Friday, September 4, 2015

NYS Senator on Latest Legionnaires' Case: 'I Am Afraid to Think That This Administration Could Be Lying to Us'


By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York

"I am extremely concerned about the most recent case of Legionnaires at Melrose Houses, and I am afraid to think that this Administration could be lying to us. Not too long ago they said that everything is fine, and now they say it's not and more people are dying. Are they hiding something? If there is something else we need to know, I pray that they will tell us before more lives are lost."

Source: Press Office, Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz

White House Press Briefing

President Obama Speaks on Energy Policy

Kotzebue, AK. September 2, 2015.

President Obama Meeting with Saudi King Salman

President Obama speaks to reporters ahead of a meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Defense Department Briefing on Military Operations Against ISIS

Brigadier General Kevin Killea, chief of staff of the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, briefs reporters and responds to their questions on military efforts to fight the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.  

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations

Politico Trade reporter Adam Behsudi spoke about negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

Click here for the video.

Source: C-Span

Discussion on the Iran Nuclear Deal

As Congress prepares to debate and vote on a resolution of disapproval of the Iran nuclear agreement, a panel of experts assesses the pros and cons of the deal. The Center on Global Interests hosts this event.

Click here for the video. 

Source: C-Span

China Victory Day Commemoration

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at a military parade in Beijing commemorating the end of World War II.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Statement on the Employment Situation in August

WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in August. 

Our economy has now added 8.0 million jobs over the past three years, a pace that has not been exceeded since 2000. And while the economy added jobs at a somewhat slower pace in August than in recent months, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent—its lowest level since April 2008—and the labor force participation rate remained stable. Our businesses have now added 13.1 million jobs over 66 straight months, extending the longest streak on record. In addition, hourly earnings for American workers continued to rise. But there’s more work to do to ensure that America’s domestic momentum can continue to offset some of the headwinds from the global economy. That starts with avoiding self-inflicted wounds: Congress needs to pass a budget that reverses the sequester and avoids shutting down the government. But it’s also why the President is committed to pushing Congress to increase investments in infrastructure as part of a long-term transportation reauthorization, open new markets with expanded trade, and raise the minimum wage.  


1. The private sector has added 13.1 million jobs over 66 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that private-sector employment rose by 140,000 in August, below the recent pace. Despite the monthly volatility in employment growth, long-term trends remain strong. The unemployment rate declined to 5.1 percent, its lowest level since early 2008, while the labor force participation rate remained stable. Wages continued to rise, with average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers up 2.2 percent over the past year.

 (Click on graphs to increase their size.)

2. Over the past twelve months, rising real hourly earnings accounted for close to 40 percent of the increase in real aggregate weekly earnings. Aggregate weekly earnings are the total wages and salaries paid to all private employees on nonfarm payrolls. Changes in aggregate earnings can be driven by contributions from employment, from the length of the average workweek, and from average hourly earnings. The large contribution of rising hourly earnings is a recent trend. Aggregate earnings reached a cyclical trough in December 2009, and over the following year-and-a-half, real hourly wages declined. The aggregate earnings increase during that early period was more than accounted for by a combination of rising employment and a longer workweek. Over the next three years, both hourly earnings and the workweek were largely stable, with rising employment accounting for more than 80 percent of the growth in aggregate earnings. Real wage growth over the past year has been a major contributor to the speed-up in aggregate earnings, due to both rising nominal wages and slowing consumer price growth as oil prices have declined.

3. Across most industries, real weekly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers have grown at a faster pace during this business cycle than the previous cycle. Real weekly earnings have grown faster since 2008—including both recession and recovery—than during the previous recession and recovery. Wage gains relative to the previous business cycle have been especially pronounced in the transportation, wholesale trade, retail trade, financial activities, and other services sectors, while mining & logging, education & health services, and leisure & hospitality are the only sectors to have underperformed. Relative employment trends are more diffuse, with some industries growing at a slower pace during this cycle (such as financial activities and construction, which grew quickly during the 2000s). Notably, manufacturing contracted during the 2000s but has since reversed that trend and outpaced the previous business cycle. 

4. Summer seasonal fluctuations in auto manufacturing employment have moderated during this recovery as demand for autos continues to grow. Historically, large auto manufacturers tended to shed jobs in July and recoup many of them in August, as manufacturing plants typically shut down temporarily in July. But over this recovery, auto manufacturers have reduced these seasonal fluctuations. During the previous business cycle, July losses tended to exceed August gains, with auto manufacturing losing jobs on balance over the summer. But since the financial crisis, July losses and August gains have tended to balance one another. The summer turnover has decreased against a backdrop of continued strong growth in auto sales. Indeed, 2015 is on pace to be the strongest year for car and truck sales since 2001. Overall, the auto industry has added over 600,000 new jobs since Chrysler and General Motors emerged from bankruptcy in mid-2009—including solid growth in both the manufacturing and retail sectors.

5. The distribution of job growth across industries in August generally followed recent trends, with this month’s slower growth affecting a number of industries. Despite the overall slower pace of job growth, above-average gains relative to the past year were seen in State and local government (+31,000), financial activities (+19,000), utilities (+2,000), Federal government (+2,000), and health care and social assistance (+56,000). August was an especially weak month in manufacturing (-17,000), information services (-7,000), professional and business services (+22,000, excluding temporary help), and other services (-4,000). Across the 17 industries shown below, the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last twelve months rose to 0.92 from 0.68 last month, well above the average correlation over the past two years.

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.

Source: The White House Press Office

New Yorkers Warned of Wildfire Risks During Labor Day Weekend

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that during Labor Day weekend, much of New York is expected to have warm and dry weather which can increase the likelihood of conditions that allow wildfires to start and spread quickly. Residents and visitors are being urged to exercise extreme caution with campfires.

“Reckless behavior during these dry conditions can be a recipe for disaster," Governor Cuomo said." I urge everyone to stay safe and be responsible while enjoying the outdoors this holiday weekend in order to prevent avoidable dangers and senseless tragedies.”

Currently, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers are working to extinguish six small wildfires that have been contained at a combined total of 3.4 acres. Two fires are in Suffolk County, two in the eastern Catskills and two in the eastern Adirondacks. Three fires were caused by unextinguished campfires, two by lightning strikes and one is under investigation. Rangers have contained the spread of these fires but the fires are burning deep into the soil and are difficult to extinguish.

Tips for campers to be cautious with campfires include: 
  1. Use a cooking stove instead of a campfire to prepare meals.
  2. Use existing campfire rings when possible and keep fires small.
  3. Scrape away litter, duff and any burnable material within a 10-foot diameter circle. This will keep the campfire from spreading.
  4. Never leave a campfire unattended.
  5. Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water and stir again.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman said, “We encourage people to get out and enjoy camping and other outdoor adventures as we approach the end of summer. Please keep in mind, safety during these fire warnings is critical to ensure our outdoor recreation sites and surrounding communities take the measures necessary to prevent wildfires.”

Campfires are prohibited in the Eastern Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area and on all Department of Environmental Conservation state lands in Suffolk County.
New York State is also reminding people to be cautious with barbeque grills by keeping them away from brush, grass and other flammable materials. Charcoal ashes or embers should not be disposed of until they are cool to the touch. The illegal use of fireworks can also start wildfires and is prohibited.

Additionally, residents and visitors should avoid burning brush at this time, especially from late morning through early evening and whenever windy conditions are present. Never leave a fire unattended until it is completely out and all ashes and embers are cool.

Wildfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Do your part to keep New York safe from wildfires. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Outdoor Fire Safety webpage has additional safety tips for campfires and burning brush. More information on wildlife prevention may be found on the FIREWISE New York web pages. Click here to see the current fire danger map in New York State. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

'Flashback Friday': President Jimmy Carter - Remarks on the Camp David Summit (1978)

Uploaded to YouTube on Mar 28, 2008

View the full speech here.

President Carter reviews the agreements between President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to settle the Palestinian settlement problems in Israel and to allow Egypt sovereignty over Sinai. The President emphasizes that more issues must be settled, but he congratulates the two leaders on a historic first step.

September 17th, 1978

Trailblazers in Black History: Pearl Bailey

Pearl Mae Bailey (March 29, 1918 – August 17, 1990) was an American actress and singer. After appearing in vaudeville, she made her Broadway debut in St. Louis Woman in 1946.

She won a Tony Award for the title role in the all-black production of Hello Dolly! in 1968. In 1986, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance as a fairy godmother in the ABC Afterschool Special, Cindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale.

Her rendition of "Tales Two to Tango" hit the top ten in 1952. She received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 1976 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom on October 17, 1988. 

Source: Wikipedia

Today in History: September 4th

TSA Agents Fired

Passengers are allegedly being groped during some security searches at various airports.

Lawyer of Kentucky Marriage Clerk Speaks Out

Matthew Staver defends the actions of Kim Davis and her religious freedom.

Joe Biden Weighs Run in Wake of Recent Family Tragedy