01-18-2020  7:15 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

The Skanner in Step With Changing Times

Celebrating a history of service

Starbucks, Home of the $4 Latte, is Moving Into Poor Areas

Starbucks plans to open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S. The effort will bring to 100 the number of "community stores" Starbucks has opened since it announced the program in 2015

Native American Curriculum Rolls Out in Oregon Classrooms

The state developed the curriculum, as required by Senate Bill 13, with the input of Native leaders for 18 months, but is still behind. A soft roll-out begins this month

Community Surprised at Police Chief’s Departure, Concerned by Quick Replacement

Deputy Chief Jami Resch immediately named as successor.

NEWS BRIEFS

Annual “Salute to Greatness” Luncheon Celebrating Students, Community & Civic Leaders

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Rukaiyah Adams, Chair of Oregon Investment Council & Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust....

Grant High School Students to Read Their Own Work at Broadway Books

Local author and writing instructor Joanna Rose will lead thegroup of young writers at the event to be held on Wednesday, January 22 ...

AG Rosenblum Announces $4 Million Settlement with CenturyLink

Since 2014, Oregon DOJ has received more than 1,200 consumer complaints about CenturyLink ...

Black Guest at Downtown Portland Hotel Sues Over ‘No Party’ Promise

Felicia Gonzales claims the front desk clerk at the Residence Inn told her that all guests had to sign the policy, but she watched...

National Urban League Warns Trump Administration: Don't Weaken Community Reinvestment Act to Allow Racial Discrimination in Lending

Proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act could further limit access to the American Dream ...

Petition underway to recall Powers mayor

POWERS, Ore. (AP) — A recall petition was started this month against the mayor and a council member in the small southwestern Oregon town of Powers. which claims the city officials are not governing with the city’s best interest in mind.Powers resident Robert Leckband filed the...

Washington state can’t tell if housing tax exemption working

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — It’s hard to tell whether a tax exemption used to build more than billion in multifamily housing projects across Washington over the past four years is working as intended as a prime motivator to drive development, both affordable and market rate.A 2019...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

How Putting Purpose Into Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Bring Meaning and Results

Only 4% of people report following through on all of the resolutions they personally set ...

I Was Just Thinking… Mama in the Classroom

I wrote my first column in 1988 for a local newspaper about a beloved Dallas guidance counselor and teacher that most students called “Mama” ...

How Being 'Tough on Crime' Became a Political Liability

In one of the most stunning shifts in American politics in recent memory, a wave of elected prosecutors have bucked a decadeslong tough-on-crime approach adopted by both major parties ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Gun-rights activists gear up for show of force in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Police are scouring the internet for clues about plans for mayhem, workers are putting up chain link holding pens around Virginia's picturesque Capitol Square, and one lawmaker even plans to hide in a safe house in advance of what's expected to be an unprecedented show...

3 more linked to neo-Nazi group arrested in Georgia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three men linked to a violent white supremacist group known as The Base were charged with conspiring to kill members of a militant anti-fascist group, police in Georgia announced Friday, a day after three other members were arrested on federal charges in Maryland and...

Virginia's highest court upholds weapons ban at gun rally

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia's highest court on Friday upheld a ban on firearms at an upcoming pro-gun rally in the state's capital, an event that authorities feared could erupt in violence at the hands of armed extremists.The Virginia Supreme Court's decision came a day after gun-rights...

ENTERTAINMENT

Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan put on 'administrative leave'

NEW YORK (AP) — The Recording Academy has placed Deborah Dugan, its president and CEO of just six months, on administrative leave following an allegation of misconduct by a senior leader at the organization.The move announced late Thursday comes 10 days before the 2020 Grammy Awards will be...

Nashville songwriters spread outside country at Grammys

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville songwriters are showing up at the Grammys this year, but not just in the country music categories. The city’s writing talent has been increasingly tapped to help craft nominated soundtracks, pop songs and R&B albums over the last couple of...

Dior sparks mayhem with couture-infused Paris menswear show

PARIS (AP) — Guests crammed into Dior's annex in Paris' Place de la Condorde on Friday amid chaos before the show. Some guests had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit as cars came to unload celebrities, including David Beckham and Robert Pattinson, at an industrious pace. Mayhem such...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Prohibition began 100 years ago, and its legacy remains

NEW YORK (AP) — In this era of bottomless mimosas, craft beers and ever-present happy hours, it’s...

Gun-rights activists gear up for show of force in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Police are scouring the internet for clues about plans for mayhem, workers are putting...

Venezuelan theater becomes Plan B in lawmakers' turf battle

EL HATILLO, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan opposition lawmakers are expected in the coming days to make their...

Protesters in Berlin support environment-friendly farming

BERLIN (AP) — Demonstrators in Berlin called for more environment-friendly agriculture practices at a...

Portrait found in gallery's walls verified as missing Klimt

PIACENZA, Italy (AP) — Art experts have confirmed that a painting discovered hidden inside an Italian art...

US allows Chevron to keep drilling in Venezuela for 3 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has granted Chevron a special license to keep drilling oil in...

McMenamins
Mark Sherman the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Xavier Alvarez was in good company when he stood up at a public meeting and called himself a wounded war veteran who had received the top military award, the Medal of Honor.

Alvarez was lying about his medal, his wounds and his military service, but he wasn't the first man to invent war exploits.

He was, however, one of the first people prosecuted under a 2006 federal law aimed at curbing false claims of military valor.

Concerns that the law improperly limits speech and turns people into criminals for things they say, rather than do, are at the heart of the Supreme Court's review of his case and the Stolen Valor Act.

Veterans groups have come to the aid of the Obama administration, which calls the law a narrowly crafted effort to protect the system of military awards that was established during the Revolutionary war by Gen. George Washington. The high court will hear the case Wednesday, which is Washington's 280th birthday.

"They're committing fraud. They're impersonating somebody else. They take on attributes of somebody else, attributes of a hero who served honorably," said Pam Sterner, whose college term paper calling for the law wound up in the hands of members of Congress. "When you do that, impersonating someone else, that's fraud, not freedom of speech."

Civil liberties groups, writers, publishers and news media outlets, including The Associated Press, have told the justices they worry the law, and especially the administration's defense of it, could lead to more attempts by government to regulate speech.

When he established military decorations in 1782, seven years before he was elected as the nation's first president, Washington himself also prescribed severe military punishment for soldiers who purported to be medal winners but weren't. Since then, many men have embellished their war records, and some have won special recognition.

It long has been a federal crime to wear unearned medals, but mere claims of being decorated were beyond the reach of law enforcement.

The House of Representatives has more than once voted to name a post office after men who claimed awards they never received. The Air Force named an award after a man who falsely claimed to have survived the Bataan Death March and been awarded the Silver Star in World War II. The Boxing Writers of America named its perseverance award after the late Pat Putnam of Sports Illustrated because of his made-up tale of surviving a Chinese prisoner of war camp in the Korean War and receiving a Navy Cross.

The Stolen Valor Act aimed to solve that problem, and garnered significant support in Congress during a time of war.

"The admiration and respect for the military increased dramatically after 9/11 and the false claims, as well," said Thomas A. Cottone Jr., a retired FBI agent who investigated phony award cases.

Alvarez made his claims by way of introducing himself as an elected member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Pomona, Calif. There is nothing to suggest that he received anything in exchange or that listeners especially believed him.

Even Alvarez' lawyers acknowledged their client sometimes has trouble telling the truth. "Xavier Alvarez lied," they declare in the first sentence of their Supreme Court brief and go on to recount six separate lies in the next few lines.

He lied when he claimed he played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings, married a Mexican starlet who made paparazzi swoon, was an engineer, rescued the American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis and was shot when he went back for the U.S. flag. Alvarez also lied, they said, when he talked about his military service.

But the lies Alvarez told harmed no one, they said, so what he did couldn't be considered fraud.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down the law as an unconstitutional restraint on free speech and said the government might instead invest in an awards database that would make it harder for people to lay claim to medals they never won. Last month, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the law in a separate case, saying the First Amendment does not always protect false statements.

The issue might never have reached this stage if not for the efforts of Sterner, and her husband, Doug.

He is a decorated Vietnam veteran who has made it his work in recent years to ensure that service members get the recognition they deserve and expose those who falsely claim acts of heroism under fire. Rather than wait for the government to act, Doug Sterner has entered nearly 100,000 award citations since Civil War in his online database, including all 3,475 Medal of Honor winners in U.S. history. His archive is used by the Military Times newspapers, published by Gannett Co.

Pam Sterner went back to school in her early 40s at Colorado State University in Pueblo, Colo. In a political science course, she wrote a paper that grew out of her husband's frustrations over phony award claimants whose worst punishment was public embarrassment. That paper eventually led to the Stolen Valor Act.

Doug Sterner's database did not save Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, from some embarrassment when he invited cameras and reporters to watch him pin medals on an elderly Korean War veteran in June.

The veteran, Myron Brown of Utah, said his Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star were awarded belatedly, and he asked Chaffetz to present them to him publicly.

After the ceremony took place, Sterner and others raised questions about the medals and the Pentagon confirmed to Chaffetz in December that they were not authentic.

"Others have been burned by this. I have too, but I want to solve the problem," Chaffetz told the Salt Lake Tribune. He is planning a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee he leads to explore creating a government-run awards database.

---

Online:

Military Times Hall of Valor database

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

mlkbreakfast2020 tickets 300x180

Cirque Flip Fabrique
Delta Founders Day 2020
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Carpentry Professionals