Friday, September 23, 2016

Michelle Obama and Laura Bush on Supporting the Military Community

First Lady Michelle Obama and her predecessor Laura Bush talked about their support for U.S. servicemembers, veterans, and their families. They spoke about their shared experiences raising daughters during a time of war, and the need for more awareness of veterans' mental health issues. The forum was moderated by Bob Woodruff, who was seriously injured in 2006 while covering the war in Iraq.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Trailblazers in Black History: Sammy Davis, Jr. & Carroll O'Connor

The iconic stars were responsible for the first African-American interracial male kiss on network television. This clip says it all. Enjoy.

'Flashback Friday': Carter vs. Reagan, the 1980 Debates

This video was uploaded on YouTube on February 10, 2011. 

The closing arguments all but determined the winner during the 1980 presidential debates between President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.


Exclusive Video: Moments Leading Up to Charlotte Shooting of Keith Lamont Scott

Drug-Resistant Superbugs Are 'Fundamental Threat' to Humans, WHO Says

All Eyes on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with Debate Just 3 Days Away

Donald Trump Voices Support For Controversial 'Stop and Frisk' Policy

Early Get-Out-the-Vote Efforts Favor Clinton: Ballot Requests in Battleground States

As Election Day nears, both Democratic and Republican campaigns are ramping up their efforts to get out the vote. With the rise of early and absentee voting across the country, campaigns are increasingly focused on early voting as a method of securing an early lead in the race.

One way that campaigns try to accomplish this is to motivate voters to request an absentee ballot. By tracking and analyzing these requests, campaigns get an early glimpse into how well their get-out-the-vote efforts are working in the very early stages of the campaign.

The first batch of absentee ballot request data suggests that Hillary Clinton may have an early advantage, though Donald Trump appears to be better positioned in Florida, a key swing state.

The NBC News Data Analytics Lab -- using data provided by TargetSmart — analyzed absentee ballot requests in six critical battleground states - Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania. The chart below shows the number of requests received so far. 

Click here to review the chart and full article. 

Conservatives File Voter Registration Lawsuits That Liberals Say Are Blocking Votes

By Pam Fessler

It's no secret that voter registration lists are filled with inaccuracies. People move. Or change their names. Or die. But it can take months if not years for the rolls to get updated. Now, conservative groups are taking a number of election officials to court, saying they're not doing their jobs. Liberal groups think the real purpose is to make it more difficult for some people to vote.

The lawsuits have targeted about a dozen counties so far in Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Mississippi. And even some cities, such as Philadelphia and Alexandria, Va.

"This is an effort to make the voter rolls cleaner and to follow federal law before the elections in November," says J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. His group is behind the suits, along with the American Civil Rights Union. Adams is a former Justice Department official who has been at the forefront of efforts to restore what he calls "election integrity." 

Click here for the full article/broadcast.

Source: npr (All Things Considered)

Federal Guidance for Police in Schools Won’t Stop Criminalization of Kids


Earlier this month, the federal government offered guidance to school districts that use police officers to keep order in their public schools. To say guidance is needed is a vast understatement.

Since the deployment of officers in schools became routine across the country, there’s been no shortage of reports about children being pepper-sprayed, handcuffed, roughed up and otherwise abused by officers – often for nothing more than typical adolescent behavior.

In many jurisdictions, school officials have essentially turned over routine disciplinary matters to the police.

Because police are in the business of combatting crime, not educating children, the results shouldn’t surprise anyone. Misbehavior that once earned a student a stern reprimand – or maybe a stint in study hall – now can land a kid behind bars. Instead of a trip to the guidance counselor, a child who gets in trouble now often faces a maze of court appearances, fines and even jail time. The consequences for children and families can be enormous.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center

How Will Corruption Charges Affect Cuomo’s Future?


If Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ever harbored the national ambitions that some say lie at his political core, the hopes might have centered on his Buffalo Billion economic-development program.

If Cuomo could turn around the poster child for Rust Belt cities, conventional wisdom held, he could make a case of turning around a nation lingering in a stagnant economy.

But now Cuomo faces political challenges far more immediate than running for president someday. Now, the governor must fend off torrents of criticism rushing his way following the federal corruption charges lodged against his closest advisers – some who have dwelled in his inner circle for decades. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Buffalo News (via The Empire Report) 

Former Lawmen Christie and Cuomo Now Bound by Scandals


The governor of New York is scheduled to be in the city early next week to wax eloquent on the subject of infrastructure, a topic to which he is so devoted that his aides have encouraged comparisons to Robert Moses. They appear to have forgotten that thanks to the narrative skills of Robert Caro, the master builder is remembered not so much for his great works of public utility as his unscrupulous exercise of raw power.

But perhaps that is not the comparison they seek to make.

In any case, there are probably bookmakers in more advanced nations who are calculating the odds of Andrew Cuomo fulfilling his obligation to the Association for a Better New York on Tuesday afternoon. But betting that the governor will soon come down with an ailment requiring extensive quarantine would be like putting down $2 on Secretariat to show in the '73 Belmont Stakes. A gamble, perhaps, but one hardly worthy of the concept.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Politico (via The Empire Report)

Bharara Promises ‘Gory Detail’ of Corruption at Core of Cuomo’s Office and Agenda

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara lashed out at the state’s executive branch and the “show-the-money-culture in Albany” today as he unveiled a massive criminal complaint implicating some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s closest associates—but he refused to say what the governor’s knowledge of the alleged scheme might be.

Addressing the press at his office in Lower Manhattan, the federal prosecutor asserted Cuomo’s ex-deputy executive secretary Joseph Percoco was “on the take” and that “pervasive corruption and fraud” infested one of the governor’s signature economic development programs.

“Companies got rich, and the public got bamboozled,” Bharara said. “I do hope there’s a trial in this case, so that all New Yorkers can see, in gory detail, what their state government has been up to.” 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Observer (Politics) via The Empire Report

Family of Eric Garner to Support Family of Terence Crutcher at NAN Gathering


On September 24, at 9:30 a.m., the family of Eric Garner will join the Rev. Al Sharpton at the National Action Network headquarters in effort to show their support for the relatives of Terrence Crutcher.

The family of Terence Crutcher, the unarmed African American man killed by a Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer, along with their attorneys Benjamin L. Crump and Damario Solomon Simmons, joined Rev. Sharpton at NAN’s House of Justice on Thursday, September 22, to call for a National Day of Justice in Tulsa next Tuesday, September 27

While the officer has been charged and Rev. Sharpton has said this is a swift step in the right direction, NAN looks forward to a further investigation of all the officers at the scene when this tragedy occurred and knowing whether the conduct of these other officers will be subject to disciplinary actions or legal proceedings. 

Furthermore, NAN intends to launch a fundraising drive for the children of Terence Crutcher.

NAN headquarters is located at 106 West 145th Street at Malcolm X Blvd. Statements from Rev. Sharpton and the Garner family will be broadcast live on live on WLIB 1190 AM and livestreamed at

Source: Mercury

SUNY Student Assembly President Responds to Charges of Corruption Against SUNY Polytechnic Institute President

The following statement was issued today by SUNY Student Assembly President and Trustee Marc J. Cohen. 

“The news of charges being filed against SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros is of great disappointment to the students of the SUNY system. SUNY is defined by academic excellence and great student experiences - not corruption. The Student Assembly is committed to ensuring that our students receive the best education possible, under the best leadership available. We will work actively with Chancellor Zimpher and Chairman McCall to ensure that the students attending SUNY Polytechnic are not adversely affected by any of the events that ensue."

The Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) is the recognized student government organization representing the nearly 600,000 students of the State University of New York. Comprised of student leaders elected by their peers from across SUNY’s 64 campuses, SUNY SA is committed to empowering students throughout the state, and ensuring the representation of its members on the state and national level, as well as throughout the SUNY system. 

Source: SUNY SA

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Betty Shelby Charged With Manslaughter In Terence Crutcher Shooting

By Ryan Grenoble

Betty Shelby, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher last week, faces a charge of first-degree manslaughter, Tulsa County District Attorney Stephen Kunzweiler announced Thursday.

“In the matter of the death of Terence Crutcher, I determined that the filing of the felony crime of manslaughter in the first degree against Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby is warranted,” Kunzweiler said.

Per NewsOK, the charge carries a minimum sentence of four years in prison, if Shelby is convicted. Shelby’s attorney said she opened fire because she feared Crutcher might have been reaching for a weapon. Police failed to find a weapon on Crutcher or in the car. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Huffington Post

 Rev. Sharpton Statement on First-Degree
Manslaughter Charges Against Betty Shelby

“The first-degree manslaughter charges against this officer are a swift step in the right direction as we pursue justice in the death of Terence Crutcher. But we also look forward to a further investigation of all the officers at the scene when this tragedy occurred and we are anxious to know whether the conduct of these other officers will be subject to disciplinary actions or legal proceedings.” 

Source: Mercury

Attorney General Lynch Addresses Violence in Charlotte, North Carolina

Attorney General Loretta Lynch addresses violence in Charlotte, North Carolina in the wake of a recent police-involved shooting there. She speaks at the beginning of a news conference with Justice officials on mail fraud. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Congressional Black Caucus Holds Press Conference on Police-Involved Shootings

Congressional Black Caucus members speak to reporters at the Department of Justice about a letter they’ve written to Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for greater accountability of law enforcement in the wake of recent police-involved shootings. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

North Carolina Governor's Remarks on Violence in Charlotte

Governor Pat McCrory (R-NC) and the mayor of Charlotte speak to reporters about the violence at ongoing protests in the wake of a police-involved shooting of an African-American man earlier in the week. 

This is courtesy of Fox 46 WJZY. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

'Saving Our Youth' Series: HMG, 'Stop The Violence' PSA

Trailblazers in Black History: Calvin Brown

Calvin Brown is the first African American stuntman recognized in Hollywood. He is also one of the original founders of the Black Stuntmen’s Association and the Sober Living House.

Brown was born in Farmersville, LA, on April 23, 1936 to Sylvester Brown and Ida Mae Washington Brown, who married at the age of 18 and16 respectively. Brown and his twin brother Galvin are the second born to a family with eight children; five boys and three girls. At the age of two years old his family moved to Grambling, LA. Brown states that he was “community raised”, meaning that everyone in the community was responsible for raising the children, he continues, “you could do no wrong, somebody was going to get you”. 

This was also the community where he, at the age of nine, started working for the United States Postal Service as a 2nd Class Special Delivery Mail Messenger. He earned nine cents per letter and earned up to thirty or forty dollars per month. Brown says, that was a lot of money during that time for someone his age.

Calvin continued to work as a 2nd Class Special Delivery messenger as he completed his undergraduate work at Grambling State University where his salary increased to $1.92 per letter. He played numerous sports and was a member of the marching band in the horn section. He graduated from Grambling in 1957. After graduation he moved to California, worked for the US Postal Service there and became and extra in Hollywood movies. 

Additional information is available here

Source: The National Visionary Leadership Project

Mexico: Group Calls for Investigation into Journalist's Fatal Shooting

Clinton and Trump Take Different Approaches to First Debate Prep

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appear to be preparing for their highly anticipated Monday night debate showdown in ways that are as different as their candidacies. One looks to be hunkering down with homework, research and rehearsals, while the other seems to be taking an on-the-fly casual approach to what could be the most important 90 minutes of the presidential election.

Monday night's first presidential debate could easily be among the most-watched events ever. At the very least it will be nearly impossible for anyone to avoid seeing some parts of it on a television screen, cell phone, tablet or laptop or social media.

Here's what we know about how they are preparing: 

Hillary Clinton

Between her 2000 Senate run and two presidential bids, Clinton has appeared on the debate stage nearly 40 times. Still, she has never prepared for an opponent quite as unpredictable as Trump. 

Click here for the full article.

Editorial: Charlotte is Drowning in Systematic Injustice

Just before 4pm, on Tuesday, September 20th, a Charlotte police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott outside Scott's parked car. Eyewitness and police reports do not agree on who the officer was, whether Scott was holding a book or a gun, or what took place between officers and Scott before the shooting.

There is much we do not know. But there is unrest in Charlotte because of what we do know. 

We know, whatever the facts, that the law protects the officer, not the victim, in cases like this. Three years ago, a Charlotte officer shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell, an unarmed black man who was asking for help after his car broke down.

The Movement for Black Lives led peaceful protests, and the state conference of the NAACP insisted on due process. The case ended in a hung jury. The attorney general's office denied our request for a re-trial.

There is unrest in Charlotte because of what we know. 

Click here for the full article.

Keith Scott Shooting: No 'Definitive' Evidence He Pointed Gun at Cops, Chief Says

Police bodycam video of the killing of Keith Lamont Scott does not specifically show him pointing his gun at officers before they fatally shot him, Charlotte's police chief said Thursday.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney did not detail the footage during a news conference following a second night of violent unrest, but said the videos he watched fail to show "absolute definitive, visual evidence" that Scott brandished his weapon at the cops. 

Click here for the full article. 

Related story: Michael Jordan: Hornets Committed to Helping Charlotte Heal...

Donald Trump Advocates Stop-and-Frisk Policies to Reduce Urban Violence

Black Cops at Odds With Fraternal Order of Police Over Trump Endorsement

The endorsement of Donald Trump by the Fraternal Order of Police appears to have driven a wedge between many black cops and their white brothers in blue.

And nowhere is the split more visible than in Philadelphia, where the local FOP chapter has fallen in line and also endorsed the Republican presidential candidate — over the objections of a group that represents some 2,500 African-American officers in the city and which has branded Trump an "outrageous bigot."

"Our Local FOP is saying that our people have to follow the national lead," Rochelle Bilal, head of the Philadelphia Guardian Civic League, told NBC News. "We are saying you don't have to vote for Donald Trump and the national FOP should have stayed out of this election." 

Click here for the full article.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Tension With Chicago Cops Complicates Crime Fighting

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose tenure in office has been marked by a fraught relationship with local law enforcement, will give a long-awaited address on Thursday on the devastating violence besieging the city.

Emanuel's plans include proposals to work more closely with law enforcement and adding more officers to combat the carnage in several of Chicago's beleaguered neighborhoods.

It is a move some supporters say might alleviate the city's high crime rates—there were more than 3,000 shootings this year alone. 

But Emanuel's inconsistent and, at times, disjointed relationship with the Chicago Police Department could cause him to lose a precious ally in combating the violence. 

Click here for the full article. 

Yahoo Says 'State-Sponsored Actor' Hacked 500M Accounts

This is nothing to say "Yahoo" about.

Yahoo confirmed today a massive security breach impacting 500 million users and said it believes a "state-sponsored actor" is behind the hack. 

The internet company is currently in the process of being acquired by Verizon.  

"Based on the ongoing investigation, Yahoo believes that information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen and the investigation has found no evidence that the state-sponsored actor is currently in Yahoo's network. Yahoo is working closely with law enforcement on this matter," Bob Lord, Yahoo's chief information security officer said in a statement. 

Click here for the full article.

St. Louis Cop Caught on Film Planting a Gun on a Man He Just Killed


Newly released footage has shed a troubling new light on a 2011 police shooting in St. Louis, showing an officer gun down a black suspect and then planting a gun on the crime scene.

Officer Jason Stockley and his partner Brian Bianchi had engaged drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith in a high speed chase. Stockley can be heard saying “I’m going to kill this motherfucker.”

The police rammed Smith off the road, and camera footage shows Stockley shooting five shots into the driver’s seat of Smith’s disabled car. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: U.S. Uncut

NYPD 'Looking Into' Weiner Communication with Teen


A spokesperson for the New York Police Department said “detectives are looking into” a report that former congressman Anthony Weiner traded sexually explicit messages with a girl who identified herself as a 15-year-old high school student.

The exchange was first reported by the Daily Mail yesterday, which withheld the name of the girl because she is a minor.

Weiner yesterday referred reporters to a statement he had given the Daily Mail, saying he regretted his online conversations but pointing to a letter the girl wrote calling the incident “a hoax.” The girl later recanted that characterization, and shared with the Daily Mail a series of images and messages she said she traded with Weiner up until July.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Politico

Jeffries to Keynote Pro-Charter Schools Rally in Prospect Park


Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Mayor Bill de Blasio in a Democratic primary next year, will be the keynote speaker for a charter school march hosted by Families for Excellent Schools and charter school executive Eva Moskowitz in Prospect Park next week.

At the rally, speakers will call on the de Blasio administration to stop what they perceive to be his opposition to charter schools, and will ask City Hall to increase charter school capacity from 100,000 students to 200,000.

“New York City charter schools have had an incredible impact on children across the city. That’s why I’m proud to march alongside parents fighting for life-changing public charter schools," Jeffries said in a statement.

Jeffries has been a consistent supporter of Moskowitz, her Success Academy's network of schools and of charter schools in general, and has been a featured speaker at Success Academy's annual benefit. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Politico

Christie, Cuomo on Potential Witness List for Bridgegate Trial

By Salvador Rizzo

Governor Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appear on a list of more than 300 witnesses who may be called to testify in the trial over the George Washington Bridge lane closures.

However, not everyone on the list may be called to testify, according to a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

Fishman’s office is prosecuting two former political operatives for Christie, Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly, for shutting down access lanes to the bridge in 2013 as part of a political revenge plot targeting Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich. The mayor appears on the list and is scheduled to testify today in federal court in Newark.

Some of the most powerful figures in New Jersey politics appear on the list, including New Jersey lawmakers, current and former Christie administration officials, commissioners and staff of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, mayors, county officials and others. 

Click here for the full article.


Nine Defendants Charged with Federal Corruption And Fraud Offenses in New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Adam Cohen, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Shantelle P. Kitchen, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), announced today the unsealing of a Complaint charging eight defendants with federal public corruption offenses, including Joseph Percoco, the former Executive Deputy Secretary to the Governor of the State of New York, and Alain Kaloyeros, the President of SUNY Polytechnic Institute (“SUNY Poly”). The charges arise from two separate but overlapping schemes involving bribery, corruption, and fraud in the award of hundreds of millions of dollars in New York State contracts and other official state actions. 

In the first scheme, Percoco is charged with soliciting and accepting more than $315,000 in bribes in return for taking official state action to benefit an energy company (the “Energy Company”) and a Syracuse-based real estate developer (the “Syracuse Developer”).  As part of this scheme, Peter Galbraith Kelly, Jr., an executive at the Energy Company, and Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, executives at the Syracuse Developer, are charged with orchestrating the payment of bribes to Percoco. 

In the second scheme, Aiello and Gerardi, along with Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler, who are executives at a Buffalo-based development company (the “Buffalo Developer”), are charged with paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Todd Howe, a consultant hired by Kaloyeros to help administer the state’s “Buffalo Billion” initiative and related programs. As the charges allege, in exchange for the bribe payments, Howe and Kaloyeros secretly rigged the bids on lucrative state-funded contracts to ensure that the Syracuse Developer and the Buffalo Developer would win the contracts. 

All eight defendants charged in the Complaint were arrested this morning. Percoco, Kelly, and Kaloyeros are scheduled to be presented later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan federal court. Aiello and Gerardi are scheduled to appear later today in federal court in Syracuse. Ciminelli, Laipple and Schuler are scheduled to appear later today in federal court in Buffalo. 

Also unsealed today is the guilty plea of Todd Howe in connection with his participation in both corruption schemes described above. Howe pled guilty pursuant to an Information before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman on September 20, 2016, and is cooperating with the Government.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Today’s charges shine a light on yet another sordid side of the show-me-the money culture that has so plagued Albany. As alleged, Joseph Percoco, the former Executive Deputy Secretary to the Governor, was on the take. And pervasive corruption and fraud allegedly infected signature state development projects like the Buffalo Billion program. The bids allegedly were rigged, the results preordained; companies got rich and the public got bamboozled. As alleged in the Complaint, it turns out the state legislature does not have a monopoly on crass corruption in New York.”

Click here to read the full statement

Source: United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York     

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo

“I learned this morning of the charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office that include a former member of my administration. If the allegations are true, I am saddened and profoundly disappointed. I hold my administration to the highest level of integrity. I have zero tolerance for abuse of the public trust from anyone. If anything, a friend should be held to an even higher standard. Like my father before me, I believe public integrity is paramount. This sort of breach, if true, should be and will be punished.

“SUNY has rightly relieved Alain Kaloyeros from his duties and has suspended him without pay, effective immediately.

“This matter is now in the hands of the court, which is exactly where it belongs. My administration will continue to be fully cooperative in the matter as we have been since it began.” 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

FPWA to Host Discussion on Emerging Nonprofit Leadership

On September 28, 2016, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) will host a discussion entitled Emerging Nonprofit Leadership, featuring Brian Silva, Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA. 

The discussion is part of the FPWA's Personally Speaking Series and will be moderated by New York Times reporter Nikita Stewart. The forum will be held at 40 Broad St., 5th Floor, in New York City. 

FPWA’s Personally Speaking series features prominent leaders who help to shape the nonprofit, philanthropic, civic and business sectors in New York City. This next installment focuses on Brian Silva and his journey to nonprofit leadership. 

Mr. Silva is well-known for his work in the non-profit space, especially around LGBTQ issues, having led MEUSA’s efforts to sway the Supreme Court decision on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. 

Stewart has spent much of her career focused on local politics as a reporter, previously at The Washington Post and The Star-Ledger in New Jersey. The discussion will feature a wide range of issues facing the non-profit sector today. 

Source: Mercury

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

'Mississippi Goddam': A Song and Warning for America in the Wake of Police Shootings

"Mississippi Goddam" is a song written and performed by American singer and pianist Nina Simone. It was first released on her album Nina Simone in Concert which was based on recordings of three concerts she gave at Carnegie Hall in 1964. The album was her first release for the Dutch label Philips Records and is indicative of the more political turn her recorded music took during this period.

Simone composed "Mississippi Goddam" in less than an hour. Together with "Four Women" and "To Be Young, Gifted and Black", it is one of her most famous protest songs and self-written compositions.

The song captures Simone's response to the murder of Medgar Evers in Mississippi; and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four Black children. 

Source: Wikipedia