05 24 2016
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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Any day now, the House of Representatives could vote on the budget reconciliation bill, a controversial package that will cut federal spending by $54 billion. The savings would come from cuts to programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, veterans benefits, Head Start, child support enforcement and aid to foster children.

Republican leaders say the bill is necessary to reduce the federal deficit, but so far they have not managed to secure the 218 votes necessary to pass the bill in the House. Opponents — including some Republicans — say the bill makes cuts in exactly the wrong places, and will set back efforts to reduce poverty and hunger in the Northwest.

U.S Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said he opposes the bill because he is concerned about its impact on low-income Americans.

"These are very mean-spirited cuts that are going to hurt the poorest among us in Oregon," De Fazio said. "They include cuts to school lunch programs, food stamps, Medicaid and cuts to school loans, which will affect young people who are trying to better themselves.

"The worst thing about this is that these cuts are not intended to reduce the deficit, but to make room for large tax cuts, which will benefit the most wealthy. They are rewarding wealth one week and hurting struggling people the next."
Negotiations about the exact content of the budget reconciliation bill are still under way, but if it is passed into legislation its many provisions will likely include:

• More than $1 billion in cuts to the food stamp program. Nationally, up to 170,000 people would lose their food stamps.
• At least $10 billion in cuts from Medicaid. Under the bill, states will be allowed for the first time to charge low-income pregnant women and children for medical services.

• A $5 billion (40 percent) cut in federal funding for child support enforcement over the next five years. Child support enforcement in Washington last year collected $591 million for children. In Oregon, child support enforcement collected $294 million in 2003.

• Cuts of $732 million to the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides modest income assistance to poor elderly individuals and people with disabilities.

• A 2 percent across-the-board cut to veterans' services. Analysts say this likely will reduce health care benefits to veterans.

• Cuts of $577 million over 5 years from services to foster children living with relatives.
Among its many additional provisions, the bill would include cuts to child care assistance for low-income working families.

"This bill would be devastating for people in Washington state," said Julie Watts, acting director for the statewide Poverty Action Network, a nonprofit coalition of anti-poverty groups. "This is bad policy; these are bad choices. Our lawmakers should be voting against them. It's just bad for the state."

Both Oregon and Washington have made progress in reducing hunger rates in recent years. Just a couple of years ago, the state of Oregon was rated highest in the nation for hunger; now it is No. 17, close to the U.S. average. Washington state, in the top five for hunger for eight years, is now No. 10. Advocates say that helping more eligible families apply for food stamps was what made the difference.

"The reason we have made progress in reducing hunger in Oregon is directly linked to the aggressive expansion of use of the food stamp program among low-wage working Oregonians," said Janet Bauer, federal budget coordinator for Oregon Center for Public Policy, a nonprofit left-of-center think tank. "The provisions that have allowed low-income working adults to access food stamps would be eliminated in the bill. So I think our gains are in jeopardy under the House proposal."

Bauer, Watts and other advocates say they fear that low-income women and children will simply not get necessary medical care, because they will not be able to afford to pay the new charges.

"What research has found is that people can't afford to participate in Medicaid, so they drop off, or they can't get necessary medications," Bauer said. "The ultimate outcome is deteriorated health and higher emergency room costs.
"The health care needs don't go away. When people can't afford other treatment they end up relying on the emergency system. We don't believe these cuts will result in any reduction in cost to society."

Watts said cuts to child support enforcement and child care will hurt thousands of children in Washington state. In addition, she said, cuts to services for foster children living with relatives will hurt efforts to keep children within their families.

"The state would be forced to cut support to abused and neglected kids," she said.
Rep. De Fazio argues that it is wrong to cut social programs in order to finance tax cuts that benefit only a small number of wealthy people.

"If they were really serious about reducing the deficit, there are a lot of places they could cut that wouldn't hurt working people," he said.

"I have my own list. For example, if they were to reinstate the 2001 tax rate just for people making over $350,000 a year, we could save $27 billion. That would create six times as much income for the federal government for deficit reduction.

"And if we looked at offshore tax shelters, clarified those rules and put some limits on those, we could capture $65 billion over the same five-year time period."

De Fazio also suggested saving $50 billion by cutting the military's Star Wars program, which he says does not work.
"There are some places where the federal government is clearly wasting money or giving it away to people who don't need it," he said. "We're borrowing $1.2 billion a day to run the federal government and basically handing the bill to our kids and grandkids."

Despite a hefty Republican majority in Congress, changes to the bill are highly likely. Many Republican moderates are reluctant to support the cuts to social programs. Other Republicans oppose specific proposals, such as cuts to programs that help dairy farmers, proposals to allow offshore drilling along the U.S. coastline or the provision that would allow oil companies to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Senate version of the bill, which did not include provisions to drill in Alaska or cut the food stamps program, passed last week. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., voted for the bill; Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., voted against it. When Senate and House bills differ, a committee made up of members of both houses decides on the final version passed into law.
For more information about opposition to the bill, visit cwla.org/advocacy/nocapsonkids.htm.

 

Oregon Representatives

Rep. Earl Blumenauer
729 N.E. Oregon St. Suite 115
Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-231-2300
Fax: 503-230-5413

Rep. Peter DeFazio
151 W. Seventh St. Suite 400
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: 541-465-6732
Toll free: 1-800-944-9603

Rep. Darlene Hooley
21570 Willamette Dr.
West Linn, OR 97068
Phone: 503-557-1324
Fax: 503-557-1981

Rep. Greg Walden
843 East Main St. Suite 400
Medford, OR 97504
Phone: 541-776-4646
Toll free from 541 area code:
1-800-533-3303
Fax: 541-779-0204

Rep. David Wu
620 S.W. Main St. Suite 606
Portland, OR 97205
Phone: 503-326-2901
Toll free: 1-800-422-4003
Fax: 503-326-5066

 

Washington Representatives

U.S.Rep Brian Baird
O.O. Howard House
750 Anderson St. Suite B
Vancouver, WA 98661
Phone: (360) 695-6292
Fax: (360) 695-6197

U.S.Rep Norm Dicks
Norm Dicks Government Center Suite 500
345 Sixth St.
Bremerton, WA 98337
Phone: 360-479-4011
Toll free: 800-947-6676
Fax: 360-479-2126

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings
2715 St. Andrews Loop Suite D
Pasco, WA 99301
Phone: 509-543-9396
Fax: 509-545-1972

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee
21905 64th Ave. W. Suite 101
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043
Phone: 425-640-0233
Fax: 425-776-7168

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen
2930 Wetmore Ave. Suite 9F
Everett, WA 98201
Phone: 425-252-3188
Toll-free: 1-800-562-1385
Fax: 425-252-6606

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott
1809 Seventh Ave. Suite 1212
Seattle, WA 98101-1399
Phone: 206-553-7170
Fax: 206-553-7175

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris
10 North Post, Sixth Floor
Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: 509-353-2374
Fax: 509-353-2412

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert
2737 78th Ave. S.E. Suite 202
Mercer Island, WA 98040
Phone: 206-275-3438
Toll free: 877-920-9208
Fax: 206-275-3437

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith
3600 Port of Tacoma Road Ste. 106
Tacoma, WA 98424
Phone: 253-896-3775
Fax: 253-896-3789

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