Friday, July 14, 2017

Tulsa Cop Betty Shelby Resigns After Acquittal in Shooting Death of Terence Crutcher

The Tulsa cop found not guilty in the shooting death of an unarmed black man is stepping down from the local police force, saying that she couldn't bear to be put on administrative duty.

"Since being reinstated, I have found that sitting behind a desk, isolated from all my fellow officers and the citizens of Tulsa, is just not for me," Betty Shelby said in a statement released by her union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93. 

Shelby's lawyer, Shannon McMurray, confirmed her resignation to The Associated Press. 

Upfront: Can the 'Resistance' Win Against Trump?

Over 40 US States Resist Election Probe by White House Commission

Women's March Organizers to Protest the NRA at DOJ Headquarters


The following statement was submitted by New York State Assembly Member and DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake.

It has been a hard year for many of us, and numerous unexpected challenges have come our way.

Today, I am writing to ask for your support for the women in our lives, and to help us create a society in which all women are fully respected while we soundly reject injustices against them. 

Tamika Mallory, my sister and dear friend, was personally attacked by the National Rifle Association (NRA) because she and her fellow organizers of the Women's March asked them to take down an inflammatory NRA ad insinuating that “law-abiding” citizens need to arm themselves against the threat of violent liberal protesters, many of whom are people of color and women.

Tamika wants the NRA to start protecting the Second Amendment rights of black and brown people, as well as their First Amendment right to speak out. The NRA's failure to do so has become evident in their refusal to address the unfortunate demise of Philando Castile. Tamika sent an open letter to Wayne LaPierre, the Executive Vice President of the NRA, asking the NRA to release a statement defending Castile's Second Amendment rights.

However, the NRA sourly responded by issuing a new ad titled "We Don't Apologize for Telling the Truth," and insulting her personally.

In response to this, the Women’s March announced a protest against the NRA will be held on July 15 in front of the Department of Justice. It will begin at 10 a.m., and you can spread word about the event on social media using #NRA2DOJ.

We need to support the Women's March movement this weekend, in any way we can.

Source: The Office of Assemblyman Michael Blake

In Memoriam: The 16 Members of the Armed Services Killed in the Mississippi Plane Crash


Governor Cuomo Directs Flags to Half-Staff

Governor Andrew Cuomo today directed that flags on all state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Monday, July 17 to honor the 16 members of the armed services killed when an aircraft assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 crashed in Mississippi on July 10.

The Marine Corps Reserve unit is based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, and nine of the Marine Reservists on board were members of VMGR-452.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the 15 Marines and the Navy sailor who tragically died in a military plane crash earlier this week in Mississippi," said Governor Cuomo. “These service members, many of whom were based out of Stewart Air National Guard Base, answered the call to serve this nation and defend its ideals. I share in the pain and the heartbreak caused by the deaths of these brave service members and urge everyone to keep them and their loved ones in your prayers during this difficult and trying time."

 Members of VMGR-452 killed in the crash were:
  • Major Caine M. Goyette
  • Capt. Sean Elliot
  • Gunnery Sgt. Mark A. Hopkins
  • Gunnery Sgt. Brendan C. Johnson
  • Staff Sgt. Joshua M. Snowden
  • Sgt. Julian M. Kevianne
  • Sgt. Owen J. Lennon
  • Corporal Daniel I. Baldassare
  • Corporal Collin J. Schaaff
Six Marines and a Navy Petty Officer assigned to the 2nd Raider Battalion, Special Operations Command, were also killed in the crash. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Cuomo's Message to the Merhav David Unit

 

Statement by Governor Andrew Cuomo

"I am deeply saddened by the heinous attacks against Israeli police officers earlier today in Jerusalem, resulting in the death of two members of the Merhav David unit. 

"In March, I traveled with Consul General Dani Dayan and members of my administration, including the New York State Police, on an Economic Development and Unity trip to Israel. During that trip, we received a security briefing from the commanders of the Merhav David unit and learned about the challenges they face protecting Holy Sites in the Old City. 

"In times of crisis, friends stand shoulder to shoulder. 

"Today I express my deep condolences to the members of this unit as they mourn the loss of two of their own and to the people of Israel as they come together after this attack." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

President Trump's Weekly Address


Vice President Pence Delivers Remarks at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting


Vice President Pence Participates in a Listening Session with the Philanthropy Roundtable


This video was published on YouTube on July 13, 2017.

Democrats to Step Up Pressure on GOP Amid Widening Russia Probe


Source: C-SPAN

Nations' Governors Meet to Discuss Cybersecurity Challenges

 
Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Hearing on the Status of Social Security Trust Funds


Stephen Goss, the chief actuary at the Social Security Administration, provides Congress with a status report on the solvency of the agency’s trust funds.

Source: C-SPAN

$103.2 Million for 154 Smart Schools Investment Plans Approved


A total of $103.2 million has been approved for 154 Smart Schools Investment Plans aimed at reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century. The plans are part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act - a sweeping education technology initiative first proposed by the Governor and overwhelmingly approved by voters. The investments authorized today will modernize classrooms across New York and equip students with the skills they need to thrive in the global economy.

"By investing in modern technology for classrooms across the state, we expand educational opportunity, increase student engagement, boost achievement, and close the digital divide," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding equips students with the skills and technology they need to succeed in the modern economy and build a stronger New York for all."

The Smart Schools Review Board met today for the fifth time to consider investment plans submitted by school districts. The Board is comprised of the Director of the Budget, the Chancellor of the State University of New York, and the Commissioner of the State Education Department.

The plans approved today were submitted by 136 school districts and 8 special education schools. Projects include $43.3 million for school connectivity projects, $40.6 million for classroom technology purchases, $15.6 mil lion for high-tech security projects, and $3.7 million to construct prekindergarten classrooms and to replace transportable classrooms.

A summary of the 154 plans is available here.

In 2014, Governor Cuomo called for New York State to invest $2 billion in its schools through a Smart Schools Bond Act - an initiative that would finance educational technology and infrastructure, providing students access to the latest technology and connectivity needed to succeed and compete in the 21st century economy. New Yorkers agreed, as the voters authorized the Smart Schools Bond Act that November.

Following the proposal of the Bond Act, Governor Cuomo established the Smart Schools Commission to gather information on strategies for how schools can most effectively invest the bond funds. This advisory commission produced a final report recommending a focus on expanding robust broadband and wireless connectivity and utilizing transformative technologies. The plans approved today by the Smart Schools Review Board reflect many of the best practices identified by the Commission.

State Budget Director Robert F. Mujica said, "The Smart Schools program is revolutionizing classrooms in New York and the plans approved today will advance learning, ensure connectivity, and position students for success in the economy of tomorrow."

State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said,  "We are making sure that our schools have the right technological tools and capacity to connect students with the world to help prepare those children for the future?whether that's in college or the work force.  Districts are making ma jor investments in school connectivity, school security, and in individual devices that will allow students to expand their knowledge, to practice skills where they need additional help, and to learn how to communicate and share their knowledge with others."

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, "Our students are better served when advances in technology, resources, and tools get in the hands of our teachers. The governor's ongoing investment in Smart Schools does just that, and more students continue to benefit. The financial support provided today will boost our students' abilities to succeed in the classroom, in their future careers, and in life."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Oval Office Chat: King Salman of Saudi Arabia


President Trump spoke today from Air Force One with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.  King Salman congratulated President Trump on the victory over ISIS in Mosul.  The two leaders discussed recent diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute with Qatar and underscored the importance of following through on commitments from the Riyadh Summit.  In particular, the President emphasized the need to cut all funding for terrorism and discredit extremist ideology. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Flashback Friday: 'Evil Empire' Speech by President Ronald Reagan


Address to the National Association of Evangelicals at Sheraton Twin Towers Hotel, Orlando, FL. 

White Rage: 'Black Codes' During Reconstruction

 
This video was published on YouTube on August 28, 2016. 

In this Majority Report clip, Prof. Carol Anderson, author of "White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide," joins the show. 

Source: The Majority Report with Sam Seder

After Civil Rights....Black Power! (1967 NBC News Special Report)


NBC’s coverage of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s was pioneering. Featuring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on programs such as Meet the Press, and coverage of the bus boycott in Alabama and school integration in Arkansas, NBC News brought breaking civil rights news to the nation daily.

Trailblazers in Black History: Lionel Richie


Source: WatchMojo.com

Meet The Black Woman Reclaiming the Narrative of the Civil War

RICHMOND, Va. — On a hot July morning, Christy Coleman recounts the tales of hundreds of slaves who worked at the Tredegar Iron Works, a foundry located along the James River and a national landmark where weapons of the Confederacy were made during the Civil War. As she describes the burning of Richmond, Coleman explains how the ironworks survived and represents a tangible part of American history.

Contemplative, she looks around the 9-acre property. A natural born storyteller, she is animated as she details complexities of Civil War history that took place where she stands.

“History is all around us, we are living in the midst of our history, the question is how do we choose to navigate it?” said Coleman, who became the president of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar in 2008. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Activist Faces New Trial for Laughing During Jeff Sessions Hearing

The activist who was convicted of disrupting Congress after laughing during a confirmation hearing for now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had her conviction thrown out by a District of Columbia Superior Court judge on Friday.

Code Pink activist Desiree Fairooz, 61, was found guilty of misdemeanor charges, including disrupting Congress and parading/demonstrating in May and was told she faced up to six months in jail.

But on Friday, the judge said he took issue with the conviction and scheduled a new trial for September, Fairooz told NBC News.

"Well, I can’t say relieved. I’m not happy about [the re-trial] but I guess, in a way, it’s a small kind of a win. It just seems like an absurd waste of tax dollars," Fairooz said. "I am disappointed, but I guess I should be happy I’m not sitting in jail."

President Trump Heads Home After Paris Meeting


Source: CBS News

OJ Simpson Vegas Robbery Accomplices Speak Out

Senate Leaders Face GOP Opposition with New Health Care Bill



Source: ABC News

Olivia Wilde on the Relevance of Broadway's '1984' Today

Mayor de Blasio Visits Tenant New Affordable Apartment and Deliver Remarks


This video was published on YouTube on July 13, 2017. 

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Tentative Agreement Reached Between Teamsters and Clare Rose

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced a tentative agreement between Clare Rose and Teamsters Local 812, ending an 82-day strike. The agreement protects the pension fund and the income security of the 130 union delivery drivers and warehouse workers. Under the agreement, Clare Rose will resume its contributions to the union's pension fund and overturn a wage cut for drivers to ensure that Clare Rose workers are among the best paid in the industry.

“I am pleased that the Teamsters and Clare Rose have reached an agreement to ensure fair compensation and get these union members back to work," Governor Cuomo said. "Union labor is the backbone of our economy, and we will continue to do everything in our power to strengthen New York’s middle class families. I thank everyone who worked toward this agreement and look forward to working together to keep New York moving forward."

George Miranda, President, Teamsters Joint Council 16, said, "The new contract at Clare Rose is a big win for Long Island working families. Our union thanks Governor Cuomo for all of his support and work behind the scenes to bring the company back to the table. This victory would not have been possible without his help. As more and more companies attempt to weaken unions and take away pensions, Governor Cuomo and New York State have continued to fight back. Union jobs will always be the core of the middle-class and, regardless of what happens in Washington, we are strengthening unions here in New York. We are proud to count Governor Cuomo as a friend of our members and our union." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

Note: Click here for the backstory.

Ten Brooklyn, Queens Health Care Providers Charged in $125M Medicare, Medicaid Scheme

 


By Andrew Keshner and Catherina Gioino

Ten Brooklyn and Queens doctors and health-care providers are charged with fleecing Medicare and Medicaid out of more than $125 million as part of nationwide scams that bilked the federal government out of a whopping $1.3 billion, prosecutors said Thursday.

The defendants nabbed in the four federal cases in Brooklyn are among 412 people charged in cases linked to the billion-dollar phony health-care billings. The fraud constitutes the biggest crackdown of its kind, according to authorities.

Those arrested include 120 people accused of improperly prescribing opioids and other dangerous drugs.

None of the opioid-linked defendants is tied to the Brooklyn prosecutions. But the defendants charged in New York “took advantage of programs designed to provide essential health care for the elderly and the needy,” acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde said.

Click here for the full article. 

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

Schumer: New York Power Plants Vulnerable to Cyber Attack



ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says New York state's power plants are vulnerable to cyber attacks and that Washington must do more to ensure their security.

The Democrat said Wednesday that he has written to the secretaries of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy seeking an update on efforts to improve cybersecurity at critical facilities such as power plants.

Click here for summary. 

Source: Electric Light & Power (via The Empire Report) 

Note: On June 27, 2017, From The G-Man addressed this issue in the following post: Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio: Is New York Ready for a Cyberattack?

Silver May Start ‘Parade of Horribles’ Out of McDonnell Case, Critics Say

Sheldon Silver


By Alan Feuer

There was a time when political corruption might have been described — as a former Supreme Court justice once said of pornography — as something you knew when you saw it.

But last summer, after the court issued a landmark decision overturning the graft conviction of Bob McDonnell, the onetime governor of Virginia, it became much harder to define what it meant for a politician to partake in an illegal quid pro quo.

After that ruling, many prosecutors and government watchdogs expressed anxiety that the court had created a safe harbor for a subtle, wink-and-nod version of corruption. The court had essentially made it legal, these critics said, for elected officials to enrich themselves by engaging in unseemly forms of transactional politics.

That argument could apply to the case of Sheldon Silver, once the mighty speaker of the New York State Assembly, whose corruption conviction was overturned by an appeals court on Thursday — among the first federal verdicts to be reversed as a result of the McDonnell decision.

Click here for the full article.

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

Abusive Chicago Cop Hoarded Racist Websites for Years



By Kelly Weill

Before he was accused of beating a handcuffed African-American woman, a Chicago Police sergeant registered a racist URL: n**gadown.com.

George Granias, a sergeant at the heart of a recently settled police brutality lawsuit, purchased at least two websites with racial slurs in their titles, his alleged victim’s lawyer says. The domain names include URLs like n**gaguns.com, the legal team first told CBS Chicago. An investigation by The Daily Beast revealed a series of other domains registered to Granias’ name and address, including “murdertech.com,” “necroarmy.com,” and in a jab to Illinois’ former governor, “patquinnsucks.com”.

In December 2013, Granias registered n**gadown.com, internet records show. Three months later, police arrested Patasa Johnson, a Chicago woman, at a traffic stop. Johnson’s arresting officer accused her of driving drunk, a charge she denied, and which was later dropped. The officer cuffed her in the back of a squad car and drove her to a police station, where “Granias grabbed [Johnson] from the back of the car,” and roughly escorted her into the station, according to a lawsuit Johnson filed against the city in 2015. “Inside the station, Defendant Granias beat [Johnson] while [Johnson] was in hand-cuffs.”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast 

Dozens of Mothers to Join Al Sharpton for Annual Visit to Eric Garner's Grave

 
On July 16, Rev. Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network (NAN), fellow clergy members and activists will conduct the third annual Unity & Worship Event at New Hope Baptist Church and visit to Eric Garner’s gravesite.

The church is located at 91 Division Street (Elizabeth, New Jersey). Services will begin at 11 a.m. 

At 2 p.m., attendees will travel to Rosedale Cemetery, 350 East Linden Avenue (Linden, New Jersey) to visit Eric Garner's gravesite.

Attendees will include: Rev. Steffi Bartley, NJ Coordinator, National Action Network; Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother; Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice; Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo; Constance Malcolm, Mother of Ramarley Graham; Hawa Bah, mother of Mohammed Bah; Iriz Baez, mother of Anthony Baez; Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell; Phil Murphy; Mayor Dwayne Warren; Mayor Angela Garretson; Mayor Adrian Mapp; Assemblyman Jerry Green; Assemblyman Jamel Holly and others.

Source: Mercury

DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake to Kick Off 'Resistance Summer' Day of Action


For additional information, contact Ali at ALI@MICHAELBLAKEFORDNC.COM

Source: The Office of Assemblyman Michael Blake

The Trump Administration is Grasping at Straws

 


By Askold Krushelnycky

The following commentary is in response to a CBS News report entitled Did Ukraine Try to Interfere in the 2016 Election on Clinton's Behalf? 

I must say that the country's not ablaze with the news that it's been mentioned by some of those defending President Donald Trump from allegations of collusion with Russia.  

The White House trying to portray equivalency between Russia's intensive cyber & propaganda interference in the US elections and Ukraine's publicizing Paul Manafort's Moscow connections is proof the Trump administration is clutching at straws as its discreditable interactions with Moscow continue.

All US intelligence agencies were unanimous in saying Russia, and its dictatorial leader, Vladimir Putin, who for years has been increasingly hostile to America and didn't conceal his hatred for Clinton, used cyber warfare and other means to try to help Trump's campaign. 

Most Ukrainians (and many Americans of Ukrainian origin like Alexandra Chalupa) knew that Manafort had worked for former pro-Putin Ukrainian President Yanukovych for years before he was overthrown. Manfort's connections with Yanukovych and other Kremlin-connected clients had anyway long been known about before Chalupa highlighted them.

Trying to somehow portray Russian actions and what Chalupa did as equivalent or even in the same ball park is like saying an arsonist and the person who called out firefighters were both involved in trying to influence the fate of the building set on fire & thus equally culpable.  Correct, but only from an absurdly perverted perspective.
 
 
Askold Krushelnycky is a British citizen and freelance journalist whose parents were refugees from Ukraine. He is the author of “An Orange Revolution – A Personal Journey Through Ukrainian History”, which was published in 2006 by Random House/Harvill Secker. He is working on a second book that will focus on the turbulent events in Ukraine since the fall of 2013, when mass demonstrations turned into revolution and, ultimately, the present conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Brexit Bounty: Will French Reforms Help Attract Brexit Jobs?


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Trump-Russia Links: "The Email Chain is a Huge Deal"


Source: FRANCE 24 English

How Technology is Fighting Corruption


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Trump Joins Macron as Bastille Day Guest of Honour


Source: euronews (in English)

Five Dead in Jerusalem Shooting


Source: euronews (in English)

Journalist Helped Stop 2016 Coup Attempt in Turkey


Source: euronews (in English)

Nice Commemorates First Anniversary of Bastille Day Attack


Source: euronews (in English)

Former Peruvian President Jailed


Source: euronews (in English)

Merkel Open to Idea of Eurozone Finance Minister


Source: euronews (in English)

Liu Xiaobo 1955-2017: 'I Have No Enemies'


Source: euronews (in English)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

George W. Bush, Bill Clinton Discuss Leadership in Texas


The former presidents lead discussion at graduation ceremony for presidential leadership scholars program.

Source: ABC News

Cuomo: 'In New York, We Believe That Health Care is Right, Not a Luxury'


Statement by Governor Andrew Cuomo
on GOP Health Care Bill Revisions

"The token changes to the Senate health care bill are a thinly veiled attempt to disguise the same cruel bill. Far from improving our health care system, the Senate Republican health care bill is still a death trap for New York. The bill delivers tax cuts to insurance companies, medical device companies and high-income people while jeopardizing health care coverage for millions of middle class New Yorkers, exacerbating the opioid epidemic ravaging the country and driving up costs for people with preexisting conditions. 

The Senate Republican bill continues the assault on Medicaid, with devastating cuts that will cost New York billions and put New Yorkers' health in jeopardy. Thanks to Congressmen Faso and Collins, this bill includes an additional $2.3 billion in cuts—cynically disguised as property tax relief—that will cripple hospitals, nursing homes, and home care providers. Make no mistake: Faso and Collins are shamefully working to hurt the very New Yorkers they were sent to Washington to protect. 

"In New York, we believe that health care is a right, not a luxury, and we will continue to fight for access to quality and affordable health. I urge all New Yorkers to continue to make their voices heard, and I call on our entire Congressional delegation to protect New Yorkers and stop this bill." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Scalise Undergoes New Operation for Bullet Wound, Condition Fair

Rep. Steve Scalise underwent additional surgery on Thursday to manage infection stemming from a bullet wound suffered when he was shot by a gunman who opened fire on a congressional baseball practice last month, the hospital where he is being treated said.

Scalise, 51, who represents Louisiana and is the third-ranking Republican in the House, is in fair condition, MedStar Washington Hospital Center said in a statement on behalf of his family.

Scalise, who was shot when James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on June 14, "will require careful monitoring to see if and when further interventions are necessary," the hospital said. 

Click here for the full article. 

Senate Democrats Reject Revised GOP Health Care Bill


Source: C-SPAN

Janet Yellen: 3 Percent Growth Rate "Quite Challenging"


Asked if a three percent growth rate is possible over the next five years, Fed Chair Janet Yellen says, "I think it's something that would be wonderful...I think it would be quite challenging."

Source: C-SPAN 

House Speaker Weekly Briefing


At his weekly press briefing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) talked about several issues. Among them were Republican legislation dealing with human trafficking, tax changes for small businesses, and an amendment in the defense authorization bill that would deny certain medical treatment for transgender members of the military. He began by talking about recent flooding in his home state of Wisconsin. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN 

House Minority Leader Weekly Briefing

 

In her weekly news conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (d-CA) called for an outside, independent commission to investigate what she called “cold, hard evidence” that the Donald Trump campaign and family intended to collude with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. She also called for the release of all communications from the Trump campaign and within the family and for the revocation of the security clearance of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. 

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN 

Former President Jimmy Carter Collapses from Dehydration


Source: CBS News

DL Hughley On Trump Supporters: 'They Would Rather Have a Dead Country Than Move Forward'


NAN, MPAC and NY Faith Leaders to Rally Against Practices by Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement


NEW YORK, NY — On Friday, July 14th at 11 a.m., leaders from the National Action Network (NAN) will join the faith community and elected officials from across New York City to participate in a press conference, speaking out against the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement's collusion with the hotel-funded lobby group ShareBetter to target ordinary everyday New Yorkers for criminalization. 

The conference will be held at the Department of Investigation’s Complaint Bureau on 80 Maiden Lane.

The leaders will call on the Department of Investigation (DOI), the District Attorney, and the New York Attorney General to launch a full, formal investigation into ShareBetter’s aggressive campaign to spy on ordinary New Yorkers who are using home sharing platforms, like Airbnb, to earn extra income. 

According to recent media reports, the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement is using information gathered through ShareBetter’s outrageous tactics as the basis for targeted enforcement actions against individuals.

Speakers will include Minister Kirsten John Foy, Northeast Regional Director of National Action Network, as well as local community leaders and activists.

Source: Mercury

From the Archives: How Crack Funded a CIA War


The Gary Webb Interview

Investigative journalist Robert Parry credits Webb for being responsible for the following government investigations into the Reagan-Bush administration's conduct of the Contra war:
 
On December 10, 1996, Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block announced the conclusion of his investigation into the issue, publishing a summary of the investigation at a press conference. He announced at the press conference that "We have found no evidence that the government was involved in drug trafficking in South-Central." Nevertheless, the report included information that supported some of the charges. Charles Rappleye reported in the L.A. Weekly that Block's "unequivocal statement is not backed up by the report itself, which raises many questions." Much of the LAPD investigation centered on allegations made in a postscript article to the newspaper's "Dark Alliance" series.
 
On January 29, 1998, Hitz published Volume One of his internal investigation. This was the first of two CIA reports that eventually substantiated many of Webb's claims about cocaine smugglers, the Nicaraguan contra movement, and their ability to freely operate without the threat of law enforcement.
 
On March 16, 1998, Hitz admitted that the CIA had maintained relationships with companies and individuals the CIA knew were involved in the drug business. Hitz told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that "there are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug-trafficking activity or take action to resolve the allegations." Senator John Kerry reached similar conclusions a decade earlier in 1987. 

On May 7, 1998, Rep. Maxine Waters, revealed a memorandum of understanding - item 24 between the CIA and the Justice Department from 1982, which was entered into the Congressional Record. This letter had freed the CIA from legally reporting drug smuggling by CIA assets, a provision that covered the Nicaraguan Contras and the Afghan rebels. 

New Yorkers Urged to Prepare for Severe Weather Across the State

 
Governor Andrew Cuomo today warned New Yorkers to take precautions as severe weather moves from the Western New York Region traveling east. A number of heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected across the entire state and the National Weather Service has issued Flash Flood Watches and Warnings throughout the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Central New York, Southern Tier, and Capital District Regions. Several areas in Western New York have already seen flash flooding in urban areas, roadways, and areas that often experience poor drainage from heavy rainfall.

At the Governor’s direction, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management regional staff have been deployed and are actively engaged with county officials and local emergency managers on the ground. The State Thruway Authority and the Department of Transpiration maintenance and operations crews are also on the ground in the affected areas, ensuring culverts and storm drains are free of debris to lessen the potential impacts from flooded roadways.

Additionally, the State Emergency Operations Center is at a Level 4 Activation – indicating enhanced monitoring with New York State Office of Emergency Management staff. The National Weather Service has also issued a Heat Advisory for New York City this afternoon with heat index values approaching 100 degrees. 

"With another round of severe weather and heat occurring throughout the state, I urge New Yorkers to stay tuned to local forecasts, and if severe weather is approaching, keep driving and outdoor activities to a minimum," Governor Cuomo said. "It is important to take every precaution necessary during extreme flooding, avoid flooded roads, and stay informed about any emergency instructions."

Current Weather Watches and Warnings:

Flood Warning: Livingston, Monroe and Ontario Counties in effect until 7:45 p.m.
Flood Warning: Genesee and Wyoming Counties in effect until 8 p.m.
Flood Warning: Cayuga Creek Near Lancaster – Erie and Wyoming Counties in effect until 9:30 p.m.

Weather Watches

Flash Flood Watch: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Northern Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties in effect until 8 p.m.
 
Flash Flood Watch: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Northern Oneida, Onondaga, Otsego, Schuyler, Seneca, Southern Cayuga, Southern Oneida, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins and Yates Counties in effect until 8 p.m.
 
Flash Flood Watch: Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Fulton, Greene, Herkimer, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Ulster Counties in effect until 9 p.m.
 
Flash Flood Watch: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan), Northeast Suffolk, Northern Nassau, Northern Queens, Northern Westchester, Northwest Suffolk, Orange, Putnam, Richmond (Staten Is.), Rockland, Southeast Suffolk, Southern Nassau, Southern Queens, Southern Westchester and Southwest Suffolk Counties in effect until Friday at 6 a.m.

Weather Advisories

Flood Advisory: Tompkins, Schuyler, and Steuben Counties in effect until 4:4 p.m.
Flood Advisory: Cortland, Chenango, Cayuga, Seneca, and Yates Counties in effect until 4:45 p.m.
Flood Advisory: Otsego and Delaware Counties until 5:30 p.m.
Heat Advisory: Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens and Richmond Counties in effect until 6 p.m.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Trump and Macron Hold a Joint News Conference


Source: Washington Post

Trailblazers in Black History: Alexa Canady, MD


This video was published on YouTube on February 27, 2014.

Dr. Alexa Canady, the nation's first African American woman neurosurgeon, visited Rosalind Franklin University on Feb. 6 during Black History Month to share her story of struggle and triumph.

Source: RosalindFranklinU

Black Beauty Pageants of the 60s: 'A Political Statement'

This video was published on YouTube on July 28, 2016. 

London's Afro-Caribbean community set up beauty pageants of their own during the 1960s at a time when mainstream notions of beauty largely shunned dark skin and afro hairstyles. Dan Damon found out more from Renée Mussai, the curator of a new exhibition in London, featuring photographs by the mastermind behind the pageant, Raphael Albert.

A Look Back at the Life of Amiri Baraka


This video was published on January 10, 2014. 

Source: Democracy Now!

'Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America's Founding Fathers'


This video was published on YouTube on July 5, 2016. 

Source: Kiev International Film Festival

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Criticized for Speaking to ‘Hate Group’

Democrats and LGBT groups assailed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for an off-camera, closed-door speech Tuesday to an organization designated as a "hate group" by a prominent civil rights watchdog.

As announced on his public schedule, Sessions addressed a crowd at the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Summit on Religious Liberty in Orange County, California.

As the news of the scheduled speech traveled, nonprofit advocacy groups and Democrats issued statements asking why the head of the U.S. Justice Department was speaking at a summit put on by the ADF, designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2016. 

Click here for the full article.