Friday, March 23, 2018

NYPD Neighborhood Policing Program Aims to Ease Tensions Between Officers and Community

Source: CBS News

‘A Very Brave Firefighter’: FDNY, Family And City Mourn Firefighter Michael Davidson

President Trump Signs $1.3 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill

Source: The White House

First Lady Melania Trump Presents International Women of Courage Awards

First Lady Melania Trump presents the International Women of Courage Awards in a ceremony at the State Department. She’s joined by the State Department’s spokesperson, Heather Nauert.

Click here for video.

Vice President Pence Delivers Remarks at an America First Policies Event

Source: The White House

Distressed Seniors to Rally Outside Governor Cuomo's NYC Office

On March 27 at 11 a.m., NYPAAL LLC, a group of adult care home providers, will hold a rally with members, staff and supporters outside of the New York City office of Governor Andrew Cuomo, 633 3rd Avenue – between 40th and 41st Streets.

The seniors will call on Cuomo to advocate for a critical SSI increase in the New York State budget.

Many low income elderly and disabled individuals in New York live in adult care facilities, which are paid through SSI. 

In the last twenty years, adult care facilities have had one rate increase in 2007. There has been no State COLA increase during this period and costs to these facilities – providing housing, care and services – have continued to go up. Legislators are currently debating including the SSI increase in this budget and negotiating with the Governor’s office.

Source: Mercury

'Flashback Friday': President Lyndon Johnson's Address to the Nation (1968)

"A House Divided Against Itself, Is A House That Cannot Stand" 

President Lyndon B. Johnson announces his intention to bow out of the upcoming race for the Presidency. Known as the "I Will Not Run" Address. 

Excerpt taken from Great Speeches Volume 19 from Educational Video Group, Inc. available at

The National Council on Disability Warns the Public of the Risks of Guardianship

The following statement was submitted by Rick Black, Director of the Center for Estate Administration Reform (CEAR).

The National Center for Disability (NCD) Report examines “Civil Death” of the rights of people with disabilities and the elderly under guardianships, calls on Department of Justice to ensure full and fair due process rights. Click here to review the report.

It is an excellent report that provides data and insights on the current state of guardianship in the U.S. It also provides a transparent view on how the system is dysfunctional, providing no assurances of upfront due process to protect the rights, dignity, and estates of targeted individuals or the downstream protections for the individual who has in effect been made a “slave” to their guardian.

Local courts where guardianships are established routinely rule on the whims of the judicial officer (judges, magistrates, hearingmasters, clerks, other lawyers, laymen) and the procedures in no way mirror established rules of civil procedure or state and federal laws.  Today, if the judge is negligent to criminally complicit there is ALMOST NO REDRESS for the victim.  This lack of integrity of the system has created an open door for the criminal element to set up shop with almost no risk of investigation or prosecution.

However, the NCD failed to analyze the familial funds lost to fraudulent guardianships. Per Metropolitan Life/Bloomberg $1.5 trillion passes generationally in the U.S. each year and the number is projected to rise to $2.5 trillion by 2030. 

Guardianship is one of the easiest ways to redirect those assets to unintended third parties.  Involuntary guardianships, proposed purely for the purpose of assuming someone else’s wealth(most often referred to as “theft”), are estimated to claim $10 billion a year in familial damages.  

Parkland Victim’s Father: We Will Get Gun Reform in U.S.

This report was published on YouTube on March 22.

Axios Hosts Forum on Gun Policy and Safety

Click here for video.

An Analysis of the Trump Administration and Veterans

Melissa Bryant of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America talked about the Trump administration’s response to issues facing veterans. She spoke via video link from New York City.

Justice Department Announces Charges in Iran-Sponsored Hacking Scheme

Source: PBS NewsHour

DL Hughley Addresses Stephon Clark Killing

This commentary was published on YouTube on March 22. 

Source: DL Hughley

Demonstrators Protest Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Man

Bonus Report

Firefighter Dies on Set of Star-Studded Film in Harlem

New York City Anti-Poverty Advocate Releases Memoir of Her Battle with Cancer

New York City – Jennifer Jones Austin, New York City native, nonprofit executive, and child advocate released her first book, Consider It Pure Joy, on March 1 with book signings in New York City. The signing was followed by a cross country book tour.

Starting with her healthy days just before diagnosis, Consider It Pure Joy chronicles Jones Austin’s experience with a rare form of leukemia. From the moment her family learned she had a 99 percent chance of not surviving the disease just days after diagnosis, to the nationwide search for a bone marrow donor to cure her, and the roller coaster ride of ups and downs throughout, Jones Austin’s memoir is an intimate picture of her harrowing experience. She takes readers on an arduous journey of successes and setbacks—and everything in-between—as she finds joy and peace in the midst of her suffering. Experience her race against time as she and her family implemented countless donor drives across the country looking for a bone marrow match. Evoking a strong sense of understanding and relatability, Consider It Pure Joy is a memoir readers will devour in one sitting.

A fourth-generation leader of faith and social justice, Jennifer Jones Austin is the CEO of Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), leading poverty fighting, policy and advocacy efforts to strengthen and empower the disenfranchised and marginalized communities. She is a sought-after speaker who appears regularly on television and radio, and at community events and professional convenings. She has served on numerous boards, including the National Marrow Donor Program, the Icla da Silva Foundation, and the New York Blood Center, all of which were instrumental in her search for a bone marrow donor.

Click on the photo to increase its size.

What critics are saying:

“Consider It Pure Joy challenges and inspires. This book is a must-read!”

—Bishop William J. Barber II, Founder and National President/Senior Lecturer of Repairers of the Breach

“Consider It Pure Joy is a must-read for everyone facing a seemingly insurmountable test. This true and compelling story shows how a person can survive the highs and lows of their greatest challenge, learning to trust the process with faith, courage, and pure joy. This is a story of tenderness, transparency, tenacity, and triumph!”

—Dr. Claybon Lea, Jr., Pastor, Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Fairfield and Suisun City, CA

“Jennifer Jones Austin has given the world a gift with this beautiful, breathtakingly visceral account of what she describes as a gift: her epic battle with cancer . . .  Her vivid descriptions of the journey will challenge you to stay awake to all that God dreams for your life.”

—Rev. Dr. Amy K. Butler, Senior Minister, The Riverside Church, New York, New York

For more information on Jennifer Jones Austin, the book or to schedule an event,  click here.

Source: Mercury

SPLC: Sessions Calls for Death Penalty in Drug Cases, but It's Unconstitutional

Attorney General Jeff Session has instructed federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty in numerous cases involving drugs, including some trafficking offenses. It's an approach that harkens to America's failed War on Drugs. Applying the death penalty in such cases would be not only destructive but unconstitutional.

Click here to read the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) statement. 

Source: SPLC 

France Shooting: French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb's Press Conference

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Freed Nigerian Schoolgirls Undergoing Treatment

Trump Names Bolton as New National Security Adviser

A Look Back at HR McMaster's Time in the White House

China Hits Back After US Tariffs on Chinese Imports

What Impact is Cape Town's Water Crisis Having on the Poor?

This report was broadcast on March 22. 

Source: Al Jazeera

Are Saudi Arabia and UAE Buying Influence in the White House?

This report was broadcast on March 22. 

Source: Al Jazeera

Warrant Issued for South Korea’s Ex-President on Corruption Charges

The report was published on YouTube on March 22.

Proposed NYC Law Would Make It Illegal to Force Employees to Respond to Work Emails During Non-Work Hours

A New York City bill would make it illegal for employers to demand their workers to respond to work emails during non-work hours.

City Councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a bill Thursday that aims to make it illegal for private employees in New York City to be required to check and respond to their work emails or take part in work-related electronic communications during non-work hours.

Click here for summary.

Source: NBC News 4 New York 

Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks For the Expansion of Speed Cameras In This Year’s State Budget

This video was published on YouTube on March 22 and begins at the 7:00 mark. 

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

EANY: Congress Rejects Trump’s EPA Budget Cuts

New York – Today, Congress approved the Omnibus spending bill that maintains funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 2017 levels ($8 billion). In addition, the bill includes a $700 million increase for water infrastructure projects. By agreeing to a fully-funded EPA, Congressional leaders not only rejected President Trump proposal, but also earlier versions from Senate and House leaders.
Members of the New York Campaign to Save The EPA celebrated the vote, and thanked members of both the House and Senate for siding with public health and the environment.
Comments on the bill:
Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY) said, “A chorus of voices supporting the EPA, an agency charged with protecting our air, and water, has silenced the anti-environmental, anti-public health cacophony radiating from Washington. Our President has shown us that he cares very little for environmental protections. We applaud the staunch defenders of our health and safety in the House and Senate, including all the partners and the thousands of New Yorkers who joined the fight to the Save the EPA.  Only by standing together could we have beaten back the egregious, dangerous and reckless proposed cuts coming from the Trump Administration.”
Eric Weltman, a Brooklyn-based senior organizer with Food & Water Watch said, “President Trump’s cruel assault on the EPA budget would have put the lives of New Yorkers at risk. Thanks to leaders like Senator Schumer, the agency that protects clean air and water for families across the state has been spared from Trump’s budget axe. After hearing from thousands of his constituents, Senator Schumer pledged to hold the line against any cuts to the EPA budget. We are grateful for his leadership.”
Jeremy Cherson, Riverkeeper advocacy coordinator said, “Today’s budget resolution that preserves the EPA’s budget and staff demonstrates that New Yorkers and Americans have no appetite for President Trump’s misguided proposals to slash the agency. Across New York and the Hudson River Estuary, the EPA plays a critical role in maintaining and improving access to clean water through grants, loans, enforcement, and technical expertise. We know that the fight to save the EPA isn’t over as new threats and riders emerge from Washington almost every day, but we will continue to speak up on behalf of our members and the Hudson River. We are especially grateful to New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, as well as Representatives Nita Lowey and Paul Tonko for their advocacy on behalf of the EPA and Hudson River.”

Sandra Meola, communications and outreach director for NY/NJ Baykeeper said, “Since his campaign days, President Trump has been insisting that he will ‘shut down’ the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the protector of public health and our families’ rights to have clean air to breath and water to drink, swim, and fish in. We are encouraged that our elected officials in the House and Senate are defending the public’s right to these clean necessities. We also commend our elected leaders for taking our antiquated, polluting water infrastructure needs seriously by budgeting an additional $700 million for water infrastructure projects.”

Brian Smith, associate executive director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “Time and time again, the public has expressed overwhelming support for a strong, fully funded EPA. Clean air, clean water, and healthy communities are not partisan issues. We are grateful that Congress responded to this public demand with bipartisan support to Save the EPA.”

Source: Environmental Advocates of New York

New York City’s Population Hits a Record 8.6 Million

By James Barron

New York City’s population reached a record high last year of over 8.6 million and has climbed 5.5 percent since 2010, according to a Department of City Planning analysis of new Census Bureau population estimates.

There were 8,622,698 people in the city last year, 447,565 more than were counted in the 2010 census.

City demographers said the new total was the culmination of an average annual gain not seen since the first half of the 20th century, when the city became dominant in everything from finance to culture and communications — and also had strong manufacturing and shipping sectors with thousands of jobs.

Joseph J. Salvo, the chief demographer at the planning agency, said that, in effect, New York City added as many people as in all of New Rochelle, a city in Westchester County, each year from 2010 to 2017. The 2010 census put New Rochelle’s total at just over 77,000. He attributed some of the city’s jump to housing units planned before the 2010 census that were deferred in the recession and have been completed in the last few years.

“It’s a remarkable growth story,” Dr. Salvo said.

From 2010 to 2017, New York City led the rest of the state in population growth, with the Bronx emerging as the fastest-growing county in the state. The Bronx surged 6.21 percent, with 86,052 new residents.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Times (via Empire Report New York) 

AG Schneiderman: 'Join Me at the March for Our Lives'

The following statement was issued by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. 
"This Saturday, thousands of students and their allies will be leading the March for Our Lives here in New York City. 
"I will be there standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them -- and I hope you will join me. I will be marching with New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, a group I’ve worked with for the last two decades."
Click here for additional information on the meeting place and time for the event. 
Source: The Office of the New York State Attorney Genera

Bonus Report:  'March for Our Lives' in NYC, NJ Expected to Draw Thousands

Syracuse and Rochester Outreach Centers to Provide Free Services for People in Recovery

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) today announced the grand opening of the CUSE Recovery Community and Outreach Center in Syracuse, and the re-opening of the CORE Recovery Community and Outreach Center in Rochester. The centers are operated by the Center for Community Alternatives and offer free services and support for people in recovery from substance use disorders. The centers are supported by a $700,000 grant from OASAS.

“When a person struggling with addiction starts on the long road to recovery, it is essential for them to have sufficient resources and support, especially in the very beginning when relapse is so prevalent,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the Heroin and Opioid Task Force, who attended today’s event in Rochester. “These recovery and outreach centers are vital for individuals struggling with drug use to help them live healthier and safer lives. Through our significant investments to combat the opioid epidemic, we are committed to helping individuals and their families who are impacted by this terrible disease.”

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we have made significant investments in recovery support services that are critical to people’s success in overcoming addiction,” OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said. “The centers offer a safe environment where people can get the support and resources they need to live life in recovery.”

Recovery Community and Outreach Centers are part of the Governor’s multi-pronged approach to addressing substance use disorders in communities across New York State. The centers promote long-term recovery by providing professional staff, peers and volunteers to engage and support people in recovery. Services offered at the centers include peer support, skill building, recreation, wellness education, employment readiness and social activities.

The recovery centers in Rochester and Syracuse will also offer people who have been in the criminal justice system with services such as civic restoration, a process which provides certificates of relief that will enhance a former incarcerated person’s ability to obtain housing and employment.

The Rochester Recovery Center is located at 803 West Avenue. It is open Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m.– 9 p.m.; Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. and Saturdays Noon – 4:00 p.m. The center was recently relocated to this newly renovated space from another location.

The Syracuse Recovery Center is located at 115 East Jefferson Street. It is open Mondays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays through Thursdays 9:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.; and Saturdays Noon – 4:00 p.m.

Senator George Amedore, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse said, “These centers play an important role to help keep those who have struggled to overcome addiction on the path to recovery. Strong support services are vital as we continue our efforts to eradicate the addiction issues that plague our communities.”

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse said, “For New Yorkers struggling with substance use disorder, the opportunity to take a first step into a Recovery Center could mean the difference between life and death. No region of our state has been spared the impact of the opioid epidemic, and expanding access to life-saving programs is crucial. Finding a pathway out of substance use disorder can often feel like an insurmountable task, and peer support programming and job readiness training can be invaluable in providing users the support and forward momentum they need."

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369). 

Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at or through the NYS OASAS website 

Visit to learn more about the warning signs of addiction, review information on how to get help, and access resources on how to facilitate conversations with loved ones and communities about addiction. For tools to use in talking to a young person about preventing alcohol or drug use, visit the State’s Talk2Prevent website.

Source: OASAS

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Far Rockaway Spotlight: How the Beatles Influenced 'Blac Rabbit'

Amiri Taylor, right, and his twin brother, Rahiem, performed aboard an L train in Manhattan. The brothers, whose playlist is devoted to the Beatles, spend less time as subway buskers now that they have gotten gigs at local venues. Credit James Estrin/The New York Times 

Click on the photo to increase its size.

Click here to read the New York Times report.

Click here to watch the duo's performance on the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show".

'A Sometime Guide to Jane Mayer's New Yorker Column on Christopher Steele and 'The Dossier''

Let me first say that, unlike many of my friends on the Left, some of them quite good friends, I fully believe that Trump and the Trumpites colluded with the Russians to help them win the election. Indeed I have believed that that could have been possible from the time the first rumors about the possible compact began to appear in the summer of 2016, and certainly when David Corn's first article on the matter, in the context of the "Steele Dossier," was published in October, 2016 .

This does not mean that I think that the Russian maneuvers in support of Trump were the primary reason why he won and Clinton lost. In fact, shortly after the election I published a column on The Greanville Post entitled "Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Leadership Council, and How to Lose an Election." It happens that I also thought that last-minute intervention of Jim Comey on the so-called "tapes issue" (which if anything indicated a tilt, at that time at least, of the "Deep State" towards Trump) was a major blow to her campaign. I said so in a column I published, also on The Greanville Post, in the week before the election. Nevertheless, in the post-election column I said that if she had run a decent campaign, she would have won anyway, despite Comey, and (as subsequently been revealed) despite the Russians, too. 

Thinking about why I was convinced right up front that Trump was involved with some dirty-dealing or other in relation to the 2016 election, I recalled my first awareness of what came to be known as "Watergate." As I said in an earlier column(2015) on the "Role of Chance in History" (which happened to be in part about how the "email issue" might come back to haunt Hillary, should she get the Democratic nomination):

"On June 18, 1972, as I usually do to this day, I scanned the front page of The New York Times. I noticed a secondary lead about a break-in that had occurred at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex in Washington, DC. I had known of Richard Nixon and his political thuggery since he ran his first red- baiting campaign for Congress against the totally unsuspecting, mild-mannered, five-term Representative Jerry Voorhees in Southern California. 'Nixon's behind this,' I said to myself."

Click here for the full article. 


House Passes $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill in Effort to Avoid Shutdown

Congress is one step closer to finally passing a sweeping federal spending bill. CBS News contributor Ed O'Keefe analyzes what's in the bill and next steps as it heads to the Senate.

Source: CBS News 

Tillerson: Washington is a 'Mean-Spirited Town'

Outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Washington a "very mean-spirited town" in his goodbye address to State Department staff on Thursday.

National Association of Black Journalists Remembers Founder and Former President Les Payne

By James Durrah 

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) honors the legacy of NABJ Founder and former President Les Payne - an award-winning journalist who consistently broke barriers during his indelible career that spanned more than four decades.
Mr. Payne died on Monday night at the age of 76.
Mr. Payne was a trailblazer in journalism, having been a role model for many journalists who came after him. NABJ President Sarah Glover said Payne's work was both inspiring and encouraging.

"NABJ Founder and President Les Payne was a legendary journalist whose eloquent writing brought passion and truth-telling to an industry too often tone deaf to the issues impacting communities of color. Payne fought to change that with NABJ's other illustrious founders," said Glover.
"Founder Payne's bold words and writings showed us why it's important to be a present black journalist in the newsroom every day. He was a quiet, courageous and loving leader. His legacy lives on in us."
Click here for the full article.
Source: NABJ

‘It’s About Taking Back What’s Ours’: Native Women Reclaim Land, Plot By Plot

By Julian Brave NoiseCat

In the San Francisco Bay Area, demand for land seems endless. Property values are sky-high, rents are backbreaking, and people just keep coming. Over 2 million more are expected to settle here by 2040. Bulldozers and backhoes reshape neighborhoods. Cranes dominate the horizon. Land, with a home or high-rise plopped atop, can build a fortune for its owner.

Today’s land rush is nothing new. For more than 200 years, there has been a run on Bay Area real estate — a relentless wave of colonization, then suburbanization and now gentrification that left the Ohlone, the Bay Area’s first people, landless.

“Nobody knew about us,” said Corrina Gould, a Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone leader and activist. “There was this process of colonization that erased the memory of us from the Bay Area.”

Gould and her partner in crime Johnella LaRose, who is Shoshone-Bannock and Carrizo, founded the Sogorea Te Land Trust in 2012 to reclaim Ohlone land in the Bay Area.

“It’s about decolonizing our own minds and taking back what is ours,” Gould said of their grassroots, woman-led organization. “We are going to be extinct if we do not take care of all of these things.”

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Huffington Post

America's Guns: Arming Mexico's Cartels

Source: Al Jazeera

E-file for Free from Your Smartphone or Tablet

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today reminded eligible taxpayers of the ability to file their personal income taxes for free directly from their smartphone or tablet through

“The Tax Department’s website plays a vital role in assisting millions of taxpayers during the filing season and throughout the year,” said Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “In addition to e-filing from your phone, our mobile-friendly website offers easy navigation and fast download speeds.” 

Visit the Tax Department’s website from your smartphone or tablet to:
Since income tax season began on January 29, 37% of visitors to the Tax Department website accessed its resources using a smartphone or tablet.

Source: The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance 

After Maria, Puerto Ricans Cultivate Food Sovereignty While FEMA Delivered Skittles & Cheez-Its

This report was broadcast on March 21.

Source: Democracy Now!