Friday, August 25, 2017

Cuomo to Texas and Louisiana Govs: New York's Got Your Back

The following statement was issued today by Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

"New York knows first-hand the dangers of Mother Nature's anger. We have felt the damage that extreme weather can cause time and time again, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with Louisiana and Texas as they prepare for Hurricane Harvey.

"I spoke with Governor Greg Abbott of Texas and Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana a short time ago and offered our assistance before and following the storm. Just as this nation came together for New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New York stands ready to provide these states with personnel, equipment and whatever else they might need. 

"Helping neighbors in their time of need is the New York way, and we are always ready to step in and lend a helping hand." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor Abbott Warns Texas to Brace for Record Flooding

Source: Associated Press

White House Statement on Hurricane Harvey

 President Trump receives briefing on Harvey.
(Click on the photo to increase its size.)

President Trump continues to closely monitor Hurricane Harvey and the preparedness and response efforts of State, local, and Federal officials. Today, the President received a briefing from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, his Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Thomas P. Bossert, and his Chief of Staff John F. Kelly. Yesterday, the President spoke with Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and John Bel Edwards of Louisiana and committed to providing assistance as appropriate. 

This storm will likely be very destructive for several days. The President encourages people in the path of this dangerous storm to heed the advice and orders of their local and State officials. The President’s highest priority is the safety of the public and of first responders. Those who ignore evacuation orders could be putting both themselves and first responders in danger. We encourage all Americans in the affected areas to be prepared, including by visiting, which provides preparedness plans and important links to information. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 

Dr. Boyce Watkins: The NFL Has Become the Bull Connor of 2017

This video was published on YouTube on August 23, 2017. 

The Dr Boyce Watkins Channel is an all-Black news and commentary channel that features a number of African American thinkers, commentators and speakers. The views of each video are not necessarily representative of those of Dr Boyce Watkins himself.

Source: Boyce Watkins

Segregation at All Costs: Bull Connor and the Civil Rights Movement

White House Press Briefing

President Trump at the American Legion's 99th National Convention

'Harvey' Could Be Trump’s First Crisis That Isn’t His Own Invention

WASHINGTON ― Having lurched from one crisis to the next, starting the day he was inaugurated, President Donald Trump could be facing the first real one of his presidency not of his own making: Hurricane Harvey.

Trump has inflamed relations with his own intelligence community, picked fights with fellow Republicans in Congress, brandished the nation’s nuclear weapons on Twitter, encouraged neo-Nazis and created chaos at the nation’s airports with a poorly crafted travel ban that remains tied up in the courts.

All of those troubles, though, were generated because of his own words and actions. The 125 mile-per-hour storm churning toward the central Texas coast is the first menace directly affecting Americans in Trump’s presidency beyond his control. And as of Thursday afternoon, he had spoken about it not at all.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post

New Financial Sanctions Imposed on Venezuela

The following statement was issued today by the White House Press Secretary.

President Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order imposing strong, new financial sanctions on the dictatorship in Venezuela.

The Maduro dictatorship continues to deprive the Venezuelan people of food and medicine, imprison the democratically-elected opposition, and violently suppress freedom of speech.  The regime’s decision to create an illegitimate Constituent Assembly—and most recently to have that body usurp the powers of the democratically-elected National Assembly—represents a fundamental break in Venezuela’s legitimate constitutional order.

In an effort to preserve itself, the Maduro dictatorship rewards and enriches corrupt officials in the government’s security apparatus by burdening future generations of Venezuelans with massively expensive debts.  Maduro’s economic mismanagement and rampant plundering of his nation’s assets have taken Venezuela ever closer to default.  His officials are now resorting to opaque financing schemes and liquidating the country’s assets at fire sale prices.

As Vice President Mike Pence has said, in Venezuela, “we’re seeing the tragedy of tyranny play out before our eyes.”  No free people has ever chosen to walk the path from prosperity to poverty.  No free people has ever chosen to turn what was once, and should still be, one of South America’s richest nations into its poorest and most corrupt.

We will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles.  The President’s new action prohibits dealings in new debt and equity issued by the government of Venezuela and its state oil company.  It also prohibits dealings in certain existing bonds owned by the Venezuelan public sector, as well as dividend payments to the government of Venezuela.

To mitigate harm to the American and Venezuelan people, the Treasury Department is issuing general licenses that allow for transactions that would otherwise be prohibited by the Executive Order.  These include provisions allowing for a 30-day wind-down period; financing for most commercial trade, including the export and import of petroleum; transactions only involving Citgo; dealings in select existing Venezuelan debts; and the financing for humanitarian goods to Venezuela.

These measures are carefully calibrated to deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule, protect the United States financial system from complicity in Venezuela’s corruption and in the impoverishment of the Venezuelan people, and allow for humanitarian assistance.

The United States is not alone in condemning the Maduro regime.  Through the Lima Declaration of August 8, our friends and partners in the region refused to recognize the illegitimate Constituent Assembly or the laws it adopts.  The new United States financial sanctions support this regional posture of economically isolating the Maduro dictatorship.

The United States reiterates our call that Venezuela restore democracy, hold free and fair elections, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and end the repression of the Venezuelan people.  We continue to stand with the people of Venezuela during these trying times.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Combating Biological Terrorism

Biosecurity experts and medical professionals talked about combating biological terrorism. They discussed lessons learned from previous outbreaks and attacks, shared ideas for response and prevention improvement, and made recommendations for how best to address potential future threats.

Click here for video

Source: C-SPAN 

Secretary Mattis Holds Joint News Conference with President Poroshenko

The two leaders discussed the question of the U.S. supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine, but no definitive decision was made and the request is currently under review. Secretary Mattis reiterated that the U.S. would continue to put pressure on Russia in living up to its committment to withdraw their troops from Ukrainian territory. He added that the U.S. does not accept Russia’s seizure of Crimea, and sanctions would stay in place until Russia reversed their actions. Ukrainian President Poroshenko announced a new ceasefire agreement and urged Russia to immiediately withdraw its troops from the Donbas region. 

Source: C-SPAN

'Flashback Friday': NY Yankees Memorial for Thurman Munson (1979)

Source: YanksAtShea

Trailblazers in Black History: Shonda Rhimes

This video was published on YouTube on March 9, 2016. 

Shonda Rhimes, the titan behind Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, is responsible for some 70 hours of television per season, and she loves to work. "When I am hard at work, when I am deep in it, there is no other feeling," she says. She has a name for this feeling: The hum. The hum is a drug, the hum is music, the hum is God's whisper in her ear. But what happens when it stops? Is she anything besides the hum? In this moving talk, join Rhimes on a journey through her "year of yes" and find out how she got her hum back.

Source: TED

DL Hughley on Donald Trump's Rant in Phoenix

Health Disparities Narrowed for Blacks, Latinos Under Obamacare, Study Shows

Health care disparities among blacks and Latinos compared to whites have narrowed because of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, according to a study published by the The Commonwealth Fund Thursday.

The report found that the number of blacks and Latinos without health care coverage dropped during the first two years of the ACA's coverage expansion.

From 2013 and 2015, the uninsured rate among blacks between ages 19-64 dropped 9 percent, and dropped 12 percent among uninsured Latinos ages 19-64, the study showed. The rate of uninsured whites dropped 5 percent. The disparity among uninsured blacks and whites also narrowed by 4 percent and among Latinos and whites narrowed 7 percent. 

Click here for the full article. 

Shad Khan Would 'Absolutely' Support Signing Colin Kaepernick

The Jaguars are as needy at quarterback as any team in the NFL. So would they sign a certain controversial unsigned quarterback?

Jaguars owner Shad Khan says he’s OK with signing Colin Kaepernick. Asked by Mike Dempsey of 1010XL if he’d sign off on Kaepernick if that’s what the football people want, Khan said, “Absolutely.”

Click here for summary. 

Source: NBC Sports 

Evacuations Underway as Hurricane Harvey Barrels Towards Texas

Source: CBS News

Trump's Government Shutdown Threat

President Trump Keeps Up Criticism of Top Republicans

Source: CBS News

Inside Robert Mueller's Army

By Betsy Woodruff

In a secure location in southwest Washington, D.C., with access to a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility for classified material, 16 of the country’s top lawyers have passed the last several months working on an investigation that will likely be as consequential as it is secretive.

The following details—gleaned from conversations with people familiar with President Donald Trump’s legal team, as well as intelligence experts and friends of the people working for special counsel Robert Mueller—help explain the broad range of legal and counterintelligence experts he’s assembled. Mueller has essentially built his own miniature Justice Department. 

Andrew Weissmann 

Weissmann has spent most of his career in the Justice Department—first in the Eastern District of New York, and now at Main Justice. He’s on detail from his position overseeing fraud prosecutions to work with Mueller.

It isn’t their first tour of duty together. Weissmann was Mueller’s general counsel at the FBI for years.

A former FBI official who worked with him there told The Daily Beast that unlike many government attorneys, Weissmann rarely equivocated or dilly-dallied about decisions.

“He was not a paper tiger,” the former official said. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast 

Statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo Ahead of Women's Equality Day

"Nearly a century ago, after years of unrelenting courage and advocacy, women won the right to vote in the United States. On Saturday, New York State, and the country will observe Women's Equality Day to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment, which gave women this inalienable right.

"This storied tradition was first celebrated in 1973 when New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug introduced a resolution to designate August 26th as Women's Equality Day. As New Yorkers, we know fundamentally that our society is stronger and our economy more prosperous when women are given equal opportunity in the classroom, the workplace and in civic life.

"As we celebrate Women's Equality Day, I am calling on President Trump to act as every president has before him and to issue a proclamation, affirming our belief that all men and women are created equal, and that the right to vote is genderless.

"In the name of equality and fairness, today and every day, New York stands shoulder-to-shoulder with women everywhere. A woman's place is in the voting booth."

The text of the Governor's proclamation is available here.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor Cuomo Announces Opening Of First Span Of Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge

Source: NYGovCuomo

Kids Night Out in Harlem! - Free Outdoor Screening of Disney's 'Queen of Katwe'

Click on the flier to increase its size.
Starring David OyelowoLupita Nyong'o, and Madina NalwangaQueen of Katwe depicts the life of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl living in a slum in Katwe who learns to play chess and becomes a Woman Candidate Master after her performances at the World Chess Olympiads.

The film will be preceded by chess activities for kids, face painting, popcorn and more!
Source: ImageNation

Doomed Dogs Start New Life in USA

Source: euronews (in English)

Germany Bans Far-Left Website

Source: euronews (in English)

At Least 2 Dead in Attack on Kabul Mosque

Source: euronews (in English)

South Korea: Jail Sentence for Samsung Heir - A Shock to Business Community

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Polish PM Hits Back at Macron

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Terrorism in Europe: 'We Have to Accept Surveillance as a Normal Part of Life'

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Former Thai PM Yingluck 'Has Simply Disappeared'

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Thursday, August 24, 2017

In Memoriam: Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram of Poughkeepsie, New York

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo

"My heart goes out to the families and colleagues of the 10 sailors missing or killed in the collision involving the USS John S. McCain. Among the missing is a member of the family of New York, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram of Poughkeepsie. These sailors dedicated their lives to serving our nation and protecting the values and freedoms that this county and this state were founded upon. I urge all New Yorkers to keep them in their thoughts and prayers during this trying and difficult time." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

From The G-Man salutes Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram and the fallen sailors for their service to the country. May they forever rest in peace. 

Rikers Island: A Statement from Governor's Counsel Alphonso David

"The indictment of 29 alleged gang members for attacks on inmates and staff at Rikers Island is yet another stark example of why this jail complex must be shut down—and 10 years is too long to wait.

"Rikers is a savage and inhumane jail that has ruined the lives of too many New Yorkers. Most of its 7,000 inmates have not been found guilty of anything and are simply waiting for their day in court—some of them waiting for years. Many are subject to violence and abuse, as underscored by the charges brought by the Bronx District Attorney's office.

"This year, New York State ensured the majority of 16 and 17-year-olds will be removed from Rikers Island. It's time that New York City step up to the plate with a real plan to close this jail on a rapidly accelerated timeline.

"Saying it will take 10 years is tantamount to saying we have no real plan to close it. 10 years may see three different Mayors and three different City Councils. This proposed closing plan will have no relevance to those administrations—Governor Cuomo, for example, is not 10 years later implementing Governor Spitzer's plans.

"ln short, this 10-year timeline ignores the urgent need for action now. 10 years condemns thousands more young people to be abused by Rikers. How many people have to die and how many lives have to be ruined to make government act? We need action now."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

German Magazine Cover Depicts Donald Trump Doing Nazi Salute

By Lee Moran

A German magazine has portrayed President Donald Trump giving a Nazi salute on its latest front page.

Stern magazine mocked up the image of Trump performing the gesture while draped in the American flag for the cover of its Aug. 24 issue, The Hill reports.

With the main headline of “Sein Kampf” (which translates roughly to “His Struggle”), it clearly alluded to dictator Adolf Hitler’s 1925 autobiographical book Mein Kampf.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post 

Impeaching Trump and Can Democrats Recover?

Source: RT America

Caught in Providence: An Honest Boy

This video was published on YouTube on July 14, 2017. 

His father was charged with speeding, and his honesty just condemned him.

These are real people, not actors. 

Our American Ideals: A Reflection on the Trump Administration

By Jennifer Jones Austin

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump to the Presidency, the nation has been viciously and repeatedly assaulted with deliberate actions taken by the Executive and legislative branches of the federal government. From President Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 that cuts deeply into education, health, income supports, and housing and community development, and a tax plan that would benefit the wealthy while doing little to ensure economic stability for vulnerable Americans, to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ shift of the Department of Justice from efforts aimed at advancing fair and equal justice, to the GOP’s shameful efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in a manner that would take healthcare away from as many as 34 million people, and now the President’s decisive statements giving a nod to white supremacy in America, our American ideals of liberty, opportunity, democracy, and equality for all are being challenged before our very eyes.

What is clearly discernible from these and several like actions taken by the current Administration and the Republican-led Congress is that there is a lack of moral leadership at the highest levels of our government to truly make our nation “great” in the way the words of our forefathers suggest. What is less clear is where we as a people stand and what we will do.

Representative Joe Kennedy expressed these sentiments early on with his speech on the House Floor on March 8, 2017, characterizing the actions of the Trump administration and the Republican controlled Congress, even before the ugliness that spilled onto the streets of Charlottesville:

It codifies a world view by this administration that is dead set on dividing America among the lines of the god of your prayers, who you love, where you come from, or your fate and fortune. We see it in their tax plan, in their budget cuts, in immigration policy, and now, in healthcare.

In a world view that scapegoats the struggling and the suffering, that sees fault in illness, that rejects the most basic universal truth of the human existence — that every single one of us, one day, will be brought to our knees by a diagnosis we didn’t expect, a phone call we can’t imagine, and a loss we cannot endure.

So we take care of each other. Because, but for the grace of God there go I one day. And we hope that we will be shown that mercy too. It is the ultimate test of the character of this country confronting our chamber today — not the power we give the strong, but the strength in which we embrace the weak.

As a people and as a nation, who are we? Will we choose to be the “city on the hill” where democracy reigns, and not only do we care for our neighbor but we demand and work for policies and programs that edify us all? We must educate ourselves on the issues, donate and volunteer with organizations on the frontlines, and lobby our elected officials for just policies. We must call out racism and discrimination when we experience it or see it, and participate in peaceful rallies and marches for causes meant to bring about awareness and change for our most vulnerable neighbors. It is no longer okay to sit on the sidelines, for if we do we may find ourselves living in a society where the American ideals of liberty, opportunity, democracy, and equality for all are nothing but a faded dream.

Jennifer Jones Austin is the CEO and Executive Director at FPWA and is co-host of a segment about poverty and national policy for the nationally syndicated radio show, Keepin’ It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton, which airs Thursdays at 2:00 pm ET.

Saving Our Youth: 'When We Talk About Gangs, Let’s Talk About Rejection, Loneliness'

This video was published on YouTube on June 26, 2017. Viewer discretion is advised.

Sephton Henry was once one of south London's most notorious gang members. He started selling drugs at the age of eight, and had been to prison seven times by the time he was 23. He realized his life was spiraling out of control and decided to make a change. Sephton now works with charity Gangsline, which helps young people and community staff to tackle gang culture.
Producer: Aaron Akinyemi
Video journalist: Cebolakhe Luthuli

Trailblazers in Black History: Sammy Younge Jr.

This video was published on July 16, 2013. 

Sammy Younge, Jr., was murdered in Tuskegee in 1966 for trying to use a White-Only rest room on State Highway 80. He was killed by Marvin Segrest, who was found "Not Guilty."

Anquan Boldin Just Quit the NFL: Charlottesville Was the Tipping Point

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Anquan Boldin didn’t decide overnight he was going to quit football in order to speak out against longstanding concerns over inequality in America.

The recent deadly and racially charged conflict in Charlottesville, Virginia, did, however, become the tipping point that caused Boldin to reassess his priorities and led to the Buffalo Bills receiver’s decision to retire after 14 NFL seasons.

“I think anybody with any sense can see how divided we are as a country, and Charlottesville only magnified what we were already seeing,” Boldin told The Associated Press by phone Monday.
He was disturbed by the hateful messages directed at African-Americans, Jewish people and the LGBT community during a rally involving neo-Nazis and other right-wing groups in which a counter-protester was killed and two Virginia state police officers died on Aug. 13.

“That’s not the America that I want to live in,” he said. “And I think the only way that this America changes is that we as a people stand up and change it.” 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News  

Kaepernick's Supporters Rally Outside NFL Office

This video was published on YouTube on August 23, 2017. 

Hundreds of supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick are rallying outside the New York City headquarters of the National Football League to support him. 

Source: Associated Press