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During college, I took a class on global populations and food (affectionately known as "pops and crops"). I'm sure it was a fine class, but really only one lesson has stuck with me in the 25 years since.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband were finally starting to settle into normal routine in their Tucson home by the middle of 2012, making strides in her rehabilitation, decorating their house and watching hour after hour of the TV show "Glee."
Then came the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 dead and many more injured. Months later, 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"Newtown moved us from words to action," Giffords and husband Mark Kelly write in their book "Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence."
The book chronicles the couple's lives from survivors to advocates, detailing the trepidation Kelly had about plunging himself into the politics of gun control. It delves into the history of the National Rifle Association while telling of Giffords' recovery efforts and the couple's political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions.
The book and an Associated Press interview with Kelly this week provide a behind-the-scenes look at the couple as they moved past the shooting and took a greater role on the national stage:
Giffords and Kelly describe ways in which their gun-control advocacy has helped the former congresswoman move forward and regain her speech skills after she was wounded in the January 2011 shooting outside a Tucson supermarket that killed six people.
They detail the difficulty Giffords had in articulating the lines in a speech at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2013. But the complexity of the issue "motivated her to work even harder," they wrote.
The former lawmaker is even back to shooting, picking up a gun for the first time at a Nevada range in the summer of 2013.
Giffords had to use her left hand to fire because her right hand is paralyzed. She's not left-handed, so Kelly worried.
But was Giffords nervous?
"No, she wasn't. At all," Kelly said.
ON JARED LOUGHNER
As Jared Loughner was sentenced in November 2012 after being convicted of carrying out the shooting, Kelly and Giffords told him that was the last time they'd ever think of him.
"There's what you say in a statement and what actually happens and, as you know, those are two different things," Kelly said.
Kelly says the couple had every intention of erasing Loughner, who received seven life sentences, from their minds.
The Aurora and Newtown shootings halted that plan.
ON THE POLITICAL FIGHT FOR STRICTER GUN LAW
Even after Giffords nearly died when she was shot in the head, she and Kelly say they kept their firearms and remained staunch supporters of the Second Amendment.
While Giffords was a seasoned politician, Kelly had concerns about taking on politics.
"There was risk involved that we wouldn't be able to meet that ambitious goal, and then what does that say? That says we're not effective in what we want to do," Kelly said in the interview. "You have people who start to think about you differently. But Gabby's a politician, and I'm not that sensitive about things."
FRIENDSHIPS ARE TESTED
A long-lasting friendship between Giffords and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake was tested when he voted against a background-check bill that the couple rallied for.
"I had such complicated feelings about our old friend that morning," Kelly wrote.
Kelly believes Flake was under huge pressure from the NRA to vote against the bill.
Flake, meanwhile, said in a statement to The Associated Press: "I have a great deal of respect and affection for Gabby and Mark. They have been very effective in advocating for a cause that they deeply believe in."
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
The couple now lives in Tucson, where Giffords works on her speech and physical therapy. They like to go to Giffords' mother's rural home to shoot guns, Kelly says.
But they don't have much free time, travelling and speaking in support of legislative candidates.
"We're gonna be really effective here in November," Kelly said. "We're gonna move ahead, and we're not going anywhere. What this country really needs is a balanced debate on this issue. And it's been really out of balance, so our job is to try to fix that."
Last weekend, the drinking water of 400,000 Toledo residents was fouled by animal waste. With unfettered growth of animal agriculture and ineffective discharge regulations, it will happen again in our own state.
When fall rolls around and it's back to school and work, wouldn't you love to start your day with something tastier and more substantial than that all-too-typical bowl of cold cereal? It's just so boring day after day. And that's apart from the fact that most cereals will fail to tide you over until lunchtime.
If you want red meat in your diet, be prepared to pay more.
Immigrant-rights advocates filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging business raids by an Arizona sheriff's office that have led to the arrests of hundreds of immigrant workers on charges of using fake or stolen IDs to get jobs.
Let's talk potato salad. Everyone knows it's good — there's a reason it's a summer perennial — but that doesn't mean it's good for you. Here's a crafty version that swaps in sweet potatoes for the more traditional white potatoes and loses the standard recipe's abundant mayonnaise in favor of a dressing high in flavor and low in fat.
Beef may claim to be what's for dinner in America, but in the Middle East that honor often goes to lamb. It's prepared in innumerable ways, but my favorite is when the lamb is ground, spiced and grilled, then topped with some kind of yogurt sauce and finally tucked into a pita. And that's how we're rolling here.
Processed and convenience foods and shortcut cooking methods have become so entrenched in our culinary culture, it's easy to forget just how much we have forgotten about real cooking.
It's barbecue season, and chicken is the ideal candidate to get you grilling.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — If summer in Rhode Island has a taste, it's lemon — or, rather, Del's Frozen Lemonade.
It’s perversely ironic for rancher Cliven Bundy to excoriate poor people for collecting government subsidies, while ripping off the federal government of a million dollars in grazing fees. But, even if he were to pay up, Bundy and his fellow ranchers would still be living on government welfare.
WASHINGTON — Diners could soon see calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants.
NEW YORK — Frozen foods are about to get some badly needed image therapy.
“Mesa Mayor Scott Smith praised the investigation as an example of a Mesa police philosophy that targets career criminals who are responsible most crimes. He said crime in Mesa is down to a 40-year low and that street level drug sales are down 19 percent.”
FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2010 file photo, a shopper looks over frozen foods selections at a supermarket in New York. With sales slipping in the category, frozen food makers are in the final stages of preparing a major public relations campaign to defend the nutritional reputation of their products. The push will include what is said to be the first national TV ads on behalf of the industry as a whole, as well as social media and in-store promotions. (AP Photos/Bebeto Matthews, File)
Invented in Buffalo, N.Y., during the '60s, Buffalo chicken wings have become a national favorite. Big surprise! If fat is where the flavor is, and if everyone's a sucker for flavor, Buffalo chicken couldn't lose.
Saying Arizonans have “God-given rights to defend themselves,” the state House voted Wednesday to let anyone with a permit to carry a concealed weapon bring it into many public buildings.
The East Valley Recycling Alliance, Trex, Bashas’ and Food City supermarkets, as well as the City of Mesa Solid Waste Management Department, will host the “Bench the Bag” Plastic Bag Recycling Challenge now through March 31.
It's convenient to pick up some laundry detergent at the store, but it's not difficult to create your own.
Albertsons and Safeway, the nation’s second-largest grocery chain, said Thursday that they will merge under the control of the company that owns Boise-based Albertsons.
With Mardi Gras looming, I thought it might be fun to cook up some New Orleans-styled goodies featuring duck, andouille sausage and Creole seasoning. These rich ingredients are typical of the fare from this town that knows how to party — an instinct that goes into overdrive during Mardi Gras.
WASHINGTON — Look no further than your dinner plate to understand how the new farm bill affects you.
What to serve at this year's Oscar party? I had no clear idea about the right dish until I glanced at a list of the movies in contention.
POTTSVILLE, Pa. — Breyers, Ben & Jerry's, Edy's and Yuengling's: Which thing is not like the others?