Saturday, March 26, 2016

The President's Weekly Address: Defeating ISIL

The White House Screens 'The Seventh Fire' and Hosts a Panel Discussion

Published on YouTube on Mar 25, 2016

The White House Office of Public Engagement hosts a film screening of "The Seventh Fire" documentary, followed by a panel discussion with filmmakers and federal officials, South Court Auditorium. 

Synopsis: When Rob Brown, a Native American gang leader on a remote Minnesota reservation, is sentenced to prison for a fifth time, he must confront his role in bringing violent drug culture into his beloved Ojibwe community. As Rob reckons with his past, his seventeen-year-old protégé, Kevin, dreams of the future: becoming the most powerful and feared Native gangster on the reservation.From Executive Producers Terrence Malick, Natalie Portman, and Chris Eyre comes this haunting and visually arresting nonfiction film about the Native American gang crisis.

Note: Additional information on the film is available here

Farrakhan in Iran: Interview in The Islamic Republic of Iran

Published on YouTube on Mar 14, 2016
( The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and a Nation of Islam delegation made a special trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran as the Muslim nation celebrated the 37th anniversary of its revolution amid the end of U.S. sanctions and plans for a late February, 2016 election.

During his trip, Minister Farrakhan sat down with Iranian journalist Nader Talebzadeh for this enlightening interview.

Nader Talebzadeh is an Iranian journalist, TV producer and host, and documentary and feature filmmaker. He is based in Tehran. 

How Powerful Is The Black Vote?

Source: TestTube News

U.S. Views of Muslims and Islam

Shibley Telhami, Sadat Professor for Peace (University of Maryland), talked about U.S. perceptions of those who practice Islam, in light of the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, earlier that same week and statements made by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN 

Why Bernie Sanders Isn't Dropping Out Despite Hillary's Lead

Bernie Sanders isn't going anywhere, despite Hillary Clinton's prohibitive delegate lead, and Tuesday night offers a hint why. But the underdog's path forward carries risks as well as challenges.

Even though Sanders came up short in Arizona, where his campaign invested most heavily, the Vermont senator ended up netting 17 delegates over Clinton Tuesday, thanks to lopsided wins in the Idaho and Utah caucuses.

He ended up taking away a tidy 57 percent of the pledged delegates up for grabs that day. And as it happens, 58 is the percentage of outstanding pledged delegates Sanders needs to win from now on in order to finish the primary calendar with more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton, according to an NBC News analysis. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

The Cross-Color Coalition Fighting to Stop Donald Trump

The protest movement against Donald Trump has evolved from a mostly localized phenomenon to a nationally orchestrated effort that has drawn a diverse alliance of players who've found a common foe in the front-runner.

Over the last several months, as Trump's popularity among Republican primary voters has grown, the massive rallies he's held across the country have become targets for protests and disruption. At first, those disruptions included one or two people heckling him, denouncing his often incendiary and exclusionary messages aimed at immigrants, women and racial or religious minorities. 

But as the size of Trump's rallies has swelled, so have the number of protesters infiltrating and disrupting them. In recent weeks the events have devolved into stuttered spectacle, with a red-faced Trump unable to get through a speech without some form of protestation, often coupled with an angry or violent response from his supporters. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

Texas Voters Ask Supreme Court to Block Voter ID Law

Hispanic voters in Texas, joined by a Democratic congressman, asked the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to block the state from enforcing its tough voter ID law during this fall's elections.

Passed in 2011 and subject to court challenges ever since, the law requires a photo ID to vote but limits the permissible forms of identification. College ID's, for example, are not accepted, but gun licenses are.

A federal judge struck the law down, but a federal appeals court blocked that order two years ago, ruling that the state should be allowed to enforce the law in order to avoid confusion, because the 2014 election was so near.

The law has been enforced since then, and it was in effect during this year's Texas primary. 

Click here for video.

Source: NBC News

NoVo Foundation to Invest $90 Million in Future of Women of Color

The NoVo Foundation, which is run by the son and daughter-in-law of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, has announced they will pledge a $90 million investment in girls and young women of color in the U.S.

The foundation is calling the effort the largest ever made by a private foundation to address structural problems facing girls and young women of color in the U.S.

"This work is about dismantling the barriers that prevent them from realizing that potential and leading us toward a truly transformative movement for change," said Jennifer Buffett, co-president of the NoVo 
Foundation in a statement released Wednesday.

"Our goal is to create the conditions for change by advancing the work of the real experts in this movement: girls and young women of color and the advocates working with them," added Peter Buffett, co-president. 

Click here for video.

Source: NBC News

Friday, March 25, 2016

Remarks by President Obama and President Macri of Argentina at Parque de la Memoria

Remarks by President Obama at Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Town Hall

Let’s Move!: A Conversation on the Health of our Nation’s Children

Vice President Biden Remarks on Merrick Garland Nomination

Vice President Joe Biden spoke about the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominees. He called for the confirmation of U.S. Court of Appeals of D.C. Chief Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Scalia. The vice president argued the case for a full Supreme Court and explained his comments he made on the nomination process back in 1992 while serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Defense Department News Conference

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Joseph Dunford held a news conference on combating ISIS. Secretary Carter confirmed news reports of the death of ISIS' second-in-command, saying “We are systematically eliminating ISIS' cabinet. We’ve killed several key ISIS terrorists this week, including, we believe, Haji Iman.” Haji Iman is an alias of Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, who was believed to have become deputy leader after ISIS' leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was reportedly injured in an airstrike. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

U.S. Intelligence and National Security

Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden talked about the past, present, and future of U.S. intelligence and national security policy. General Hayden is the author of Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

National Lieutenant Governors Association Meeting on Veterans' Issues

The National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) will hold its annual meeting to examine ways to advance federal-state relations on a range of issues including assistance to veterans.  

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Governor Cuomo's Statement on the Killing of Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski

"This morning, New Yorkers were saddened to learn that two of our own, Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski, lost their lives in Tuesday's senseless terror attacks in Brussels. Their lives were cut short by cowards who have chosen extremism and hate instead of peace and unity. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend our deepest prayers and condolences to the Pinczowski family, as well as all those who lost loved ones in Tuesday's heartbreaking attacks."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Statement on the Third Estimate of GDP for the Fourth Quarter of 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the third estimate of GDP for the fourth quarter of 2015.

Summary: Real GDP growth was revised up to 1.4 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter, reflecting both solid domestic demand and continued external headwinds.

Fourth-quarter economic growth was revised up 0.4 percentage point to 1.4 percent at an annual rate and domestic demand continued to grow. Overall, the most stable and persistent components of output—consumption and fixed investment—rose a solid 2.8 percent during the four quarters of 2015, well above the 2.0-percent GDP growth in 2015. Weaker foreign growth continued to weigh on economic growth in the fourth quarter, underscoring the importance of policies that open our exports to new markets and promote strong domestic demand. There is more work to do, and the President is committed to policies that will boost our long-run growth and living standards, including policies to support innovation and investments in infrastructure and job training. 

You can view the complete statement here.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Calling All Youth; Sanders Seeks SYEP Applicants and College Interns

 Team Sanders (2015): Stephanie Hemraj, left, Veshno Kumar and Sadney Joseph.

Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village) is proud to announce that for the third year in a row his office will be a host site for the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program. He encourages all eligible applicants to take advantage of this valuable opportunity to gain real world experience of government affairs in a professional work environment.

“I have long been a supporter of the Summer Youth Employment Program, and believe it should be expanded so that more folk can get involved,” Sanders said. “This is an investment in our future.  As the philosopher Confucius said, ‘If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.’”

The deadline to apply for SYEP  is April 15, 2016. Applications can be submitted online through the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development at  Participants are chosen by lottery.

We also encourage community businesses and organizations to become a  SYEP host site and share their knowledge and expertise with our young people. Applications can be submitted online at

SYEP is open to New York City youth between the ages of 14 and 24 and offers up to six weeks of paid employment during July and August at a variety of entry-level jobs including positions at government agencies, hospitals, summer camps, non-profits, small businesses, law firms, museums, sports enterprises and retail organizations.

"The best way to learn is by doing, and the best way to start is with a position at a local business or organization,” Sanders said. “These jobs build experience and character and may ignite a passion in a field that becomes a future career.”

In addition to being a SYEP site, Senator Sanders’ Office  also hosts an unpaid college internship program. Matriculating college students within the five boroughs will be able to earn college credit while gaining experience in office administration, economic development, research and writing, social media and event planning.

Applicants should have an interest in politics, leadership or civic engagement. Students who are majoring in urban planning, public administration, political science and sociology are especially encouraged to apply.

Those who are interested must send a resume and cover letter via email to or via fax at 718-523-3670.  Please be advised that a GPA of 2.5 and permission from your academic department may be required by your institution.

“Last summer, we had the privilege of working with some of the best and brightest from our community,” Sanders said. “I look forward to having an even better experience this year. I cannot wait to meet the future leaders who will walk through our doors.” 

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

Meet White Lives Matter: The Racist Response to the Black Lives Matter Movement

By Sarah Viets

After the accelerated growth of the Black Lives Matter movement, many racists across America have gone on a barnstorming campaign, posting the catch phrase White Lives Matter (WLM), to counter a message they believe is playing a part in a systematic devaluing of white culture –– even orchestrating what they call a “white genocide."

Since then, the Texas-based neo-Nazi group Aryan Renaissance Society (ARS), a member of the white nationalist coalition United Aryan Front, has attempted to capitalize on this momentum by promoting WLM as “a movement dedicated to [the] promotion of the white race,” according to ARS documents.

While its unclear if WLM is a group attempting to create this alleged movement, claiming to have “representatives in various states” or a pet project of ARS, members of ARS encourages sympathetic whites who want to spread the WLM message to contact ARS members. 

Tennessean Rebecca Barnette, a member of ARS, ran one of the WLM Facebook pages (until it was shut down). ARS member Scott Lacy appears to manage the White Lives Matter Texas and Oklahoma Community Facebook page, posting family photos on the Facebook profile. To top it off, ARS also claims to be “the leading force behind the WLM Movement.” 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center

'Flashback Friday': Selma - Montgomery March, 1965 (Full Version)

Published on YouTube on Nov 15, 2014
A powerful and recently rediscovered film made during the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. Stefan Sharff's intimate documentary reflects his youthful work in the montage style under the great Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein. The film features moving spirituals. Marchers include Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King. (NJ state film festival)

Director: Stefan Sharff

Stefan Sharff
Christopher Harris
Julian Krainin
Alan Jacobs
Norris Eisenbrey

Trailblazers in Black History: Thurgood Marshall

Today in History: March 25th

First Read: As Republicans Feud, Clinton Pivots Toward November

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.
As GOP race gets nastier, Clinton pivots to the general election

In one of the least eventful weeks of the 2016 campaign in recent memory -- due to the tragic terrorist attacks in Belgium and the lack of primary contests -- two important developments took place. First, the Republican race got nastier (if that was possible) after Donald Trump and Ted Cruz battled over their wives. "Donald, you're a sniveling coward, and leave Heidi the hell alone," Cruz said after Trump retweeted an unflattering photo of Cruz's wife. Still, Cruz didn't answer the question from NBC's Hallie Jackson if he'd support Trump as the GOP nominee after this episode. "Donald Trump will not be the nominee," Cruz maintained. And consider that Trump vs. Cruz, as well as the "Stop Trump" effort, is going to last another FOUR months until the Republican convention in July. The second development that took place this week was that Hillary Clinton started pivoting heavily toward the general election after her primary victory in Arizona. Note her public events since Tuesday: a counterterrorism speech at Stanford after the attacks in Belgium, and then a homeland security forum at the University of Southern California. And today, per NBC's Monica Alba, Clinton surrogates like former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will hold a conference call contrasting her foreign-policy/national security approach with the Republican candidates. Now that pivot could be somewhat risky for Clinton, given that Bernie Sanders will likely close his delegate deficit in this weekend's three Democratic contests. But the trends are unmistakable: Democrats are turning to the general, while Republicans are likely bracing themselves for another four months of what we saw this week. 

Click here for the full article.

Registration Deadline For NY Presidential Primaries Looms

Pentagon Announces Death of High-Ranking ISIS Figure

Congo President Sassou Nguesso Re-Elected for Third Consecutive Term

Source: Euronews

Brussels: Three Arrested in Major Police Operations


Three people have been arrested in major police operations in Brussels.

The Belgian prosecutor’s office confirmed three people had been detained in total in Brussels following Friday’s (March 25) operation, all of whom are related to the “thwarted French attack plot, made public by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Thursday (March 24).

One of the detainees was apprehended in the Schaerbeek area of northern Brussels. He could be seen with a small child, who was later led away by security forces.

Two of those arrested have been named as Tawfik A., and Salah A. The man detained following the Schaerbeek operation, has not yet been named.

Tawfik A., and the man arrested in Schaerbeek were wounded in the leg, according to the statement. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Pope Francis Washes Feet of Refugees, Condemns Brussels Attacks

Source: Euronews

US and Russia Seek to Speed Up Syrian Peace Talks

By Robert Hackwill

Source: Euronews

Muslim Condemnation of Attacks “Not Enough Anymore” Says Grand Mosque Imam

The imam of Brussel’s Grand Mosque says that Muslim condemnation of the recent terrorist attacks in the city “is not enough anymore.”

Galaye Ndiaye believes much more needs to be done to discourage young people from becoming radicalised. It’s estimated that 500 young people from Belgium have gone to fight in Iraq and Syria.

On Thursday, leaders at the Grand Mosque draped the Belgian national flag and European Union flag outside the mosque, determined to send out a clear message that they too are angry and grieving over the recent attacks. 

Click here for summary. 

Source: Euronews

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Grace Church Websites Reaches Milestone, Services 100 Churches in Underserved Communities


(South Windsor, CT) – Just one month after launching in mid-February, Grace Church Websites, founded by American business magnate and philanthropist Don Vaccaro and pastor Rev. Dr. Boise Kimber, has provided one hundred churches in low-income areas with free websites spanning much of the United States. Grace Church Websites has donated a wide variety of free web-related services to Churches from Texas to Florida, Kentucky to Alabama, and Connecticut to Georgia. These services include: domain registration and annual renewal, website maintenance, a content management system, and hosting. Mr. Vaccaro and Kimber launched the company in order to help churches – especially local, urban churches – better reach the people in their communities looking for a church family.

“When we launched Grace Church Websites, I knew churches across the country needed assistance with business development, but I was thrilled to see how quickly churches across the country completed registration forms on our website. I have devoted my career to giving men and women in the community the chance to thrive, and Grace Church Websites offer people an opportunity to connect directly with churches in their communities and to be given fellowship and access to empowerment,” said Vaccaro, who serves as CEO of Grace Church Websites. 

“The church is a conduit to the community and in today’s times, to compete with the influx of national and international technological innovations, local churches must be given access and opportunity. Churches and their congregants must modernize in order to continue to remain relevant. These websites serve as digital front doors: welcoming newcomers, keeping members informed, organizing activities and sharing God’s love with their communities,” said Rev. Dr. Kimber.

According to renowned national civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of National Action Network: “Grace Church Websites is providing a need for faith-based organizations that is leading to economic empowerment, decreasing the digital divide, and diversifying the Information Superhighway.”

According to Pastor Ahmad Haywood, Senior Pastor at Trueworship Tabernacle in Corpus Christi, Texas: “We are truly blessed that Grace Church Websites has provided our church with a free website, including development of its content and hands-on assistance with the design. In a short period of time, we have gained membership and our doors have been opened to a new array of potential congregants.”

There are no costs associated with a website set up through Grace Church Websites. Organizations interested in signing up for website services should visit their website at or contact

Source: Mercury