06-22-2018  3:26 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A rights group filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court Friday against top officials of U.S. immigration and homeland security departments, alleging they have unconstitutionally denied lawyers' access to immigrants in a prison in Oregon.Immigration and Customs...

Oregon woman accused of mistreating 3 children

HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — Police arrested an Oregon woman accused of criminally mistreating three children in her care.Lt. Henry Reimann of the Hillsboro Police Department says Merlinda Avalos limited the kids to two peanut sandwiches a day, prevented them from using the bathroom at night and...

Man charged in 1986 killing of 12-year-old Tacoma girl

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Lakewood man suspected of killing a 12-year-old girl in Tacoma over three decades ago has been charged with murder and rape.The News Tribune reports Pierce County prosecutors charged 66-year-old Gary Hartman Friday in connection with Michella Welch's death in 1986. She...

Federal agency approves Idaho field burning rules

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials have approved Idaho's request to loosen field burning rules.Backers say the move offers more flexibility to keep smoke away from people but health advocates counter that it will lead to breathing problems for some residents.The U.S. Environmental...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Germany, Mexico, Belgium headline Saturday games

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the World Cup (all times local):1:13 a.m.Will Germany follow Brazil's lead in righting the ship after a rocky World Cup start, or will the defending champ find itself keeping company with Argentina, needing help if it hopes to advance?The World Cup could...

Trial set in long-delayed post-Katrina racial shooting case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A trial date has been set for a white man accused of shooting at three black men in what federal prosecutors said was a racially motivated attack following Hurricane Katrina.The case of Roland Bourgeois Jr. has dragged on for years. He was indicted five years after the...

Xhaka and Shaqiri score for Swiss, make Albanian symbol

KALININGRAD, Russia (AP) — Albania's national flag was at the center of Switzerland's 2-1 victory over Serbia on Friday at the World Cup.Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals by making a nationalist symbol of their ethnic Albanian heritage.Both players put their open hands...

ENTERTAINMENT

Actress Betty Buckley wants to 'make America happy again'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There's busy. And then there's Betty Buckley busy.The veteran singer and actress began the month with four nights of concerts in New York celebrating the release of her new live album, "Hope."Buckley appeared earlier this week on the season finale of The CW's "Supergirl,"...

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Mexican players can have beef again at the World Cup

MOSCOW (AP) — Mexico's mantra for this World Cup is "No Excuses," and that includes no complaining about...

US officials say girl on Time cover isn't separated from mom

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Border Patrol officials said Friday that a girl who is pictured on the cover of this...

Ex-New England Mafia boss 'Cadillac Frank' guilty in slaying

BOSTON (AP) — Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme was convicted Friday of killing a nightclub owner to keep...

UK split by Brexit divide 2 years after vote to leave EU

LONDON (AP) — It's been two years since the shoppers and traders of London's Romford market voted by a wide...

Italy vows to expel far more migrants, but it won't be easy

ROME (AP) — Barely a week in office, Italy's populist interior minister lost no time in bringing home his...

Rival Koreas agree to August reunions of war-split families

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North and South Korea agreed Friday to hold temporary reunions of families...

Barack Obama, then-candidate for the Senate from Illinois, speaks to delegates during the Democratic National Convention at the FleetCenter in Boston.
JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Now an elder statesman, Barack Obama is returning to Chicago where he launched his unlikely political career for one final speech: a parting plea to Americans not to lose faith in their future, no matter what they think about their next president.

Obama's final speech as president, before thousands who will gather at McCormick Place, is his last chance to try to define what his presidency meant for America. It's a fitting bookend to what he started eight years ago. It was in Chicago in 2008 that the nation's first black president declared victory, and where over the years he tried to cultivate his brand of optimism in American politics.

"We've run our leg in a long relay of progress, knowing that our work will always be unfinished," Obama wrote Tuesday in a Facebook post previewing his speech. "And we've reaffirmed the belief that we can make a difference with our own hands, in our own time."

Obama has said he's leaving his eight years in office with two basic lessons: that Americans are fundamentally good, and that change can happen. "The system will respond to ordinary people coming together to try to move the country in a better direction," he said ahead of the speech.

The system did respond, in November, to Americans who by and large rejected Obama's policies by electing Republican Donald Trump.

Obama and Democrats had warned against a Trump presidency in apocalyptic terms. So now Obama's daunting task — the closing act of his political career — is to explain how his vision of America remains relevant and achievable for Democrats in the Trump era.

No stranger to high-stakes speeches, Obama rose to national prominence on the power of his oratory. But this speech is different, White House officials said.

Determined not to simply recite a history of the last eight years, Obama directed his team to craft an address that would feel "bigger than politics" and speak to all Americans — including those who voted for Trump.

His chief speechwriter, Cody Keenan, started writing it last month while Obama was vacationing in Hawaii, handing him the first draft on the flight home. By late Monday Obama was immersed in a fourth draft, with Keenan expected to stay at the White House all night to help perfect Obama's final message.

Ahead of his speech, Obama acknowledged that the chaos of Washington makes it easy to lose sight of the role American citizens play in democracy. He said that while he leaves office with his work unfinished, he believes his administration made the U.S. "a stronger place for the generations that will follow ours."

Seeking inspiration, Obama's speechwriters spent weeks poring over Obama's other momentous speeches, including his 2004 keynote at the Democratic National Convention and his 2008 speech after losing the New Hampshire primary to Hillary Clinton. They also revisited his 2015 address in Selma, Alabama, that both honored America's exceptionalism and acknowledged its painful history on civil rights.

Former aides were brought back to consult on the speech, including advisers David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs, and former speechwriter Jon Favreau, said the officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the private discussions.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will all travel to Chicago for the speech at McCormick Place, a sprawling convention center along Lake Michigan. For Obama, it will be his final trip aboard Air Force One as president, though he'll use the plane to depart Washington for an unspecified destination next week just after Trump is inaugurated.

In his hometown of Chicago, the prospect of witnessing Obama's last presidential address brought thousands out in single-digit temperatures over the weekend in hopes of securing tickets. They showed up well before sunrise and waited in lines that stretched for blocks.

Though he and his party were dealt a devastating blow in November's elections, Obama leaves office as a relatively popular president viewed favorably by 57 percent of Americans, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released the day before his speech. That puts Obama on par with former President Bill Clinton's popularity as he left office.

Yet Americans remain deeply divided over Obama's legacy, with fewer than half saying they're better off eight years later — or that Obama brought the country together. Two in three Americans said he didn't keep his promises, though most of those Americans said he tried to, but could not.

"He acted very presidential, but he just couldn't get things done," said Dale Plath, 86, a retired sales manager from Mason City, Iowa. He said he voted for Obama the first time, voted against him the second, and this year, Plath said: "I voted for change, frankly" — in the form of Trump.

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Follow Josh Lederman on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

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