07 30 2016
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The Wake of Vanport
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  • Russian hackers likely responsible for hacking attack on Clinton HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Giddy if exhausted, Hillary Clinton embarked on a post-convention Rust Belt bus tour just hours after becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. The celebratory mood quickly evaporated amid fresh revelations that hackers had breached a program used by her campaign and Republican nominee Donald Trump promised to sharpen his barbs. "Remember this," Trump said during a rally Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy." And for the first time he encouraged his supporters' anti-Clinton chants of "lock her up." "I've been saying let's just beat her on Nov. 8," Trump said, "but you know what? I'm starting to agree with you." About an hour later, Clinton aides acknowledged that a hacking attack that exposed Democratic Party emails also reached into a computer system used by her own campaign. The FBI said it was working to determine the "accuracy, nature and scope" of the cyberattacks. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said the newly disclosed breach affected a Democratic National Committee data analytics program used by the campaign and other organizations. Outside experts found no evidence that the campaign's "internal systems have been compromised," Merrill said, but he gave no details on the program or nature of the attacks. Partnerships with modern e-commerce companies can allow sophisticated tracking, categorization and identification of website visitors and voters. President Barack Obama and cybersecurity experts have said Russia was almost certainly responsible for the DNC hack. The House Democratic campaign committee reported Friday that its information had been accessed. The developments followed the leaking of DNC emails earlier in the week that pointed to a pro-Clinton bias by party officials during her primary contest against Bernie Sanders. In the furor that followed, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned just as Democrats launched their convention. Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, will attempt to return attention to their positive economic message on Saturday, with campaign stops through economically struggling areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio. "When we take that oath of office next January, we know we can make life better. We know we can create more good jobs," she told voters gathered at an outside market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Clinton cited an economic analysis by economist Mark Zandi, a former economic adviser to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, that found more than 10 million jobs could be created in her first term if her economic proposals were put in place. Zandi's analysis of Trump's plans found they would cost the country 3.5 million jobs and lead to a "lengthy recession." Joined on the bus tour by her husband, Bill Clinton, Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, Clinton stopped at a toy and plastics manufacturer in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, where she and Kaine cast Trump as a con artist out for his own gain. "We don't resent success in America but we do resent people who take advantage of others in order to line their own pockets," Clinton said. Trump is also focusing on Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states where he might make headway with blue-collar white men. That group of voters has eluded Clinton and may be a hard sell after a Democratic convention that heavily celebrated racial and gender diversity. Clinton is playing up economic opportunity, diversity and national security. Democrats hammered home those themes this week with an array of politicians, celebrities, gun-violence victims, law enforcement officers and activists of all races and sexual orientation. Their goal is to turn out the coalition of minority, female and young voters that twice elected Obama while offsetting expected losses among the white men drawn to Trump's message. Democrats continued contrasting their optimistic message with the more troubled vision of the state of the nation presented by Trump and others at the GOP convention a week earlier. Kaine called the "very dark and negative" event a "journey through Donald Trump's mind." "That's a very frightening place," he told thousands of supporters in Philadelphia. Clinton told voters that they faced a "stark choice," calling the coming election the most important one in her lifetime. "This is a moment of reckoning for our country. I don't recognize the country that Donald Trump describes," she said.___Lemire reported from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
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  • SEATTLE (AP) — Genetically modified wheat not approved for sale or commercial production in the United States has been found growing in a field in Washington state, agriculture officials said Friday, posing a possible risk to trade with countries concerned about engineered food. The Food and Drug Administration says genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are safe and little scientific concern exists about the safety of those on the market. But critics say not enough is known about their risks, and they want GMOs labeled so people know what's in their food. Several Asian countries temporarily banned U.S. wheat imports after genetically modified wheat was found unexpectedly in a field on an Oregon farm in 2013. It also popped up in a field at a university research center in Montana in 2014. It wasn't immediately clear how altered wheat cropped up in Washington. But the U.S. Agriculture Department said there is no evidence it has entered the market. If it did, the FDA concluded that "it is unlikely that the wheat would present any safety concerns if present in the food supply," the department said. A farmer discovered 22 plants in an unplanted field, and the wheat was developed to be resistant to the herbicide known as Roundup, created by seed giant Monsanto, the USDA said. An agency spokeswoman did not know where in the state it was found. Federal officials said they were working with the farmer to ensure that none of the modified wheat is sold. Out of caution, the agency said it is holding and testing the farmer's full wheat harvest, but so far it has not found GMOs. The plants are a type of wheat that had been evaluated in limited field trials in the Pacific Northwest from 1998 to 2001 but never commercialized, Monsanto said in a statement. It said the type found in Washington state is similar to the one discovered in Oregon three years ago; it has the same inserted DNA but in a different location. No variety of genetically engineered wheat has been approved for commercial use or production in the U.S. GMOs are plants or animals that have had genes copied from other plants or animals inserted into their DNA. Most genetically engineered crops are corn and soybeans eaten by livestock or made into popular processed food ingredients like cornstarch, soybean oil or high fructose corn syrup. Only a handful of modified fruits and vegetables are available, including Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini and squash and a small percentage of sweet corn. The FDA also has approved for consumption a genetically engineered salmon that would grow faster than traditional salmon, but it's not yet available in grocery stores. South Korea said Friday that it will inspect U.S. wheat imports for genetically modified wheat, the Yonhap News Agency reported. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it has asked the USDA for information on the unapproved wheat and inspection methods. The USDA said it has validated a test that Monsanto developed for the herbicide-resistant wheat, which would be available to trading partners. "Trading partners will get the tests. I believe that once they have those in place, they'll continue buying," said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission, a state agency that represents wheat farmers. "We don't anticipate any major disruptions." The USDA also said it has beefed up oversight of genetically engineered field trials and now requires developers to apply for a permit for those involving GMO wheat starting this year. In 2014, genetically modified wheat plants were found at a university research center in Huntley, Montana, where it was legally tested by Monsanto in the early 2000s. The plants in eastern Oregon were found in a field that had never conducted such tests, and the USDA closed its investigation two years ago unable to determine how the wheat got there. Different strains were found in each state. The Washington Association of Wheat Growers and the Washington State Agriculture Department referred questions to federal authorities.
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  • Six current or former state employees were charged Friday with misconduct and other crimes in the Flint water crisis 
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  • Hillary Clinton cast herself as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world 
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To live a decent life in Washington, it costs a single adult $10.77 an hour. Yet one-third of all job openings pay less than that, according to a study conducted by a Seattle organization.

"Searching for Work That Pays: The 2005 Northwest Job Gap Study" determined that the "Northwest is not creating living-wage jobs for all those who need them." When families cannot earn what they need to survive, the study notes, "many are forced to make difficult choices between adequate health care, balanced nutrition and paying the bills."

The study was prepared by the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations, a regional federation of four statewide, community-based social and economic organizations. It encompassed Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. Of the four states, Oregon and Washington had the highest living-wage requirement to pay for day-to-day needs.

A "living wage" is based on what is needed to meet basic needs and maintain some ability to deal with emergencies and plan ahead, according to the study. To determine the costs in each state, the federation used data collected by federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Transportation and statewide child care surveys.

Items included in a family's budget included housing and utilities; transportation; health care; child care; household, clothing and personal expenses; savings; and state and federal taxes.

In Washington, a living wage was determined to be for:
• Single adult: $10.77 an hour, or $22,402 yearly (at 2,080 hours per year);
• Single adult with one child: $16.83 an hour, or $35,011 yearly;
• Single adult with two children: $22.35 an hour, or $46,486 yearly;
• Two adults, one of whom is working, with two children: $20.64 an hour, or $42,921 yearly; and
• Two adults (two working), with two children $28.32 an hour (the combined wages of both working adults needs to total this amount), or $58,907 yearly.

It costs just slightly less to live in Washington than in Oregon, except for those living in King County, the study indicates. While a living wage for a single adult in Washington averages the same as Oregon's — $10.77 an hour — King County residents must earn $11.89 an hour to survive. A single adult with two children in King County should earn $25.35 an hour — $3 an hour more than for the same households throughout Washington; for them, it takes $22.35.

The living wages for Oregon residents are:
• A single adult: $10.77 an hour, or $22,404 yearly (at 2,080 hours per year);
• A single adult with one child: $17.36 hourly, or $36,102 yearly;
• A single adult with two children: $22.37 hourly, $46,531 yearly;
• Two adults, one of whom is working, with two children: $21.17 hourly, or $44,041 yearly;
• Two adults, both working, with two children: $28.72 hourly, or $59,732 yearly.

But job seekers in both Oregon and Washington are finding that much of the time the available jobs don't pay enough to support a household. In Oregon, 38 percent of all job openings pay less than the $10.77 hourly wage required by a single adult. For the single adult with two children who needs $22.37 an hour, 85 percent of the available jobs don't meet those standards.

The situation is only slightly better in Washington: 32 percent of the available job openings pay less than the $10.77 hourly required by a single adult, and 77 percent pay less than the $22.35 needed by an adult with two children.

Despite the lack of pay, however, competition exists for jobs. In Oregon, six people are seeking the same job that pays at least $10.77 an hour, and in Washington an average of four people are vying for that job. For jobs paying at least $22.37 an hour, the living wage for a single adult with two children in Oregon, there are 26 jobseekers on average; in Washington, there are 12.

Paying for health care is at the core of the problem in keeping up with the cost of living, said Will Pittz, regional organizer for the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations. Pittz is one of the three authors of the study.
"What we know is that the costs of living are rising particularly because the cost of health care is rising much faster than wages," Pittz said. "We have a situation where there will be more and more people who won't be able to pay for their basic needs."

Two things need to happen, he said: Government needs to expand health care options and employers need to be accountable to their employees and provide access to health care.

Even if a company does provide health insurance, at least one-third of the employees aren't covered either because they can't afford the premium they have to pay or they aren't eligible because they are part-time or temporary workers, the study says.

In Oregon, 40 percent of the nonelderly population does not have employer-based health insurance, according to the study. Of those, 7 percent purchase private health insurance, which often doesn't cover vision, dental, mental health or substance abuse treatment; 14 percent are covered by Medicaid; 1 percent are covered by Medicare; and 18 percent go uninsured. The statistics are similar in Washington.

Minorities also are disproportionately represented among the uninsured, the study notes. Nationally, while only 14.5 percent of Whites are uninsured, 36 percent of Latinos, 21 percent of African Americans and 20 percent of people of other races go without insurance. The study concludes that the disparities can be attributed to the "segregation of people of color into low-wage occupations and job sectors where fewer employers insure their workers."

Government also needs to expand health care coverage for those who earn minimum wages, said Pittz, who noted that the Oregon Health Plan is an example of what other states could do.

"There's a huge and growing gap between employer-supported and government supplied health care," he said. When they are trying to decide between eating and paying health insurance, "one of the things people tend to trade off is health care," Pittz added.

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