Saturday, December 2, 2017

Cuomo in Puerto Rico: Remarks at Lunch with New York Power Workers and New York National Guard

Source: NYGovCuomo

'Nothing Without Us': Doc Highlights Heroism of Women Fighting HIV/AIDS

Click on the photo to increase its size.

by Vee Wright

When the HIV/AIDS test the Rev. Joyce Turner Keller administers to a young woman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana comes back negative, one breathes a huge sigh of relief and she does too.

Thousands of miles away in Lagos, Nigeria, Daisy Uwakwe, an adolescent who has been infected with HIV since birth, is becoming active in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS among her peers. Daisy attends an HIV youth camp run by Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA), an NGO founded by Morolake Odetoyinbo.

As people unite to raise awareness of HIV on World AIDS Day, annually observed on Dec. 1, Keller and Odetoyinbo, are on a mission. They are among several women living with HIV/AIDS featured in a new documentary "Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End AIDS." The 68-minute documentary, directed and co-produced by Harriet Hirshorn, made its North American premiere at "DOC NYC” in November.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

What Flynn’s Guilty Plea Means for Trump and the GOP

by Jonathan Allen

WASHINGTON — It's going to get harder for President Donald Trump to distance himself politically from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe after Michael Flynn's guilty plea — and that could be bad news for his fellow Republicans at the polls.

Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on Friday, and the White House is worried about any information he could pass along to prosecutors.

For now, the president's legal team is playing down the conviction as a contained fire — one that will burn only Flynn for his deceit — but the political fallout could impede Trump's agenda next year and further divide a Republican Party that has been riven by a high-stakes electoral civil war.

Even in the best of times, Trump has struggled to unify a fractious White House team, GOP lawmakers on the Hill, the Republican Party and the nation. That's hurt him in Congress, where a tax-cut bill is his last best gasp for a single major legislative accomplishment deep into his first year in the Oval Office. 

Statement from the Press Secretary on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

President Trump applauds the Senate for passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  The Senators who voted for these historic tax cuts did a great service to their constituents as they supported putting America first, growing the economy, and rebuilding our great country.  The policies in this bill will cut taxes for hardworking families and put our economy on a path of sustainable economic prosperity and job creation.  We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reclaim America’s great destiny. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to fulfill the promise we made to deliver historic tax cuts for the American people by the end of the year.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 

Senate Passes GOP-Backed Tax Plan in Late-Night Vote

Governor Cuomo on Passage of Senate Tax Bill


Governor Cuomo Makes an Announcement and Departs for Puerto Rico

Source: NYGovCuomo

Friday, December 1, 2017

Flynn to 'Flip' on Trump Over FBI Lies

Source: FRANCE 24 English 

Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove Indicted, Rev. Al Sharpton Responds

Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove was indicted on Friday following an investigation into his handling of a fatal police-involved shooting.

“As we allege, District Attorney Abelove’s actions violated the law and undermined a criminal investigation,” state Attorney General Schneiderman said in a statement. “The Governor’s Executive Order was designed to restore public confidence in our criminal justice system – yet the actions we detail today only served to further erode that confidence. My office will continue to work collaboratively with law enforcement agencies across the state, including district attorneys, to ensure fair, comprehensive, and independent investigations of every case within our jurisdiction, so that families like the Thevenins get the answers they deserve.”

Click here for the full article. 


Statement from Rev. Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Leader
and President of the National Action Network

“The announcement by Attorney General Schneiderman on the indictment of Joel Abelove is unprecedented and a huge deal for those of us that have called for fairness and action on police-related crimes. I cannot recall when a prosecutor has been indicted for withholding evidence on a police matter. This is a big step in the right direction and the Attorney General should be saluted for having the courage to protect citizens not only from bad cops, but bad prosecutors as well. We at National Action Network will be closely monitoring the trial.”

Source: Mercury

Mumia Abu-Jamal on Roy Moore: 'Just a Good Ole Boy'

Click here for audio.

Click here to learn more about Mumia Abu-Jamal and his imprisonment. 

Sources: Prison Radio and Democracy Now!

McConnell on GOP Tax Bill: ‘We Have the Votes’

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Friday that Republicans have the votes to pass the GOP tax bill, after Sen. Jeff Flake said he will support the legislation.

"We have the votes," the Kentucky Republican told reporters on the Senate floor shortly before noon, adding that a final vote on the plan would take place some time on Friday.

Moments later, Flake, an Arizona Republican who is not running for re-election next year, issued a statement saying that the bill, which had been revised numerous times, now met his "objectives." 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Senators Schumer and Baldwin on Tax Reform

The Senate continues work on the GOP tax bill with a final vote possible.

Source: C-SPAN

U.S. Doing 'a Lot of Work' Behind the Scenes on Israeli-Palestinian Relations, Says Ehud Barak

This report was broadcast on November 30, 2017.

Celebrating the Work of Black Women Photographers

This article was published on November 29, 2017. 

Cities Across the U.S. Join Movement to Impeach President Trump For Violating the Constitution

Source: Democracy Now!

'Flashback Friday': The Hollywood Ten (1950)

This video was published on YouTube on January 9, 2011. 

"Who were the Hollywood Ten? This 1950 documentary gives us a closer look at the ten blacklisted film writers and directors who defied the government and the sentiments of their day by refusing to testify during the HUAC anti-Communist hearings. John Berry, who directed the documentary, was blacklisted himself upon its release." (Ironweed Films)

Source: Matthew Hormann

Trailblazers in Black History: J. Ernest Wilkins Jr.

J. Ernest Wilkins Jr. was a prominent African American mathematician and physicist who worked at the University of Chicago Met Lab during the Manhattan Project.

Wilkins entered the University of Chicago in 1936 at the age of 13, becoming one of the youngest students to ever attend the university. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at 17, he continued his academic studies, receiving a Master’s degree the next year. In 1942, at the age of 19, Wilkins became the seventh African American to obtain a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the university.

After graduation, Wilkins taught mathematics at the Tuskegee Institute before joining the University of Chicago Met Lab in 1944. Working in collaboration with Arthur Compton and Enrico Fermi, Wilkins researched methods for producing fissionable nuclear materials, focusing in particular on plutonium-239. He did not learn the purpose of his research until the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

Additional information is available here

Source: Atomic Heritage Foundation

DL Hughley on Donald Trump Retweting Anti-Muslim Videos

Source: MoorInfo

HUD Programs Seek to End Homelessness Among Nation's Veterans

by Donna Owens

As National Veterans and Military Families Month comes to an end, Patrick Adams is among the former service members who are thankful for a warm home in which to lie their heads at night.

The U.S. Navy veteran was among several formerly homeless individuals who met with Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary, Dr. David Shulkin, in the nation’s capital earlier this week.

Adams, 67, spoke fondly of his tenure in the U.S. military during the late '60s and '70s and his pride in serving his country. But when he fell on hard times years ago — the details are vague — the New Jersey native found himself homeless.

"I couch surfed with relatives, did odd jobs, and sometimes I slept outdoors on the beach," Adams told NBC News, explaining that over the years he’d migrated to states with warm climates such as California, Florida, and Hawaii. "I didn’t really want to be living that way. Enough was enough."

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Federal Agency Calls on Congress to Pass LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Law

by Julie Moreau

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent agency tasked with developing and enhancing federal civil rights laws, released a report on Wednesday outlining the "long, serious and pervasive history" of employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans and called for federal legislation to address the issue.

Following the release, the Commission's chair, Catherine E. Lhamon, noted this new report, titled "Working for Inclusion," is the first investigation in the Commission's 60-year history to focus solely on LGBT civil rights.

Key Findings

The 154-page report, addressed to President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, compiled the most recent research on LGBT employment discrimination.

The report concluded LGBT workers have faced a "history of official and unofficial employment discrimination by both federal, state, and local governments and private employers." The report also found federal data sources do not effectively capture rates of LGBT employment discrimination.

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

Fate of GOP Tax Bill in Doubt as New Analysis Pours Cold Water on It

Republicans are eyeing a crucial final vote Friday for a tax overhaul package expected to add $1 trillion to the nation's deficit over 10 years.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., threw his support behind the tax plan Thursday, boosting the bill's chances of passage.

While McCain's support offered momentum, key holdouts expressed renewed concern about the plan after a late-in-the-day analysis from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, or JCT, concluded that the plan doesn't live up to expectations.

Hope for a vote on the bill, however, re-emerged Friday after two of those GOP holdouts — Sens. Steve Daines, of Montana, and Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, said they would support the bill after securing changes to how certain small businesses, known as "pass-throughs," would be taxed under the bill.

The previous evening, amid a whirl of meetings and dramatic votes, Senate GOP leaders rewrote the bill behind closed doors. They weighed scaling back the tax cuts in the legislation to secure crucial support. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty to One Count of Lying to FBI

Trump Sees Political Benefit in a Government Shutdown, Report Says

Source: CBS News

Jury Finds Undocumented Immigrant Not Guilty in Murder of Kate Steinle

Source: CBS News 

Statement from the Press Secretary on the Kate Steinle Case

Yesterday’s verdict in San Francisco underscores the danger to public safety when our Nation fails to enforce its laws.  Kate Steinle was killed by an illegal immigrant and convicted felon who had been deported from the United States five times.  He, and countless other criminal illegal immigrants like him, should never be allowed to threaten our citizens.

It’s more important now than ever for Congress to secure our borders and provide the resources, including more ICE officers, needed to deport criminal illegal aliens and to finally stop sanctuary city policies that cause needless loss of innocent life.  Politicians who fail to address these needs share responsibility for preventable crimes committed against innocent Americans.

Had San Francisco enforced our Nation’s immigration laws, the Steinle family would be celebrating this holiday with all of their loved ones.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

SPLC to Homeland Security Committee: Focus on White Supremacist Terrorism

On November 30, 2017, SPLC President Richard Cohen testified before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security about the need to focus on domestic terrorism from the radical right.

Cohen delivered the following oral remarks to the committee chaired by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, in addition to written testimony.

Thank you, Chairman McCaul, and thank you, Ranking Member Thompson.

Members of the committee, it’s an honor to be here today.

Charlottesville truly was a wake-up call for our country. It was a reminder that the oldest form of terrorism our country has ever known is still with us.

It was proof that the white supremacist movement has been energized by Mr. Trump’s campaign, proof that Mr. Trump’s campaign has “unearthed some demons,” to use Congressman Sanford’s words.

The marchers’ chant in Charlottesville – “You will not replace us” – was an expression of paranoia over cultural displacement. It reminds us of what Dylann Roof said when he murdered nine people in a Charleston church: “You're taking over our country.”

The marchers’ chant, “Blood and soil,” their anti-Semitism, reminds us of one of the darkest chapters in modern history.

In my written testimony, I called the threat associated with groups like ISIS the most acute ones we face. So I certainly don’t take issue with Director Wray’s calling it our “main terrorism” threat.

Click here for the full statement. 

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center

Why New York City Created Its Own Fund to Bail People Out of Jail

The city’s new plan may seem counter-intuitive. But it’s one of several ways NYC is trying to reform a bail system that the state largely controls.

At 7 p.m. on a Thursday inside the Bronx Criminal Court, Lisa Whiteside is trying to determine who she can prevent from spending the night on Riker’s Island. She scans the docket of 30 scheduled arraignments, knowing it will likely double in length as the night gets longer. Whiteside sits across one side of a thick glass barrier and asks promising candidates whether or not they have secure housing. What the circumstances were behind their arrest. What headspace they are in now. Not all people get to the face-to-face meeting, but those who do have a chance to argue that they should be helped. And Whiteside must then decide whether or not to pay their bail.

Whiteside is a charitable bail fund agent in the Bronx. She pays bail for some New Yorkers who can’t afford to pay it themselves.

Whiteside is part of a program that may seem counterintuitive. The Liberty Fund, created by the City of New York, sets free some of the very people that the city’s municipal judges have deemed a flight risk.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: CITYLAB (via The Empire Report) 

NYC Weekend Subway Service Changes For Dec. 2-3

NEW YORK, NY — Here's how the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will screw up your plans this weekend — from late Friday night, Dec. 1, through early Monday morning, Dec. 4 — in the name of "upgrading and maintaining our tracks, stations and signal systems in order to continue to provide our customers with safe and reliable service.

Getting around on the subway this weekend is going to be tough, as a whopping 20(!) train lines will be running with modified service.

All info courtesy of the MTA. And here it is in map form.

1 train: From 9:45 p.m. Friday, December 1 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, December 4, uptown 1 trains run express from 96 St to 157 St due to track maintenance. Use a downtown 1 train to complete your trip.

2/3 trains: From 1:45 p.m. Friday, December 1 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, December 4, 2/3 service will be suspended in Brooklyn due to Fix&Fortify Sandy Recovery Work in the Clark St Tunnel. This project is part of MTA's ongoing efforts to fix assets damaged during Sandy, and include repairs and rehabilitation of tracks, signals, pump rooms, fire protection system, and power and communication cables.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: (via The Empire Report) 

DOH Redacts Financial Details for Cuomo Donor from Docs

By Chris Bragg

In response to an open records request from the Times Union, the state Department of Health redacted almost all the financial details from the applications of two projects awarded $25.4 million in state funds in 2016. Both projects had already broken ground about six months before being awarded the money, and the financial details from their applications for money might have provided more information about the state's decisions.

Crystal Run, a private, rapidly growing Orange County health care company, built the two medical facilities, in Monroe and West Nyack. Its executives, doctors or their spouses have given at least $400,000 in campaign donations to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including 10 $25,000 gifts in a single fundraiser in October 2013.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: (via The Empire Report) 

Pope Uses Word 'Rohingya' in Public for First Time on Asia Trip

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Argentina: Authorities End Efforts to Rescue Submarine Survivors

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Eye on Africa: AU-EU Summit Wraps Up with Calls for Evacuation of Libyan Migrant Camps

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Pakistan Taliban in Deadly Attack on Farming College

Source: euronews.

Stalin Calendar Pulled from Sale in Russia

Source: euronews.

Japan: Emperor Akihito Set to Abdicate in April 2019

Source: euronews.

Brazil Prison Videos Spark Brutality Investigation

Source: euronews.

Brexit: Growing Frustration on Both Sides of Debate

Source: euronews.

Neo-Nazi Gang Crash Pro-Migrant Meeting in Italy

Source: euronews.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bombs in Your Backyard


The military spends more than a billion dollars a year to clean up sites its operations have contaminated with toxic waste and explosives. A full map of these sites has never been made public — until now. 

Click here and enter your address to see the hazardous sites near you, or select a state.

Source: ProPublica

White House May Share Nuclear Power Technology With Saudi Arabia

The overture follows an intense and secretive lobbying push involving Michael Flynn, Tom Barrack, Rick Gates and even Iran-Contra figure Robert McFarlane.

The Trump administration is holding talks on providing nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia — a move that critics say could upend decades of U.S. policy and lead to an arms race in the Middle East.

The Saudi government wants nuclear power to free up more oil for export, but current and former American officials suspect the country’s leaders also want to keep up with the enrichment capabilities of their rival, Iran.

Saudi Arabia needs approval from the U.S. in order to receive sensitive American technology. Past negotiations broke down because the Saudi government wouldn’t commit to certain safeguards against eventually using the technology for weapons.

Now the Trump administration has reopened those talks and might not insist on the same precautions. At a Senate hearing on Nov. 28, Christopher Ford, the National Security Council’s senior director for weapons of mass destruction and counterproliferation, disclosed that the U.S. is discussing the issue with the Saudi government. He called the safeguards a “desired outcome” but didn’t commit to them.

Abandoning the safeguards would set up a showdown with powerful skeptics in Congress. “It could be a hell of a fight,” one senior Democratic congressional aide said.
Click here for the full article.

Source: ProPublica

Facebook to Temporarily Block Advertisers From Excluding Audiences by Race

The social network’s actions come after a ProPublica investigation revealed that Facebook failed to keep its promise to reject discriminatory housing ads.

Facebook said it would temporarily stop advertisers from being able to exclude viewers by race while it studies the use of its ad targeting system.

“Until we can better ensure that our tools will not be used inappropriately, we are disabling the option that permits advertisers to exclude multicultural affinity segments from the audience for their ads,” Facebook Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus.

ProPublica disclosed last week that Facebook was still allowing advertisers to buy housing ads that excluded audiences by race, despite its promises earlier this year to reject such ads. ProPublica also found that Facebook was not asking housing advertisers that blocked other sensitive audience categories — by religion, gender, or disability — to “self-certify” that their ads were compliant with anti-discrimination laws.

Under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, it’s illegal to “to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.” Violators face tens of thousands of dollars in fines. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

Attorney for Rep. John Conyers Speaks Regarding Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Paul Ryan Holds Weekly News Briefing

Nancy Pelosi Holds Weekly News Briefing

Senate Debate of GOP Tax Bill

Source: PBS NewsHour

Oval Office Chat: Moon Jae-In

President Trump spoke today with President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea for the second time since North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on November 28. The two leaders discussed next steps to respond to this most recent provocation by North Korea, including how to bring maximum pressure to bear on the regime. The presidents reiterated their strong commitment to enhancing the alliance’s deterrence and defense capabilities.  Both leaders reaffirmed their strong commitment to compelling North Korea to return to the path of denuclearization at any cost. President Trump committed to sending a high-level delegation to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 

Mehdi Hasan Rips Thomas Friedman’s “Nauseating” Column in NYT Praising Saudi Arabia

Source: Democracy Now!

Saving Our Youth: Unmasking the Truth Behind Gangs

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

Source: New River Valley Juvenile Detention

Trailblazers in Black History: Ellen E. Armstrong

Ellen Armstrong was an African American female magician and daughter of Prof. John Hartford Armstrong.

She got her start at the age of six as assistant in her father's show. As a young child, she showed great skill as a "psychic" performer, and even had her own mindreading segment of the show.

By her teens, she was also doing a routine known as "Chalk Talk", in which she told stories by drawing characters on a chalk board. With the addition of a few strokes of the chalk, each picture would completely change to a new character, adding to the story.

Additional information is available here

Black Lawmakers Meet with FBI Director Over 'Black Identity Extremists' Report

by Chandelis R. Duster

Black lawmakers met with FBI Director Christopher Wray on Capitol Hill on Wednesday over concerns about a bureau report targeting "Black Identity Extremists."

In what was described as a "open and serious meeting," Congressional Black Caucus members, including Reps. Val Demings, Karen Bass, Bonnie Watson Coleman, and others spoke with Wray for nearly two hours regarding the bureau's internal assessment "Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers,” that was written in August and posted online.

CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond, D-La., called the meeting a "good first step."

"It's a breath of fresh air to talk to this director compared to our relationship with the Justice Department," Richmond said to a group of reporters after the meeting. "We think that his background and we will give the benefit of the doubt based on his actions, words, and background today, that he is really trying to lead the FBI in a very transparent, fair way."

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Philando Castile's Girlfriend Reaches Settlement Over Shooting

ST. ANTHONY, Minn. — The Minnesota city that employed a police officer who fatally shot black motorist Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year has reached a settlement with Castile's girlfriend and her daughter, who were in the car with him when he was killed.

The St. Anthony City Council voted Tuesday night to pay $675,000 to Diamond Reynolds and her daughter, who was 4 years old when her father was killed.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Calculated Anti-Muslim Tweets

By Nida Khan

Early Wednesday morning, the world was treated to yet another flurry of tweetstorm from President Donald Trump. It was the typical seemingly random but not-so-random attacks against "fake news," hypocritical calling out of Matt Lauer, praise for the economy – and oh – retweeting anti-Muslim propaganda videos from the deputy leader of a hate group in England. Sadly, none of this is surprising. It's the same playbook we saw on the campaign trail: Incite anti-Muslim fervor, fears of terrorism and the 'other,' and drum up support from his base. While Trump in his role as president thoroughly degrades the office he holds, none of us should be shocked; as the saying goes, he showed us who he was a long time ago. What should make everyone pause, however, is why this sort of anti-Muslim nonsense continues to resonate with so many and why it appears to work time and again.

In 2010, I penned a piece titled "Islamophobia – Weapon of Choice for the Midterms." It's hard to believe, but it was seven years ago when Islamophobes like Pam Geller and others descended upon New York City to protest the proposed construction of what was in essence the Muslim version of a YMCA, which they manipulatively dubbed the "Ground Zero mosque." The right-wing saw an opportunity and ran with it straight into the midterm elections. Their "Ground Zero mosque" nonsense was pushed for months on conservative talk radio, networks like Fox News and others in their echo chamber. Then a few weeks prior to the anniversary of 9/11 in 2010, Geller and others convened a massive protest against the "Ground Zero mosque" in downtown New York. I covered that rally. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Pelosi Changes Stance, Calls on Rep. Conyers to Resign

Roy Moore Says Liberals 'Want to Change Our Culture'

Trump Responds to Questions About Rex Tillerson

Source: CBS News

New Book Examines How Russia May Have Helped Trump Win

Source: CBS News

Attorney General Dodges Harvard Questions

Source: CBS News

Networks Deal with Fallout After Stars Accused of Harassment

Source: CBS News

House Passes Mandatory Harassment Training

This report was broadcast on November 29. 

Source: CBS News

Governor Cuomo Announces Start of Construction for $150 Million Design-Build Project in Woodbury

Source: NYGovCuomo

Mayor de Blasio & First Lady McCray Hold Media Availability

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at Department of Correction Graduation Ceremony

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at NYPD Memorial Honoring Fallen Police Officers

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Transit Experts Propose Ending NYC's 24/7 Subway System

By Dan Rivoli

Imagine New York without its 24/7 subway system?

The experts at the Regional Plan Association did, and they believe it's key to building a reliable transit system for a growing metropolitan area.

The radical idea to snuff the pride of New York is one of dozens of recommendations in the research group's latest regional plan — the association's fourth region-wide blueprint since 1929 — being released Thursday.

“We think that the days of the 24/7 subway system in New York are coming to an end,” RPA president Tom Wright told reporters of the “controversial” idea.

Click here for the full article. 

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

Russell Simmons Steps Down From Companies After Sex Assault Claim


MANHATTAN, NY — Music mogul Russell Simmons said Thursday he is stepping down from his companies after screenwriter Jenny Lumet accused him of sexual assaulting her more than 25 years ago, the second allegation made against him in as many weeks. Lumet, the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet, described the encounter in excruciating detail in a letter published earlier Thursday.

In the letter to The Hollywood Reporter, Lumet said Simmons offered her a ride home from a Manhattan restaurant in his chauffeured car in 1991, but ordered the driver to his New York apartment instead of her home. Once there, Lumet alleged, Simmons forcefully had sex with her.

"It was dark, but not pitch dark. You closed the door," Lumet wrote of her experience in his apartment. "At that point, I simply did what I was told. There was penetration. At one point you were only semi-erect and appeared frustrated. Angry? I remember being afraid that you would deem that my fault and become violent. I did not know if you were angry, but I was afraid that you were."

Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Recordings and the clothing line Phat Farm, was also accused in a Nov. 19 Los Angeles Times article of forcing model Keri Claussen to perform oral sex on him in 1991.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: (via The Empire Report) 

Get Ready for Concealed Guns in All 50 States

House panel approves law that will allow firearms-owners to cross any state line with a hidden weapon. 

By Polly Mosendz 

The National Rifle Association has called the concealed carry bill, which would make it easier for gun owners to keep their firearms hidden when crossing state lines, its “highest legislative priority in Congress.” Despite concerns raised by Democrats about states’ rights and domestic violence, the Republican-controlled Congress has pushed the proposal one step closer to becoming law.

The House Judiciary Committee late Wednesday voted 19-11 for the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would amend the federal criminal code to allow the concealed transport of handguns across state lines, so long as both states allow it. States will not be able to impose their individual requirements for a concealed carry license on armed travelers from other states.

Republicans rejected Democratic amendments that would ban violent offenders from qualifying under the law, as well as a change that would have prevented forum shopping, which means a New York resident barred from obtaining a concealed carry permit could instead send away for one from somewhere else. The bill, which has more than 200 co-sponsors, almost all Republicans, now heads for the floor of the 435-member House. A similar bill, with 38 Republican co-sponsors, is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: BloombergPolitics (via The Empire Report) 

Fatah and Hamas Postpone Gaza Handover

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Conservative MP Amber Rudd: 'Donald Trump Was Wrong to Retweet Videos Posted by Britain First'

Source: FRANCE 24 English

US - Diplomatic Crisis Escalates as Trump Slams Theresa May After Anti-Muslim Retweets

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Returning to the Rubble in Raqqa

Source: FRANCE 24 English

'Hotel Rwanda' Director Terry George on the Armenian Genocide

Source: FRANCE 24 English

North Korea: Photos Show Beaming Leader Kim Jong-un Watching Latest Missile Launch

Source: FRANCE 24 English