Sunday, January 21, 2018

Cuomo Announces Reopening of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Source: NYGovCuomo

In Memoriam: Leslie Wyche, 'Harlem's Mayor'

Community Activist Dead at 73

By Larry McShane

Leslie Wyche, a life-long Harlem resident known for years as the uptown neighborhood’s honorary mayor, passed away Thursday evening at a Bronx hospital. He was 73.

Wyche worked in the office of current state Assemblywoman Inez Dickens during her time on the City Council, and belonged to both the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and the advocacy group One Hundred Black Men, Inc.

"He really, really enjoyed people,” Dickens said.

“Practically everybody knew him, and they knew they could go up to him with a problem and he would take it to the right agency to get at the root of the issue.”

The dapper Wyche also appeared in several scenes as an extra in the movie “American Gangster,” where Denzel Washington played Harlem-based druglord Frank Lucas, said his friend Michael Garner, president of One Hundred Black Men.

“He was very socially conscious,” recalled Garner. “He gave back to the community. He was involved in politics.”

Click here for the full article.

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

From The G-Man salutes Mr. Wyche's legacy and contributions to the Harlem community with the following video. May he forever rest in peace.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

US Government Shutdown: Who's to Blame?

Source: Al Jazeera English

Cuomo Delivers Remarks at the 2018 Women's March on New York City

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivered remarks at the 2018 Women's March on New York City. Last week, Governor Cuomo unveiled the 2018 Women's Agenda for New York—a 30 plank proposal to advance equality and promote opportunity in women and girls' health, safety, workplace, and family life.

here to listen. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo  

Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray Deliver Remarks at Rally

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Governor Cuomo Delivers Remarks at the Women's March Breakfast

Source: NYGovCuomo

Government Shuts Down as Bill to Extend Funding Is Blocked; Senators Continue to Seek Deal

By The New York Times 

The United States government has officially shut down. Lawmakers are now scrambling for a quick deal to reopen it and buy them more negotiation time.

• Much of the federal government officially shut down early Saturday morning after Senate Democrats, showing remarkable solidarity in the face of a clear political danger, blocked consideration of a stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating.

• Senators from both parties were scrambling for a new deal to reopen the government quickly, possibly just hours after the midnight deadline passed.

• The roll call, was 50 in favor and 49 against. Sixty votes are needed to end debate and move to a final vote. Five Democrats voted to end debate, while four Republicans voted with most of the Democrats to block the bill.

Click here for the full article.

Statement by the  Press Secretary 

Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown. Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans. We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform. During this politically manufactured Schumer Shutdown, the President and his Administration will fight for and protect the American people. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

  SUNY Student Assembly President Responds to Government Shutdown

 Student Assembly President Marc J. Cohen stated: 

"SUNY students are disappointed in the failure of Congress and the President to reach an agreement to keep the federal government open and operational. While many essential services will continue during the shutdown, many in the SUNY family will now have to worry about when they will get their next paycheck and hundreds of thousands of federal employees, and their families, will suffer the consequences of mandatory furloughs.

"While this shutdown is incredibly consequential for many Americans, SUNY students and families can be assured that federal financial aid payments by way of programs like PELL and Stafford loans, which many students depend on, will continue to be dispersed this semester. Most of the staff at the Department of Education will be furloughed however, so issues stemming from FAFSA submission and questions about financial aid may go unanswered for the duration of the shutdown. 

"We strongly urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to keep the federal government funded, and to alleviate the uncertainty that has resulted from continual short term continuing resolutions. The Student Assembly also urges Speaker Paul Ryan and Leader Mitch McConnell to allow clean votes on a bill providing permanent legal status for DACA recipients. A legislative solution to protect DACA recipients has broad bipartisan support in the public and in Congress, and would pass both houses if a vote were called. The young Americans who depend on DACA status for security in the only home they have ever known have waited long enough to have their status assured. 

"Millions of students across New York and our nation are counting on our elected leaders in Washington to put polarized partisanship aside, and move forward in the spirit of progress."

Source: SUNY SA

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Special Salute to the Women's March (2018)

Click on the photo to increase its size. 

Captions created by "G-Man"

What's Different About the 2018 Women's March?

Source: Newsy

African American Women in Cinema at Sundance

 Click on the flier to increase its size. 

Source: ImageNation

Happening in Harlem: Free Tribeca Filmmaker Training for Teens

Click on the flier to increase its size. 

Source: ImageNation

The 38th Empire State Winter Games to Begin February 1

The 38th annual Empire State Winter Games will kick off on Thursday, February 1 and will run until Sunday, February 4 in Lake Placid. More than 2,500 participants will compete in 17 different sports during the three-day multi-sport festival.

"The North Country is home to world-class winter sports and this February, New York welcomes thousands of athletes and winter sports enthusiasts to enjoy the 38th Empire State Winter Games," Governor Cuomo said. "I encourage families from near and far to watch the games and enjoy all that the North Country has to offer."

This multi-sport destination festival gives amateur athletes the opportunity to compete in world-class Olympic venues in more than 30 events. The Games will kick off with an inaugural Torch Relay departing from New York City.

The 2018 Empire State Winter Games includes an expanded outdoor village located on Lake Placid's Main Street. The Village will host the ESWG cauldron, a Jumbotron with livestreaming, ESWG television event coverage, live music, spectator speed tubing, and the 2018 ESWG winter bike and NorX competitions. One of 2018's new events, the inaugural Rail Jam competition, will take place at Malone's Titus Mountain. The Village will also feature samples of soups and chili prepared by local chefs for Taste of the Games.

Outdoor sporting events will be held at the Saranac Lake Civic Center, and Nordic and alpine skiing will be held at Dewey Mountain and Mount Pisgah in Saranac Lake. Additionally, Paul Smith's College's Visitors Interpretive Center will host snowshoe racing events.

Olympic Regional Development Authority President and CEO Mike Pratt said, "This has been an extremely exciting winter on ORDA's venues. Lake Placid has hosted five international events that have played significant roles in selecting Olympic teams around the world. Everyone at ORDA takes tremendous pride in not only hosting World Cup and world championship caliber competition, but also events like this that inspire future Olympians."

Executive Director of the Empire State Winter Games Tait Wardlaw said, "Thanks to the Governor, the growth of the Games has come from a concerted effort to create more fun things to do for athletes and their friends and families. We view the Games as a reward for getting outside, working hard and playing hard. This year's Games will be more fun for everyone than ever before."

For more information about the 38th Empire State Winter Games, click here.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 
Photo source: Empire State Winter Games

Minority Leader Pelosi Holds News Conference on Government Shudown

Click here for video.

Johnson & Johnson's JLABS Giving Out $50,000 in Grants

Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS has launched its Lab Coat of the Future Challenge, offering participants an opportunity to transform the age-old, often stereotyped symbol of science – the white lab coat – into a symbol of breakthrough innovation in the 21st century.

JLABS is giving out $50,000 in grants, including mentorship from the Johnson & Johnson Innovation team and the design community. "Shark Tank" star Daymond John will help select the winner. 

Entries close on February 2.

Click here for additional information and to file an application.

Source: The Weekly Rundown from Daymond John

'Flashback Friday': The Liberation of Dachau Concentration Camp

April 29, 1945

Established by the Nazis in March 1933, the Dachau concentration camp was "the first concentration camp for political prisoners" as Heinrich Himmler officially described the camp. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the small town of Dachau, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) northwest of Munich. 

On April 29, 1945 American troops of the 45th Thunderbird Division liberated the Dachau camp together with units of the 42nd Infantry and the 20th Armored division. 

The film was shot by a cameramen for the U.S. Signal Corps, April 29 and May 5 1945.

Source: Timeline

Trailblazers in Black History: Brook Benton

Brook Benton was a very popular soul singer in the early 60's and sold many, many records for the Mercury label. He had a voice that had a very wide appeal and was also a talented songwriter.

Born Benjamin Franklin Peay in Camden, South Carolina in 1931, he became a gospel singer at a young age. While still a child, he worked delivering milk in the morning and joined the Camden Jubilee Singers.

He enjoyed writing songs and in 1948, at age 17, journeyed to New York City to try to sell some of them. With his gospel singing background, it was not long before he drifted in and out of gospel groups such as Bill Langford's Spiritual Singers, the Langfordaires, the Golden Gate Quartet, and the Jerusalem Stars. Brook returned to South Carolina and drove a truck while continuing his music career. He joined an R&B singing group, the Sandmen, and once again went north in search of a big break.

Click here for additional information.


Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: Democratic Party Faces Reckoning for Purging Sanders Supporters

Source: Democracy Now!

New SPLC Report Examines How Trump is Attacking Civil Rights

The following statement was submitted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Concerned Citizens: 

When Donald Trump ran for office, he spoke the language of the so-called alt-right – really just a collection of white supremacists and other hatemongers who have rebranded themselves for the digital age.

They were thrilled and emboldened by his candidacy, seeing in him a kindred spirit.

It didn’t bode well for our country.

Now, a year has passed, and the wreckage we saw coming is no longer hypothetical. It’s very real.

We’ve compiled an in-depth report – America the Trumped – listing 10 ways that Trump and his administration are attacking the civil rights of the most vulnerable people in our country.

We hope you can take a few minutes to read it.

It surely doesn’t cover all the damage. We all know Trump’s also fraying our social norms and undermining our democracy in many other ways, such as his incessant lying and his attacks on the free press.

We won’t be celebrating his first anniversary as president tomorrow. Rather, we’ll be recommitting ourselves to the battle against hate and injustice. Many of us, in fact, will be joining the Women’s Marches that are happening across the country.

We know the march for justice is never over and that we can never stop fighting to make the promise of America a reality for everyone – particularly right now.

Thank you for everything you do in your community. Together, we can make a real difference.

Poll: More Than Half of Americans Strongly Disapprove of Trump

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump ends his first year in office with 39 percent of Americans approving of his job performance, according to the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll — the lowest mark in the poll’s history for any modern president ending his first year.

Fifty-seven percent disapprove of Trump’s job, including a majority of respondents — 51 percent — who now say they strongly disapprove, which is a record high for Trump in the survey. That’s compared with 26 percent of Americans who strongly approve of the president’s job. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Trump Administration Takes DACA Appeal to Supreme Court

Source: CBS News

President Trump Addresses Anti-Abortion Rally in Washington, D.C.

The president delivers remarks to participants in the "March for Life" from the White House Rose Garden.

White House Press Briefing on Potential Government Shutdown

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney and White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short address the looming shutdown and take questions from the media followed by analysis on ABC News' "The Briefing Room." 

Source: ABC News

House Passes Stopgap Spending Bill, Senate Fate Uncertain

Qatari Royal: Gulf Crisis to Seize Qatar's Wealth

Yemenis Rummage Through Garbage Looking for Food

International Lobbying Industry Running Scared

US Sending Mixed Messages About Border Force in Syria

Trump: A Year of Unclear Middle East Policy

Turkey Increases Military Presence Along Border Near Syria’s Afrin

Palestinian Killed by Israeli Forces in Occupied West Bank

Will Korean Sports Diplomacy Extend to Nuclear Weapons?

This report was broadcast on January 18. 

Source: Al Jazeera English

Cuomo Receives 'Fix NYC' Report

Statement from the Governor

"I have received the report from Fix NYC and will review it carefully. I thank the panel for their hard work and effort. I will discuss the alternatives with the legislature over the next several months.

"There is no doubt that we must finally address the undeniable, growing problem of traffic congestion in Manhattan's central business district and present a real, feasible plan that will pass the legislature to raise money for MTA improvements, without raising rider fares.

"A uniform pricing model for FHVs that discourages continuing presence in the central business district and incentivizes trucks to deliver on off peak hours is a necessary component.

"Tolls must be more fair. Trips to and from New Jersey can be less expensive than trips from New York City's outer boroughs. Tolls vary widely, and they must be rationalized so costs are fair to all.

"The report accurately points out that the objective is not to raise tolls entering the borough of Manhattan, but more specifically those trips adding to the congestion in a defined central business district.

"But, as a born and raised Queens boy, I have outer borough blood in my veins, and it is my priority that we keep costs down for hard working New Yorkers, and encourage use of mass transit. We must also find a way to reduce the costs for outer borough bridges in any plan ultimately passed."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Click here to review the report.

NYC Congestion Pricing: What You Need to Know


What is congestion pricing?

It is a fee charged to drivers traveling in highly congested areas during the times of day when traffic is at its heaviest to help reduce gridlock.

Enacting congestion pricing for some of Manhattan’s high-traffic neighborhoods has been a point of debate for at least the past decade. Now, it looks like the concept could see a revival.

What’s being proposed?

Details of a congestion pricing plan will be released by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Fix NYC panel on Friday.

Cuomo recently said the Fix NYC proposal “doesn’t toll bridges” into and out of Manhattan that are currently free like the Queensboro Bridge but would charge drivers for entering the most congested parts of Manhattan during certain times.

One recommendation is to charge private vehicles a one-way fee of $11.52, or a two-way fee of $5.76, according to a source familiar with the plan. Those fees would be implemented at 60th Street. Different fees would be in place for trucks, taxis and for-hire vehicles.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: amNEWYORK (via Empire Report New York) 

Rep. Joe Crowley: IDC Could ‘Suffer the Consequences’

by Anthony O’Reilly
Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) said last Friday that Queens members of the Independent Democratic Conference have about three months left to come back to the mainline Democrats, or they will “suffer the consequences.”

“They have until April to come back, or they will face a head-on primary by everyone,” Crowley, chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, told the Chronicle’s editorial board. “But I’m encouraging them to come back before that.”

The IDC is a group of eight breakaway Democrats who have shared power with Senate Republicans since 2011.

There are two members from Queens — state Sens. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst).

A spokesman for Peralta said in a statement, "Senator Peralta is focused on doing his job to make sure the people in his district are protected from congressional changes to the tax law, with potential cuts to health care, education and to address the changes due to the removal of state tax exemptions. As he already made clear, he supports the plan already in place for all Democrats to work together."

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Queens Chronicle (via Empire Report New York) 

Saying You Want to Reform the Tax Code? Easy. Doing It? Less So.

By Vivian Wang and Jesse McKinley 

ALBANY — It read like a maddening instruction manual for a do-it-yourself piece of furniture, with page after page of bare-bones guidance — and plenty of room for confusion.

If taxpayers and lawmakers were expecting that a new 37-page report would provide a definitive road map of how New York State might sidestep the effects of President Trump’s new federal tax plan and its sharp reduction in the deductibility of state and local taxes, they instead got a view of just how complicated this is.

The report, released this week, laid out at least a half-dozen ways New York could rewrite its tax code, with no indication of which option legislators might pursue. There was a potpourri of progressive rates, wage credits and tax-withholding schemes, with officials cautioning that all the options would require further study. No bills have been drafted.

The possibilities included completely replacing the state income tax with an employer-side payroll tax; introducing a new progressive payroll tax in addition to the existing income tax, with tax credits to make up the difference; or designing a payroll tax only for wage earners above a certain income threshold — the taxpayers most likely to be hurt by the federal tax plan in the first place. Some versions would be mandatory. Others would be opt-in.\

Click here for the full article. 

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

From Half Million to $0, CNY Developers Accused of Bribery Drop Out of Political Giving

Syracuse, N.Y. - They were once the biggest political donors in Central New York, but the principals in Cor Development have completely dropped out of the campaign finance world since they were brought up on federal corruption charges in 2016.

Fayetteville developers Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi are scheduled to appear in federal court in Manhattan next week on charges of bribing a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, then lying about it. They deny the charges.

Before their fall from grace, Cor entities, Aiello, Gerardi and other family members and associates in the company were the biggest CNY donors to state and local politicians.

Over a decade, they gave nearly $500,000 to Cuomo, state legislators, former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and other elected officials. They had also contributed to U.S. Rep. John Katko's campaign.

Their 2017 contributions totaled $0, according to campaign finance reports filed this week with the New York State Board of Elections.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: (via Empire Report New York) 

NYS Senator James Sanders Jr's Open Letter to Donald Trump

Senator James Sanders Jr. recently wrote a letter to President Trump expressing his outrage over the Commander-In-Chief's latest racist and anti-immigrant remarks. The letter is supported and co-signed by Senator Leroy Comrie and Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman.
January 12, 2018

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

We are deeply disturbed and offended by the callous and racist remarks you made yesterday, in which you rejected a bi-partisan proposal to protect immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and parts of Africa, which you allegedly called “s**thole” countries. Instead, you said we should be welcoming more immigrants from countries like Norway, which is predominantly Caucasian.

The United States is a nation of immigrants and a melting pot of cultures and that means accepting people from everywhere including nations inhabited by people of color. Your ignorant statement further solidifies the anti-immigrant agenda that you have constantly pushed forward through actions like the Muslim Ban, the proposed Mexican wall, and the ending of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, Salvadorians and Nicaraguans, as well as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

You don’t want to make America great. You want to make America white. You want to select who populates this country by sealing out those you believe are undesirable. Those undesirables, however, are the people who work hard to achieve the American Dream and that is something that benefits all of us.

We demand that you issue an apology for your remarks, lead a humanitarian effort to help improve the conditions in the so-called “s**thole” countries, extend TPS for immigrants from those countries and create an affective pathway to citizenship for them.

We believe that all Americans of good faith will join us in a show of unity and strength to remind you that you cannot continue to embarrass our country through foolish deeds and actions. The United States is often held up as an example for the rest of the globe and we should behave accordingly.

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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Affirming Women's Rights: March to Be Held on Anniversary of Trump's Inauguration


March with Quakers

On January 20 at 10:00 a.m., Quakers will assemble at the Ethical Culture Society at 64th Street and Central Park West in New York City. The main entry for the Women’s March will be 71st Street and Central Park West.

Click here for general march information and a map of the route.

For Quaker contingent information the day of the march text (917) 684-8784.

Line Up: 11:00 a.m. (EST)

Rally: 11:30 a.m.-12:30/1:00 p.m.

The march will begin immediately following the rally and end when the last marcher crosses 6th Avenue and 45th Street.

Source: The Quaker Meeting House

First Lady of NYC Accepts 2018 Leadership Award from The Kennedy Forum

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

78 Ex-US Envoys to Africa Write Letter to Trump Following 'S-hole Countries' Comment

by Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG — Dozens of former U.S. ambassadors to African countries have written to President Donald Trump expressing “deep concern” over his comments about the continent and warning that respectful engagement is crucial to protecting American interests.

The letter to Trump is signed by 78 former envoys including former assistant secretaries of state for African affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Johnnie Carson. The letter, dated Tuesday, asks the president to “reassess” his views on the 54-nation continent, which it calls blessed with “almost unparalleled natural resources” and with which the U.S. has deep historical ties.

Trump referred to African nations as “shithole countries” last week in dismissing a bipartisan immigration proposal, according to those at the meeting. The president has denied using that language, but others present insist he did.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News