News Brief

Democrats slam Bush at convention

BOSTON (AP) – In the keynote address of the Democratic National Convention, Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama accused President Bush Tuesday night of failing to level with people in the United States before the invasion of Iraq.

Painting a rhetorical portrait of presidential candidate John Kerry as a war hero who made “tough choices when easier ones were available,” Obama faulted Bush’s war policies without mentioning him by name.

“When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they’re going,” he said in prepared remarks.

Kerry campaigned toward a waterborne arrival in his convention city on Wednesday as delegates settled in for a second evening of political speeches. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, Kerry’s vice presidential running mate, flew to Boston in advance of his own convention speech Wednesday.

Gay marriage ban makes November ballot

SALEM, Ore. (AP)- An initiative that would ban gay marriage in Oregon has made it onto the November ballot, the latest twist in the state’s ongoing battle over one of the country’s most divisive social issues.

The ballot title of Initiative 150 will read: “Amends constitution: Only marriage between one man and one woman is valid or legally recognized as marriage.”

Large, well-financed campaigns are organizing on each side of the initiative.

The Defense of Marriage Coalition, which drew heavily on churches to gather signatures, plans to raise $1.5 million for its campaign, Tim Nashif, the group’s political director, told The Oregonian.

The opposition, which calls itself Equality in Oregon, hopes to raise $2 million for an extensive campaign, said Rebekah Kassell, press secretary. The group includes Planned Parenthood, Basic Rights Oregon and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Biscuit timber dispute heads to court

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) – Environmentalists, the timber industry and the U.S. Forest Service agreed Monday to try to work out an agreement on salvage logging on the 2002 Biscuit fire under the guidance of a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan said he would consolidate three lawsuits by environmentalists and one by the timber industry over the Biscuit fire salvage and mediate settlement talks Aug. 5 and 6 in Medford.

Hogan said he hoped to have a ruling by Thursday on motions by environmental groups for a preliminary injunction to halt logging on two timber sales in old growth forest reserves while the challenges are resolved.

The Forest Service is expected to approve contracts with two timber companies that were the high bidders on the Berry and Fiddler sales within a matter of days. Once the contracts are approved, logging can begin, unless the judge stops it.

Meanwhile, protesters claimed Monday to have erected a hanging platform blocking access to a salvage timber sale in the Biscuit fire area.