02-25-2021  4:50 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Restaurant Week Comes to Portland

National event highlights Black-owned restaurants, cafes, and food trucks, creates countrywide database to support Black businesses

Portland Police Launch Team to Investigate Shootings

 The Enhanced Community Safety Team will be comprised of three sergeants, 12 officers and six detectives, and will staff a seven-member on-call unit to respond to shooting scenes, examine evidence, interview witnesses and do immediate follow-up investigations

Oregon National Guard Deploys As Power Outages Persist

The Oregon National Guard will go door-to-door in areas hardest hit by last weekend’s ice storm to make sure residents who have been without power for a week have enough food and water

Vancouver Drops Most Police Killing Protest Charges

Hundreds marched through the city from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 to protest the shooting death of Kevin Peterson Jr. by two Clark County Sheriff’s Office detectives

NEWS BRIEFS

Seattle Black Artist To Be Featured in Amazon Prime Series

The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), in Seattle, Washington, is launching a call for artist...

NIKE, Inc. and Goalsetter Partner to Increase Financial Literacy Among America’s Youth

Goalsetter uses digital platforms to engage youth and help them better understand financial well-being, while saving for their future ...

Six Trailblazing Black Judges to Discuss Overcoming Challenges Feb. 26

The online program panel judges include Justice Adrienne Nelson, the first Black justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and the first...

Launch of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship to Help Fuel Black Innovation

The facility is the first-ever academic center of its kind to assemble, educate and empower a new class of Black entrepreneurial...

Medical Centre to Screen Film and Hold Panel on Black Men in Medicine

Seattle-based Virginia Mason Franciscan Health has invited 100 students to take part in the virtual event, which aims to inspire Black...

Oregon Senate hit by another GOP boycott, now over COVID-19

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Republicans in the Oregon Senate boycotted Thursday's session, using a tactic they have employed in the past two years to assert their will by stopping work in the Democratic-led Legislature — this time over the state's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.Senate...

Governor extends Oregon’s state of emergency due to COVID-19

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday extended Oregon’s declaration of a state of emergency until May 2 as confirmed COVID-19 cases drop but hundreds of new cases continue to be reported daily.“Throughout the pandemic, Oregonians have made smart choices that have...

Ex-Cardinals coach Wilks new defensive coordinator at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of...

Music City Bowl between Iowa and Missouri canceled

The Music City Bowl between Missouri and Iowa was canceled Sunday because COVID-19 issues left the Tigers unable to play.The game scheduled for Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, is the second bowl called off since the postseason lineup was set on Dec. 20, joining the Gasparilla Bowl. Overall, 18...

OPINION

Democracy and White Privilege

“White Nationalists” who believe that America only belongs to its “White” citizens, who live and have lived according to “White Privilege” are ignoring the words of the Declaration of Independence ...

The Leadership Conference Submits Letter in Support of H.R. 40

H.R. 40 finally forces the U.S. government to recognize and make amends for the decades of economic enrichment that have benefited this nation as a result of the free labor that African slaves were forced to provide ...

Letter to the Editor Re: Zenith Energy

The time is now for Portland City Council to stop Zenith Energy’s transporting fossil fuels into and out of our city. ...

The Heroes Within Us

Black History Month, as it exists today, continues the practice of “othering” Black people in America. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

BLM launches Survival Fund amid federal COVID-19 relief wait

NEW YORK (AP) — The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is formally expanding a million financial relief fund that it quietly launched earlier this month, to help people struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.The foundation, which grew out of the...

Chief: Police heeded Capitol attack warnings but overwhelmed

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers pressed the acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Thursday to explain why the force wasn't prepared to fend off a violent mob of insurrectionists even though officials had compiled specific, compelling intelligence that extremists were likely to attack Congress and try...

US Park Police names Pamela Smith its 1st Black female chief

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Park Police on Thursday named Pamela Smith as its new chief, making her the first Black woman to lead the 230-year-old law enforcement agency.Smith, a 23-year veteran of the force, announced she would begin her term by establishing body-worn cameras for all Park...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Blinding Lights' and more hits the Grammys left in the dark

NEW YORK (AP) — The wattage in The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” wasn’t strong enough to compete at the Grammys – but the song isn’t the only electrifying No. 1 hit that the Recording Academy snubbed.The Weeknd joins an exclusive club of songs that were...

Quotes from Stephen King interview with The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen King spoke recently to The Associated Press recently about his new novel, “Later,” but he also covered topics ranging from the famous people who have turned up at his readings to what happens when he looks up his own name on the Internet. And he think he...

Stephen King talks about crime, creativity and new novel

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen King doesn't think of himself as a horror writer. “My view has always been you can call me whatever you want as long as the checks don't bounce,” King told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview. “My idea is to tell a good story,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Conservative gathering to feature Trump's false fraud claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — A gathering of conservatives this weekend in Florida will serve as an unabashed...

Medical oxygen scarce in Africa, Latin America amid virus

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A crisis over the supply of medical oxygen for coronavirus patients has struck...

Brazil death toll tops 250,000, virus still running rampant

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll, which surpassed 250,000 on Thursday, is the...

S. Korea injects first shots in public vaccination campaign

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Friday administered its first available shots of coronavirus...

Amnesty report describes Axum massacre in Ethiopia's Tigray

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Soldiers from Eritrea systematically killed “many hundreds” of people,...

Senegal, Morocco, Caymans added to terror finance watch list

PARIS (AP) — An international agency that monitors terrorism funding kept North Korea and Iran as the only...

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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