National Gaze

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.

Albert DeSalvo, aka the “Boston Strangler,” trapped cats and dogs in wooden crates and killed them by shooting arrows through the boxes.

Studies have shown that young people who torture and kill animals are prone to violence against people later in life, if their behavior goes unchecked. A new federal category for animal cruelty crimes could help root out those pet abusers before their behavior worsens and provide a boost to prosecutions, an animal welfare group says.

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. 

Mormons release video explaining 'magic underwear'

Written by The Associated Press Friday, 24 October 2014 06:38

-Photo: enwikipedia

The Mormon church is addressing the mystery that has long surrounded undergarments worn by its faithful with a new video explaining the practice in-depth while admonishing ridicule from outsiders about what it considers a symbol of Latter-day Saints' devotion to God.

Appeals court reverses ruling that allowed N.C. voting changes before midterm

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 02 October 2014 05:28

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals this week reversed a lower court ruling that had allowed provisions of North Carolina's restrictive voting law to go into effect before the midterm election.

The appeals court order restores same-day registration and reinstates out-of-precinct provisional voting on Voting Rights Act grounds.

Pentagon surplus program arms school districts with machine guns and grenade launchers

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Thursday, 18 September 2014 11:36

A Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle. -Photo: watchdog.org

Taking advantage of a free military surplus program, school police departments throughout the nation have joined with municipal police departments in stocking up on mine-resistant armored vehicles, grenade launchers and scores of M16 rifles.

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.”

White House opposes benefits payments to former Nazis

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 22 October 2014 10:19

Former Nazis should not be getting the Social Security benefits they are receiving as they age overseas, the White House said this week, responding to an Associated Press investigation that revealed millions of dollars have been paid to war-crimes suspects and former SS guards who left the U.S. for Europe.

"Our position is we don't believe these individuals should be getting these benefits," said spokesman Eric Shultz when asked about the situation.

Help wanted: Lawyers needed for immigrant children

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 29 September 2014 08:31

Most of the nearly 60,000 Central American children who have arrived on the U.S.-Mexico border in the last year still don't have lawyers to represent them in immigration court, and advocates are scrambling to train volunteer attorneys to help cope with the massive caseload.

With the number of unaccompanied immigrant children more than doubling this past fiscal year, the need for attorneys has surged, and it has been exacerbated by the immigration courts' decision to fast-track children's cases, holding initial hearings within a few weeks instead of months.

Study: Longer waits to vote in precincts with more minorities

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 06:14

Precincts with more minorities experienced longer waits on Election Day, according to a new study released this week by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

The study found a lack of poll workers and low numbers of voting machines are key contributors to long voting lines.

Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'I'm proud to be gay'

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 30 October 2014 06:38
tim_cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook says he's proud to be gay.

A closer look at key cases before the Supreme Court

Written by The Associated Press Monday, 06 October 2014 05:54

A look at some of the noteworthy cases the Supreme Court will hear this term, which begins today (Oct. 6):

-Mistaken traffic stop: A broken brake light led a North Carolina police officer to pull over a car in which cocaine was later found. Turns out, the state requires only one functioning brake light. The court is weighing a case about whether a defendant's constitutional protection against unreasonable searches was violated because of the officer's mistaken understanding of the law.

Transcript: President Obama's remarks on campaign against campus sexual assault

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Friday, 19 September 2014 12:25

This afternoon, in a speech in the East Room at the White House, President Barack Obama spoke about the "It's On Us" campaign, a national public service to combat sexual assault on college campuses. The following is a transcript of the president's remarks, provided by the White House:

Welcome to the White House, everybody.  And thank you to Joe Biden not just for the introduction, not just for being a great Vice President -- but for decades, since long before he was in his current office, Joe has brought unmatched passion to this cause.  He has.  (Applause.) 

No gridlock for gay marriage, legal marijuana

Written by David Crary,
AP National Writer
Monday, 15 September 2014 10:23

While many liberal policy goals have proved elusive during Barack Obama's presidency, there have been dramatic advances for two causes that once seemed quixotic - the legalization of same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Neither cause was embraced by Obama during his first term. Yet he is now a fervent supporter of marriage equality and has said it is "important" that Colorado and Washington state be allowed to proceed with their pioneering laws, approved by voters in 2012, that legalize marijuana.