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  • (Chick-fil-A)

    The still-simmering controversy sparked by the Chick-fil-A president's public comments against same-sex marriage is set to reignite this week, as more than 500,000 people say they will join former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" on Wednesday by "simply showing up and eating" at one of the company's 1,600 restaurants, while protesters backed by gay and lesbian groups plan to participate in a same-sex "kiss-in" on Friday at the same stores.

    Chick-fil-A, founded in 1946, has a long history of unapologetic social conservatism. But the most recent clash between the $4 billion fast-food chain and progressive groups began in June, when Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said that those who support gay marriage are "inviting God's judgment on our nation."

    "We shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" Cathy said in a radio interview. "I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about." Then, in an interview published by the Baptist Press, Cathy doubled down on his stance against same-sex unions.

    "Guilty as charged," Cathy said. "We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

    [Related: Chick-fil-A president slams gay marriage]

    The backlash from supporters of same-sex marriage quickly followed. "Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens!" actor Ed Helms tweeted on July 18. "Lost a loyal fan."

    On July 20, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino fired off a letter to Cathy, urging him to abandon plans to expand the Atlanta-based chain to his city.

    "Here in Boston, to borrow your own words, we are 'guilty as charged,'" Menino wrote. "We are indeed full of pride for our support of same sex marriage and our work to expand freedom to all people."

    Read More »from Chick-fil-A braces for protests, same-sex ‘kiss-in’
  • Drought-damaged corn on a Michigan farm. (Robert Ray/AP)

    The worst drought in a generation is punishing farmers and burning up the nation's corn crop. Nearly 65 percent of the nation is experiencing a drought right now, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Many farmers were just trying to get over last summer's dry spell when the hottest June on record rolled in, threatening to destroy crops and desiccate pastures.

    While it's still unclear exactly what the drought will mean for the U.S. environment and economy, a few concerning consequences are already apparent. But experts predict other worrisome outcomes yet to come. (If you have stories or photos about how the drought is affecting you, share them with us here.) Here are a few consequences that could crop up due to the drought:

    1. Rising food prices at home

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture warned last week that Americans should expect to pay 3 to 5 percent more for groceries next year because of the drought. Most of the price hikes will be for chicken, pork, beef and dairy, since the

    Read More »from Mercury rising: 5 consequences from the drought that’s scorching American farmland
  • Fourteen-year-old Tyler Varvel was doing some yard work when something caught his eye.

    "Like it seemed shiny, so I flicked it with my shoe," Varvel told local TV station WGAL. "It was a bomb or mortar, or something."

    The Lebanon County, Penn., teenager called his mother who in turn called police.

    Bomb specialists arrived and closed a nearby street for hours. They later determined Varvel stumbled upon a World War II-era mortar. It was found to be inert and was likely a practice round left behind by someone decades ago.

    The bomb squad took the mortar away for disposal.

    And the family is thankful it's gone.

    "Pretty wild summer," Tyler said after the incident.

    His mother, Lora Varvel, said, "Something fun for the boys to talk about at school when they go back."

    Read More »from Pennsylvania teen finds unexploded World War II-era mortar in backyard

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