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Obama ends long-running transfer of military gear to police

Written by The AP Tuesday, 19 May 2015 07:50

President Barack Obama ended long-running federal transfers of some combat-style gear to local law enforcement on May 18 in an attempt to ease tensions between police and minority communities, saying equipment made for the battlefield should not be a tool of American criminal justice.

Grenade launchers, bayonets, tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, firearms and ammunition of .50-caliber or higher will no longer be provided to state and local police agencies by the federal government under Obama's order.

Research links Congress' low approval to decline in warm, agreeable language

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 12 May 2015 07:12

A new study links Congress' low approval ratings — record lows — to a decline in the use of warm, agreeable language in the House of Representatives.

The study, co-authored by University of British Columbia business professor Karl Aquino, found the use of prosocial words — such as "cooperate" and "contribute" – by lawmakers predicts public approval of Congress six months later.

Broad coalition works to sideline fast-track authority

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 12:35

An activist joins in a Washington, D.C., rally against fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement.
— Photo: Public Citizen

A growing coalition of progressive groups — more than 2,000 as of May 6 — wants Congress to derail the drive for fast-track trade authority.

Labor assists marijuana legalization effort in California

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 04 May 2015 14:26

Organized labor is assisting efforts to frame a California ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana use in the state, sensing an opportunity to expand its presence in the workplace.

The United Food and Commercial Workers' Western States Council commissioned a series of focus groups, where likely voters across the state filed into rooms with one-way mirrors to share opinions, The Sacramento Bee reported. The research is aimed at shaping a legalization initiative for the 2016 ballot.

Sanders proposing tuition-free 4-year colleges

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Monday, 18 May 2015 07:54

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on May 19 will introduce legislation to provide tuition-free higher education for students at four-year colleges and universities.

Sanders, who is an independent running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said in a news release, “We live in a highly competitive global economy and, if our economy is to be strong, we need the best-educated work force in the world. That will not happen if, every year, hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and if millions more leave school deeply in debt."

The fort in St. Augustine. — PHOTO: Wikipedia

America's oldest city is slowly drowning. 

Baltimore rises up for justice, against inequality

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 09:59

The day of the funeral, the night of the riots in Baltimore, people thought of 1968. That year Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and the unrest unsettled Baltimore.

The day after the riots, when the Maryland National Guard arrived, people thought of 1972. That year another National Guard was called out in another state and four people were killed.

Supreme Court rejects challenge to ban on ex-gay therapy

Written by The AP Monday, 04 May 2015 08:00

The Supreme Court has turned away a challenge to New Jersey's ban on so-called gay conversion therapy for patients under 18 years old.

The justices did not comment on their order on May 4. It followed similar action last year that left California's therapy ban in place.

Progressive leaders unite to fight income inequality

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Wednesday, 13 May 2015 07:49

Progressive leaders, including Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan, united this week to launch The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality.

"We all know the political saying, ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ The Progressive Agenda shifts the national conversation to creating an economy which serves hardworking Americans by reforming our tax code and supporting working families," said Pocan, a Democrat from Madison. "This agenda addresses the root causes of income inequality in America and puts meat on the bone of our progressive values."

Jeb Bush: Stronger 'Christian voice' needed in the world

Written by The AP Monday, 11 May 2015 08:18

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush over the weekend condemned the Obama administration's use of "coercive federal power" to limit religious freedom as he courted Christian conservatives at a Liberty University commencement ahead of a likely presidential run.

Bush, a Catholic convert, is preparing to enter a Republican primary contest that includes competitors considered far more popular with the party's religious right. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz formally announced his presidential campaign at Liberty University last month. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist pastor, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry have all made their Christian faith a centerpiece of prospective campaigns.

Pope stokes flames ahead of US trip even as he ends problems

Written by NICOLE WINFIELD,
AP writer
Monday, 04 May 2015 19:21

When Pope Francis visits the United States this fall, he can expect the same rock-star adulation that greets him wherever he goes.

But his positions on hot-button issues such as the death penalty and climate change could quickly set the stage for conflict. That may explain why Francis has been clearing the decks on a host of less high-profile matters of contention that could also have marred the visit.

For 100 years, celebrities have helped urge animal kindness

Written by By SUE MANNING,
Associated Press
Friday, 01 May 2015 10:17

These days, people pay piles of cash to pamper their pets, but problems remain on the farm and in the slaughterhouse, on movie sets and at animal shelters — even in the wild.

That's why the American Humane Association is touting its past to move animal welfare forward. It's celebrating 100 years of “Be Kind to Animals Week,” which draws celebrities, politicians and everyday enthusiasts each May to raise awareness about the plight of animals.