Aug 20, 2013, 7:35 pm EST
Raging wildfires have been a big problem for several Western states this summer — and an expensive problem for the United States.
To date, the cost of dealing with wildfires has passed $1 billion for the year, and the worst may be yet to come.
The issue has been a hot, dry summer in states where wildfires are at the greatest risk of forming. Large wildfires are currently burning in Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and have devastated parts of Colorado as well. Currently, there are 48 wildfires that have not been contained. So far this year, 33,000 fires have burned 3.4 million acres. Read
Aug 20, 2013, 1:44 pm EST
The Obama family welcomed a new puppy into their family on Monday.
According to The White House Blog, the newest member in the Obama family is named Sunny. Sunny was born in Michigan in June 2012. She is a Portuguese Water Dog just like the family’s other dog, Bo. The Obama family chooses Portuguese Water Dogs due to allergies in their family. Michelle Obama decided that the family needed another dog because Bo doesn’t get enough time with other dogs. To honor the addition of Sunny into their family, the Obamas are making a donation to the Washington Humane Society.
A video of Sunny and Bo playing together can be viewed on the White House’s YouTube channel. Read
Aug 20, 2013, 12:01 pm EST
Federal budget cuts are preventing 57,000 children from attending Head Start programs.
Due to the $85 million federal budget cuts, 51,299 children won’t be able to attend the Head Start programs and 5,966 toddlers won’t be attending the Early Head Start programs this year. 57,000 children cut from the programs is actually better than the 70,000 analyst were expecting. Head Start programs across the country are being affected by the budget cuts. Thousands of head Start programs are cutting the amount of days that they will operate, cutting an estimated 1.3 million days of school. Some of the programs have had to cut back staff and hours offered, which will affect about 18,000 Head Start employees. The government spends $8 million a year on the Head Start programs, which have about 1 million children enrolled in them, reports CNNMoney.
The Head Start programs lost around $400 million due to the federal budget cuts. This is the largest cut to the program since is was created in 1965. Read
Aug 19, 2013, 2:32 pm EST
Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill on Monday that bans gay conversion therapy in the state of New Jersey.
Christie said that he believes people are born gay and that it isn’t a sin. That view isn’t shared by the Catholic church, which Christie is a member of. The Catholic church believes that homosexual acts are a sin. Christie went on to say that he doesn’t believe that children should be exposed to a therapy that can result in health risk such as depression and suicide. The bill was backed by openly-gay assemblyman, Tim Eustace, who believes that gay conversion therapy is a form of child abuse. Christie previously vetoed gay marriage, instead showing his support for New Jersey’s civil union law. The civil union law awards homosexual couples the same rights as married couples, reports the Associated Press.
“We may disagree with the governor on the issue of marriage, but it’s good to see that we see eye-to-eye when it comes to the dangers of nonsensical ‘ex-gay’ therapy and treating all life with dignity,” Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP gay rights group, told USA Today. Read
Aug 19, 2013, 1:36 pm EST
There is still much uncertainty regarding taxes and same-sex marriages since the IRS has yet to clarify how federal tax will apply to married gay couples.
Forbes reports that same-sex couples may not be able to file federal tax returns as a married couple unless they live in a state that recognizes gay marriage. The IRS has yet to decide whether a couple is married based on where they live or based on where they were married.
Less than two months ago, the Supreme Court did not pass Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. This law would’ve allowed federal recognition of same-sex marriages, but the Supreme Court ruled against it, deeming it unconstitutional. Read
Aug 19, 2013, 12:15 pm EST
A campaign in Seattle, Washington that is pushing for a $15 an hour minimum wage is being considered by the City Council and mayoral candidates.
This push would put fast-food, retail, and other minimum wage workers to the highest minimum wage pay in the nation. The current city with the highest minimum wage is San Francisco, which pays minimum wage workers $10.50 an hour. Washington is already the state with the highest minimum wage, which is set at $9.19 an hour, reports The Associated Press.
The jump to $15 an hour is almost double what other states pay minimum-wage workers. Read