Wednesday, June 29, 2016

'PAN! Our Music Odyssey' to Be Shown at Marcus Garvey Park

On July 5, 2016, at 6 p.m., the National Black Programming Consortium, in association with the Historic Harlem Parks Film Festival, will present PAN! Our Music Odyssey at Marcus Garvey Park

Since the evolution of pan-a musical instrument crafted from oil drums as early as 1939 and perfected in the1950s-steel bands have mushroomed in every corner of the planet. Each year, philharmonic orchestras of over 100 musicians come to Trinidad from all countries of the world to compete for the greatest Pan event: the Panaroma. 

Pan is the story of the men and women throughout the Caribbean and the world who staked all on their art and whose passion and daring has drawn them to the world championships. Their stories are interlaced with re-enactments of the rags-to-riches tale of the steel band movement, which was born in poverty and violence but climbed to the highest levels of social and artistic acceptance without losing its life-or-death urgency.

The film's production team includes Jérôme Guiot, Thierry Teston and Kim Johnson, and it will be shown free-of-charge at the park's amphitheater on 122nd Street and Mt. Morris Park West. 

The Scales of Justice: Michigan Judge Goes Off on Cop Convicted of Beating Up Black Man

This video was originally published on YouTube on February 4, 2016.

Michigan Judge Vonda Evans went off on the now former Inkster police officer, William Mendez, who was being sentenced for beating up a black man. The judge — visibly upset about what occurred — let Mendez know that he and his cohorts were a bunch of racist cops. 

Mendez was sentenced morning for his involvement in a police brutality case. He was found guilty of misconduct of office and assault with intent to do bodily harm.

The charges stem from an incident which happened last January when he pulled over 58-year-old Floyd Dent for a minor traffic violation.

Black Women Await More Federal Research Into Fibroids

Uterine discomfort and heavy bleeding has been a constant presence in Renee Brown Small's life.

"I was in my 20's and I couldn't go to the beach with my girlfriends because of the bleeding," says Small.

Small is one of many African American women who suffer with fibroids— non-cancerous uterine tumors that can grow as large as a cantaloupe and often cause pelvic pain, along with other symptoms.The prevalence of fibroids — especially among African American women, who develop them at a higher rate — was a topic of discussion at the recent White House sponsored United State of Women Summit. 

Some 20 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids by age 50, according to the Office of Women's Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. This year, The National Institutes of Health estimates it will spend around $10 million dollars in research on the condition — $4 million dollars less than in 2012.  

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

First Read's Morning Clips: Trump, Clinton Respond to Istanbul

OFF TO THE RACES: Trump on Istanbul: "You have to fight fire with fire"

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump responded to the Istanbul terror attacks with reactions that exemplify the contrasts in their foreign policy approaches.

Trump: "You have to fight fire with fire," per NBC's Ali Vitali.
The New York Times looks at how the broad contours of voter allegiances are getting scrambled. "Whatever you think of Donald Trump, it is clear that this election has the potential to reshape the allegiances of many white working-class voters who have traditionally sided with the Democrats, and many well-educated voters who have sided with the Republicans."

A new Quinnipiac University national poll shows a closer race than other organizations have shown, with Clinton only leading 42 percent to 40 percent.

Here's a wrap of last night's downballot primary results in New York and Colorado.

And as the Washington Post notes, the Colorado result represents an important lost opportunity for Republicans. 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

David Cameron on the Hot Seat

The Prime Minister answered questions from members of his party and the opposition. He answered questions on the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

House Democrats News Conference on Planned Sit-ins on Gun Legislation

Congressional Democrats speak to reporters on Capitol Hill to discuss planned sit-ins in their districts and when the House returns from the July 4 recess to protest inaction on gun control legislation and force a vote on their amendments.

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Senator Isakson on Zika Virus Legislation

Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) speaks about the Senate vote to block the conference report for the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which included funding for combating the Zika virus. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Fall of the House of Rangel—Espaillat Tops Wright to Replace Retiring Congressman

State Senator Adriano Espaillat  

Congressman Charles Rangel was swift-footed and savvy enough to stay ahead of demographic and geographic changes in his district during his 46 years in the House of Representatives—but in the end, he just didn’t have enough juice to anoint an heir.

Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright lost his bid to replace his retiring 86-year-old mentor to State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who challenged Rangel in 2012 and 2014 but fell short. After a bitter Democratic primary campaign—one with heavy ethnic overtones—the Dominican Republic-born Espaillat beat the African-American Wright in the upper Manhattan-based district by approximately 1,300 votes.

Former White House aide Clyde Williams, another black candidate based in Harlem, placed third with more than 4,600 ballots and 11 percent of the overall vote. All told, 37,542 Democrats showed up at the polls in the low-turnout primary, and divided their votes among nine total contenders for the soon-to-be-vacant seat.

Wright lagged behind Espaillat by several hundred votes most of the night. But Rangel played coy when speaking to reporters before his handpicked candidate appeared at the gymnasium of the New York Mission Society on 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue. He refused to even comment on the possibility of somebody not from Harlem holding his seat, which has been based in the neighborhood since Adam Clayton Powell Jr., New York’s first black congressman won it in 1944.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Observer (News and Politics) and The Empire Report 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

White House and State Department Reaction to the Benghazi Report

Spokesman Josh Earnest responds to reporters questions on a variety of topics, including the release of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s report on the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya and the fallout from the Brexit vote. 

Click here for video. 

The State Department's Reaction to the Benghazi Report 

Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner briefs reporters and responds to their questions on a variety of international topics, including the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s report on the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

SPLC President Urges Congress to Not Ignore Terrorism from Radical Right

SPLC President Richard Cohen testified today about the threat of radical-right terrorism before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts.

He delivered the following oral remarks to the subcommittee chaired by Sen. Ted Cruz, in addition to written testimony:

Thank you, Senator Cruz, it's good to see you again.

Our country faces threats of violent extremism from many sources.

The horrible massacre at the Orlando gay nightclub earlier this month by a gunmen pledging allegiance to ISIS is but the latest example.

A year ago this month, it was the massacre of black churchgoers at Charleston’s “Mother Emanuel” church by a white supremacist.

Two years ago this month, it was the murder of Las Vegas police officers by antigovernment zealots who had been at Cliven Bundy’s ranch.

I would not take issue with the Obama administration’s assessment that terrorism from those affiliated with or inspired by groups like ISIS “represent[s] the preeminent threat to our country.”

But I would point out that the threat of violent extremism from those blinded by racial hatred and rage at the government are serious ones as well. 

Click here for the full testimony. 

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center

White House Responds to Terrorist Attack at Ataturk International Airport

The following statement was issued today by Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s heinous terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport in Turkey, which appears to have killed and injured dozens.  Ataturk International Airport, like Brussels Airport which was attacked earlier this year, is a symbol of international connections and the ties that bind us together.  Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured.  We remain steadfast in our support for Turkey, our NATO Ally and partner, along with all of our friends and allies around the world, as we continue to confront the threat of terrorism.  

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Note: Additional information on the attack is available here 

National Security Council Notes: Ben Rhodes' Meeting with Vietnamese-American Leaders

Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin J. Rhodes met today with representatives from the Vietnamese-American community at the White House.  Attendees included leaders from academia, government, medicine, the military, and the non-profit sector.  He shared insights from the President’s trip to Vietnam in May 2016 and highlighted progress in U.S.-Vietnam relations over the past several years.  Participants exchanged views on a range of topics including education, trade and investment, human rights, and immigration.  He thanked participants for sharing their personal stories—including some who came to America as refugees—and for their leadership across a wide range of sectors.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

President Obama on the Death of Pat Summitt

The following statement was issued today by the President. 

Nobody walked off a college basketball court victorious more times than Tennessee’s Pat Summitt.  For four decades, she outworked her rivals, made winning an attitude, loved her players like family, and became a role model to millions of Americans, including our two daughters. Her unparalleled success includes never recording a losing season in 38 years of coaching, but also, and more importantly, a 100 percent graduation rate among her players who completed their athletic eligibility. Her legacy, however, is measured much more by the generations of young women and men who admired Pat’s intense competitiveness and character, and as a result found in themselves the confidence to practice hard, play harder, and live with courage on and off the court. As Pat once said in recalling her achievements, “What I see are not the numbers.  I see their faces.”

Pat learned early on that everyone should be treated the same. When she would play basketball against her older brothers in the family barn, they didn’t treat her any differently and certainly didn’t go easy on her. Later, her Hall of Fame career would tell the story of the historic progress toward equality in American athletics that she helped advance. Pat started playing college hoops before Title IX and started coaching before the NCAA recognized women’s basketball as a sport. When she took the helm at Tennessee as a 22-year-old, she had to wash her players’ uniforms; by the time Pat stepped down as the Lady Vols’ head coach, her teams wore eight championship rings and had cut down nets in sold-out stadiums.

Pat was a patriot who earned Olympic medals for America as a player and a coach, and I was honored to award her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was a proud Tennessean who, when she went into labor while on a recruiting visit, demanded the pilot return to Knoxville so her son could be born in her home state. And she was an inspiring fighter. Even after Alzheimer’s started to soften her memory, and she began a public and brave fight against that terrible disease, Pat had the grace and perspective to remind us that “God doesn’t take things away to be cruel. … He takes things away to lighten us.  He takes things away so we can fly.”

Michelle and I send our condolences to Pat Summitt’s family – which includes her former players and fans on Rocky Top and across America. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 

Additional information on the accomplishments and life of Ms. Summitt is available here.

Senate Leaders React to Vote Blocking Zika Funding

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, his Democratic counterpart Harry Reid, and Majority Whip John Cornyn speak on the Senate floor after senators voted to block Zika funding that included a 2017 appropriations bill. 

User-Created Clip
by nharris
June 28, 2016 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

House Benghazi Committee Republicans Release Report on 2012 Attack

Republican members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi release their report on the September 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans died, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

Federal Officials Testifty on the Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act

Jill Steinberg, with the Justice Department, and the Government Accountability Office’s Greta Goodwin testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on implementation of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN