04-14-2021  6:26 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Leaders Respond to City Council Compromise on Gun Violence Prevention

Nearly million will fund community-centered approaches to uptick in shootings.

Portland Police Declares Riot After Vigil for Daunte Wright

Police said they issued verbal warnings to the crowd but around 10:30 p.m. police declared the gathering as a riot and bull-rushed protestors, knocking them to the ground and macing them, news outlets reported.

Portland Leaders To Re-Establish Anti-Gun Violence Unit

Mayor Ted Wheeler and city commissioners have reached a deal on proposals intended to stem a spike in gun violence over the past year.

Three Black Candidates File to Run for Board Positions in Portland Schools and PCC

May 18 election presents handful of openings for four-year terms.

NEWS BRIEFS

WA Black Lives Matter Alliance: Weekend Legislative Wins Mark an Historic Step Toward Police Accountability

The Alliance urged quick reconciliation on the 9 bills passed this weekend and immediate signing by Gov. Jay Inslee. ...

FEMA Trailers Being Used for Oregon Wildfire Survivors

Rumors that the trailers housed unaccompanied immigrant children spurred people with guns to show up at the site ...

Tishaura Jones Makes History As First Black Woman To Become Mayor of St. Louis

Jones has just been elected as the first Black woman to hold the title in the city’s 257-year-history ...

COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Cases in Oregon

168 vaccinated individuals have tested positive for the virus through April 2, including three deaths ...

VIDEO: Short Film Released on Portland Metro’s COVID-19 Response

Six-minute documentary shares the voices of people on the front lines of the pandemic and pays tribute to the local community health...

Gray whale could be sick from tracking tag

SEATTLE (AP) — Marine mammal biologists and veterinarians are treating and monitoring a gray whale that appears to have developed an infection after being darted with a satellite tracking tag. The whale is part of a group of about 250 gray whales that feed off the coasts of...

Protests in Portland, Seattle, lead to several arrests

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police declared a riot for the second night in a row Tuesday after a crowd of about 100 people set out on a “direct action” march from Kenton Park to the Portland Police Association office — where fires were ignited. One person was arrested...

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...

OPINION

An Open Letter To the Community From Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese

Sheriff Reese outlines Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office's strategic plan and goals to reinforce equity now and in the future. ...

Candace Avalos On The Right Track With Public Housing

Our unhoused neighbors deserve a safe and clean place to sleep ...

Providence’s Equity Pledge Should Start With Paying Workers a Living Wage

Rep. Mark Meek says Providence’s public commitment to racial equity does not match up with what’s happening inside their hospitals ...

Eugene Senator Welcomes Passage of "Critical" Covid Rescue Plan

State Sen. James I. Manning Jr. (D- North Eugene, West Eugene, Santa Clara, and Junction City) sends us a letter welcoming the passage of President Biden's "critical" jumi.9T Covid stimulus plan and praising the efforts of Democrats in Oregon's delegation to...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

In Minnesota, suburban mayor is thrust into policing debate

Mike Elliott is among many who celebrated his election as mayor of Brooklyn Center as the beginning of a new era, marking the first time one of Minnesota's most racially diverse places would be led by a person of color. Elliott, a Black man who had emigrated from Liberia as a child, was almost...

Royal funeral offers chance for William, Harry to reconcile

LONDON (AP) — When Prince Philip’s funeral takes place on Saturday, it will be more than a focal point for national mourning. Many will also be watching for any signs of reconciliation between Prince Harry and the royal family, especially with his elder brother Prince William. ...

Minnesota shooting charging decision awaited, protests go on

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (AP) — Prosecutors expect to decide Wednesday whether to charge a white former police officer who fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb, sparking nights of protests and raising tensions amid the nearby murder trial of the ex-officer charged...

ENTERTAINMENT

Luke Bryan tests positive for COVID, sidelined from 'Idol'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Luke Bryan says he's tested positive for COVID-19, which sidelined him from the season's first live “American Idol” episode on ABC. Paula Abdul, an original judge on the talent show when it aired on Fox, was announced as Bryan's replacement for Monday's...

Kanye agrees with Kim on joint custody in divorce response

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kanye West agrees with Kim Kardashian West that they should have joint custody of their four children and neither of them need spousal support, according to new divorce documents. West's attorneys filed his response Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court to...

Nielsen, networks clash on stats showing fewer viewers

NEW YORK (AP) — People have been stuck at home for a year due to COVID-19 restrictions, with movie theaters closed, concert venues closed, restaurants closed, sports attendance restricted — yet television viewing is down? That makes no sense to networks and cable and...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

St. Vincent seeks water, funds as volcano keeps erupting

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent (AP) — Leaders of volcano-wracked St. Vincent said Tuesday that water is running short as...

Body missing, suspect arrested in '96 student disappearance

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul Flores was the last person seen with Kristin Smart before she vanished from a college...

Senate filibuster test over Asian-American hate crime bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is poised to start debate on legislation confronting the rise of potential hate...

Driver jailed for 22 years for killing 4 Australian police

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A truck driver was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Wednesday for hitting and...

China-drafted electoral reform bill introduced in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s electoral reform bill was introduced in the city’s legislature on Wednesday,...

Greece, Libya to discuss delineating maritime boundaries

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece and Libya are to discuss delineating maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean, the...

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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