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NORTHWEST NEWS

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

Community Surprised at Police Chief’s Departure, Concerned by Quick Replacement

Deputy Chief Jami Resch immediately named as successor.

NEWS BRIEFS

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...

National Urban League Warns Trump Administration: Don't Weaken Community Reinvestment Act to Allow Racial Discrimination in Lending

Proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act could further limit access to the American Dream ...

Democrats: Oregon climate bill is priority. GOP resists

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and the speaker of the House of Representatives, both Democrats, said Friday that passing legislation aimed at stemming global warming is their priority when lawmakers return to the Capitol next month. But Rep. Christine Drazan, the leader of the...

Power still out, no school for some as storms continue

SEATTLE (AP) — Hundreds of people without power for as long as a week are slowly seeing their lights come back on after storms that brought feet of heavy snow to Western Washington, while thousands in Southern Oregon lost power in a Thursday snowstorm. Puget Sound Energy estimates that power...

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

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” ...

How Being 'Tough on Crime' Became a Political Liability

In one of the most stunning shifts in American politics in recent memory, a wave of elected prosecutors have bucked a decadeslong tough-on-crime approach adopted by both major parties ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

3 more linked to neo-Nazi group arrested in Georgia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three men linked to a violent white supremacist group known as The Base were charged with conspiring to kill members of a militant anti-fascist group, police in Georgia announced Friday, a day after three other members were arrested on federal charges in Maryland and...

Virginia's highest court upholds weapons ban at gun rally

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia's highest court on Friday upheld a ban on firearms at an upcoming pro-gun rally in the state's capital, an event that authorities feared could erupt in violence at the hands of armed extremists.The Virginia Supreme Court's decision came a day after gun-rights...

Trump's black voter outreach looks in part to the pews

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — In the eight years since he became a pastor at First Immanuel Baptist Church, Todd Johnson says he's seen his congregation's politics make a subtle shift.The Philadelphia church, which recently hosted a Donald Trump campaign event reaching out to black voters, has...

ENTERTAINMENT

Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan put on 'administrative leave'

NEW YORK (AP) — The Recording Academy has placed Deborah Dugan, its president and CEO of just six months, on administrative leave following an allegation of misconduct by a senior leader at the organization.The move announced late Thursday comes 10 days before the 2020 Grammy Awards will be...

Nashville songwriters spread outside country at Grammys

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville songwriters are showing up at the Grammys this year, but not just in the country music categories. The city’s writing talent has been increasingly tapped to help craft nominated soundtracks, pop songs and R&B albums over the last couple of...

Dior sparks mayhem with couture-infused Paris menswear show

PARIS (AP) — Guests crammed into Dior's annex in Paris' Place de la Condorde on Friday amid chaos before the show. Some guests had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit as cars came to unload celebrities, including David Beckham and Robert Pattinson, at an industrious pace. Mayhem such...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

PHOTO GALLERY: A selection of pictures from the past week

Here's your look at highlights from the weekly AP photo report, a gallery featuring a mix of front-page...

Rollback proposed for Michelle Obama school lunch guidelines

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Friday took another step toward dismantling Michelle Obama's...

US to screen airline passengers from China for new illness

NEW YORK (AP) — Three U.S. airports will screen passengers arriving from central China for a new virus that...

AP Exclusive: AT&T under pressure to defy Maduro's censors

MIAMI (AP) — Last April, as a military uprising roiled Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro’s socialist...

Portrait found in gallery's walls verified as missing Klimt

PIACENZA, Italy (AP) — Art experts have confirmed that a painting discovered hidden inside an Italian art...

AP Photos: Taal volcano emits ash, threatening more eruption

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Taal volcano near the Philippine capital emitted more ash clouds on...

McMenamins
Peter Hamby CNN Political Reporter

SAN JOSE, California (CNN) -- Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and Democratic firebrand, stood behind a podium at the San Jose Convention Center and neatly summed up the current zeitgeist of the left.


"Is the president perfect?" Dean asked a buzzing audience of left-leaning bloggers, political activists and organizers on Thursday evening. "No. But it sure is better than having Bain Capital, I mean Mitt Romney, in there."

Dean's growling joke crystallized the prevailing liberal sentiment about President Barack Obama as the curtain rose on Netroots Nation, the annual progressive conference started in 2006 by the creators of the Daily Kos, a popular left-leaning blog and founding member of an online grass-roots movement that eventually helped lift Obama into the White House.

Obama the senator made a pilgrimage to the 2007 conference, then called Yearly Kos, and charmed the assembled bloggers as he mounted what seemed an impossible primary campaign against Hillary Clinton.

In 2013, Obama the president sent a YouTube video. He wasn't exactly missed.

On a host of issues from National Security Agency surveillance to Wall Street reform to foreclosure assistance to the Keystone XL pipeline debate, the more than 2,000 activists in San Jose for the eighth Netroots Nation expressed dismay about the compromises and slow pace of progress that have so far marked Obama's tenure in the White House.

"If George Bush was in there, I'd more frustrated," said Tony Alexander, political director for a local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. "But we have Barack Obama, so it's a little less frustrating."

But frustrating nonetheless.

To many here, the hard-won battles of the 2012 campaign have not yielded much at all.

"We are in the middle of foreclosure crisis, and we haven't seen any real action on principal reduction, and we haven't seen any of the banks get prosecuted for some of things that were supposedly under investigation," said Liz Butler, a fellow at the Movement Strategy Center, a social justice organization. "A lot of us have concerns within the progressive, social justice and environmental movement about the lack of action on a whole set of issues."

Scott Paul, a self-described "labor Democrat" and president of the nonpartisan Alliance for American Manufacturing, pointed to Obama's promise at the Democratic National Convention to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of his second term.

"The first five months are in, and there is virtually no job creation, so they are already way behind on manufacturing," said Paul, who was enticing conference-goers to his display in the Netroots Nation exhibition hall with classic arcade games such as Galaga and Pac-Man. "How much of it was rhetorical? A lot of it was, clearly."

Across the hall from Paul's display, staffers from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a 1 million-member advocacy group founded by two former MoveOn.org organizers, was doing a brisk business handing out blue-and-white bumper stickers declaring, "I'm from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party."

Warren, the senator from Massachusetts who endeared herself to the left by pushing for student loan reform and greater Wall Street regulation, long ago surpassed Obama as a darling of the left, said Adam Green, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

The president's attempt to pass sweeping gun control legislation after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School offered a glimmer of hope for liberals, Green said, but that soon faded.

"The American people want to believe in something, someone, and there are moments like the gun debate when the president did what progressives wanted all along, which is propose the boldest possible bill and barnstorm the country fighting for it," he said.

"But on things like foreclosures, and even jobs, there is the absence of a policy. On some things he is just wrong, and on other things he is just absent. Why isn't he giving a speech on jobs every single week? Why isn't he owning that issue? He is almost treating his presidency like he is treading water. There are people who want to rally behind his leadership if he is willing to lead, but he is not."

Obama recorded a video message for the conference that ran during the opening night of speeches on Thursday. It was sandwiched between the address by Dean and another by Sandra Fluke, the attorney and women's rights activist who became a Democratic celebrity during the 2012 presidential race when radio talker Rush Limbaugh called her a "slut" for advocating for greater access to contraceptives.

"We won't always agree on everything, and I know you'll tell me when we don't, but if we work together, I am confident we will keep moving this country forward," Obama said in the video, which was met by tepid applause though it highlighted accomplishments such as increasing home sales and passing an extension of the Violence Against Women Act.

The president's complicated relationship with his party's activist wing is, in a certain sense, as institutional as it is ideological. Every president, liberal or conservative, has been forced to make compromises that rankled even his most loyal supporters.

But Obama's other challenge is that the political left has long had a knack for restlessness, even with one of its own occupying the Oval Office.

Until the second term of President George W. Bush exposed his party's fault lines, Republicans for decades had a prized tradition of marching in lockstep with party leadership, especially when the GOP held the White House.

The Democratic Party, meanwhile, is routinely disparaged -- even by its own professional class in Washington -- as less a party than a feuding and loosely affiliated federation of special interests and demographic groups: organized labor, abortion rights supporters, environmentalists, racial minorities, students and others.

"Every president has to operate within the framework of a lot of competing interests and organizations that are supporting or against him, especially Democrats," said Jann Dorothy, a Netroots attendee from Sacramento, California, who is supportive of the president. "He has to always balance the various constituencies that are out there. It's a bit like herding cats."

Dorothy said that "a lot of people here are frustrated, very upset" about the NSA surveillance and data collection programs that former contractor Edward Snowden revealed this month.

Obama's approval rating has slipped in the wake of revelations about his administration's sweeping surveillance programs, but Democrats continue to give him high marks. A CNN/ORC International poll from this week shows Obama's approval rating among Democrats at 83 percent, down six percentage points from last month. Among liberals the rating fell three points to 75 percent

But the lanyard-wearing Netroots crowd bristled at party labels. They were more likely to identify themselves with a particular cause -- opposing the Keystone pipeline, for instance, or halting forced deportations of illegal immigrants. Breakout sessions at the conference largely focused on tactical matters such as media strategy and grass-roots organizing, not passing Obama's political agenda.

"I don't think there is a terribly strong allegiance to the Democratic Party here," Dean said in an interview with CNN.

It is a demanding bunch. Everyone who came to Netroots arrived with a pet issue or two, but it was difficult on the conference's first day to find anyone who said the president had done enough to satisfy his or her demands.

The exceptions to that rule were supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, who applauded the president for backing same-sex marriage and said the administration has accomplished most of what they wanted.

Still, many questions about the president from a reporter were met with shrugs and the occasional eye roll.

The tension revealed itself in a roundtable session Thursday morning with leaders from Organizing for Action, a grass-roots advocacy group that sprang from Obama's last campaign.

The group seeks to pressure members of Congress to back the White House's agenda, largely through local media events and partnerships with sympathetic interest groups such as Planned Parenthood.

But several activists who attended the roundtable pointedly questioned the group's executive director, Jon Carson, about its mission: Is its goal just to help Obama get his agenda passed? Or does it care about other progressive issues that don't quite jell with Obama's objectives?

The topic of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude oil reserves from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, was repeatedly broached. Several attendees doubted Organizing for Action's sincerity on climate change given the president's punting on a decision on construction of the 1,700-mile pipeline.

"Sometimes the administration is standing in the way of the agenda we all voted for," one participant said.

Carson gamely tried to manage the situation.

"I think what I would say is, we do partnerships primarily on specific actions," he said. "That's what we are offering. We wouldn't ask anyone, 'Let's make sure 100 percent of our agenda lines up before we go yell at (Sen.) Kelly Ayotte before her vote on background checks.' But when we do line up our agendas on what we care about, we will find at least 80 percent matching."

Sara El-Amine, the group's national organizing director, said, "We can't be all things to everyone."

Despite the evident frustration, there were no hints of outright anger about Obama among the convention participants. He is still their president, and as Dean pointed out, it could be much worse.

Former Obama campaign staffers wandered the hallways sharing hugs with friends in the blogger community, and Obama T-shirts are a frequent sight on the backs of conference-goers. Booze-soaked parties are as much a part of the agenda as networking and political organizing. The 2016 presidential race and discussions about putative front-runner Hillary Clinton are only conversation topics when brought up by reporters.

The anxiety here is hard to define, but it might have something to do with the fact that liberals find themselves in the unusual position of being two-time winners on a grand scale.

For a progressive movement that started as an underdog insurgency fighting back against the powerful Bush administration, it's kind of weird to be on top for five years running. These activists crashed the gate a long time ago. Their ambitions are a bit less sweeping, more prosaic and narrowly focused.

"It's exciting to be coming together after we all performed really well as a party," said Jess McIntosh, a spokeswoman for Emily's List, a group that supports female Democratic candidates. "We ran really good candidates; we had really good issues and we won. So I think now we all get to stand around and talk about what do we do with a win, which might not be the most natural position for everybody here."

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