04 20 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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  • Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are backing the parents and teachers who complain about 'high stakes' tests   
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James Crittenden Sr.

PHOTO: James Crittenden Sr. by Helen Silvis.

James Crittenden Sr. issued a challenge to his Portland friends last week. He calls it the LOVE Challenge: Let Our Vengeance End.

The former gang member says he's challenging people to let go of old grudges, reach out to former enemies and move forward in peace. 

"It takes a real man or a real woman to do this," he says. "If you can approach someone and let them know, 'I'm sorry about what I did.' Or if they did something, to say:  'I want to let go of what you did. Let's not let this happen again. Let's just live life and be happy.'"

Last week Crittenden posted a video to social media where he reconciles with a former love rival, Cory. The two men fell out after they both fell for the same woman.

"We haven't seen each other for a while, and it is good," he said in the video as the men hug. "This is my brother, and to all you haters out there, this is what we did. And this is what we might be doing again. So to all you gang members out there, I challenge you. I challenge you females. I challenge everybody to get with the ones you don't get along with and do just this."

 The video must have hit a nerve because it was shared on Facebook more than 3,400 times.

Crittenden says he was inspired by the ice water challenge, that was started to draw attention and funding to the muscle wasting illness ALS.  Thousands of people have joined in the challenge, dowsing themselves with buckets of ice-cold water and circulating challenge videos on social media.

"When I saw that I thought if people will pour ice on themselves, why wouldn't they go to somebody and say, 'I apologize'. Why hold on to a grudge when nine times out of 10 it's over nothing, something really small. Maybe you have a family member you have an issue with. Make amends with that family member."

You don't have to be best friends with your former opponent, Crittenden said. But letting go of the hate is good for everyone.

Crittenden understands pain as well as forgiveness. He first hit the news in 1979 as a crime victim, when he was just nine years old. His mother, Marla Betty Jean Moore was shot five times by a violent boyfriend, who then turned on James. Fortunately the gun was now empty, but the attack sent his mother to hospital for six months, he says, and left him traumatized. To this day, he carries around a newspaper article about the shooting and his mothers ID card.

Like many children who experience violence, Crittenden tried to be too tough to get hurt again. In his sophomore year at Madison High School he was charged with a gun offense and spent four years in detention.  At the time, he says, he had stopped speaking to one of his aunts over a minor disagreement. And while he was locked up, she died, leaving him sad that he had never made it up with her.

That was more than 20 years ago, and since then, Crittenden has lived a storied life. He worked at Intel for four years before being discovered by the modeling agent John Casablancas. He's also had acting roles in movies, such as Honeydripper and Dead by Sunset.

Osteoarthritis  has slowed him down, but he still loves acting, he says, and at Halloween he always dresses up as The Joker.

The LOVE Challenge is no joke, however. Crittenden has a list of people who have accepted the challenge and say they plan to bury the hatchet. And he'd like to bring it to youth, possibly as part of the Black Male Achievement initiative, which is currently underway in Portland. Portland is one of 11 cities, which received support from The National League of Cities to focus on improving life prospects for Black men and boys.

Mayor Hales has supported the initiative through earmarking city internships for Black boys, and assigning staffer Chad Stover to bring together a group of Black youth and adults to work on the issues.  

Joe McFerrin, president of Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, said disparities in educational and life outcomes can be eliminated if everyone works together toward that goal.

"My hope is that through the Black Male Achievement initiative we can bring light to some of the disparities in employment, education and the justice system, so we can bring a community-wide focus across all of our systems and make changes that are sustainable."

 

 

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