01-26-2020  6:47 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

PCC Cascade Expands its Food Pantry for Students

The majority of PCC students are food insecure, with up to 15% homeless

Controversial Washington Lawmaker Spreads Views Across West

Republican Rep. Matt Shea was suspended from the Republican caucus in the wake of a December report that found he was involved in anti-government activities and several lawmakers have called on him to resign, something he says he will not do

2020 Census Begins in Remote Toksook Bay, Alaska

Census takers begin counting remainder of 220 remote Alaska villages as part of national headcount

St. Andrew Parish Presents 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards

The awards are given to people whose service embodies the values of Dr. King, who used nonviolence, civil disobedience, and Christian teaching to advance the cause of civil rights in America

NEWS BRIEFS

States Sue Trump Administration Over New 3D-Printed Gun Rule

The administration’s latest rule allows 3D-printed gun files to be released on the internet ...

Shari's Restaurants Celebrate National Pie Day

Receive a free slice of pie with any entrée purchase at participating Shari's locations from 4 p.m. till 10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan....

Nashville Airport Store Seeks Works by African American Authors

The store, a namesake project of Mrs. Rosetta Miller-Perry and The Tennessee Tribune, will open March 2020 ...

Annual “Salute to Greatness” Luncheon Celebrating Students, Community & Civic Leaders

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Rukaiyah Adams, Chair of Oregon Investment Council & Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust....

Grant High School Students to Read Their Own Work at Broadway Books

Local author and writing instructor Joanna Rose will lead thegroup of young writers at the event to be held on Wednesday, January 22 ...

Seaside man gets 20 years for encouraging child sex abuse

SEASIDE, Ore. (AP) — A Seaside man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday for encouraging child sex abuse.Joshua Allen Pickering, 36, pleaded guilty to eight counts of encouraging child sex abuse in the second degree. He was originally charged with 18 counts of possession of child...

Deputy, bystander rescue golden retriever from icy river

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a golden retriever named Lucy was rescued from Little Deschutes River on Friday by a Deschutes County deputy and a bystander.The 5-year-old dog was spotted south of Sunriver near exhaustion and nearly drowning, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office posted on...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

How Putting Purpose Into Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Bring Meaning and Results

Only 4% of people report following through on all of the resolutions they personally set ...

I Was Just Thinking… Mama in the Classroom

I wrote my first column in 1988 for a local newspaper about a beloved Dallas guidance counselor and teacher that most students called “Mama” ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Georgia inmate who came close to execution in 2017 dies

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia death row inmate whose planned execution was halted in September 2017 by the U.S. Supreme Court after his lawyers argued his death sentence was tainted by a juror's racial bias has died, according to the state Department of CorrectionsKeith “Bo” Tharpe,...

Germany urged to fight anti-Semitism to avoid Jewish exodus

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's foreign minister is calling for strengthened efforts against anti-Semitism to ward off the possibility that many Jews decide to leave the country.Heiko Maas said in an article Sunday for the weekly Der Spiegel that German politicians must do more “but there is...

Simmons doc, sans Oprah, receives huge ovation at Sundance

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Without Oprah or Apple, the Russell Simmons documentary “On the Record” went ahead with its premiere Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival, where the women who came forward with sexual assault allegations against the hip-hop mogul received one of the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: Haden Triplets sustain tradition of sibling harmony

The Haden Triplets, "The Family Songbook” (Trimeter Records)On their new album, “The Family Songbook,” The Haden Triplets sustain the longstanding musical tradition of siblings singing in harmony while also expanding their family's musical footprint, which goes back...

Rapper YG arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of robbery

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rapper YG was arrested Friday at his Los Angeles home on suspicion of robbery just two days before he is scheduled to perform at the Grammy Awards, officials said.Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies took YG, whose real name is Keenon Jackson, into custody at his...

Actress Rosie Perez says she was told of Weinstein rape

NEW YORK (AP) — "Do the Right Thing" actress Rosie Perez testified Friday that fellow screen star Annabella Sciorra told her in the mid-1990s that Harvey Weinstein had raped her but that she couldn't go to the police because “he'd destroy me.”Taking the stand at the former...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Diddy calls out Grammys and demands change in fiery speech

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Sean “Diddy” Combs called out the Grammy Awards for dissing rap...

Border Patrol allows replanting after bulldozing garden

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Border Patrol, reacting to a breach it discovered in a steel-pole border wall believed...

'Sesame Street' comforts children displaced by Syrian war

NEW YORK (AP) — “Sesame Street” in the past year has tackled everything from foster care to...

Burundi's ruling party picks general as presidential hopeful

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Burundi's ruling party has chosen an army general to be its candidate in the...

Survivor in Slovenia turns 100 on Holocaust Remembrance Day

RAKEK, Slovenia (AP) — For Marija Frlan it's as symbolic as it can get: A survivor of a Nazi concentration...

'This is huge': Locust swarms in Africa are worst in decades

KATITIKA, Kenya (AP) — The hum of millions of locusts on the move is broken by the screams of farmers and...

McMenamins
Richard Lardner the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. has lost billions of dollars to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan and stands to repeat that in future wars without big changes in how the government awards and manages contracts for battlefield support and reconstruction projects, independent investigators said Wednesday.

The Wartime Contracting Commission urged Congress and the Obama administration to quickly put in place its recommendations to overhaul the contracting process and increase accountability. The commission even suggested that the joint House-Senate debt reduction committee take a close look at the proposals.

"What you're asking for is more of the same," said Dov Zakheim, a commission member and the Pentagon comptroller during President George W. Bush's first term. "More waste. More fraud. More abuse."

The bipartisan commission, created by Congress in 2008, estimated that at least $31 billion and as much as $60 billion has been lost in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade due to lax oversight of contractors, poor planning, inadequate competition and corruption. "I personally believe that the number is much, much closer to $60 billion," Zakheim said.

Yet new legislation incorporating the changes could prove difficult with Republicans and Democrats divided over the best way to reduce the deficit.

Several of the proposals would require new spending, the commission acknowledged, and that would be a hard sell in an election year when reducing the size of government is a priority for many. Other proposals would cost little or simply require money to be shifted from one account to another, the panel said.

"If these recommendations are not implemented, there ought to be a Hall of Shame," said Michael Thibault, co-chairman of the commission. "There's an opportunity at hand."

The commission's 15 recommendations include creating an inspector general to monitor war zone contracting and operations, appointing a senior government official to improve planning and coordination among federal agencies, reducing the use of private security companies, and carefully monitoring contractor performance.

Massachusetts Rep. John Tierney, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform national security subcommittee, said Wednesday that the commission's findings are "alarming." Tierney said he plans to introduce legislation next week to create the inspector general's post.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., chairwoman of the Senate's contracting oversight subcommittee, said she plans to prepare legislation based upon the commission's recommendations.

The commission's report said contracting waste in Afghanistan and Iraq could grow as U.S. support for reconstruction projects and programs wanes. That would leave the countries to bear the long-term costs of sustaining the schools, medical clinics, barracks, roads and power plants already built with American money.

Overall, the commission said spending on contracts and grants to support U.S. operations is expected to exceed $206 billion by the end of the 2011 budget year. Based on its investigation, the commission said contracting waste in Afghanistan ranged from 10 percent to 20 percent of the $206 billion total. Fraud during the same period ran between 5 percent and 9 percent of the total, the report said. Fraud includes bribery, kickbacks, bid rigging and defective products, according to the commission.

"It is disgusting to think that nearly a third of the billions and billions we spent on contracting was wasted or used for fraud," McCaskill said.

Styled after the Truman Committee, which examined World War II spending six decades ago, the commission had broad authority to examine military support contracts, reconstruction projects and private security companies. But the law creating the commission set this September as the end of its work, even as contractors continue their heavy support of U.S. operations in the war zones.

Security, transportation, food preparation and delivery, and much more are now handled by the private sector. At the same time, the officials responsible for monitoring contractor performance have been overwhelmed by increasing reliance on private companies.

"We are far more reliant on contractors than we ever were," said commission member Charles Tiefer, a professor of government contracting at the University of Baltimore Law School. "We always bought munitions from them. But we didn't used to buy much in the way of services from them."

The commission cited numerous examples of waste, including a $360 million U.S.-financed agricultural development program in Afghanistan. The effort began as a $60 million project in 2009 to distribute vouchers for wheat seed and fertilizer in drought-stricken areas of northern Afghanistan. The program expanded into the south and east. Soon the U.S. was spending a $1 million a day on the program, creating an environment ripe for waste and abuse, the commission said.

"Paying villagers for what they used to do voluntarily destroyed local initiatives and diverted project goods into Pakistan for resale," the commission said.

The Afghan insurgency's second largest funding source after the illegal drug trade is the diversion of money from U.S.-backed construction projects and transportation contracts, according to the commission. But the report does not say how much money has been funneled to the insurgency. The money typically is lost when insurgents and warlords threaten Afghan subcontractors with violence unless they pay for protection, according to the report.

The Associated Press reported this month that U.S. military authorities in Kabul believe $360 million has ended up in the hands of the Taliban, criminals and power brokers with ties to both.

The military said only a small percentage of the $360 million has been garnered by the Taliban and insurgent groups. Most of the money was lost to profiteering, bribery and extortion by criminals and power brokers.

---

Online:

Commission on Wartime Contracting: http://www.wartimecontracting.gov/

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Delta Founders Day 2020