Friday, September 15, 2017

The Mumia Abu-Jamal Case: Judge Orders DA to Turn Over Files




By Noelle Hanrahan

Judge Leon Tucker of the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia has ordered the District Attorney of Philadelphia to produce the entire case file for Cook v. the Commonwealth - the case file in Mumia Abu-Jamal's criminal conviction, by September 21st.

The DA's office has to produce the entire file for "in camera" review in Judge Tucker's chambers. This mean Judge Tucker thinks that a thorough review of all the relevant files is in order! Or in other words, what has been produced under court order from the DA'a office has been woefully deficient.

Judge Tucker worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the late 90's, so he knows what is in -and not in- files. Cook v. the Commonwealth comprises at least 31 boxes of material held by the DA. Will they turn over "all information and the complete file" for Mumia's case, as Judge Tucker has ordered?

This in camera review by Judge Tucker himself means that an independent jurist will personally inspect the documents the DA produces. 

Click here to review the order.  

Noelle Hanrahan is a private investigator and the Director of Prison Radio

FBI Still Keeping Secrets on J.B. Stoner — Suspected Mastermind of 1963 Church Bombing in Birmingham That Killed 4 Girls



By Stuart Wexler

The conventional narrative for the tragedy that struck Birmingham a half century ago today is straightforward. On the morning of September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church, wounding 22 parishioners and killing four young girls. The bombing conspirators escaped justice at the time because FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover feared that cooperating with local law enforcement would expose their sources and methods to a racist Birmingham police force, compromising the chance for a federal prosecution.

Years later, Alabama Attorney General William Baxley embarrassed the FBI in the press, eventually leading agents to share some of the files and helping convict one of the bombers, Robert “Dynamite Bob” Chambliss in 1977.

In the mid-1990s, the case was reopened, this time with the Feds leading the investigation. Tapes that Baxley never heard were used as evidence against two other conspirators, Tommy Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry, who went to prison in the 2000s. It took 40 years, the story goes, but the case is now closed.

If only it were true. There is little doubt that the men who went to prison and their associates were guilty of the bombing, but newly obtained information suggests there is much more to the story.

It turns out the FBI has yet to reveal many of the documents regarding the white supremacist leader that authorities suspected masterminded the bombing, J.B. Stoner, despite him dying in 2005.

There were many reasons why Stoner became a suspect in the bombing. Stoner co-founded one of the most militant white supremacist organizations in the country, the National States Rights Party (NSRP), a group headquartered in Birmingham and connected to much of the violent pro-segregationist agitation in the city. Law enforcement officials suspected Stoner as having orchestrated a wave of coordinated bombings and attempted bombings against black and Jewish targets in the 1950s. This included the 1958 bombing of Birmingham civil rights activist Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth’s church — a bombing he was convicted of in 1980.

In 1963, Stoner was investigated in connection with several bombings, as the NSRP began to associate more and more with the violent Eastview Klavern number 13, whose members included Chambliss, Blanton and Cherry.

The FBI received reports that Stoner trained the Eastview group — who met secretly by a bridge near the Cahaba River — in bomb-making techniques. They also received information that Stoner met with Chambliss before and after the bombing. From the start, Stoner was a top suspect for both the Birmingham police and for the FBI. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Journey to Justice

Protesters in St. Louis Take to the Streets After Stockley Acquittal


New York Army National Guard and State Police to Provide Security Support on St. Thomas

 

Earlier today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the deployment of members of the New York National Guard and personnel from the New York State Police to the U.S. Virgin Islands after touring areas impacted by Hurricane Irma. One hundred members of the New York Army National Guard's 105th Military Police Company, along with 30 members of the New York State Police, will deploy to the U.S. Virgin Islands this weekend to provide local authorities with security support on the island of St. Thomas.

The team is being deployed at the request of Governor Kenneth E. Mapp, who also requested that Governor Cuomo travel to the region to survey the damage. Governor Cuomo traveled to the region today, touring damage at the Estate Tutu Apartments on St. Thomas, visiting a supply distribution center and meeting with Governor Mapp and senior officials at the Government House. Hurricane Irma hit the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 6th, leaving St. Thomas and St. John heavily damaged after powerful winds at speeds greater than 150 miles per hour. Much of St. Thomas and St. John has been devastated and still remains without power as residents struggle to recover from the storm.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

Rev. Al Sharpton to Call for Action Against ESPN if Network Makes Move Against Jemele Hill


New York, NY – Following repeated statements by the Trump Administration to fire “SportsCenter” co-host Jemele Hill for her comments concerning President Trump, NAN Founder and President Rev. Al Sharpton will issue a warning to ESPN at his National Action Rally on September 16. 

The civil rights leader will caution the network against heeding the call by the administration to fire Jemele Hill. Sharpton will also call for a meeting with ESPN executives around the issue.

"Should ESPN fire Ms. Hill, the National Action Network is prepared to take action against ESPN in response. NAN will not stand by while the administration uses the power of the presidency to intimidate members of the press who express their political views," said Rev. Sharpton. 

The rally, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., will take place at NAN's House of Justice, located at 106 West 145th Street in Harlem. 

The rally will be broadcast on Impact Television Network, heard on WLIB 1190 AM and live streamed at www.nationalactionnetwork.net.

Source: Mercury

President Trump Remarks on London Terrorist Attack


Secretary Tillerson Speaks About Global Threats to Democracy


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses the Ninth Community of Democracies Governing Council at the State Department. The body was founded by the U.S. and Poland in 2000, with the goal of strengthening civil society, security and human rights.  

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

The Russia Investigations: An Update


Washington Times reporter Dan Boylan discusses the progress of Congressional investigations into President Trump’s alleged ties with Russia and Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Source: C-SPAN 

FEMA Update on Response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma


Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, FEMA Administrator Brock Long, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry provide an update on the federal response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Source: C-SPAN 

'Flashback Friday': Jimi Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock


'Hate in God's Name' Examines Religious Extremism and Its Relation to Violent Conflict


This week, the Southern Poverty Law Center published the first two installments of a new five-part series that investigates how white supremacists, sovereign citizens, militiamen, and violent, anti-abortion extremists use religious concepts and scripture to justify threats, criminal activity, and violence. 

According to the SPLC, this discussion represents an exploration of how violent extremists have exploited religion to recruit, radicalize and mobilize followers and should not be misconstrued as a critique of faith or a criticism of the devout.

Click here for additional information. 

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center

Oval Office Chat: Theresa May and Enrique Pena Nieto




President Trump spoke today with Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom to convey his sympathies and prayers for those injured in the terrorist attack today in London. The President pledged to continue close collaboration with the United Kingdom to stop attacks worldwide targeting innocent civilians and to combat extremism.  

On September 14, President Trump spoke with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico to extend his condolences for the lives lost and homes destroyed due to the earthquake and Hurricane Katia. The President expressed solidarity with the government and people of Mexico as both our countries respond to the recent spate of natural disasters. President Trump and President Peña Nieto both emphasized the continued need to work together on issues of mutual interest, including responding to natural disasters. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 

First Lady Melania Trump Visits Florida


On September 14, First Lady Melania Trump flew to Florida to visit with first responders and families affected by the damage resulting from Hurricane Irma.  Upon landing in Ft. Myers, the President and Mrs. Trump met with first responders from all over the State, and received a briefing from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and State and local officials.

After the briefing, the First Lady took an aerial tour of Naples, Florida to view the flooding and damage before meeting with families who lost their homes.  Once on the ground, the First Lady, the President, and the Vice President took a walking tour of a neighborhood particularly damaged in the storm.  They stopped and visited with families, listening to their stories, concerns, and most pressing needs – ice, gas, and power.

The First Lady then distributed lunch alongside FEMA officials and volunteers. 
 
First Lady Melania Trump said, “We have certainly seen the unforgiving side of Mother Nature these past few weeks, and my thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families so deeply affected by both Harvey and Irma.  I will continue to receive updates from FEMA, and lend my voice, time, and resources to help those who need it most.”  

Source: The White House, Office of the First Lady

Trailblazers in Black History: Esther Rolle


From Broadway shows to the classic sitcom “Good Times,” Esther Rolle, born in 1920 in Pompano Beach, Florida, had a prominent acting career. Audiences loved Rolle’s character on TV sitcom “Maude,” so much so that the show’s producer Norman Lear created “Good Times” as a spinoff series in which Rolle would star. 

Rolle was one of the great iconic actresses of her time and was regarded as a mother of Black America. This is an interview from the short-lived show “Sammy and Company”, which ran during the 1970s.

Trump Pushes ‘Larger, Tougher’ Travel Ban After London Terrorist Incident

President Donald Trump on Friday said he wished the travel ban into the U.S. was stronger, just hours after more than 20 people were injured after a device ignited on a London subway train, which British police said was being treated as a terrorist incident.

“Another attack in London by a loser terrorist.These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!” Trump tweeted in the first of four posts about the incident. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Democrats Ask: How Could Trump Have Nominated This Man for FEMA?


WASHINGTON — After the sudden withdrawal this week of President Donald Trump's nominee for a top post at the Federal emergency Management Agency, Senate Democrats are raising concerns about the White House's vetting process.

"The White House may have thought, 'Well, no one will pay any attention to this — this will be ignored.' Obviously, it was not ignored," said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which had been considering Daniel A. Craig's nomination for the No. 2 spot at FEMA.

Craig withdrew his nomination on Wednesday after NBC News questioned him about the findings of an unreleased 2011 federal investigation, which concluded that he had submitted a fraudulent travel voucher and falsified timekeeping records during his time in the administration of President George W. Bush. 

Click here for the full article.

Jason Stockley, Ex-St. Louis Officer, Found Not Guilty in Killing

A white former St. Louis police officer was found not guilty Friday of murdering a black man in 2011 by firing five times into his car after a high-speed chase.

Jason Stockley was acquitted of first-degree murder and armed criminal action charges by St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson. 

Stockley escaped what could have been a lengthy prison sentence despite the fact that he was recorded on an internal video camera during the pursuit saying he intended to kill Anthony Lamar Smith.  

Click here for the full article. 

Many Irma Evacuees Still Not Allowed Back Home in Florida Keys


Source: CBS News

Governor Cuomo Announces Rome as $10M Winner of 2nd-Round Downtown Revitalization Initiative


Source: NYGovCuomo

NY: Executive Order Prohibits State Agencies from Inquiring About Immigration Status



Governor Andrew Cuomo today issued Executive Order 170 that prohibits state agencies and officers from inquiring about or disclosing an individual's immigration status unless required by law or necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit or service. Law enforcement officers will also be prohibited from inquiring about immigration status unless investigating illegal criminal activity. This prohibition against inquiring into status includes, but is not limited to, when an individual approaches a law enforcement officer seeking assistance, is the victim of a crime, or is witness to a crime.

"As Washington squabbles over rolling back sensible immigration policy, we are taking action to help protect all New Yorkers from unwarranted targeting by government," Governor Cuomo said. "New York became the Empire State due to the contributions of immigrants from every corner of the globe and we will not let the politics of fear and intimidation divide us."

The Executive Order builds on Governor Cuomo's commitment to ensure full protections for all immigrants in New York. In March, Governor Cuomo launched the Liberty Defense Project, the nation's first public-private immigrant legal defense initiative, to respond to the surge in demand for help that is overwhelming nonprofit organizations serving immigrants. The partnership is supported by more than $10 million in funding to offer legal assistance and representation to immigrants in New York, regardless of their status, through a statewide network of attorneys and advocacy organizations.

Protecting New York's Immigrants

For the past five years, New York State, through the Office for New Americans, has helped immigrants fully participate in New York State civic and economic life through a network of 27 community-based centers around the state that provide English classes, civic education, guidance on how to start or grow a business, and naturalization assistance. ONA also has a hotline, a toll-free, multi-lingual information center, as well as a dedicated website that guides New Americans to available resources. The hotline number is 800-566-7636 (operating 9AM-8PM (ET), Monday through Friday) and the website is www.newamericans.ny.gov.

Since taking office, the Governor has taken aggressive steps to provide assistance to immigrant communities. In 2011, he signed a wide-reaching Executive Order to ensure language access across state agencies, suspended the State's participation in a federal program that required local law enforcement to help identify deportable individuals, signed legislation holding entities that defraud immigrants accountable, and established the Office for New Americans. He launched NaturalizeNY, the first public-private partnership of its kind to encourage and assist eligible immigrants in New York State with becoming U.S. citizens. As Attorney General, Governor Cuomo also worked to combat immigration fraud, having utilized general civil rights laws to successfully investigate and prosecute companies for defrauding immigrants. He also secured court judgments and settlements in excess of $23 million dollars on behalf of the state's immigrant population.

The signed executive order can be viewed here.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Cuomo Departs to Assess Recovery Mission in U.S. Virgin Islands

 
Governor Andrew Cuomo and a delegation of administration officials departed New York this morning for the U.S. Virgin Islands to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The trip comes after Governor Mapp requested that Governor Cuomo travel to the region to survey the damage. Governor Cuomo has pledged to identify how New York can best provide additional assistance to the impacted area as they begin the recovery process.

Hurricane Irma hit the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 6th, leaving St. Thomas and St. John heavily damaged after powerful winds at speeds greater than 150 miles per hour. Much of St. Thomas and St. John has been devastated and still remains without power as residents struggle to recover from the storm. This situation is also poised threaten the Islands' economically critical winter tourism season as many of the locations sustaining damage include hotels, airports and other key infrastructure.

"New Yorkers know full well the devastation that can come at the hands of Mother Nature and we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Virgin Islands as they begin to recover from this terrible ordeal," Governor Cuomo said. "We have assembled our state's top recovery experts to help assess the damage and are ready to provide any additional assistance we can to ensure this beautiful area comes roaring back stronger than ever."

Governor Kenneth Mapp said, "In the wake of Hurricane Irma, I invited Governor Cuomo to the US Virgin Islands to tour the damage and assist in our recovery effort. I want to thank the Governor, who has extensive experience in post storm recovery both from his time as HUD Secretary and as New York State Governor in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, for partnering with us in the immense task we have ahead. We have a special connection with New York, as more US Virgin Islands residents list their place of birth as New York than any other state in the nation. As someone who was born in Brooklyn and served in the 83rd precinct on Wilson avenue, I understand the resiliency and can-do attitude of New Yorkers, and we appreciate Governor Cuomo's promise of assistance as we work together in our effort to build back better and stronger."

The New York delegation includes experts with a range of experience in incident management and disaster recovery at the local, state and federal levels dealing with crises such as Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. During the assessment, the delegation will use this expertise to work with U.S. Virgin Island officials to determine the state of critical infrastructure, as well as identify how best to allocate resources.

The delegation includes: Colonel Robert Mitchell, Director of Domestic Operations, New York National Guard, Major Jim Green, Logistics Officer, New York National Guard, Kevin Wisely, Deputy Commissioner for Emergency Services, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor, and Kamilah Smith, Policy Advisor for Statewide Initiatives and former FEMA official.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke said, "Hurricane Irma has devastated several island nations in the Caribbean. As a proud daughter of the Caribbean, I applaud Governor Cuomo for surveying the damage and supporting Governor Mapp. The people of the U.S. Virgin Islands are in desperate need of water, food, and shelter. I am working with my colleagues in Congress to send the needed resources to the U.S. Virgin Islands and all nations in the Caribbean affected by the hurricane. I call on all New Yorkers to continue their prayers and support for our friends in the Caribbean."

Click here to hear Governor Cuomo discuss the mission with NY1 News reporter Pat Kiernan.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Prime Minister Theresa May Speaks on the 'Cowardly' Parsons Green Terror Attack


Source: RT UK

Statement from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I condemn the apparent terrorist attack in London today in the strongest possible terms. This attempt to instill fear through random violence is horrific, cowardly and a sobering reminder of the threats we face today.

"Out of an abundance of caution, I am directing state law enforcement to increase security at vital assets across New York, including airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems.

"The safety and security of New Yorkers is our number one priority, and we remain in close contact with local and federal officials. We remain vigilant, and we stand with the people of London."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo   

Mexico Weathers Through a Series of Natural Disasters


Source: euronews (in English)

UN Security Council to Meet After North Korea Fires Missile


Source: euronews (in English)

Japan: Another Rude Awakening from North Korea


Source: euronews (in English)

Amnesty Accuses Myanmar of Rohingya 'Ethnic Cleansing'


Source: euronews (in English)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Power of the Pen: New Bill Signed Into Law


On Thursday, September 14, 2017, the President signed into law:

S.J.Res. 49, which condemns the violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place during events between August 11 and August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, recognizing the first responders who lost their lives while monitoring the events, offering deepest condolences to the families and friends of those individuals who were killed and deepest sympathies and support to those individuals who were injured by the violence, expressing support for the Charlottesville community, rejecting White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups, and urging the President and the President’s Cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups. 

Statement by President Trump 

Today, I am pleased to sign S.J. Res. 49.  As Americans, we condemn the recent violence in Charlottesville and oppose hatred, bigotry, and racism in all forms.  No matter the color of our skin or our ethnic heritage, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God.  We are a Nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal.  As one people, let us move forward to rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

NH Officials Investigating Attack on Boy as Possible Hate Crime

New Hampshire investigators are looking into a disturbing incident with echoes from America’s racist past — an attack on an 8-year-old biracial boy that his family is calling an attempted lynching.

They are seeking to determine if the boy, who survived the harrowing ordeal and was later treated for rope burns to his neck, was the victim of a hate crime.

“To the extent that there is any credible information that this incident constituted a hate crime or a civil rights violation under New Hampshire law, the Office is prepared to take any and all appropriate action,” Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said in a statement. 

Click here for the full article.

Trump Team Plans New Sanctions Against Iran


WASHINGTON — The Trump administration plans to announce new sanctions against Iran as soon as Thursday while also taking steps to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran for now by extending the sanctions relief in the accord, senior administration officials familiar with the matter said.

The moves come in advance of President Donald Trump's first appearance at the United Nations General Assembly next week.

Trump plans to sign off on a new Iran policy in advance of the gathering of world leaders, but officials said he is delaying a final decision on pulling out of the 2015 deal to curtail Iran's nuclear program, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), while exploring options for renegotiating key elements.

Click here for the full article. 

President Trump Meets with Hurricane Irma Victims

 

Click here for video.

House Speaker Ryan: There is No Agreement on DACA

 

House Speaker Paul Ryan tells reporters that there is no agreement on DACA, only that there has been a discussion on general principles and that the issue cannot be fully addressed without also tackling border security and enforcement. He also says that the president has to work with Republicans to get something through the House. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN 

Minority Leader Pelosi: We Agreed to Move Forward on DACA


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says President Trump and congressional leaders have agreed to move forward on a DACA bill, with further discussion on border security expected to continue. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN 

FEMA Nominee Withdraws Over Past Investigation

White House Press Briefing


Source: The White House

Shannon Sharpe Praises 'Racism is as American as Baseball' Banner at Fenway


Source: Skip and Shannon: UNDISPUTED

Trailblazers in Black History: RuPaul



This video was published on YouTube on July 14, 2017. 

Source: Alux.com

Trans Model Ousted From L’Oreal Is Face of New Beauty Campaign

Transgender model and DJ Munroe Bergdorf, who was let go from L'Oreal last month after her "all white people" racism post on Facebook spread on social media, is the face of a new beauty campaign.

British cosmetic company Illamasqua announced on Wednesday that Bergdorf will be fronting their new gender fluidity campaign. 

Click here for the full article.

Lawyers for Freddie Gray’s Family Accept DOJ Decision to Not Charge Cops

Lawyers representing Freddie Gray's family said Wednesday that they have accepted the Justice Department's decision not to charge any officers involved in his fatal ride in a Baltimore police van, but dangled a provocative new accusation: that members of the force "sabotaged" local prosecutors' murder investigation.

The lawyers, William H. Murphy and his son, Hassan Murphy, said they were skeptical when they first heard Tuesday that the Justice Department had concluded it could not prove the officers violated Gray's civil rights.

But the family lawyers said they met with DOJ lawyers and left understanding the case's shortcomings: the government's limited jurisdiction over deaths in police custody, and the relatively high burden of proof required to convict officers in such cases. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News 

Acclaimed Jewish Authors to Appear at the Brooklyn Book Festival

On September 17, authors Joe Dorinson, Kvetching and Shpritzing: Jewish Humor in American Popular Culture, Ellen Levitt, Lost Synagogues of Brooklynand Sarina Roffé, Branching Out From Sepharad and Backyard Kitchen: Mediterranean Salads, will appear at the Brooklyn Book Festival. 

The authors are special guests of the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative (BJHI) and will be on hand to answer questions and sign copies of their books at Booth 101. 

The festival will be held at Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza, Cadman Plaza West and Johnston Street, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Click here for the festival map. 

Source: BJHI

Free Tours of the NY State Capitol and Education Building Offered



State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito and State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia today announced that visitors to Albany will have the opportunity to take free tours of both the State Education Building and the Capitol on every Saturday, beginning on October 7, due to the overwhelming popularity of Saturday tours that were being offered once a month.

Tours of the Education Building will be offered at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and tours of the Capitol will be given at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Each of the tours can accommodate 25 people and reservations are required. Reservations can be made here. Visitors can choose to register for either the State Education Building tour and/or the New York State Capitol tour.

“The popularity of our combined Capitol and Education Building tours became apparent very quickly when we began offering them earlier this summer,” State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said. “We are very pleased to continue our collaboration with the State Education Department to now offer these tours every Saturday so that that weekend visitors will have even more opportunities to see and learn about these amazing historic buildings.”

“The Education Building is full of impressive art and rich history and we’re honored to now share the building with the public during weekly Saturday tours,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “I encourage people of all ages – adults, children, families – to register for a tour and learn about this grand, historic building.”

“There’s been such great interest in the State Education Building tours that we’re honored to offer the Saturday tours weekly now,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “The building is an architectural gem that the public deserves to see and appreciate. We’re pleased to work with the State Office of General Services to offer visitors more opportunities to spend an afternoon exploring both the historic State Capitol and State Education Building.”

The award-winning hour-long State Capitol tours conducted by the State Office of General Services on Saturdays begin at the Empire State Plaza Visitor Center, located underground on the North Concourse level of the Plaza between SEFCU and the tunnel to the Capitol. Highlights of the tour can include the legislative chambers, Hall of Governors, Governor’s Reception Room, Hall of New York, historic staircases and carvings.

Sitting atop Albany’s State Street hill, the New York State Capitol has served as the seat of government for New York since the 1880s. The building is a marvel of late 19th century architectural grandeur, built by hand of solid masonry over a period of 32 years.

New York State Museum staff lead the 45-minute Education Building tour, and visitors will have the opportunity to explore the historic Chancellors Hall, Regents Room and the Rotunda adorned with murals by Albany native Will H. Low. The tours start outdoors on the front steps of the State Education Building, which is located at 89 Washington Avenue, Albany. This year marked the first time the building has been made available for regular public tours since the State Museum and Library were moved from the Education Building to the Cultural Education Center in the 1970s. When the monthly State Education Building tours were announced to the public in July, all available reservations were booked within 24 hours.

The New York State Education Building was designed by renowned New York City architect, Henry Hornbostel, one of 63 architects to submit plans, and was constructed by the Rochester firm R. T. Ford and Company. Construction began in 1908 and the building was dedicated in 1912. At the time, the cost to construct the building amounted to approximately $4 million and covered everything from the purchase of the land to building construction. The Education Building was the first major building constructed in the United States solely as a headquarters for the administration of education. In addition to State Education Department staff, the Education Building housed the State Library and State Museum—now currently in the Cultural Education Center.

More information on the history of the State Education Building is available here.

Photos of the State Education Building are available here.

Visit the Office of General Services website for more information about weekday tours, special exhibits and the history of the Capitol, Empire State Plaza, and the Empire State Plaza Art Collection.

Source: The Office of General Services

DEC to Take Aggressive Actions to Hold Niagara Falls Water Board Accountable and Protect Water Quality


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has been ordered to take a series of actions to hold the Niagara Falls Water Board accountable and protect water quality. DEC is assessing a $50,000 penalty and issuing a consent order that would prohibit the board from making any black water discharges, restrict the board from making any discharges from the sediment basins at the plant without DEC approval, and other provisions to prevent further violations of New York water quality standards.

This comes a result of the investigation ordered by Governor Andrew Cuomo following the July 29 incident, which found that the Niagara Falls Water Board has not properly maintained equipment nor adequately trained workers, and generally failed to follow appropriate protocols. DEC's consent order with the water board will address these deficiencies to prevent further water quality violations.  

"Polluting one of world's greatest wonders is completely intolerable and unacceptable, and this action today will hold the Niagara Falls Water Board accountable, require them to clean up their practices and protect the economically important Niagara River," Governor Cuomo said.  "I am directing DEC to continue to closely monitor operations of the plant to guarantee immediate steps are taken to prevent future violations." 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Sen. Sanders Announces 'Medicare For All' Bill as Solution for Health Care


Selena Gomez Reveals Her Secret Kidney Transplant


From The G-Man wishes Miss Gomez a speedy recovery and encourages those battling lupus to keep the faith.

Criminal Investigation Into Florida Nursing Home Deaths


Source: CBS News

Related Story: Owner of Hollywood Nursing Home Where Eight Died Has History of Fraud Charges

Democrats Claim DACA Deal Reached with Trump


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's Travel Request Raises Red Flags

DL Hughley on ESPN-Jemele Hill Controversy



Tomi Lauren to ESPN's Jemele Hill, 'You'd Better Watch Out'


Source: Fox News

ESPN's Jemele Hill Sparks Outrage, Calls Trump A White Supremacist


Source: Roland Martin

Related story: ESPN Hasn't Learned Its Lesson With Jemele Hill 

Mayor de Blasio Makes Announcement on City Efforts to Curb Climate Change


Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Syracuse's Alarming Poverty Rate Keeps Rising in 2016: 13th Worst in U.S.



WASHINGTON -- Syracuse's desperate poverty rate worsened last year, even while poverty rates improved in most of the country, new Census numbers show.

Syracuse's 2016 poverty rate was 13th worst in the United States, the Census Bureau reported today.

Syracuse stood out for the wrong reasons. The rest of the nation fell to its lowest poverty rate since 2007, before the arrival of the Great Recession. Most Upstate New York cities saw their rates drop or stay steady.

The nation's poverty rate fell to 12.7 percent in 2016, while the incomes of middle-class Americans increased to the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau.

Click here for the full article.

Source: syracuse.com (via The Empire Report)

Upstate Teamsters Hit with 29 Percent Pension Cut

Albany - An estimated 16,000 retired Teamsters across upstate New York will be hit with 29 percent pension cuts on Oct. 1 as the union representing truckers and others in the shipping industry grapples with declining membership and a growing number of retirees.

Another 21,000 active, or currently employed Teamsters will see their pensions drop 18 percent below what they previously counted on for retirement.

The cuts are for members of Teamsters Local 294, also known as the Upstate Teamsters. Many of the members work for UPS, a major freight and delivery service.

The pensions are known as multi-employer plans, which are union-administered programs for workers such as truck drivers who may work for a variety of employers during their careers.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: timesunion.com (via The Empire Report) 

War in Yemen: Are Western Weapons Being Used Against Civilians?


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Russian Military Drills Stir NATO Unease


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Paris Officially Named Host City for the 2024 Olympic Games


Source: FRANCE 24 English

Venezuela: Rivals Edge Closer Towards Crisis Talks


Source: FRANCE 24 English