07-16-2018  2:04 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Experience the Culture at the Second Annual Pan African Festival of Oregon

Event will take place from 12 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. August 11 ...

Oregon Humane Society Photo Contest Now Open

Submissions for annual pet photo contest open until August 15 ...

Mark Christopher Lawrence to Perform at Harvey’s Comedy Club July 13-15

Former Big Mike of “Chuck” will perform at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7:30 Sunday ...

Dragon Fest 2018

Lions, dragons and breakdancers descend on Seattle’s Chinatown-International District for the Pacific Northwest’s largest...

Deadly fire shuts down key route to Yosemite National Park

MARIPOSA, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire that killed a California firefighter grew quickly and forced the closure of a key route into Yosemite National Park as crews contended with sweltering conditions Sunday, authorities said.The so-called Ferguson Fire that broke out Friday scorched nearly 7...

Vancouver dog parks at risk of closing over safety issues

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An organization that builds and maintains off-leash dog parks in southwestern Washington state says it could be forced to close the parks unless safety concerns are addressed.KATU-TV reports the nonprofit Dogpaw might close down its four Vancouver-area parks after at...

Prime time: A day of deals at Amazon, and at its rivals

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is extending its annual "Prime Day" promotion to 36 hours this year and will try to lure more deal-seekers to the aisles of Whole Foods. Shoppers will have plenty of sales to choose from as other retailers offer promotions to try to take a share of the spending.This...

AP Analysis: Billionaires fuel powerful state charter groups

SEATTLE (AP) — Dollar for dollar, the beleaguered movement to bring charter schools to Washington state has had no bigger champion than billionaire Bill Gates.The Microsoft co-founder gave millions of dollars to see a charter school law approved despite multiple failed ballot referendums....

OPINION

A Letter from America’s Children

American children struggling with poverty, violence and homelessness, deserve media coverage, too ...

Rep. Maxine Waters Takes Strong Stand for Fair Housing

Congresswoman Maxine Waters recently stepped up to file legislation designed to cure many of regressive ills pushed by Secretary Carson ...

10 Indoor Plants Every Pet Lover Must Have

Dr. Jasmine Streeter shares her tips on stress-busting plants ...

NAACP Statement on Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

NAACP opposes Kavanaugh's confirmation to the D.C. Circuit ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

South African white enclave tests e-currency to stand apart

ORANIA, South Africa (AP) — The white Afrikaner community that famously sprang up in a sparsely populated corner of South Africa at the end of apartheid is now testing a digital currency that could reinforce its sense of independence.Some residents of the town of Orania, population 1,600,...

Vive la France! And a lot of other nations, too

MOSCOW (AP) — Antoine Griezmann's father emigrated from Germany, and the France forward's mother is of Portuguese descent.Paul Pogba's parents arrived from Guinea.Kylian Mbappe's dad is from Cameroon, his mom Algerian.Immigrants, sons of immigrants and grandsons of immigrants bonded together...

DC Police: Author of anti-Semitic flyers won't be charged

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police say they've identified the person leaving anti-Semitic flyers around Washington, but will not pursue a criminal investigation.Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Karimah Bilal tells The Washington Post that the flyers are protected by the First Amendment and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Rapper buys every seat in house, takes strangers to movies

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine rapper surprised moviegoers with free tickets to a sci-fi satire movie.Rory Ferreira, who goes by the stage name Milo, bought all 129 seats to the 4:20 p.m. showing of the movie "Sorry to Bother You" at the Nickelodeon in Portland, Maine, on Saturday. The...

Review: Sacha Baron Cohen back with old style, same results

NEW YORK (AP) — The provocateur Sacha Baron Cohen has rebooted his ambush chat show and before any judgment is made about the wisdom of that decision, you have to admire the sheer perseverance of not only the host but also his so-called guests.Fifteen years after the British comedian leapt...

Nancy Sinatra Sr., first wife of Frank Sinatra, dies at 101

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nancy Sinatra Sr., the childhood sweetheart of Frank Sinatra who became the first of his four wives and the mother of his three children, has died. She was 101.Her daughter, Nancy Sinatra Jr., tweeted that her mother died Friday and a posting on her web page said she died...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

World Cup afterglow lifts up conflicted France

PARIS (AP) — World Cup, World Cup and more World Cup — that's all France is talking about."Eternal...

Prime time: A day of deals at Amazon, and at its rivals

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is extending its annual "Prime Day" promotion to 36 hours this year and will try to...

In TV interview, Trump says queen called Brexit 'complex'

LONDON (AP) — President Donald Trump has told a British TV interviewer that Queen Elizabeth II told him...

Cease-fire holds after day of intense Israel-Hamas fighting

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military lifted its restrictions along the Gaza border Sunday, indicating it...

Russia on a high as World Cup wraps; Putin's problems remain

MOSCOW (AP) — Despite a national wave of elation from the World Cup that bathed Russia in a rosy light,...

Trump wins sympathy from Russian media ahead of summit

MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump is no fan of American journalists, but he might love what the...

Ryan Kost Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- How much are politicians straining to convince people that the government is stimulating the economy? In Oregon, where lawmakers are spending $176 million to supplement the federal stimulus, Democrats are taking credit for a remarkable feat: creating 3,236 new jobs in the program's first three months.
But those jobs lasted on average only 35 hours, or about one work week. After that, those workers were effectively back unemployed, according to an Associated Press analysis of state spending and hiring data. By the state's accounting, a job is a job, whether it lasts three hours, three days, three months, or a lifetime.
"Sometimes some work for an individual is better than no work," said Oregon's Senate president, Peter Courtney.
With the economy in tatters and unemployment rising, Oregon's inventive math underscores the urgency for politicians across the country to show that spending programs designed to stimulate the economy are working -- even if that means stretching the facts.
At the federal level, President Barack Obama has said the federal stimulus has created 150,000 jobs, a number based on a misused formula and which is so murky it can't be verified.
At least 10 other states have launched their own miniature stimulus plans and nine others have proposed one, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many of them, like Oregon, have promised job creation as a result of the public spending.
Ohio, for instance, passed a nearly $1.6 billion stimulus package even before Congress was looking at a federal program. When Gov. Ted Strickland first pitched the idea last year, he estimated the program could create some 80,000 jobs.
In North Carolina, a panel authorized hundreds of millions of dollars in new debt to speed up $740 million in government building projects. According to one estimate, the move could hurry the creation of 25,000 jobs.
As the bills for these programs mount, so will the pressure to show results. But, as Oregon illustrates, job estimates can vary wildly.
"At best you can say it's ambiguous, at worst you can say it's intentional deception," said economist Bruce Blonigen of the University of Oregon. "You have to normalize it into a benchmark that everybody can understand."
Oregon's accounting practices would not be allowed as part of the $787 billion federal stimulus. While the White House has made the unverifiable promise that 3.5 million jobs will be saved or created by the end of next year, when accountants actually begin taking head counts this fall, there are rules intended to guard against exactly what Oregon is doing.
The White House requires states to report numbers in terms of full-time, yearlong jobs. That means a part-time mechanic counts as half a job. A full-time construction worker who has a three-month paving contract counts as one-fourth of a job.
Using that method, the AP's analysis of figures in Oregon shows the program so far has created the equivalent of 215 full-time jobs that will last three months. Oregon's House speaker, Dave Hunt, called that measurement unfair, though nearly every other state that has passed a stimulus package already uses or plans to use it.
"This stimulus plan was intentionally designed for short-term projects to pump needed jobs and income into families, businesses and communities struggling to get by," Hunt said in a statement. "No one ever said these would be full-time jobs for months at a time."
Still, critics say counting jobs, without any consideration of their duration, isn't good enough.
"You can't let them say, 'Well, we never said it was going to be full-time,''' said Steve Buckstein, a policy analyst for the Cascade Policy Institute, a free-market think tank. For the price of Oregon's $176 million, lawmakers could have provided all 3 million state residents with a one-hour job paying about $60, he said.
"By their definition, that's 3 million jobs," Buckstein said. "Is anybody gonna buy that?"
Oregon's 12.4 percent unemployment rate surpasses the national average of 9.4 percent. To supplement the federal stimulus, the state sold bonds to pay for everything from replacing light bulbs to installing carpet and finishing construction of a school in the farming community of Tillamook.
The "Go Oregon" program is still new. According to its latest progress report, 8 percent of the money has been spent and hundreds of projects have yet to be completed. More paychecks are bound to be written as construction continues.
If Oregon's dollars-to-jobs ratio remains steady, the program will create about 688 full-time, yearlong jobs. So far, it's generated only enough hours to employ 54 people full-time for a year.
Still, contractor Deborah Matthews of Pacificmark Construction, based in Milwaukie, Ore., is happy for any work. Her company picked up three contracts for painting, installing a water filter system and refurbishing a maintenance building. Prior to those contracts, which lasted about six weeks, she had laid off nearly all her construction workers. She brought back three full-time and hired a part-time worker.
"It was a little bit," she said, "to just keep us going."

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