Wednesday, May 4, 2016

President Obama Addresses Residents in Flint, Michigan

President Obama spoke at Northwestern High School in Flint, Michigan, following a discussion with the city’s residents. 

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Source: C-SPAN 

President Obama Honors The National Teacher of the Year & Finalists

Statement by President Obama on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, on Yom HaShoah, we solemnly remember the six million Jews and the millions of others murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

On this day, we honor the memory of the millions of individuals – the mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends and neighbors – who lost their lives during a time of unparalleled depravity and inhumanity.  We reaffirm our ongoing responsibility as citizens and as a nation to live out the admonition, “Never forget. Never again.”  And we commit ourselves to preserving the memories of those who lived through the horrors of the Shoah, so that their experiences are not forgotten by our generation or by our children or grandchildren.

We also honor those who survived the Holocaust, many of them spared from death because of the righteous individuals who risked their lives to save Jews and other victims from Nazi persecution.  The stories of these survivors and their protectors remind us to confront persecution wherever it arises, and that silence can be an accomplice to evil.  They remind us of our duty to counter the rising tide of anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred that threaten the values we hold dear—pluralism, diversity, and the freedoms of religion and expression.

Today, and every day, we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community both at home and abroad.  We stand with those who are leaving the European cities where they have lived for generations because they no longer feel safe, with the members of institutions that have been attacked because of their Jewish affiliations, and with the college students forced to confront swastikas appearing on their campuses.  And we call upon all people of good will to be vigilant and vocal against every form of bigotry.

When we recognize our interconnectedness and the fundamental dignity and equality of every human being, we help to build a world that is more accepting, secure and free.  This is the best way to honor the legacy we recognize on Yom HaShoah and to fulfill our responsibilities to repair our world from generation to generation.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

U.S. Service Members Killed in Iraq: An Analysis of the Fight Against the Islamic State

The Heritage Foundation’s James Jay Carafano discusses news that a Navy SEAL was killed in Iraq Tuesday, the third U.S. service member to die in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) since 2014. 

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Note: From The G-Man proudly salutes the four service members that were killed with the following video tribute. May they forever rest in peace. 

State Department Briefing

Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner briefs reporters and responds to their questions on a variety of international topics, including calls by Secretary Kerry for a reaffirming the cessation of hostilities in the war in Syria. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Ralph Nader on Campaign 2016

Former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader discusses his upcoming book, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think, as well as the latest developments in the 2016 presidential election. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Discussion on Government Surveillance and Privacy Concerns

New York Law School professor Nadine Strossen and David Rivkin, with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, discuss Internet privacy and government surveillance, as well as surveillance carried out by businesses. 

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Source: C-SPAN

GOP, Welcome Your New Trump Overlord

 Photo illustration by Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast 

By Olivia Nuzzi

No more Lyin’ Ted—with the path to the nomination clear, both Trump and the GOP know the fun and games are over. So what do they do now?

On the night he got everything he said he wanted, Donald Trump looked miserable.

He entered the lobby of Trump Tower through the hallway, wearing a blue suit and royal blue tie. His wife, Melania, and his three older children, Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr., and their respective spouses were by his side. He had just won Indiana and with that, effectively, the Republican presidential nomination itself, but he was acting like a loser.

He spoke quietly and slowly. His eyes squinted more than usual. It seemed as though the gravity of the position he now finds himself in—leader of the Republican Party, rival to Hillary Clinton, possible president of the United States—was weighing directly on his face, which was, in the patriotic red, white, and blue light, a pale shade of orange. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Daily Beast

Man with a Mission: The Tireless Nazi Hunter Efraim Zuroff

By Paul Alster 

Halfway through my interview with Efraim Zuroff, famed Nazi hunter and head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), we took a 10-minute break. He left to participate in afternoon prayers at a synagogue across the road. When he returned, we resumed our conversation and I asked what he plans to do when he retires.

“Oh, I’m going to move to Tahiti, sit under a coconut tree, and drink Piña Coladas,” he smiled, easing back in his chair.

“But you wouldn’t find a minyan there for prayers, would you?” I ventured to suggest.

“OK,” he says with a hearty laugh. “Now that’s a problem. Listen, I’m 67, and I consider myself very lucky as I’m one of those people who enjoy what they are doing and feel they are doing something important.”

He has no intention of being sent out to pasture just yet.

Few would argue with the statement that the task of attempting to bring Nazis to justice has been tremendously important, but enjoyable? Is it a vocation one can enjoy? Surely, you have to be somewhat obsessive to dig and dig, ferreting out mass murderers.

“I may be a lot of things,” he tells The Jerusalem Report, “but obsessive is not one of them. I realized from the get-go that this is the kind of subject that can destroy a person. If you let this subject take over your life, you are in big trouble. I’ve managed to avoid that ‒ until last summer.”

In summer 2015, Zuroff co-authored a groundbreaking book “Our Own,” together with popular Lithuanian writer Rūta Vanagaitė. The book, dealing with Lithuanian complicity in the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust, was published on January 26. It caused a sensation in Lithuania and the original 2,500 copies sold out within 48 hours of its release. A much bigger reprint has been ordered and the signs are it could prove an unexpected best seller in a country that at last may be ready to look at itself in the mirror.

Zuroff has worn his heart on his sleeve for almost 40 years, ruffling feathers in the highest places, determinedly taking on governments and figures of authority, many of whom wanted nothing more than to sweep the crimes of their society under the carpet and get on with creating a new order.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Jerusalem Post

Cuomo Takes Action to Improve Child Care Program Safety

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that he is advancing legislation to bring more aggressive enforcement tools, tougher penalties and greater transparency to the oversight of child care programs throughout the state. The bill will also create more consistent legal enforcement standards for state- and New York City-regulated programs and improve parents' access to child care centers' compliance and violation histories.

"Parents deserve to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their child care providers are responsible and that their children are in good hands," said Governor Cuomo. "These reforms will help ensure that every child care program in this state is held accountable to the highest standards of safety, and with tougher laws we will be better able to crack down on bad actors. These are common sense measures that will make a difference across the state, and I urge the legislature to pass them this session."

Under the Governor's proposed legislation, penalties for state-regulated child care providers cited for serious violations and for providers operating illegally would be increased. The maximum fine for serious violations would increase from $500 to $5,000 a day. Enforcement standards for state- and New York City-regulated child care programs will also be better aligned, enabling the state to take more immediate enforcement action. New York City-regulated child care programs will be required to prominently post inspection reports and violation histories, as state-regulated programs already do.

Additionally, the state would be able to suspend or revoke a center’s license for a wider range of violations, including inadequate supervision, failure to maintain proper staff-to-child ratios and failure to cooperate with an inspection, as well as the injury or death of a child, or the use of corporal punishment against a child. The suspension or revocation of an operator's license at one location will trigger an immediate examination of all the operator’s other state-regulated programs and an evaluation of potential enforcement action against them. The moratorium on child care providers applying for a new license after revocation will be extended from two years to five years.

The legislation will also provide parents with the data they need to make informed choices about their child's care by improving access to compliance and violation histories through the launch of a statewide registry. Access to information is a key element in transforming the child care system and sending a strong warning to providers who would jeopardize the safety of New York's children.

New York State Office of Children and Family Services Acting Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Passage of this legislation will serve to strengthen NYS's position as having one of the most stringent and comprehensive oversight systems of inspection and enforcement in the country."

There are 11,000 child care programs in New York City, including approximately 9,000 Family Day Care, Group Family Day Care and School-Age Child Care programs that the Office of Children and Family Services oversees, and some 2,000 Child Care Centers that are regulated by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Partnership to Provide Health Insurance to New York's Boxing Community

The NY State of Health, the State's official health plan Marketplace, and the New York State Athletic Commission are working together to enroll uninsured members of the State's boxing community in affordable health plans. Health insurance enrollment events will be held throughout New York concurrent with scheduled boxer weigh in dates this spring.

"Boxing is a sport with a rich history in New York, but also one that carries clear risks for men and women who step into the ring," Governor Cuomo said. "This effort will help ensure competitors across this state have access to the health coverage and the proper medical treatment they need."

Many professional boxers and other members of the boxing community living in the State are currently uninsured and unprotected in case of injury or illness. NY State of Health certified in-person assistors will be on hand at weigh-ns to enroll boxers and trainers in health plans on the spot.

NY State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore said, "This partnership means boxers, coaches and trainers can easily get information about health insurance options and enroll in a health plan immediately if eligible. We thank the New York State Athletic Commission for their efforts, and for their commitment to making information about affordable health insurance readily available to those in New York’s boxing community."

New York State Athletic Commission Executive Director David Berlin said, "We believe it is vital for boxers to have the ability to see a doctor and maintain good health with a yearly physical. This partnership gives boxers and others in the boxing community the opportunity to enroll in health insurance plans through the NY State of Health Marketplace. This is a simple, common sense effort to promote good health and well-being."

NY State of Health in-person assistors will hold enrollment sessions at the following events:


May 18 – 5 P.M. – Rochester – Diplomat Party House and Diplomat Banquet Center, 1956 Lyell Avenue, Rochester, NY 14606
June 3 – 5 P.M. – Whitehall – Whitehall Athletic Club, 62 Poultney St, Whitehall, NY 12887
June 24 – 5 P.M. – Syracuse/Liverpool - Holiday Inn, Exit 37, 441 Electronics Pkwy, Liverpool, NY 13088

Open Houses 

May 13 - 3-7 P.M., Mendez Boxing, 23 E. 26 Street, New York, NY 10010
May 17 - 3-7 P.M., John's Boxing Gym, 1703 Jerome Ave, Bronx, NY 10453
May 24 - 3-7 P.M., Morris Park Boxing Club, 644 Morris Park Ave, Bronx, NY 10460
May 27 - 3-7 P.M., Gleason's Gym, 77 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Bernie Sanders and the Black Vote

The panelists at the event were Senator James Sanders Jr., a Bernie Sanders delegate; Joel James, a college student; and Donnie Whitehead, a community activist and Bernie Sanders supporter. (Click on the images to increase their size.)

Senator James Sanders, Jr. (D-Rochdale Village) hosted a “Bernie & the Blacks” post-primary discussion on Saturday, April 30, at the Black Spectrum Theatre in Jamaica, to discuss why Senator Bernie Sanders under performed among black voters in New York. Panelists included the senator, who is a Bernie Sanders delegate; Donnie Whitehead, a community activist and Bernie Sanders supporter; and Joel James, a college student.

Moderator A.U. Hogan, associate director of StudentsFirstNY and president of the Baisley Houses, asked a series of thought provoking questions seeking to determine why black voters did not "Feel the Bern."  For example, although Bernie Sanders’ economic message was inherently related to civil rights, should he have made a more direct appeal to black voters?

Senator James Sanders Jr. thought so. “Bernie is from the school that believes classism created racism, and therefore classism is the real problem to solve,” the senator explained. “While there may be truth to that idea, racism is a beast in itself, and Bernie should have done more to address it.”

Other suggested reasons why Bernie Sanders fell short included black voters having a longstanding loyalty to the Clintons. Also, if elected, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could be viewed as continuing President Obama’s legacy and would be another historic step for our country by following the election of the first black president with the election of the first female president. 

When asked if Obama should have done more to appear neutral, Whitehead responded, “The president was not neutral,” adding that Obama strongly implied Hillary Clinton was his preferred candidate.

Members of the audience chimed in, adding their own theories and asking what could be done to achieve desirable outcomes in the future.

Hillary Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders by a margin of 58% to 42% in the April 19 New York Democratic presidential primary. Among black voters, it was around 75% to 25% in favor of Clinton. 

Source: The Office of State Senator James Sanders, Jr. 

Trailblazers in Black History: 'The Freedom Riders'

Video courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine.

Today in History: May 4th

First Read: Trump's First Challenge Is to Unite a Fractured Party

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

Trump's immediate challenge -- uniting a fractured party

So Donald Trump essentially wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination last night by winning in Indiana and forcing Ted Cruz's exit, while the Democratic contest will march on for another month after Bernie Sanders' narrow victory over Hillary Clinton in the Hoosier State. (Though you could make a strong case that Sanders would still be marching on to California even had he lost.)

That reality raises an immediate question for both Trump and Clinton. We'll start with Trump's: Can he unite a fractured party? There were some signs of progress here last night. RNC Chair Reince Priebus declared Trump the "presumptive GOP nominee" (even with John Kasich still in the race), and asked Republicans to "unite and focus on defeating Hillary Clinton." John McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee, told NBC's Kasie Hunt that he'd advise Trump on foreign policy if he asked. "I would advise anyone who asks," McCain said. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

Kasich Reportedly Suspending Campaign