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New Hampshire recap: John Kasich's gamble pays off

This story originally published Feb. 3.

Editor’s note: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who hasn’t lost an election since his bid to lead Ohio State University student government in 1973, is closing in on the biggest bet of his political life as he tries to win over Republican presidential primary voters. 

On Monday, Feb. 1 — the day he finished eighth in Iowa’s Republican caucus — Kasich kicked off an eight-day stretch of campaigning in New Hampshire. On Tuesday, Feb. 9, he finished second to Donald Trump, securing a major win in the lead-up to the GOP nomination process.

Here is the back story. 

—-

Monday, February 1, 2016

Kasich and New Day for America, the super PAC backing him, are banking on a dicey strategy to skip Iowa and invest heavily in New Hampshire in the hopes that a solid finish will catapult him into the limelight and bring in campaign cash. It’s a strategy that has worked for some in the past and been fatal for others, such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who placed sixth in Iowa and then came in fourth in New Hampshire after being the national front-runner.

“We will know on the morning of the 10th (of February) whether we are a story and it’s really going to be whether you’re saying ‘Oh, my goodness, this guy Kasich, we sort of counted him out.’ … And all of sudden you folks (in the media) will be forced to shift a little bit of your attention away from the Trumper. You might have to talk about John Kasich,” Kasich told CNN. Watch Kasich here on CNN.

Bypassing Iowa, and performing poorly in Monday’s caucuses, could hurt Kasich’s momentum in New Hampshire because voters will likely consider the Iowa results in deciding who to support, said Mark Caleb Smith, director of the Cedarville University Center for Political Studies.

“There is a very real bandwagon effect when it comes to presidential primaries,” Smith said. “People like to be associated with the winning candidate, the successful candidate.”

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Selling the candidate

Kasich, 63, entered the race in July, qualified for all seven GOP debates, earned the endorsements of the Boston Globe, New York Times and several New Hampshire newspapers, and held nearly 100 town hall meetings in New Hampshire and raised $7.6 million, outside the millions raised by New Day For America. Kasich’s narrative is that he is an experienced executive who knows how to manage government, balance budgets, fix problems, cut taxes and help those in need. He tells voters on the trail that there is the establishment lane, the outsider lane and the Kasich lane.

The race in New Hampshire is still unsettled since six out of 1o Republicans there said they have not made up their minds, according to a recent CNN/WMUR poll.

New Hampshire’s primary process, in which voters cast ordinary ballots, offers the candidates a more straightforward sprint toward victory than Iowa. But undeclared voters, who make up the largest bloc in New Hampshire, can vote in either party’s primary, infusing the race with an added level of uncertainty.

Several polls show Kasich in second place behind reality TV star Donald Trump, who finished second in Iowa behind U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. But Kasich’s grasp on second place could be in jeopardy if U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s strong third-place showing in Iowa gives him momentum and campaign money in New Hampshire, said University of Dayton political scientist Dan Birdsong.

“If, and admittedly this is a big if, Rubio can ride the momentum from Iowa into New Hampshire, he could put a dent in Trump’s support but he will likely take some support away from candidates like Kasich and (New Jersey Gov. Chris) Christie,” Birdsong said.

He added: “The only thing that should pull Rubio down is his lack of experience. Republicans are so upset with the ‘novice’ in the White House, are they really willingly to put another one in? This has been the puzzle for me. Rubio’s speech from Monday night was almost a carbon copy for the 2008 Barack Obama Iowa speech. Partisanship can be blinding.

“If Kasich wants to break Rubio’s momentum he must make the next week and the rest of the campaign about experience vs. inexperience. Although a Rubio-Kasich or Kasich-Rubio ticket could make for an interesting General Election.”

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The Trump alternative

Smith said Rubio’s third-place finish in Iowa “probably made it difficult for Jeb Bush to do anything.”

Smith said if Rubio wins or places second in New Hampshire that could make him “the clear Trump alternative,” which wouldn’t bode well for Kaisch.

Kasich is getting some help from the home team, with as many as 200 people already campaigning for him, a number which could double next week, said Matt Borges, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.

“We will knock on doors, make phone calls and talk to voters, help him organize rallies and town halls and various things that he’s doing to help win voters over and help him get his message out there,” Borges said.

Borges, and spokeswoman Brittany Warner, and state Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, are headed to New Hampshire this week and former Centerville Mayor Mark Kingseed is already there. State Rep. Jeff Rezabek, R-Clayton, just returned from campaigning for the governor.

“The folks here are so tuned in and involved in the primary,” said Kingseed. “I think they take their duty very seriously here knowing that they have a huge influence on who the president is going to be.”

Antani, a Kasich delegate, said it is exciting to have an Ohioan in the presidential race and he’s looking forward to talking to voters in New Hampshire.

“Getting out the vote is crucial. This is probably going to be the important weekend of the campaign because if he can get a solid second place it will vault him into the other primary states and therefore give him the national exposure he needs in order to win,” Antani said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Georgia Supreme Court must decide the value of a dog

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Lola was a little hound of questionable pedigree who slept like a human, her head on the pillow and her body under the covers. She was jealous of laptop computers because she was a lap dog.

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The mixed-breed dachshund was 8 years old when she died of renal failure. Lola’s owners allege that a popular Atlanta dog kennel gave Lola medication she wasn’t supposed to receive, ultimately leading to her death. The owners have sued, and that’s why this sad case with its very thorny question will come before the Georgia's highest court on Tuesday.

What is the value of a dog?

Barking Hound Village kennel denies that it is responsible for Lola’s death. And in filings before the Georgia Supreme Court, the kennel argues that pets are property and plaintiffs may only recover the market value of their property before it was destroyed.

For this reason, Elizabeth and Bob Monyak should be barred from receiving damages for any alleged negligence that might have caused Lola’s death, the kennel said. The Monyaks paid nothing for Lola when they rescued her from a shelter and she had no market value at the time of her death. In essence, the kennel says, Lola was a worthless piece of property.

But the Monyaks said they spent $67,000 on veterinary and related expenses, including regular dialysis treatments, trying to keep their dog alive, and their suit seeks to recover that sum. They also argue that Lola’s market value isn’t the point.

“Their position is that a dog is like a toaster,” Elizabeth Monyak said. “When you break it, you throw it away and get a new one. A dog is indeed property under the law, but it’s a different kind of property.”

Both Elizabeth Monyak and her husband are attorneys. She works for the State Attorney General’s Office. He specializes in defending medical malpractice and product liability lawsuits and will argue Lola’s case before the justices on Tuesday.

Barking Hound Village, with five locations in metro Atlanta, was founded by David York, a pioneer in the upscale doggie day care and boarding business.

Joel McKie, the company’s lawyer, said Barking Hound Village cares deeply about dogs entrusted to its care and has procedural safeguards to ensure they are safe and happy during their stay.

“We are certainly sympathetic to the (Monyaks) for the loss of their beloved dog, Lola,” McKie said. “However, (Barking Hound Village) did nothing to cause or contribute to the dog’s renal failure.”

The case has attracted national attention, with veterinary and kennel organizations asking the state high court to adopt Barking Hound Village’s legal position.

If juries are allowed to consider a lost pet’s sentimental value and medical expenses paid by its owners, the costs for kennels and veterinary care will rise, groups such as the American Kennel Club, the Cat Fanciers’ Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief.

“Concerns over expanded liability may cause some services, such as free clinics for spaying and neutering, to close,” the groups said. “Shelters, rescues and other services may no longer afford to take in dogs and other pets. Fewer people will get pets, leaving more pets abandoned in shelters to die.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed its own brief in support of the Monyaks’ position. It cited industry studies showing U.S. pet owners spent a collective $58 billion on their animals in 2014, including $4.8 billion on pet grooming and boarding.

“It is hypocritical for these businesses, including (Barking Hound Village), to exploit the value of the human-companion bond, while simultaneously arguing that the same should be unrecoverable when that bond is wrongfully – and even intentionally – severed,” the defense fund said.

Michael Wells, a University of Georgia law school professor specializing in tort and insurance law, said he believes pet dogs have value beyond their market value. The same goes for other properties, like a treasured family photo.

“I assume (the Monyaks) paid a substantial amount of money to the kennel to take care of their dog,” Wells said. “To then say the dog has no market value doesn’t seem to square with the commitment the kennel made and the money it made from the transaction itself.”

In 2005, the Monyaks had a Labrador retriever named Callie. But their oldest daughter, Suzanne, then 10, wanted a dog of her own.

Elizabeth Monyak said she finally agreed, but only if they adopted a relatively mature, smaller dog. Suzanne found Lola, then 2 years old, on a pet finder website and the family adopted her from the Small Dog Rescue and Humane Society in front of a pet store in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

In 2012, the Monyaks decided to take their three children on a family vacation to France and boarded Lola and Callie in “The Inn,” a Barking Hound Village kennel. At that time, Callie had been prescribed Rimadyl, an anti-inflammatory for arthritis. It is the Monyaks’ contention that the kennel incorrectly gave the Rimadyl to Lola, instead of to Callie, during the time they were boarded there.

In court motions, the Monyaks allege that Barking Hound Village knew that a medication error had occurred during Lola’s stay, and the kennel then covered it up by destroying evidence and withholding critical information.

Barking Hound Village denies any wrongdoing and said when the Monyaks picked up their dogs on June 7, 2012, both Lola and Callie appeared to be normal. “(There) is no competent evidence that the dachshund was ever incorrectly medicated,” the kennel said in a court filing.

The family immediately noticed something was wrong with Lola, Elizabeth Monyak said. Normally a voracious eater, she had little appetite. Lola then began trembling, vomiting and experiencing severe pain.

Within days, Lola’s vet determined the dachshund was suffering from acute kidney failure, with the likely culprit being overdoses of Rimadyl. The vet also told the Monyaks he had recently received a phone call from someone at Barking Hound Village, who told him that the prescription for Lola had run out of pills, court filings say. This was odd, the vet said, because he had not prescribed Lola any pills, except those for routine heart-worm medication.

Ultimately, vets recommended that Lola be transferred to the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital because there was no facility in Georgia that could provide the necessary dialysis. The treatments were intermittently successful and Lola was able to return home for extended periods.

“Her kidney was never fully repaired, but there were times when she was doing well,” Monyak said.

In March 2013, the Florida clinic called with bad news: Lola’s kidney was failing again and no longer responding to treatment. Before the family could drive down and return Lola to her Atlanta home one last time, the clinic called to say she had died.

In addition to recovering their expenses for Lola’s treatment, the Monyaks also want a jury to consider evidence that demonstrates Lola’s value to their family.

“She was a smart, fun dog that gave us a lot of enjoyment,” Elizabeth Monyak said.

In court filings, Barking Hound Village’s lawyers contend there are court precedents dating back more than a century that said any recovery of damages for injured or lost animals should be decided by market value, not sentimental value.

“The purchase price of the dachshund was zero dollars, the rescue dog never generated revenue and nothing occurred during the Monyaks’ ownership of the dog that would have increased her market value,” the company’s filing said. “The mixed-breed dachshund had no special training or unique characteristics other than that of ‘family dog.’”

Gun rights groups to stage mock mass shooting at UT

Gun rights groups say they will conduct a mock mass shooting this weekend at the University of Texas campus as they try to end gun-free zones.

The Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance Event will involve actors “shot” by perpetrators armed with cardboard weapons, said Matthew Short, a spokesman for the gun rights groups Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com.

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“It’s a fake mass shooting, and we’ll use fake blood,” he said. He said gun noises will be blared from bullhorns. Other people will then play the role of rescuers, also armed with cardboard weapons.

He said the group was not seeking any sort of permit for the event from Austin or UT. University officials were not immediately available for comment.

“Criminals that want to do evil things and commit murder go places where people are not going to be able to stop them,’ he said. “When seconds count, the cops are minutes away.”

Asked if he was worried the demonstration, which will be preceded by a walk through Austin with loaded weapons might appear in bad taste following the mass shootings in San Bernardino and Paris, Short said: “Not at all. People were able to be murdered people because no one was armed.”

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Loaded weapons are currently not allowed on UT campus, but that will change next August when the new campus carry law goes into effect. The law will allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry their handguns into dorms, classrooms and other public university buildings, though universities may draft some campus-specific rules that may include limited gun-free zones.

Critics of the law have urged UT to take a highly restrictive approach, prompting the pushback from gun rights groups.

“We want criminals to fear the public being armed,” Short said. “An armed society is a polite society.”

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“We love freedom and we’re trying to make more freedom,” he said.

The organizers of Gun Free UT, an organization supported by thousands of UT students and faculty that aims to keep guns out of the UT campus, were not immediately available for comment.

Fireworks all around at GOP debate, but Trump presence resounded

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So much for the notion that Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump might tone down his reality show bombast for his first-ever political debate Thursday night.

Trump wouldn’t rule out a third-party White House bid if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination, shrugged off past bankruptcies by his businesses, said he made political contributions to buy influence and refused to back down from harsh comments about Mexican immigrants.

“If it weren’t for me you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration,” Trump said of the issue that has generated Hispanic outrage and catapulted him to the top of Republican polls.

>> Trump’s presence dominated the 10-candidate debate televised by Fox News

There were also fireworks between Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over data gathering by the National Security Agency, and a more low-key effort by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to separate himself from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Rubio, 44, cast himself as a candidate of the future and a product of middle class upbringing, drawing a distinction from the 62-year-old Bush, the scion of a wealthy political dynasty.

“This election better be about the future, not the past,” Rubio said.

“If I’m our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? I was raised paycheck to paycheck. How is she going to lecture me about student loans? I owed over $100,000 just four years ago. If I’m our nominee, we’ll be the party of the future,” Rubio said.

Rubio also took issue with the Common Core education standards favored by Bush. While Bush insisted local governments should set education standards, Rubio claimed the U.S. Department of Education “will not stop with it being a suggestion” and would turn Common Core into a federal mandate.

Before the main event, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina dominated a debate of seven GOP candidates excluded from the main debate by Fox News because of their low polling numbers. Fiorina skewered Republican front runner Trump over his ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton and shifts on abortion, immigration and health care.

Fiorina didn’t name Bush but said the GOP nominee “cannot stumble before he even gets into the ring.” She confirmed after the debate that she was talking about Bush’s recent remark that “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.”

Bush’s comment angered many conservatives because it conflated the debate over Planned Parenthood and its use of aborted fetal tissue with the broader question of women’s health and allowed defensive Democrats to go back on offense.

Asked specifically about Bush in a post-debate interview, Fiorina said: “It’s disappointing. I spent all of last year with a lot of other conservatives pushing back effectively against the ‘War on Women’…It’s really disappointing when a front-runner gives the Democrats an ad and a talking point before he’s even in the ring.”

4 takeaways from Thursday's GOP Debate

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The Donald goes Full Trump

So much for the notion that Donald Trump might tone it down a little and act presidential in his first political debate. He wouldn’t rule out a third-party bid for president if he doesn’t get the GOP nomination. “I don’t have time to be politically correct,” he said when asked about harsh comments about women. On his remarks about Mexico sending criminals to the U.S., he said, “If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration.”

Rubio separates himself from Bush

Differentiating himself from 62-year-old former Gov. Jeb Bush and his wealthy family, 44-year-old Sen. Marco Rubio said: “This election better be about the future, not the past. … If I’m our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? I was raised paycheck to paycheck. How is she going to lecture me about student loans? I owed over $100,000 just four years ago. If I’m our nominee, we’ll be the party of the future.”

Paul and Christie mix it up on data gathering

Libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul said “I want to collect more records from terrorists but less records from innocent Americans.” Gov. Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, called that answer “ridiculous.” Paul noted that Christie once gave President Obama “a big hug.”

Fiorina steals early show

In a seven-candidate debate before the main event, Carly Fiorina skewered Trump over his ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton and shifts on abortion, immigration and health care without insulting the Trump followers Republicans need. Clearly referring to Bush and his recent women’s health gaffe, she said the GOP nominee “cannot stumble before he even gets into the ring.”

4 things to know about the Supreme Court's pro-gay marriage ruling

1. In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Constitution requires states to license same-sex marriage and to recognize same-sex marriages lawfully performed elsewhere. [Read more]

2. The court's majority includes Justices Anthony Kennedy (the conventional "swing vote") joining the bench's liberal wing: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. The opinion appears to hinge on the dual Consitutional reasoning of fundamental rights and equal protection. [Read the complete opinion]

3. Justice Kennedy, a Republican appointee, has become the court's most prominent defender of same-sex relationships -- authoring its majority opinions in the three major gay rights decisions: Lawrence v. Texas, United States v. Windsor and now Obergefell v. Hodges. Observers say this reflects Kennedy's deeply-held beliefs about individual privacy and liberty. [Read more]

4. Some opponents of same-sex marraige say they are being "bullied" for their beliefs, and now fear speaking out publicly. Beyond the verbal backlash that many say they are receiving, these opponents assert that speaking their minds could hurt their businesses, their employment or their chances for advancement at work. [Read more]

Photos: 50 years after Bloody Sunday in Selma

Cuba ferry from Florida Keys could become reality

Want to take a ferry from the Florida Keys to Cuba?

That's the goal of Fort Lauderdale-based company KonaCat, which hopes to carry travelers from Marathon to Havana by the end of the year, reports keysnet.com.

The service is just one of many now possible since President Barack Obama eased travel restrictions to Cuba earlier this year.

A one-way trip would cost $169, or $338 for a round trip ticket, keysnet.com reports.

"The trips are going to be for religious groups, educational trips and for Cuban-Americans to see their families again," KonaCat owner Brian Hall told keysnet.com.

Read the full report from keysnet.com.

What in the world is going on with Oregon's governor?

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Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, announced his resignation Friday, ending one of the strangest political scandals the state has seen.

This is a big deal because Kitzhaber is an institution in Oregon politics: He was elected to serve as governor for the first time in 1994, then again in '98, then later in 2010 and 2014. (Video via John Kitzhaber for Oregon Governor)

But shortly after his most recent inauguration, it was discovered Kitzhaber's fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, was allegedly using government contacts to enrich her private business. (Video via KOBI)

"Kitzhaber says the couple knew they were operating in a gray area and tried to keep clear lines between her activities as first lady and her paid work as an environmental consultant," KOIN reported

Hayes earned about $213,000 as a consultant during Kitzhaber's first term, and multiple sources said she frequently guided government contracts toward firms that did business with her.

She's now being accused of running what's called a "pay-for-play" scheme where her influence over the former governor was translated into jobs and money for people willing to give her business.

This isn't the first time we've seen negative press surrounding Hayes. In October of last year, she admitted to a 1997 green-card marriage, for which she was paid $5,000.

"Seventeen years ago I made a serious mistake by committing an illegal act when I married a person so that he could maintain residency in the United States," she's said of that decision. 

Oregon voters were able to forgive a sham marriage, but they weren't willing to forgive this. Political leaders from both sides of the aisle are calling for the governor's resignation.

"I met with the governor this morning, and the speaker and I both met with him, and I asked him for his resignation," said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney.

With Kitzhaber now gone, Oregon's next governor will be the current Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown. And here's where it gets a little weird: On Wednesday, Kitzhaber reportedly asked Brown to return to Oregon from a conference in Washington, D.C., for a one-on-one meeting. (Video via Oregon Social Business Challenge

>>Related: Kate Brown to make history as first openly bisexual governor

Brown returned, meeting with Kitzhaber Wednesday afternoon. The governor was expected to announce his resignation at that meeting, but instead he apparently asked Brown why she "came back early," conveniently ignoring the fact he asked her to. 

Brown herself said the meeting was strange, calling it a "bizarre and unprecedented situation." 

Bizarre and unprecedented are good words, but others have also called the whole thing "illegal." As of Friday, both the state attorney general and the FBI are looking into the couple. 

This video includes an image from the Oregon National Guard.

Kate Brown to make history as first openly bisexual governor

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When Oregon's Kate Brown is sworn in next week, she’ll make history as the country’s first openly bisexual governor.

“As you can imagine, between now and Wednesday there is a lot of work to be done and that's what I'm going to go back and do,” Brown told reporters. (Video via The Oregonian

Brown is taking over the job of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. He submitted his resignation Friday over corruption allegations involving his fiancée. 

Fifty-four-year-old Brown — a Democrat — has been in Oregon politics since 1991 serving in both the House and Senate. She was outed by an Oregon newspaper in what she called a “forced coming out.” (Video via Oregon Social Business Challenge

She described what that was like in 1992: "I believe it was during my early 30s that I figured out who, or what, I am. But it wasn’t until it was written in the Oregonian newspaper that I was bisexual that I had to face the inevitable and let those around me know.”

“I truly believe I can make Oregon a better place to live,” Brown said in 2008.  

In 2008, she was elected secretary of state and won a second term in 2012. (Video via TVCTV

According to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, there are about 525 openly LGBT public officials nationwide. 

"I've witnessed the difference it makes when our community not only had a seat at the table, but sits at the head of the table." (Video via Victory Fund and Institute

Brown will be history's second LGBT governor. New Jersey's Jim McGreevey announced he was gay before resigning in 2004. (Video via CBS

Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin became the first openly LGBT U.S. senator in 2013. (Video via Tammy Baldwin For U.S. Senate

Brown and her husband have two adult children from his previous marriage and live in Portland. She takes office on Wednesday.  

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

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