National Gaze

Republican LGBT rights supporter and former Illinois gubernatorial candidate dies at 70

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Sunday, 14 December 2014 08:11

A gay rights group is mourning the death of Republican Illinois Comptroller and former state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka. Topinka died last week at age 70 after suffering a stroke.

Equality Illinois said in a statement that Topinka demonstrated political affiliations shouldn't be a barrier to reaching out to all citizens.

Supreme Court to review Confederate flag on license plates

Written by MARK SHERMAN,
Associated Press
Monday, 08 December 2014 09:28

The Supreme Court is taking on a free speech case over a proposed license plate in Texas that would feature the Confederate battle flag.

The case involves the government’s ability to choose among the political messages it allows drivers to display on state-issued license plates.

Christie vetoes bill to ban inhumane treatment of pigs

Written by AP
and WiG reports
Saturday, 29 November 2014 09:42

Animal welfare advocates say N.J. Gov. Chris Christie has no compassion for pigs.

Signaling his intent to win over Republican caucus voters in Iowa, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have banned the use of confining pregnant pigs in crates so small they can’t even turn around.

Alabama man gets 8 years for dog fighting after 451 pit bulls seized

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 10 November 2014 20:38

Michael Vick

An Alabama man who organized dog fights where participants often bet $100,000 or more on a single deadly match was sentenced to eight years in prison, four times longer than the penalty for the crime’s most famous defendant, NFL quarterback Michael Vick.

FBI turns animal torture into top-tier felony

Written by The AP Thursday, 30 October 2014 12:13

Jeffrey Dahmer impaled the heads of dogs, frogs and cats on sticks.

David Berkowitz, known as the “Son of Sam,” poisoned his mother’s parakeet.

House moves toward deal to fund government

Written by The Associated Press Friday, 05 December 2014 07:50

Sidestepping immigration hardliners, House Republican leaders are moving to make a deal with Democrats to pass a spending bill that would keep the government running past next week.

The emerging strategy follows legislation passed on Dec. 4 by the House declaring President Barack Obama's executive actions to curb deportations "null and void." That legislation wasn't enough for some conservatives, who complained that the only way to stop Obama's actions on immigration would be to forbid them in legislation that must pass if the government is to stay open.

High volume on Black Friday lets gun sales slip through background check system

Written by Matt Stroud,
AP writer
Thursday, 27 November 2014 20:18

More gun sales than ever are slipping through the federal background check system — 186,000 last year, a rate of 512 gun sales a day — as states fail to consistently provide thorough, real-time updates on criminal and mental histories to the FBI.

Back to U.S. Supreme Court: Justices ‘Obamacare’ subsidies

Written by MARK SHERMAN,
AP writer
Monday, 10 November 2014 10:22

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a new challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care law — a case that threatens subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their health insurance premiums.

The justices said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that upheld IRS regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states. Opponents argue that most of the subsidies are illegal.

U.S. chamber largest overall spender of dark money in midterms

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 31 October 2014 10:46

A report from Public Citizen released on Oct. 31 shows that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is both the largest overall spender in the 2014 congressional elections among outside groups that do not disclose their contributors and the largest such spender in 28 of the 35 races in which it has gotten involved.

The study, "The Dark Side of Citizens United," shows that the chamber has gotten invovled in 16 of the 20 congressional races that have seen the most outside spending for the 2014 midterms. The chamber, according to the report, has spent an average of $908,000 per race. 

Chicago is latest city to hike minimum wage

Written by Louis Weisberg Wednesday, 03 December 2014 06:48

Chicago is set to become the latest U.S. city to raise its minimum wage, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel fast-tracks a politically popular plan to reach $13 per hour amid his bid for a second term and criticism that he is out-of-touch with working people.

Cleveland police kill boy with fake gun

Written by AP Sunday, 23 November 2014 14:51

A 12-year-old boy brandishing what turned out to be a fake gun is dead after being shot yesterday by a Cleveland police officer.

Bible Belt Republicans to rule Congress, push far-right agenda

Written by Bill Barrow,
AP writer
Sunday, 09 November 2014 08:12

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

With the walloping Republicans gave Democrats in the midterm elections, the GOP stands one Louisiana Senate runoff away from completely controlling Southern politics from the Carolinas to Texas. Only a handful of Democrats hold statewide office in the rest of the Old Confederacy.

National briefs: Maloney demands investigation of benefits to Nazis

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 30 October 2014 19:25

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York has demanded the Justice Department and Social Security Administration launch an immediate investigation of Social Security payments to former Nazis.

Maloney called the payments a “gross misuse of taxpayer dollars.”