01-28-2023  9:36 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon BIPOC Caucus Calls for Action to Support Victims of Gun Violence

The Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus has released the following statement in response to the tragedy at Half Moon Bay, CA that left seven dead and one person wounded, all of whom were people of color

Democrats Voice Priorities for Coming Year in the Capitol

Highlights from the Democrats 2023 legislative agenda. 

Colorado Lawmakers Look to AI to Detect Wildfires Earlier

A historic drought and recent heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West and scientists say warming weather will continue to make fires more frequent and destructive.

Justices Weigh Effort to Balance Washington State's Tax Code

Washington is one of nine states without an income tax, and its heavy reliance on sales and fuel taxes to pay for schools, roads and other public expenses falls disproportionately on low-income residents.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Graduation Rate Rises With Gains Made In Every Student Group

Class of 2022 graduation rate is second highest In Oregon’s history ...

City Council Approves 13 to Independent District Commission

The commission will lead the effort to establish four new geographic districts for Portland’s next city council. ...

Incorporating Mindfulness Into Social Justice Classes Topic of Feb. 8 Oregon State Science Pub

The free event, which can be attended in person or viewed online, will feature a presentation by Kathryn McIntosh. She will discuss...

Exhibit "Flowers for Elders" Celebrates Living Portland Artists

Free, public, multimedia exhibit runs through Feb. 25 in SE Portland ...

The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual MLK Breakfast to Air on TV

The sold-out event will air on 5 upcoming dates and times on Comcast Xfinity channels at the start of Black History Month. ...

Fully clothed bathing burglar found in Seattle bathroom

SEATTLE (AP) — A man suspected of breaking into a Seattle home has refused to come clean about his intentions, even though police found him fully clothed in a bathtub filled with water. A woman returned to her home Friday night to find a window smashed and an unknown man inside the...

Man accused in substation vandalism is released from custody

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — One of the two men charged with vandalizing electrical substations in Washington state over the holidays to cover a burglary was ordered released from federal custody Friday to seek substance abuse help. A federal judge issued the order for Matthew Greenwood,...

Krikke scores 30, leads Valparaiso over Evansville 81-69

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Ben Krikke scored 30 points to lead Valparaiso over Evansville 81-69 on Saturday. Krikke added nine rebounds for the Beacons (10-13, 4-8 Missouri Valley Conference). Kobe King added 13 points and Connor Barrett scored nine. Gage Bobe finished...

Russell leads SE Missouri State over Eastern Illinois 79-68

CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) — Phillip Russell scored 19 points and Southeast Missouri State beat Eastern Illinois 79-68 on Saturday. Russell added six assists for the Redhawks (12-11, 7-3 Ohio Valley Conference). Adam Larson and Israel Barnes scored 11 points apiece. Larson blocked three...

OPINION

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

A Letter to Residents of N. and N.E. Portland from Commissioner Susheela Jayapal

Susheela Jayapal, Multnomah County Commissioner for District 2, North and Northeast Portland, reviews her first four-year term and looks forward to her second term ...

Are Black Individuals Like Kanye West, Van Jones, and Stephen A. Smith ‘Perpetrating a Fraud,’ or is Self-Hate a Primary Motivator for Anti-Blackness

“So, you have two types of Negro. The old type and the new type. Most of you know the old type. When you read about him in history during slavery he was called ‘Uncle Tom.’ He was the House Negro.”-Malcolm X ...

We Need Not Forgive

We need not forgive racial injustices in America’s past, and we must never forget them. But as a nation, we can reconcile. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

State of emergency declared over Atlanta 'Cop City' protest

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Thursday, giving him the option of calling in the Georgia National Guard in response to a violent protest in downtown Atlanta over the killing by authorities of an environmental activist said to have shot a state trooper. ...

Jury rejects lawsuit filed by family of teen killed by cop

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal jury has found that a white Ohio police officer did not violate a Black teenager's civil rights when he shot and killed the boy while responding to a reported armed robbery. Jurors reached their verdict Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Tyre King’s...

New US race, ethnicity standards proposed; first since '97

A Middle Eastern and North African category could be added to U.S. federal surveys and censuses, and changes could be made to how Hispanics are able to self-identify, under preliminary recommendations released Thursday by the Biden administration in what would be the first update to race and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: Joe Henry returns with varied 'kind-word blues' set

“All the Eye Can See,” Joe Henry (earMUSIC) “There goes the sun,” Joe Henry sings, sounding nothing like George Harrison as he contemplates our long, cold, lonely winter. “All the Eye Can See” is the most diverse album of Henry’s career, surrounding his...

Smokey Robinson, 'King of Motown,' to release new solo album

NEW YORK (AP) — It's been nearly a decade since Smokey Robinson's last album, but new music from the King of Motown is on the horizon. Robinson will release the nine-track album “Gasms” on April 28, the music legend behind hits like “My Girl” and “The Way You Do the Things...

Jesmyn Ward novel 'Let Us Descend' to be published Oct. 3

NEW YORK (AP) — The next novel by Jesmyn Ward, the two-time National Book Award winner, is the story of an enslaved teenage girl that the publisher is calling a blend of magical realism, historical narrative and Dante's “Inferno.” Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Trump opens 2024 run, says he's 'more committed' than ever

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump kicked off his 2024 White House bid with stops Saturday in...

Pence: 'Mistakes were made' in classified records handling

MIAMI (AP) — Former Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that he takes “full responsibility” after...

Japan firm opens whale meat vending machines to push sales

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — A Japanese whaling operator, after struggling for years to promote its products amid...

Study: Enough rare earth minerals to fuel green energy shift

The world has enough rare earth minerals and other critical raw materials to switch from fossil fuels to renewable...

Brutality of Russia's Wagner gives it lead in Ukraine war

Fierce battles in eastern Ukraine have thrown a new spotlight on Russia's Wagner Group, a private military company...

Challenge for Tunisian democracy: Getting voters to show up

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia was once the Arab world’s hope for a new era of democracy. Now it’s in the...

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Brushing past Democratic opposition, President Barack Obama announced agreement with Republicans Monday night to extend expiring tax cuts for all Americans, renew jobless benefits and grant a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes for millions.  The Skanner News Video: AFL-CIO on Unemployment impact

The emerging agreement also includes tax breaks for businesses that the president said would contribute to the economy's recovery from the worst recession in eight decades.

Obama said there were elements of the deal he personally opposed, including an extension of expiring income tax cuts at upper income levels and a more generous deal on estates. But he said he decided that an agreement with Republicans was more important that a stalemate that would have resulted in higher income taxes at all income levels on Jan. 1.

"Make no mistake, allowing taxes to go up on all Americans would have raised taxes by $3,000 for a typical American family and that could cost our economy well over a million jobs," he said at the White House.

Top Democrats traveled to the White House earlier Monday and left later without discussing the details of their discussions with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Several officials said there was discontent over tax cut provisions that Republicans had demanded from the president, apparently successfully.

The White House meeting occurred after Obama returned to Washington from a trip to North Carolina, where he said he and Congress must "make sure we're coming up with a solution, even if it's not 100 percent what I want or 100 percent what the Republicans want."

Democrats have repeatedly raised objections to including the upper-income in any plan to extend tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 when George W. Bush was president. The Democratic-controlled House recently passed legislation to let the cuts lapse on incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. On Saturday, Republicans blocked an attempt by Senate Democrats to do the same.

Despite the grumbling, White House officials underscored the benefits of the overall proposal for lower and middle class workers.

They noted that without the proposed extension of long-term unemployment benefits, 2 million workers would lose their assistance in December, and 7 million by the end of 2011.

They said the payroll tax holiday under consideration would be for one year, and mean an extra $120 billion would remain in worker paychecks. The proposal would supplant an earlier White House demand to extend a tax cut for lower-income and middle-income families.

They also said there were tax breaks for businesses that would encourage them to expand operations, thus stimulating an economy that is struggling to recover from the worst recession in 80 years.

But White House officials were far more reticent about claiming economic benefit from a planned extension in the estate tax. Officials said in discussions with Republicans, the White House was willing to entertain a two-year extension in which estates totaling $5 million and less would pass to heirs tax-free. Anything over that level would be taxed at 35 percent.

Many Democrats favor a far less generous proposal, under which the first $3.5 million would be tax-free, and anything above that level taxed at 45 percent.

Obama pushes middle class tax cuts, investment

The grumbling among Democrats underscored a dramatic shift in political power in the month since midterm elections, in which Republicans won control of the House and strengthened their hand in the Senate.

The newly elected lawmakers have yet to take their seats, but the White House has been quick to reach out in search of compromises.

In contrast, Obama spent his first two years in office generally bargaining with Democrats as he labored to pass key legislation such as an economic stimulus in 2009 and his health care overhaul earlier this year.

Momentum for a year-end deal picked up after Obama met at the White House last week with Republican leaders for the first time since his party's dispiriting election losses, and accelerated again when the government reported last week that joblessness had risen in November, to 9.8 percent.

The flurry of negotiations is taking place with lawmakers eager to wrap up their work for the year and adjourn for the holidays.

Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have all said in recent days they believe a deal on tax cuts and unemployment benefits is possible by midweek. If so, that would leave time for the Senate to hold a ratification debate on a new arms control treaty with Russia, which Obama has made a top year-end priority.

Senate Republicans have seemed more willing to hold a ratification debate in recent days as the negotiations over taxes intensified, suggesting at least an implicit link between the two issues in the talks.

Few details of the negotiations were available, including the length of a payroll tax holiday under discussion.

But it appeared increasingly likely that any extension of the Bush-era income tax cuts would be for two years.

Obama and Democrats have long insisted that tax cuts be allowed to lapse for incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples, saying that would cushion the impact on the deficit.

On the other hand, Republicans want all tax cuts extended permanently, arguing it made no economic sense to raise taxes with the economy still recovering from the recession.

Questions remained about how many concessions Obama could extract from Republicans in exchange for extending current tax rates for high earners, a proposal he opposed. But without action, lawmakers face the prospect of delivering a tax hike to all taxpayers at the end of the year, when the current rates expire and revert to higher pre-2001 and 2003 levels.

Negotiations between the Obama administration and a bipartisan group of lawmakers centered on a two-year extension of current rates.

At the same time, a jump in the unemployment rate to 9.8 percent is putting pressure on Republicans to accede to Obama's demand that Congress extend unemployment insurance for a year. GOP congressional leaders had opposed an extension of benefits without cuts elsewhere in the federal budget.

MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.