07-18-2018  2:04 am      •     
The Skanner Report
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

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...

Wildfires force evacuations in Spokane, Columbia River Gorge

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A small but fast-moving wildfire in Spokane prompted evacuation notices for more than 700 homes, authorities said Tuesday.The so-called Upriver Beacon Fire, which was less than 1 square mile (2.6 sq. kilometer), broke out near a residential area.Several homes caught...

Prominent sovereign citizen sentenced for federal bank fraud

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A prominent sovereign citizen has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for conspiring to launder money.The Knoxville News Sentinel reports Heather Ann Tucci-Jarraf was sentenced Tuesday after delivering a 45-minute speech denying the federal judge's...

Wildfires force evacuations in Spokane, Columbia River Gorge

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A small but fast-moving wildfire in Spokane prompted evacuation notices for more than 700 homes, authorities said Tuesday.The so-called Upriver Beacon Fire, which was less than 1 square mile (2.6 sq. kilometer), broke out near a residential area.Several homes caught...

Authorities form task force to investigate wildfires

SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities in western Washington state are forming a task force to investigate a series of recent wildfires.KCPQ-TV reports the Mason County Sheriff's Office is working with state and local agencies after more than 15 fires were reported in the county over a short period of...

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

Texas executes man for 2004 slaying of store owner

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas prisoner was executed Tuesday evening for the fatal shooting of a San Antonio convenience store owner after courts turned down appeals that the state parole board improperly rejected the inmate's clemency request because he's black.Christopher Young, 34,...

The Latest: Texas executes man for 2004 store owner slaying

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the Texas execution (all times local):6:45 p.m.A 34-year-old Texas prisoner has been executed for the fatal shooting of a San Antonio convenience store owner during an attempted robbery nearly 14 years ago.Christopher Young received a lethal injection...

Is Trump's retraction his final word on Russia? Unlikely

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington political playbook called for President Donald Trump to make clear — and fast — that the U.S. wasn't in the pocket of Russia President Vladimir Putin. On Tuesday, Trump relented, saying he misspoke on Russian election meddling.But apologies and...

ENTERTAINMENT

World Cup finale reaches 16 million viewers in U.S.

NEW YORK (AP) — The World Cup soccer final where France defeated Croatia was seen by just over 16 million people in the United States on Sunday.While that made the Sunday morning telecast on Fox and Telemundo the most-watched program of the week, it represented a significant drop in...

'McQueen' examines career of a brilliant, troubled designer

NEW YORK (AP) — The London fashion world didn't know quite what hit it when Alexander McQueen's disheveled models staggered down the runway at his 1995 "Highland Rape" show, their Scottish-inspired clothing ripped to expose breasts and nether regions.It was exactly the reaction that McQueen,...

Destiny's Child singer Williams seeks mental health help

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams says she's seeking help for the depression she has struggled with for years.Williams said in an Instagram post Tuesday that she has "sought help from a great team of health care professionals."She gave no specifics on her treatment,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Ex-FBI chief Comey urges voters to support Democrats in fall

WASHINGTON (AP) — James Comey, the FBI director who was fired last year by President Donald Trump, is...

Intense government bombing of south Syria opposition holdout

BEIRUT (AP) — Talks to cede the largest opposition holdout in southwestern Syria to the government have...

Marriott hotels eliminating plastic straws by 2019

DETROIT (AP) — Marriott International plans to remove plastic straws and drink stirrers from all of its...

Rescue group: Libya left migrants to die in Mediterranean

MADRID (AP) — A migrant aid group has accused Libya's coast guard of abandoning three people in the...

Obama delivers veiled rebuke to Trump in Mandela address

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — In his highest profile speech since leaving office, former U.S. President Barack Obama...

Trump backs off siding with Russia over US intelligence

WASHINGTON (AP) — Blistered by bipartisan condemnation of his embrace of a longtime U.S. enemy, President...

By The Skanner News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Standing before a nation clamoring for jobs, President Barack Obama will call for targeted spending to boost the economy but also for budget cutting in Tuesday night's State of the Union address, his first in a new era of divided political power.

The Skanner News Video here

To a television audience in the tens of millions, Obama will home in on jobs, the issue of most importance to the public and to his hopes for a second term. Though war and other concerns bid for attention, the president has chosen to lean heavily on the economy, with far less emphasis on Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism and foreign affairs.

Specifically, Obama will focus on improving the education, innovation and infrastructure of the United States as the way to provide a sounder economic base. He will pair that with calls to reduce the government's debt — now topping a staggering $14 trillion — and reforming government. Those five areas will frame the speech, with sprinklings of fresh proposals.

Yet no matter how ambitious Obama's rhetorical reach, his speech at the halfway point of his term will be viewed in the context of his new political reality.

The midterm elections gave Republicans control of the House and a stronger minority vote in the Senate, meaning he hasn't the option of pushing through changes over strong GOP objections. The contrast between the two parties' visions remains stark, and the debate about where to slash spending, and by how much, will drive much of the debate for the rest of 2011.

As if to underscore that point, Obama's speech will come just hours after the House is to vote on setting spending for the rest of the year at 2008, pre-recession levels. That resolution, largely symbolic, would put Republican lawmakers on record in favor of cutting $100 billion from Obama's budget for the current year as the party promised in last year's campaign.

The atmospherics of the State of the Union, always watched with some fascination as a display of political theater, are expected to be more sober and civil than in recent years.

The speech comes less than three weeks after an assassination attempt against Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz. She is recovering remarkably after being shot in the head during a one-man rampage that left six dead. Among those who will sit with first lady Michelle Obama at the president's speech will be the family of a 9-year-old girl who was killed, an aide to Giffords who rushed to help her at the shooting, and trauma surgeons who have treated the wounded lawmaker.

In an attempt at unity following an attack on one of their own, some Democratic and Republican lawmakers will sit together at Obama's speech. Others have dismissed that idea as superficial. The focus on tone comes a year after Obama's rebuke of a Supreme Court decision in his State of the Union speech led Justice Samuel Alito to mouth back, "Not true."

Obama is trying to emphasize economic priorities that can draw both public appeal and enough Republican consideration for at least serious debate.

He will wrap them all under the heading of helping the United States to compete more successfully in the world — a "win the future" rallying cry that Obama's aides hopes will resonate with both workers and business executives and bind the political parties. In fact, the theme of competitiveness has been pushed by many presidents, including Obama.

In this same setting one year ago, he declared: "China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations aren't playing for second place." Obama has spoken consistently about a need for a new direction in America, an agenda of investing in energy, education, research and public works. Republicans say when Obama speaks of investments, he means spending.

Republicans have chosen Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, an emerging voice for the party on behalf of spending cuts, to deliver the televised response to Obama's address. He is planning to promote budget cuts as essential to responsible governing, even choosing to give his comments from the hearing room of the House Budget Committee, which he now chairs.

The president's aides say he will talk about cutting spending, too, although the details are less clear. In the background are the politically explosive recommendations of his bipartisan commission about how to trim the debt. On Social Security alone, ideas include raising the retirement age at which people could receive benefits, reducing those benefits and lowering cost-of-living increases.

In his speech, Obama is expected to mention tax reform, another recommendation from the commission.

But the White House says Obama will not dive deeply into policy or offer a rundown of ideas reading like a laundry list. His goal is for those watching to emerge with more confidence about the economy of the country and more clarity about his vision for it.

It will be a sales job to a skeptical crowd.

In a new Associated Press-GfK poll, more than half of those surveyed disapproved of how Obama has handled the economy, and just 35 percent said it has improved on his watch. Still, the poll revealed a sense of perspective. Three-quarters of those questioned said it is unrealistic to expect noticeable improvements after two years, the length of Obama's tenure. The recession that began before Obama took office erased 7.3 million jobs. On the rebound, the economy produced 1.1 million jobs last year, and economists think that figure will roughly double this year. Yet unemployment, now at 9.4 percent, is likely to stay high. Economists predict the jobless rate is likely to be just under 9 percent by the end of the year.

On Wednesday, Obama was down to fine-tuning the language of his speech. His radio address over the weekend showed where he was headed

"We're living in a new and challenging time, in which technology has made competition easier and fiercer than ever before. Countries around the world are upping their game and giving their workers and companies every advantage possible," the president said. "But that shouldn't discourage us. Because I know we can win that competition."

Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor and Jeannine Aversa contributed to this story.

Oregon Lottery
Montavilla Jazzfest 2018
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

The Skanner Report

The Skanner Foundation Scholarships