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NORTHWEST NEWS

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

The Skanner in Step With Changing Times

Celebrating a history of service

Starbucks, Home of the $4 Latte, is Moving Into Poor Areas

Starbucks plans to open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S. The effort will bring to 100 the number of "community stores" Starbucks has opened since it announced the program in 2015

Native American Curriculum Rolls Out in Oregon Classrooms

The state developed the curriculum, as required by Senate Bill 13, with the input of Native leaders for 18 months, but is still behind. A soft roll-out begins this month

NEWS BRIEFS

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 ...

AG Rosenblum Announces $4 Million Settlement with CenturyLink

Since 2014, Oregon DOJ has received more than 1,200 consumer complaints about CenturyLink ...

Black Guest at Downtown Portland Hotel Sues Over ‘No Party’ Promise

Felicia Gonzales claims the front desk clerk at the Residence Inn told her that all guests had to sign the policy, but she watched...

Mayors launch task force to oppose minor league contraction

Dozens of mayors from across the United States have formed a task force opposing a proposal by Major League Baseball to eliminate 42 affiliated minor league franchises for the 2021 season.The coalition launched Tuesday with three leaders and was up to 30 members by Wednesday afternoon, ranging from...

Judge: No keeping Stormy and Trump out of NY Avenatti trial

NEW YORK (AP) — There's no keeping porn star Stormy Daniels and President Donald Trump out of California attorney Michael Avenatti's extortion case, a judge said Wednesday as he ordered the trial to commence Monday and refused the government's insistence that he ban mention of Daniels and...

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

City suspends Miami police captain who claimed to be black

MIAMI (AP) — The city of Miami on Wednesday suspended a Hispanic police captain who was strongly condemned after he publicly claimed he was black when fighting accusations that he has derided black people.The Miami Dade Branch of the NAACP had called for Police Capt. Javier Ortiz's...

Portrait of judge taken down because of his 'racist past'

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina county has removed a portrait of a 19th-century state Supreme Court justice from a courtroom at the request of a judge who said it didn’t belong there because of the justice’s “racist past.” Senior Resident Superior Court...

Judge: Canadian tied to extremist group is 'very dangerous'

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A former Canadian Armed Forces reservist plotted with other members of a white supremacist group to carry out “essentially a paramilitary strike” at a Virginia gun rights rally, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Sullivan...

ENTERTAINMENT

Aerosmith drummer sues to rejoin band for Grammy honors

BOSTON (AP) — Aerosmith's drummer, Joey Kramer, is suing his bandmates because they won't let him play as the band is set to perform and be honored at Grammy events this week.Kramer, a founding member of the band launched in Boston, said in a lawsuit filed this month in Massachusetts...

Ratings dip for NFL conference championship games

NEW YORK (AP) — It's no secret, sports fans. Better games produce better ratings.That was the simple lesson for the NFL this week, after a dip in viewership for its conference championship games, compared to 2019. The Nielsen company said 42.8 million people watched the San Francisco 49ers...

Review: Guy Ritchie's 'The Gentlemen' is stale pint of ale

Guy Ritchie’s honor-among-thieves meta-caper “The Gentlemen,” with Matthew McConaughey, has all the tailored tweed suits and smoky atmosphere of a handsome scotch commercial. “The Gentlemen” might not be an ad, but Ritchie’s film is most assuredly selling...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

'Naughty boy': Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

LONDON (AP) — Terry Jones, a founding member of the anarchic Monty Python troupe who was hailed by...

New rules could bump emotional-support animals from planes

The days of passengers bringing rabbits, turtles and birds on planes as emotional-support animals could be ending....

Hallmark media CEO leaves, month after same-sex ad backlash

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of Hallmark's media business is leaving the company after 11 years, just a month...

US-French tax truce a respite in tense relations with EU

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — France will delay its tax on big tech firms like Google and Facebook in exchange...

'Naughty boy': Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

LONDON (AP) — Terry Jones, a founding member of the anarchic Monty Python troupe who was hailed by...

Russia-Poland feud over history clouds Auschwitz anniversary

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Over the next several days, world leaders will gather twice to mark the 75th...

McMenamins
Calvin Woodward the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Now here's a tag team for the ages: Richard Nixon, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama.

The arc of history joins all three in the cause of universal health care, a goal promoted by Nixon four decades ago and advanced in laws enacted by Romney and Obama in turn. So where are the high fives between the president and the former Massachusetts governor?

The most significant health care law since Medicare gets barely a shout-out from Obama. And when Romney must talk about the law he won in Massachusetts, it's because someone's got him on the defensive in the Republican presidential primary campaign.

"Big health care reform turns out not to be very popular - and actually unhealthy for the candidates who did it," says Robert Blendon, a Harvard professor who tracks public opinion on the subject.

The Supreme Court will decide if the new federal health care overhaul or any part of it is unconstitutional after arguments next week. If the law that Republican opponents call "Obamacare" survives, "Romneycare" will stand in the history books as a guidepost for it, hardly the first time a state has served as a laboratory for national social policy.

The federal and Massachusetts laws share much, including a requirement that individuals carry health insurance, a provision that taxpayers provide help for those who can't afford it and protections against denial of coverage. And ObamaRomneycare shares more with Nixon's never-implemented approach - an insurance system anchored in the private market with a hefty government safety net - than with the Clinton administration initiative that collapsed in the 1990s under the weight of its own complexity and reach.

Obama and Romney are not overly modest men, but you might think so when it comes to this subject.

Health care got two sentences in Obama's State of the Union speech, one more than he devoted to an unfair-trade case against Chinese tires. Romney sticks to the Republican line that Obama's law must be repealed, and gives so-so reviews of his own law. "Some things worked, some things didn't, and some things I'd change," he says when pressed.

Stuart Altman has been in the thick of it all as a health policy economist who advised Nixon in the 1970s and four more presidents of both parties since. He also co-chaired a Massachusetts task force on health policy in the prelude to Romney's initiative.

"Poor Romney, he has to run away from it," Altman said, simply because Republicans have made it their refrain that "Obamacare" must go, and Romney's plan can't easily be divorced from it.

"While Obama's not running away from it, he's not actively selling it, and from my point of view that's unfortunate," said Altman, who supports the law. "It needs a very substantial champion. It needs some substantial selling. Right now the negatives are outweighing the positives, in terms of sales, by about 100 to 1."

In a dozen speeches or remarks in public settings last month, Obama spoke not a word about the law, even as his administration churned out press releases about its benefits. But he does sell the initiative to crowds that have already bought it: It's a standard applause-generator in his remarks to Democratic fundraisers.

The crucial difference between the Romney and Obama plans is the most obvious: One is state, the other is federal. Romney argues that states must be free to draw up their own plans to expand health coverage and the feds have no business imposing a national solution, a point at the center of the Supreme Court case. Moreover, the federal law is designed to be paid for in part by cutting money from Medicare, which creates political opposition that states wouldn't face.

But both penalize people who don't buy insurance and businesses that don't offer it to employees, with exceptions for the smallest companies. They both rely on new health insurance marketplaces, called "exchanges" in the federal law, to give individuals outside the employer-supported insurance system a choice of plans. Both laws subsidize workplace-based insurance and coverage for people making well above the poverty level, not just the poorest.

Romney acknowledged the similarities in a less politically charged time for him, during his 2010 book tour, and praised the individual insurance mandate that, for conservatives, has become the most contentious part of the overhaul. Speaking to the Emory University student newspaper, he said of Obama: "And some of the best features of his health care plan are like ours - such as, we do not allow insurance companies to drop people who develop illnesses, our insurance is entirely portable, virtually all of our citizens are insured and there is an individual responsibility for getting insurance."

He went on to criticize the "one-size-fits-all solution" from Washington and emphasized his preference for plans devised by each state.

Romney's law is credited with expanding coverage but not controlling costs, which it did not set out explicitly to do. Public opinion surveys in Massachusetts consistently suggest it is well regarded, and there has been no serious effort to roll it back.

"It's almost as if we're discussing poll results from a separate country," Blendon says.

And the state law has an advantage over the federal one in winning public support: the passage of time.

"In Massachusetts, in the sixth year of the program, it would be very hard to envision that we're going to take away insurance coverage from all the people who got coverage and say let's go back to six years ago," Blendon said.

In contrast, people have been slow to see the benefits of Obama's law - or to experience any downside - because the bulk of it does not kick in until 2014.

Nixon's initiative was bold for its time - and even bolder now - because it contained measures that have become anathema to the Republican mainstream, including a requirement that all employers offer coverage to their workers. To his everlasting regret, Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, his party's broker on health care, chose not to seal a deal with Nixon along those lines, reasoning that a Democratic president down the road could achieve a single-payer government system like Canada's.

"You never know how the thing would have played out," said Altman, an architect of Nixon's initiative and author of a new book on the century-long struggle for expanded medical care, "Power, Politics, and Universal Health Care." "There was no question that the stars were aligned in 1974 for the passage of something important."

Nixon declared, "The time is at hand this year to bring comprehensive, high-quality health care within the reach of every American. I shall propose a sweeping new program that will assure comprehensive health insurance protection to millions of Americans who cannot now obtain it or afford it."

With the Watergate scandal soon to destroy Nixon's presidency, health care was surely a topic he preferred to talk about. It's just not one that Romney or Obama want to talk about now.

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Associated Press writer Nancy Benac contributed to this report.

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