Friday, March 2, 2018

President Vladimir Putin To Megyn Kelly: Our New Nuclear Weapons Are ‘Battle Ready’

After boasting Thursday about Russia’s “invincible” new nuclear missile, which he claims can strike “anywhere,” Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down with TODAY’s Megyn Kelly in an NBC News exclusive. He blames the U.S. for a prospective arms race, and says Russia’s new missile can easily evade any anti-missile system.

President Trump Holds Surprise Late-Night Meeting with NRA

Senators Sanders, Lee and Murphy Introduce Yemen War Powers Resolution

On February 28, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced a bipartisan joint resolution to remove U.S. armed forces from hostilities between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis in Yemen pursuant to the War Powers Resolution.

The bill will force the first-ever vote in the Senate to withdraw U.S. armed forces from an unauthorized war.

Source: Senator Bernie Sanders 

Senator Schumer Unveils Gun Safety Proposals

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) unveiled the Democrats' gun violence prevention plan. In it includes closing all loopholes and improving the nation’s background checks system. The plan also calls for protective orders to disarm individuals who have shown harm to others or themselves. Senator Schumer called on the president to stand up to the NRA and get bipartisan, comprehensive legislation approved and signed into law. 

Source: C-SPAN

'Flashback Friday': The Creation of the 25th Amendment

This video was published on YouTube on October 3, 2014. 

Source: Hip Hughes

How Senior Daddies — Like Donald Trump — Are Eligible For a Social Security Bonus

There are hidden problems in the safety net, including extra cash for people who have kids late in life. Here are some of the most unfair examples, along with some simple ways to fix them.

by Allan Sloan, ProPublica, and C. Eugene Steuerle, special to ProPublica

This article was co-published with The Washington Post.

Would you believe that President Donald Trump is eligible for an extra Social Security benefit of around $15,000 a year because of his 11-year-old son, Barron Trump? Well, you should believe it, because it’s true.

How can this be? Because under Social Security’s rules, anyone like Trump who is old enough to get retirement benefits and still has a child under 18 can get this supplement — without having paid an extra dime in Social Security taxes for it.

The White House declined to tell us whether Trump is taking Social Security benefits, which by our estimate would range from about $47,100 a year (including the Barron bucks) if he began taking them at age 66, to $58,300 if he began at 70, the age at which benefits reach their maximum.

Of course, if Trump, 71, had released his income tax returns the way his predecessors since Richard Nixon did, we would know if he’s taking Social Security and how much he’s getting. There’s no reason, however, to think that he isn’t taking the benefits to which he’s entitled. 

Meanwhile, Trump’s new budget proposes to reduce items like food stamps and housing vouchers for low-income people. It doesn’t ask either the rich or the middle class to make sacrifices on the tax or spending side. And it doesn’t touch the extra Social Security benefit for which Trump and about 680,000 other people are eligible.

The average Social Security retiree receives about $16,900 in annual benefits. Does it strike you as bizarre that someone in Trump’s position gets a bonus benefit nearly equal to that?

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

Civil Rights Leader Who Desegregated U. of Georgia on Student-Led Movements of 1960s and Today

Source: Democracy Now!

Mother of Accused NSA Leaker Reality Winner: My Daughter Wasn’t Read Her Miranda Rights

Source: Democracy Now!

More Turmoil Reported at White House

Source: CBS News

Billy Graham's Complicated, Influential Legacy

Source: CBS News

Coverage of Billy Graham's Funeral

Source: NBC News

Be Cautious About Putin’s Nuclear Missile Claim, Says Expert

Arms control specialist Petr Topychkanov told Euronews we should be skeptical about Russia President Vladimir Putin’s claim the country had developed weapons no other country in the world possessed.

Source: euronews. 

Jean-Claude Juncker Warns Balkan Leaders to Stop Corruption If They Want to Join EU

Source: euronews.

Five Charts to Help You Understand Italy’s Pivotal Election

Source: euronews.

International Reaction to Trump's Tariffs

Source: euronews.

Theresa May's Brexit Speech (Full Video)

Theresa May will tell EU leaders she wants the "deepest and broadest possible" trade agreement as she seeks to lay the ground for the next phase of the Brexit negotiations. 

In a keenly awaited keynote address on Friday, the Prime Minister will set out her vision of a free trade deal based on maintaining "high standards" of regulation, while managing any future divergence by the UK from existing EU rules. 

Source: ITV News

No Second Term in Office for Puigdemont

Source: euronews.

Former UK Prime Minister Criticises Plans to Alter Irish Agreement

Source: euronews.

These 47 Children Are Missing Right Now in Upstate NY: Have You Seen Them? (March)

By Ben Axleson

Julianne Moore: It's Time to Finally Deliver Justice for New York's Child Sex Abuse Survivors

 Click here for the full article. 

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

No Matter the Verdict, Corruption Trial Taints Cuomo

A New York Times Editorial

No matter the outcome of the federal trial of Joseph Percoco, Gov. Andrew Cuomo may need a raw steak to go with the ziti that was an ingredient in the courtroom drama. The steak would be for the black eye he has suffered in this corruption case, now in the jury’s hands.

Nothing in this tawdry affair works to his benefit. If Mr. Percoco, the governor’s former aide and family friend, is convicted of charges that he took gobs of bribe money — ziti, in his “Sopranos”-inflected argot — it will reflect poorly on Mr. Cuomo. But even if the verdict is not guilty, the ethical pall over Albany and its chief executive will not be dispelled. Bribery described as pasta has a way of sticking in people’s heads. “This is not how honest and honorable public servants talk,” a federal prosecutor, David Zhou, correctly noted to the jurors on Tuesday.

Even without government allegations of wrongdoing by Mr. Cuomo, he doesn’t quite hit all the right ethical notes. In this regard, he is not alone.

Click here for the full article. 

SUNY Student Leaders Say 'Don’t Punish Applicants for Peaceful Protest'

The following statement was submitted today by the Student Assembly of the State University of New York. 

The Student Assembly of the State University of New York strongly supports the decision by universities across the country, including SUNY Oswego, to reassure prospective applicants that their participation in peaceful protest will not jeopardize their chances at admission. 

“I believe we in SUNY need to stand by our prospective students who exercise their right to freedom of expression. These future agents of change should be welcome on all of our campuses,” said Dalton Bisson, Student Government President at the State University of New York at Oswego.

The students of the State University of New York are inspired by the advocacy and courage of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who have redirected the spotlight placed on their community by tragedy into an overdue call for action. Neither these brave students - nor the millions of students around the country who have joined with them - should have to fear that their academic success will be endangered by the passionate exercise of their first amendment rights. 
“We need action - and if this generation of leaders won’t engage, the next will,” said Student Assembly President and SUNY Trustee Marc J. Cohen. “The students of SUNY stand with the strong young leaders marching across the country, advocating for reforms which would make our classrooms and communities safer. It is critical that SUNY system and each individual campus, evaluate the implementation of policies which would prohibit any admission penalties for students engaging in peaceful, constructive protests.”

The Student Assembly strongly urges all colleges and universities in the State of New York and around the country to follow SUNY Oswego’s example and adopt an admissions policy that does not penalize students for participation in peaceful protest and advocacy.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dow Plummets After Trump Announces Tariffs

Hundreds Gather at Church for Blessing Ceremony Featuring AR-15s

Source: CBS News

NAN's 'No NRA in NYC Campaign' Event Cancelled

UPDATE (March 2 , 9 a.m. - EST) 

The press conference has been cancelled until further notice.

New York, NY –  Minister Kirsten John Foy, Northeast Regional Director of the National Action Network (NAN), along with elected officials, community leaders, and clergy across New York City, will announce NAN's “No NRA in NYC Campaign” on March 2, at 11 a.m., at Gargiulos Restaurant.

Queenie Huling, President of the South Brooklyn Chapter of NAN, and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger are also expected to attend.

The NRA plans on holding an annual event at the South Brooklyn restaurant in April and giving away “exclusive NRA guns, gear, d├ęcor and collectibles.” The National Action Network will confront the NRA and their New York City benefactor, the aforementioned restaurant, demanding that the upcoming event be permanently cancelled or the community will respond in kind with a permanent protest and boycott of the establishment.

According to the National Action Network and Minister Foy, they have been fighting the NRA and gun violence for years, nationwide, and will not allow the NRA to operate in a clandestine manor in New York City.

NAN officials have stated that any friend of the NRA is no friend of Brooklyn, New York City, or the country at large. 

Source: Mercury

Number of NY Flu Cases Declining

For the first time since being categorized as geographically widespread, the number of laboratory confirmed influenza cases has decreased. Last week, 13,703 laboratory confirmed influenza cases were reported to the New York State Department of Health and the number of weekly hospitalizations decreased for the third consecutive week since influenza was declared prevalent in December, with 1,702 New Yorkers hospitalized for lab confirmed influenza.

"The breadth of this year's flu epidemic has reminded all of us that we must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves and our loved ones," Governor Cuomo said. "Our comprehensive efforts to get New Yorkers vaccinated have greatly decreased the number of cases, but we still encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated and take necessary steps to continue to stop the spread of this virus."

For the last 12 weeks, influenza has been geographically widespread across New York. As of February 24th, 101,312 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza have been reported and 18,282 people have been hospitalized with influenza in New York State this season. There have been 5 pediatric influenza-associated deaths this flu season. 16,704 children under the age of five have been diagnosed with lab confirmed influenza and 1,224 have been hospitalized. During last year's flu season, there were 12,912 flu-related hospitalizations and 8 pediatric deaths in New York. Over the previous four years, there were a total of 25 pediatric flu deaths in New York State and an average of 10,571 flu-related hospitalizations a year.

Last week, Governor Cuomo announced the extension of an Executive Order that suspends the section of state education law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizing agents to anyone under age 18 to allow vaccines to be administered to anyone age 2 and up. Governor Cuomo also recently announced a 30-day budget amendment to increase convenience and vaccine accessibility by amending state education law allowing pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to children ages 2 to 18, thereby codifying Executive Order 176. As a result, this legislation will encourage pharmacies to enroll in the New York State Vaccines for Children Program, which provides vaccines to children and individuals regardless of their ability to pay. The Governor also called on individual physicians to enroll in the Vaccines for Children program, if not already enrolled.

Governor Cuomo also previously directed the New York State Department of Health to authorize enhanced reimbursement for counties statewide to further expanded flu vaccination efforts at the local level. The Department of Health's website links to local health departments, providing New Yorkers with a one-stop-shop approach to finding local vaccination clinics. The Department of Health is also promoting the use of HealthMap Vaccine Finder which identifies locations where vaccines can be found at other locations in New York State.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "While the decrease we are seeing in both the number of laboratory confirmed influenza cases and hospitalizations is encouraging news, New Yorkers must continue to be vigilant. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's efforts, more New Yorkers than ever have access to the flu vaccine and antiviral medications. I encourage anyone who hasn't yet been vaccinated to take advantage of these opportunities: it's not too late. And I am again reminding all New Yorkers to practice good hand hygiene and stay home if they are sick."

In addition to getting a flu shot and staying home when sick, it's essential to practice good hand-hygiene:

Unlike some viruses, influenza is easily killed by soap and hot water.

Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself from germs and avoid spreading them to others.

Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available. Choose a product with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. People with the flu are infectious for up to 7 days after symptoms begin.

Click here for additional information about the flu. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

New York State Emergency Operations Center to Be Activated in Advance of Winter Storm

Governor Cuomo today announced that the State Emergency Operations Center is being activated with State Emergency Management as a complex storm system will impact the state Thursday through Friday evening, bringing strong winds and heavy snow and rain. At the Governor's direction, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul will be deployed to Buffalo, while Director of State Operations Cathy Calhoun and other senior administration officials will be deployed to Regional Emergency Operations Centers in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Binghamton, Albany, Westchester County, New York City and Long Island.

This storm will begin as rain Thursday evening and transition to snow from west to east across the state on Friday. In New York City and Long Island, the forecast calls for rain accompanied by strong winds which will likely lead to coastal flooding in low lying areas and could cause tree damage and power outages. The Friday morning and evening commutes in areas receiving snow will be slow and hazardous due to wintery conditions and low visibility.

"As the saying goes, March is coming in like a lion and we are preparing for heavy snow, rain, and flooding across New York this weekend," said Governor Cuomo. "As we are preparing for whatever Mother Nature throws our way, I am asking for everyone to listen to weather forecasts in your community and take the necessary precautions to prepare for conditions."

"We stand ready and plan to deploy our agencies and provide resources to help communities that will be impacted by the impending Nor'easter," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We encourage New Yorkers to prepare for heavy snowfall, rain and high winds and if possible to avoid travel and stay indoors. We urge those who have to travel to take extreme caution to ensure their safety in the event of high snow accumulation and potential flooding."

Current Forecasts

Winter Storm and Flood Watches and Warnings have been posted for many areas upstate. For a current list of active alerts from the National Weather Service click here.

On Long Island and in New York City, winds of 40 mph are forecast with gusts as high as 70 mph possible in eastern Long Island. These high winds have the potential to result in tree damage and power outages with the coastal areas facing the greatest risk. Two to 3 inches of rain is forecast which could lead to flooding in poor drainage and urban areas. Moderate coastal flooding and beach erosion is expected Friday morning and there is a potential for moderate coastal flooding Friday evening into Saturday evening during times of high tide across the South and East bays of Long Island, Jamaica Bay, and the Atlantic coast. 

Click here for the full announcement. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Lester Holt Speaks on Being a Journalist in the Digital Age

by Chandelis R. Duster

NEW YORK — Lester Holt spoke on his career and being the captain of the "NBC Nightly News" — as the show celebrates 70 years — at the Paley Center for Media on Wednesday night.

During the Black History Month event, Holt reflected on his time as both a reporter and anchor, the struggles of planning a nightly newscast, juggling "Dateline" storytelling in a digital age, and combating the spread of propaganda.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Another Major Blackout Hits Puerto Rico After 2 Power Plants Shut Down

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A blackout hit Puerto Rico's capital and surrounding areas on Thursday after two of the U.S. territory's main power plants shut down as officials warn the power company is struggling to remain operational.

The capital of San Juan was left without power, along with the neighboring municipalities of Caguas, Bayamon and Carolina, company spokeswoman Yohari Molina told The Associated Press. She said crews were working to repair the problem but that wasn't clear how many customers were affected by the outage. More than 970,000 people live in the areas hit by the blackout.

Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority tweeted that the Palo Seco and San Juan plants shut down to protect the electrical system, but it is unclear what caused the shutdown. Officials said they aimed to restore power by Thursday afternoon. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

East Coast Braces for Nor'easter Amid More Midwest Flooding

Attorney General Fires Back at Trump Tweet

White House Turmoil Intensifies

Source: CBS News

Sen. Marco Rubio Speaks on Gun Violence Reforms

Source: CBS News

Pelosi 'Optimistic' on Gun Reform After Trump Meeting

Source: CBS News

Turkey's Booming Investments in Africa

Brazil Declares Emergency Over Venezuelan Migrant Influx

CAR Conflict: One in Three Children Missing Out on Education

Libya Embargo Violations: UN Panel to Report Findings to UNSC

As Syria Ceasefire Fails, US and Russia Trade Blame at the UN

Non-Profit Org Selling Queens Nursing Home to For-Profit Co for $41M

By Menachem Rephun

A nursing home based in Jamaica, Queens will be sold by its non-profit owners to a group of for-profit companies for $41 million, Crain’s reported last week. The home, Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, will be sold to several limited liability companies, whose owners include Workmen’s Circle Multicare Chief Executive Solomon Rutenberg, and Cassena Care heads Pasquale DeBenedictis and Alex Solovey.

The Margaret Tietz home is one of several properties being sold by its current owner, the Bronx-based CenterLight Health System, in order to pay off $47 million owed to the state and federal government as part of a 2016 agreement to settle charges of Medicaid fraud. According to Crain’s, other properties sold off by CenterLight include the Beth Abraham center in the Bronx, and Westchester’s Martine Center, which was sold to Centers Health Care for $77.8 million.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Jewish Voice (via Empire Report New York) 

NYC Paying $180K to Muslim Women Forced to Take Off Hijabs for Mugshots

New York City agreed to pay three Muslim women $60,000 each, after they were forced to remove their hijabs to be photographed while in police custody.

The settlements, which were first reported by The New York Daily News, come after lawsuits that led to changes in how the NYPD approaches photographing people with religious head coverings.

"The resolution of these matters were in the best interest of all parties involved," a city spokeswoman told The New York Times.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: WBAL 11 TV (via Empire Report New York) 

Most NY Docs Not Ready to Care for Veterans Seeking VA Alternatives, Study Shows

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- As the government considers sending more military veterans to community doctors for medical care, a new study shows most New York doctors are not prepared to handle them.

Only about 2 percent of doctors and other health care providers in New York are equipped to provide timely and quality care to veterans, according to a RAND Corporation study funded by the New York Health Foundation.

The study found most providers are not familiar with military culture or routinely screen for conditions common among veterans.

The study comes at a time when federal officials are considering allowing more veterans to use their benefits to get care in the community instead of VA hospitals.

Click here for the full article.

Source: (via Empire Report New York) 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

President Trump Memorializes Billy Graham

Source: CBS News

Students Return to Stoneman Douglas High School After Shooting

Source: CBS News

Italy's Election: Renzi's Policies 'Strengthened Right-Wing'

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Arctic Warming: Scientists Alarmed by 'Crazy' Temperature Rises

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Syria: 'The Real Ruler Today is Vladimir Putin, Not Bashar Al-Assad'

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Eye on Africa: South Africa's Ramaphosa Unveils New Cabinet

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Governor Cuomo Kicks Off First Harmful Algal Blooms Summit in the Hudson Valley

Source: NYGovCuomo

Mayor de Blasio Makes NYC Ferry Announcement

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Gracie Mansion Book Club Discusses Ralph Ellison's 'Invisible Man'

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Tours of Important Jewish Sites in Brooklyn Being Offered

Click here for details and a list of special tours hosted by the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative. 

Source: BJHI

NYS Assembly Expected to Pass Democracy Protection Act Legislation

Earlier today, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Speaker Carl Heastie, joined by Constitutional Law expert Floyd Abrams of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, and President of the Brennan Center for Justice Michael Waldman, called for swift passage of legislation to ensure New York's elections are fair, transparent and free from foreign influence. The Assembly is expected to pass the legislation, the Democracy Protection Act, today -- the strongest and most comprehensive reforms in the nation that mandate transparency in political advertising, require online platforms to maintain an archive of political ads, and protect State elections from foreign influence. The Governor's budget also includes $7 million to improve access to voting across the state by instituting early voting as well as automatic and same-day voter registration.

To increase transparency of online political advertisements and protect against outside influence, the legislation will expand New York State's definition of political communication to include paid internet and digital advertisements, require digital platforms to maintain a public file of all political advertisements purchased by a person or group for publication on the platform and require online platforms verify that foreign individuals and entities are not purchasing political advertisements in order to influence the American electorate.

In addition, to further strengthen cyber protections for New York's elections infrastructure, the Governor's proposal will create an Election Support Center, develop an Elections Cyber Security Support Toolkit, provide cyber risk vulnerability assessments and support for local boards of elections and require counties to report data breaches to state authorities. More information on the Democracy Agenda is available here.
Click here for the audio presentation. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Two State Police Aviators Honored for Heroic Rescue of Stranded Hikers in 2016

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced the first-ever recipients of the Division of Criminal Justice Services' inaugural Lifesaving Award. Technical Lt. Peter R. McLain and Technical Sgt. Brian D. Rumrill of the New York State Police Aviation Unit were honored for their role in the rescue of a pair of young hikers who fell from the snow-covered summit of Algonquin Mountain in December 2016. The helicopter pilot and co-pilot braved strong winds and dangerous winter-weather conditions to rescue the hikers who were stranded for two days in sub-zero temperatures.

"The actions of Technical Lt. McLain and Technical Sgt. Rumrill exemplify the courage and bravery of New York's first responders," Governor Cuomo said. "I am proud to honor these individuals for their selfless rescue efforts and thank them on behalf of all New Yorkers for their service."

The Lifesaving Award was created last year by the Governor's Police Officer of the Year Award selection committee in response to the many nominations it receives involving police officers who performed heroic acts during life-threatening emergencies. Technical Lt. McLain and Technical Sgt. Rumrill were among 13 officers nominated by their agencies for the Police Officer of the Year award, which was presented to Syracuse Police Officer Kelsey Francemone last fall. The two Troopers and other nominees received a Certificate of Exceptional Valor from Governor Cuomo during the Police Officer of the Year selection process. The committee aims to present the Lifesaving Award to Police Officer of the Year nominees whose courageous and unselfish acts resulted in the saving of a human life.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Department of Justice Continues Fight Against Opioids

Jared Kushner Loses Access to Highly Classified Information

WASHINGTON — White House staffers operating with interim security clearances — including President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner — were told in a memo Friday that they will no longer have access to highly classified information requiring the highest level of clearance, NBC News confirmed Tuesday. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

How Black Prison Inmates in Philadelphia Were Turned Into Human Guinea Pigs: A Memoir

Tuskegee was hardly the last time American medical researchers used men in unethical experiments

By Allen M. Hornblum

It was while Peter Buxtun was working as a venereal-disease investigator for the Public Health Service in San Francisco in 1966 that he overheard a lunchtime conversation that would not only confound him but ultimately place him among the most important whistleblowers in American history.

A graduate of the University of Oregon and psychiatric medic in the army, Buxtun had taken a job as an investigator/interviewer tracking down the sex partners of those individuals determined to have contracted gonorrhea and syphilis. Returning to the coffee room of the clinic at 33 Hunt St. after lunch one day, he heard a senior officer tell two nurses of a strange story concerning a severely ill man in Alabama who had been taken by his family to a private physician for treatment. The doctor recognized the symptoms as tertiary syphilis and gave the man a shot of penicillin. After the visit, however, local PHS officials came down hard on the physician. They informed him the man was part of a special clinical investigation and should not have been treated.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” recalled Buxtun. “It ran counter to everything I had learned as a venereal-disease worker. It’s not what our mission was.”

Perplexed that a legitimate clinical trial could preclude treatment to a sick, insane individual, Buxtun followed up with his own investigation and requested whatever material was available on this unusual nontreatment study in Macon County, Alabama. The package Buxtun received was shocking. Though hundreds of men had syphilis—they were told they had “bad blood”—all they were given was aspirin and tonic. Also included in the package were accounts of “roundups,” or the periodic collection and examination of the 400 syphilitic men in the study. PHS doctors were interested in charting the progress of the disease until the study’s final stage, autopsy. Buxtun was stunned by what he read, especially that all the subjects in the exercise were poor black sharecroppers.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Tablet Magazine

Lawmaker Demands Action Against Banks Practicing Racist Redlining

Source: Democracy Now!

Rev. Al Sharpton, NAN to Convene Annual National Convention

New York, NY — Rev. Al Sharpton today announced the National Action Network (NAN) 2018 Convention, one of the largest free public civil rights conferences in the nation.

According to NAN, the convention will take place from April 18 through 21, in New York City, amidst a time when the state of the union under President Trump is anti-civil rights and many of the achievements of the civil rights community are being undermined.

The convention will bring together influential national leaders from the civil rights movement, government, labor and other areas to reflect on King’s legacy and impact while celebrating today’s civil rights leaders and examining the path forward.

Convention headliners include: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), Senator Cory Booker (NJ), Senator Kamala Harris (CA), Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA), Congressman Al Green (TX), DNC Chair Tom Perez, former United States Attorney General Eric Holder, and Governor Phil Murphy (NJ), to name a few.

Also featured will be the founder of the #MeToo Movement, Tarana Burke, Common, the first rapper to win an Emmy, Grammy and Oscar Award, and media analysts and strategists Joy-Ann Reid (MSNBC), Angela Rye (CNN), Symone Sanders (CNN) and Charles Blow (New York Times).

National leaders will join NAN in discussing critical issues including the midterm elections, criminal justice reform, gun control, the digital divide, coalition building and intersectional activism, women’s rights, the Black church in the age of Trump, education and much more.

A full convention schedule will be released in the coming weeks, including discussion topics and speakers. The event will be held at the
Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, 811 Seventh Avenue.
Source: Mercury

House GOP on 'System Breakdowns' in Preventing Florida Shooting

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Whip Steve Scalise addressed what Ryan called "big breakdowns" in local and federal law enforcement in the lead-up and aftermath of the high school shooting Parkland, Florida.

Source: CBS News 

'When Politicians Meet the Press'...with Tim Russert

This video was published on YouTube on September 16, 2008. 

During an appearance at the University of Notre Dame, Mr. Russert spoke about the need to pose difficult questions to those in power and the importance of adhering to journalism's best standards and practices. The presentation took place on April 14, 2008.

"A leader cannot make tough decisions unless he or she is asked tough questions." -- Tim Russert 

Source: University of Notre Dame

NBC News just hasn't been the same since Mr. Russert left us. "From The G-Man" suspects he must be rolling over in his grave about the series of events that have unfolded, especially where Matt Lauer and the MSNBC pundits that were dismissed for allegations of sexual harassment are concerned. Sadly, the controversies surrounding Brian Williams, Megyn Kelly and Lester Holt have only made matters worse. 

Thankfully, Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow are doing there best to uphold the standards and practices Russert implemented and stressed during his tenure. Additionally, "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough has been doing a pretty good job of speaking truth to power, which is a huge plus for the network.

In the age of "fake news" and questionable sources, Mr. Russert's approach to covering the issues of the day is sorely missed. 


Edward R. Murrow: 'A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy'

"See It Now" on CBS - March 9, 1954

Lorraine Hansberry: 'The Black Revolution and the White Backlash'

This video was published on YouTube on May 19, 2015. 

Source: Matthew Siegfried

Trailblazers in Black History: Luther Vandross

In the world of contemporary music, there are just a handful of superstars whose first name alone brings instant recognition. Check Aretha, Whitney, Mariah, Diana and Dionne. But when it comes to male vocalists, the list is far shorter. One name towers above the rest in any discussion of black male singers whose impact and influence has been unparalleled. Say the name “Luther” and record buyers the world over respond immediately. The fact is, Luther Vandross was, and always will be, the pre-eminent black male vocalist of our time.

In the years since Luther’s passing, one constant has remained to define his life and musical success: the voice. Like any great singer of the past 100 years, Luther Vandross’ voice and distinct singing style led to not only monumental success, but an instant recognition when you hear him singing–through your stereo, car radio, on TV or in a movie. Bing. Frank. Billie. Robeson. Aretha. Diana. Dionne. Whitney. Mariah. Michael. Marvin. Luther. It is rarified company, but indelibly classic and everlasting in the annals of American music and a club in which Luther Vandross’ membership is permanent.

Click here for additional information. 


Hollywood Spotlight: Race, Barriers and Battling Nerves

A Candid Conversation with Oscar's Only 4
African-American Directing Nominees in 90 Years 

By Lacey Rose

Gathered for the first time, Lee Daniels, Barry Jenkins, Jordan Peele and John Singleton break down the politics of who can tell what story, the doors that didn't open and the game-changing impact of 'Black Panther': "It almost feels like, 'Are black people gonna go see white people's movies now that we have our own?'"

In late January, Jordan Peele became just the fourth African-American filmmaker in the 90-year history of the Academy Awards to be nominated for best director. The 39-year-old behind Get Out follows John Singleton, who in 1992 was the category's youngest-ever nominee at 24 when he was recognized for directing Boyz N the Hood, along with Lee Daniels, now 58 (Precious, 2009), and Barry Jenkins, 38 (Moonlight, 2016). If this elite group were expanded to include all black directors, it would add only Britain's Steve McQueen, who earned his nomination in 2014 for helming 12 Years a Slave. None of these prior nominees ultimately took home the Oscar. With the March 4 ceremony looming and the racial makeup of the Academy and the industry at large under increased scrutiny, The Hollywood Reporter (THR) gathered the quartet for a candid conversation about how success can feel like failure, the doors Black Panther has opened and why not one of these guys was able to enjoy his big night.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Carter Page: US Interfered More in Elections Than Russians

South Africa: Cyril Ramaphosa Stamps Mark with Sweeping Reshuffle

Source: FRANCE 24 English

In The News: Arab Emirates & Israel

This report was published on YouTube on February 26. 

Malcolm Hoenlein, Exec. Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, discusses the social “tolerance” and increasing appreciation of Israel the Conference experienced visiting Arab Emirates. 

Source: JBS

Ahed Tamimi and Child Detention in the Occupied West Bank

Saudi Military Shake-Up Amid Criticism Over Yemen War

UK's Corbyn Backs Staying in EU Customs Union After Brexit

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City & State: New York City's 100 Most Powerful People

Everyone is talking politics these days, but what politics means depends on who’s doing the talking.

According to one definition, politics is simply the art or science of government. It’s also the way in which people influence governmental policies. Taking it a step further, it’s the accumulation of control over government – or, to sum it up, power.

With that final definition in mind, we take up our annual ranking of the most powerful people in New York City politics.

It’s not an easy task, so we’ve established a few criteria to guide us.

One is a political figure’s track record: What bills has a lawmaker passed? What policies have aides or advocates shaped? What programs have deputies run, and how effectively?

Another criterion is the importance of any group that someone serves. The mayor of New York City has faced challenges in Albany, but he still runs a government serving more than 8 million people.  Elected officials, commissioners, business executives, lobbyists, labor leaders and journalists all represent constituents, clients or customers – and with that responsibility comes some degree of power.

Finally, we take into account proximity to power – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s evolving inner circle, top appointees to both the mayor and the governor as well as key outside advisers who have the ear of a small handful of influential elected officials.

Click here for the full article and listing. 

Source: City & State