- - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WHITE HOUSE

Obama urges unity for black supporters

President Obama wants his black supporters to be unified and persistent in helping their community get through tough economic times.

Mr. Obama said Wednesday the unemployment rate in the black community is “way too high.” And he conceded that many of the challenges blacks faced before the economic crisis have only worsened, including in the areas of housing and education.

He spoke during a surprise appearance at the African American Policy in Action Leadership Conference being held at the White House.

The president touted elements of his jobs bill that would address black issues and said his plan is the only one out there that will put people back to work.

CALIFORNIA

Interim mayor declares victory

SAN FRANCISCO — Interim Mayor Ed Lee declared himself the winner in the San Francisco mayoral race as he was poised to formally become the city’s first elected Asian-American mayor.

Mr. Lee led Wednesday in a wide field of strong candidates with 61 percent of the vote. He had been appointed to lead the city in January after then-Mayor Gavin Newsom became lieutenant governor.

Mr. Lee’s election would be a milestone for the city’s Asians, who make up a third of the residents but have historically been underrepresented.

City Supervisor John Avalos trailed far behind with 39 percent of the vote.

TSA

Agency expands tests of risk-based screening

Testing for a new program aimed at getting certain travelers through airport security with less hassle is expanding to airports in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., in the next few months, the government said Wednesday.

The expansion will not have an effect on travelers during the busy Thanksgiving travel season. But it indicates that the government has seen positive results in the first round of testing for the Obama administration’s attempt at moving toward a more intelligence-driven security check at airports. Many people have said the government doesn’t use common sense when it screens all travelers the same way.

Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole said he hopes to eventually test the program at all airports and with all airlines across the country, but it might take a few years. Mr. Pistole testified Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

PENTAGON

Military taking closer look at Dover mortuary

The Pentagon is trying to reassure members of the military and their families that it has corrected mistakes in how human remains were handled at the Dover, Del., military mortuary. In two cases, body parts were lost.

Yet an independent federal investigative agency contends that the Air Force, which runs the mortuary, has yet to face up to all the faults in Dover’s operations. The defense secretary’s spokesman suggested Wednesday that additional disciplinary action beyond what the Air Force has taken is possible.

After the Air Force on Tuesday disclosed the results of its investigation into mishandling of remains, Pentagon chief Leon E. Panetta directed a special review at the mortuary to be completed within 60 days.

“Let me make very clear to the families of our fallen heroes that every step will be taken to protect the honor and dignity that their loved ones richly deserve,” Mr. Panetta said in a prepared statement.

Three mortuary supervisors were punished for what the Air Force called “gross mismanagement.” But no one was fired in a case reminiscent of the scandalous mishandling and misidentifying of remains at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

From wire dispatches and staff reports