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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Venus Williams

"Venus Williams" by Edwin Martinez from The Bronx - US Open 2013 Licensed under CC via Wikimedia Commons 

After watching a half dozen college football bowl games and the first two rounds of the NFL Playoff over the past two weekends, I continue to be proud of how many women are now involved in covering professional and college sports. My favorite sport of football seems to employ the most women. I can’t even name all of the professional sports broadcasters now, with a line-up of women that includes Whites, Blacks, Asians and Latinas. It’s great!

I was only a kid when CBS first hired African-American actress and model Jayne Kennedy for reporting and interview duties on The NFL Today. WHAT? Jane Kennedy is covering football? It was the coolest thing in the world for a kid who had a bunch of Jet magazine “beauties of the week” taped on his walls, wearing swimsuits. But to have a bonafide fox like Jayne Kennedy covering my favorite game and football stars on TV was way cooler.

With a weekly subscription to Sports Illustrated magazine before I was even teenager, my original love for women in sports started with track and field. I remember watching the television movie of Olympic track star, Wilma Rudolf, with my mother and being inspired by it. From there, we watched the 1980s Olympic track stars together, including my mother’s favorite, Evelyn Ashford, alongside Mary Decker Slaney, Valerie Briscoe-Hooks, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and who could ever forget Florence “Flo Jo” Griffith Joyner. In the 1990s, we watched Gail Devers and Gwen Torrence.

My mother and I also watched Carol Lewis—the younger sister of decorated Olympian, Carl Lewis—go from being an Olympic long jumper in her own right, to becoming one of the first African-American women to cover track and field broadcasts. I was very proud of Carol for that. Don’t just compete in sports, become one the experts who analyze it. I was as proud to see Carol on TV for every track event as I was to see the athletes. I loved listening to Carol speak her calm knowledge about track and field. You go get it, sister!

Before there were the Williams girls—Venus and Serena—in professional tennis, my mother told me stories about she and her friends rooting for African-American legend, Althea Gibson, when they was younger. Althea Gibson played tennis and golf with passion, fearlessness and dignity, inspiring a nation of Black women to not only dream about it, but to do it.

However, my most intimate love for women in sports came from my own hometown of Philadelphia. In my last few years of high school at Central in the late 1980s, there was this city-wide hype and conversation about a girl from North Philly.

People were crazy excited about this girl, explaining the scene in all of their Philadelphian vernacular. “Yo, you gotta see this girl play, cuz. She ballin’! Straight up!”

So I caught the train and bus into the heart of North Philadelphia—where I had no friends, family members or security detail—to attend a girl’s basketball game at Murrell Dobbins Tech High School for my first glimpse of Dawn Staley, up close and personal. My friends thought that I was crazy.

“You went to Dobbins by yourself just to see a girl’s basketball game?”

Yes, I did. And my mind was blown away forever. Dawn Staley was not only the point guard at Dobbins, she led the team in scoring, steals, rebounds, assists, blocked shots and highlight moments before ESPN ever existed. She had the whole Harlem Globetrotter thing going on in with the around the back passes, dribbling through the legs, stop and gos, twists and turns, look-aways, finger rolls, girls tripping and falling down in front of her, and then she would stop and pop 3-pointers on fast breaks before Steph Curry was even born.

You could barely drink a cup or a can of soda when Dawn Staley played. People were constantly screaming, yelling, pointing, jumping and grabbing you every couple of seconds, whether she was on offense or defense.

“Did you see that steal? You see that block? You see that pass? You see that shot?”

Dude, I’m watching her just like you’re watching her. Of course, I saw it! Now can I enjoy the game in peace for a minute, please? God!

After winning several Philadelphia Public League Championships and a national high school player of the year award, Staley went on to star at the University of Virginia, where the Cavaliers were never quite able to get over the hump for a national championship, but she kept them in the hunt for a title every single year. She then played balled overseas, became a WNBA star, a 3-time Gold Olympian, and the head coach at North Philadelphia’s own Temple University—my mother’s proud alma mater—before coaching the University of South Carolina, where Staley’s undefeated Gamecocks are presently the number #1 ranked women’s basketball team in the country.

And me? I went on to cover dozens of live sports events and write interview features as a print journalism major at Howard University, including plenty of exciting girl’s games and track meets, all up and down the East Coast. I’ve also rooted for national television legends; Cheryl Miller, Sheryl Swoops, Chamique Holdsclaw, Candace Parker, Angel McCoughtry, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins on the college level, as well as for Cynthia Cooper, Tina Thompson, Teresa Edwards, Diana Taurasi, Lisa Leslie and Seimone Augustus in the WNBA.

I could go on and name many more competitive women, including Marion Jones, Allyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross, Dee Dee Trotter, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and dozens of young girls, who have competed inspirationally in track and field at Philadelphia’s annual Penn Relays carnival, hailing from Vere Tech Jamaica to Long Beach Poly, California. Don’t forget about Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles in American gymnastics, along with Claressa Shields, Marlen Esparza and the gifted veteran, Liala Ali, in boxing.

And what about Philadelphia’s Mone Davis, pitching a no-hitter in Little League Baseball this past summer?

The point is that women’s excellence in sports is here stay, and it will continue to grow. So there should naturally be more professional women available to broadcast, prognosticate and critique their peers, as well their husbands, sisters, brothers, cousins, nephews, nieces, sons and daughters.

I stand as a proud supporter of women being involved in sports in every capacity. If it’s good for the competitive and professional spirit of men, then it’s also good for that of women. And I will continue to watch, report, listen, enjoy, learn from and be inspired by you all.

Omar Tyree is a New York Times bestselling author, an NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Fiction, and a professional journalist, who has published 27 books, including co-authoring Mayor For Life; The Incredible Story of Marion Barry Jr. View more of his career and work @ www.OmarTyree.com

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