Surrounded by hay bales and politicians at Michigan State University on Feb. 7, President Obama signed into law the federal farm bill into law which will cut $8.6 billion from the federal food stamps program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, during the next decade. Along with the cuts, the law provides agribusiness $7 billion in crop insurance and new subsidies for rice and peanut growers. Story continues
On Feb. 5, 128 members of Congress introduced the “Government by the People Act” in the U.S. House of Representatives. Among that number was one lonely Republican, Walter Jones of North Carolina. The bill is a response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision of January 2010, which declared that corporations are people and money is a form of protected free speech which may not be regulated by government. Story continues
The federal Endangered Species Act, signed into law by President Richard Nixon in December 1973, has succeeded in saving many species during its four-decade lifespan, including the bald eagle, American alligator and the gray whale. The act currently protects more than 1,500 plants, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles and other creatures according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But now a group of 13 House Republicans are proposing to dismantle key elements of the law with potential deadly consequences for threatened species in North America. Story continues
This week’s summary of under-reported news
Compiled by Bob Nixon
- As the insurgency in Colombia hits its peak in 2003 and 2004, coffee farmers in the northern Perija Mountains fled the violence caused by the five decade-long conflict between leftist rebels, the army and right-wing paramilitary groups. A decade later, farmers and their families are slowly returning to rebuild their lives.
- Chicago’s Cook County Medical Center, whose trauma center is one of the busiest in the United States, treats over 2,000 patients a year from gunshot and stabbing wounds. Recently, research found over 40 percent of the trauma victims suffer from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
- Years before the Jan. 9, West Virginia chemical spill that poisoned water for 300,000 people in the state, the co-founder of Freedom Industries, owner of the tank farm that leached the toxic chemical MCHM into the Elk River was in deep trouble.