Friday, February 8, 2019

A Song for the Soul: 'What the World Needs Now is Love'

by Dionne Warwick

This video was published on YouTube on September 24, 2015.

Source: buyakga1946

Great News Stories of 2018: 'Wonder Woman' Gal Gadot Visits Children's Hospital

This video was published on YouTube on July 9, 2018. 

CBS News: Dressed as her character, Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot visited kids in a Virginia children's hospital, and she met one special little girl who needed a superhero to make her smile.

Frankie Collurafici's Make-A-Wish Day with the Baltimore Ravens

This video was published on YouTube on November 28, 2018. 

Baltimore Ravens: Collurafici was diagnosed with a tumor in his brain when he was 15. Thanks to the Mid-Atlantic Make-A-Wish Foundation, he was recently drafted on a 1-day contract by the Baltimore Ravens and participated in practice with Lamar Jackson, John Harbaugh, and the team.

11-Year Old Twin Sister Deejays Rock Biggie Smalls Track

This video was published on YouTube on March 16, 2017. 

Source: DJs Amira & Kayla

Chicago World War II Veteran Receives France's Highest Honor

This report was published on YouTube on January 26, 2019.

Heart of a Dragon: The Inspirational Story of Johann Landkroon

This video was published on YouTube on May 1, 2017. 

Source: Taekwon-Do Russia

Former Gang Member Becomes Pastor: The Testimony of Emeal 'E.Z.' Zwayne

This video was published on YouTube on August 20, 2018.

Living Waters: This video tells the story about E.Z.'s search for status and acceptance. From joining the Crips gang at fifteen years old to signing highly coveted contracts with the rap industry's top producers, there was nothing he wouldn't do to "be cool."

As you watch this testimony about God's transforming grace, be reminded of the 1 million plus juvenile gang members in the U.S. Many of these juvenile gang members are said to have the highest involvement at 14. These are children who join gangs in search for protection from bullies, for family bonds they aren't experiencing at home, and for purpose in life.

Pierce County Sheriff's Department Dance Challenge

This video was published on YouTube on September 21, 2018. 

Source: Pierce County Sheriff's Department

Football Players Making Fans Days

This video was published on YouTube on November 11, 2018.

Source: Ryan Lynch

'Flashback Friday': Rare Bruce Lee Interview (1971)

This video was published on YouTube on August 26, 2018. 

Source: Calpeper Minutemen

How Can You Create World Peace?

Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., provides a powerful insight into how each one of us can play our part in creating a more peaceful world.

This video was published on YouTube on October 15, 2018. 

Source: UPLIFT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Marks Black History Month at Ottawa Event

Global News: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism Pablo Rodriguez delivered remarks at the Black History Month reception at the National Arts Centre on Feb. 4.

Kate Middleton Marks Children's Mental Health Week with Visit to London School

Global News: The Duchess of Cambridge visited a school in London's Enfield on Tuesday Feb. 5 to meet teachers and students taking part in Children's Mental Health Week.

Chinese New Year 2019 Lion Dance, Hong Kong

This video was published on YouTube on February 5. 

Source: Asia HOT

FDNY Firefighters Rescue Kittens and Puppy from Pet Store Fire

Click here for details and to review additional photos. 

Source: The New York Daily News

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Veteran Criticizes NYC PBA President, Says P.O. Daniel Pantaleo Must Be Held Accountable

The following statement was submitted by a 22-year law enforcement official who serves in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. His name is being concealed in order to protect him from retribution.


I am writing in response to the New York City Police Benevolent Association president’s statements concerning the Eric Garner case. Please bear with me, as parts of my statement are excerpts from various media publications, mostly the New York Times. 

Mr. Lynch said:

“The officers involved did not hit with their fists or batons, nor did they draw their weapons to gain compliance. Mr. Garner was taken to the ground using the minimum amount of force by employing a maneuver taught in the police academy that has been used countless times with no negative physical impact on the arrestees. Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo did nothing wrong and should not be on trial for doing his job the way he was trained to do it.”

A New York Times article published November 24, 1993, stated that Chief John F. Timoney and ‘other experts’ made the statement... "New York City has not trained police cadets in the use of choke holds for at least 10 years." The article also goes on to say, "In that city (Los Angeles) between 1977 and 1982, 16 people died in cases in which the choke hold was used -- said James J. Fyfe, a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia and a former city police officer who has studied police brutality."

I may be incorrect, but does the statement by Chief Timoney contradict Lynch's claim that “Officer Pantaleo did his job the way he was trained to do it.”

Now, as I understand it, in 1993 a policy was implemented by the NYPD for a ban on the use of chokehold techniques. The Times article further stated, "Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly characterized the ban not as a new policy but as clarification of a 1985 order. That order said that "choke holds, which are potentially lethal and unnecessary, will not be routinely used." An exception was when an officer's life was in danger and the choke hold was the "least dangerous alternative method of restraint." The new policy allows no exceptions.

Chief Timoney said the city policy specifically did not distinguish between various types of holds, but rather banned them categorically. It also prohibited other restraints or tactics -- like standing on a suspect's chest or transporting a suspect in a face-down position -- which might impede breathing. "Basically, stay the hell away from the neck," he said. "That's what it says."

Again, as I understand the statement, it says this policy was placed as a clarification to an order issued in 1985. Mr. Lynch also stated that this technique "has been used countless times with no negative physical impact on the arrestees." I wonder, is he referring to arrestees in New York City or in general; because the Times article also reported that 16 people died from the use of the choke hold in a five-year span. That doesn’t present a very positive picture in my mind. I guess it would have to be more than 16 deaths to be classified as having a negative physical impact, as far as he is concerned.

Joseph Mancini, a spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said the union opposed the ban because it could endanger the life of an officer trying to subdue a dangerous suspect. He also called it a method of "last resort," and as such he said officers rarely used it.

"A choke hold can be lethal," Mr. Mancini said, "but to prevent a cop from using it when it is necessary force is to take a weapon away from a cop that he or she might need to protect his or her life or the life of an innocent bystander."

Having served in law enforcement for many years, I completely understand and agree with the statement made by Mr. Mancini: “to prevent a cop from using it when it is necessary force is to take a weapon away from a cop that he or she might need to protect his or her life or the life of an innocent bystander." However, as I watched the public video, I did not see a need for deadly force during the duration of that encounter, and this was not a “last resort” technique. Therefore, at that time (in my opinion) there was no immediate threat to the life of the officer or any bystander. So, at this time, I continue to refer to the same New York Times article where Chief Timoney said that he could imagine "extreme circumstances" in which a choke hold might be used legitimately, and each case would be reviewed afterward on its individual merits. But, he said, "as a matter of policy choke holds are forbidden."

Now, Mr. Lynch also proclaimed, “The autopsy report demonstrates that it was not a chokehold.” However, a statement by Blacks in Law Enforcement of America indicated....“A chokehold according to the definition of the NYPD; any police maneuver that puts any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.”

After examining of the video, it is obvious that Officer Pantaleo initiated a “chokehold” on the neck of Mr. Garner. It is visible that the arm did not pinch the sides of the neck to seal the carotid artery, which could cause unconsciousness, but in fact the forearm laid across the front of the neck, sealing the windpipe, which is more likely to cut off breathing.  

In closing, I am not saying that Mr. Garner was innocent of anything nor am I saying he was guilty of any major crimes. However, he is guilty of resisting the officers. But despite that fact, it did not justify the outcome, which was both tragic and unnecessary. Accountability should be assigned for Mr. Garner's untimely death, however the justice system sees fit to do so. But this is my sole opinion, to which I am entitled by the U.S. Constitution. With that said, I think Mr. Lynch should make more of an effort to carefully choose his words. 

Thank you.


FPWA Launches Federal Funds Tracker

New Tool Reveals How Federal Fiscal Policy
Decisions Impact the People of New York City

NEW YORK – New York City human service providers, advocates and citizens have a new tool in their arsenals to stand up for low to middle-income New Yorkers. FPWA, an anti-poverty organization committed to securing economic equity and upward mobility for all New Yorkers, launched the FPWA Federal Funds Tracker today. Through interactive charts and stories, the tracker showcases the real impact federal grants have on NYC human service agencies and the New Yorkers they serve.

“FPWA is proud to introduce the Federal Funds Tracker, a tool born out of the growing concern from our network of 170 human services and faith-based organizations that changes at the federal level would impact their ability to support and serve their communities,” said FPWA CEO and Executive Director, Jennifer Jones Austin. “This innovative, user-friendly tool brings knowledge – and with it power – into the hands of advocates, policymakers, and concerned citizens to effect change.”

FPWA developed the Federal Funds Tracker in response to requests from member organizations, who have collectively been fighting for the city’s low-income residents for over a century. It fosters greater awareness of and engagement in the federal budget process in three ways: by demystifying, organizing, and analyzing federal budget data in understandable and interactive visualizations; by supporting the data with stories of New Yorkers whose quality of lives were improved by federal support; and by providing accessible, up-to-date, and actionable information on the impact of federal budget proposals on the City’s human services budget and sector.

“Heights & Hills serves more than 4,000 older Brooklynites, and their families to age successfully in their communities,” said Executive Director Judy Willig. “To serve our communities, we rely on a range of federal grants, most of which have fallen over time or have been on the chopping block altogether. We look forward to utilizing FPWA’s Federal Funds Tracker to complement our efforts to strengthen these federal funding streams.”

In developing the tracker, FPWA found that all federal grants to New York City have eroded by nearly $2 billion since FY 2010 after adjusting for inflation, impacting a wide range of services from education to transportation to environmental protection. By tracking grants for individual agencies, including the Administration of Children’s Services, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Youth and Community Development, and the Department for the Aging, FPWA shines a light on the nearly $75 million lost in funding to, among others, effective poverty fighting tools, programs to support the needs of our children and older adults, and grants to assist New Yorkers who cannot meet their basic needs.

“The FPWA Federal Funds Tracker is a much needed and important tool, showing if New York City is actually getting the money we deserve. I grew up in public housing so I understand how important it is to make sure we know where our federal dollars are, and I am so grateful to FPWA for launching this tracker today so we can make sure we get those federal grants toward human services,” said New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Click here for additional information.

Source: Mercury

Melania Trump Tells Anti-Drug Group ‘Recovery is Possible’

Click here for the article.

Source: The Washington Post

Governor Cuomo Refutes President Trump's Claims on SALT Deduction

Source: NYGovCuomo

Kamala Harris Wants to Be President. But What About Her Right-Wing Past?

The 'Deconstructed' Podcast

Click here to listen. 

Source: The Intercept_

Years of Warnings, Then Death and Disaster: How the Navy Failed Its Sailors

By Robert Faturechi, Megan Rose and T. Christian Miller

hen Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin was elevated to lead the vaunted 7th Fleet in 2015, he expected it to be the pinnacle of his nearly four-decade Navy career. The fleet was the largest and most powerful in the world, and its role as one of America’s great protectors had new urgency. China was expanding into disputed waters. And Kim Jong-un was testing ballistic missiles in North Korea.

Aucoin was bred on such challenges. As a Navy aviator, he’d led the “Black Aces,” a squadron of F-14 Tomcats that in the late 1990s bombed targets in Kosovo.

But what he found with the 7th Fleet alarmed and angered him.

The fleet was short of sailors, and those it had were often poorly trained and worked to exhaustion. Its warships were falling apart, and a bruising, ceaseless pace of operations meant there was little chance to get necessary repairs done. The very top of the Navy was consumed with buying new, more sophisticated ships, even as its sailors struggled to master and hold together those they had. The Pentagon, half a world away, was signing off on requests for ships to carry out more and more missions.

The risks were obvious, and Aucoin repeatedly warned his superiors about them. During video conferences, he detailed his fleet’s pressing needs and the hazards of not addressing them. He compiled data showing that the unrelenting demands on his ships and sailors were unsustainable. He pleaded with his bosses to acknowledge the vulnerability of the 7th Fleet.

Aucoin recalled the response: “Crickets.” If he wasn’t ignored, he was put off — told to calm down and get the job done.

On June 17, 2017, shortly after 1:30 a.m., the USS Fitzgerald, a $1.8 billion destroyer belonging to the 7th Fleet, collided with a giant cargo ship off the coast of Japan. Seven sailors drowned in their sleeping quarters. It was the deadliest naval disaster in four decades.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: ProPublica

Meet Victorina Morales, an Undocumented Immigrant Who Spent Five Years as Trump’s Housekeeper

House Committees Hold Joint Hearing on President Trump's Family Separation Policy

Trump Speaks at National Prayer Breakfast

Pence on Whether U.S. Military Would Intervene in Venezuela

The Debrief: Virginia Political Crisis, Tennessee Flooding, San Francisco Gas Explosion

Coverage begins at the 2:50 mark.

Russian Military Stages Live-Fire Drills Involving Drone-Guided Rockets

Global News: Russian Defence Ministry on Thursday published a video showing military drills involving BM-21 Grad multiple rocket systems, infantry combat vehicles and paratroopers.

Theresa May Has Message for Donald Tusk After EU Meetings

Global News: British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Feb. 7 that she saw and heard a desire from European Union leaders to ensure Britain leaves the bloc with a deal.

Trudeau Calls Maduro a 'Brutal Dictator' and Urges Free Elections in Venezuela

Venezuelans Desperate as Maduro Government Blocks U.S. Humanitarian Aid at Border

France Recalls Italy Ambassador Over 'Unprecedented' Chaos

Brexit Deadlock: UK Parliament to Debate Brexit Motion on February 14

Kenyan Terror Hub of Mombasa Determined to Change Its Image

South Africa's ANC Party and Its Political Assassination Problem

French Journalists Tell Trial Alleged Brussels Museum Killer Held Them Hostage in Syria

Ukrainian Congress Committee of America's Jan-Feb Bulletins

У лютому зима з весною зустрінуться вперше

Click below to download the January 2019 UCCA Bulletin:

In Ukrainian 

Click below to download the February 2019 UCCA Bulletin:

In Ukrainian 

Source: UCCA

Mayor de Blasio Attends the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association's Lunar New Year Event

This video was published on YouTube on February 5.

NYPD Update: The Latest on Crime Reduction Efforts

This video was published on YouTube on February 5.

White Men Hold New York City’s Top Posts. 12 Public Advocate Hopefuls Want to Change That.

A dozen of the 17 public advocate candidates are minorities, and four are women; whoever wins would have an instant platform to run as mayor in 2021.

Click here for the article.

Source: The New York Times 

Albany’s ‘Wonder Twins’ Form a Power Duo, Challenging Cuomo’s Influence

The partnership between Carl Heastie, the Assembly speaker, and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate majority leader, has led to a shift in Albany.

Click here for the article. 

Source: The New York Times 

Leading New York Environmental Organization Releases Water Infrastructure Report

Albany – Environmental Advocates of New York has released a new report – Untapped Potential: Water Infrastructure Spending in New York – that examines how successful New York's Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA) has been at addressing the state's growing water infrastructure crisis. Created in 2015 by Governor Cuomo and the Legislature, WIIA provides critical grants, which enable municipalities facing financial hardships to fix corroding water mains, repair sewers, and upgrade wastewater treatment plants, among other projects. Since 2017, WIIA has been funded through the Clean Water Infrastructure Act.

Rob Hayes, clean water associate at Environmental Advocates of New York and author of the report said, “Investments in water infrastructure are paying off – communities are fixing their pipes and protecting their water. But we have to keep this momentum going… without more funding, shovel-ready projects to prevent water contamination won’t get off the ground. Governor Cuomo and the Legislature must work together to secure a new multi-year funding commitment of $1 billion annually in this year’s budget, to ensure municipalities have the resources to rebuild drinking and wastewater infrastructure.”

Molly Clifford, Rochester City Council Member said, “As a Council Member, I see the on-the-ground impacts of New York's failing water infrastructure. Water main breaks, for example, regularly threaten my constituents' health and hamper my city's ability to attract and retain businesses. Local governments are ready to get to work to fix our pipes. What we need is a willing partner in the Governor and State lawmakers. I urge them to build on the success of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and provide $1 billion annually in new clean water grant funding, to help move our water infrastructure projects from a concept to a reality.”

Frank Natalie, Business Agent for Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 7, said, "New Yorkers continue to hear bad news about the safety of their drinking water due to the State’s failing water infrastructure. New York’s crumbling and functionally obsolete sewage and water treatment plants pose a significant threat to the environment and human health. The Governor and lawmakers must ensure adequate funding without delay to modernize the State’s water infrastructure if we hope to avert a water crisis from overwhelming New York’s municipalities and endangering the health of our citizens."
Water Infrastructure Funding in the Executive Budget

During the Governor’s State of the State Budget Address in January, he announced a bold investment of an additional $2.5 billion for clean water projects. However, after examining the Governor’s SFY 2019-2020 executive budget bills, Environmental Advocates discovered that only $500 million in new funding is included. The Governor’s decision to include only part of his promised funding in the SFY 2019-2020 executive budget stands in contrast to the funding model of the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, which included a 5-year funding commitment of $2.5 billion in that year’s budget. Multi-year funding commitments provide certainty to communities undertaking planning for new projects, which can often take years to complete.

Source: Environmental Advocates of New York 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Virginia AG Says He Wore Blackface at College Party

Attorney General Mark Herring 

Click here for details. 

Source: Associated Press

Russia Jails Dane for Six Years in Jehovah's Witnesses Purge

Click here for details. 

Source: Reuters

Puerto Rico: Vulture Funds to Make a Killing as Judge Approves Deal to Restructure Island’s Debt

Let's Talk, Not Fight, America: Liam Neeson Faces New Fallout from Violent Racial Comment

PBS NewsHour Special Episode: State of the Union Aftershow

PBS NewsHour: The State of the Union fanfare is gone. What now? Join the PBS NewsHour’s Amna Nawaz, Lisa Desjardins, Yamiche Alcindor and Daniel Bush as they dig into President Donald Trump’s speech and the Democratic response. Which statements have traction and which are just rhetoric? As always, you can expect smart analysis, useful insights and the kind of conversation you won’t get anywhere else.

Saudi Arabia, UAE Gave US Arms to al-Qaeda-Linked Groups: Report

UN: Efforts for Yemen Ceasefire Deal 'Beginning to Pay Off'

Mixed Feelings in Afghanistan Over US-Taliban Talks

US Sends Aid to Colombia; Maduro Rejects Help

This report was published on YouTube on February 5.

May Seeks to Reassure Citizens of Northern Ireland Over Brexit

This report was published on YouTube on February 5.

UN Warns of Health Risks for Iraqi Children in Deadly Winter

This report was published on YouTube on February 5.

Syria: Inside a Deradicalisation Facility

Turkey Slams Macron's Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day Declaration

Egyptian Politicians Pave Way for Sisi to Stay in Power Until 2034

Ocasio-Cortez Hosts Panel to Discuss Raising Marginal Tax Rates for Wealthiest Americans (Full Coverage)

Global News: Democratic Congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) introduced a panel to discuss her proposal for a progressive taxation plan, including raising the marginal tax rate on the ultra-rich. 

The discussion begins at the 9:45 mark. 

Blacks in Law Enforcement of America: NYC PBA President's Statement is 'Reckless'...

  PBA President Patrick Lynch

As law enforcement professionals, we believe that every officer that is trained by a certified training institution of law enforcement should be held accountable to his or her actions when there are alleged violations of policy, procedure and training.

The recent statement of PBA President Pat Lynch regarding the preliminary disciplinary hearings of Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Gardner is reckless and usual rhetoric.

The New York City Police Department has banned the use of chokehold for over two decades. A chokehold according to the definition of the NYPD; any police maneuver that puts any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.

If P.O. Pantaleo wasn’t trained to use a chokehold, then the question we ask Mr. Lynch, what was he trained to do? Was he trained to do what was recorded in the video?

Mr. Lynch also omits from his statement that the autopsy found that the manner of death for Mr. Garner was a homicide. While the report found that Mr. Garner poor health was a contributing factor, it wasn’t the primary cause of his death. The definition of homicide is deliberate or unlawful killing of another person.

As Black law enforcement professionals, we believe it has become the modus operandi of Mr. Lynch and his usual Archie Bunker style rhetoric to attack black and brown victims that claim police criminality. These victims come from the same birth communities of many of his black and brown officers that pay dues to the PBA faithfully.

If P.O Pantaleo didn’t do anything wrong, then the city wouldn’t have settled with the Garner family. If the officers did everything right in restraining and arresting Mr. Garner, he would be alive today.

Girls for Gender Equity to Lobby in Albany

 Click on the flier to increase its size.
The following invitation was submitted by Joanne N. Smith, Founding President and CEO of Girls for Gender Equity (GGE). 

We invite you to join us in Albany on February 12, where GGE will be lobbying for expanding Title IX protections, increased police transparency and accountability with our partners at Communities United for Police Reform and other issues impacting cis and trans girls of color and gender non-conforming youth of color!

This will be a day for attendees to support GGE’s work and meet other activists, members of the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly.

We'll be departing at 7:00 a.m. from the Girls for Gender Equity Office (25 Chapel Street, Suite 1006, Brooklyn, NY) and traveling via bus to Albany. Estimated return is 9:00 p.m.

Ready to join us in calling on New York State electeds to prioritize issues impacting racial and gender justice? RSVP Here, and we'll reach out with more details.

Andrew Cuomo: Trump’s Assault on Abortion Rights Must Be Rejected

An Op-Ed by the Governor of New York 

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Trump attacked the law that New York passed last month codifying a woman’s right to an abortion, and he proposed federal legislation to roll back the protections provided by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The president’s diatribe was part of the far-right’s escalation of its assault on a woman’s constitutional rights.

It’s worth recalling that in 1999, long before he ran for president, Mr. Trump described himself as “very pro-choice.” Today he claims to be anti-choice, and he shamelessly courts the religious right to win votes.

Too much of today’s political discourse is extreme. But emotions run especially high when politics and religion intersect — as in the debate about a woman’s right to choose. As a Roman Catholic, I am intimately familiar with the strongly held views of the church. Still, I do not believe that religious values should drive political positions.

I just signed the Reproductive Health Act into law to protect against the Republicans’ efforts to pack the Supreme Court with extreme conservatives to overturn the constitutional protections recognized in Roe v. Wade.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Times

Jazmine Headley, Whose Child Was Torn From Her Arms at a City Office, Gets a Public Apology

By Nikita Stewart

Jazmine Headley, whose chaotic arrest at a public benefits office in Brooklyn two months ago sparked a national outcry, testified with tears in her eyes at a City Council hearing Monday, recounting the day that her 1-year-old son was wrested from her arms as she struggled to hold on to him.

“It’s not just the fact that I was arrested. It was the harsh way that I was treated by people who are supposed to help me,” she said, adding later, “In my case, I was just sitting. A peaceful act.”

Click here for the article.

Source: The New York Times 

Brooklyn Federal Jail Had Heat Failures Weeks Before Crisis, Employees Say

In a federal court hearing, staff members and inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center said the problems began earlier than previously known.

Click here for the article.

Source: The New York Times 

Amazon Wants to Come to New York. This Senator May Stand in the Way.

State Senator Michael Gianaris was nominated to a state board that could vote to scuttle a deal to bring Amazon to his district in Queens.

Click here for the article. 

Source: The New York Times 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Trailblazers in Black History: Kristoff St. John

"Young and the Restless" Star Dies at Age 52

"Thank you for your phenomenal contribution to American television and your support of this news site, Mr. St. John. May your family, friends and colleagues find some measure of comfort in the days and weeks to come.... and may you forever rest in peace."  G-Man

Governor Cuomo and Comptroller Dinapoli Deliver Update on State Revenues and the Impact of SALT

Albany, NY - Governor Cuomo and State Comptroller DiNapoli deliver an update on State revenues, after the Division of the Budget observed a decline in Personal Income Tax receipts in December and January.

Source: NYGovCuomo

New Jersey Becomes 4th State to Approve $15 Hourly Wage

Click here for details. 

Source: Associated Press

As Death Toll Keeps Rising, U.S. Communities Start Rethinking Taser Use

Click here for details. 

Source: Reuters

The 2019 State of the Union: What to Expect


The Week Ahead in Washington

C-SPAN: Politico White House correspondent Anita Kumar and Bloomberg News congressional reporter Erik Wasson discuss the week ahead in Washington. 

This video may not play on certain browsers. Click here if you experience problems.

As US Cedes Leadership on Climate, China Steps Up

This report was published on YouTube on February 3.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Launches 2020 Presidential Campaign

Car Bomb Attack in Somalia's Mogadishu Kills at Least 11 People

Hungary Jails Heads of Company Over Disastrous Toxic Spill

Iran Shows Military Might Amid Anniversary

The Black Mirror Effect: Bejing Tests Debt Map as Part of Social Credit System

On World Cancer Day, Professor Hails 'Tremendous Progress' Made So Far

Pope Francis in the UAE: First Ever Papal Visit to the Arabian Peninsula

Canada Pledges $53 Million to Support Venezuelan Crisis: Trudeau

Global News: Prime Minister Trudeau announced on Monday during a Lima Group meeting hosted in Ottawa that Canada is committing $53 million worth of aid to help neighbouring countries to Venezuela support the influx of refugees fleeing its economic and political crisis.

Maduro Rejects Ultimatum from E.U., Urges Trump to Stop Intefering

Global News: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rejected an ultimatum levied against him by several European Union countries as he continues to face calls for him to resign amid growing unrest in the country.

Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza Make an Announcement About Pre-K and 3K

To NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill: Put a Leash on Patrick Lynch!

On January 31, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch issued the following statement regarding preliminary hearings in the disciplinary case against P.O. Daniel Pantaleo.

“Today, lawyers on both sides of the disciplinary case submitted witness lists and argued legal points for a trial that simply should not be happening. The basic facts of this case are that the officers were sent to arrest Mr. Garner on complaints from the community. He had been warned to cease his illegal activities the week before and chose to ignore the warning, so letting him go was not an option. When the police officers attempted to handcuff Mr. Garner, he refused to comply and pushed them away on several occasions. He resisted because he did not want to be arrested again. The officers involved did not hit with their fists or batons, nor did they draw their weapons to gain compliance. Mr. Garner was taken to the ground using the minimum amount of force by employing a maneuver taught in the police academy that has been used countless times with no negative physical impact on the arrestees. That maneuver has been mislabeled a ‘chokehold’ by the uninformed and by activists. The autopsy report demonstrates that it was not a chokehold. Unfortunately, Mr. Garner’s extremely poor health and severely compromised cardiovascular system resulted in his tragic demise. Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo did nothing wrong and should not be on trial for doing his job the way he was trained to do it.”

From The G-Man (FTG) believes the PBA president's comments are callous, dangerous, reckless and unwarranted. Moreover, they were made at a time when NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill is going to great lengths to create initiatives and programs to bridge the divide between his police officers and communities of color. O'Neill shared this fact with members of the Harlem community during a 32nd Precinct Community Council meeting back in 2017, which FTG attended. The commissioner was extremely direct and pulled no punches when addressing the long-standing issues between the NYPD and residents of color. Without mentioning any specific incident, he pointed out how the record number of protests that occurred in 2014 dramatically impacted and marred the relationship between the NYPD and various communities. "That was an extremely difficult year for the NYPD and the city, and much of what happened was self-inflicted," said O'Neill. "Things are moving in the right direction now. We're definitely making progress in police-community relations, but we still have a long way to go." FTG believed him then, and the news site believes him now. 

Lynch's recent statement is nothing more than a middle finger to the Garner family and others still mourning his loss, and it undermines the efforts of the police commissioner and thousands of officers working with church groups, civic organizations and community centers to quell major tensions that have existed for decades. With "Patsie" bumping his gums on this highly-charged issue, and doing it a day before millions in New York City and the country were scheduled to begin celebrating Black History Month, it only makes Commissioner O'Neill's mission that much harder. Given his knack for gleeful maliciousness and boundless insensitivity, you have to wonder if "The Piranha of the PBA" even cares.

Hey, Patsie! Have you ever considered showing a little compassion, professionalism and tact? Now, FTG imagines you might be saying, "Please tell me how I can best do that?" The answer is simple. The public is well-aware of past comments you made in support of Pantaleo, so why not just keep your mouth shut until a decision has been rendered in the case. According to several officers that FTG spoke with, your incessant need to comment on Eric Garner, his character and health issues contribute nothing toward the betterment of police-community relations. Oh, just so you know, those same officers also think you're "out of control", "an idiot" and "an egotistical buffoon" that has served as PBA president for far too long and can't wait to see you replaced. Don't get mad at this news site, dude. This is what officers you work with have stated. Sorry, but badge numbers or names can't be provided. It's a journalism thing, you know.

Finally, a request for Commissioner O'Neill. Sir, FTG realizes his job is to defend his PBA members. However, if Patsie does things that directly oppose your effort to drastically improve the relationship between the NYPD and people in low-income areas of New York City, hold him accountable! If need be, give the poor man a Guinness and a hug. Let him know his attacks on Garner, and calling people of color "animals", "mutts" and "thugs", are not only a bad look for you, it's a bad look for every officer that's enthusiastically embraced your community-policing mandate and making a real effort to gain the support and trust of the people they serve. You said it best during the Harlem community meeting; "People need the police, and we need the people. That's the only way the relationship is going to work." 

Governor Cuomo Delivers Remarks at the Human Rights Campaign Greater New York Gala

This video was published on YouTube on February 2.

Mayor de Blasio Joins Secretary Carson to Make an Announcement on the Future of NYCHA

This video was published on YouTube on January 31.

New York Tackled Subway Crime. But Is It Starting to Come Back?

Click here for the article. 

Source: The New York Times

El Chapo Trial: The 11 Biggest Revelations From the Case

Click here for details.

Source: The New York Times

Candidates Seeking Working Families Party Support Asked to Sign Letter Supporting Cross-Party Endorsements

Click here for details.

Source: The New York Daily News

Ex-NYC Jail Labor Boss Norman Seabrook 'Sold Out His Union,' Deserves 5-Year-Sentence: Prosecutors

Click here for details. 

Source: The New York Daily News

New York City Inmates Stuck in Freezing, Dark Cells: Lawyers

This report was published on YouTube on February 1.

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo 

"Disturbing reports have surfaced that the federal government left more than a thousand prisoners without heat, hot water or electricity during subzero temperatures at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. No one in New York should live in fear that they may freeze to death alone in the dark. 

"These allegations are a violation of human decency and dignity. They also raise questions of potential violations of law. Government owes a fundamental responsibility to serve all people and the Federal Bureau of Prisons needs to live up to that responsibility. I want answers, those responsible held accountable, and assurances that this will not happen again. 

"Today, I am calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately investigate the circumstances at the Metropolitan Detention Center. New York State stands ready to provide any support necessary to keep the heat, hot water and electricity running at the Center and augment the investigation into those responsible for this mess.

"Prisoners in New York are human beings. Let's treat them that way." 

Source: The Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Tips for Hiring a Trustworthy Tax Preparer

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today provided a checklist to help taxpayers choose a qualified, honest, and timely tax professional.

While the overwhelming majority of paid preparers are honest and competent, some unethical preparers will use their access to sensitive taxpayer information to prey on unsuspecting New Yorkers to line their own pockets.

“The Tax Department offers a variety of free filing options, including tax assistance locations statewide, to help you prepare and e-file your tax return without the added cost of hiring a professional,” said Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “If you do decide to hire a tax preparer, please use this checklist to help protect your confidential information and keep any refund due from falling into the wrong hands.”

Shop around

Friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers may be able to refer you to an ethical and competent tax preparer.

Meet with all the tax professionals you’re considering hiring. It’s important to know if they’ve worked with others in similar tax situations, how long they’ve been preparing returns, and how you’ll communicate moving forward.

You can also read reviews from previous clients, if available. This will help you get a sense of the quality of the preparer’s work, their timeliness, and customer service.

Check credentials

New York State registered preparers must meet continuing education requirements and minimum qualifications. Attorneys, certified public accountants, and IRS enrolled agents aren’t required to register, but do have other professional requirements. Ask to see the preparer’s registration certificate or proof that he or she isn’t required to register. You can also verify that a tax preparer is registered online.

Ask about fees

Ask to see a list of fees up front. The fees should be directly related to the services provided and not the refund amount. Tax preparers in New York City are required to display their fees, as well as their credentials, in plain sight. Also, by law, preparers cannot charge to e-file in New York State.

Protect your refund

A refund should never be deposited into a preparer's bank account. The fastest and safest way to receive your refund is to have it directly deposited into your bank account.

Ensure security

It’s critical your private information is protected. Question any potential preparer about how your sensitive data will be safeguarded, as well as how many people will have access to your files.

Look for red flags

Never hire a preparer who won’t sign your return, and never sign a return before it’s fully prepared. You and your preparer must both sign your completed return. Preparers must include their federal preparer tax identification number (PTIN) or Social Security number on the return, and either their New York State registration number or exclusion code.

Beware of preparers who say they will prepare your return for a percentage of the refund. If a tax preparer won’t provide information about fees, this should tip you off that something isn’t right. Never hire a preparer who promises a large refund without reviewing your information, and steer clear of those who suggest you claim a bogus deduction or credit.

In the end, you’re responsible for the information on your return and can be held accountable if it’s inaccurate or fraudulent.

For additional information, visit Tips for hiring a tax preparer. If you suspect that a tax preparer is engaged in illegal or improper conduct, please file a complaint with the NYS Tax Department: on our website, or by phone at 518-530-HELP.

The Tax Department will review your complaint promptly and, if appropriate, take corrective action that may include sanctions. 

Source: The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance