Andrew Cuomo

10 things you need to know today: May 18, 2015

(AP Photo/Jerry Larson)

THE WEEK

1.Nine killed in Texas biker-gang shootout
At least nine people were killed Sunday in a gunfight involving three rival motorcycle gangs at a Waco, Texas, restaurant. Police said all of the dead were members of criminal biker gangs. The gangs were holding a recruitment event at the Twin Peaks Restaurant. Police had been told there could be trouble, and warned the restaurant’s management not to allow the event to take place. Police confiscated about 100 weapons after the fight. Eighteen people were sent to hospitals, but no police officers or bystanders were wounded.

Source: USA Today

2.ISIS takes Iraqi provincial capital of Ramadi
Islamic State militants said Sunday that they had seized control of the western Iraq city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province. The loss of Ramadi, if confirmed, would be the biggest defeat for the Iraqi government since its security forces launched a major counteroffensive, aided by U.S.-led airstrikes, to end the militants’ advances last year. The Pentagon conceded that ISIS had gained momentum. U.S. officials said the overall campaign against ISIS was still strong, although losing Ramadi would give Islamist extremist fighters a “propaganda boost.”

Source: Reuters

3.Obama plans to limit police use of military equipment
President Obama will ban police use of some military equipment following complaints about the heavily armed police response to unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, the White House said Monday. Obama plans to use an executive order to prohibit police use of explosive-resistant vehicles with tracked wheels like those on tanks. He also will require tougher rules on justifying the use of other blast-resistant vehicles, riot shields, and some other equipment.

Source: Reuters

4.Amtrak reopens repaired track in Philadelphia
Amtrak is resuming service between New York City and Philadelphia on Monday for the first time since a deadly derailment last week. Eight passengers were killed and more than 200 injured in the crash, which occurred as the train entered a curve in Philadelphia at just over 100 mph, more than double the speed limit. Amtrak said the track had been repaired with “the utmost care.” Investigators said Sunday that they had found no evidence to support speculation that someone had shot at the train before the crash.

Source: The New York Times, The Washington Post

5.Saudi airstrikes resume after ceasefire with Yemeni rebels ends
A Saudi-led coalition resumed airstrikes against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen after the end of a five-day humanitarian ceasefire, witnesses said Monday. The strikes hit rebel tanks and other targets in the port city of Aden shortly after the truce ended at 11 p.m. Sunday. Earlieron Sunday, Yemeni officials began talks on restoring peace, but the rebels did not participate. The Shiite Muslim Houthis refuse to consider restoring the country’s exiled president, one of the central goals of the discussions.

Source: The Associated Press

6.Cuomo proposes protections for nail salon workers
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday plans to introduce measures to punish nail salons that mistreat workers. Cuomo last week ordered health-regulation changes to protect workers after a New York Times investigation exposed exploitation of workers at nail salons. Many of the workers have experienced serious health problems linked to chemicals used in salons. New legislation, if passed, would give the state power to close unlicensed salons, and impose higher fines for violations.

Source: The New York Times

7.Kerry criticizes North Korea over “grizzly” executions
Secretary of State John Kerry slammed the government of North Korea on Monday over recent reports of “grotesque, grizzly, horrendous” public executions ordered by the communist government’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Kerry said Pyonyang was committing crimes that could be referred to the International Criminal Court. The remarks, which Kerry made while visiting South Korea, came following a recent report that North Korea’s defense minister had been publicly executed with an anti-aircraft gun for falling asleep in a meeting Kim was leading.

Source: The Washington Post

8.Marine dies in hard landing of Osprey aircraft in Hawaii
One Marine was killed and 21 others were injured on Sunday when a tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey aircraft made a hard landing during a training mission at Bellows Air Force Station in Hawaii. The Osprey is a controversial aircraft that can take off and hover like a helicopter, and fly like an airplane. The military once came close to abandoning the Osprey over a history of mishaps. Two test crashes killed 23 Marines in 2000.

Source: The Associated Press

9. Kasich expected to join presidential race
Ohio Governor John Kasich is “virtually certain” to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, according to ABC News. Kasich last month told CNN, “If I can win, I’m likely to run.” A second-term governor in an important swing state, Kasich has earned praise on the right for battling public unions and moving to slash state spending. He launched a political committee last month and scheduled swings through the early primary states of South Carolina and New Hampshire.

Source: ABC News

10.Mad Men final episode airs
The beloved AMC Network drama Mad Men ended Sunday with the final episode of its seventh season. Creator Matthew Weiner’s period drama traced the lives of Madison Avenue ad executives — most notably the dashing and mysterious Don Draper — through the 1960s. The show’s story lines touched on landmark historical events of the transformative decade, including John F. Kennedy’s assassination and Vietnam war protests. Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter called the finale a “masterful achievement” that even diehard fans will appreciate.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

5 Policies That Defined Mario Cuomo’s Progressive Legacy

Former New York  Gov. Mario Cuomo (D)

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) | CREDIT: LOUIS LANZANO/ AP

Think Progress

Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) died of natural causes due to heart failure Thursday, the same day his son Andrew Cuomo was inaugurated for a second term as governor of New York. He was 82.

In a press statement issued Thursday, President Obama called Cuomo “a determined champion of progressive values, and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity, and opportunity.” Echoing similar sentiments, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a statement saying that Cuomo’s “values, his vision, and his effectiveness for the people of New York were an inspiration around the world. In word and deed, Governor Cuomo challenged us to make real the American Dream for all who strive to realize it.” Other liberal heavyweights like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also weighed in, calling the former governor “compassionate.”

Hailed as a progressive giant, the former governor, who served three terms as the 52nd governor of New York between 1983 to 1994, championed the rights of working people, middle class families, women, and minorities, setting the stage for liberalism during a time that the political philosophy was “in decline,” the Washington Post pointed out. Cuomo’s “Shining City on a Hill” speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention — deemed one of the greatest speeches of all time — challenged then-President Ronald Reagan (R) to visit rural areas of America and to help lift working people into the middle class. Cuomo charged, “Mr. President you ought to know that this nation is more a ‘Tale of Two Cities’ than it is just a ‘Shining City on a Hill.’”

Here is just a short list of some of Cuomo’s most progressive causes and accomplishments:

1. Fought for legal abortion. In spite of his strong Roman Catholic belief, Cuomo fought for women to receive legal abortions in New York State. “Those who endorse legalized abortions — aren’t a ruthless, callous alliance of anti-Christians determined to overthrow our moral standards,” Cuomo said in a 1984 speech at the University of Notre Dame. “In many cases, the proponents of legal abortion are the very people who have worked with Catholics to realize the goals of social justice set out in papal encyclicals.”

2. Passed nation’s first mandatory seat-belt law. After a 11-year battle in the New York state legislature, Cuomo signed into law the nation’s first mandatory seat-belt law in 1984. Prior to the law’s passage, only about 12 percent of people buckled up, but that figure has since shot up to 91 percent in 2013 in New York state. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that seat belts have saved an estimated 11,949 lives.

3. Vetoed the death penalty. For the 12 years he served as governor, Cuomo vetoed the death penalty several times, against public mood at a turbulent time when the crime rate soared in New York. Calling the death penalty “corrosive” and a “stain on our conscience” in 2011, Cuomo lamented that the 48 executions in 2008 were “an abomination” and that the death penalty is unfairly applied across racial lines. Counting the last 18 people in New York State to be executed after 1963, Cuomo found that 13 individuals were black and one Hispanic, “an extraordinary improbability for a system operating with any kind of objectivity and consistency.”

4. Reshaped the New York State Court of Appeals with a diverse group of sitting judges. Cuomo appointed the state’s first African-American, a Hispanic, and two women justices to New York’s highest court, the State Court of Appeals. Judith S. Kaye was the first woman to serve as chief judge. According to a 2013 Albany Law Review piece, Cuomo “remains the last New York State Governor to appoint a Court of Appeals judge from the opposing political party.”

5. Supported banning assault weapons. The former governor has been a longtime opponent of banning assault weapons used in a quarter of the crimes committed in New York state. According to a 1994 New York Magazine article, Cuomo “has supported an assault-weapons ban that is far more serious than the federal one Bill Clinton is poised to sign — it would ban the guns used in a quarter of the crimes in New York — though so far the State Senate has blocked it.” Guns “encourage that instinct we have for brutality that’s everywhere around us,” Cuomo said in 2006 to a group called New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty. “My God. How do you justify it? You can’t move the NRA in Congress.”

10 things you need to know today: January 2, 2015

Marcus Mariota is already a Heisman winner. Next up, national champion?

Marcus Mariota is already a Heisman winner. Next up, national champion? | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Week

Former New York governor Mario Cuomo dies, Oregon and Ohio State advance to the college football title game, and more

1. Mario Cuomo dies at age 82
Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo died Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 82. The liberal Democrat served three terms, and died hours after his eldest son, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was sworn in for his second term. The elder Cuomo served from 1983 through 1994, battling two recessions and repeatedly using his veto to block the restoration of the death penalty. He described America as a “Tale of Two Cities” in a widely praised prime-time 1984 Democratic convention address that fueled calls for him to run for president. [New York Daily News]

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2. Judge tells Florida counties to start issuing gay marriage licenses
A federal judge ruled Thursday that all county clerks in Florida must start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Jan. 6. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of Tallahassee had ruled that the state’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional in August, but stayed the decision through Jan. 5 to give Florida officials time to appeal. “The defendants did that,” Hinkle wrote. “They lost.” The U.S. Supreme Court declined to extend the stay. [Reuters]

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3. Search intensifies for AirAsia crash victims
Search teams from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, and the U.S. are helping in an attempt to step up the search for flight recorders and the bodies of passengers from AirAsia Flight 8501 on Friday. Rough weather on Thursday afternoon forced recovery crews to temporarily suspend the search for the main wreckage of the plane, which crashed in the Java Sea on a flight from Indonesia to Singapore on Sunday. [Voice of America, The New York Times]

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4. 2014 was the Syrian civil war’s deadliest year yet
More than 76,000 people were killed in Syria in 2014, making it the deadliest year yet in the country’s civil war, the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday. The dead included 3,501 children. The United Nations estimates that 200,000 people have died in the conflict since the uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011. [Agence France Presse]

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5. Oil hits a five-year low on the first day of trading in 2015
Oil prices fell to below $56 per barrel, the lowest level in more than five years, on Friday, the first trading day of 2015. The decline came due to a continuing glut that has cut prices in half since June. The oversupply has come as Saudi Arabia, the top exporter, and other Persian Gulf countries have decided not to cut production despite rising U.S. shale oil production. Some analysts are predicting prices will bounce up this year as major oil projects are canceled. [Reuters]

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6. Gambia makes arrests after coup attempt
Authorities in Gambia arrested dozens of civilians and soldiers after a foiled coup attempt, an intelligence official said Thursday. A military official said that three suspects, including the alleged ringleader, were killed. Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup, was out of the country during the Tuesday attack on his palace. He denied the attack was an internal attempt to overthrow him, saying it was an invasion by foreign “dissidents.” [TIME]

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7. Italian hostages in Syria say they fear for their lives
Two Italian women kidnapped in Syria last July appeared in a video released Thursday wearing black veils and saying, “We are in big danger and we could be killed.” The women — Greta Ramelli, 20, and Vanessa Marzullo, 21 — were working as aid volunteers when they were abducted in the besieged city of Aleppo. They had just arrived in the country days earlier. They are believed to have been captured by an al Qaeda branch, Jabhat al-Nusra, not the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has beheaded five Western hostages. [The Independent]

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8. Marxist group says it was behind attempted attack in Turkey
An outlawed Turkish Marxist group claimed responsibility on Friday for an attack on an Ottoman-era palace that houses the offices of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The offices were used by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he held the post from 2003 to 2014. Neither was present during the attack. The suspect, identified as Firat Ozcelik, allegedly threw two grenades at a guard post, but they didn’t explode. He also had a small gun and an assault rifle. [Agence France Presse]

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9. GM starts 2015 with another recall
General Motors announced three new recalls on Thursday, a sign that a series of problems with ignition switches is continuing to give the automaker problems in the new year. The latest round of recalls involve 83,572 sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks. The company says the defect — an ignition lock actuator that doesn’t meet specifications — has not been linked to any crashes or injuries. GM recalled 2.5 million vehicles over other defects in 2014 after accidents that caused 42 deaths. [The Detroit News]

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10. Oregon and Ohio State advance to the college football title game
The No. 2 Oregon Ducks smashed No. 3 Florida State’s 29-game winning streak on Thursday with a 59-20 Rose Bowl victory in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The game featured a rare matchup of the last two Heisman Trophy winners — quarterbacks Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State. In the other semifinal at the Sugar Bowl, No. 4 Ohio State upset No. 1 Alabama. Ohio State and Oregon will play for the national championship in Arlington, Texas, on Jan. 12. [The Wall Street Journal, USA Today]

10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2014

President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro address their nations.

President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro address their nations | AP Photo

The Week

Obama reestablishes diplomatic relations with Cuba, a judge throws out the conviction of a boy executed in 1944, and more

1. Obama announces historic diplomatic thaw with Cuba
The U.S. and Cuba announced Wednesday that they would reestablish diplomatic relations after a half-century rift that began in the Cold War. “Isolation has not worked,” Obama said. “It’s time for a new approach.” The decision followed 18 months of secret talks, and Cuba’s Wednesday release of U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross, who had been held by the communist Caribbean government for five years. Conservatives in Congress vowed to fight the easing of sanctions. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the rapprochement amounted to “coddling dictators.” [The Washington Post, Fox News]

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2. Judge vacates conviction of boy executed in 1944
A judge has thrown out the conviction of a 14-year-old African-American boy named George Stinney who was executed 70 years ago for allegedly killing two white girls. Stinney, the youngest person executed in the U.S. since the 19th century, was convicted in 10 minutes by 12 white jurors after a three-hour trial in which no witness or evidence was presented in his defense. Circuit Judge Carmen Tevis Mullen said his confession was likely coerced and his trial was unfair. “I can think of no greater injustice,” Mullen said. [CNN, The Associated Press]

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3. New York bans fracking
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing, a controversial natural-gas extraction method also known as fracking. Despite calls by environmentalists for a ban, Cuomo, a Democrat, had put off a decision as he awaited the results of a long-awaited study, which was just completed. The acting state health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, said the research found “significant public health risks” associated with fracking. [The New York Times]

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4. Stocks surge as the Fed signals patience on raising interest rates
U.S. stocks posted their biggest daily gains of 2014 on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signaled that it was moving confidently but cautiously toward raising historically low interest rates next year. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that with the economy picking up but still needing improvement, the central bank would be “patient” and wait “at least a couple of meetings” before pushing interest rates higher, which would mean the hike could come in April or later. [MarketWatch]

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5. Nigerian soldiers sentenced to die for refusing to fight Boko Haram
A Nigerian army court on Wednesday convicted 54 soldiers of mutiny and cowardice for refusing to fight Boko Haram, and sentenced them to death. The soldiers were members of the Nigerian army’s 7th Division, which was ordered in August to retake three towns that had been seized by the Islamist militant group. Many of the African nation’s soldiers have complained that they are being sent to fight Boko Haram without adequate weapons and supplies. [Voice of America]

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6. Jury rejects Montana man’s “stand your ground” defense in student’s death
A Montana jury on Wednesday convicted Markus Kaarma, 30, for the killing of a 17-year-old exchange student he caught in his garage, rejecting the homeowner’s “stand your ground” defense. Kaarma argued that he was only defending himself after a string of burglaries. Prosecutors said he had invited intruders by intentionally leaving his garage door open, then blasted the student — Diren Dede of Germany — with a shotgun when he snuck in on April 27, looking for alcohol. [USA Today]

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7. Church of England picks its first female bishop
The Church of England on Wednesday named its first female bishop, breaking with a tradition that had been uninterrupted since the church broke with Rome under King Henry VIII five centuries ago. “This is unexpected and very exciting,” the newly nominated bishop, the Rev. Libby Lane, said, calling the move “historic.” Lane has been a priest for 20 years. Her husband, George, also is a priest — they were one of the first married couples ordained together. She will be consecrated Jan. 26. [The New York Times, The Guardian]

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8. Scientists say inmates might have survived 1962 escape from Alcatraz
Three men who escaped the famous Alcatraz island prison in 1962 might have survived, according to a study released Wednesday by Dutch scientists. Investigators at the time said the prisoners, brothers John and Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris, died trying to cross the cold waters of San Francisco Bay, but their bodies were never found. The scientists, however, found in simulated boat launches that currents might have deposited the men north of the Golden Gate Bridge — instead of sweeping them to their deaths in the Pacific — if they left between 11 p.m. and midnight. [The Associated Press]

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9. Actor Stephen Collins breaks his silence on abuse allegations
In an interview due for release on ABC News’ 20/20 on Friday, 7th Heaven star Stephen Collins admitted to Yahoo Global Anchor Katie Couric that he sexually abused three female children decades ago. The allegations surfaced two months ago with the leak of audio recordings in which Collins tells his ex-wife about the encounters. Collins, who earlier broke his silence in an interview with People magazine, told Couric that the last offense occurred in 1994, and that he had “done everything to address” his transgressions in private, and had “put that stuff behind me.” [ABC News]

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10. Sony Pictures cancels release of film that angered North Korea
Sony Pictures said Wednesday it was canceling the planned Dec. 25 release of the controversial filmThe Interview as top theater chains balked at showing it. The decisions came after an anonymous threat against anyone screening the film, a comedy that stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, and depicts a plot against North Korea’s leader. The group claimed responsibility for a massive computer hacking attack against Sony Pictures. U.S. officials say North Korea was behind the hacking. [Chicago Tribune]

10 things you need to know today: October 27, 2014

After pressure from the White House, Cuomo alters his quarantine rules. 

After pressure from the White House, Cuomo alters his quarantine rules. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Week

Governors ease Ebola quarantine rule under pressure, a second Washington school shooting victim dies, and more

1. New York eases Ebola quarantine rule after White House intervenes
Under pressure from the White House and health experts, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Sunday relaxed his state’s strict policy of quarantining medical workers returning from caring for Ebola patients in West Africa. Administration officials and medical experts argued that the rules, announced Friday in New York and New Jersey, would discourage doctors and nurses from joining the Ebola fight. Cuomo, then New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, said Sunday that those showing no symptoms could be quarantined at home. [The New York Times]

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2. Second Washington state school shooting victim dies
A second victim — Gia Soriano, 14 — died Sunday night from wounds she sustained in a school shooting in Washington state. “We are devastated by this senseless tragedy,” her family said in a statement. “Gia is our beautiful daughter, and words cannot express how much we will miss her.” Another girl was killed Friday when a fellow student opened fire at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, north of Seattle. The alleged shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, died of a self-inflicted wound. Three other victims remain hospitalized, two in critical condition. [Los Angeles Times]

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3. Hong Kong protesters cancel vote
The students leading Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests on Sunday canceled an electronic poll that was to help determine the next step for the demonstrations, which began nearly a month ago. The main groups behind the movement issued a joint statement and said there was too much disagreement and too little planning for the poll to go forward. “We admit we did not have enough discussion with the people before deciding to go ahead with the vote,” the statement said. “We apologize to the people.” [Voice of America]

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4. Pro-Europe politicians dominate Ukraine elections
Pro-Western parties swept Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, according to Sunday exit polls. President Petro Poroshenko’s party is expected to put together a coalition with other parties in favor of strengthening economic ties with Europe, and shedding the longtime influence of Russia. Poroshenko, who still faces an armed uprising by pro-Russian separatists, thanked voters for supporting his call for “a democratic, reformist, pro-Ukrainian, and pro-European majority.” [The Wall Street Journal]

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5. Jeb Bush is mulling a presidential bid, his son confirms
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s eldest son, George P. Bush, said his father is “more than likely” seriously considering running for president in 2016. Jeb Bush’s brother, former president George W. Bush, has urged him to run, as has his father, former president George H.W. Bush. “The family will be behind him 100 percent if he decides to do it,” said George P. Bush, who is a candidate for his first political office — Texas land commissioner — in November. [CNN]

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6. Brazil’s Rousseff wins a second term as president
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff won reelection on Sunday, beating center-right challenger Aecio Neves 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent. Rousseff campaigned for a second term promising that her left-wing Workers’ Party would deliver expanded social programs, which helped her seal the support of poor Brazilians. After facing protests last year against corruption and inadequate services, Rousseff promised in her acceptance speech to be “a much better president than I have been until now.” [Globe and Mail, BBC News]

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7. Welcome Back, Kotter actress Marcia Strassman dies
Actress Marcia Strassman, best known for playing Gabe Kaplan’s wife in the ’70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, has died after a long fight with breast cancer, her sister, Julie, confirmed Sunday. She was 66. Strassman played a nurse in the first season of MASH before landing the Kotter role. She also co-starred with Rick Moranis in the 1989 Disney movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids and 1992 sequel Honey I Blew Up the Kid. [Variety]

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8. Tunisia’s secularists out-do Islamists in historic balloting
Tunisia’s leading secular party, Nidaa Tounes, appeared to have won more seats in the country’s new parliament than the rival Islamist party Ennahda, a Nidaa Tounes party source said Monday. The official, citing a preliminary ballot count, said Nidaa Tounes had won 80-plus votes, to Ennahda’s 67. Election officials are expected to release their results later in the day. The vote brought full democracy to the country nearly four years after its uprising, which launched the Arab Spring. [Reuters]

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9. Cardinals’ Oscar Taveras dies in car wreck
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic, Dominican police said Sunday. He was 22. His girlfriend, identified as Edilia Ardelo, 18, also died. Taveras had been ranked as one of the top minor league prospects in baseball for the last few years. He played his first season for the Cardinals this year, playing in 80 games. He was expected to compete for a starting spot next season. “Oscar was an amazing talent with a bright future,” Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement. [USA Today]

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10. Giants pull ahead in the World Series
The San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals on Sunday to take a 3-2 lead in the World Series. The Giants’ Madison Bumgarner pitched a four-hit shutout in a 5-0 victory that put his team within one game of taking the best-of-seven Major League Baseball championship — its third in five years. The Series will return from San Francisco to Kansas City for Game 6 on Tuesday night, giving the Royals a chance to avoid elimination with the support of a home crowd. [The Associated Press]

10 things you need to know today: August 13, 2014

An American flag flies while Yazidi Iraqis escape into Syria.

An American flag flies while Yazidi Iraqis escape into Syria. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

The Week

White House sends 130 more advisers to Iraq, Ukraine vows to stop Russian-supply convoy, and more

1. White House sends 130 more advisers to Iraq
The U.S. has deployed 130 Marines and Special Operations forces to northern Iraq to help assess ways to rescue thousands of members of the Yazidi religious group taking refuge on Mount Sinjar, U.S. officials said late Tuesday. Those military advisers will not have a combat role, but the Defense Department left open the possibility that U.S. troops could help create a safe passage for the Yazidi off Mount Sinjar. That would likely put U.S. troops in direct combat with the ISIS militants trying to kill the Yazidi — a proposition President Obama has not signed off on, but one the military advisers are exploring. [CBS, The New York Times]

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2. Ukraine vows to stop Russian-supply convoy unless conditions are met
Wary that the Russians may be trying to move military supplies into their country to aid pro-Moscow separatists, Ukrainian officials said they would not allow a convoy of 280 Russian trucks to cross the border unless the Red Cross took over the delivery. The cargo, which Russia insists is humanitarian aid, must be loaded onto other vehicles by the Red Cross, Ukraine says. It will take the trucks about two days to make the 620 mile trip from Moscow to eastern Ukraine. [Reuters]

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3. Iran endorses Maliki’s replacement
The U.S. and Iran don’t agree on much, but it appears the two countries are backing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s replacement, Haider al-Abadi. Iran’s endorsement on Tuesday means that Maliki, who has indicated he won’t go quietly, will have an even harder time holding onto his position. The United States and its allies hope that replacing Maliki, who alienated the Sunnis of Iraq, will undermine support for the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). [The Washington Post]

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4. Lauren Bacall dies at the age of 89
Lauren Bacall, a star from the golden age of Hollywood, died on Tuesday at her home in New York at the age of 89. Her career spanned seven decades and included several classic films like Murder on the Orient Express, How to Marry a Millionaire, and The Big Sleep. Bacall earned a honorary Oscar, two Tonys, and a National Book Award for her autobiography. [The Guardian]

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5. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo rebuffs Palestinian invitation
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heading to Israel on an official state delegation, but the politician, who is said to be mulling a 2016 run at the White House, declined an invitation to meet with Palestinian leaders. Cuomo and a handful of New York lawmakers are calling their trip a unity mission to express solidarity with Israel. “Our message is simple and is clear,” the governor said. “We stand with Israel, and we support Israel’s right to defend itself in this conflict.” [The New York Times]

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6. Former Microsoft CEO officially buys the LA Clippers
Steve Ballmer, the former chief executive officer of Microsoft, officially purchased the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday for the tidy sum of $2 billion. The team went up for sale after its previous owner, Donald Sterling, was recorded making racist comments to a companion. Sterling, who bought the team for $12 million in 1981, lost a lawsuit to retain possession of the team and has been banned from the NBA for life. [CNN]

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7. Details of Robin Williams’ death emerge
Marin County officials announced on Tuesday that Robin Williams‘ death was a suicide by hanging. The Oscar-winning actor was found by his assistant who became concerned about him after he didn’t respond to her knocking on his door. Williams also had a few shallow cuts on his left wrist, according to authorities. [USA Today]

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8. Maryam Mirzakhani becomes the first woman to win major math prize
A woman has won the prestigious Fields Medal for the first time. Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor at Stanford University, won the award, which has been described as the Nobel Prize for Mathematics, for her contributions to “the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces.”

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9. Toxic algae threatens the Florida coast
Microscopic toxic algea are blooming near the coast of Florida, creating a red tide effect that is threatening local wildlife. Though it is still 20 miles off the coast, the size of the tide — 60 miles wide, by 90 miles long, by 100 feet deep — has authorities concerned that it could kill off millions of fish and potentially disrupt the lucrative tourist season. Officials say they haven’t seem a bloom this large in nine years. [NBC]

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10. Haiti captures high-profile fugitive Clifford Brandt
Haitian authorities captured Clifford Brandt, a notorious fugitive who admitted to kidnapping the children of a rival businessman, Haiti’s Prime Minister announced on Tuesday. Brandt broke freewith 328 other inmates on Sunday when a gang attacked the jail where he was incarcerated. He was found trying to cross the border into the Dominican Republic. [Miami Herald]

If Hillary Rodham Clinton passes in 2016, which Democrats run? The Fix ranks the tiers.

Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post – Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, right, introduces Hillary Rodham Clinton rally on Oct. 19 in Falls Church.

The Fix – Chris Cillizza

Every conversation we have with any Democratic operative about the 2016 presidential race starts this way: “Well, I mean if Hillary runs . . .” Which, of course, is to be expected. If Hillary Rodham Clinton — the former secretary of state, former New York senator and 2008 presidential candidate — runs, then the Democratic race (and the general election, too) revolves around her.

But, of late, those conversations have an interesting addendum that goes like this: “Of course, if Elizabeth Warren wanted to do it, she’d have a case to make.” Yes, she would.We’ve long believed that the freshman senator’s hero status among liberals nationally and massive fundraising capacity would make her very formidable if she ran.

Warren (D-Mass.) has been adamant about her lack of interest in the race. But things change in politics. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois was similarly adamant about his lack of interest in running for president in 2008 — and we know how that turned out.

The simple fact is that Warren’s beloved status among rank-and-file Democrats — and an elite group of very wealthy and very liberal major donors — means that if Clinton doesn’t run, Warren will come under a significant amount of pressure to reconsider. And Warren would have a built-in excuse to explain her past comments: “Well, I never thought about it seriously, because I expected Hillary to run. But now that she’s not . . . ”

Because of that upside — with apologies to NBA draft experts — we are moving Warren into our second tier of potential Democratic presidential candidates. Clinton remains as the lone candidate in the first tier — a space she will occupy until she announces whether she is running. Our breakdown of the field is below. The candidates within each tier are listed alphabetically.

Tier 1 (If she runs, the other tiers don’t matter)

Hillary Clinton: Everything we hear privately and everything we see publicly suggests that Clinton is running — or at least allowing those around her to put the pieces in place to be ready if/when she flips the switch. Does that mean she is definitely in? No. But it means that with every passing month, we become more and more convinced that the surprise announcement would be that she’s not running.

Tier 2 (If not Hillary, then . . .)

Joe Biden : Last week, the vice president called state Rep.-elect Brian Meyer (D) to congratulate him on his special-election victory a few days earlier. Why would the VP call a not-even-sworn-in-yet state legislator? Because Meyer is from Iowa. And that tells you everything you need to know about whether Biden is thinking about running for president in 2016.

Andrew Cuomo: Unlike some of the other people on this list — Martin O’Malley, we are looking at you — the New York governor is doing the do-as-little-as-possible-to-stoke-2016-speculation thing. (That may or may not be a thing.) Cuomo, the scion of a famous political family, knows that in a field without Clinton, he is a heavyweight given his name, fundraising abilities and résumé as governor of one of the most Democratic states in the country.

Martin O’Malley : The governor of Maryland is, without question, the candidate most open about his interest in running for president. “By the end of this year, I think we’re on course to have a body of work that lays the framework for a candidacy in 2016,” O’Malley told reporters in August. His travel schedule is heavy on trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and O’Malley used his time as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association to build out his national fundraising network.

Elizabeth Warren: See above. There’s no one not named Clinton on this list who combines the star power and fundraising potential that Warren boasts. And, Warren has one thing that even Clinton doesn’t: a rabid following within the liberal base of the party.

Tier 3 (There’s a will and a way — sort of)

Kirsten Gillibrand: Gillibrand is a sneaky-good politician. Without all that much fanfare, the senator from New York has turned herself into a liberal champion. She’s also someone who has proved that she knows how to raise money; she took in $30 million between her 2010 and 2012 Senate campaigns.

Tier 4 (There’s a will but — probably — not a way)

Howard Dean: The former Vermont governor clearly looks back on his one-time front-running 2004 presidential campaign wistfully and wonders whether he could catch lightning in a bottle again. The answer is almost certainly no, but Dean, never someone who cared much about the party establishment’s opinion of him, might be the sort of person who would be willing to wage a campaign against Clinton from the ideological left.

Amy Klobuchar: The field above her is too crowded for the senator from Minnesota to take a flier on a presidential bid. But she has the résumé and the ambition to surprise people if things were to break just right.

Andrew Cuomo 2016 speculation heating up

Looks like Long Time Lurker and I speculated correctly…

Politico

The 2016 Democratic presidential race just began.

With his successful push to pass a gay marriage law, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo overnight became a national contender, putting down a major marker among the liberal party base that dominates the primaries.

“Most politicians, including most Democrats, have been afraid of this issue. Andrew is the first national figure ever to embrace it so enthusiastically,” said Richard Socarides, the president of Equality Matters and a former Clinton White House adviser. “Clearly, this establishes him as the most important progressive leader of our party, setting him up very well for 2016.”

Come 2016, “Cuomo is the only one who will be able to say ‘I delivered for you’ before everyone else realized it was politically popular, and that will be an invaluable asset,” Socarides said, adding, “it also has the benefit of being true.”

Same-sex marriage opponents also framed New York’s arrival as the sixth state to legalize gay marriage in terms of perceived national ambitions for the governor who pushed the GOP-controlled state Senate to make it happen.

“The Republican Party has torn up its contract with the voters who trusted them in order to facilitate Andrew Cuomo’s bid to be president,” said National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown, in a statement Friday night attacking the vote.

 
 

New York Approves Gay Marriage

Make no mistake about it, this is an enormous win for the Gay and Lesbian community

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already signed the historic legislation.   All of this comes on the heels of the Gay Pride week-end celebration and parade in New York City.  I anticipate the celebration will be bigger than ever before (and it’s always huge.)

The Daily Beast

New York legalized same-sex marriage, becoming the sixth state to do so and by far the largest. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law Friday night, saying “I am very proud of New York and I’m very proud of the statement we made today.” The law will go into effect in 30 days, meaning same-sex couples will be able to get married as soon as the end of July. The legislation went down to the wire in a late vote Friday, with its fate pivoting on just a few undecided Republican state senators. But four Republicans eventually swung toward a yes vote, sealing a final tally of 33-29.

Read it at The New York Times

Anthony Weiner to resign…

I still wish he would have stayed and stood up to the GOP hypocrisy on this issue.  However, most of his Democratic colleagues were the ones vociferously advocating Weiner’s resignation. 

I’m sure it was a decision that he and his wife discussed, so I wish them the best.

What gets to me most is that a slime ball like Andrew Breitbart won.

The Washington Post – Chris Cillizza

Embattled New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner will resign from the House on Thursday, according to a Democratic aide briefed on his plans.

Weiner called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) on Wednesday night — as the two attended the White House picnic — to inform them of his plans, the source said.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) told reporters Thursday morning that “it’s an unfortunate situation and I’ve said I didn’t condone his actions and I had said a while ago that I think he should step down.”

His resignation ends a weeks-long scandal over inappropriate online liasions with as many as six women.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will be charged with calling a special election to fill the vacancy caused by Weiner’s resignation.