National Gaze

Christie vetoes transgender birth certificate bill

Written by WiG Tuesday, 14 January 2014 08:06

Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Jan. 13 vetoed a bill to allow transgender people to update the gender marker on their birth certificates to match their lived gender.

The bill passed by strong majorities in both the House and Senate. The governor's veto means the existing law stands, which contains a requirement that transgender people undergo surgical procedures to obtain an accurate birth certificate.

Scientists: Americans have become weather wimps

Written by The AP Friday, 10 January 2014 07:44

We've become weather wimps.

As the world warms, the United States is getting fewer bitter cold spells like the one that gripped much of the nation this week. So when a deep freeze strikes, scientists say, it seems more unprecedented than it really is. An Associated Press analysis of the daily national winter temperature shows that cold extremes have happened about once every four years since 1900.

GOP launches negative ad campaign, Bloomberg helps fund Democrats' defense

Written by The AP Wednesday, 08 January 2014 09:20

The Republican National Committee began running ads in 40 media markets on Jan. 7 mostly targeting incumbent senators who supported President Barack Obama's health care program. Billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, gave $2.5 million to help Democrats defend their majority in the Senate.

The early action suggests Republicans see the president's signature domestic achievement as their way to keep control of the House and perhaps win the U.S. Senate. With more than 300 days remaining before Election Day, both sides are looking to set the agenda before voters start paying attention.

Gloomy Americans foresee a downhill slide to 2050

Written by CONNIE CASS,
AP writer
Monday, 06 January 2014 11:41

Ask people to imagine American life in 2050, and you’ll get some dreary visions. 

Whether they foresee runaway technology or runaway government, rampant poverty or vanishing morality, a majority of Americans predict a future worse than today.

Newly reformed
New pot law in Colorado is one of many 2014 advances

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Sunday, 12 January 2014 07:45

LIT UP: A server behind an outdoor bar prepares marijuana for partygoers to smoke during a Prohibition ERA-themed New Year’s Eve party celebrating the start of retail pot sales at a bar in Denver Dec. 31. Colorado began marijuana retail sales on Jan. 1. -Photo: AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis rang in the New Year with a ringing endorsement of his state’s rollout of retail marijuana and a promise to pursue a federal law allowing pot sales across the country.

Brian Boitano never intended to publicly reveal he is gay until he was chosen for the U.S. Olympic delegation by President Barack Obama last month.

Calling himself "a private guy," Boitano told The Associated Press on Thursday that he never planned to come out. But moments before his presence on the delegation was revealed, Boitano realized what a powerful statement the president was making.

Federal appeals court reviews Texas anti-abortion law

Written by The AP Tuesday, 07 January 2014 05:35

A federal appeals court heard arguments Jan. 6 on whether the state of Texas can enforce a law that led to the closing of several abortion clinics, a case that ultimately appears bound for the U.S. Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans didn't indicate how soon it would rule on whether a district judge erred in declaring parts of the 2013 law unconstitutional.

Atlantic City swears in openly gay Republican mayor

Written by The AP Friday, 03 January 2014 12:00

What do you call a gay Republican who obsesses about street sweepers, frets that the city’s business isn’t conducted in enough languages and toys with the idea of giving free land to the poor to get it back on the tax rolls?

As of this week in Atlantic City, it’s Mr. Mayor.

State Department issues travel alert for Olympics in Russia

Written by WiG Friday, 10 January 2014 13:41

The U.S. State Department on Jan. 10 issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens planning to attend the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi that includes a caution for LGBT people because of Russia's anti-gay law.

The alert says U.S. citizens should remain "attentive regarding their personal security at all times" during the Olympics and the Paralympic Games that take place Feb. 7-March 16.

Colorado cake maker appeals order to serve gays

Written by The AP Wednesday, 08 January 2014 20:30

A conservative Christian organization is appealing a ruling against a suburban Denver baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed an appeal this week on behalf of Masterpiece Cakeshop. A judge last month ordered the shop to stop discriminating against gay couples.

Law enforcement works to curb sex trafficking before Super Bowl

Written by The AP Tuesday, 07 January 2014 05:22

Law enforcement agents in New Jersey have redoubled efforts to fight what they worry could be one of the biggest menaces to come with next month's Super Bowl: sex trafficking.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on New Jersey for the Feb. 2 football game. Many believe the state's sprawling highway system, proximity to New York City and diverse population make it an attractive base of operations for traffickers.

Two-woman ticket in Texas goes for history in 2014

Written by PAUL J. WEBER,
AP writer
Friday, 03 January 2014 07:47

In 2014, two Texas Democrats are going for a new kind of history: Winning as an all-female ticket for governor and lieutenant governor.

Woven into one of the nation’s most intriguing gubernatorial races this year is whether Democrat Wendy Davis, whose 11-hour filibuster over abortion restrictions catapulted the state senator to national fame this summer, can not only overcome long odds in a fiercely Republican state but pull off a political first.