Friday, July 7, 2017

U.S. Nuclear Power Stations Targeted By Hackers, Government Report Says

By Nick Visser

Hackers have been targeting companies that operate nuclear power stations around America, prompting the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to issue an urgent warning about the severity of the threat, several media outlets reported on Thursday.

Both The New York Times and Bloomberg published details from a joint report released by the government agencies last month that described efforts by hackers to infiltrate the systems of nuclear facilities, including the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation. The report did not provide details of the cyberattacks, but the Kansas-based Wolf Creek said its systems were not affected, according to the Times.

Both publications, citing security experts and U.S. officials, said the attacks could be used to disrupt the power grid, and DHS and the FBI sent out a warning to utility companies on June 28 about the potential for hacking.

The agencies said on Thursday that there is no current threat to the public.

“There is no indication of a threat to public safety, as any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks,” DHS and the FBI said in a joint statement provided to the Times. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Huffington Post

France Goes Green: Plan to Ban Petrol and Diesel Cars

Source: Al Jazeera English

18 AGs Sue DeVos Over Suspension Of Rules Meant To Protect Students From For-Profit Schools

Source: Roland Martin

Cashless Tolling Begins on Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Cashless tolling will begin on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at 3 a.m. on July 8th. Implementing cashless tolling on the Verrazano Bridge will reduce congestion and improve travel for motorists in time for additional traffic anticipated due to Amtrak summer repair work. As part of the transition to a more convenient and cost effective way to travel New York’s crossings, the Governor is encouraging all commuters to sign up for an E-ZPass and save on tolls across the state, including 30 to 50 percent at bridges and tunnels in New York City.

"The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a vital transportation artery for New York City, and cashless tolling will improve safety, reduce congestion and streamline travel between Staten Island and Brooklyn," Governor Cuomo said. "By transitioning to Cashless Tolling, we are modernizing our transportation infrastructure and easing commutes for current and future generations of New Yorkers."

The accelerated implementation of cashless tolling is one component of the Governor's mitigation plan to combat the Pennsylvania Station summer crisis. Amtrak is proposing repairs that would reduce the number of trains at Pennsylvania Station by approximately 20 percent during peak travel times and as a result, commuters searching for alternative methods of transportation will crush an already overburdened subway system and clog roads and bridges. More information is available here.

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge joins the RFK Bridge, Henry Hudson Bridge, Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, Queens Midtown Tunnel, and Rockaway Bridges (Cross Bay and Marine Parkway), where sensors and cameras suspended over the highway on structures known as "gantries" read E-ZPass tags and take license plate images, so vehicles no longer have to stop and pay the toll. The Throgs Neck Bridge will go cashless in September 2017 and the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge in October 2017.

Vehicles with E-ZPass tags are automatically charged, and vehicles without E-ZPass have their license plate recorded and a bill is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. E-ZPass tags should always be mounted and never waved to ensure that the tag is properly read and that the driver’s attention is not diverted from crossing the facility safely.
Cashless Tolling is projected to save commuters up to 21 hours of drive time every year. It also reduces emissions and significantly decreases the amount of fuel burned by drivers, who will no longer have to stop and wait to pay tolls. This will conserve approximately one million gallons of fuel and save $2.3 million each year.
To ensure that all users of toll facilities pay their fair share, a series of enforcement measures are in place to tackle toll payment evasion and chronic toll scofflaws. Customers who do not pay their tolls are subject to violation fees, registration suspensions, and other enforcement actions. Late fees accrue if an initial toll bill is unpaid, and if a second notice is also ignored, violation fees of up to $100 per toll violation may be imposed.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has enacted regulation that allows suspension of the vehicle registration of motorists with three or more unpaid tolls, violation fees and other charges resulting from violations on different days and of commercial vehicle owners with $200 or more in unpaid tolls and violation fees within a period of five years, who ignore toll authorities' repeated notices.
Everyone is encouraged to visit to sign up and save 30-50 percent on tolls. E-ZPass “On-the-Go” tags will continue to be sold in all cash lanes at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge until July 8 and at Bronx-Whitestone through October, Throgs Neck through September. Tags cost $30 and come with $20 in prepaid tolls and have a $10 refundable deposit, which is waived if the tag is linked to a credit card or bank account for automated replenishment. E-ZPass tags can also be purchased at local DMV offices.
For drivers who don’t have E-ZPass and drive through a cashless tolling facility, the registered vehicle owner will receive a Toll Bill in the mail. Drivers who receive a bill can pay it online at the Tolls by Mail website, by mail, over the phone, or in-person, and payment options include check, credit card, bank account, or cash. Customers who call **826 from most mobile devices will receive a text with a link to the Tolls by Mail website and information on how to set up a Pay Toll Now account that can be used by rental car customers.
For additional information on cashless tolling and E-ZPass, call 1-800-333-8655 (TOLL).
Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

President Trump's Weekly Address

G20: 'It''s a Gloomy Summit'

Source: FRANCE 24 English

'Flashback Friday': 'War or Peace' (1950)

Source: Nuclear Vault

Trailblazers in Black History: Doug Williams

DL Hughley on Mistreatment from Elected Officials in Government

Minnesota Gov. Proposes Naming Police Training Fund After Philando Castile

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on Thursday proposed naming a $12 million police training fund in honor of Philando Castile, the black motorist who was fatally shot by police last year and whose dying moments were live-streamed on Facebook.
Castile, 32, was shot five times during a traffic stop last July in a St. Paul suburb. The incident triggered local protests and fueled debate across the country over the appropriate use of force by law enforcement against minorities.

The shooting drew national attention after Castile's girlfriend, who was in the car, live-streamed the bloody aftermath on social media.

Dayton, a Democrat, proposed honoring Castile at a news conference on the anniversary of his death. 

Click here for the full article. 

Bill Cosby’s Retrial Set for November

On November 6, Bill Cosby will go on trial for a second time, a judge ruled on Thursday. Cosby’s first trial on charges of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004 ended in a mistrial.

Click here for video.

Source: TODAY

222K Jobs Added in June, Unemployment at 4.4

Melania Trump Trapped in Residence Amid G-20 Protests

First Lady Melania Trump was unable to leave her residence in Hamburg on Friday due to security concerns stemming from ongoing protests outside the G-20 summit, the White House said.

Violent protests have raged throughout the northern German city ahead of the international conference, a gathering of the leaders of major economies.

The demonstrations continued Friday morning, prompting Hamburg police to refuse clearing Trump from leaving her residence, said Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director.

"It's unfortunate," Grisham said. 

Click here for the full article.

Trump Administration Wants to Take Away Right to Sue Nursing Homes

By Kevin Drum

You’ve probably signed away your right to sue your cell phone carrier, your cable company, and maybe your doctor and dentist too. Instead, if you have a complaint, you’re required to take it to arbitration, whether you want to or not.

How do they get away with this? Mostly by giving you no choice. You probably have only one cable company to choose from. There are four big cell phone carriers, but they all mandate arbitration. And it’s so common among doctors that you’d have a hard time finding one who doesn’t require it. In practice, they require it because they have enough market power to make it stick.

It’s ironic, then, that nursing homes don’t like it when someone with even more market power than them turns the tables:

In October 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decided to push back on mandatory arbitration. By rule, CMS adopted a novel “condition of participation” for Medicare and Medicaid. Nursing homes that participate in the programs—which is to say, all nursing homes—could no longer ask their residents to sign away their right to sue upon entering the nursing home.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Mother Jones

Office of Government Ethics Director, Frequent Critic of President Trump to Step Down

Source: CBS News

World Leaders Expected to Discuss North Korea at G20 Summit

Source: CBS News

President Trump and President Putin Meet at G-20 Summit

Planes Diverted After Onboard Security Incidents

Neo-Nazi Troll Army Threatens CNN Staffers

A notorious neo-Nazi hacker known as "Weev" is rallying the Daily Stormer's "troll army" to retaliate against CNN, accusing the network of blackmailing the person behind an internet video of President Trump pummeling a man with the CNN logo superimposed over his face. 

After CNN refused to meet his demands, personal information about its employees was posted on an extremist website alongside images of individuals with CNN superimposed over their faces being shot in the head. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center 

SPLC Denounces Letter from 10 Attorneys General Seeking ‘Cruel and Heartless’ Repeal of DACA

The Southern Poverty Law Center this week denounced a letter signed by 10 state attorneys general as “cruel and heartless” because it asks the Department of Justice to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Under DACA, which was created by the Obama administration, the federal government has granted reprieves from deportation to nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.

“Attorneys general from 10 states are egging the federal government on to be more cruel and heartless in its approach to immigration,” said Naomi Tsu, SPLC deputy legal director. “The letter requests that the Department of Justice revoke protections for immigrant youth and begin targeting for deportation these young people who have grown up as Americans.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center 

The Killing of Officer Miosotis Familia: Cuomo Orders Review of St. Barnabas Hospital's Actions

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo

"Reports that the individual responsible for the death of Officer Miosotis Familia sought a psychiatric exam, and was quickly released from hospital care only days before this horrific attack raise many questions.
"Under tragic circumstances such as these, it is critical to ensure all proper procedures and safeguards were taken. At my direction, the state Department of Health and Office of Mental Health are launching an immediate review of St. Barnabas Hospital's actions and policies in admitting, treating and discharging this individual. This review will determine if all relevant state laws, regulations and guidelines were followed.
"Officer Familia dedicated her life to protecting her community, and her death is mourned by all New Yorkers. I once again extend my deepest condolences to her family, loved ones and fellow members of the New York City Police Department."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

David Dinkins to Be Honored By NAN and Major Political Figures

Special Tribute Will Be Held in Conjunction
with the Former Mayor's 90th Birthday

On July 8, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of National Action Network (NAN), local elected officials, clergy and community leaders will come together to honor David Dinkins in a special birthday celebration. 

The event will be held at the House of Justice, located at 106 West 145th Street at Lennox Avenue, and streamed live at It will also be broadcast on Impact Television,, and on 1190 WLIB AM.

The featured video was posted on YouTube on November 1, 2013. 

Sources: Mercury and Columbia

SUNY SA President Announces MOE Activism Initiative

Statement on "State Maintenance of Effort" for Public Colleges

In 2011, the State of New York approved the NY-SUNY 2020 which, at its core, contained the “Rational Tuition” policy allowing for tuition increases of up to $300 per student, per year. It was essentially agreed that tuition hikes would be used to enhance college life, and never to simply fill budget gaps. NY-SUNY 2020 also included a commitment to “Maintenance of Effort,” an assurance from The State of New York that they would enhance financial contributions and provide sustainable funding separate from tuition. 

This assurance turned out to be a weak one. In 2016, after overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of the state legislature, Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed Maintenance of Effort. As a direct result of this veto, tuition at The State University of New York and The City University of New York has increased by 30% between 2011 and 2016 while the state’s contributions remained largely flat, translating to deep cuts in inflation adjusted dollars. Concurrently, the systems received absolutely no funding to cover naturally rising costs such as salary increases, utility expenditures, and costs associated with facility usage. Rather than demanding the state pay its fair share, the difference was instead made up by increasing the fiscal burden on students already under immense fiscal distress.

While the NY-SUNY 2020 was not renewed, the state budget allows tuition increases of $200 per student (offset somewhat by the Excelsior Scholarship) and yet again does practically nothing to ensure that the state pay its fair share despite a notable increase in state revenues. The State University and the City University are again left with unsustainable budget gaps to fill with tuition increases. Students are not bottomless ATM's.

A new Maintenance of Effort provision, again passed by the legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, begins to fill the gap. Given the steady increase in tuition, and an increase in state revenues since 2011, it is well past time the state pay its fair share.

The State University of New York and The City University of New York are systems that were founded with the mission of providing a quality and accessible education for everyone. That includes people living in poverty, immigrants, those with disabilities, working class people, the young, and the old, and other members of historically marginalized communities. It is time for the state to fulfill its obligation and support our public higher education systems, and the future of the students they enroll. I am calling upon Governor Cuomo to assume responsibility and leadership and sign this provision immediately. I am proud to announce that SUNYSA will once again be leading the way with a statewide petition initiative to draw attention and action to this issue and encourage every New Yorker and public interest group to sign on.

The petition can be viewed here.

Source: SUNY SA

Alarm Sounded Over Untreatable Strains of Gonorrhoea

Source: euronews (in English)

G20 Host Merkel Tries to Forge Conseusus at Hamburg Summit

Source: euronews (in English)

Hamburg G20: Protester Anger Over Police Tactics and Lack of Camps

Source: euronews (in English)

Turkey Detains Rights Activists Including Local Amnesty Chief

Source: euronews (in English)

EU Rejects Italian Request to Open Ports to Migrants

Source: euronews (in English)

EU's Barnier Steps Up Brexit Trade Warning to UK

Source: euronews (in English)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Chicago Ministers to Voice Concern About Feds Coming Into City

New York, NY —  On July 13 at 10 a.m., Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of National Action Network; Rev. Ira Acree; Rev. Marshal Hatch and other local clergy and activists will meet at the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 4301 West Washington Blvd., Chicago, to present concerns regarding federal intervention and control of the city.  

Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network officially announced the Ministers March for Justice from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial to the Department of Justice on Monday, August 28, 2017. One thousand ministers of all denominations will convene in Washington, D.C. to reaffirm their commitment to the social justice movement and stand in solidarity with the spirit and legacy of Dr. King. Clergy will hold the Trump Administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions accountable in the wake of an increase in hate crimes, mass incarceration, and discrimination.

According to Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of the National Action Network, “We are in grave times that call for vigilance and a mobilized effort to confront the administration around issues that are taking us backwards. Faith leaders will be summoned to reaffirm the call to their congregations that faith will drive the movement for justice in today’s times.”

On August 28th, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Fifty-four years ago, a clarion call for voting rights and economic justice was issued by Dr. King and today under the current administration many of the same issues are prevalent—voter disenfranchisement, economic disparity, discrimination, and the need for criminal justice reform.

In Chicago in 2016, Rev. Hatch delivered the eulogies of double police homicide victims Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier at New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. No charges were brought against the police officer.
For more information, please visit

Source: Mercury

Thirteen Companies Receive Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Certification

The Office of General Services Commissioner today announced that the following thirteen businesses have recently been certified by the Office of General Services’ (OGS) Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development (DSDVBD):  

Anchor Freight Inc., located in Pine Bush, NY, provides general construction, paving, roofing, framing, and masonry. 

DV Enterprises of WNY LLC, located in East Aurora, NY, is a general construction contractor specializing in concrete flatwork, and excavation. 

Specop Tactical Center LLC, located in Lisle, NY, manufactures firearms components. 

3D Industrial Sales and Service Inc., located in Westbury, NY, distributes HVAC equipment. 

Smith & Smith Medical Supply LLC, located in Cumberland, MD, is a reseller of medical equipment & supplies. 

Bristol Enterprises Inc., located in Buffalo, NY, is a framing contractor and locksmith. 

Trinity Rock Construction, located in Chestertown, NY, specializes in dump trucking, excavation, cabin construction, and storm drain systems. 

Renua Energy Inc., located in Red Hook, NY, practice construction engineering and energy consultant services. 

C R Nutz LLC, located in Johnson City, NY, is a cultivator of produce.

Watson Engineering, P.C., located in Owego, NY, works in mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering. 

Allegra Marketing Print Mail, located in Schenectady, NY, specializes in printing, marketing, and graphics. 

Elite Command Solutions LLC, located in Shoreham, NY, is a consultant in leadership, and management. 

Sciturus LLC, located in Commack, NY, is a real estate investment group.

The Division was created by Governor Andrew Cuomo in May, 2014 with enactment of the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act. As of July 6, 2017, a total of 354 businesses have been certified.

The Act promotes and encourages participation of SDVOBs in NYS public procurements of public works, commodities, services and technology to foster and advance economic development in the State. More information on the program and the certification process can be found here

Source: The Office of General Services

Are Liberals Having Second Thoughts About Immigration?

On June 20 The Atlantic posted an article by Peter Beinart claiming that the Democrats had “lost their way on immigration.”

Beinart is a respected liberal centrist—of the sort that supported the 2003 Iraq invasion until it started going bad—so the article created a stir among opinion makers. Rightwingers at Breitbart and National Review gloated. Liberals took Beinart’s thesis to heart: Mother JonesKevin Drum endorsed the article, and Thomas Edsall quoted it in the New York Times. A Chicago Tribune columnist cited it as an “important essay.”

It’s true that Beinart makes some good points. He suggests that the Democratic Party’s current pro-immigrant stance is largely just pandering to Latino voters. He dredges up decade-old comments from Glenn Greenwald, Paul Krugman, and Barack Obama that they probably wouldn’t want to make publicly now (although Greenwood backed off from his anti-immigration rant a few years ago). Beinart also questions a standard liberal claim that the presence of eight million documented immigrants in the workforce has only a minimal depressing effect on the wages of native-born workers, and he notes that one of the claim’s main proponents, University of California Davis economics professor Giovanni Peri, is also an apologist for guestworker programs and gets funding from firms like Microsoft that bring in foreign tech workers on H-1B visas.

But Beinart’s article is mostly a compendium of familiar sound bites on immigration, presented without much understanding of the issues. 

Click here for the full article. 


President Trump Address at Krasinski Square

President Trump delivered an address in the historic Krasinski Square in Warsaw, site of the 1944 uprising against the Nazis. He talked about the spirit of the Polish people and the enduring relationship they have with the U.S. and Europe. He also addressed the “age of terrorism” that continues to threaten the peace and stability in the West and called on Russia to end its “destabilizing activities” in Ukraine. He also said he stands firmly behind the collective NATO defense principle, Article 5, but warned that “words are easy” and Europe must do more. Prior to his speech, he participated in a wreath-laying ceremony with the Polish president and was later introduced by First Lady Melania Trump

Source: C-SPAN 

US Says It Will Use Military Force 'If It Must' Against North Korea


The United Nations Security Council met to discuss North Korea’s test launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, and efforts to prevent the government there from further development of its nuclear program.

Source: C-SPAN

Saving Our Youth: 'Jails Are No Place for Kids' (Patrick McCarthy)

This video was published on YouTube on July 14, 2015.

Tonight, more than 60,000 of America’s young people will be locked in a cell within a couple of feet of a toilet. Some will be forced to remain in isolation, often for many days, at the discretion of a correctional officer with little to no training on the developmental risks associated with such punishment. In his forceful, conscience-raising talk, Patrick McCarthy, President and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, issues a national call to action urging all Americans to help close every youth prison in the United States.

Source: TEDx Talks

Trailblazers in Black History: Ronald S. Demon

Inventor of "The Smart Shoe" 

Ronald S. Demon invented an athletic shoe whose cushion support automatically adjusts to suit not only the shape of the wearer's feet, but also the manner in which the shoe is being used at any given time.

Demon grew up in Miami, where his youthful pursuits included basketball and computer software. It was the latter interest that brought him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a freshman in the fall of 1995. In the following semesters and summers, Demon worked on a number of computer projects, at MIT's Edgerton Center and Media Lab and at Intel Corp. Here, he furthered his expertise in digital graphics, photography, and video and in Java applications such as applets.
Ronald S. Demon invented an athletic shoe whose cushion support automatically adjusts to suit not only the shape of the wearer's feet, but also the manner in which the shoe is being used at any given time. Demon grew up in Miami, where his youthful pursuits included basketball and computer software. It was the latter interest that brought him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a freshman in the fall of 1995.
Additional information is available here.


On Anniversary of Alton Sterling Killing, Protesters Arrested, Pepper Sprayed

Police reportedly used pepper spray and a stun gun as seven people were arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Wednesday during a march to memorialize Alton Sterling, the black man who was shot dead by a white police officer exactly a year ago.

Baton Rouge Police Department said that three women and four men were taken into custody at the conclusion of the march after they allegedly tried to break through barriers set up outside police headquarters. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

CA Sec. State: Won't 'Legitimize' Trump's 'Debunked' Voter Fraud Claim

Rep. Steve Scalise Readmitted to ICU in Serious Condition

President Trump's Travel Ban Expected to Affect Tourism Industry

Source: CBS News

A Look Inside Chicago's Deadly July Fourth Weekend

Source: CBS News

Related story: Chicago’s Crime Wave and Our Immoral Public Leadership

Senators Face Health Care Backlash at Town Halls

Source: ABC News

Music Mogul Works to Help Free the Wrongfully Convicted

Source: ABC News

These Citizen Journalists Risk Their Lives to Document ISIS Horrors in Syria

Source: ABC News

Fate of Terminally Ill ‘Baby Charlie’ Continues to Be Debated

Source: ABC News

Family: NYPD Shooter Was Schizophrenic, Just Out of Hospital

Family members and a girlfriend say Alexander Bonds refused to take his medication for paranoid schizophrenia and walked the streets in distress in the hours before police say he killed a NYPD officer early Wednesday. An aunt, Nancy Kearse, told The New York Times the Bronx man had only been home for a week after he was hospitalized for a mental breakdown in which he had threatened to kill people. According to the New York Post, an unnamed girlfriend told law-enforcement investigators that Bonds was “unhinged” in the hours before the shooting, and she called 911 three times Tuesday night for help, but “every time he saw a cop car go down the block he would go and hide.” Bonds was shot dead by police a block away from the NYPD vehicle where he allegedly killed Officer Miosotis Familia.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Daily Beast 

A Constitutional Convention for New York? This May Be the Year

By Lisa W. Foderaro

ALBANY — Every 20 years, New Yorkers have the chance to vote whether they want to hold a constitutional convention to amend, tweak or otherwise improve the founding document of the state.

For the past half-century, voters have demurred. This year, however, academics, good-government groups and others believe the outcome of the ballot question in November may be different. And — perhaps no surprise — it has something to do with the current occupant of the White House.

“Trump’s election emphasizes how valuable it is for states to chart their own course,” said Peter J. Galie, author of “Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York” and a professor of political science at Canisius College in Buffalo. “We can put a right to clean air and water in our Constitution. If we want to add more labor protections, we can do it. That’s the beauty of federalism.”

But before voters confront the ballot question, they will no doubt be barraged by campaigns for and against a constitutional convention, affectionately called Con-Con.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Times (via The Empire Report) 

Benghazi 'Liberated' Says Libyan Commander Haftar

Source: euronews (in English)

Talks on 'De-Escalation Zones' in Syria Fail

Source: euronews (in English)

Disagreement at the UN Over North Korea

Source: euronews (in English)

Gina Lollobrigida 90 Years Young

Source: euronews (in English)

Venezuela: Protesters Storm National Assembly

Source: euronews (in English)

Forging Stronger Ties: Chinese and German Leaders Meet Ahead of G20

Source: euronews (in English)

Estonia Urges EU to Do More Defence

Source: euronews (in English)

MEPs Back EU-Cuba Pact

Source: euronews (in English)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Cuomo Directs Flags to Half Staff in Honor of New York City Police Officer Miosotis Familia

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo directed that flags on all State government buildings be flown at half-staff in memory of New York City Police Officer Miosotis Familia, who was died earlier today after being shot in the line of duty. Flags will be flown at half-staff beginning Thursday, July 6 and remain in that position until Officer Familia’s interment.

"Officer Miosotis Familia spent 12 years protecting her community as a member of the NYPD and all New Yorkers share in the pain and heartbreak caused by her death," Governor Cuomo said. "Law enforcement officers across New York put their lives on the line to protect and serve their communities. This horrific and senseless assassination is a devastating reminder of the risks these brave men and women face each day. I offer my deepest condolences to Officer Familia's loved ones and fellow members of the NYPD. Today, we all come together to mourn one of New York's Finest." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Home Health Aide Accused of Trying to Join ISIS

The following is from a June 25, 2017 article written by Tim Regan and published on the Home Health Care News website. 

A home health aide was arrested in New York City after allegedly trying to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS.

Bronx resident Saddam Mohamed Raishani was arrested on June 21, according to a press release from the U.S. Justice Department. Raishani is charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Raishani’s lawyer, Assistant Federal Defender Sabrina Shroff, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Raishani sought to travel to Syria to join ISIS and train with fighters there, according to authorities.

In preparation for his trip, he quit his job with an unnamed home health care provider. Raishani reasoned he could pose as a nurse to cross international borders without suspicion, authorities said.

Click here for the full article.  

"The G-Man Interviews" Warned Lawmakers Some HHAs
Could Pose A Serious Threat Due to Poor Background Checks

In March of 2015, The G-Man Interviews (TGMI) launched an investigation on home health care agencies and aides operating in New York City and upstate. During the nearly two-year probe, and several interviews with My Elder Advocate founder and CEO Jack Halpern, TGMI learned that the majority of agencies and aides have little or no real oversight or regulation.

In December of 2015, From The G-Man's sister site revealed that many home health aides in the state are not properly trained, vetted and fail to provide quality care for many of their patients, especially those afflicted with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other debilitating diseases.

Prior to and after "I'm Scared These Home Health Aides Will Kill My Mother" was posted, home health aides were arrested and convicted for theft and owners of home health care agencies were charged with Medicaid fraud. Additional reports were filed by The G-Man Interviews in 2016. 

Information on cases of abuse and corruption in the home health care industry is available here. 

The following was posted on this site on April 11, 2017.

"An upcoming edition of The G-Man Interviews will take a closer look the screening and training process for home health aides and Certified Home Healthcare Agencies (CHHAs) in the state of New York. It will also examine why state and local politicians have remained inactive on an issue that poses a serious threat to seniors in their districts and, possibly, national security."

That episode, entitled "A Round-Robin of Death": MTLCs and the Home Health Care Industry, is available here. 

In May of this year, From The G-Man was informed that Francis Morrisey, who investigates elder abuse and Medicaid fraud through New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office, requested a meeting with whistleblower Monica Arroyo-Horne, who appeared on The G-Man Interviews, to discuss her case in greater detail. Shortly after the meeting, Morrisey launched an official investigation.  

The G-Man Interviews contacted a number of New York politicians for comments and to set up meetings to discuss the YouTube-based episodes. They were also provided links to the episodes featuring Jack Halpern and Monica-Arroyo-Horne. They include: 

State Level
Senator Kemp Hanlon
(Former) Senator Bill Perkins
Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. 
Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz
Assemblyman Charles Barron
Assemblywoman Inez Dickens

Local Level 
Councilman Donovan Richards and other council members
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. 

Requests for comments or meetings were also sent to the office of Congressman Adriano Espaillat and Senator Charles Schumer. The office of Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr, was the only one that responded during the 18-month investigation.

In an April 17 email statement, Daniel Offner, Press Secretary and Special Events Coordinator, stated the following: "Senator Addabbo will continue to look into this issue with home health aides when he returns to Albany on April 24."

From The G-Man and The G-Man Interviews will continue to monitor the situation and report on any action taken by the aforementioned representatives.  

Correction: This report originally listed Ann Noonan as a senator. Ms. Noonan serves as the press aide for Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz.