12-14-2018  1:45 am      •     
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Apple upstages Amazon in selecting new tech hub locations

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — One tech giant strung dozens of North American cities through a circus-like contest that led mayors and governors to desperately pitch their regions — and offer huge sums of public money — in hopes of landing a gleaming new corporate campus. The other swept...

Jury convicts man in gold mine scam that swindled M

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal jury has convicted a man for his role in an Oregon-based gold mining scam that investigators say swindled .2 million from 140 investors.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 78-year-old Harry Dean Proudfoot was found guilty Wednesday of wire fraud, money...

Domestic assault charges filed against Missouri player

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri defensive end Tre Williams was charged Wednesday in a domestic assault case.The Columbia Daily Tribune reported that probable cause statement alleges Williams and his girlfriend argued early Sunday and that he hit her several times while she was driving and at...

Missouri DE Tre Williams arrested on assault charge

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri defensive end Tre Williams has been arrested on suspicion of felony second-degree domestic assault and suspended by the team.The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the 21-year-old redshirt sophomore was arrested around 6 a.m. Sunday at his off-campus home. He...

OPINION

Don’t Let Small Dollar Loans Ruin Your Holidays

If holiday lists seem bigger than budgets, turning to a high-interest, “small dollar” loan can turn joy into a financial quagmire ...

5 Holiday Traditions to Share With Your Pet

Dr. Jasmine on how to make new memories with your pet this holiday season ...

Studying Black Identity in South Africa Transformed My Worldview

Of the more than 330,000 U.S. students studying abroad, only 6.1 percent are African American and 10 percent are Latino ...

The Congressional Black Caucus Needs to Get to Work on the Western Sahara

Once upon a time the CBC was one of the most significant so-called mainstream players in the realm of US foreign policy ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Biden says his family convinced him to run with Obama

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden initially refused to run with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama a decade ago, but his family ultimately convinced him he had to support an African-American candidate with a real chance of winning, he said Thursday at the University...

In 'Beale Street,' a radiant portrait of young black love

NEW YORK (AP) — Barry Jenkins years ago went on Etsy to have a James Baldwin quote embroidered onto his leather phone case. The line so resonated with the filmmaker that it's also spoken in Spanish by a character in his short film "Chlorophyl." Jenkins no longer has the case but when the...

Negro Leagues bobbleheads part of fundraising campaign

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Fans of the former Negro Leagues are being asked to help a campaign to create bobbleheads of 30 stars from the league — with a goal of commemorating the league's upcoming centennial.Organizers of the effort, which was unveiled Wednesday, have created a team of...

ENTERTAINMENT

AP names "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" its top TV show of 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — The top 10 TV shows of the year by Associated Press writer Alicia Rancilio.1. "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," on Amazon Prime. From its costumes to the dialogue to the music to the quirky characters, this show is a delight. Watch it to feel good.2. "This is Us," on NBC. Some...

Emily Blunt on the 'daunting' task of playing Mary Poppins

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Emily Blunt loves a challenge, and in the world of movie musicals there's no greater trial than following in the footsteps of Julie Andrews to bring one of her most iconic, and beloved, roles to the screen for the first time in over half a century.It's only Mary...

Review: In 'The Mule,' Clint reflects on a life on the road

Both tender apologia and vigorous justification, Clint Eastwood's "The Mule" is a deeply, fascinatingly personal meditation from the 88-year-old director who, like his aged drug mule protagonist, has spent a long time on the road."The Mule" is the indefatigable Eastwood's second film just this...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

NEW YORK (AP) — Janet Jackson joins her brother Michael and the Jackson 5 as members of the Rock and Roll...

Apple to build new Austin hub, expand in other tech hotbeds

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Apple plans to build a jumi billion campus in Austin, Texas, that will create at least...

EU leaders wary of May's plea for help selling Brexit deal

BRUSSELS (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May implored European Union leaders Thursday to help her...

The Latest: EU chief says May had no plan for help on Brexit

LONDON (AP) — The latest on Brexit (all times local):11:25 p.m.EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker...

Sri Lanka Supreme Court says president violated constitution

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ruled unanimously that President Maithripala Sirisena's...

Israel launches West Bank crackdown after Palestinian attack

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israel's military launched a West Bank manhunt Thursday, setting up checkpoints...

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In the first presidential election since the tea party's emergence, Republican candidates are drifting rightward on a range of issues, even though more centrist stands might play well in the 2012 general election.

On energy, taxes, health care and other topics, the top candidates hold positions that are more conservative than those they espoused a few years ago.

The shifts reflect the evolving views of conservative voters, who will play a major role in choosing the Republican nominee. In that sense, the candidates' repositioning seems savvy or even essential.

But the eventual nominee will face President Barack Obama in the 2012 general election, when independent voters appear likely to be decisive players once again. Those independents may be far less enamored of hard-right positions than are the GOP activists who will wield power in the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary and other nominating contests.

"The most visible shift in the political landscape" in recent years "is the emergence of a single bloc of across-the-board conservatives," says the Pew Research Center, which conducts extensive voter surveys. Many of them "take extremely conservative positions on nearly all issues," Pew reports. They largely "agree with the tea party," and "very strongly disapprove of Barack Obama's job performance."

Climate policy is a dramatic example of how GOP presidential hopefuls have shifted to the right in recent years. Former Govs. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah, along with other likely candidates, have backed away from earlier embraces of regional "cap-and-trade" programs to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Such stands were unremarkable in GOP circles just a few years ago. Sen. John McCain, the 2008 presidential nominee, supported a cap and trade plan to place prices and limits on the emission of heat-trapping gasses.

Now the position is anathema to millions of Republicans, and therefore to the party's candidates. Pawlenty is the most effusive in his backtracking. "I was wrong, it was a mistake, and I'm sorry," he says repeatedly.

The likely presidential candidates have shifted rightward on other issues as well.

Romney, who leads in most polls, has rejected his earlier stands supporting abortion rights, gun control and gay rights. He says his 2006 law requiring Massachusetts residents to obtain health insurance was right for his state at the time, but he has condemned the Obama-backed mandate that would cover all Americans.

Pawlenty campaigns as a tight-fisted conservative who would refuse to raise the nation's debt ceiling, even though many Republican leaders say economic chaos would ensue. Yet in 2006, Pawlenty told a newspaper, "the era of small government is over" and "government has to be more proactive, more aggressive."

Pawlenty says he was partly quoting another person. But in the same 2006 interview he said, "there are certain circumstances where you've got to have government put up the guardrails or bust up entrenched interests before they become too powerful."

Pawlenty has abandoned such talk in his presidential quest.

The Republican Party's rightward drift is causing headaches for the presidential hopefuls on the issue of Medicare, a potential minefield in the general election. House Republicans passed a bill that eventually would convert Medicare to a less costly, less generous program. It would help older Americans buy health insurance, but it no longer would provide benefits based mainly on a patient's needs rather than costs.

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich touched off a firestorm by calling the plan radical. He spent the better part of a week trying to recant, change the subject and get his campaign back on track.

Pawlenty, after promising to offer his own Medicare plan, acknowledged conservatives' priorities and said he would sign the House measure if it were the only choice before him.

Romney hedged Friday on whether he would sign the House bill into law. "That's the kind of speculation that is getting the cart ahead of the horse," he said. "I'm going to have my own plan."

Many Republican activists are delighted by the rightward tack of their party and its presidential contenders.

If anything, "mainstream Republican leaders are pushing the party too far to the left," said Sid Dinerstein, GOP chairman in Palm Beach County, Fla. The House plan for Medicare is the only one that makes sense, he said, and GOP candidates "should become articulate and knowledgeable in talking about it."

Louisiana's Republican chairman, Roger F. Villere Jr., agrees.

"The conservative issues are the correct issues," he said. The presidential candidates should embrace the House stand, he said, and persuade voters they care more about saving Medicare than the Democrats do.

Some in Obama's camp, however, say the presidential contenders risk locking themselves into hard-right positions that won't play well when less ideological voters flock to the polls in November 2012.

Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich and others "are wiggling all over the place" to appease staunch conservatives, said Bill Burton, Obama's former spokesman and now a Democratic fundraiser and advocate. Americans want strong, consistent leaders, he said, and the Republican contenders aren't filling the bill.

Obama, of course, has had his own inconsistencies, such as backing away from calls to increase payroll and income taxes on the wealthy.

Moreover, competitive Democratic primaries are usually the mirror image of GOP contests. Democratic candidates generally edge to the left to attract liberal activists before hewing back to the center for the general election.

This time, however, Obama has no primary opponents to worry about. That allows him to focus on the all-important independent voters, who swung the 2008 elections to Democrats, and the 2010 midterm elections to Republicans.

The latest Pew Research study suggests that independents, who "played a determinative role in the last three national elections," will have even more clout in 2012. They comprised 30 percent of the national electorate in 2005, Pew found. They now make up 37 percent.

Whoever survives the conservative-dominated Republican nominating process will have to address those independents' concerns quickly and adroitly.

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