigation into emails sent to and from Hillary Clinton’s personal email server during her time as Secretary of State. 

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Source: C-SPAN

NAACP National President on Civil Rights and Criminal Justice

Cornell Brooks, national president of the NAACP, delivers remarks at a National Press Club luncheon. Topics include the 2016 presidential election, criminal justice reform, and planned protests in Flint, Michigan. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Inside the Doomed Conservative Dump-Trump Plot

Photo illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

By Betsy Woodruff

A group of powerful conservatives met Thursday to try to hammer out a plan for a potential third-party consensus candidate if Trump becomes the GOP nominee.

The team that brought you Santorum 2016 has decided to stop Trump.

He must be petrified.

For seven hours on Thursday, a few dozen conservative leaders gathered in an upstairs room of the Army Navy Club off K Street in downtown Washington, D.C. to rack their collective brains—but reached no conclusion on how to thwart the billionaire’s rise.

Quin Hillyer, a National Review contributing editor, fielded questions afterwards from print reporters and a Chinese camera crew, explaining that the group hoped all the 2016 presidential candidates who haven’t endorsed Trump will coalesce behind a unity ticket. He added that there wasn’t a consensus that conservatives should unite behind Cruz. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Daily Beast

'Flashback Friday': NY Senatorial Debate Between Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio

The first New York Senatorial Debate between First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Congressman Rick Lazio in Buffalo, New York, September 13, 2000. 

Trailblazers in Black History: Bernard Shaw, CNN Legend

A video honoring the career of journalist Bernard Shaw, who retired from CNN on February 28, 2001, after more than 20 years with the network. This piece ran during a special tribute which aired March 2, 2001.

Today in History: March 18th

RNC Rules: Insiders Speak Out on Contested Convention

If no presidential candidate wins a majority of delegates and Republicans face a contested convention this summer, a small group of party insiders will have huge sway over who wins — and how to resolve a rift that could fracture the Republican Party.

After all the campaigning, debates and primaries, the GOP's presidential nomination could hinge on what these insiders decide.

The RNC Rules Committee decides party regulations and writes the first draft of convention rules, which are finalized by a convention rules committee and submitted to a floor vote.

Those rules are crucial. They decide which candidates are on the ballot: They could pass a rule allowing only Donald Trump to run in Cleveland, or a rule enabling new candidates to challenge him. They can decide how delegates vote — and when delegates can switch teams to support rival candidates. These are the kind of restrictions that could make the difference between a coronation or chaos in Cleveland.

Click here for the full article.

Garland Nomination: Black Advocates Want Him Vetted

Days after announcing the nomination of moderate U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland, the Obama Administration continues to lobby Black advocates who are less than enthused about the choice.

On Friday afternoon, a conference call with African American faith leaders is scheduled with White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. The purpose of the call is to push the Garland nomination and discuss strategy moving forward. Jarrett was on Capitol Hill on Thursday at a hastily arranged "members only" meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. Only ten showed up. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Black Women's Roundtable Hosts 5th Annual Summit

Hundreds of Black women from around the U.S. are convening on Capitol Hill in the Washington, DC from March 17 to March 20, for the Black Women's Roundtable Women of Power National Summit.

The women will meet, network and lobby on the issues important to African American women. They will also focus on issues important to Black women centered around the 2016 presidential election.

"Our summit will focus on engaging in collective strategy to develop solutions for women and girls," said Melanie Campbell, convener of the Black Women's Roundtable (BWR) and president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. 

Click here for the full article.

Tangled Financial Aid Process Deepens College Affordability Crisis

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Read more about higher education.

When June Fomby was in high school, she knew so little about how to apply for financial aid for college that she almost missed the application deadline.

She "didn't even know the name" of the form she was supposed to fill out that determined whether she was qualified for any of the biggest government grants and loans, Fomby said.

"High schools should be educating us about it," said Fomby, who was surprised by the number of additional hoops she's had to jump through since enrolling at Foothill College, a community college south of San Francisco where she is now a 19-year-old freshman. "They're educating us so much about graduating, but what are we going to do once we get to college?" 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

FBI Warns Automakers, Owners About Vehicle Hacking Risks

The FBI and U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a bulletin Thursday warning that motor vehicles are "increasingly vulnerable" to hacking.

"The FBI and NHTSA are warning the general public and manufacturers — of vehicles, vehicle components, and aftermarket devices — to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles," the agencies said in the bulletin. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News