Saturday, August 6, 2016

Weekly Address: Representing the Best of America in the Summer Olympics

West Wing Week 8/05/16

From Clemency to Reentry

Norman Brown, who served 20 years before his life sentence was commuted by President Obama, shares his advice on life after prison.

Hillary Clinton Addresses Journalists' Convention in Washington, D.C.

Click on the image to increase its size. 

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke at the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists' joint convention. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN

Donald Trump Endorses Speaker Ryan

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke at a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In his speech, he endorsed several Republican candidates up for 2016 reelection, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI) and Senators John McCain (AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (NH). 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN

Newsmakers with Dr. Jill Stein

Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein talked about the Green Party convention, her candidacy, core beliefs, and thoughts on childhood vaccinations. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN

Third Parties in the U.S.

Donald Green, author of the book Third-Party Matters, examines the evolution and influence of third parties in the U.S. from the anti-slavery Liberty Party in 1841 to Ross Perot’s Reform party in the 1990s. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

A Preview of the Green Party Convention

Politico Magazine's Bill Scher joins by phone to discuss the Green Party convention taking place this week in Houston, where Jill Stein is expected to accept the party’s nomination. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

For the Past Decade, Nelly Has Sent Two Kids to College Each Year

By Evette D. Champion

In light of all the injustices that the black community has had to endure over the past few years, the black community has begged for black celebrities and public figures to take a stand and speak out against these tragedies. Some celebrities have made a stand by using social media and news outlets like CNN to sound off.

Unlike these outspoken celebrities who rose to their fans outcries, there are some black celebrities who prefer to work behind the scenes and let their actions speak for themselves. Nelly, for example, is one such celebrity. He rose to the occasion and heeded the cries of his fans. He visited Ferguson and spoke with protesters. Nelly also created a scholarship in Michael Brown’s name in an effort to not only help his memory live on, but also to inspire students to be the change they wish to see within their community. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Your Black World News

10 Years After Katrina, Investigation Reveals Cracks in All-Charter School System

After Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana decided to put all failing public schools on the open market as a way of overhauling them. A decade later, various cities and states throughout the U.S. have come up with their own charter school experiments, and are closely watching to see the outcomes of New Orleans.

Two main reports have examined academic success over the last nine years. On paper, the results look good. On the 10th anniversary of Katrina, the New Orleans’ Recovery School District (RSD) could be considered a national model. The rate of graduation stands at 73 percent up from 56. In 2014, 63 percent of students in grades 3 to 8 managed to score “basic” or above on state standardized tests. This is a 30 percent increase from the previous year where 33 percent scored the same.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Your Black World News

Papers, Facebook, Far Behind News Aggregators Like Drudge in Usage

A new survey of publishers and consumers shows that "aggregators" like the Drudge Report are the nation's No. 2 source of news, winning nearly twice the usage of Facebook.

Unlike many other news consumption surveys that lump in all internet sources, the HubCiti Publishers' Confidence & Technology Report broke news aggregators out and found that 23.7 percent of the nation gets their news there. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Washington Examiner 

Black Pastors Join Bloomberg Operative's Plan to Stop de Blasio Re-election


HARLEM — An influential group of black and Latino pastors joined Thursday with Bradley Tusk, the former campaign manager for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to announce an effort to keep Mayor Bill de Blasio from winning a second term.

"We are looking for another option," said the Rev. Johnnie Green, president of Mobilizing Preachers and Communities and pastor of Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem. "No one is challenging him. No one is talking about the investigations."

Tusk, an entrepreneur, recently launched a group called NYC Deserves Better, which has been openly critical of the mayor. Tusk commissioned a poll and also launched a search for someone to challenge de Blasio.

Joining with the pastors was the next logical step, Tusk said outside of the Harlem church. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: DNAinfo and the Empire Report

NY State Approves Largest Insurance Rate Increase Since Start of Obamacare

The Cuomo administration on Friday announced that health insurance rates on the individual market would increase by a weighted average of 16.6 percent, the largest individual market hike since the Affordable Care Act began in 2014.

The new rates take effect in January; open enrollment on the state’s exchange begins Nov. 1.

Rates in the small group market will increase by a weighted average of 8.3 percent.

Health insurance reaction was relatively muted as insurance companies digested the news that they would collect higher premiums — though still not as high as they might have liked — and compared themselves to their competitors.

“We believe this year’s process, which provided an opportunity for plans and DFS staff to have constructive discussions about the impact of these factors, was an improvement on previous years,” said Leslie Moran, a spokeswoman for the New York Health Plan Association, which represents insurers. “We look forward to working with DFS to ensure the rate setting process continues to offer greater transparency.”

For years, insurers have accused the state’s Department of Financial Services of playing politics with the rates, keeping them artificially low at the expense of insurers’ bottom lines, an accusation the Cuomo administration has repeatedly denied.

This year, there was certainly more of a mind meld between the administration and the majority of insurers.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Politico and the Empire Report

Nearly 800 Attend Sanders' Job Fair at Rochdale Village

State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village) hosted his most well attended job fair yet on August 3, which was held in the grand ballroom at the Rochdale Village Community Center. Some 769 job seekers explored the employment opportunities which were offered by nearly 30 different companies in fields such as health, education, law enforcement, customer service and transportation. 

"I feel blessed to be able to bring these job opportunities to the district," Sanders said. "We have some talented, qualified individuals here that would be a worthy addition to any company. It's all about being positive and going out and getting those positions."

Featured agencies and companies included: Pepsico, FedEx, Walgreens, Council for Airport Opportunity, NYC Human Resources Administration, United States Postal Service, WellCare, NYC Department for the Aging, Port Authority of NY & NJ, White Castle, FDNY, NYPD, Queens Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, World Financial Group, MTA Long Island Rail Road, Imperial Distributors, NYC Business Solutions, Queens Library, Royal Home Care, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, NYS Department of Labor, NYC Department of Education, NYC Men Teach, Resorts World and Non-Traditional Employment for Women.

Senator Sanders greeted attendees and offered words of encouragement as they sought employment opportunities.

Senator Sanders thanked the Rochdale Village Management and Board of Directors, particularly Jean Castro, First Vice President, and Clifton Stanley Diaz, Chairman, as well as Julia Shaw, Director of the Rochdale Village Community Center for helping to facilitate the event. 

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

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Zika Virus: Analyzing the Threat in the U.S. and at the 2016 Olympics

Reuters Health and Science Correspondent Julie Steenhuysen discusses the threat posed by the Zika virus in the U.S., as well as concerns about the virus as the 2016 Olympics begin in Rio de Janeiro. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Policing and Race Relations

Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Education Secretary John King, and others spoke about the Dallas police killings and the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

National Urban League Conference in Baltimore

The Reverend Al Sharpton, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation President and CEO Melanie Campbell, and NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks are among the speakers at the National Urban League’s conference.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Statement on the Employment Situation in July

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

Summary: The economy added 255,000 jobs in July, as the unemployment rate held steady, labor force participation rose, and wage growth picked up.

The economy added 255,000 jobs in July following robust job growth in June, as the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent and labor force participation rose. U.S. businesses have now added 15.0 million jobs since private-sector job growth turned positive in early 2010, and the longest streak of total job growth on record continued in July. So far in 2016, job growth has averaged a solid 186,000 jobs a month, well above the pace needed to maintain a low and stable unemployment rate, and nominal hourly earnings for private employees have increased at an annual rate of nearly 3 percent so far in 2016, much faster than the pace of inflation. 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, implementing the high-standards Trans-Pacific Partnership, raising the minimum wage, and guaranteeing access to paid parental leave. 

The complete statement is available here

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Trump’s V.P. Pick Mike Pence Refuses to Pardon Exonerated Black Man


When the government wrongfully convicts a defendant, it has a responsibility to do everything within its power to make that person whole. The government cannot make up for the years an exonerated person spent wrongfully imprisoned, but a pardon is certainly within a governor’s power. It is therefore mind boggling that the man presidential hopeful Donald Trump tapped to be his vice president, Mike Pence, has been blocking an innocent man’s pardon for two years.

Keith Cooper was wrongfully convicted of armed robbery and attempted murder. Although Cooper is out of jail, he still has a record that can’t be cleared unless Gov. Mike Pence agrees to pardon him. For the past two years, Pence has refused to do so.

“I’m tired of people judging me by that conviction. That [Department of Correction] number. That’s not who I am,” Cooper told BuzzFeed. “Man, I know that better than my own Social Security number.” 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Your Black World News

'Flashback Friday': Muhammad Ali Lights the Torch at Atlanta 1996 Games Opening Ceremony

Source: Team USA

Trailblazers in Black History: J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr., Nuclear Scientist

This video was published on Oct 11, 2015. 

Destination Freedom ran from 1948 to 1950 and was the story of the triumph of African-American civil rights. Richard Durham's Destination Freedom premiered on June 27, 1948 on Chicago radio and his vision was to reeducate the masses on the image of African American society, since it was tainted with stereotypes that threatened to rip its culture apart. Some of the heroes of the fight for civil rights were, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, and Lena Horne.

Tonight's Story: Boy With A Dream - Dr. J. Ernest Wilkins
Original Air Date: September 19, 1948

More Than 40 Arrested In FBI Bust Of Mafia Figures Up & Down The East Coast

What, you thought the Mafia had called it quits?

FBI agents arrested dozens of alleged mobsters this morning in a sweep running up and down the East Coast, from Florida to Massachusetts. The FBI announced the indictment of 46 purported members of the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese, Bonanno, and Philadelphia crime families today. Three suspects were already in state and federal prison, and four others are still at large. In the sweep, the feds say they found three handguns, a shotgun, gambling items, and $30,000 in cash (which between 39 people isn't a huge amount of dough, let's be honest).

"Today’s charges against 46 men, including powerful leaders, members and associates of five different La Cosa Nostra families, demonstrate that the mob remains a scourge on this city and around the country," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "From loansharking and illegal gambling, to credit card and health care fraud, and even firearms trafficking, today’s mafia is fully diversified in its boundless search for illegal profits. And as alleged, threatening to assault, maim and kill people who get in the way of their criminal schemes remains the go-to play in the mob’s playbook."

Purported wise guys were rounded up in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Yonkers, Rockland County, Orange County, the Jersey Shore, Bergen County, Springfield, Massachusetts, various cities in the Miami area, and Costa Rica. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Gothamist

FBI Agent Apparently Egged on ‘Draw Muhammad’ Shooter

Days before an ISIS sympathizer attacked a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, he received a text from an undercover FBI agent.

“Tear up Texas,” the agent messaged Elton Simpson days before he opened fire at the Draw Muhammad event, according to an affidavit (pdf) filed in federal court Thursday.

“U know what happened in Paris,” Simpson responded. “So that goes without saying… No need to be direct.”

That revelation comes amidst a national debate about the use of undercover officers and human sources in terrorism cases. Undercover sources are used in more than half of ISIS-related terror cases, according to statistics kept by the George Washington University Program on Extremism, and civil liberties advocates say some of those charged might not have escalated their behavior without those interventions. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

NYPD Offering $200 Per Gun in Bronx Buyback

The NYPD is buying back guns and assault rifles this weekend at churches in the Bronx, offering $200 per weapon.

The no-questions-asked offer will take place Saturday; those who turn in guns will get a pre-paid card. (Shotguns, airguns and other rifles are eligible for $25 cards). 

Click here for more information. 

Source: NBC News

Mike Pence: Donald Trump ‘Has a Heart for Our Soldiers’

Donald Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, is joined by his wife Karen from Indianapolis for an exclusive live interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. He defends Trump’s handling of criticism by the parents of a Muslim-American soldier slain in Iraq, saying “the man has a heart for our soldiers.” He also says that the $400 million sent to Iran on the day four U.S. hostages were released has “endangered the lives of every American on the world stage.” 

Click here for video. 

Source: NBC News/TODAY

Ex-CIA Official Endorses Hillary Clinton, Says Putin ‘Played’ Donald Trump

In a strongly worded op-ed piece in Friday’s New York Times, Michael Morell, a former CIA acting director under presidents George W. Bush and Obama, came out for Hillary Clinton, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin “played upon” the vulnerabilities of Donald Trump, whom Morell calls unfit to be president. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports for TODAY from Washington, D.C.

Click here for video.

Source: NBC News/TODAY

'Striking' Results from Early Zika Vaccine Trial

Three experimental vaccines being developed by researchers at Harvard's Beth Israel Hospital and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research had already shown promise in mice — but monkeys are a much better model of how the medicines will work in humans.

All three of the vaccines were found to be safe and protected the monkeys against infection with the virus, according to the report published in Science.

The urgency for a vaccine to protect against Zika infection has intensified as the virus spreads rapidly across Latin America and the Caribbean. This week an unprecedented travel advisory was given for southern Florida after more than a dozen people were diagnosed with Zika after being bitten by "homegrown" mosquitoes.

Zika virus is most dangerous to pregnant women, because it can cause severe birth defects in babies if they are infected in the womb. 

Click here for the full article. 

Apple to Pay Up to $200,000 to Hackers Who Find Software Flaws

New Mortgage Rules Aim to Stop Wrongful Foreclosures

The U.S. agency charged with protecting consumers' finances approved rules on Thursday that will help prevent wrongful home foreclosures, as the regulator continues to press on with reforming the country's massive lending market.

The rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created in the aftermath of the U.S. housing bust that began in 2006, build on current regulations requiring a mortgage servicer to grant certain foreclosure protections to a struggling borrower once over the life of the loan.

Now, servicers, the conduits for mortgage payments, must provide those protections more than once, offering them to borrowers who make current payments after they have worked out an agreement to avoid foreclosure. 

Click here for the full article.

North Miami Police Commander Won't Face Charges in Therapist Shooting

The North Miami Police commander who was suspended for allegedly giving inconsistent statements after an officer shot an unarmed behavioral therapist last month won't face charges, officials said.

Commander Emile Hollant was suspended without pay after he allegedly gave conflicting statements to investigators or command staff officers following the July 18 shooting of Charles Kinsey by Officer Jonathan Aledda.

Click here for video.

Source: NBC 6 News

Black Lives Matter Blocks Roads in London, Other U.K. Cities

LONDON — A British offshoot of the Black Lives Matter movement blocked the road to one of Europe's busiest airports Friday and held demonstrations across three other cities.

The capital's Metropolitan Police said that 10 people were arrested following the protest outside Heathrow airport, which saw demonstrators lying in the highway and holding signs saying "THIS IS A CRISIS." 

Click here for photos. 

Source: NBC News

Virginia Mayor Richard Silverthorne Gave Meth to Undercover Cops for Sex: Police

The mayor of Fairfax City, Virginia, was arrested early Friday after police say he tried to give methamphetamine to undercover detectives in exchange for sex.

Mayor Richard "Scott" Silverthorne, 50, was nabbed in the parking lot of a Crowne Plaza Hotel as part of a sting operation, the Fairfax County Police Department said in a news release. He was charged with felony distribution of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

The operation began in late July, when the department's Organized Crime and Narcotics Division received a tip about a meth distributor.

The suspect — later identified as Silverthorne — was allegedly distributing meth through a website used to arrange casual sex between men, Fairfax County Capt. Jack Hardin said at a news conference. He declined to name the site. 

Click here for the full article. 

UNDERGROUND: Why This Transgender Woman Used Black Market Drugs to Transition

American Woman Who Underwent Female Genital Mutilation Comes Forward to Help Others

Mayor: London One of the Safest Capitals in the World

London Mayor Sadiq Khan calls for calm in his city after an apparent mentally-deranged man kills one and injures five others with a knife. CNN's Michael Holmes reports. 

Source: CNN

Pakistani Father Swears Revenge for Honor Killing

The father of murdered Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch is pledging to avenge his daughter's death, even if that means putting his son behind bars. 

Source: CNN

Thursday, August 4, 2016

NBC/WSJ Poll: Clinton Jumps to Nine Point Lead Over Trump

Hillary Clinton has jumped out to a nine-point lead over Donald Trump, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll shows, nearly doubling the five-point advantage she held over her Republican foe before the political conventions.

In a head-to-head matchup, the Democratic ticket of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine receives the support of 47 percent of registered voters, while the Republican ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence gets 38 percent, the survey shows. Last month, Clinton led Trump by a margin of 46 percent to 41 percent.

Click here for the full article.

Governor Cuomo to Take Legal Action to Protect Long Island Sound

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced New York State will take legal action against the United States Environmental Protection Agency to prevent the designation of new permanent open water disposal sites off the coast of eastern Long Island. In a letter signed by more than 30 federal, state and local elected officials, the Governor provided notice to President Obama and EPA officials that the state will take necessary steps to prevent the EPA from issuing a rule allowing dredged materials from Connecticut to be dumped in the eastern region of the Long Island Sound. The EPA has failed to show that there is need for an additional disposal site.

At an event at Sunken Meadow State Park, the Governor announced that the state objects to any further dumping in the eastern region of the Long Island Sound – a popular tourist and ecologically vital area. This action builds on the state’s goal to eliminate disposal in the open waters of Long Island. A copy of the letter sent to President Obama and EPA Administrators can be viewed here

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Journalists Safety: Growing Concerns in the Industry

This video was published on May 19, 2016. 

Veteran broadcast journalists offer tips for staying safe while covering breaking news.


During Fatal Standoff, Police Asked Facebook To Deactivate Woman's Account


Baltimore County police shot and killed Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old black woman, after an hours-long standoff on Monday — during which Facebook and Instagram, at police request, temporarily shut down Gaines' accounts.

Gaines, who police say was armed with a shotgun, is the ninth black woman shot and killed by police so far this year, The Washington Post reports. Her 5-year-old son was wounded in the exchange of gunfire. The case has attracted a significant amount of attention on social media.

Police Chief Jim Johnson says Gaines was posting video of the standoff to social media as it was unfolding, which prompted police to request the deactivation of her accounts.

Gaines' Facebook page is now reactivated; it does not have any videos visible to the public. On Instagram, one video apparently recorded during the standoff remains. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NPR

Fighting Zika in the US: The Battle Over GMO Mosquitoes

Trump Keeps Failing & It Doesn't Matter

Photo illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

By Olivia Nuzzi

In the past 48 hours, everything went wrong for Donald Trump.

He lied and ranted more than usual, he insulted and offended, his friends used the press to criticize him, and his enemies in his own party said they were voting for Hillary Clinton, while anonymous reports ran rampant that his campaign was falling apart at the seams. Meanwhile, his poll numbers were going down.

But the rules and customs of American politics have not and do not apply to Trump; therefore, we cannot judge his presidential campaign within their context.

Trump and his campaign cannot be off message because Trump and his campaign do not have a message. 

Trump and his campaign cannot be in disarray because Trump and his campaign invite and weaponize disarray.

In short, nothing matters.

Were Trump a normal candidate, it would be fair to say that this week, his campaign spiraled out of control. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

Did 'Black Lives Matter' Just Oust NYPD’s Police Chief?

One day after Black Lives Matter protesters attempted to occupy New York’s City Hall Park, one of their central demands was met. With the resignation of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton Tuesday, the group can claim a victory in its effort to transform policing in America’s largest city.

Although Bratton’s resignation had been rumored for some time and he and the mayor deny protests influenced the move, BLM activists toasted the decision today. Republican Staten Island city councilman Joe Borelli says: “Essentially, they got what they wanted. Causation is not relevant, perception is.” The unmistakable perception is that the move, long in the planning or not, is a concession to protesters.

Along with Bratton’s removal, the protesters demanded that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) be disbanded, with its budget redirected to community activism. If, for some reason, the city government refuses to disband the police, protesters demand that “broken windows” policing, first championed by Bratton in the 1990s, be abolished. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Federalist and the Empire Report

‘Blue Lives Matter’ Bill Would Grant Cops Hate Crime Protection From Protesters


A new state bill would make it a hate crime to use physical force on a police officer—and its chief sponsor argued the past two years of Black Lives Matter demonstrations have made cops a target for violence.

Assemblyman Ronald Castorina, a Staten Island Republican, will debut a “Blue Lives Matter” bill tomorrow with his GOP colleagues. The measure would extend existing hate crime statutes—which currently only apply to attacks based on race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and national origin—to cops as a class.

In an interview with the Observer, Castorina highlighted the recent assassinations of cops in Baton Rouge and Dallas, as well as the killings of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in 2014, as evidence police have become victimized as a profession. He also cited instances of violence against law enforcement at demonstrations, such as the assault on two officers patrolling a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge two years ago.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Observer and the Empire Report