Saturday, May 7, 2016

Weekly Address: Happy Mother’s Day From President Obama

President Obama's Howard University Commencement Address

President Obama delivered the first of his commencement addresses this spring to the graduating class of the historically black college of Howard University in Washington, D.C. after receiving an honorary doctor of laws degree. The cere3mony was held on the Upper Quadrangle of the main campus. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Analyzing April's Job Numbers and the Economy

New York Times Senior Economic Correspondent Neil Irwin discusses the latest jobs numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with shows the unemployment rate holding steady at five percent with employers adding 160,000 news jobs. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Isle de Jean Charles Relocation and Climate Change

New York Times Energy and Environment Correspondent Coral Davenport discusses her story on an unusual $48 million federal grant to relocate an entire community in Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana struggling with the impact of climate change.  

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Source: C-SPAN

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hillary Clinton to Be Interviewed in FBI Email Investigation

A source has confirmed to CBS News that Hillary Clinton will be interviewed by the FBI within the coming weeks, in connection with the investigation into her private email server.

One of her top aides, Huma Abedin was interviewed by the FBI at its Washington field office in April, an official familiar with the investigation told CBS News Friday.

The FBI and Justice Department have been investigating whether sensitive information that flowed through Clinton's email server was mishandled. Abedin was interviewed at the FBI's Washington field office last month. The FBI's investigation into Clinton's email server was first reported in August.

The Clinton campaign has said it's confident that the FBI's review "will conclude that nothing inappropriate took place." There's no timetable for completing the investigation, and there have been no statements about how much longer the investigation will take. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: CBS News

Shootings at Two Maryland Malls Leave Two Dead, Two Injured: Police

Shootings on Friday at two Maryland shopping centers eight miles apart killed two people and injured two others, police said.

It was unclear whether the two incidents in the Washington, D.C., suburbs were related, and no suspects were in custody.

Authorities said they had identified a person of interest. They were also looking into whether Friday's incidents could be tied to another shooting a day earlier.

The violence started at around 11:30 a.m. ET at the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, where two males and one female were injured by gunshots in the parking lot, Montgomery County police said. One male later died at the hospital, police said. Another was in critical condition, and the female had non-life-threatening injuries. 

President Obama Issues Statement on the Economy

President Obama delivers a statement on the economy, as well as federal efforts to combat tax evasion, money laundering, and corruption. Spokesman Josh Earnest then briefs reporters and responds to their questions on a variety of topics. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Senator Harry Reid's Conference Call with Reporters

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) holds a conference call with reporters to discuss Donald Trump’s candidacy following his win in Indiana, as well as Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

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Source: C-SPAN

The Republican Party and Campaign 2016

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus sits down with Politico Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen to discuss campaign 2016 and the GOP ahead of July’s Republican National Convention. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Statement on the Employment Situation in April

WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in April.

Summary: The economy added 160,000 jobs in April, extending the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record, as wage growth picked up.

The longest streak of private-sector job growth on record continued in April, with businesses adding 171,000 jobs, well above the pace necessary to maintain a low and stable unemployment rate. U.S. businesses have now added 14.6 million jobs over 74 straight months of job growth. Most importantly, average hourly earnings for private employees have increased 3.2 percent at an annual rate so far in 2016. Nevertheless, more work remains to sustain faster wage growth and to ensure that the benefits of the recovery are broadly shared, including investing in infrastructure and job training, implementing high-standards free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and raising the minimum wage.

The complete report is available here.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Annual Nazi War Criminal Report

Jerusalem – In conjunction with Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Hashoah) this week, the Simon Wiesenthal Center released the initial findings of its fifteenth Annual Status Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals, which covers the period from April 1, 2015 until March 31, 2016.

Highlights include: The implementation (by local judicial authorities) of a legal strategy, paved the way for the conviction on charges of accessory to murder of practically any person who served either in a Nazi death camp or in the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) in Germany.

The lack of political will to bring Nazi war criminals to justice and/or to punish them continues to be the major obstacle to achieving justice, particularly in post-Communist Eastern Europe. 

The campaign led by the Baltic countries to distort the history of the Holocaust and obtain official recognition that the crimes of the Communists are equal to those of the Nazis is another obstacle to the prosecution of those responsible. 

The full report is available here

Source: The Simon Wiesenthal Center

NYS Senator Calls Out Colleagues: 'And They Call Themselves Defenders of the Poor?'

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York

You should know that there is an old saying that goes like this: “It’s one thing what you say, and another is what you do.” If we apply this expression to elected officials, we can see that all too often, what they say and what they do aren’t always the same.

You should know that some of these elected officials in New York say one thing and do the opposite, and they are often the first ones to call themselves defenders of the poor.


One of these elected officials is our New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who together with the Democratic majority, approved and passed a law that adds an additional burden to the poor - especially senior citizens.

This new law requires for everyone to pay an extra 5 cents for each plastic bag people will use to put their groceries in. We all know that there are items which need 2-3 plastic bags.  That means people will have to pay 5 cents for each one. (And stores that break this law will be hit with a $250 penalty.)

It is important for you to know that there are many senior citizens in New York City who receive a total income of between $500 and $600 per month. This means that each month, these seniors have to decide if they should pay their rent, pay for their medications, pay for their rice and beans, or pay for their utilities. The cost for these plastic bags imposed upon the poor and our seniors by the so-called "defenders of the poor” just adds insult to injury.  

Instead of our City Council Members using their votes to help defray costs or burdens for our senior citizens and poor people, and instead of finding ways to help decrease day-to-day expenses for people in need, the New York City Council continues to slowly crush our poor and our seniors by taking away money they just don’t have.

I have to publicly commend the Bronx Democratic City Council Members who voted to oppose this punitive measure, who include James Vacca, Rafael Salamanca, Annabel Palma, Vanessa Gibson, and the Council Members from the other boroughs: Inez D. Barron, Joseph Borelli, Robert Cornegy, Jr., Chaim M. Deutsch, Inez E. Dickens, Mathieu Eugene, Vincent Gentile, David G. Greenfield, Barry S. Grodenchik, Karen Koslowitz, Rory Lancman, Steve Matteo, Darlene Mealy,  Deborah L. Rose, Mark Treyger, and Eric A. Ulrich.

Another case that has been highlighted this week in the news involves a lawsuit that was filed against a Democratic Member of the New York State Assembly, Jeffrey Dinowitz.

According to an article titled “PS 24 assistant principal sues DOE” written by Shant Shahrigian, that was published on May 3, 2016 of The Riverdale Press: “The Spuyten Duyvil School’s (P.S. 24) Assistant Principal Manny Verdi says northwest Bronx Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is seeking to keep minority and lower-income students out of the school, one of several bombshell allegations in a suit he filed on Tuesday against the Department of Education (DOE), Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and District 10 Superintendent Melodie Mashel.”

These are very serious charges.

I’m not saying whether the allegations are true or not, but if this report is credible, then my question is: How can this be so?

We already know that Jeffrey Dinowitz has been a vocal opponent of New York Charter Schools, which were created primarily to serve the educational needs of minority students. Charter school enrolments are made up of more than 90 percent of Black and Hispanic children. Our children get a good education in these Charter Schools.

So how does Jeffrey Dinowitz – a Democrat who claims to be a defender of the poor – oppose Black and Hispanic children from being allowed to attend a public school in Riverdale, and at the same time, also oppose Charter Schools?

This is something that cannot be tolerated.

My question to Assemblyman Dinowitz is: “If you don’t want our Black and Hispanic children going to your neighborhood school, and you also oppose sending our Black and Hispanic children to charter schools, how can you claim to defend the needs of the poor?

If we look at these cases: the harm done by the City Council to the poor and senior citizens, and the other cases of preventing Black and Hispanic children from attending a good public school, and also opposing Charter Schools so our Black and Hispanic children could have good educational opportunities, then I have to wonder why they call themselves defenders of the poor.

I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.