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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Adrienne Livingston of the Black United Fund spent months organizing last Saturday's second annual BUF College Fair at Portland State University.

She and her staff put together loads of materials and special assistance just to make sure as many youths as possible understand all their post-high school options.

But even Livingston – who has immersed herself in university admissions – was shocked at the Obama Administration's reversal last week of his predecessor's elimination of race as a qualification for college admissions.

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education released a joint statement Friday sketching out the new guidelines – which clearly walk a tightrope between past Supreme Court decisions and the need to encourage more racial diversity in higher education.

"Ensuring that our nation's students are provided with learning environments comprised of students of diverse backgrounds is not just a lofty ideal," wrote Attorney General Eric Holder. "As the Supreme Court has recognized, the benefits of participating in diverse learning environments flow to an individual, his or her classmates, and the community as a whole.

"These benefits greatly contribute to the educational, economic, and civic life of this nation," he said Friday.

Black Men Left Out

The crisis of college enrollment for African American students is stark: Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which have for more than 100 years graduated more Black students than any other institutions, are seeing enrollment drop-offs that threaten to shutter some campuses.

Throughout the system of higher education, U.S. Department of Education statistics show that men of color are particularly absent from the university classroom: overall graduation rates for African and African American males are about 33 percent; for Black women the rate is just under 45 percent. The entire university system graduates just 57.3 percent of students.

The statistics are cited in article on America's Wire by Marjorie Valbrun, "Black Males Missing from College Campuses," published earlier this year, which explores the issue in depth.

Friday a coalition of Civil Rights groups leaped to back up the new admissions guidelines, which they say "provide a roadmap for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to implement the voluntary diversity and integration standards set by the Supreme Court's decisions in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) and Parents Involved v. Seattle Schools (2007)."

"Racial segregation and concentrated poverty are increasing in our nation's schools, suggesting that we are backtracking on the successes of the civil rights movement," the civil rights groups said. "Many schools are more racially isolated today than they were in the 1970s. Today's guidance recognizes the harms of re-segregation and the benefits of diversity."

That statement was signed by the ACLU,  the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and three other community-of-color legal associations.

Conservative observers decried the smackdown of the Bush Administration's anti-race policy. The Wall Street Journal cited a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the University of Texas at Austin, where a plaintiff seeks to shut down "a race-conscious admissions policy."

The Journal quotes an anti-race activist predicting the new guidelines will be overturned.

Students Reach for College Help

Meanwhile, more than 100 high school and college students crowded around tables at PSU's Smith Center, soaking up pitches from HBCUs, Ivy League schools, the Peace Corps, and more.

"We decided to put together this event because there are so many of our students who needed help and guidance," Livingston said.

Coming quickly behind the BUF is the Oregon Community Foundation, which announced Monday it is dishing out $40,000 to the BUF to bolster its higher education programs; in addition, it awarded $25,000 to Elevate Oregon to improve high school graduation rates; and $25,000 to Campfire Columbia for their Cradle-to-Career program.

"On top of that we have a huge scholarship program too, where we give scholarships to more than 2,000 students all over Oregon," said Joan Vallejo of the OCF. "Another huge barrier to higher education is funding – that much we know."

Livingston says the BUF is committed to continuing its annual college fairs as well as ongoing help and mentoring for young people who want to go.

"When you have a college education your earnings potential increases, you have greater access to health insurance, more access just to opportunities – doors open," she says. "When you look at the economy at this time, we know that many people are unemployed – it's going to be worse for a person who doesn't have a college education. So we want to encourage our students to get a college education – it opens the world to them."

Livingston said more volunteers from the community are needed to give one-on-one support to the young people who come in for guidance. She said the BUF's programs are also always open to area sponsors who wish to pitch in with resources, as Portland State University and The Skanner News did with the college fair last week.

In addition, Kaiser Permanente and Wieden+Kennedy contributed cash for four $500 scholarships for high school and college students at the fair.

"If we can come alongside a student and really help them? That just pleases my heart so much," Livingstone says. "Today we have students from as far away as Philomath, Oregon – so we're doing it because we want to be that resource."

For more information go to the Black United Fund website at www.bufor.org

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