Thursday, December 8, 2016

President Obama on the Passing of John Glenn: 'He Lifted the Hopes of a Nation'

 

When John Glenn blasted off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas rocket in 1962, he lifted the hopes of a nation.  And when his Friendship 7 spacecraft splashed down a few hours later, the first American to orbit the Earth reminded us that with courage and a spirit of discovery there's no limit to the heights we can reach together.  With John's passing, our nation has lost an icon and Michelle and I have lost a friend.  John spent his life breaking barriers, from defending our freedom as a decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, to setting a transcontinental speed record, to becoming, at age 77, the oldest human to touch the stars.  John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond--not just to visit, but to stay.  Today, the people of Ohio remember a devoted public servant who represented his fellow Buckeyes in the U.S. Senate for a quarter century and who fought to keep America a leader in science and technology.  Our thoughts are with his beloved wife Annie, their children John and Carolyn and the entire Glenn family.  The last of America's first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their example we know that our future here on Earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens.  On behalf of a grateful nation, Godspeed, John Glenn. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Former Astronaut, Senator John Glenn Dead at 95


Veterans Who Stood With Standing Rock Say They’re Heading To Flint Next



U.S. military veterans who traveled to North Dakota to support the Standing Rock Sioux in opposing the Dakota Access pipeline have new plans to organize in Flint, Michigan.

Wes Clark Jr., a U.S. Army veteran, helped mobilize veterans to join the effort to protect the Standing Rock Sioux’s water supply. The tribe says crude oil could leak into their water if the pipeline were to cross under the Lake Oahe reservoir. Flint, where residents continue to have lead-tainted water despite a national outcry earlier this year, seems like the next logical destination for activism-minded vets.

“We don’t know when we are going to be there, but we will be heading to Flint,” Clark told Michigan Live on Monday, noting that people have been mistreated for a long time and need support. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Huffington Post

National Security Council Notes: Susan Rice’s Meeting with State Councilor Guo Shengkun of China

 
The following statement was issued by National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price. 

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice met today with State Councilor Guo Shengkun of China to emphasize the importance of fully adhering to the U.S.-China cyber commitments from President Xi's September 2015 State Visit.   The meeting occurred following the conclusion of the third U.S.-China High-Level Joint Dialogue on Cybercrime and Related Issues, which State Councilor Guo co-chaired along with Attorney General Lynch and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson on December 7.

Ambassador Rice raised U.S. concerns about the potential impacts of China's cybersecurity law and Foreign Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) management law on commercial and people-to-people links between the United States and China.  She underscored the United States’ enduring concern about human rights conditions in China.  She also encouraged further promoting bilateral risk reduction measures, including between both sides' Coast Guards.  Ambassador Rice and State Councilor Guo agreed that the United States - China relationship is the most consequential relationship in the world, and both expressed support for continued efforts to develop more durable and constructive bilateral ties. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

NSTAC Member Meeting


The committee met on December 7, 2016, to receive remarks from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership and other senior government officials regarding the Government’s current cybersecurity initiatives and NS/EP priorities.

Saving Our Youth: Gang Free Inc.


Steve Harvey continues his celebration of inspiring women by teaming up with Ford to honor Melissa Elliott of Henderson, NC. Melissa is the creator of Gang Free Inc., an anti-gang program for teens. 

Source: Steve Harvey

Trailblazers in Black History: Annette Gordon-Reed

 
Annette Gordon-Reed is an American historian and law professor. At Harvard University, she holds the Charles Warren Professorship in American Legal History, and is the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. 

She is noted for changing scholarship on Thomas Jefferson regarding his relationship with Sally Hemings and her children. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History and 15 other prizes in 2009 for her work on the Hemings family of Monticello, and in 2010 she received the National Humanities Medal and was named a MacArthur Fellow. 

Additional information is available here.

Source: Wikipedia

Governor Cuomo, Consulate General Announce Hurricane Matthew Donations Headed to Haiti



Governor Andrew Cuomo and Consul General Peter Helder Bernard, Esq. of the Consulate General of Haiti in New York today announced food, water, medical supplies and other donations from New Yorkers will be delivered to assist those devastated by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The more than 30,000 pounds of donations on 60 pallets include food, water, hygiene products, medical supplies and clothing. New York, the Consulate, elected officials and local leaders worked together to gather items for those in need and provide support services for family members in New York following the hurricane earlier this year. Items will be transferred from the New York State Office of General Services warehouse in Brentwood by truck and rail to Florida, and then shipped to Haiti by the Consulate.

“Haiti is still struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and I am proud New Yorkers opened their hearts and donated these much needed supplies to support this nation’s recovery efforts,” Governor Cuomo said. “New Yorkers always help their neighbors in need, whether they are next door or around the globe.”

Consul General Peter Helder Bernard, Esq. said, “Hurricane Matthew caused much devastation in so many areas of the country and the outpouring of aid from the people of New York is so great, it is an honor to personally thank you all for your generosity and support for our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Haiti loves New York…and New York loves Haiti.”

Hurricane Matthew was a Category 4 storm when it hit the southwestern portion of Haiti on October 4, 2016. The effects of heavy rain, high winds and damaging tides took their toll on the country, its people and its land. Information provided by the Consulate General of Haiti in New York indicates the storm left nearly 500 people dead, approximately 150,000 homeless, and more than a million severely struggling for the means to survive. Six years after suffering a catastrophic earthquake claiming the lives of over 300,000 Haitians, the people of Haiti were yet again dealt a devastating blow as the storm ravaged farms and livestock, eliminating a prime source of food and destroyed communities including Jeremie, Grand Anse, Les Cayes, Nippes.

Ongoing challenges for the Haitian people include addressing the Cholera epidemic and supplying those affected by Hurricane Matthew with the basic amenities of life. In response, the Consulate General of the Republic of Haiti in NY, the office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, community organizations including the National Action Network, local and state government officials, and many others joined forces to help the people of Haiti.

The Haitian Consulate worked with the Governor’s office to help manage logistics for community donations and the New York National Guard picked up the collected items at more than 25 state office locations throughout the State and delivered them to State warehouse locations in Albany and Brentwood. The Office of General Services packaged the items and readied the donations for shipment. Photos of the donation packaging are available here.

Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, “As we know from our own experiences with hurricanes here in New York State, we understand that recovery efforts will go on for a long time. We hope that the supplies donated by our citizens will offer some relief to the people devastated by Hurricane Matthew.”

Major General Anthony German, the Adjutant General of New York, said, "The men and women of the New York National Guard are proud to do their part in helping to get these supplies donated by New Yorkers to people as they recover from Hurricane Matthew.”

The following elected officials and local leaders assisted with the recovery effort led by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Consul General Peter Helder Bernard Esq.:

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke
Senator Kevin Parker
Senator James Sanders Jr.
Assemblyman N. Nick Perry
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein
Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages
Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte
Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre
Assembly-elect Clyde Vanel
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
Council Member Mathieu Eugene
Council Member Jumaane D. Williams
Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages
Joseph Makhandal Champagne, former Mayor of South Toms River, New Jersey 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Gen. Barry McCaffrey: Michael Flynn’s Tweets ‘Border on Demented’


General Barry McCaffrey spoke out against Gen. Michael Flynn who he supported for serving as National Security Adviser, saying his recent tweets “border on the demented,” and deserve further scrutiny.

Alleged Police Shooter Is Dead in Georgia: Officials

A gunman who allegedly killed one police officer and critically injured another in Georgia is dead after a 27-hour manhunt, officials said on Thursday.

Authorities did not indicate if Minquell Kennedy Lembrick, 32, took his own life or was taken down by authorities. A press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m.

The manhunt for Lembrick intensified Thursday morning with more than 200 law enforcement officers across agencies joining the search.

Minquell escaped after the shooting near Georgia Southwestern State University on Wednesday morning, and was considered armed and dangerous, authorities said. Overnight, officials raised the award for Lembrick's arrest to $70,000. 

Click here for the full article.

Building Inspector Hadn't Been Inside Oakland Warehouse for 30 Years

No Oakland building code enforcement inspector had looked at the inside of the converted warehouse that was the scene of last week's deadly fire in three decades, a city official said Wednesday.

The revelation in the wake of the fire at the "Ghost Ship" artists' collective that left 36 people dead raises questions about city inspection policies and how officials could have missed a commercial building converted to living space that's been described as a "labyrinth" and firetrap.

But it was still unclear when, or if, a fire inspector had been inside the warehouse, which had no fire alarms or sprinklers installed. The building had no permits for residences or events but had been converted to living and work spaces. 

Click here for the full article. 

Michael Slager Jury Foreman Speaks Out on Mistrial in Walter Scott Shooting

 

Jury foreman Dorsey Montgomery is joined by attorney Ross Miller on TODAY to talk about the mistrial declared earlier this week in the trial of former police officer Michael Slager, who shot and killed Walter Scott, an unarmed black man. Montgomery says that at the start of the trial, the jury was prepared to convict Slager. 

Click here for video.

Source: TODAY/NBC News

Dylann Roof Trial Update:  
Charleston Church Massacre Survivor Tells of Watching Son Die as Trial Begins

Cops Gagged and Smothered a Man to Death, Then Fist-Bumped

 
After a disturbed man bit an officer, a ‘spit sock’ was put over his mouth, and then more officers got on his back. Yet police say the man’s death wasn’t their fault.

By Kelly Weill

Police handcuffed Ben Anthony C de Baca, threw him on his stomach, pulled a mask over his face, and planted their knees in his back. While he cried that he couldn’t breathe, the officers were busy laughing at a joke. They stopped laughing when they realized he’d gone limp.

“Anthony,” one officer said, wiggling the dead man’s arm. “Anthony.”

“Fuck,” another one said.

He was dead.

Twelve minutes after that, two officers fist-bumped.

Medical examiners ruled C de Baca’s Sept. 6, 2015 death a homicide from “excited delirium (cocaine intoxication) complicated by means of physical restraint.” An investigation by New Mexico’s Rio Rancho Police Department found no criminal intent by any of the three police agencies involved in the arrest. But C de Baca’s family says his death was a senseless act of police brutality and incompetence. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

NYPD Spied on Black Lives Matter During Eric Garner Protests — But Won’t Release Any Info, Group Says

 
By Victoria Bekiempis and Thomas Tracy

Members of Black Lives Matter appeared in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday to demand the NYPD release information on how it monitored protests on high-profile police-involved deaths.

Protesters said the NYPD used undercover surveillance at the demonstrations over the chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island and shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

The group argues that the NYPD bow to a Freedom of Information law request to release details of any surveillance of protests that took place in Grand Central Terminal between November 2014 and November 2015.

So far, the NYPD has refused to hand over the documents. 

Click here for the full article. 

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

De Blasio Touts Reductions in Stop-and-Frisk That Occurred Under Bloomberg

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently sent out a fund-raising email in which he seemed to claim that he reduced stop-and-frisk by 97 percent — a drop that actually occurred almost entirely before he took office.

In the email, de Blasio recounted meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and telling him that over-using the tactic “creates a wedge” between police and local residents. He said that “not many people know precisely how much we have reduced the use of stop-and-frisk in New York City" and posed a question: 

“How much have we reduced the use of stop-and-frisk in New York City since its high point in 2011?” The answer, he said, is 97 percent. “I promised to fix it and we have,” he wrote in the email, which includes a link to make a donation.

But police stops decreased by 94 percent, from 203,500 in the first three months of 2012 to 12,497 during the last three months of 2013, while Michael Bloomberg was mayor. In fact, stop-and-frisk had been reduced so much during Bloomberg’s tenure that de Blasio’s first police commissioner, Bill Bratton, declared the problem “more or less solved” two weeks after de Blasio took office in January, 2014. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: Politico (via The Empire Report)

Scott Pruitt, New Trump EPA Head, Dangerous, Unqualified, Says NY AG

 

Scott Pruitt, who was tapped today by Donald Trump to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is “dangerous” and “unqualified” to protect the nation’s air and water, said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

In a blistering statement, the state’s top cop said he is “ready to use the full power” of his office to battle Pruitt if he “fails to uphold our nation’s environmental laws.”

Pruitt, a Republican, is currently Attorney General of Oklahoma, where his record on environmental issues, especially climate change, has been abysmal, according to Schneiderman.  

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Improper (via The Empire Report)