Texas county where Sandra Bland died has history of racial tension

Associated Press
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 04:23

In the searing 100-degree Texas heat, Sylvester Nunn uses three worn beach umbrellas to protect himself and the produce piled in the bed of his old Chevy pickup truck as he carries on a generations-old summer tradition.

The 78-year-old is selling watermelons by the roadside just outside Hempstead, Texas, where the perfect combination of sandy soil and rainfall make this the watermelon capital of Texas. During the first half of the 20th century, the area was the nation’s largest shipper of the sweet red fruit.

The stranger clenched his fists and shook his head, recounting a time when he tried and failed to beat a cat to death with a steel rod.

His audience, two women lunching at a Lafayette bistro on a Saturday afternoon, sat across from him, shocked and silent. The man in a Hawaiian-print shirt had pulled a chair up to their table minutes earlier. He stroked their dogs and started to ramble: People spend too much money on their pets. There should be a cheaper way to euthanize an animal.

Sanders introduces living wage act in Senate
Progressive caucus members offer bill in House

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 24 July 2015 05:53

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders , the Vermont independent running for the Democratic presidential nomination, this week introduced the Pay Workers a Living Wage Act.

The bill would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

A Republican-led House committee has asked for a briefing from the Planned Parenthood official whose secretly recorded discussion of how her organization obtains tissue from aborted fetuses for research has ignited a new GOP political offensive on abortion.

The letter to Planned Parenthood from GOP leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said comments by Dr. Deborah Nucatola "raise most troubling questions with regard to your organization's practices when performing abortions and whether those practices are consistent with federal law."

Planned Parenthood investigating claims of website hack

Written by By Megan Cassella,
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 03:55

Planned Parenthood called on the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice on July 27 for help managing cybersecurity, following a report that the reproductive healthcare group's website had been hacked by anti-abortion activists.

Federal bill would guarantee access to affordable over-the-counter birth control

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 24 July 2015 06:41

The Affordability Is Access Act introduced this week would build on the contraception coverage guarantee in the Affordable Care Act by ensuring that health plans cover the sale of all over-the-counter birth-control pills that are FDA approved.

U.S. Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Patrick Murphy and Joe Crowly introduced the House measure, a companion bill to the Senate legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray in June.

Two months ahead of his first trip to the U.S., Pope Francis' approval rating among Americans has plummeted, driven mostly by a decline among political conservatives and Roman Catholics, according to a new Gallup poll released this week.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans said this month they had a favorable view of the pope, compared to 76 percent in February 2014, Gallup reported. The share of Americans who disapproved of the pope increased from 9 percent to 16 percent in the same period. The changes were most dramatic among political conservatives, whose opinion of Francis nosedived by 27 percentage points to 45 percent. Among Catholics, Francis' approval dropped by 18 percentage points to 71 percent.

Experts create a diet for health and the environment, but Republicans try blocking it

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Sunday, 19 July 2015 20:08

New dietary guidelines are due later this year.

Congressional Republicans beholden to food industry lobbyists are complaining, “Where’s the beef?” in a scientific committee’s proposed revisions to the U.S. dietary guidelines.

House votes to punish 'Sanctuary Cities,' Obama threatens veto

Written by The AP Monday, 27 July 2015 08:58

The U.S. House has passed legislation against "sanctuary cities" that shield residents from federal immigration authorities. Angry Democrats accused Republicans of aligning themselves with Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant views and the White House threatened a veto.

"The Donald Trump wing of the Republican Party is clearly ascendant here today," Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, said in heated floor debate ahead of the largely party-line vote of 241-179. "This bill is not about grabbing criminals; it's about grabbing headlines."

House approves Dark Act against GMO labeling

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 24 July 2015 06:07

The House of Representatives on July 23 passed the Dark Act, a bill that would preempt state and local authority to label and regulate genetically engineered foods.

The bill, backed largely by House Republicans, would codify a voluntary labeling system approach, block the FDA from implementing mandatory GE food labeling and allow food companies to continue to make “natural” claims for foods that contain GE ingredients.

Creative with crayons
Adult coloring books become best-sellers

Written by BETH J. HARPAZ,
Associated Press writer
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 08:05

Adult coloring books are giving Harper Lee a run for the money on best-seller lists this summer.

Brad Pitt slams Costco over factory-farmed eggs

Written by Sandy Cohen,
AP Entertainment writer
Sunday, 19 July 2015 13:00

Brad Pitt and Bill Maher say Costco contributes to animal cruelty by selling eggs from caged hens.