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The Skanner Black History Month
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Jeremy Christian Guilty of Killing 2 Who Tried to Stop His Slurs on Max

Today jurors found Christian guilty of the May 26, 2017 stabbing deaths of Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best

States Step Up Funding for Planned Parenthood Clinics

A spokesman for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon said the agency has been "working closely with state officials to create critical backstops and protect access to care for all Oregonians who need it, regardless of federal action on Title X"

Oregon Denies Permit for Pipeline Before Federal Decision

Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development says a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay would have significant adverse effects on the state's coastal scenic and aesthetic resources, endangered species and critical habitat

Rep. Blumenauer Joined by Sens. Markey, Sanders, and Warren to Introduce Bill to Hold Big Oil Companies Accountable

"Amidst the growing climate emergency, closing this loophole is a small step we must take to hold Big Oil accountable and to protect our communities," said Blumenauer. 


African American Initiative Breast Cancer Survivor Celebration to be Held Saturday

Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington celebrate breast cancer survivors in the African American community with a free gala this...

Dr. Karin Edwards Named New President of Clark College

Board of Trustees names Dr. Karin Edwards as the college’s 15th leader in its 87-year history ...

OneUnited Bank Launches New Limited-Edition Harriet Tubman Card

OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in America, introduces the new limited-edition Harriet Tubman Card in celebration of...

Oregon House Votes to End Driver’s License Suspensions for Failure to Pay Fines

Bipartisan Vote Underscores Consensus for Reforms, Makes Way for Senate Action ...

Black History Month 2020: “African Americans and the Vote”

In our celebration of Black History Month 2020, the DPO Black Caucus looks forward to the screening of the award-winning documentary,...

Man guilty of killing 2 who tried to stop his slurs on train

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man accused of fatally stabbing two people who prosecutors say tried to stop his racist tirade against two young black women on a Portland, Oregon, commuter train was convicted of murder Friday after an emotional trial that featured testimony from both women and the...

Man convicted of stabbing 2 people to death who tried to stop racist rant against black women on Portland, Oregon, train

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Man convicted of stabbing 2 people to death who tried to stop racist rant against black women on Portland, Oregon, train....


Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

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 ...


Picketing, pigeons, politics: Scenes from the Nevada caucus

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Candidates have hustled past tourists and slot machines to ask housekeepers and cooks for their votes in the back of flashy casinos. They've made their pitches over plates of tamales, tacos and soul food. They've walked a picket line in the street with union workers. And...

Democrats try to blunt strong California showing for Sanders

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is the largest prize in the calculations of any Democratic presidential candidate, and Bernie Sanders has been working the state for months, worrying his rivals.Sanders has been organizing intensively among Latinos and young voters, producing campaign...

Man guilty of killing 2 who tried to stop his slurs on train

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man accused of fatally stabbing two people who prosecutors say tried to stop his racist tirade against two young black women on a Portland, Oregon, commuter train was convicted of murder Friday after an emotional trial that featured testimony from both women and the...


Broadway's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' readies for Garden visit

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Kyle Scatliffe has gone to Madison Square Garden plenty of times — for a Rangers game, a Muse concert and a WWE event. Next week, he's going back again, but this time he won't be in the seats.Scatliffe on Wednesday will be starring in the hit Broadway play...

Former Ukraine diplomat Marie Yovanovitch has book deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, the career diplomat who during the impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump offered a chilling account of alleged threats from Trump and his allies, has a book deal. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt confirmed Friday to The...

OWN's 'Cherish the Day' is a rare celebration of black love

LOS ANGELES (AP) — To separate filmmaker and TV producer Ava DuVernay’s trenchant, history-driven projects, including “Selma” and “When They See Us,” from her new romantic drama series is to sell short the determined thoughtfulness that shapes all her...


Trump tries new approach for jumi trillion infrastructure plan

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — As a presidential candidate in 2016, Donald Trump promised a jumi trillion...

AP Exclusive: DEA agent accused of conspiring with cartel

MIAMI (AP) — A once-standout U.S. federal narcotics agent known for spending lavishly on luxury cars and...

Picketing, pigeons, politics: Scenes from the Nevada caucus

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Candidates have hustled past tourists and slot machines to ask housekeepers and cooks for...

Paranoia, racism: German killer drew on conspiracy tropes

BERLIN (AP) — He mixed extreme paranoia about secret state surveillance with far-right conspiracy tropes,...

Watchdog toughens global financial scrutiny of Iran

PARIS (AP) — An international agency monitoring terrorism funding announced tough new financial scrutiny of...

2016 again? Russia back to stirring chaos in U.S. election

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just weeks into this year's election cycle, Russia already is actively interfering in the...

David Crary AP National Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- On the wall of Ralph Nader's office hangs a color portrait of baseball legend Lou Gehrig, an old-fashioned hero who seems to rebuke so much of today's sports world - the sex-abuse and drug scandals, labor strife, rampant commercialization.

Gehrig, who set a standard for durability while playing 2,130 consecutive games over 15 seasons, is the only sports idol acknowledged by Nader, himself a kind of "Iron Horse" in his chosen playing field, America's consumer movement.

Since 1965, when he lit into the U.S. auto industry for marketing cars "unsafe at any speed," Nader has taken on issues ranging from deceptive advertising to water pollution to nursing home fraud. Now, at 77, he's channeling an increasing share of his attention and anger to problems across the gamut of U.S. sports - the major pro leagues, the NCAA, even youth sports.

"It's spinning out of control," says Nader. "It's profit at all costs, win at all costs, and often it's damaging the health of the athletes."

Throughout his career, which has been punctuated by four presidential campaigns, Nader has helped form scores of public interest groups, including one called the League of Fans that advocates for sweeping changes in the sports world.

Items on its agenda include ridding youth sports of tyrannical coaches, discouraging taxpayer funding of stadiums, promoting broader participation in sports at schools and colleges, and outlawing fighting in pro hockey. Many of its concerns are being addressed in a 12-part manifesto that's on the verge of completion.

In a sense, League of Fans is a misnomer. Nader envisions it as a think tank, watchdog and advocacy group, rather than a membership-based organization.

"Fans are hard to band together," says Nader, who gave up on a fan-based initiative in the late 1970s when he could entice only about 1,100 people to pay dues.

Fans are better-informed about sports than voters are about public policy, and can become outraged by various slights, Nader said. "But their anger is very abbreviated when it's kickoff time or the umpire says `Play ball.'"

In a phone interview, Nader didn't sound overly optimistic about forcing the major pro leagues to be less exploitive.

"They have anti-trust exemptions - they can engage in collusion," he said. "They can wine and dine politicians, and give them special seats in their suites, and in the meantime it's costing a family $300 or $400 to go to a game."

Professor Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economics expert at Smith College, questioned whether a Nader-inspired consumer movement could make much headway in influencing the major leagues' policies or spreading the concept of community-owned teams.

"Fans love their sports as they are," he wrote in an email. "Owners are too well situated politically."

At the college level, Nader has been among the legion of critics of the football Bowl Championship Series system, and believes public pressure could force changes before long to increase fairness and give more teams a chance to gain spots in the most lucrative bowl games.

He's also joined a chorus of calls for the NCCA to adjust its policies on athletic scholarships, so athletes who leave their teams for injury or other reasons could be sure of remaining on scholarship as long as their academic work is adequate.

"The NCCA keeps saying, `We're on it' and it keeps getting worse," Nader said. "The players have become gladiators in the groves of higher education instead of being students and playing athletics on the side."

Nader had expressed support for the Drake Group, a coalition of college faculty and staff seeking to defend academic integrity as the college sports industry grows ever more powerful. The group's president-elect, University of New Haven management professor Allen Sack, has suggested that - in the absence of major reforms - the NCAA might face efforts by Congress to end its tax-exempt status.

Sack, who played football at Notre Dame, is a fan of Nader.

"It always helps to have someone out there shouting in the wind, getting a lot of grief for saying things that make people feel uncomfortable," Sack said. "They say politics is the art of the possible, and Ralph doesn't seem bothered by that adage."

Nader believes the League of Fans can make progress with at least some of its agenda by linking up with specific sports and fitness initiatives unfolding across the country.

"The phys-ed and anti-obesity movement can get much stronger - it's got to be more insistent about getting more people into participatory sports at all ages," he said. "What pro sports has done is glued millions of people to the TV screen while their weight increases and their cardiovascular system deteriorates."

He also rails against the expansion of high-powered, high-pressure youth leagues in which some boys and girls now practice and play their chosen sport virtually year-round.

"It's become a business," he said. "They've taken the joy out of it."

Nader isn't an ardent hockey fan, but he was dismayed by the recent series of New York Times articles about Derek Boogaard, the National Hockey League enforcer who died in May of an accidental overdose of alcohol and oxycodone. The Times reported that Boogaard, who'd been groomed since adolescence to be the fist-fighter for his teams, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain ailment related to Alzheimer's disease that is caused by repeated blows to the head.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says there's not enough data yet to draw conclusions about the brain ailment, but Nader says the league shouldn't wait to ban fighting.

"It's got to be stopped," he said. "They're marketing sadism."

The man recruited by Nader as sports policy director of the League of Fans is Ken Reed, a former sports marketing consultant who became disenchanted with tasks such as helping owners sell stadium suites and club seats.

Reed notes that the United States, unlike many other nations, has no sports ministry or other government agency that helps set sports policy.

"Our sports policy basically developed by the sports powers, the owners, and those policies filter down through college, high school, the youth level," he said.

Encouraging activism among fans may be difficult, Reed acknowledges.

"We need to increase awareness and even when we do, there's a lot of pushback," says Reed. "Fans say, `Don't bring reality into my sports life.'"

While Reed played varsity baseball and basketball at the University of Denver, Nader was a less-accomplished athlete - he played intramural baseball in high school.

However, Nader listened to New York Yankees games on the radio while growing up in Winsted, Conn., and follows both baseball and football.

His favorite National Football League team is the Green Bay Packers - as much for the fact that they are community-owned as for their current success on the field. But his list of sports heroes is short.

"The one sports figure who really had an influence on me is Lou Gehrig," Nader said. "He represented stamina, he represented working through adversity. He was a very decent guy."



League of Fans: http://leagueoffans.org/

Drake Group: http://www.thedrakegroup.org/


David Crary can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CraryAP

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