05-20-2018  8:38 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

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Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

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3 high school seniors die in crash weeks before graduation

YONCALLA, Ore. (AP) — School officials say three senior girls were killed in a car crash on Interstate 5 in western Oregon, just weeks before graduation.Eagle Point High School said on its Facebook page that Luciana Tellez, Giselle Montano and Esmeralda Nava died Saturday night after their...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

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Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Janet Jackson honored at Billboard Awards

The Latest on the Billboard Music Awards (all times local):7:18 p.m.The youngest of the legendary Jackson musical family, Janet Jackson gave her first televised performance in nine years at the Billboard Music Awards.She was honored as the first black woman to receive the Billboard Icon Award on...

Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

ENTERTAINMENT

School victims honored at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

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Chrissy Teigen and John Legend reveal name of newborn son

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'Deadpool 2' ends Avengers' box-office reign, rakes in 5M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deadpool and his foul-mouthed crew of misfits and malcontents have taken down the Avengers.Fox's "Deadpool 2" brought in 5 million this weekend, giving it the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie and ending the three-week reign of Disney's "Avengers:...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry got his groove back to score 35 points with five 3-pointers, shooting...

School victims honored at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in...

In North Korea nuke site closing, spectacle trumps substance

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Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow; grave gets bouquet

LONDON (AP) — Unwilling to kiss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding goodbye just yet, Britain basked...

Kerry says civil discourse is under threat around the world

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday warned that...

Jim Kuhnhenn Associated Press


President Obama in Cannon Falls, Minn.
Photo credit: Pete Souza.

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) -- President Barack Obama's Midwestern tour is offering a mix of offense and defense that signals both his governing approach for the remainder of his term and the evolution of a campaign message for his re-election bid.

Obama is determined to use the reach of his office to build public pressure on Republicans to move his way on economic and fiscal policies, to counterpunch against the GOP presidential field, and to argue for his presidency with independent voters and rekindle enthusiasm among Democrats.

On Tuesday, the second day of a three-day bus tour, he was spending the day promoting rural economic policies, among the series of remedies he is pushing to fire up anemic job growth. But the measures are targeted, such as making it easier for rural businesses to get access to capital, and far more modest than the ambitious $821 billion stimulus package he pushed through Congress in 2009 when unemployment was rising but still below the current 9.1 percent level.

The president began with an early morning workout at a Decorah gym and later chatted with a few locals outside his hotel before getting on the bus to his next event, a White House Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta.

"Welcome to the 50s," one man told Obama, who hit the half-century mark with his birthday this month. Obama pointed to the man's gray hair and said: "I'm catching up to you."

The president's agenda of the day was proposals to help farm regions, including some ideas that are already under way and do not require additional government spending.

More broadly, his economic message illustrates his current dilemma.

Republicans control the House and believe that addressing the nation's long-term debt will have a positive effect on the economy; they have no appetite for major spending initiatives aimed at spurring a recovery.

Embracing that demand for fiscal discipline, Obama has called for both spending cuts and increases in revenue, but he found few takers for that formula during the contentious debate this summer over raising the nation's debt ceiling.

With echoes of Harry Truman's 1948 campaign against a "do-nothing" Congress, Obama encouraged audiences at town hall meetings Monday in Minnesota and Iowa to rise up against congressional inaction.

"If your voices are heard, then sooner or later these guys have to start paying attention," he said. "And if they don't start paying attention then they're not going to be in office and we will have a new Congress in there that will start paying attention to what is going on all across America."

The proposals include targeting Small Business Administration loans to rural small businesses, expanding job training to Agriculture Department field offices and recruiting more doctors for small rural hospitals.

Though classified by the White House as an official presidential trip, the tour's first day had the distinct feel of a campaign excursion. The president's motorcade, at times numbering nearly 30 vehicles, rumbled over 160 miles through small towns and cornfields in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. Its most prominent feature was the president's bus - not the colorful transports of campaigns, but a dark, imposing vehicle recently purchased for $1.1 million by the Secret Service.

The settings of the two outdoor town halls were in picturesque locales, one with Minnesota's Cannon River as a backdrop and the other in Iowa amid hay bales against a red barn lit by a setting sun.

Obama's rhetoric had a campaign pulse as well.

He attacked the Republican presidential field, recalling a moment in last week's GOP presidential debate when all eight of the candidates said they would refuse to support a budget deal with tax increases, even if tax revenues were outweighed 10-to-1 by spending cuts.

"That's just not common sense," Obama told the crowd at a town hall-style meeting in Cannon Falls, Minn.

He took a shot at GOP front-runner, Mitt Romney, though not by name, over the health care system he instituted while governor of Massachusetts that is similar to the Obama-backed federal law that Republicans now oppose.

"You've got a governor who's running for president right now who instituted the exact same thing in Massachusetts," the president said. "It's like they got amnesia."

Obama also got an earful from two tea party supporters who challenged him on reports that Vice President Joe Biden had agreed with congressional Democrats who characterized the conservative movement as terrorists.

"He said we were acting like terrorists," Iowa tea party activist Ryan Rhodes said, confronting the president after the Decorah town hall as Obama worked a rope line of audience members. "What we stand for is limited government and a balanced budget," Rhodes continued.

Obama countered that Biden was making the point that almost failing to raise the debt ceiling was irresponsible.

"He wasn't objecting to the balanced budget amendment, he was objecting to us almost defaulting," Obama said. As Rhodes persisted, and Obama continued to shake hands, the president added, "It doesn't sound like you are interested in listening."

In both town halls, Obama cast himself as a compromiser, a trait White House aides say resonates with independent voters and lives up to his 2008 pledge to change the ways of Washington.

"I make no apologies for being reasonable," Obama declared.

But some Democrats maintain Obama has gone too far, caving in to Republican demands and having little to show for it.

His first questioner in Iowa, a woman who declared herself a strong supporter, wondered whether Obama had compromised on key principles by not fighting for the repeal of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, or for agreeing to make some cuts to Social Security and Medicare during the debt ceiling showdown.

"So I'm just curious, moving forward, what prevents you from taking a harder negotiating stance, being that it seems that the Republicans are taking a really hard stance?" she asked.

Obama said the risk of raising taxes on all Americans forced him to compromise and extend all the Bush-era tax cuts until the end of 2012. He also said the consequences of a government default were too great to risk a failed deal on the debt ceiling.

But he promised to assemble a plan to boost the economy that he will present to Congress in September.

"And if they don't get it done, then we'll be running against a Congress that's not doing anything for the American people," he said, "and the choice will be very stark and will be very clear."

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