Friday, September 9, 2016

'Brothers on Holy Ground': 9-11 Documentary

This video was uploaded to YouTube on September 8, 2011.

This is an award-winning documentary from the FDNY perspective. It was shot in and around the site and fire houses shortly after the towers fell. This video was inspired by a retired New York firefighter who was able to talk to his brother firefighters like no one else could.

Source: VSINYcom

Statement by President Obama on North Korea's Nuclear Test

The United States condemns North Korea's September 9 nuclear test in the strongest possible terms as a grave threat to regional security and to international peace and stability. North Korea stands out as the only country to have tested nuclear weapons this century. Today's test, North Korea's second this year, follows an unprecedented campaign of ballistic missile launches, which North Korea claims are intended to serve as delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons targeting the United States and our allies, the Republic of Korea and Japan. As Commander in Chief, I have a responsibility to safeguard the American people and ensure that the United States is leading the international community in responding to this threat and North Korea's other provocations with commensurate resolve and condemnation. 

To be clear, the United States does not, and never will, accept North Korea as a nuclear state. Far from achieving its stated national security and economic development goals, North Korea's provocative and destabilizing actions have instead served to isolate and impoverish its people through its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities. Today's nuclear test, a flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, makes clear North Korea's disregard for international norms and standards for behavior and demonstrates it has no interest in being a responsible member of the international community.

Last night I returned from the G-20 and East Asia Summit meetings in Asia, where my counterparts and I were united in our call for North Korea to return to the path of denuclearization.  Upon hearing the news of the test, I had the opportunity to consult separately via phone with Republic of Korea (ROK) President Park Geun-Hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  We agreed to work with the UN Security Council, our other Six-Party partners, and the international community to vigorously implement existing measures imposed in previous resolutions, and to take additional significant steps, including new sanctions, to demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to its unlawful and dangerous actions. I restated to President Park and Prime Minister Abe the unshakable U.S. commitment to take necessary steps to defend our allies in the region, including through our deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery to the ROK, and the commitment to provide extended deterrence, guaranteed by the full spectrum of U.S. defense capabilities. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

House of Representatives September 11 Remembrance

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and other members of Congress deliver remarks at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony on the Capitol steps.  

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

State Department Briefing

Elizabeth Trudeau, director of the Office of Press Relations at the State Department, briefs reporters on a range of international issues, including North Korea’s claim it conducted a nuclear test today.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Representatives Hoyer and McCarthy Hold Colloquy on Zika Virus Funding

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hold a colloquy on the House agenda for the coming week. They discuss the stalemate on Zika virus prevention funding, with Representative McCarthy accusing Democrats of "playing politics" in their efforts to block a bill over Planned Parenthood restrictions. Representative Hoyer responds, calling on House Republicans to put forward the free-standing funding bill passed by the Senate earlier this summer. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Hearing on Mental Health Parity

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing reviewing federal laws guaranteeing parity of coverage for physical and mental health. Panelists included behavioral health experts who discussed mental health care access and challenges with implementing federal mental health parity laws. 

At the conclusion of the hearing Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA) spoke with reporters about his legislative proposal called the “Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act.” 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Saving Our Youth: The Importance of Mentors

This video was published on YouTube on  May 22, 2015. 

Hear the stories of mentors and mentees who have shaped and guided Save Our Youth over the past two decades.

Trailblazers in Black History: William Nicholson (FDNY)

On December 6, 1898, 27-year-old William H. Nicholson, was appointed to a paid position as fireman and assigned to a firehouse in Brooklyn. This is the first known black New York City fireman. He had a short career with the Department - retiring at age 41 on January 1, 1912 having completed only 14 years of service.

Nicholson's retirement was a result of a physical disability and for that he received a pension of $700 per year. Nicholson was assigned to Engine Company 6 which was established in the year of his birth, 1869, when it was located at 14 High Sstreet, Brooklyn. The Company had relocated in 1892 to 189 Pearl Street, Brooklyn. 

Click here for additional information. 

Source: Wikipedia

Revisiting ‘9/11’ on its 15th Anniversary, in the Context of the Reichstag Fire


The 15th anniversary of the 9/11 Disaster will shortly be observed this year.  No single event in recent history has had such an impact on history itself.  I, and many, many others have been writing on it, and the still un-answered questions about it, from the time almost immediately after it happened.  In the view of many of us, the truth about what really happened has yet to be told.  On September 10-11, at New York City’s Cooper union, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the Lawyers Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, the NY State Legislative Action Project for 9/11 Justice, the 9/11 Consensus Panel, and the 9/11 Truth Action Project will be holding the next in the series of “Justice in Focus” symposia on the topic of “9/11 Truth” which have been held annually for some years now.

“9/11” is a subject that I have visited periodically over the years, most recently on The Greanville Post last April, upon the publication of the redacted version of “The 28 Pages.”   This time around I thought to go back to some of my earliest writing on the subject.  It appeared on a long-closed webmagazine called “The Political”  This time around, because the 9/11 disaster and the U.S. Republican government’s response to  it has had such a profound impact on world affairs, the multi-faceted and super-deadly current conflict in the Middle East being just one of them, I thought that it might be useful to re-visit a singular event that occurred a long time ago, that also had a huge impact in subsequent years,  That would be the Reichstag Fire, that occurred in Berlin, Germany, on February 27, 1933, just about a month after Adolf Hitler became the German Chancellor.  There are some remarkable comparisons between the governmental responses to the two events, of which this column will only scratch the surface.  This text is drawn from several columns of mine on the subject of 9/11 and the Reichstag Fire which I have written over the years, the first being done in November, 2001. 

For those who may not be au courant with the history of Nazi Germany, let me lay out the bare facts of the period.  On January 30, 1933, the then President of the German Weimar Republic (1919-1933), the World War I hero Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg, as part of a deal with the non-Nazi Right-Wing political parties, appoints Adolf Hitler, the leader of the National Socialist German Workers (Nazi) Party as Chancellor. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Greanville Post  

Remembering 9/11 (A Special NBC News Report)


Fifteen years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, friends and families still grieve. Children still search for understanding. Survivors still suffer. The nation, and the world, still remembers.

NBC News and MSNBC present a look back at the day of terror that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, examining its lasting impact at home and around the globe. 

Click here to review the special feature. 

Source: NBC News/MSNBC

House OKs Bill to Let 9/11 Families Sue Saudi Arabia

On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the House unanimously passed on Friday controversial legislation clearing the way for the families of victims to sue Saudi Arabia if that country is found legally responsible for helping back the deadly terrorist acts.

The bill, which passed the Senate in May, now heads to President Obama's desk. The White House strongly opposes the legislation and worries the legislation leaves the U.S. open to similar suits. 

Critics also argue the bill will put U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia in jeopardy and potentially set a dangerous precedent of Americans suing foreign governments.

The president is expected to veto the bill. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

Superbug Source Remains a Mystery

Medical detectives said Friday they are still baffled about how much-feared drug-resistant superbugs infected two people in the U.S. this year, but they have good news: both patients recovered and don't seem to have infected anyone else.

The medical team also reported the fourth known case in the U.S., involving a Connecticut toddler. 

The case of a woman in Pennsylvania startled public health officials and made headlines last May.

She was found to be carrying E. coli bacteria that had acquired a gene called mcr-1. This gene gives bacteria the ability to withstand the effects of last-ditch antibiotics.

Luckily, the women recovered and did not appear to infect anyone else, the team at the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News

North Dakota Protesters Vow to Stop Oil Pipeline From Traversing Sioux Land

Gracy Claymore remembers the moment the message flashed across her laptop screen.

On the morning of Aug. 3, a Texas company called Energy Transfer Partners sent her and all members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe a 48-hour construction notice on the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline — a 1,170-mile oil conduit slated to run from North Dakota to Illinois.

Part of the pipeline would traverse the Sioux's sacred, ancestral lands and run under the Missouri River, the tribe's sole water source. The pipeline would run just a half-mile from the Standing Rock reservation, which straddles the North and South Dakota border.

For Claymore, a 19-year-old student activist who along with dozens of her peers had protested the pipeline for months, warning against "the potential catastrophic environmental damage" an oil spill would bring for their people, it was now the time for action. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Wells Fargo Created Millions of Unauthorized Accounts, Regulators Say

Outspoken NY Assemblyman Dies in Reported Suicide

Upstate New York Assemblyman and outspoken conservative Bill Nojay died Friday morning in what local media reported was a suicide. 

NBC affiliate WHEC in Rochester reported that Nojay was found dead in a local cemetery of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The station had previously reported the Republican was facing the possibility of fraud charges over a business deal in Cambodia, and said he was due to turn himself in Friday in that case. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC 4 (New York)

New Legislation Expedites Professional Licenses For Spouses of Active Duty Military Members

Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed legislation to expedite the professional licensure process for spouses of active duty military personnel transferred to New York who are licensed to practice in another state.

“This common sense legislation breaks down artificial barriers that caused undue burdens on military families and opens the door for more career opportunities for military spouses in New York," Governor Cuomo said. "I'm proud to sign this measure into law and cut this unneeded red tape once and for all."

The bill (A.4394-A/S.2947-A) will require expedited licensing and allow military spouses to obtain temporary licenses while their application is pending.

The legislation requires the State Education Department to expedite the licensure process for professions overseen by SED for spouses of active duty members of the United States armed forces, National Guard, or reserves who are transferred to New York and who hold a license with substantially similar requirements from another state. It also authorizes SED to provide a temporary license to these military spouses so they can practice their profession immediately while their full licensure application is pending.

This new licensing process will apply to all SED licensed professions, including physicians, nurses, physical therapists, engineers, and mental health practitioners, among others.
Senator Patty Ritchie said, “Military families move 10 times more often than others—often crossing state lines that have different rules and protocols for professional licenses—and this makes it more difficult for military spouses to find work to help support their families. In recent years, top leaders at Fort Drum and Defense Department officials shared with me the importance of getting this measure passed, which they view as a key tool to encourage trained and experienced military service members to reenlist. Members of our military and their families sacrifice so much, and this is truly a way to make things easier for them by creating more—and better—opportunities so they succeed in the new communities where they are assigned, and I would like to thank the Governor for recognizing the importance of this measure.”

Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz said, "As a veteran and a fighter for veteran’s causes, I am pleased that the Governor signed my legislation into law today. This law allows military spouses to pursue professional job opportunities that were closed to them before. We are now on par with the majority of states that recognize the importance of military families. We should always be able to support our armed forces in ways like this." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

The Woman Running to Be Somalia's First Female President

"My gender is not an issue," says Fadumo Dayib. "It's a gender that has actually brought the little peace we have in Somalia." 

Source: CNN

North Korea Conducts Powerful Nuclear Test

CNN's talks to, former US Ambassador to South Korea and Iraq, Christopher Hill about the North Korea nuke test. 

Source: CNN

North Korea Says Its Bomb Can Be Put On A Rocket

North Korea says it has successfully completed its most powerful nuke test, claiming it now has the capability to mount warheads on ballistic rockets. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports. 

Source: CNN

European Officials: 30 to 40 ISIS Suspects At Large

European security officials estimate that 30 to 40 suspected ISIS terrorists who helped support the November 13 Paris terror attacks are still at large. 

Source: CNN

Travel Tip to London from Air China Accused of Racism

Some Londoners are offended by a warning that came inside Air China's inflight magazine about traveling in the multicultural city. 

Source: CNN

Thursday, September 8, 2016

President Obama Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

President Obama Closing News Conference in Laos

At the conclusion of his nine-day Asia trip, President Obama told reporters in a news conference that he does not think Donald Trump is qualified to be President of the United States, adding that governing is “serious business” and as a leader your speech should reflect thought-out policy. President Obama talked about his legacy in the Asia Pacific region, urging his successor to continue engagement and dialogue in the region. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Biden and Congressional Democrats Call for Legislative Action

Vice President Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and other Democratic members of Congress call for action on a variety of legislative issues during a rally on the steps of the Capitol. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Hillary Clinton News Conference


Hillary Clinton held a news conference to take questions from the press. It’s the first one in more than 250 days. It follows NBC’s forum with both presidential candidates. Before taking questions, Clinton reiterated her commitment to fighting ISIS and addressing other national security concerns. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN

House Speaker Weekly Briefing

House Speaker Paul Ryan held his weekly briefing since Congress' return from its seven-week August recess. He outlined the Republican agenda on health care, combating ISIS*, and preserving his party’s congressional majority in the 2016 elections. He was asked about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s latest remarks on Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

House Minority Leader Weekly Briefing

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held her weekly briefing with the press.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Trailblazers in Black History: Carl Brashear

Carl Maxie Brashear was a United States Navy sailor. He was the first African American to become a U.S. Navy Master Diver, rising to the position in 1970 despite also having an amputated left leg.

Brashear enlisted in the U.S. Navy on February 25, 1948, shortly after the Navy had been desegregated by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. He graduated from the U.S. Navy Diving & Salvage School in 1954, becoming the first African American to attend and graduate from the Diving & Salvage School and the first African-American U.S. Navy Diver.

While attending diving school in Bayonne, New Jersey, Brashear faced hostility and racism. He found notes on his bunk saying, "We're going to drown you today, nigger!" and "We don't want any nigger divers." Brashear received encouragement to finish from Boatswain's Mate First Class Rutherford, and graduated 16 out of 17. 

Additional information is available here

Source: Wikipedia

Street Naming for Reverend Luis F. Serrano


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

You should know that on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 11:00AM, Chatterton Avenue, between Virginia and Puglsey Avenues in Bronx County will be renamed in honor of Reverend Luis F. Serrano.

As you already know, for many years, Reverend Luis Serrano has served as a Chaplain for the New York City Police Department, and as such, he has been one of the spiritual counselors for more than 30,000 men and women who comprise the NYPD, serving equally without regard to anyone’s race, color, creed, national origin, disability, gender, sexual preference, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status.

Reverend Luis Serrano has also been one of the Officers of the Assembly of God in the Eastern Hispanic District. He serves as the Parochial Vicar of the Assembly of God Church in Brooklyn. Reverend Luis Serrano is the Pastor of the Pentecostal Assembly Church located at 320 47th Street in Brooklyn, on the corner of Third Avenue.

Since he came from Puerto Rico, his homeland, where he resided in El Barrio San José, Toa Baja, Reverend Luis Serrano has resided in Bronx County where he has humbly served people from a variety of ethnicities including Jewish, Black, Italian, Irish, Asian, and Dominican, in many capacities.

It is important for you to know that Reverend Serrano’s social and religious efforts and contributions to families and residents of Bronx County has drawn the attention of New York City Council Members Annabel Palma and Rafael Salamanca, who have obtained approval of the New York City Council to change the name of the block where Reverend Serrano resides at 1965 Chatterton Avenue to Reverend Luis F. Serrano Way.

For this ceremony, they have chosen Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 11:00 a.m., when the Council Members together with other elected officials, community leaders, ministers, and Members of the New York City Police Department will be officially declaring Chatterton Avenue as Reverend Luis F. Serrano Way.

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

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Enhance Disability Retirement Benefits for NYC Firefighters

Governor Cuomo signed legislation to provide enhanced disability retirement benefits for Tier 3 and Tier 6 New York City firefighters. Once the law takes effect, all New York City firefighters who become disabled while in the line of duty are eligible for disability equal to three-quarters of their pension.

Source: NYGovCuomo

How Roger Ailes is Shaping Donald Trump's Debate Prep

The former Fox News chief started advising Trump at a private lunch just days before the launch of his campaign, and regularly offered him advice over the course of the primaries, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Trump and Ailes met in person several times between June 2015 and June 2016 -- almost always at Fox News headquarters -- and spoke frequently on the phone, the sources said. Even when Ailes and Trump appeared to be at war over Trump's treatment of Megyn Kelly, the two men kept the conversation going.

But since late July, when Ailes left Fox News amid a torrent of sexual harassment allegations, he has taken on a much more active role in Trump's campaign -- specifically in terms of debate preparation.

In recent weeks, Ailes has become one of the most influential voices in the room as Trump prepares for his first head-to-head matchup with Hillary Clinton, on September 26. Ailes has attended at least two of Trump's Sunday debate prep sessions in person, sources said, and talks with Trump by phone multiple times a week. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: CNN Money

McLaughlin Spars with Zucker, Other DOH Officials, Over PFOA Contamination (Video)


Temperatures rose in the first hours of Wednesday’s joint legislative hearing into water quality during a heated exchange between state Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin and state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. The Republican lawmaker, who represents part of the Rensselaer County area affected by PFOA contamination, has been waiting for months to pose questions to Zucker in a hearing.

McLaughlin began by upbraiding another DOH official for previously mentioning his stress and fatigue levels while dealing with Hoosick Falls; that was something the village’s residents might understand more keenly, the lawmaker said. McLaughlin’s first question to Zucker was whether he had felt a legal obligation to immediately inform the citizens of Hoosick Falls that their water was tainted.

“Assemblyman, I take issue to some of your statements,” Zucker said, insisting that he was keenly aware of the sense of anxiety in the community.

McLaughlin tried asking the question a different way: “Would you have let your mother drink that water for 18 months?” — a reference to the gap in time before Hoosick Falls’ resident Michael Hickey’s first test results and the state’s eventual December 2016 advice that residents shouldn’t drink from the village water supply or any other system with PFOA levels above 400 parts per trillion. 

Click here for video. 

Source: timesunion

New York Can’t Block Late-Term Abortion in Certain Cases, Schneiderman Says

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Wednesday took a large step toward making New York one of several states to allow late-term abortions in cases where the mother’s health is in jeopardy or the fetus suffers a fatal complication, relying on Supreme Court rulings he said overrode existing law.

In a new legal opinion, Mr. Schneiderman said the 1970 state law, which criminalizes abortion past 24 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother’s life is endangered, did not square with the later Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and other cases.

“New York law cannot criminalize what the federal Constitution protects, and thus the Penal Law should be interpreted to be consistent with the Constitution,” the opinion says.

While the state law remains on the books, the opinion from Mr. Schneiderman, a Democrat, now gives hospitals and clinics the legal grounding to perform such abortions. Reproductive rights advocates say that no providers currently offer such procedures in New York, so doctors have to send women who need late-term abortions elsewhere — most often to Colorado, where they are legal. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Times

Democrats Accuse Matt Lauer of Bias at NBC Veterans Forum


Matt Lauer has been labeled a 'morning show lightweight' by furious political pundits after he failed to grill Donald Trump on his claim he never supported the Iraq War during a Commander in Chief Forum on Wednesday night - but relentlessly questioned Hillary over her private email scandal.

The NBC Today show host was accused of going too easy on Trump when the Republican candidate repeated his claim to have always 'totally opposed the Iraq war', when in fact he supported an invasion during a 2002 Howard Stern interview.

Instead of stopping Trump in his tracks during the session at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan, Lauer accepted his answer and immediately moved onto the next question - even though Clinton had told him during her interview beforehand that Trump had backed the war.

Lauer questioned Clinton for almost seven minutes of a 30 minute segment over her emails, many times talking over before demanding she only briefly touch on other important topics such as ISIS.

'Lauer interrupted Clinton's answers repeatedly to move on. Not once for Trump,' wrote respected Capitol Hill watcher Norman Ornstein on Twitter, adding: 'Tough to be a woman running for president.' 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Mail