Saturday, July 23, 2016

WNBA Rescinds Fines Issued Over 'Black Lives Matter' Protest

The Women's National Basketball Association said it is rescinding fines imposed on players who violated league uniform rules in expressing support for the "black lives matter" movement.

WNBA President Lisa Borders made the announcement Saturday, following fines imposed on teams and players and criticism from some players. 

The Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury were fined $5,000 each, and each player was fined $500 for wearing black T-shirts during pre-game warm-ups in the wake of recent shootings by and against police officers.  

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

Weekly Address: Protecting the Progress We’ve Made with Wall Street Reform

In this week's address, Senator Elizabeth Warren joined President Obama to discuss how far we've come since the financial crisis, when the recklessness of Wall Street caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, and savings.

West Wing Week: 7/22/16

Chief FOIA Officers Council Meeting

The inaugural meeting of the newly established Chief FOIA Officers Council. The Council will develop recommendations for increasing compliance and efficiency in responding to FOIA requests; disseminate information about agency experiences; identify, develop, and coordinate initiatives to increase transparency and compliance; and promote performance measures to ensure agency compliance with FOIA requirements.

Advancing 21st Century Policing Briefing

This is the fourth in a series of convenings of law enforcement officers from around the country aimed at facilitating the implementation of the Final Report of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

President Obama and President Peña Nieto Hold a Joint Press Conference

Hillary Clinton's Vice Presidential Announcement


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton formally announced Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate at a rally in Miami. She talked about her party’s vision of building ridges and embracing diversity and said Tim Kaine lives and shares those values. The Virginia senator talked about his background including his life in public service and criticized the foreign policy positions of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The rally was held at Florida International University Arena.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

The Life and Career of Senator Tim Kaine


Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) was profiled as part of C-SPAN’s American Profile series. He talked about growing up in Kansas City, the time he spent in Honduras, his experiences in local and state government, his move to Richmond, and the possibility of a vice presidential with 2016 presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The interview was conducted on June 7, 2016.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Poll Numbers Ahead of the Democratic Convention and Campaign 2016

Democratic pollster Peter Hart discusses recent national polls as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton selects her running mate and prepares for her nominating convention in Philadelphia. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Statement from the Press Secretary on the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2016

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

The following statement was issued on July 22, 2016. 

President Obama shares the goal of streamlining pensions given to former Presidents as a means to reduce costs to taxpayers. He stands ready to work with Congress on legislation to get that done.

Unfortunately, this bill as written would immediately terminate salaries and all benefits to staffers carrying out the official duties of former Presidents – leaving no time or mechanism for them to transition to another payroll. As written, this bill would also impair Secret Service’s ability to protect former Presidents by ending GSA’s role in managing operations, equipment and office space. Under this bill, GSA must immediately terminate leases, and remove furniture from offices of former Presidents working to fulfilling their continued public service responsibilities.

The President’s decision to veto this bill was made after consultations with the offices of each of the former Presidents, and is responsive to concerns they raised to us. We are working with Congress on the technical fixes to resolve these issues. If Congress provides these technical fixes, the President would sign the bill. 
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Statement by the President on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016

The following statement was issued on July 22, 2016. 

Today, I signed S.524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 into law.  This legislation includes some modest steps to address the opioid epidemic.   Given the scope of this crisis, some action is better than none. 

However, I am deeply disappointed that Republicans failed to provide any real resources for those seeking addiction treatment to get the care that they need.  In fact, they blocked efforts by Democrats to include $920 million in treatment funding.

Every day, 78 Americans die from opioid overdoses.  I have heard from too many families across the country whose lives have been shattered by this epidemic, including a mom from Ohio who recently wrote: “There are not near enough facilities in this area to handle the amount of care that is needed… We need help.”

My Administration has been doing everything we can to increase access to treatment, and I’m going to continue fighting to secure the funding families desperately need.  In recent days, the law enforcement community, advocates, physicians, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle have also joined in this call.  Now, it’s up to Republicans to finish the job and provide adequate funding to deal with this public health crisis.  That’s what the American people deserve. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

The Power of the Pen: New Bills Signed into Law

On Friday, July 22, 2016, the President signed into law:

H.R. 4875, the “United States Semiquincentennial Commission Act of 2016,” which establishes the United States Semiquincentennial Commission to plan, encourage, develop, and coordinate the commemoration of the history of the United States leading up to its 250th anniversary;

H.R. 5588, the “Veterans’ Compensation COLA Act of 2016,” which provides for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the beneficiaries of veterans' disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation equal to the Social Security COLA;

S. 524, the “Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016,” which addresses prescription opioid abuse and addiction by, among other provisions:  (1) authorizing grant programs for abuse prevention and education, including prescription monitoring; (2) expanding access to treatment and recovery options, including medication-assisted treatment and overdose reversal drugs; (3) expanding law enforcement grants and prescription drug take-back programs; and (4) providing specific opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery resources to veterans, women, and children; and

S. 2840, the “Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion (POLICE) Act of 2016,” which expands the allowable use of grant funds awarded through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services under the Department of Justice to include participation in active shooter training programs. 
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

NAN and the Mother of Eric Garner Will Pay Fines for NY Liberty Players

At the National Action Network Saturday rally, Rev. Al Sharpton, with Gwen Carr at his side, made the following statement regarding the fines of New York Liberty players for supporting the victims of police brutality:

“These young ladies took it upon themselves to send a very simple message standing up against police brutality and racial bias. They just wore black shirts and for that they were each fined $500. LeBron James came to New York and wore an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt. Athletes joined with us and wore hoodies when we were fighting for justice for Trayvon Martin down in Florida. But for some reason they’re setting a different precedent for these women, these WNBA players, and they’re doing it on the same weekend we were remembering two years since the death of Eric Garner. National Action Network is announcing this morning that we will pay their fines, and if they take it out of their salaries we will reimburse these WNBA players. They have the right in the city where a man was choked to death, they have the right to dress in a t-shirt and they have the right to be concerned for the fans who come to see us them play. They didn’t offend anybody, they just wore something, and said, ‘I am concerned about my fans.’ Last month, the whole sports world supported Muhammad Ali for standing up to war, and a month later you fine young ladies for wearing t-shirts? Unacceptable. I may also decide to do a little marching and picketing as well.” 

Source: Mercury

Friday, July 22, 2016

President Obama Responds to the Shooting in Munich, Germany

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Munich Shooting: Police Say Six Dead as Manhunt Continues

German police are engaged in a huge anti-terror manhunt in the city of Munich after six people died in a shopping mall shooting.

Police confirmed six deaths at the Olympia mall and several wounded.

The attackers are still on the run. Witnesses said they had seen three with guns. Police urged people to avoid public places.

Shop workers are still in the mall, in the north-western Moosach district. Public transport has been suspended.

Police are now describing it as "an acute terror situation". They say the first reports of a shooting in Hanauer Street came in just before 18:00 (16:00 GMT).

The Bavarian capital's central railway station has been evacuated.

People stranded by the emergency and unable to get home are being offered shelter by locals. The initiative was launched with the Twitter hashtag #Offenetür (open door). 

Click here for the full article.

Source: BBC News

David Duke, Former KKK Leader, Announces Senate Run

It's official: David Duke is running for Congress.

The former Ku Klux Klan leader and one-term Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives said in a video announcing his candidacy Friday that he believes in "equal rights for all, and respect for all Americans."

"However," he added, "what makes me different is I also demand respect for the rights and the heritage of European Americans."

Duke will seek an open seat vacated by Republican Sen. David Vitter, who announced last year that he would not be seeking re-election. More than a dozen other candidates have also signed up to replace the retiring senator. 

Click here for the full article. 

Confrontation in Cleveland: 'Infowars' and 'The Young Turks' Battle During RNC Coverage


Warning: Some segments of the confrontation include graphic language. Viewer discretion is advised. 

Source: The Young Turks

The Future of Naval Innovation and Maritime Security

Naval Research Chief Rear Admiral Mathias Winter sits down for a discussion with U.S. Naval Institute CEO Vice Admiral Peter Daly on maritime security. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

National Security Council Notes: Susan Rice's Travel to China

The following statement was issued today by National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price. 

From July 24-27, National Security Advisor Susan Rice will travel to Beijing and Shanghai, China.  In Beijing, she will meet with senior government officials, including State Councilor Yang Jiechi, to consult on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues in advance of the President’s travel to China in September for the G-20 Leaders’ Summit.  In Shanghai, Ambassador Rice will meet with business executives to discuss conditions for U.S. businesses operating in China. While there, she also will interact with private Chinese citizens.  Throughout her visit, Ambassador Rice will underscore the United States’ commitment to expanding practical cooperation and constructively managing differences with China. This visit will be Ambassador Rice’s fourth trip to China as National Security Advisor.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

We Just Watched the Republican Party Kill Itself


CLEVELAND — It seemed possible that the balloons would never drop.

This was not, after all, the celebration that the Republican Party had waited four years for.

This was a reading of last rites.

The Republican brand is now permanently sullied by the victory of a former reality television star with an adversarial relationship with the truth and a fluorescent rodent adorning his head.

Donald Trump accepted his nomination as the Republican candidate and finished his speech, yet thousands of red, white, and blue balloons briefly remained suspended in the air in patriotic protest.

He lingered onstage, greeting each member of his family and his running mate, Mike Pence. They smiled and waved, but the celebration did not begin on cue. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Daily Beast

New York State Police Investigators Association Ratifies Contract

The following statement was issued today by Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

"The New York State Police Investigators Association last night ratified its contract that extends through 2018. The Investigators Association represents more than 1,000 members of the State Police whose work is invisible to many, yet provides some of the most vital services in the security and justice for millions of New Yorkers. The talent of these Troopers is diverse as it is deep – from investigating child abuse and organized crime, to assisting local police departments in times of need. I applaud President Quick and members of the Association on getting the contract done, and extend my gratitude for their commitment to the safety of all New Yorkers." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Saving Our Youth: Snoop Dogg & The Game LAPD Press Conference

This video was published on YouTube on Jul 8, 2016.

The Game and Snoop lead a peaceful march on Friday from Joe's Auto Park in downtown L.A. to the LAPD headquarters. 

Source: TMZ

'Flashback Friday': The Watts Riot - L.A. 1965

Trailblazers in Black History: Ron Simmons, Pro Wrestling Icon

Ron Simmons is a retired American professional wrestler and retired American football player. He was the first African American to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, and was thus the first officially recognized African American World Champion.

Simmons was a Florida State University All-American football player, and played for the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League and the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League. He became a professional wrestler in 1986, and went on to wrestle in World Championship Wrestling under his real name and in the World Wrestling Federation under both his real name and the ring names Faarooq Asad and Faarooq. He was most recently in WWE, where he appeared in backstage segments and did public relations work. He was released on January 13, 2009

Additional information is available here

Source:  Pro Wrestling - Wikia

'Heat Dome' Moving East; 100 Million Face Life-Threatening Temps

Chuck Todd: Donald Trump's Dark Vision of America Has Risks

Tax Preparers Beware: Cybercriminals Targeting Taxpayer Data

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today joined the IRS to warn tax preparers of the potential security risks posed by scammers. This joint effort is aimed at preventing preparers and their clients from being targeted and victimized by cybercriminals.

Con artists will seek out any opening or security flaw to poach sensitive client data—social security numbers, business records, and income information included—from unsuspecting tax professionals.

“Preventing cybercrimes is an ongoing battle because the criminals adapt their tactics as the technology improves,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone. “According to the IRS, brazen scam artists will remotely access a tax preparer’s computer to obtain vital taxpayer data or may simply try to steal paper tax records. By probing each return to detect anomalies and creating a team dedicated to uncovering tax schemes and questionable refunds, New York State remains at the forefront of this fight against cybercrimes. We will continue to employ all available resources to help educate and protect tax preparers and their clients.”

By law, tax preparers must have safeguards in place to ensure that sensitive data doesn’t fall into the hands of scammers or those without proper authorization. To review those procedures, please refer to the IRS Fact Sheet Tax Professionals: Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself from Identity Theft.

In addition, by following these simple security measures, tax preparers can be confident that their clients’ information is protected:

Protect your computer – Ensure that your computer is secure when accessing taxpayer information online by looking for “https,” with an “s” for secure, in the website address. Always encrypt your wireless network with a strong password, and never access your personal accounts on a public Wi-Fi network.

Use strong passwords – Use a combination of upper- and lower-case letters as well as numbers and symbols when creating a new password. Don’t use your name, birth date, or common words. Use a different password for each of your accounts and change them frequently.

Properly dispose of private information – Shred documents to destroy sensitive information. Never toss personal or financial documents in the trash without shredding them first.

Protecting taxpayers
Tax preparers play a critical role in protecting taxpayer information, filing 70% of all personal and 90% of all corporate tax returns in New York State. As data breaches increase, so too does the potential for private information to be used to file fraudulent tax returns or steal someone’s identity.

The New York State Tax Department works continuously to detect and prevent fraud. So far this year, the agency has stopped more than 330,000 suspicious personal income tax refunds, saving taxpayers nearly $500 million.

If you believe that you’ve been contacted by someone attempting a scam, or you or a client has been the victim of fraud or identity theft, visit the Tax Department’s Report fraud, scams, and identity theft webpage to learn how to report it. The Tax Department takes this type of illegal activity seriously, promptly reviews each complaint, and takes corrective action when appropriate. 

Source: New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

Webcast on RFP for Purchase and Development of 27–Acre Harriman Campus Parcel on July 27

A webcast on the request for proposals (RFP) that has been issued by the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) for the purchase and development of 27 acres of prime real estate in the Governor W. Averell Harriman State Office Campus in Albany will be held on Wednesday, July 27 at 11:00 a.m.

The webcast will outline the RFP process and requirements and participants will be able to ask questions via email. Responses to questions given during the webcast should not be considered official. A recording of the webcast and official responses to questions posed during the webcast will be posted online at

To participate in the webcast please click on the following link on the aforementioned date and time:

Source: New York State Office of General Services

Sanders Hosts 2nd Stop the Violence Meeting in Wake of Civilian and Police Shootings

 Sanders encouraged an open and honest dialogue at the meeting.

Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village) hosted a Stop the Violence Community Meeting on Thursday evening in Far Rockaway to discuss the recent civilian shootings by police which took place in Minnesota and Louisiana. The event was aimed at bringing the community together, allowing residents to vent their frustrations and giving attendees the opportunity to propose changes that they would like to see implemented.

“The police are not the problem,” Sanders said. “The police are a symptom of the problem. The problem is systemic. It’s a system that promotes aggressive policing rather than community policing, and until you change that system, we are going to continue to have these same discussions.”

Sanders has vehemently condemned the assassination of five police officers in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge, whom were allegedly targeted in retaliation for the shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.

The overall consensus at the meeting was that not all police are bad or racist and should not be viewed as such, just as not all members of minority communities are violent or criminals. Many said they believed a greater understanding and mutual respect by both sides is needed moving forward. There were also a number of suggestions regarding what other improvements could be made.

On the law enforcement side, proposals included providing incentives for police to live in the communities where they work, so that they could have a more personal relationship with residents; bringing back the beat cop style of community policing as a way of breaking down barriers; and increasing accountability and punishment for officers who break the law as well as for officers who witness the illegal activity and fail to report it.

On the community side, some advocated for more anti-violence and youth programming as a way to reduce crime in the neighborhood, thereby requiring less police presence while others called for increasing community attendance at Precinct Community Council meetings, so that policing issues could be reported immediately and directly to the commanding officer or community affairs unit.

Sanders' meeting was attended by area residents as well as community and civic leaders. It took place at the office of the Rockaway Youth Task Force, who also co-sponsored the event along with the 101st Precinct Community Council and Rock Safe Streets. It was the second such discussion hosted by Sanders in response to the shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling by police officers. The first meeting was held in Jamaica on July 9, 2016.

Source: The Office of Senator James Sanders, Jr.