Saturday, January 21, 2017

Taking the Pulse of Black America at Inauguration

For the past eight years, Americans have had a president that millions supported and revered, but perhaps none more so than African Americans.

Today, as the baton passed from Barack Obama to Donald Trump during an inauguration marked by pride and protests, a variety of perspectives and views emerged about the 45th Commander in Chief and what his presidency could mean to communities of color.

Jo Baylor, 65, is a black Republican who traveled to the inauguration from Austin, Texas. The Trump supporter previously worked as a HUD appointee under the George W. Bush administration.

"My Congressman gave me tickets to the inauguration, and everything has been exciting," she said. During the week, she has attended inaugural balls, the inaugural ceremony and the parade. She even made her way to some protests.

"I hope people will stop listening to the rhetoric and see what he will do. Give this man a chance."  

Click here for the full article.

White House Blasts Media Over Inauguration Coverage

Women Around the Globe March for Recognition and Equality

Women's March on Washington 2017 (FULL EVENT)

Women's March on Washington 2017 | The National Mall is seeing a hundreds of thousands of visitors for the second day in a row as people are starting to gather in the capital for the Women's March. A number of high-profile speakers are expected to address those at the rally, including Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood's president Cecile Roberts, and director Michael Moore. 

Source: ABC News

America Ferrera Speaks at Women's March on Washington

Thousands descended on Washington Saturday, one day after Trump was sworn in as the nation's 45th President. Actress America Ferrera took to the stage -- she spoke about what a Trump presidency means for her.

Madonna's Fiery Speech At The Women's March On Washington

Source: Reflect

President Donald Trump Talks With Soldiers Stationed In Afghanistan At The Armed Services Ball

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump addressed attendees at the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball, which included first responders. During his remarks, the president spoke via video link with members of the military stationed in Afghanistan. The president and first lady also participated in a dance. During the dance, they were joined on stage by Vice President Mike Pence and Mrs. Pence as well as members of their families.

Source: wwwMOXNEWScom

Actions Taken to Secure Access to Reproductive Health Services in NY

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced a series of actions to firmly secure access to reproductive rights in New York State. Through regulatory action, the State will ensure that contraceptive drugs and devices are covered by commercial health insurance policies without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles regardless of the future of the Affordable Care Act; contraceptives are available in amounts exceeding one month’s supply at a time; and all medically necessary abortion services are covered by commercial health insurance policies without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.

The announcement coincides with today’s Women’s Marches in Washington D.C., across New York State and across the country, as well as the 44th anniversary of the landmark United States Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade. The announcement also marks the next step in “New York’s Promise to Women: Ever Upward,” a series of actions taken by Governor Cuomo to support women’s rights.

“Women deserve to make a fair wage and the same salary as any man, they deserve to work in an office free of sexual harassment, they deserve comprehensive paid family leave, and they deserve control over their health and reproductive decisions,” Governor Cuomo said. “These regulatory actions will help ensure that whatever happens at the federal level, women in our state will have cost-free access to reproductive health care and we hope these actions serve as a model for equality across the nation.” 

As part of the actions announced today by Governor Cuomo, the Department of Financial Services will mandate that health insurers: 

Provide coverage for all contraceptive drugs and devices and cover at least one form of contraception in each of the FDA-approved contraceptive delivery methods without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles, regardless of the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Provide coverage for the dispensing of an initial three-month supply of a contraceptive to an insured person. For subsequent dispensing of the same contraceptive prescribed by the same health care provider and covered under the same policy or renewal, an insurer must allow coverage for the dispensing of the entire prescribed contraceptive supply, up to 12 months, at the same time.

Provide coverage for abortion services that are medically necessary without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles (unless the plan is a high deductible plan).

Provide full and accurate information about coverage, enforced in a letter available here. 

Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo said, “There has never been a more critical time than now to ensure access to the reproductive health services that New York women require. DFS will take all necessary actions to make sure that insurers cover abortions and contraceptives with no copayments, deductibles or any out-of-pocket costs. New York will not tolerate any impediments or impairments of women’s rights and access to reproductive health care.”

New York law prohibits an insurer from limiting or excluding coverage by type of illness or medical condition. New York law also mandates coverage for all surgical procedures that are medically necessary, without exclusion for abortion services. New York law further prevents an insurer from excluding coverage for non-surgical abortions. In addition, New York law requires that health insurers provide coverage for contraceptives and preventive care and screenings without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles. The law also requires that health insurers provide consumers with full and accurate information about their coverage.

The Department of Financial Services regulation with respect to abortion services includes an exemption for religious employers, while mandating that every insured has the same rights to coverage without additional payment.

The Department of Financial Services regulates health insurers in New York. Under New York Insurance Law, the Superintendent is authorized to issue regulations setting the minimum standards for health insurance policies issued in New York. Today’s actions are authorized under these statutory provisions of New York law.

New York’s Promise to Women: Ever Upward

The new regulations are the latest in a series of actions by Governor Cuomo to champion women’s rights, known as “New York’s Promise to Women: Ever Upward.” In the past two years alone, the Governor has signed legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses through the Enough is Enough Act; prevent sexual harassment in the workplace regardless of the size of the employer; end pregnancy discrimination; establish the longest and most comprehensive paid family leave program in the nation; and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. To learn more about New York’s Promise to Women, visit here.

Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, said, "As we continue to face an assault on women’s access to contraception and abortion, and women continue to report inconsistent information about insurance coverage for contraception and abortion, gaining clarity through these regulatory actions is more important than ever. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, New York is a leader in holding insurers accountable and ensuring that women receive the coverage for their reproductive health care without discrimination and guaranteed by law.” 

The proposed regulations regarding abortion services and dispensing of contraceptives, which were submitted to the New York State Register, will be finalized following a 45-day notice and public comment period and become effective 60 days following final issuance. The Department of Financial Services today has issued a circular letter, effective immediately, reminding health insurers of their obligations to cover contraceptive drugs and devices without any co-pays or deductibles. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Friday, January 20, 2017

C-SPAN Full Inauguration Coverage

You can view the series of events here

President Donald Trump Inauguration Speech

The 45th president of the United States speaks outside the Capitol building on Inauguration Day. During his inaugural address, Trump told the American people that this was "their celebration."He echoed themes that were repeated throughout his campaign, promising not to leave "the forgotten men and women" behind, and calling for a return of power to the people as opposed to politicians in Washington.

President Donald Trump Swearing-In Ceremony

President Obama and President-elect Trump Depart the White House


President Obama, President-elect Donald Trump, first lady Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump leave the White House following morning tea.

Source: C-SPAN

'Flashback Friday': The Election of John F. Kennedy

Source: e2 films

Trailblazers in Black History: Ezola B. Foster

Ezola Broussard Foster is an American conservative political activist, writer, and politician. 

She is president of the interest group, Black Americans for Family Values, author of the book What's Right for All Americans, and was the Reform Party candidate for Vice President, the first Black, in the U.S presidential election of 2000, running with Patrick J. Buchanan, the party's presidential nominee

In April 2002, Foster left the Reform Party to join the Constitution Party.

Additional information is available here

Source: Wikipedia

Pittsburgh Residents Speak Out: Can Trump Bridge Racial Divide?

Homeless Being Housed in Sub-Human and Unsafe Conditions in NYC, Report Shows

By Nicole Schubert and Stephen Rex Brown

Homeless people are being housed in sub-human, unsafe conditions at hotels and other shelters, a new report by Albany pols found.

The report, “Horrors in Homeless Housing,” found that well over half of the hotels in the city hosting the homeless have hundreds of open violations for unsafe conditions, like improper fire escapes, lead paint, crumbling walls and broken toilets.

Nearly all so-called cluster sites — costly apartments rented by the city for the homeless — had violations for gross conditions like rodent and roach infestations, mold and failure to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

"It is unconscionable to allow children and families to be forced to live in these violation ridden hotels and cluster sites. These sites lack the basic services that homeless families should have access to and make living a normal life difficult, if not impossible,” said State Senator Diane Savino, one of seven senators in the Independent Democratic Conference, which produced the report. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Daily News (via The Empire Report)

Wayne Barrett, Fierce Muckraker at The Village Voice, Dies at 71

By Sam Roberts

Wayne Barrett, the muckraking Village Voice columnist who carved out a four-decade career tilting at developers, landlords and politicians, among them Donald J. Trump and Rudolph W. Giuliani, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 71.

His wife, Fran Barrett, said the cause was complications of interstitial lung disease. Mr. Barrett himself had called his condition ironic, noting that he had never been a drinker or a smoker.

A self-proclaimed country boy from Virginia and a lapsed seminarian, Mr. Barrett spent 37 years at The Voice, the alternative newsweekly started in Greenwich Village.

There he exposed the misdeeds that ensnared appointees and supporters of Mayor Edward I. Koch — a trail of serial corruption that he recapitulated in 1988 in “City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York,” a much-praised book written with his mentor and fellow Voice mainstay Jack Newfield

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Times

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo

“Wayne Barrett’s passing is a tremendous loss for the people of the great state of New York. Wayne was a lion in the field of journalism. For decades, Wayne was the conscience of New York. He had a profound impact on policy and government because of his dogged determination to hold those in power accountable.

“As a public official who was subjected to Wayne’s scrutiny many times, I can attest that his intellect, tenacity, and knowledge were second to none. He did his job without malice and with an absolute dedication to the facts.

“Wayne was a truth finder and a truth teller regardless of whether it was convenient, popular, or easy. Wayne was never afraid to speak truth to power, and those who listened were the better for it.

“At a time in the world in which substantive and respected journalism is vital, today is a painful loss. My heart goes out to Wayne’s family, including his son Mac and his beloved wife Fran who is a valuable member of my team, performing crucial work on behalf of the most vulnerable people of New York each and every day.”

Note: From The G-Man and The G-Man Interviews salute Mr. Barrett's legacy and life. May he forever rest in peace. 

Mexico Drug Lord 'El Chapo' Faces Life in US Prison After Extradition

By Nate Raymond and Jonathan Allen (New York) 

Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman will spend the rest of his life in a U.S. prison if convicted on charges he ran the world's largest drug-trafficking organization during a decades-long criminal career, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.

El Chapo, once one of the world's most wanted drug lords, was set to appear at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) in federal court in Brooklyn to be arraigned on 17 criminal counts, a day after his surprise extradition from Mexico.

The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison, Robert Capers, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said at a news conference.

"Who is Chapo Guzman? In short, he's a man known for no other life but a life of crime, violence, death and destruction, and now he'll have to answer to that," Capers said.

Guzman, 59, arrived in a small jet at Long Island's MacArthur Airport after nightfall on Thursday from a prison in the city of Juarez in the northern state of Chihuahua, where his Sinaloa cartel rules.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Reuters (via The Empire Report)

SUNY Students to Take Part in Women's Rights Marches

The following statement was submitted by Marc Cohen, President and Trustee of the SUNY Student Assembly.

“Many SUNY students from across the system are making their voices heard by participating in women's rights marches on Saturday in New York, Washington, D.C., and around the country. We applaud their advocacy and leadership, and encourage everyone to join together in the spirit of unity, equality, and justice.”

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, January 19, 2017

The Changing Face of a President: Barack Obama Through the Years

We have seen him pensive, watched him preach, and even heard him sing. The job of president does something to the men who serve, and we’ve all seen the way it changed Barack Obama.

Women's March on NYC Road Closures

Thousands of people are expected to make their way to New York City Saturday for the Women's March on NYC, resulting in road closures in the area.

The satellite event for the Women's March on Washington will begin at 11 a.m. at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on 47th Street between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue. 

Click here for the listing. 

Source: NBC News

George H.W. and Barbara Bush Recovering in Hospital

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, are both doing relatively well after being hospitalized with respiratory ailments, a family spokesman said Thursday.

"President Bush had a good night's rest and remains in stable condition in the ICU at Houston Methodist Hospital," spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement. Doctors are evaluating him for "extubation" — removing him from a ventilator — "and we are hopeful he will be discharged from the ICU in a few days," he said. 

Click here for the full article.

The President and First Lady Say Goodbye to Chancellor Merkel


The President and First Lady spoke by telephone today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband, Professor Dr. Joachim Sauer, to express appreciation for their personal friendship and efforts to forge deeper partnership between Germany and the United States over the last eight years. The President thanked Chancellor Merkel for her strong, courageous, and steady leadership. The President and Chancellor agreed that close cooperation between Washington and Berlin and between the United States and Europe are essential to ensuring a sturdy trans-Atlantic bond, a rules-based international order, and the defense of values that have done so much to advance human progress in our countries and around the world. Given their eight years of friendship and partnership, the President noted that it was fitting that his final call with a foreign leader was with Chancellor Merkel, and he wished her the very best going forward. 

Vice President Biden's Foreign Leader Calls Aboard Air Force Two

Vice President Joe Biden spoke to Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci yesterday. The Vice President expressed hope that Kosovo and Serbia could get beyond recent tensions and intensify their efforts to normalize relations through the EU-led Dialogue, in order to improve the lives of the citizens of both nations.

The Vice President also spoke to President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akinci from Air Force 2 yesterday. The Vice President commended the courage and determination of both leaders, which has resulted in the historic progress settlement talks have achieved to date. The Vice President expressed hope that the momentum of the talks would continue, and pledged to continue to remain available to the leaders even after his term has ended.

Vice President Biden placed a call to Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras as well. The Vice President thanked Prime Minister Tsipras for his personal engagement as talks to reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation reach a critical juncture. The Vice President expressed appreciation for the strong partnership the U.S. and Greece have enjoyed during the Prime Minister's tenure.

ources: The Offices of the Press Secretary and Vice President

BBC Newsnight: What is President Barack Obama's Legacy?

This video was published on YouTube on January 19, 2017. 

As President Obama prepares to leave the White House, Newsnight looks back at the defining issues of his eight years as president.

Newsnight is the BBC's flagship news and current affairs TV programme - with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews. 

Source: BBC Newsnight

President-elect Donald Trump Arrival in Washington, D.C.

President-elect Donald Trump and his family arrived in Washington, DC ahead of Inauguration Day.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Presidential Transition News Conference

Following remarks by Vice President-elect Mike Pence on the presidential transition, incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds his first official briefing to preview the inauguration.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Holds Final Briefing

Defense Secretary provides reporters at the Pentagon with an update on air strikes against ISIS overnight. Then, Spokesman Peter Cook fields questions on this and other military-related issues.

Click here for the full article.

Source: C-SPAN

Senator Chuck Schumer Discusses Cabinet Nominations

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) holds a news conference at the Capitol to discuss President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees and the timetable for votes in the Senate in the coming days.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Trump’s Surrender to Putin May Mean Full-Blown War in Ukraine and Beyond


Ukraine's very sovereign existence is a massive, daily insult to Putin. This is his chance to eliminate it. 

Donald Trump’s electoral triumph and his continuing adulation of Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, has been greeted in Ukraine with as much foreboding as it was probably with smug joy in the Kremlin.

His declarations since he became president-elect have only increased fears in Ukraine that Putin will believe he can do as he pleases with Ukraine and other parts of the former Soviet empire, whose disintegration he has publicly lamented.

Trump has refused to condemn Putin despite overwhelming evidence he ordered cyber espionage to meddle in the presidential election. The incoming president has taken his time denouncing Russia for its murderous actions in Syria and seems unconcerned by the 2014 invasion of Ukraine, which sparked a conflict that continues today.

Intense fighting raged in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region until a fragile ceasefire in the summer of 2015. Since then regular Russian forces and Kremlin-sponsored “rebels” have been hemmed in the occupied enclave. The war has caused some 10,000 Ukrainian military and civilian deaths. Small daily clashes increase the death toll.

Click here for the full article. 

Askold Krushelnycky is a British citizen and freelance journalist whose parents were refugees from Ukraine. He is the author of “An Orange Revolution – A Personal Journey Through Ukrainian History”, which was published in 2006 by Random House/Harvill Secker. He is working on a second book that will focus on the turbulent events in Ukraine since the fall of 2013, when mass demonstrations turned into revolution and, ultimately, the present conflict between Russia and Ukraine.


Expansion of 'Move Over' Law Now in Effect

The expansion of New York’s “Move Over” law protecting volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers is now in effect. The law, which the Governor signed last year, requires drivers to slow down and move over a lane when approaching a vehicle displaying blue or green lights that are operated by volunteer firefighters or ambulance workers involved in a roadside emergency. 

“Every day, these firefighters and ambulance workers put their wellbeing on the line to help their neighbors and their communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new law and outreach campaign will offer these brave New Yorkers additional protections that will help ensure they are able to carry out their critically important jobs, while cracking down on avoidable and reckless hazards."

The “Move Over” law requires drivers to use care, slow down and safely move over when approaching law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, construction, maintenance vehicles, and now volunteer firefighters or ambulance workers displaying blue or green lights stopped along the roadway. Since the “Move Over” law took effect in 2011, it has been expanded three times to include a wider range of vehicles, and has resulted in more than 79,000 tickets issued to motorists in violation of the law.
In November 2016, in the wake of two crashes that took the lives of a tow truck driver and a Thruway Authority employee, traffic safety and transportation agencies across New York collaborated on the first-ever “Move Over” enforcement and education campaign.  

State Police issued 230 tickets for a violation of the “Move Over” law during a five-day enforcement period – four times the norm for a typical one-week span. 

A new Public Service Announcement developed by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee which stresses the importance of New York’s “Move Over” law, has already begun playing on cable and broadcast stations across New York. 

Thruway staff, New York State Police Troop T, and tow truck operators engaged in conversations with thousands of customers at service areas along the Thruway and handed out more than 10,000 educational flyers to raise awareness of the “Move Over” law. 

Variable message signs across the state displayed reminders beginning Monday, November 14 at 7 a.m. until Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m. and posters were shown inside all 27 Thruway service areas in support of the campaign.
Terri Egan, DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting GTSC Chair said, “The ‘Move Over’ law is making New York’s highways safer and saving lives. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s recent expansion of the law, even more of our first responders will be protected while doing their selfless service on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers.”

State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “The State Police will continue to aggressively enforce the provisions of the Move Over law. All those who work on our highways, from first responders to maintenance workers, put themselves in danger each day to assist the public. We urge motorists to use extreme caution when you see activity on the side of the highway, slow down, and move over.” 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo