Friday, May 20, 2016

President Obama Speaks About Zika Response Efforts

The President speaks with reporters about Zika virus prevention following a briefing with public health officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, and NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

White House Briefing

Deputy Spokesman Eric Schultz briefs reporters and responds to their questions on a variety of topics.

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Source: C-SPAN

Democrats Protest Anti-LGBT Discrimination Amendment Vote (Full Video)

The House votes on Representative Sean Maloney's (D-NY) amendment, which failed 212-213 after several members changed their votes as the vote was held open past the expired time. Members shout "shame" as the number of "ayes" drop, followed by a parliamentary inquiry from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). He asks, "I was standing in the well, no one came, or no one had the courage to come into the well to change their vote, but notwithstanding that, the vote kept changing. Mr. Speaker, from a parliamentary perspective, how is that possible?" The amendment in question deals with President Obama's executive order that forbids federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on gender identity. 

User-Created Clip
By Caitlin Hillyard
May 19, 2016 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Republican National Committee Fundraising for Donald Trump

John Wonderlich, policy director with the Sunlight Foundation, discusses the deal between the Republican National Committee and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to jointly fundraise for the general election. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Trailblazers in Black History: Jackie Ormes

Artist Jackie Ormes was the first African-American woman to work as a professional newspaper cartoonist, and become well-known for series that included ‘Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem’ and ‘Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger.’

Click here for additional information. 


FDA's New Food Labels: What to Know

The Food and Drug Administration rolled out its long-anticipated new food labels Friday, and they'll include new details on how much sugar is in food and reflect the sad fact that Americans eat more than they used to. 

They won't look much different from the old labels, but they'll have to use slightly larger and bolder type, and they will make sure that customers aren't fooled into thinking a giant bag of potato chips only has a quarter of the calories, fat and salt that it really does.

That's because many of the new labels will have to reflect what people really eat, not what they should eat. So even if a package of caramel corn is meant to serve six, the label will have to acknowledge that it's most likely going to be scarfed down by a single person. 

"In addition to added sugars, new nutrients that must be declared include Vitamin D, which is important in bone development, and potassium, which is good for controlling blood pressure; both nutrients of which people aren't getting enough," FDA administrator Dr. Robert Califf said in a blog post.  

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Note: In 2015, The G-Man Interviews conducted an investigation on a chemical that has been used in hundreds-of-thousands of supermarket products for over 20 years, but it has been banned in Brazil, Canada and the majority of European countries. 

Here is the special report: Potassium Bromate: A Warning to All Americans.

Senators Introduce Bill to Block Expansion of FBI Hacking Authority

A small group of bipartisan senators introduced a bill Thursday that would block a pending judicial rule change allowing U.S. judges to issue search warrants for remote access to computers in any jurisdiction, even overseas, arguing the change would expand the FBI's hacking authority.

The one-page legislation from Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky would undo the change, adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in a private vote last month and without congressional involvement, to procedural rules governing the court system. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

CDC Reports 279 Pregnant Women With Zika in U.S.


More than 270 pregnant women in the U.S. are infected with the Zika virus and worry about whether their babies will be born with birth defects, federal health officials announced Friday. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the way it reports Zika-affected pregnancies. The goal: to get a better grip on the true risk of having a birth defect after a Zika infection.

The CDC said the new numbers show 279 women who tested positive for the virus. This includes 157 women in the 50 states and Washington, D.C, plus 122 in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other U.S. territories. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Russia Proposes Joint Air Strikes on Syria Rebels with U.S.-Led Coalition

Reuters, 20/05 17:38 CET

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has proposed to the U.S.-led coalition that they stage joint air strikes on Syrian rebels, including militant Islamist group Nusra Front, who are not observing a ceasefire, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Such action would begin as of May 25 and be coordinated with the Syrian government, he told a Defence Ministry meeting broadcast on state television, adding that Moscow reserved the right to stage strikes unilaterally.

The Pentagon said it had not been formally notified of the proposal by the Russian defence ministry and stressed that it was not collaborating with Russia.

“We’ve not received (the proposal) and I’ve seen the same reports you have,” said Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis.

“I can only tell you from where I sit and where we sit today, that we do not collaborate or coordinate with the Russians on any operations in Syria.”

Davis refused to speculate about any potential change in that position.

Click here for the full article.

Source: euronews.

Emergency Response: Inside Ecuador’s Disaster Zones

By Monica Pinna

Source: euronews.

EgyptAir Crash: ‘Debris Found’ from Flight MS804

Source: euronews.

‘We Don’t Want a Cold War’, NATO Tells Russia

Source: euronews.

Crimean Tatars Look for Eurovision Boost on Day of National Tragedy

By Robert Hackwill

Source: euronews.

France PM Valls Condemns Violence During Labor Law Protests

By Alasdair Sandford | With REUTERS

Source: euronews.

Spain’s Ex-PM Zapatero Calls for National Dialogue to Ease Venezuela’s Political Crisis

Source: euronews.

Taiwan’s First Female President Tsai Ing-wen Sworn In

Source: euronews.

Nigeria: Army Says Second Schoolgirl Freed from Boko Haram


Source: euronews.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Morley Safer, Veteran CBS News Correspondent, Dies at 84

Legendary CBS News correspondent Morley Safer, who retired last week after more than half a century at the network, died Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 84.

The death of Safer, who first made his mark covering the Vietnam War and then became one of America's best-known reporters during a 46-year career at 60 Minutes, was announced by CBS on Twitter. 

Click here for the summary. 

Source: NBC News
Photo credit: CBS News

From The G-Man salutes the career and life of Mr. Safer with the following video tribute. May his legacy live on for generations, and may he forever rest in peace.

Senator Bernie Sanders's Campaign and the DNC

Jonathan Easley, campaign reporter with The Hill, joined by phone to discuss tensions between Senator Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee following Nevada’s state nominating convention. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Public Accommodation Laws for the Disabled

Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX) and Ken Calvert (R-CA) join business owners, and lawyers testified at a hearing on lawsuits filed over public accommodation violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

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Source: C-SPAN

House Speaker Weekly Briefing

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) briefs reporters and responds to questions on a variety of topics, including his party’s legislative agenda.

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Source: C-SPAN

House Minority Leader Weekly Briefing

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) briefs reporters and responds to their questions on a variety of topics, including possible causes of the Egypt Air crash and tensions among Democrats in the presidential campaign.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Renowned Advocate Denise Nelson Joins FPWA

New York, NY (May 18, 2016) ---Jennifer Jones Austin, Executive Director and CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), has announced the hiring of Denise Nelson as Chief Development and Communications Officer to assist with the organization’s mission to help New York City’s most vulnerable. A longtime advocate in the non-profit sector with a career spanning nineteen years, Denise comes to FPWA with a wealth of experience in securing vital resources and will help increase the visibility and reach of the organization’s work and mission.

Prior to joining FPWA, Nelson led the development efforts for two leading educational organizations, Eagle Academy Foundation and PENCIL, and served as Associate Vice President of Major Gifts at United Way of New York City. There, she developed and managed a women’s leadership initiative, as well as launched an annual fundraiser and celebration of women leaders. She also served at Habitat for Humanity in New York City, managing corporate relations by strengthening partnerships with firms throughout a variety of business sectors and developing new volunteer programs for women, as well as for legal and real estate industries.

“In this new and exciting position, I am seeking to parlay my 18-plus years of experience by helping to grow and strengthen FPWA’s impact and fundraising growth,” said Nelson. “I am looking forward to working with FPWA to expand institutional giving and cultivate funding initiatives from untapped audiences.” 

Denise is an alumna of Rutgers University, where she earned her B.A. in Political Science, and has participated in the Harvard University Business School Social Enterprise Program. 
Source: Mercury

What You Should Know: An Op-Ed by NYS Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz

Charles Barron is Right: Our Children Can't Take Three More Years of Failure

You should know that in 2002, when I was elected to the New York City Council, I was one of the first Councilmembers to work to support Mayoral Control of New York City’s public school system under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
After years of seeing our public school education system fail our children, especially our Black and Hispanic children, I have decided that this Mayoral Control should not be allowed to continue.
You should also know that Assemblyman Charles Barron, a Democrat from Brooklyn, made one of his most passionate speeches during the Assembly Session on May 17, 2016. His speech was followed by a round of applause from his colleagues.
Charles Barron pleaded for the Assembly to stop giving total control to Mayor de Blasio for a school system of 1.1 million children and a $24 billion dollar budget.  He said that Mayor de Blasio wants to be held accountable, but Charles Barron says the Mayor is already accountable, insisting that the reason Mayor de Blasio really wants the control is for the billions of dollars in contracts.
“Contracts … contracts,” repeated Charles Barron,  “people are making millions of dollars off of a failing school system.” He detailed how “test taking companies get multi-billion dollar contracts to make these tests” that do nothing for our children and their families except to cause stress.
Charles Barron reminded everyone of one excuse being used to push this legislation through: “Bloomberg had control so why not de Blasio?” He asked how we could give “one single man who is clueless about education” this kind of power, citing to Bloomberg’s choice of Cathy Black as an example of someone “so incompetent.”
It is important for you to know that while Charles Barron agreed that the Department of Education’s Chancellor Fariña is an educator, he qualified that fact by saying how “she is implementing the same policies as Bloomberg.”
You should know that Charles Barron stressed how our children are not being prepared for college: “If a Black child doesn’t get an education, their pipeline is going to be to prison,” and “the diplomas our children are receiving are not worth the paper and ink they are on.”
He continued by explaining how 78% of New York City public high school graduates, if they attend any of the New York City CUNY Colleges to continue their education, “need remediation because they were not properly educated.”
Another fact that Charles Barron presented to his colleagues is: “In New York City, the #1 city in the world, where we brag about democracy, parents have no control of the budget of what happens to their children.”
I completely agree with Charles Barron and his insistence that the Legislature only extend Mayoral Control for one year, and to include a Commission that would let experts review the current system and devise a way to let our children be properly educated so they could attend college or a trade school and compete in our global economy.
As my colleagues in the Senate, especially my Black and Hispanic colleagues, examine the merits of extending Mayoral Control of Schools in the New York City school district, I urge them to carefully consider what Charles Barron says, and to take his recommendations very seriously.
Our children cannot take 3 more years of failure.
I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.

'Throwback Thursday': 'Baldwin's Nigger' (James Baldwin and Dick Gregory)

Uploaded to YouTube on August 25, 2011. 

A 1969 conversation with writer James Baldwin and Dick Gregory in London about the Black experience in America and how it relates to the Caribbean and Great Britain. Directed by Horace Ové. 

Video courtesy of the MALCOLM X NETWORK.

Saving Our Youth: Gang Prevention PSA

Uploaded to YouTube on Sep 20, 2011.

Directed By: Monte C. Wilson / Produced by: The Bakersfield Police Department

Trailblazers in Black History: Gladys Knight and the Pips

Gladys Knight, her brother Merald ‘Bubba’, sister Brenda and cousins Elenor Guest and William Guest formed their first vocal group in their native Atlanta in 1952. Calling themselves the Pips, after their cousin James ‘Pips’ Woods, the youngsters sang supper-club material in the week and gospel music on Sundays. They first recorded for Brunswick Records in 1958, releasing the unsuccessful single ‘Whistle My Love’. Another cousin of the Knights, Edward Patten (b. 2 August 1939, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, d. 25 February 2005, Livonia, Michigan, USA), and Langston George were brought into the group line-up the following year when Brenda and Elenor left to get married. Three years elapsed before the Pips’ next sessions, which produced a version of Johnny Otis’ ‘Every Beat Of My Heart’ for the small Huntom label.

Additional information is available here.


Transgender Woman Attacked, Beaten in Brooklyn: NYPD

A transgender woman suffered a facial fracture in an attack by five men as she walked from a subway in Brooklyn last Friday, police say.

The 32-year-old victim was walking along 9th Street near 7th Avenue in the Park Slope neighborhood at about 11:30 p.m. on May 13 when she was ambushed, investigators said. 

Click here for video.

Source: NBC News

Trump Lobs 'Rape' Allegation at Bill Clinton in FOX Interview

Donald Trump on Wednesday used the word "rape" regarding a decades old allegation against Bill Clinton — and said it should be on the table when it comes to scrutiny of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The charge rehashed a controversial claim by an alleged Clinton mistress in the 1990s that was never ultimately corroborated in court.

His comments came in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity that was taped earlier Wednesday and aired that night.

Hannity questioned whether the New York Times, after publishing an extensive evaluation of Trump's professional and personal relationships with women, would take the same approach to Bill Clinton's affairs.

"For example, I looked at The New York Times. Are they going to interview Juanita Broaddrick? Are they going to interview Paula Jones? Are they going to interview Kathleen Willey?" Hannity asked Trump, listing women who have made allegations against Bill Clinton. "In one case, it's about exposure. In another case, it's about groping and fondling and touching against a woman's will." 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

New HIV Vaccine Will be Tested in South Africa

An experimental AIDS vaccine that's worked better than anything else tried so far is going to be tested in South Africa, U.S. health officials said Wednesday.

They've tweaked the vaccine, which prevented infection by just about a third, and hope it will work better in this trial. 

"For the first time in seven years, the scientific community is embarking on a large-scale clinical trial of an HIV vaccine, the product of years of study and experimentation," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

NIAID is part of the National Institutes of Health and a co-funder of the trial. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Meets Conservatives Amid 'Trending' Furor

Acknowledging that "many conservatives don't trust that [Facebook] surfaces content without a political bias," Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg met with about a dozen prominent right-wingers Wednesday at the company's California headquarters.

The meeting — on the fourth anniversary of the day Facebook issued its initial public offering and became a public company — was closed to reporters, but in a statement afterward, Zuckerberg noted that "Donald Trump has more fans on Facebook than any other presidential candidate. And Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world. It's not even close."  

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Analysis: Where Do We Go From Here: America After Obama

For African Americans, the election of Barack Obama was part triumph, part miracle.

The triumph was the culmination of more than a half-century of struggle to gain access to the ballot and create political space within the once-hostile Democratic Party for a mobilized Black electorate. The miracle was that the son of an African father and white American mother, virtually unknown just four years before and carrying a name primed to trigger the Islamophobia and xenophobia of fellow Americans like none in our history, actually became the 44th president of the United States. The end of that triumphant, miraculous era means several things to Black Americans.

It means that Black Americans will no longer be able to take for granted that a young and elegant, sophisticated and unapologetically Black family resides, presides and represents this country from the secular sanctuary of the White House; though never again can it be denied that they can and did. For many Black Americans, the mourning has already begun. 

Click here for the full article.

Kentucky Elects First African American Woman to State Legislature in 20 Years

After winning a three person primary race last night and defeating a long time incumbent, Attica Scott will be the first African American woman to serve in Kentucky's State Legislature in 20 years.

Last night, Scott won the Democratic primary for Kentucky's 41st House District. She defeated Tom Riner who had served in the Kentucky House since 1992, and Phil Baker. Scott won 54 percent of the vote to Riner's 31 percent.

Scott has no Republican challenger to face on election day November 8.

Attica Scott announced her victory via Twitter, writing, "Representative Riner just called to concede. Thank you to every single one of you who believed that we could do it. Great job, folks!" 

Click here for the full article.

Public Schools Becoming More Racially Segregated: Report

Racial segregation has been deepening in public education, offering a sobering reminder of the nation's history when it comes to racial and economic isolation in classrooms, according to a recent report published  by the Government Accountability Office Tuesday.

Published on the anniversary of the landmark ruling of Brown v. Board of Education, the GAO found evidence of growing racial divides persisting in public education. The number of Black and Latino students enrolled in impoverished K-12 public schools increased 11 percent between 2001 and 2014. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

House Passes Zika Bill But Funding Level Is Far Below Obama's Request

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a Republican-backed bill Wednesday night to combat the Zika virus that the White House has already threatened to veto as inadequate.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, would provide $622 million to fight the virus — less than a third of what President Barack Obama asked for three months ago.

The measure next must be reconciled with a compromise Zika bill the Senate passed Tuesday, which would provide about $1.1 billion, or roughly two-thirds of what the White House wants. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Former Brazilian Minister Jacques Wagner Confident Rousseff Can Return to Power

Brazil is experiencing an unprecedented moment in its history with the removal of the elected President Dilma Rousseff. Her replacement vice-president Michel Temer will be head of state during the impeachment process and maybe even longer.

Jacques Wagner was for a short time Dilma Rousseff’s right-hand man. The former chief of staff who left government to make way for Lula.

Michel Santos spoke to him about the impeachment process and the future.

Michel Santos “Jacques Wagner you have said it was a coup in Brazil”.

Jacques Wagner: “Indeed, what we are living through in Brazil is a coup. I call it a “coup” because they used the constitutional provision of impeachment to make an indirect election. The world saw the session in the lower chamber – the Chamber of Deputies – and the admissibility session in the Senate and none or very few spoke of crime, because the president has committed no crime.

‘So they used a constitutional provision for something that is sacred in democracy – which is the delegation by vote – to usurp the power of an elected president with 54 million votes. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: euronews.

Aircraft Debris Found Close to Greek Island of Karpathos

Aircraft debris has been discovered close to the island of Karpathos according to Greek TV.

Officials have yet to confirm the debris is from missing flight MS 804.

The plane was carrying people from multiple nationalities including 30 Egyptians and 15 French nationals.

EgyptAir flight MS804 departed Paris’s Charles de Gaule airport at 23.09 heading for Cairo disappeared from radar.

There is some confusion over whether the missing plane sent a distress signal that was picked up by the Egyptian military.

The aircraft “crashed” off the Greek island of Karpathos in Egyptian airspace, reports AFP citing an airport source.

Source: euronews.

Brazil’s Economic Struggle and the Counterintuitive Oracle of Technology

Source: Euronews

Venezuela’s President Maduro Threatens to Increase Emergency Powers

Source: Euronews

Libyan Forces Advance on ISIL Stringhold of Sirte

Source:: Euronews

Nigeria: Fresh Hope for Families After One of Missing Chibok Girls is Found

Source: Euronews

‘Queen Backs Brexit’ Headline Was Significantly Misleading, Regulator Rules

Source: Euronews

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Eric Fanning, First Openly Gay Army Secretary, Confirmed by U.S. Senate

In another historical moment for the Obama administration, the Senate on Tuesday evening confirmed the long-stalled nomination of Eric Fanning to be Army secretary.

Fanning thus becomes the first openly gay leader of any U.S. military service.

The voice vote came after Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.m dropped his opposition in a dispute over Obama administration efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer detainees to the U.S.

Roberts said he received assurances from the administration in private discussions that the clock has run out on moving detainees to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. 

Note: This is a breaking news story, so visit the following site or others for updates. 

Click here for the full article.  

Source: NBC News

Oval Office Chat: President-elect Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines

President Obama spoke by phone today with presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to convey his congratulations. President Obama noted that the successful election and record voter participation were emblematic of the Philippines’ vibrant democracy. The President highlighted the enduring values that underpin our thriving alliance with the Philippines and the longstanding ties between our two peoples, including our shared commitments to democracy, human rights, rule of law, and inclusive economic growth. The two leaders affirmed their interest in seeing the relationship continue to grow on the basis of these shared principles. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Politics in Action: H.R. 4974

H.R. 4974 – Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
(Rep. Rogers, R-KY)

This Statement of Administration Policy provides views on H.R. 4974, making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year (FY) ending September 30, 2017, and for other purposes.

The Administration welcomes the bill's investments in military infrastructure, housing, and services for men and women in our Armed Forces and their families.  In addition, the Administration appreciates the Committee's commitment to fund the benefits and services our veterans have earned, and provide the requested advanced appropriations.  However, the bill does not fully fund the FY 2017 Budget request for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and includes objectionable restrictions on performance awards for VA Senior Executive Service civil servants.  In addition, the Administration strongly objects to the bill's unwarranted restrictions on the use of funds to construct, renovate, or expand any facility in the United States to house individuals held in the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, as these restrictions further impede the Executive Branch's efforts to responsibly close the facility.

In October 2015, the President worked with congressional leaders from both parties to secure the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA), which partially reversed harmful sequestration cuts slated for FY 2017.  By providing fully-paid-for equal dollar increases for defense and non-defense spending, the BBA allows for investments in FY 2017 that create jobs, support middle-class families, contribute to long-term growth, and safeguard national security.  The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to enact appropriations that are consistent with that agreement, and fully support economic growth, opportunity, and our national security priorities.  However, the Administration strongly objects to the inclusion of problematic ideological provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation.  If the final bill that is presented to the President includes such provisions, the President's senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill

Click here to review the complete statement.  

Source: Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget