Ryan budget plan would slash aid to poor

Written by The AP Thursday, 03 April 2014 07:44

A budget plan stuffed with familiar proposals to cut across a wide swath of the federal budget breezed through the House Budget Committee this week, but its sharp cuts to health care coverage for the middle class and the poor, food stamps and popular domestic programs are a nonstarter with President Barack Obama.

The GOP-controlled committee approved the plan by a party-line vote after swatting away numerous Democratic attempts to ease its cuts. The plan by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the committee chairman and the party's former vice presidential nominee, promises $5.1 trillion in cuts over the coming decade to bring the government's ledger into the black by 2024.

Progressives rallying against Supreme Court ruling on campaign donor limits

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Wednesday, 02 April 2014 09:29

Progressives rallying against Supreme Court ruling on campaign limits.

Progressives across the country were preparing a series of protests against the U.S. Supreme Court ruling today (April 2) striking down in federal law the limits on overall contributions that the biggest of individual donors can make to candidates, parties and PACs.

Boy Scouts oust scoutmaster who came out on NBC News

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 01 April 2014 13:12

The nation’s largest gay civil rights group is calling on the Boy Scouts of America to end its longstanding discriminatory ban on gay adults in Scouting after BSA leaders revoked the membership of an openly gay scoutmaster in Washington state when he came out in an NBC News profile.

Geoff McGrath, 49, leader of Troop 98 in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, is believed to be the first gay adult to have his membership in the Boy Scouts of America revoked since last May’s controversial vote by the BSA to allow gay youth — but not adults — to participate in the organization.

Study claims sober smartphone app aids boozers’ recovery

Written by The AP Monday, 31 March 2014 11:06

A smartphone app for recovering alcoholics that includes a panic button and sounds an alert when they get too close to taverns helped keep some on the wagon, researchers who developed the tool found.

The sober app study joins a host of others that serve as electronic shoulder angels, featuring a variety of options for trying to prevent alcoholics and drug addicts from relapsing.

A guide to the Final Four: Back to the Big Time

Written by The AP Thursday, 03 April 2014 07:20

The invitation to this year's Final Four seemed to have specific rules: No upstarts or Cinderellas. Big boys only.

Mississippi Legislature passes 'license to discriminate' bill

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Wednesday, 02 April 2014 03:56

A final so-called religious freedom bill passed both houses of the Mississippi legislature on April 1 and was sent to the desk of Gov. Phil Bryant.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT civil rights group, described the legislation as "far-reaching" and urged a veto by the governor. The group and other LGBT civil rights advocates lobbied against the legislation and pushed for changes to the bill to minimize its scope.

Dating site protests anti-gay contributor now running Mozilla

Written by The AP Tuesday, 01 April 2014 06:14

The appointment of a new CEO by the company that makes the Firefox Web browser has prompted board members to quit, a Twitter frenzy and a push back from a leading dating website because he supported California's former gay marriage ban.

Mozilla, the nonprofit maker of the Firefox browser, infuriated many employees and users last week by hiring co-founder Brendan Eich to lead the Mountain View company. In 2008, Eich gave $1,000 to the campaign to pass California's Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriages in California until the U.S. Supreme Court left in place a lower-court ruling striking it down.

Odds looking bad for Democratic Senate majority

Written by STEVEN R. HURST,
AP writer
Monday, 31 March 2014 10:51

President Barack Obama has spent much of his second term battling to salvage what he can of his liberal agenda in the face of stiff opposition from Republicans who control of the House of Representatives. Now things could get worse for Democrats, who face a tough fight to retain their Senate majority in the November midterm congressional elections.

That has raised the specter of complete gridlock during Obama’s final two years in the White House — deepening the bitter partisan divide that triggered a partial government shutdown last year, brought the world’s biggest economy to the edge of a debt default and paralyzed meaningful legislation on issues from immigration to deficit reduction.

Nonprofit insurers struggle in the health care marketplace

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 03 April 2014 07:01

A smorgasbord of options and lower prices for consumers were two of the chief selling points for President Barack Obama as he promoted his overhaul of the nation's health insurance industry, predicting Americans would see "competition in ways we haven't seen before." Companies were even started as a way to encourage innovation and competition, namely 23 consumer-run, co-op insurers created with the help of $2 billion in federal loans.

But rather than promote competition, the co-ops and smaller nonprofits in some states have languished behind major insurers, attracting in some cases minuscule shares of the market. While Obama celebrated an early projection this week of 7.1 million enrollees under the Affordable Care Act, it's too early to say whether the law ultimately will foster sufficient competition to keep premiums and deductibles affordable for consumers.

Tenth Circuit set to hear Utah, Oklahoma marriage cases this month

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 01 April 2014 13:40

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on April 10 will hear arguments in the appeal of a federal ruling overturning Utah's constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage.

The arguments will be heard by a three-judge panel.

Kentucky bill takes aim at animal-rights videos at farms

Written by WiG
and AP reports
Monday, 31 March 2014 14:21

The Kentucky Senate has voted to punish animal-rights activists with jail and fines for secretly filming farm operations, attaching the proposal to legislation meant to prevent animal shelters from using gas chambers as a form of euthanasia.

But that’s as far as the bill may go.

UN science panel warns of war, violence with climate change

Written by The AP Monday, 31 March 2014 08:04

UN panel warns of war, violence with climate change.

In an authoritative report due out March 31 (today), a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees.