04-16-2024  7:33 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

Four Ballot Measures for Portland Voters to Consider

Proposals from the city, PPS, Metro and Urban Flood Safety & Water Quality District.

Washington Gun Store Sold Hundreds of High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines in 90 Minutes Without Ban

KGW-TV reports Wally Wentz, owner of Gator’s Custom Guns in Kelso, described Monday as “magazine day” at his store. Wentz is behind the court challenge to Washington’s high-capacity magazine ban, with the help of the Silent Majority Foundation in eastern Washington.

Five Running to Represent Northeast Portland at County Level Include Former Mayor, Social Worker, Hotelier (Part 2)

Five candidates are vying for the spot previously held by Susheela Jayapal, who resigned from office in November to focus on running for Oregon's 3rd Congressional District. Jesse Beason is currently serving as interim commissioner in Jayapal’s place. (Part 2)

NEWS BRIEFS

Literary Arts Transforms Historic Central Eastside Building Into New Headquarters

The new 14,000-square-foot literary center will serve as a community and cultural hub with a bookstore, café, classroom, and event...

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Announces New Partnership with the University of Oxford

Tony Bishop initiated the CBCF Alumni Scholarship to empower young Black scholars and dismantle financial barriers ...

Mt. Hood Jazz Festival Returns to Mt. Hood Community College with Acclaimed Artists

Performing at the festival are acclaimed artists Joshua Redman, Hailey Niswanger, Etienne Charles and Creole Soul, Camille Thurman,...

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Approves Major Disaster Declaration for Oregon

Yolanda J. Jackson has been named Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas. ...

Americans Willing to Pay More to Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap, Creating a New Opportunity for Black Business Owners

National research released today provides encouraging news that most Americans are willing to pay a premium price for products and...

Idaho's ban on youth gender-affirming care has families desperately scrambling for solutions

Forced to hide her true self, Joe Horras’ transgender daughter struggled with depression and anxiety until three years ago, when she began to take medication to block the onset of puberty. The gender-affirming treatment helped the now-16-year-old find happiness again, her father said. ...

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators shut down airport highways and key bridges in major US cities

CHICAGO (AP) — Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked roadways in Illinois, California, New York and the Pacific Northwest on Monday, temporarily shutting down travel into some of the nation's most heavily used airports, onto the Golden Gate and Brooklyn bridges and on a busy West Coast highway. ...

Caleb Williams among 13 confirmed prospects for opening night of the NFL draft

NEW YORK (AP) — Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams, the popular pick to be the No. 1 selection overall, will be among 13 prospects attending the first round of the NFL draft in Detroit on April 25. The NFL announced the 13 prospects confirmed as of Thursday night, and...

Georgia ends game on 12-0 run to beat Missouri 64-59 in first round of SEC tourney

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Blue Cain had 19 points, Justin Hill scored 17 off the bench and 11th-seeded Georgia finished the game on a 12-0 run to beat No. 14 seed Missouri 64-59 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Cain hit 6 of 12 shots,...

OPINION

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

Yet our responsibility to all parents and society at large means we must do more to share insights, especially with underserved and under-resourced communities. ...

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

OP-ED: Embracing Black Men’s Voices: Rebuilding Trust and Unity in the Democratic Party

The decision of many Black men to disengage from the Democratic Party is rooted in a complex interplay of historical disenchantment, unmet promises, and a sense of disillusionment with the political establishment. ...

COMMENTARY: Is a Cultural Shift on the Horizon?

As with all traditions in all cultures, it is up to the elders to pass down the rituals, food, language, and customs that identify a group. So, if your auntie, uncle, mom, and so on didn’t teach you how to play Spades, well, that’s a recipe lost. But...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Caroleene Dobson wins the Republican nomination for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Caroleene Dobson has won the Republican nomination in a runoff for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. The attorney defeated former state legislator Dick Brewbaker and will face the Democratic nominee Shomari Figures, a former top aide to U.S. Attorney...

US court rejects a request by tribes to block B energy transmission project in Arizona

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request by Native American tribes and environmentalists to stop work on a billion transmission line being built through a remote southeastern Arizona valley that will carry wind-generated electricity from New Mexico to customers...

New leader of Jesse Jackson's civil rights organization steps down less than 3 months on the job

CHICAGO (AP) — A Dallas pastor who took over leadership of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s longtime civil rights organization resigned Tuesday after less than three months on the job. The Rev. Frederick Haynes III told The Associated Press that he submitted a letter with his resignation...

ENTERTAINMENT

Golf has a ratings problem, and the Masters could shine a light on why viewers are tuning out

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Golf has a ratings problem. The week-to-week grind of the PGA Tour has essentially become No Need To See TV, raising serious concerns about what it means for the future of the game. Now comes the Masters, the first major championship of the year and...

George Lucas to receive honorary Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival

George Lucas will receive an honorary Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival next month, festival organizers announced Tuesday. Lucas will be honored at the closing ceremony to the 77th French film festival on May 25. He joins a short list of those to receive honorary Palmes. Last...

Luke Combs leads the 2024 ACM Awards nominations, followed by Morgan Wallen and Megan Moroney

Luke Combs leads the nominees for the 2024 Academy of Country Music Awards with eight nods to his name, it was announced Tuesday. For a fifth year in a row, he's up for both male artist of the year and the top prize, entertainer of the year. The 59th annual ACM Awards...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

The Paris Games' grandiose opening ceremony is being squeezed by security and transport issues

PARIS (AP) — The talk before the opening ceremony of the Paris Games ideally should be about its grandiose...

Maui's mayor prioritizes housing and vows to hire more firefighters after Lahaina wildfire

HONOLULU (AP) — Maui's mayor says he is prioritizing housing, evaluating evacuation routes and hiring more...

Biden visits his Pennsylvania hometown to call for more taxes on the rich and cast Trump as elitist

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — President Joe Biden made a nostalgic return to the house where he grew up in working-class...

Heavy rains lash UAE and surrounding nations as the death toll in Oman flooding rises to 18

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Heavy rains lashed the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, flooding out portions...

AP PHOTOS: What's on the voters’ minds as India heads into a 6-week national election

NEW DELHI (AP) — Raj Sud, 94, has voted in almost every election held in independent India, bearing witness to...

The Latest | UN chief calls for `urgent de-escalation' in the Middle East

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling for “urgent de-escalation” of hostilities in the Middle...

Ben Fuller AP White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defiant and frustrated, President Barack Obama aggressively challenged Republicans Thursday to get behind his jobs plan or explain why not, declaring that if Congress fails to act "the American people will run them out of town."

The president used a White House news conference to attempt to heighten the pressure he's sought to create on the GOP by traveling around the country, into swing states and onto the home turf of key Republican foes including House Speaker John Boehner and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Giving a bit of ground on his own plan, he endorsed a new proposal by Senate Democrats to tax millionaires to pay for his jobs program. "This is not a game," he said.

Obama made no apologies for his decision to abandon seeking compromise with Republicans in favor of assailing them, sometimes by name. He contended that he'd gone out of his way to try to work with the GOP since becoming president, reaching hard-fought deals to raise the government's borrowing limit and avert a government shutdown, and had gotten nothing in return.

"Each time, what we have seen is games playing," the president said. "I am always open to negotiations. What is also true is they need to do something."

Obama was still at the lectern when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Republicans he would permit a test vote as early as late Thursday on the president's original measure. There was little doubt it would fail, the outcome Republicans hoped for.

The president predicted dire political consequences for his opponents if they don't go along.

"I think the American people will run them out of town because they are frustrated and they know we need to do something big, something bold."

"We will just keep on going at it and hammering away until something gets done," he said. "And I would love nothing more than to see Congress act so aggressively that I can't campaign against them as a do-nothing Congress."

Yet Obama's campaign has not swayed Capitol Hill Republicans who oppose the higher taxes he and other Democrats want to use to pay for his proposal. They accuse Obama of playing "campaigner in chief" instead of working with them.

"If the goal is to create jobs, then why are we even talking about tax hikes?" Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday.

Republicans are resolutely opposed to much of Obama's jobs initiative, both for its tax increases for wealthier people and small businesses and its reprise of stimulus spending on roads, bridges and schools and grants to local governments to pay the salaries of teachers and first responders. They criticize his bill as another version of his $825 billion stimulus of 2009, one that this time would rely on raising taxes.

Obama did say he would support a new approach by Senate Democrats for paying for his jobs bill with a tax on millionaires rather than his plan to raise taxes on couples making more than $250,000.

The president's strident tone underscored a difficult political predicament as he seeks re-election with the economy slowing and unemployment stuck above 9 percent. "Our economy really needs a jolt right now," he said.

The president said that without his nearly $450 billion package of tax cuts and public works spending there will be fewer jobs and weaker growth. He said the bill could guard against another economic downturn if the situation in debt-laden Europe worsens.

"If it turns out that there are Republicans who are opposed to this bill, they need to explain to me, but more importantly to their constituents - who's the American people - why they're opposed and what would they do."

"What I've done over the last several weeks is to take the case to the American people so that they understand what's at stake."

Obama said the economy is weaker now than at the beginning of the year. Citing economists' estimates, he said his $447 billion jobs bill would help the economy grow by 2 percent and create 1.9 million jobs.

"At a time when so many people are having such a hard time, we have to have an approach, we have to take action that is big enough to meet the moment," he said.

Obama addressed the disaffection with politics pervasive among the public that's driven down his approval ratings - and even more so, Congress' - as he seeks a second term.

Appearing fed up, Obama blamed it on Republicans who he said refuse to cooperate with him even on issues where he said they once agreed with him. He talked about the ugly debate over raising the government's borrowing limit that consumed Capitol Hill and the White House over the summer, until Obama gave in to Republican demands for deep spending cuts without new taxes.

"They don't get a sense that folks in this town are looking out for their interests," Obama said of Americans in general. "So if they see that over and over again, that cynicism is not going to be reduced until Congress actually proves their cynicism wrong by doing something."

"What the American people saw is that the Congress didn't care."

Obama also said the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrators protesting against Wall Street and economic inequality are expressing the frustrations of the American public.

He said he understands the public's concerns about how the nation's financial system works. And he said Americans see Wall Street as an example of the financial industry not always following the rules.

Asked why there hadn't been more prosecutions in the financial sector, Obama said that many of the activities that precipitated the financial crisis in 2008 were not necessarily illegal. He said many financial schemes were probably immoral, inappropriate or reckless and required new regulations.

Obama criticized efforts in Congress, led by Republicans, to roll back some of the financial rules approved last year. He defended the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by that the legislation against GOP efforts to weaken it.

Obama also said that some banks are now using new regulations as an excuse to charge consumers more. It was a reference to a fee some banks are imposing to make up for restrictions on debit card fees they charge retailers.

"It's not necessarily fair to consumers," he said.

Obama also said the European Union has to act fast to deal with its debt crisis, but he said he is confident that European leaders are ready to take the necessary steps.

He said he hopes that European leaders have a "very clear, concrete plan of action that is sufficient to the task" by next month's meeting of the Group of 20 rich and developing nations. Obama said the European debt crisis had already affected the U.S. economy.

On other topics, Obama:

-Said he was concerned by the Pakistani military and intelligence community's ties to "unsavory characters." But he said he is not inclined to cut off U.S. aid to Pakistan because he has a great desire to help the Pakistani people.

The president's comments follow just-retired Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen's claim that the Haqqani insurgent network acts as "a veritable arm" of Pakistan's intelligence agency. While Obama did not endorse Mullen's assertion, he did acknowledge that Pakistan engages with individuals the U.S. finds troubling. However, Obama said Pakistan has been a valuable partner in U.S. efforts to go after al-Qaida.

-Criticized China for "gaming" the trading system by keeping its currency undervalued but expressed concern that bipartisan Senate legislation to penalize China could conflict with international agreements. Still, he did not say whether he would veto the legislation.

-Defended his administration over two brewing controversies. One concerns a multimillion-dollar federal loan guarantee to a California solar company, Solyndra, that has declared bankruptcy and that Obama's administration supported despite warnings over its solvency. The other involves a Justice Department program aimed at building cases against major weapons traffickers in Mexico that lost track of numerous guns.

On Solyndra, Obama said the loan guarantee program carried inherent risk, and the administration knew not every company would succeed. And he said continuing the program was crucial in order to counter China's aggressive investments and subsidies to boost its own clean energy industry.

On the gun program, called Operation Fast and Furious, Obama said he has confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder, who's come under criticism from Republicans. The president said both he and Holder would be "very unhappy" if guns were allowed to pass through to Mexico in a way that could have been prevented.

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The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast