05-24-2018  4:03 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — An "unlikely" string of events prompted Amazon's Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle, the company said Thursday.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an...

Portland streetcar derails in crash; 1 injury

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland streetcar derailed during an accident involving several vehicles.No major injuries have been reported, but police say one person was taken to a hospital.The crash happened early Thursday afternoon in the Central Eastside Industrial District.The streetcar's "B...

Suspect in 1986 Washington murder case pleads not guilty

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A man arrested in the killing of a 13-year-old Tacoma, Washington girl over three decades ago has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.The News Tribune reports 60-year-old Robert Washburn pleaded not guilty Thursday in Tacoma, Washington, to murder with aggravated...

Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

SEATTLE (AP) — An "unlikely" string of events prompted Amazon's Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle, the company said Thursday.The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

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 ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Staley settles lawsuit against Missouri athletic director

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — South Carolina coach Dawn Staley has reached a ,000 settlement in her lawsuit against Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk.Missouri is paying the ,000. One half of the settlement will go to INNERSOLE, a nonprofit foundation co-founded by Staley. The other half will...

San Francisco police not charged in black man's 2015 killing

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco prosecutors said Thursday that they will not charge officers in two shooting deaths, including the killing of a black man that led to citywide protests three years ago and federally recommended police reforms.District Attorney George Gascon declined to...

Body camera video is latest setback for Milwaukee police

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Body camera video showing police using a stun gun on an NBA player over a parking violation is just the latest setback for efforts to improve relations between Milwaukee officers and the city's black population.The confrontation involving Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee...

ENTERTAINMENT

Scenes cut from 'Show Dogs' over resemblance to sexual abuse

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two scenes are being cut from the family movie "Show Dogs" after complaints that they resemble real-life sexual abuse, the movie's distributor has announced.In the movie, a police dog goes undercover at a dog show to catch animal smugglers.In one scene, the dog is told to...

Tommy Chong reflects on pot's evolution as he turns 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he'd live to see the day marijuana legalization would be sweeping America.He knew when he and partner Cheech Marin pioneered stoner comedy 50 years ago, a time when taunting the establishment with constant reminders that they...

Paltrow: Brad Pitt threatened Harvey Weinstein

NEW YORK (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow says ex-boyfriend Brad Pitt threatened producer Harvey Weinstein after an alleged incident of sexual misconduct.The 45-year-old actress told "The Howard Stern Show" on Wednesday she was "blindsided." Paltrow claimed she was 22 when Weinstein placed his hands...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

MLB panel says baseballs getting extra lift, cause unknown

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseballs really have been getting extra lift since 2015, and it's not from the exaggerated...

Tommy Chong reflects on pot's evolution as he turns 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he'd live to see the day marijuana...

Bus driver charged in crash that killed student, teacher

A school bus driver with a history of driver's license suspensions caused a fatal crash on a New Jersey highway...

Israel defense chief plans 2,500 new West Bank settler homes

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister said Thursday he will seek approval next week to fast-track...

Cyclone Mekunu pounds Yemen island on its path to Oman

SALALAH, Oman (AP) — Cyclone Mekunu roared over the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on its way...

Saudi Arabia releases 3 women as other activists still held

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi authorities have released three prominent women's rights...

Holly Yan, Tom Cohen and Greg Botelho CNN

Obama budgetWASHINGTON (CNN) -- The way business is done in Washington has to change to make a positive difference in the economy, President Barack Obama said Thursday as the federal government reopened for business and discussions began in Congress to reach a longer-term budget deal.

That starts, he said, with taking a balanced approach to a responsible budget. Congress should "cut out things we don't need," "close corporate tax loopholes that don't create jobs," and "free up resources for things that do help the country grow," like research and infrastructure, he said.

The partial government shutdown and standoff over the debt ceiling ended late Wednesday night when Congress voted on a temporary funding bill that also raised the nation's borrowing limit.

The standoff "inflicted completely unnecessary damage (to) our economy," Obama said Thursday morning at the White House. He said it slowed the economy's growth and set back employers' plans to hire. "Just the threat of default ... increased our borrowing costs, which adds to our deficit," he said.

"We'll bounce back from this," he said of what he called the damage to the economy that the impasse caused. "America is the bedrock of the global economy for a reason ... because we keep our word and we (meet) our obligations."

He then called on Congress to pass a budget, approve changes to the nation's immigration laws and pass a farm bill.

Before Obama spoke, federal employees returned to work early Thursday to mini coffee cakes from the Vice President, hugs from colleagues, along with eye-rolls about their "vacation" due to the partial government shutdown.

The workers streamed into government offices in Washington, turned on lights and opened national landmarks such as St. Louis' Gateway Arch that had been closed during the 16-day shutdown.

The protracted brinksmanship flirted with a possible U.S. default before ending when Republicans caved to the insistence of Obama and Democrats that legislation funding the government and raising the federal borrowing limit should be free -- or at least mostly free -- from partisan issues and tactics.

After all the bickering and grandstanding, the billions lost and trust squandered, the result amounted to much ado about nothing.

"I am happy it's ended," Vice President Joe Biden said when he arrived at the Environmental Protection Agency with coffee cakes handed out to returning workers. "It was unnecessary to begin with. I'm happy it's ended."

In the basement of the U.S. Capitol, there were exuberant hugs as furloughed colleagues were welcomed back, but there was also bitterness toward the elected legislators in charge upstairs.

A common refrain was the sarcastic question: "How was your vacation?" Responses were often nonverbal -- an eye roll, a head shake, an angry glare, the occasional ironic laugh.

The agreement to end the shutdown and avert a potential government default came Wednesday from Senate leaders after House Republicans were unable to get their own caucus to support a GOP proposal.

Hardline Republicans, whose opposition to Obama's signature health care reforms set the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis in motion, got pretty much zip -- except maybe marred reputations.

"To say we as Republicans left a lot on the table would be one of the biggest understatements in American political history," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted.

However, it all amounts to the cliched kicking of the can down the road, because the deal passed by Congress in lightning fashion Wednesday night and signed by Obama in the wee hours of Thursday only funds the government through January 15 and raises the debt ceiling until February 7.

The agreement set up budget negotiations between the GOP-led House and Democratic-led Senate intended to reach a broader agreement on funding the government for the fiscal year that ends on September 30.

Ideally, a budget compromise would ensure government funding and include deficit reduction provisions that would prevent another round of default-threatening brinksmanship in three months' time.

Obama planned a live statement at 10:35 a.m. ET, about an hour after the leaders of the House and Senate budget committees -- Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington -- were having a symbolic breakfast to get the dialogue started.

They noted that their negotiations -- called a conference between their two committees to work out differences in budgets passed by each chamber -- differed from a special committee set up under 2011 legislation that failed to agree on broader deficit reduction steps.

"Chairman Ryan knows I'm not gonna vote for his budget. I know that he's not gonna vote for mine," Murray told reporters, saying the goal was to find "the common ground between our two budgets that we both can vote on."

Last-minute save

Everything came together Wednesday on a frenzied night of deadline deals.

The Senate brokered a bill to end the shutdown that began on October 1 and raise the debt limit, then passed with broad bipartisan support.

The GOP-led House also passed it, with about 80 Republicans joining a unified Democratic caucus in support, while well over 100 House Republicans voted "no."

Had Congress not approved a debt limit increase, the government would have lost its authority to borrow more money to pay all of its bills. Social Security checks and veterans' benefits could have stopped. The markets could have gone into a tailspin.

Approval of the temporary spending plan meant the return to work of more than 800,000 furloughed employees, while more than 1 million others who've been working without pay will get paychecks again.

A provision in the agreement guaranteed back pay for government workers for the shutdown.

A temporary bandage

However, the bill that passed Wednesday night doesn't address many of the contentious and complicated issues that continue to divide Democrats and Republicans, such as changes to entitlement programs and tax reform.

"We think that we'll be back here in January debating the same issues," John Chambers, managing director of Standard and Poor's rating service, told CNN on Wednesday night. "This is, I fear, a permanent feature of our budgetary process."

Obama said Wednesday night that he's not in the mood for more of the same, saying politicians have to "get out of the habit of governing by crisis."

"Hopefully, next time, it will not be in the 11th hour," he told reporters, calling for both parties to work together on a budget, immigration reform and other issues.

A $24 billion battle

The partial government shutdown that lasted 16 days has come at a steep cost. Standard and Poor's estimated it took a $24 billion bite out of the economy.

Then there's the impact it had on politicians' image. If there's one thing polls showed that Americans agreed on, it's that they don't trust Congress -- with Republicans bearing more blame than anyone else for what transpired.

Both sides kept talking past each other, with Republicans insisting for a time that defunding, delaying or otherwise altering Obamacare must be part of any final deal. Democrats, meanwhile, stood firm in insisting they'd negotiate -- but only after the passage of a spending bill and legislation to raise the debt without anti-Obamacare add-ons.

In the end, Democrats largely got what they wanted after some last-minute talks by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Reid hailed the agreement he worked out with McConnell as "historic," saying that "in the end, political adversaries put aside their differences."

McConnell said any upcoming spending deal should adhere to caps set in a 2011 law that included the forced cuts known as sequestration.

"Preserving this law is critically important to the future of our country," McConnell said of the Budget Control Act, which resulted from the previous debt ceiling crisis in Washington.

Republicans did get a small Obamacare concession: requiring the government to confirm the eligibility of people receiving federal subsidies under the health care program.

While some Republicans, such as tea party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, claimed moral victories in energizing their movement, House Speaker John Boehner didn't even pretend his side came out victorious.

"We fought the good fight; we just didn't win," he told a radio station in his home state of Ohio.

Cruz, despite being in the Senate, is credited with spearheading the House Republican effort to attach amendments that would have dismantled or defunded Obamacare.

All were rejected by the Democratic-led Senate, and Obama also pledged to veto them, meaning there was virtually no chance they ever would have succeeded.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire called the House GOP tactic of tying Obamacare to the shutdown legislation "an ill-conceived strategy from the beginning, not a winning strategy."

Markets mixed after agreement

Wall Street sighed with relief. U.S. stocks rose Wednesday on the news of an agreement. The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 200 points on the day. But U.S. stocks fell at Thursday's opening, with investors discouraged by poor corporate results.

In addition, world markets had a tepid reaction Thursday, with markets mixed in Asia.

What's next

The Senate's Democratic leader said he never wants to go through the recent turmoil ever again.

"Let's be honest: This was pain inflicted on our nation for no good reason, and we cannot make -- we cannot, cannot make -- the same mistake again," Reid said Wednesday.

But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicts the tea party and staunch conservatives in the GOP will be more energized after not getting the anti-Obamacare amendments they wanted.

"They will be more embittered, more angry. They will find more ways to go after Obama because they can't find any way to get him to negotiate," he said, adding that he expects Obamacare to become the defining issue of the next two elections cycles.

As Obama walked away from a news conference Wednesday night, he was asked whether he thought America would be going through this brouhaha again in a few months.

His answer: "No."

We'll see.

CNN's Brianna Keilar, Deirdre Walsh, Dana Bash, Erin McPike, Steve Brusk, Eliott C. McLaughlin, Paul Steinhauser, Ashley Killough, Craig Broffman, Jim Acosta, Mark Preston, Dan Merica and Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.

 

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