Saturday, October 7, 2017

In Memoriam: Mike Hodge, NY SAG-AFTRA President and Former Washington Post Journalist

From The G-Man recently learned of the death of Mike Hodge, who served as the New York local president of SAG-AFTRA. When this site and The G-Man Interviews were launched, Mr. Hodge, a former Washington Post journalist and member of the legendary "Metro 7", was one of the first to offer guidance and unyielding support. He was also gracious enough to appear on The G-Man Interviews on two occasions to discuss his role with SAG-AFTRA, the lack of diversity in Hollywood, the Metro 7, and the group's landmark battle with the Washington Post.

From The G-Man proudly presents those episodes in honor of Mr. Hodge, who was an accomplished actor, a fierce proponent of union rights.... and a man who played a major role in helping integrate the newsrooms of America.

Hollywood Has a Serious Problem with Diversity

This video was published on YouTube on January 21, 2015. 

'The Metro 7': Unsung Heroes of American Journalism

This video was published in YouTube on February 22, 2013.

Friday, October 6, 2017

National Security Conference, Former CIA Directors on Classification and Transparency

The CIA and George Washington University co-hosted an intelligence and national security conference. Speakers included former CIA directors, intelligence community and government officials, and private industry leaders. This portion featured a panel discussion between four former CIA directors: John Brennan, General Michael Hayden Porter Goss, and William Webster. That panel was followed by a discussion on classification and transparency. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN 

Linda Sanchez Says It's Time for Leadership to "Pass the Torch"

House Democratic Vice Chair Linda Sanchez tells Newsmakers that it's time for the party leadership of Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and James Clyburn to pass the torch to a new generation. "It's time to pass the torch to a new generation, they are all of the same generation...I think it's time," Sanchez says. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN 

Keeping It Real: A Homeless Man Speaks from the Heart

This video was published on YouTube on June 2, 2015. 

Source: Victor S™

Trailblazers in Black History: Geraldine Travis

Born in 1931 in Albany, Georgia, Geraldine Travis became the first black person elected to be elected to Montana’s State Legislature in 1974. She worked to advance civil rights both in and outside of government.

DL Hughley: 'Stop Telling Me You Want To Use These Guns In Case of Government Overreach'

Source: MoorInfo

Raise the Age Law That Seals Non-Violent Criminal Convictions Takes Effect October 7

A provision in the state's landmark Raise the Age law - allowing individuals who have remained crime-free for 10 years to request that certain New York State convictions be sealed - takes effect tomorrow, Saturday, October 7. The change is a result of Governor Cuomo's ongoing efforts to eliminate unnecessary barriers to opportunity and employment that formally incarcerated individuals face and to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the state's criminal justice system.

"Law-abiding New Yorkers should not be forever branded with the stigma of a non-violent criminal conviction when they have turned their lives around," Governor Cuomo said. "This provision of the landmark Raise the Age law will help eligible people of all ages turn the page and increase public safety by helping to end the vicious cycle of recidivism once and for all."

The new provision allows eligible individuals to petition the court to seal up to two misdemeanor convictions; one misdemeanor and one felony conviction; or one felony conviction. To be eligible, an individual must have no convictions on their record for at least 10 years and have no charges pending. Individuals who were incarcerated may not apply until a decade following their release date. Excluded from sealing are convictions for sex crimes or any offense requiring registration as a sex offender; child pornography; murder, manslaughter and other homicide charges; certain conspiracy charges; and any crime defined by law as a Class A or violent felony.

The seal applies to all public court records and those maintained by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. The repository for New York's criminal history records; law enforcement records are excluded. Once sealed, convictions can only be provided under certain circumstances, including to state or federal law enforcement acting within the scope of their duties including for hiring purposes; and pistol permit licensing officials. Individuals and their attorneys also will have access to the information. Additional information is available here.

Seymour W. James Jr., Attorney-In-Chief of The Legal Aid Society said, "Employers from all corners of New York City unfortunately deny our clients and others employment because of nonviolent convictions more than a decade old. This law will help prevent these situations from happening by affording thousands of New Yorkers the opportunity to finally have these records sealed. The Legal Aid Society lauds the Governor for signing this legislation and we look forward to working with our clients and others on correcting these injustices."

Michael C. Green, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the State Division of Criminal Justice Services, said, "This provision meets two important goals: It allows an eligible individual who has stayed on the right side of the law for at least 10 years the chance to remove his or her convictions from the public eye, while at the same time ensures that law enforcement professionals, certain licensing officials and others can access the sealed information when it is relevant to informing any decisions they must make involving that individual."

Jennifer March, Executive Director, Citizens' Committee for Children, said, "We are so pleased that this weekend marks the beginning of the effective dates for the Raise the Age legislation.  The new sealing provision will be a game changer for many New Yorkers who have turned their lives around and will no longer be burdened by the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction that is over a decade old.  We look forward to spreading the word and implementing the new sealing provisions as we continue to work with our partners in and out of government to ensure the effective implementation of the whole Raise the Age law."

Individuals who believe they may be eligible for sealing under this law can visit for the forms and instructions needed to apply for sealing. Upon receiving a sealing application, the sentencing court must notify the appropriate district attorney's office to see if there is an objection. If an objection is raised, the court must conduct a hearing to determine whether to seal the conviction or convictions.

New York State will raise the age of criminal responsibility in the state from 16 to 18 over the next two years. Juvenile jurisdiction for individuals who are 16 years old takes effect Oct. 1, 2018, and on Oct. 1, 2019 for 17-year-olds. The Raise the Age law and the sealing provision build upon Governor Cuomo's efforts to improve the state's criminal justice system and reduce barriers faced by people with criminal convictions.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

Shock Video: Caregiver Sentenced to Year in Prison for Abusing 95-Year-Old Woman

- A Maryland caregiver who pleaded guilty to abusing an elderly woman has been sentenced to a year in prison after being captured on video striking the victim several times.

Several videos shows Roxann Bucchan-Straker hitting the 95-year-old woman, who uses a wheelchair, in the head with a cell phone at least twice along with slapping the woman multiple times while she was eating her meals.

The physical abuse happened at the Springvale Terrace retirement community in Silver Spring in 2015.

Bucchan-Straker was given three years probation in addition to her prison sentence. 

Source: FOX 5 News  

To all elected officials at the state and local level: If you think this isn't happening in the state of New York on a regular basis, think again. Will it take a series of heinous and/or deadly crimes to be committed against defenseless seniors before you finally address the issue?   


Candlelight Vigil to Be Held for Matthew McCree

Louna Dennis, mother of Matthew McCree, and
attorney Sanford Rubenstein at her son's memorial site. 
(Click on the photo to increase its size.)

The following statement was submitted by Sanford Rubenstein, attorney for the family of Matthew McCree. 

On October 6 at 6:30 p.m., a candlelight vigil will be held in in memory of Matthew McCree at 2160 Mapes Avenue in the Bronx. The public and press are invited.

Trump Administration Rolling Back Obama-Era Birth Control Mandate

Tillerson Sparks White House Outrage

Nate Could Hit Gulf Coast as a Hurricane

Lin-Manuel Miranda on New Song for Puerto Rico Relief

Source: CBS News

Remembering the Victims of the Las Vegas Shooting

Source: CBS News 

Dreamers Face DACA Renewal Deadline

Source: CBS News

Cuomo Applauds SUNY Board of Trustees for Authorizing In-State Tuition for Students Displaced by Hurricanes

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Representative Nydia M. Velázquez, and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, co-chairs of the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, today released the following the statements after the SUNY Board of Trustees authorized in-state tuition for students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

"In the wake of the devastation of Hurricanes Maria and Irma, I applaud the SUNY Board for responding to my call and agreeing to offer in-state tuition to students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have been displaced by the storms," Governor Cuomo said. "This action will alleviate a huge burden for families repairing and rebuilding their lives, and it will ensure that young people can continue their college education. Today, New York is stepping up to the plate to support our brothers and sisters in need. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands face a long and difficult path to recovery, but it is a path that we will walk together every step of the way."

Representative Velázquez said, "As the Island rebuilds, many Puerto Ricans will be rebuilding and restarting their lives. Puerto Rico and New York share deep, unbreakable ties and, in Maria's wake, we can be certain many of our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters will relocate to New York, some temporarily and many for longer periods. We must do all we can to help and welcome them. Providing in-state tuition is just one way to ensure our fellow citizens are able to make this transition."

Assemblyman Crespo said, "The obliteration of normal life on Puerto Rico is causing many hardships, including creating barriers to the higher education dreams of its college students. Today, SUNY has once again delivered decisive action at a time of great need and one that will further the education of displaced college students from Puerto Rico. The decision by SUNY Board of Trustees, under the leadership of Chairman McCall and Chancellor Johnson, to facilitate the continuous and uninterrupted study of Puerto Rican college students in New York is a proud moment for this great institution and welcomed by everyone displaced by the disaster caused by Hurricane Maria."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Mayor de Blasio Joins a DOT Repaving Crew to Make an Announcement on Progress Repaving NYC

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Mayor de Blasio & First Lady McCray Delivers Remarks Italian Heritage Reception

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

SPLC Wins Asylum for Transgender Woman Who Received Death Threats in Guatemala

A transgender woman we represented through our Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative was granted asylum this week. The woman fled Guatemala last year in fear of her life. She was raped and tortured by Guatemalan police and received death threats from her coworkers because of her gender identity. She was also targeted by a drug cartel whose members killed one of her friends.

Click here for the full article. 

Celebrities and Politicians to Attend Birthday Celebration for Rev. Al Sharpton

New York, NY – On October 7, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., elected officials from across New York will join President and Founder Rev. Al Sharpton to celebrate his 63rd birthday and 50 years of tireless work fighting for civil rights. 

Following the devastation of Hurricane Maria, members of Congress, civil rights activists, and city and state officials will also join Rev. Sharpton at the House of Justice to condemn Trump’s woefully inadequate response to the crisis in Puerto Rico.

Attendees will include: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, NYS Comptroller Tom Dinapoli, New York State Senate Democrat Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner. 

The House of Justice is located at 106 West 145th Street in Harlem. 

The event can be viewed on the Impact Television Network and heard on WLIB 1190 AM. It will also be live streamed at

Source: Mercury

New York Hospital's Secret Policy Led to Woman Being Given C-Section Against Her Will

By Molly Redden

A New York hospital accused of forcing a mother to undergo a caesarean section against her will used an internal policy permitting doctors to overrule a pregnant woman’s medical decisions, the Guardian has learned.

The Staten Island University hospital (SIUH) policy offers doctors step-by-step instructions for performing procedures and surgeries without a pregnant woman’s consent if they can’t persuade her to give permission and several doctors agree that the treatment carries a “reasonable possibility of significant benefit” for her fetus that “outweigh[s] the possible risks to the woman”.

When there is an emergency that threatens the fetus, the policy gives her doctor even more power, allowing him or her to override a pregnant woman’s wishes on the spot and without consulting anyone else.

The policy flies in the face of ethical recommendations by groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), both of which condemn procedures performed without a mother’s consent for the benefit of her fetus.  

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Guardian (via The Empire Report)

Siena Poll: Cuomo’s Numbers Are Up After Rough Summer

After a rough summer of mass transit trouble in New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval and favorability ratings are up in a Siena College released Friday morning.

The poll found Cuomo’s favorability rating has bumped up to 57 percent to 35 percent, a slight increase from a 56 percent to 37 percent rating last month.

His job performance remains negative, however, with 48 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving. Still, that’s up from last month, when he recorded a 43 percent to 55 percent job performance, the poll found. At the same time, that’s a 10 percentage-point jump after it was flat last month, due to his support from Democratic and independent voters.

More than half of voters, 52 percent, are prepared to re-elect the governor, who is seeking a third term next year. Forty-one percent would prefer a generic “someone else.” The margin is an improvement for Cuomo from July, when 48 percent of voters backed his re-election bid and 44 percent preferred someone else. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: State of Politics (via The Empire Report) 

Kiplinger: New York is 3rd Least Tax-Friendly State in America

Click on any state in the map below for a detailed summary of state taxes on income, property, and everything you buy. View additional maps below, including our picks for the 10 most tax-friendly and the 10 least tax-friendly states in the U.S. (Retirees, visit our Retiree Tax Map to learn how each state taxes different kinds of retirement income and to discover special tax breaks for seniors.)

Hover over or click on any state in the map for the option to add the state to your compare list to quickly see how selected states stack up.

View map here

Source: Kiplinger (via The Empire Report) 

Pigeon Indicted on Federal Bribery Charges

Political operative G. Steven Pigeon was indicted Friday morning on federal charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and bribery.

A federal prosecutor said the charges could bring 20 years behind bars if he is convicted.

The charges mirror state counts Pigeon already faces in connection with the alleged bribery of a former State Supreme Court judge, John Michalek. Michalek last year resigned from his job, pleaded guilty in state court to receiving bribes from Pigeon and agreed to become a witness against Pigeon.

Pigeon pleaded not guilty to the federal counts today, and his defense attorney Paul J. Cambria, alleged that federal prosecutors filed the new charges against Pigeon because they are concerned that the state case against Pigeon is in trouble. Cambria said an evidence ruling made by a state judge in June, throwing out key evidence in the case, has seriously damaged the state's case.

"I believe these new federal charges today are nothing more than an end-around in which the feds are trying to rescue the state case," Cambria said after a court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer. "I believe they are trying to take that state case from across the street and wash it in the River Jordan here at federal court."

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Buffalo News (via The Empire Report) 

SUNY Students Support Extension of In-State Tuition Rates for Puerto Rican and Virgin Islander Students

Moments ago, the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York voted unanimously to revise the guidelines that govern residency requirements for in-state tuition rates to include undergraduate and graduate students from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands for the 2017-18 academic year at SUNY's state-operated campuses.
"SUNY students have shown time and again our willingness to stick together and offer a helping hand when times are tough," said Student Assembly President and Trustee Marc J. Cohen. "We wholeheartedly support this measure, which will help to ease one significant financial burden for these incredible Americans as they work to rebuild their lives."

"The expansion of in-state tuition rates is a much-needed reprieve for our brothers and sisters who have been impacted by recent natural disasters" said Carlos Cobo, a junior at Stony Brook University and the Student Assembly's Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. "In the midst of chaos, New York has once again shown its commitment to the greater community and reiterated its dedication to expanding access to public higher education of the highest quality."

The Board of Trustees also called for similar action to be taken by the local boards of trustees at SUNY's community colleges and the boards of trustees of Alfred University and Cornell University, which oversee SUNY’s five statutory colleges.

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

Is a Bioterrorist Attack Possible?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Diversity Means Business: Boosting the Number of African Women Entrepreneurs

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Europe Corporate Tax Rate: Does the EU Tax System Put Off Businesses?

Source: FRANCE 24 English

How Puerto Ricans Are Coping in Aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Spanish Courts and Regional Banks Pile Pressure on Catalan Separatists

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Nobel Peace Prize: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Awarded

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Harlem Mart 125: The American Dream

Created over a 9 year-span, Harlem's Mart 125: the American Dream is a documentary film about the history of Mart 125 and how it correlates to the "revitalization" of 125th street, Harlem's main commercial sector. 

Completed in 2009, this film takes its viewers on a historical journey which depicts the economic transition of 125th street from the late 1960's to present day. Mart 125 is used as a metaphor which examines the plague of perplexities that surround this unique black community and its relationship with the plans of urban renewal from a commercial stand point. Harlem's Mart 125: the American Dream portrays a microcosmic analysis of the displacement of Black American communities today. 

This is a story that takes an introspective look at the changing face of the most well known African-American neighborhood and a complexity of issues that surround this community in peril!

The video was published on YouTube on September 18, 2016. Click here to view the film in its entirety. 

Source: HarlemMart125

Dominique Sharpton, Daughter of Rev. Al Sharpton, to Tie the Knot

New York, NY – On Sunday, October 15, 2017, Dominique Isis Sharpton and Dr. Marcus Alan Bright will be married by Rev. Margaret Elaine Flake at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral in Jamaica, New York, located at 110-31 Merrick Blvd. 

There will be a meet and greet reception following the ceremony in the Great Hall and a private family reception off site. The wedding, which will be conducted at 3:30 p.m., is open to the general public because much of Dominique Sharpton’s life was spent at public rallies and National Action Network events where many members of the community watched her grow up.

Dominique Sharpton, 30, is an actress, producer, and the National Director of membership at National Action Network which serves over 110 chapters across the United States. She studied at Temple University in Philadelphia and completed her studies at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City where she studied in the integrated program.

Dominique is the eldest daughter of two to Rev. Al Sharpton and Kathy Jordan Sharpton of New York. Her father, Rev. Al Sharpton, is a world renowned civil rights leader, Minister and the host of three radio shows and a national cable show on MSNBC. Her mother is a production coordinator at the World’s Famous Apollo Theater and operates her own catering company. The bride’s mother also founded the Kathy Jordan Sharpton Scholarship fund over ten-years-ago.

Dr. Marcus Alan Bright, 33, is an Administrator at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and a Visiting Professor at the University of Massachusetts. He is the also the executive director of Education for A Better America and a frequent contributor to various news outlets. Dr. Bright received a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Florida International University and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University.

Dr. Bright is the eldest son of Phillip and Vanessa Bright of Martin, TN. His mother is a speech therapist for Weakley County Public Schools. His father is the director of human resources at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Source: Mercury

James Baldwin on America's 'Racial Problem'

This video was published on YouTube on August 28, 2014. 

In the Western world, and especially in America, what is "white" and what is "black"? Here is James Baldwin, prophetic and provocative as ever, talking about race, imperialism and identity. This was filmed in London in 1969, but it's equally relevant today.

Source: Jose Antonio Vargas

10 of the Most Evil Acts Committed by the Ku Klux Klan

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

Warning: Graphic photos are included in the video.

Source: Dark Light T

Striking IBEW Local 3 Foreman's Message to Spectrum

Source: Spectrum Strike

Additional information on the ongoing strike is available here

Source: NBC News 

Funeral Arrangements for School Stabbing Victim Matthew McCree


The following information was submitted by attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who represents the slain teen's family

Friday October 13, 2017,  5-7pm: Viewing of the body

Friday October 13, 2017, 7-9pm: Religious service

Saturday October 14, 2017, 7-8am: Funeral service followed by burial at the Canarsie Cemetery

Viewing and funeral service will take place at Castle Hill Funeral Parlor located at 1528 Castle Hill Ave, Bronx, New York. 

‘Justice for Matthew’: Mom of Teen Fatally
Stabbed in Bronx School Speaks Out

Source: PIX 11 News

Saving Our Youth: A Conversation About Growing Up Black

This video was published on YouTube on May 8, 2015. 

In this short documentary, young black men explain the particular challenges they face growing up in America.

Source: The New York Times

Top House Democrat Asks FBI to Review Kushner and Ivanka Trump Emails

WASHINGTON — A top Democrat in the House is calling on the FBI to review whether Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, and the president's daughter Ivanka Trump exposed classified information through their use of personal email and the reported transfer of email accounts to computers run by the Trump Organization.

The Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, is also renewing his call for the couple to brief lawmakers about their electronic correspondence, saying they failed to comply with a bipartisan request not transfer or destroy any emails related to government work. 

Click here for the full article. 

NRA Silent After Las Vegas Shooting, but GOP on Notice Over Gun Laws

WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association has gone dark, but other gun-rights groups say they're keeping close tabs on Republicans to make sure that any new legislation doesn't see the light of day after the shooting massacre in Las Vegas.

"Given the spinelessness of so many of the Republican caucus, the best thing would be to get the leadership not to let it come up," Larry Pratt, co-founder and executive director emeritus of the Gun Owners of America, said in an interview with NBC. "If it comes to a vote, they are going to be held accountable."

The fight is less about particular gun-control measures — like a new bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., banning devices that allow semi-automatic guns to mimic fully automatic weapons — and more about what gun-rights advocates see as a slippery slope to more restrictive regulations on firearms. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News  

Ryan: Bump Stocks Clearly 'Something We Need to Look Into'

Three American Soldiers Killed in Niger in Suspected Ambush

Three U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers were killed and two were wounded in Niger on Wednesday, in an ambush by suspected Islamic militants operating from Mali, multiple sources with knowledge of the incident told NBC News.

According to the sources, one soldier form Niger was also killed in the attack.

The U.S. military did not confirm the deaths officially, but did acknowledge that a “hostile fire” incident involving U.S. troops had occurred.

“We are working to confirm details of the incident and will have more information as soon as we can confirm facts on the ground,” said a spokesperson for Africa Command, or AFRICOM. The military generally does not confirm nor identify American casualties until it has ensured that the deceased’s family members have been properly notified. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Amended Complaint Filed in Lawsuit to Preserve DACA

The following statement was issued today by Governor Andrew Cuomo. 
"The federal government has declared war on the values of tolerance and inclusion that built this state and this nation. This cruel move to rescind DACA feeds the beast of bigotry, and it will upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people across the nation.

"We cannot and we will not sit on the sidelines and watch the lives of these young people ruined. As we made clear before this decision, New York is suing to protect the 'dreamers' and the state's sovereign interest in the fair and equal application of the law. Today's amended complaint will further safeguard New Yorkers targeted by the federal government's actions, and it sends another clear message that New York will never stop fighting for the values embodied by the Lady in our Harbor.

"The federal government's action is antithetical to everything we believe as New Yorkers. As a nation, we should be moving forward, not backward, and talking about a pathway to citizenship for our friends, families and neighbors who have only ever called America their home." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Trump Meets with Vegas Victims, First Responders

Source: ABC News

Woman Sentenced to 1 Week in Jail for Refusing to Vaccinate Son

Governor Cuomo Announces Winners of the Western New York Smart Growth Community Fund

Source: NYGovCuomo

Mayor de Blasio Visits Emergency Management Warehouse

The mayor visits emergency management warehouse where donations for hurricane relief are being sorted for shipment.

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at 2017 Daily News Hometown Heroes in Education Awards

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Report: NY Jewish Businesses Targeted by Antisemitic Letters

By Joy Bernard

Jewish businesses in New York have become the target of a series of antisemitic attacks, local media has been reporting with an increasing frequency in recent weeks, and the latest escalation in the alarming uptick in antisemitic crime came on Wednesday when seven businesses were sent the same flyer marked with a swastika and containing other menacing symbols.

According to ABC News, seven business, all located in Brooklyn and Manhattan, were the recipients of the same hateful flyer. Among the businesses targeted were three law firms in Sheepshead Bay, the Harlem Business Alliance on Lenox Avenue, the Numero Uno Jewelry store on East 116th Street, Borough Park Bakery and a Starbucks on West 145th Street. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Jerusalem Post (via The Empire Report)

N.Y. Hedge Fund Manager Charged in $19 Million Ponzi Scheme

By Bob Van Voris 

A New York state man was charged with defrauding investors of $19 million in a Ponzi scheme disguised as a hedge fund.

Michael Scronic, 46, of Pound Ridge was arrested Thursday and accused of cheating at least 45 friends and acquaintances who put money in his phony Scronic Macro Fund. Scronic used their money to pay $12,275 monthly rent on his Westchester County home, mortgage payments on a vacation home in Stratton, Vermont, a popular ski area, and beach club and country club fees, according to the government.

Click here for summary. 

Source: Bloomberg (via The Empire Report) 

Harvey Weinstein Lawyers Up for Bombshell New York Times, New Yorker Stories

Harvey Weinstein has hired a high-powered team of attorneys to push back on soon-to-be-published bombshell stories from the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing sexual allegations and improper workplace behavior against him. Some women making the charges are believed to be on the record.
Weinstein, the indie mogul and founder of the Weinstein Company, has retained star litigator David Boies, as well as attorneys Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder in an effort to rebut the claims. Jodi Kantor, an investigative reporter who wrote about harsh working conditions at Amazon, is working on the story for the Times, along with Megan Twohey, who wrote a piece about Weinstein’s questionable charitable work for amfAR, a charity involved with AIDS research.   
Click here for the full article. 
Source: Variety (via The Empire Report) 

There Are Two Other Statewide Proposals on November's Ballot

By Dick Moss

When New York voters go to the polls on Nov. 7, there will be two other ballot questions in addition to the constitutional convention question, which you will see as Proposal No. 1 on the back of your ballot. 

The two other questions involve public pensions and forest preserves and perhaps contributed to some of the confusion about the convention question. Both of these apply to very narrow circumstances, however, so shouldn't present as much of a quandary about how to vote. 

Proposal two is on whether or not to alter the public pension guarantee — specifically for public officers who are convicted of a felony that is directly related to their public duties. The proposed change to Article 5 of the state Constitution invests the courts with the decision on whether to reduce or eliminate the former public officer's state pension.  

You may remember that a few years ago there was a public outcry about convicted lawmakers still getting pensions. This is an effort to rectify that particular loophole in the law.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Democrat and Chronicle (via The Empire Report)

Saudi King Makes Historic Visit to Russia

Source: euronews.

Brazil's Olympic Chief Carlos Nuzman Arrested in Rio in Corruption Scandal

Source: euronews.

Spain's Top Court Blocks Catalan Parliament's Independence Push

Source: euronews.

Who Could Be In Contention for the Nobel Peace Prize 2017?

Source: euronews.

Newspapers React to May's Conference Speech

Source: euronews.

Gender Equality Progress 'Far Too Slow', Says OECD

Western countries have made little progress on reaching goals on gender equality, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Source: euronews.

Iraqi Forces Recapture Hawija from ISIL

Source: euronews.  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cuomo Calls on SUNY and CUNY Boards to Provide In-State Tuition to Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Island College Students Displaced by Hurricanes

The following statement was issued today by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

"The Puerto Rican community is one of the most vibrant communities in New York, with over 1.1 million Puerto Ricans calling the Empire State home. At the same time, more U.S. Virgin Islanders list their place of birth as New York than any other state in the nation. In the wake of Hurricanes Maria and Irma, New Yorkers stepped up for our brothers and sisters in need, and we remain committed to providing any assistance necessary to help those impacted by the devastation build back stronger and more resilient than ever before. When things are at their worst, New Yorkers are at their best, and we will continue to lend a hand to our friends, family and neighbors in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on the long road to recovery.

"To ensure the young people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have been displaced by these storms can continue their college education, I am calling on the SUNY and CUNY Boards to allow these students to attend our public colleges at the in-state tuition rate. This action will alleviate a huge burden for these families as they try to repair and rebuild their lives. This is a major step forward for these communities, and demonstrates that amidst the devastation, New York will continue to ensure the bright light of opportunity shines on everyone." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

The Reverse Mass Incarceration Act of 2017 Introduced in the House of Representatives

Glenn E. Martin speaks as Senator Cory Booker (left), Senator Richard Blumenthal (center) and Rep. Tony Cardenas look on.

The following statement was submitted by Glenn E. Martin, Founder and President of JustLeadershipUSA.

I was recently invited to speak at a Congressional press conference in Washington, D.C.  On September 27th, I stood beside Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) to announce his introduction of The Reverse Mass Incarceration Act of 2017 in the House of Representatives. Also on the dais were Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) who introduced the same bill in the Senate this past June, and representatives of the ACLU and the NAACP.  Our insistence on having a seat at the policymaking table, or in this case, a spot in front of the mic, is producing real results. I was proud to be in the nation’s capital representing the voices of the 70 million Americans who have criminal records.  No one piece of legislation will remedy almost five decades of human carnage caused by mass incarceration, but this bill is an acknowledgement of the role played by Congress and a step in the right direction.

In my remarks I explained why JLUSA supports this bill, which was originally conceived by The Brennan Center for Justice.  If enacted, it will reward states with federal incentive grants of $20 billion over 10 years for reducing their prison population by at least seven percent over a three-year period, while at the same time making sure their crime rate doesn’t increase by more than three percent. We know how effective financial incentives can be in influencing state priorities. Federal grants amounting to billions of dollars were a major factor in creating the mass incarceration crisis in the first place. The 1994 Crime Bill authorized $12.5 billion for prison construction to states that adopted “truth-in-sentencing” laws requiring people to serve at least 85% of their sentences. Twenty-four states passed such laws, doing away with parole and other early release opportunities. The Crime Bill encouraged states to increase arrests, ratchet up sentences and build more prisons. For a period in the 1990s, a new prison opened every 15 days on average!

If passed, The Reverse Incarceration Act will accelerate the decarceration process that is already taking place in some states and across the partisan divide.  Mississippi reduced its prison population by 13% between 2011 and 2014 by expanding credit for time served and loosening some of the parole requirements.  During that period the crime rate also went down.  Connecticut has reduced its prison population by more than 20% since 2011 through a series of reforms and crime in that state is at its lowest point since 1967.   

It’s now time for our elected officials in D.C. to step up. You can’t change the past, but you can take bold steps to affect the future, and that’s what we should expect from our elected officials. Stay tuned for more information about what you can do to support The Reverse Mass Incarceration Act and bring us closer to our goal of cutting the population under criminal justice supervision in half by 2030.