<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas State Political News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Mon, 06 Jul 2015 00:32:17 -0500 Mon, 06 Jul 2015 00:32:17 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[North Texans Rally in Support of Confederate Flag]]> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 00:14:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Confederate_Flag_Irving_Daytona.jpg

Several groups gathered across North Texas Sunday to rally around the confederate battle flag.  According to a Facebook page, titled Stand by the Flag Rally, groups planned to meet in Denton, Arlington and Irving.

“People have been saying it’s racist to fly,” Christopher Williams said. “It ain’t racist, it’s Southern heritage, people don’t know the true history behind the flag.”

Christopher Williams was one of the first to gather outside a Walmart in Irving Sunday afternoon.

“It’s funny how everybody thinks that the flag is racist, it’s not – it’s just Southern pride,” Williams said, “proud to be where you’re from.”

Nearby shoppers stopped to look or snap photographs of the rally, and those who did said the group had the right to assemble, but not everyone agreed with their view of the flag represents.

“I have a problem with the flag itself being African American,” Karesha Evans said, “I don’t know any African American that doesn’t have a problem with the flag.”

Lola Green, who stopped by Walmart, she tells NBC 5 she grew up in the South and is from Charleston, S.C. She said she has no problem with people flying the Confederate flag.

“Their flag is representative of Southern pride, a representative of rebellion,” Green said, “it’s not against any current government; it’s of the past, it’s a historic artifact and they’re showing their pride and their right to fly that flag.” 

Green went on to say, “I’m ok with that, and I am a black American and I’m’ from the South, and I understand the complexity of what they’re doing and what they’re saying; they are as proud of the American flag, of the traditional American flag, as they are the rebel flag.”

Green tells NBC 5 she supported those rallying outside of Walmart.

“A lot of people lost their lives during the Civil War, and they’re showing their respect for their side of it, it’s not about being divisive, it’s not about being offensive to anybody, this is about being proud of the South.”

“I’m from Charleston, and I support this 100 percent,” Green said, “I support their right and I understand their wanting to show support for their right.”

Kimberlee Gould, brought her family to the rally in Irving and later joined the convoy of vehicles to Texas Motor Speedway for a larger gathering. 

“I think this whole thing is absolutely ridiculous,” Gould said, “this is a battle flag, it’s not like it was ever flown as a national flag for the Confederate states, it was a battle flag only, and wanting to erase history is sad. It’s part of our heritage, it’s part of the South, and they have no business trying to erase history.”

Gould said, in her view, the flag is not about race but history.

“I am big in the history of it,” Gould said, “people say the civil was fought over slavery, it was not fought over slavery – the South was screaming secession 40 years before they seceded from the Union, it was fought over state’s rights and it was fought over money plain and simple.”



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News / Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Blames Border for SF Shooting]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 15:44:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/DonaldTrump_Getty_07032015.jpg

Donald Trump on Friday blamed the United States' vulnerable southern border for this week's fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately," the Republican presidential hopeful said in a statement.

Steinle, 32, of Pleasanton, was gunned down Wednesday evening near the Embarcadero and Mission Street in the city's South Beach neighborhood. Police arrested Francisco Sanchez following what they believe is a random incident.

New details emerged about the suspect Friday when the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency reported that Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant with nearly a dozen aliases and a long criminal history. He has previously been deported to Mexico five times, according to authorities.

San Francisco County Sheriff's Legal Counsel Freya Horne told NBC Bay Area Friday that the city and county of San Francisco are sanctuaries for immigrants, and they do not turn over undocumented people – if they don't have active warrants out for them – simply because immigration officials want them to.

For his part, Trump deemed the situation “absolutely disgraceful” and blasted his fellow candidates for lacking the “guts to even talk about it.”

“The American people deserve a wall to protect our jobs, economy and our safety,” he added. “I am the only candidate who would build it. I will make America great again!”

Trump’s candidacy announcement June 16 had a similar flavor.

"The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," he said. "And these aren't the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best...they're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

But several business organizations — including NBC, Univision, Macy’s and NASCAR — have disassociated themselves from Trump after his incendiary comments came to light.

Hispanic leaders have also pressed the rest of the GOP presidential candidates to condemn Trump. So far, most of the candidates have either stayed mum or quietly sidestepped his statements. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has even defended him, saying that "I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration."

Only Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is Hispanic, denounced Trump's statements as "not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Lt. Gov. Patrick's Grassroots Board Dissolves]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:18:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/219*120/texas+lt+gov+dan+patrick.JPG

The grassroots advisory board Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick set up as a sounding board for his tea party constituency is dissolving after a legislative session that left the leadership of that constituency dissatisfied.

"Chair JoAnn Fleming and I have mutually agreed to dissolve the grassroots advisory board and work together as we have for the last several years on a less formal basis," Patrick said in a statement Friday.

The Texas tea party network is the nation's strongest, with four dozen major conservative groups representing thousands of active members.

During the recent legislative session, the board of tea party activists that advised Patrick described a major bipartisan pre-K initiative championed by Gov. Greg Abbott as socialist and keeping children in a "Godless environment." The initiative passed, including in the Texas Senate over which Patrick presides, and Abbott signed it into law.

Also late in the session, leading tea party activists signed a letter warning lawmakers that they were dissatisfied by the meager results the Legislature gave to the tea party agenda. It singled out Abbott, Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus, saying if these "liberty-advancing, government-restraining bills die, once again, we will get excuses rather than results."

Among issues unresolved according to the letter: securing the Texas-Mexico border, stricter immigration policies, tougher anti-abortion restrictions and "school choice," or voucher programs funneling public money to private schools.

Among other tea party initiatives that failed was a bill to exempt Texas from daylight saving time, which was sidelined amid concerns that refusing to roll back the clocks could leave Texans choosing between church services and watching Dallas Cowboys games on fall Sundays. Also dropped was a proposal banning the Alamo from falling under the control of the United Nations.

The backlash was greatest over lawmakers' passage of the pre-K expansion and their failure to repeal Texas' 2001 law offering in-state tuition to some college students in the country illegally and to pass school vouchers.

Many signing the letter were members of Patrick's tea party citizen advisory board, including Fleming, a state tea party leader who heads Grassroots America -- We the People.

"Several members of the grassroots advisory board have expressed a desire for greater independence," Patrick said. Indeed, Fleming said in the joint statement that "maintaining our independence is necessary for the credibility of the growing Texas grassroots movement, and as we move into the next election cycle, we do not want our endorsements and positions to be viewed as anything other than our own independent decisions based on conservative, limited government principles."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Hopefuls Flood NH for July 4 Weekend]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:33:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP136093298170.jpg

Presidential hopefuls are going on parade throughout the Granite State this July 4. 

At least seven 2016 candidates will spend Independence Day courting residents who will vote in the nation's first presidential primary contest next year, according to scheduled logged in necn's 2016 New Hampshire Primary Candidate Tracker, making a combined 14 stops.

While parades are by far the most popular stops during the holiday tour — at least 11 such appearances are expected — candidates' Saturday calendars also include breakfasts, cookouts and grassroots events. Revelers along the routes in Amherst and Merrimack will watch no fewer than three candidates strut by. The resort town of Wolfeboro, where 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney owns a home, will be greeted by at least two GOP hopefuls.

For some candidates, one parade just isn't enough. Republicans Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry, as well as Democrat Lincoln Chafee, are marching in two apiece. Perry, the former Texas governor, appears to have the busiest public schedule on Saturday so far, stopping by parades in Amherst and Merrimack before greeting crowds at the Windham GOP July Fourth Cookout later in the day.

The holiday hand-shaking isn't limited to July 4 itself. Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, has been barnstorming the state since making his official entry into the race on Tuesday, including several events on Friday. Perry and Democrat Hillary Clinton are also getting their patriotic partying started early with Friday events, while former New York Gov. George Pataki and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both candidates for the GOP nomination, will join New Hampshire residents wishing America a belated birthday with Sunday celebrations.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Texas AG Spokesman Says Case is 'Political Hit-Job' in Media]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:30:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Ken+Paxton.jpg

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's spokesman says a special prosecutor handling the criminal investigation into Paxton has turned the case into a "political hit-job" in the media.

The statement released Thursday comes one day after special prosecutor Kent Schaffer announced he would present a grand jury with evidence of first-degree felony securities fraud against Paxton.

The attorney general's spokesman, Anthony Holm, says Schaffer is attempting to try the case in the media and warns that his actions may influence the grand jury.

Paxton was fined $1,000 last year for investment advising without registering. A judge in May then widened the investigation into Paxton. Schaffer said Wednesday that Texas Rangers uncovered new evidence involving more than $100,000.

Schaffer says he'll present evidence to a Collin County grand jury within a few weeks.

CLICK HERE to read more from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Peas in Guacamole? Obama Weighs in on Twitter Debate ]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:15:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/guacamole-GettyImages-456804252.gif

President Barack Obama has a message for The New York Times: please don't pass the peas.

Into the guacamole, at least. 

The president joined the online masses piling on the newspaper on Wednesday afternoon following a much-retweeted story suggesting "adding fresh English peas" to the popular avocado dip.

The tweet sparked cries of culinary foul from users, gaining hundreds of retweets in the process. The Times' public editor even suggested that the backlash could rival the "Minnesota Grape Salad outcry" that hit after the paper listed the obscure recipe as a state favorite. 

When asked about the suggestion during an #ASKPotus Twitter chat Wednesday, the president suggested he'll stick to a more traditional recipe. 

First lady Michelle Obama, a vocal advocate of incorporating more green veggies into daily diets, has yet to weigh in. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Donald Trump: "I Don't Think It Matters If I'm Nice"]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:17:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/donald-trump-univision-pone-fin-a-relacion-comercial.jpg

Donald Trump spoke in New Hampshire Tuesday night- just one day after getting dumped by NBC Universal and Univision due to his comments about Mexican immigrants.

"They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists," Trump said during his presidential run kick-off speech.

If you thought Trump would apologize for his comments at his first public appearance since the controversy at a pool-side reception in Bedford, New Hampshire, you'd be wrong. He brought research he said he had done to support his earlier statements.

"I mentioned the word 'rape.' I felt oh, maybe, you know, maybe there's never been a rape. Maybe there's never been a problem. Maybe there's never been a crime," Trump began. "To me, it's impossible to almost believe — 80 percent of Central American women and girls are raped crossing into the United States."

In addition, Trump stirred it up on the topics of Univision and NBC. He announced that he is suing Univision for $500 million for dropping the Miss Universe Pageant that Trump runs.

"What NBC and Univision did to these young women is disgraceful," he said.

Trump spoke for more than an hour, at one point defending himself against critics who say he's not nice.

"I don't think it matters if I'm nice or not, because I really believe this is going to be an election that's based on competence."

On the word that Trump weighs in at number two to Jeb Bush in the latest New Hampshire poll, Trump was stumped.

"It's hard to believe I'm second to Bush," Trump said. "Because Bush is not going to get us to the promised land, folks."

The Republican presidential candidate has made 14 stops in New Hampshire so far ahead of the 2016 primary. 

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<![CDATA[State Workers Can Deny Marriage Licenses: Opinion]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 22:28:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Ken+Paxton.jpg Texas Attorney General Paxton warned in a statement Sunday that any clerk, justice of the peace or other administrator who declines to issue a license to a same-sex couple could face litigation or a fine.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Sunday, June 28, 2015]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:02:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NEW+013114+lone+star+politics.jpg This week, we sit down with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins about the landmark decision on same sex marriage. Plus Obamacare off life support, what the U.S. Supreme Court ruling means for your wallet. And former Dallas city councilman Dwaine Caraway says it is time to change the face of Dallas County politics, hear how he plans to do it …. on Lone Star Politics, this Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5.]]> <![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Caraway on His Run for Commissioner]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:08:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lsp_caraway_on_run_for_commissioner_1200x675_471970883989.jpg This week former Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway discusses his run for commissioner. Hear why he believes he deserves the seat currently held by Commission John Wiley Price … on Lone Star Politics, this Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5.]]> <![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: Judge Jenkins on Same Sex Marriage]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:07:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lsp_jenkins_on_same_sex_marriage_1200x675_471963715749.jpg This week Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins talks about the landmark decision on same sex marriage. Hear how the county is handling the rush for couples to say "I do" … on Lone Star Politics, this Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5.]]> <![CDATA[2016 Hopefuls on Gay Marriage Ruling]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:36:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-478464492_PRide.jpg

The presidential candidates’ reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in favor of same-sex marriage broke down predictably along party lines — with Democrats tweeting about love and equality and Republicans criticizing the justices.

Hillary Clinton’s reaction was short and colorful: “HISTORY” in the rainbow colors.

Clinton came out in favor of same-sex marriage in 2013 after stepping down as secretary of state. When she ran for president in 2008, she opposed gay marriage.

Martin O’Malley praised the people of Maryland for leading the way on human dignity and equality.

He tweeted a photo of then 3-year-old Will Lewis-Benson laughing between his mothers, Amy Lewis and Tricia Benson on the day the Maryland House of Delegates approved same-sex marriage in 2012.

“There’s no greater human right than love," he said.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee congratulated the Supreme Court for a good ruling.

And Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent running for the Democratic nomination, said the Supreme Court had fulfilled the words engraved on its building, "Equal justice under law."

"For far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community and I am very glad the Court has finally caught up to the American people," he said.

But Gov. Bobby Jindal accused the court of following opinion polls and trampling on states’ rights.

“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” he said in a statement.

He predicted the ruling would open the way for an assault on the religious rights of Christians who disagree with the decision.

“The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies,” he said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee blasted the decision as judicial tyranny and vowed he would not acquiesce to an “imperial court.”

"The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature's God on marriage than it can the laws of gravity,” he wrote.

Like other conservatives, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania accused the Supreme Court of redefining marriage and said leaders do not accept bad decisions that they believe would harm the country.

"The stakes are too high and the issue too important to simply cede the will of the people to five unaccountable justices," he wrote in a statement.

Now the public must respond, he said.

Carly Fiorina called the court an activist one that was ignoring its constitutional duty to say what the law was, not what it should be.

She said in a statement that although she was in favor of all Americans receiving equal benefits and rights from the government, she did not believe the court could or should redefine marriage.

“I believe that responsibility should have remained with states and voters where this conversation has continued in churches, town halls and living rooms around the country,” she said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who might run but says he has not made up his mind, said when asked at a press conference that he agreed with Chief Justice John Roberts: This was not a decision for five lawyers.

Donald Trump wrote, referring to former President George W. Bush and his brother Jeb, another  Republican presidential candidate: "Once again the Bush appointed Supreme Court Justice John Roberts has let us down. Jeb pushed him hard! Remember!"

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who might run for the Republican nomination, told residents of his state that the government would not coerce them to act against their religious beliefs.

He called the decision a grave mistake.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he was disappointed with the decision. Marriage laws should be left to the states, he said.

"Our founding fathers did not intend for the judicial branch to legislate from the bench, and as president, I would appoint strict Constitutional conservatives who will apply the law as written," he said in a statement.

Ben Carson wrote that he strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court's decision, but that the ruling was now the law of the land. He said he supported same-sex civil unions but to him marriage was a religious service.

"I call on Congress to make sure deeply held religious views are respected and protected," he said in a statement. "The government must never force Christians to violate their religious beliefs."

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believed that the people of each state should have the right to determine their marriage laws. But he also said he would respect the court's decision.

"Furthermore, given the quickly changing tide of public opinion on this issue, I do not believe that an attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution could possibly gain the support of three-fourths of the states or a supermajority in the U.S. Congress," he said.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that he believed in traditional marriage and thought that the justices should have left the decision to the states.

But he added, striking an inclusive tone, "I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said the right to change marriage laws should lie with the people not the justices.

"This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years," he said.

The next president must make it a priority to nominate judges and justices who will apply the Constitution as written and originally understood, he said.

He also called for respecting those who disagree.

"A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court's decision today," he wrote. "In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Caraway Announces Bid for Price's Seat on Comm. Court]]> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 18:08:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dwaine-caraway-campaign.jpg

The day after leaving his City Hall position because of term limits, former Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway announced Tuesday that he's running against embattled Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price next year.

Caraway's campaign started with balloons and a drumline before a crowd of supporters at a Dallas luncheon.

"I've completed my tenure on the Dallas City Council. I have a lot of energy, a lot of momentum yet to go, a lot of fresh ideas and a lot of things I think we could do even better for a greater community," Caraway said.

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In his time at Dallas City Hall, among other things, Price led a crusade against sagging pants and the city's failed effort to restrict single use plastic grocery bags. Caraway also served as Dallas mayor for several months in 2011 when former Mayor Tom Leppert resigned to run for Congress.

At Tuesday's Commissioners Court meeting, Price said county government requires a different set of skills.

"We just don't do bags and we don't do social, 'pull up your pants' issues," Price said. "So I'll let the people decide."

Price faces a January trial on federal bribery charges. But Price said he still intends to run for reelection in 2016.

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"The last time I think I had three opponents, and I won by 77 percent, so I look forward to the challenge," Price said.

Caraway refused to attack Price directly, promising to run a positive campaign.

"After 30 years in office, it's time for new blood. That's why we change up. We have term limits at the Dallas City Council. I think there are greater things folks can do," Caraway said.

Caraway won four city council elections but was restricted from running for reelection at Dallas City Hall after eight years in office.

Each Texas county has a Commissioners Court comprised of four elected commissioners and a county judge. Each county is divided into four districts and residents of those districts elect their representative. All of the voters in the county vote on the county judge and each commissioner serves a four year term.

Current commissioners on the Dallas County Commissioners Court are Dr. Theresa Daniel (Dist. 1), Mike Cantrell (Dist. 2), John Wiley Price (Dist. 3), Dr. Elba Garcia (Dist. 4) and County Judge Clay Jenkins.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Exec. Indictment Sheds New Light on John Wiley Price Case]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 22:54:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/court-gavel-generic-law.jpg

The investigation and indictment of a corporate executive in Austin is shedding new light on the FBI's case against Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

The Department of Justice Monday announced 58-year-old Helena Tantillo surrendered to authorities in Austin Monday on two charges of making false statements to investigators and was released on bond.

The indictment claims she funneled money to Price through his associates to secure a contract between Dallas County and her company to digitize county records. (Read the indictment at the bottom of the page).

One aspect of the investigation into Commissioner Price alleges he "solicited and accepted a stream of benefits to corruptly influence and reward him for taking action or refraining from taking negative action, as specific opportunities arose, concerning certain businesses' pursuit of Dallas County contracts," according to a statement in Tantillo's indictment.

Tantillo's bid for the business included paying a consultant, Christian Campbell, $5,000 per month and "also included lobbyist/consultant Kathy Nealy, as a subcontractor. Nealy had been Price's campaign manager and advertised herself as someone with influence in Dallas County," according to Tantillo's indictment.

"An aspect of the corruption investigation concerned Nealy's and Campbell's roles in the financial benefits paid to Price, including transfers of money," prosecutors said in the indictment.

The indictment alleges Tantillo increased Campbell's monthly fee from $5,000 to $10,000 for two subsequent months and then presented Nealy with a check for $7,500 for "consulting services." The next day, the indictment alleges, Nealy paid Price $2,500 and he later voted in favor of approving Tantillo's business as the vendor.

Investigators claim when Tantillo was questioned by the FBI she changed her story several times.

If convicted, Tantillo faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, per charge.

The FBI and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation are conducting the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Walt M. Junker and J. Nicholas Bunch and Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Miller are prosecuting.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Raisin Program Unconstitutional: Supreme Court]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 15:06:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP060410025294raisins62215.jpg

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the government can't force raisin farmers to give up part of their annual crop for less than it's worth, a victory for conservative groups that hailed the decision as a win for private property rights.

The justices ruled 8-1 that a 1940s-era program born out of the Great Depression is unconstitutional because it allows federal officials to seize personal property from farmers without fully compensating them, even though the goal is to benefit farmers by stabilizing market prices.

The court sided with California farmers Marvin and Laura Horne, who claimed they were losing money under a program they called outdated and ineffective. They had been fined $695,000 for trying to get around it.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the government must pay "just compensation" when it takes personal goods, just as when it takes land away.

Roberts rejected the government's argument that the Hornes voluntarily chose to participate in the raisin market and have the option of growing different crops if they don't like it.

"'Let them sell wine' is probably not much more comforting to the raisin growers than similar retorts have been to others throughout history," Roberts said. "Property rights cannot be so easily manipulated."

The case was considered one of the most important property disputes to reach the high court since 2005, when the justices ruled that the city of New London, Connecticut, could use the power of eminent domain to hand private homes or businesses to developers to help stimulate economic improvement. That case sparked a backlash in many states and led more than 40 state legislatures to pass laws protecting property rights.

By contrast, Monday's ruling in the raisin case was seen as a decisive win for property-rights advocates seeking to limit government power.

"The decision confirms what should be obvious: the government cannot come and take your personal property without compensation, whether raisins or other property, on the ground that the taking is for your own good," said J. David Breemer, attorney for the Pacific Law Foundation, a conservative group that backed the Hornes.

The program was authorized by a 1937 law that allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep prices for raisins and other crops steady by helping to manage supply. A 1949 marketing order allowed farmers to form aRaisin Administrative Committee that would decide how much of the raisin crop handlers must turn over to the government each year.

These raisins would be placed into a reserve pool to be sold outside the open market, used for the school lunch program or given away to charities and foreign governments. Any profits from these reserve sales would go toward funding the committee and anything left over went back to the farmers.

The Hornes refused to participate in 2003 and 2004, when raisin production far exceeded the expected demand. They tried to get around the regulations by packaging crops on their own instead of going through a middleman. But the department fined them for violating the rules.

Raisin handlers, who dry the grapes until they become raisins and then package them, were required to give up 47 percent of their crops in 2003 season, but received far less in return than their costs of production. Farmers gave up 30 percent of the crop in 2004 and were paid nothing.

Raisin prices have been relatively stable recently, and the committee has not ordered farmers to put crops in reserve since 2010.

Only a small number of other crops are regulated in the same way, though federal officials say most programs are not active. Those include California dried prunes, California dates, California almonds, tart cherries, walnuts and spearmint oil.

It was not immediately clear how the ruling might affect other USDA programs. The agency said officials were reviewing the ruling and had no immediate comment.

Roberts said the government could have restricted raisin sales by limiting production, which is how the vast majority of crops programs work.

In a separate opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer agreed that the Hornes were entitled to be properly paid for their crops, but he said the case should be sent back to a lower court to decide whether they would have been owed any money had they complied with the program.

Breyer's separate opinion was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only dissenter. She said the program did not deprive the Hornes of all property rights, it just limited the amount of potential income they could earn from it. 



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[ Maine Sen. Angus King Diagnosed With Cancer ]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 11:15:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AngusKing1.jpg

Sen. Angus King of Maine said Monday he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery on Friday.

The 71-year-old independent said the cancer was discovered early, during a routine annual checkup. It has not spread and he said he expects to make a full recovery.

King says Maine residents should expect to see him back on the Senate floor within weeks and back on the campaign trail when he runs for re-election to a second term in 2018.

"I'm looking forward to a full recovery and to continuing my service in the Senate," King said. "And no, this does not my affect my intention to run for re-election, except my poor little prostate won't be along for the ride."

King also said that as a young man 40 years ago he was successfully treated for malignant melanoma. He said that outbreak and the prostate cancer are unrelated.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Politicians Linked to White Supremacist ]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 11:21:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dylann+roof.JPG

The 21-year-old accused of gunning down nine people inside a Charleston church has credited a man who donated thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns — including those of two Texans — for influencing his views on black people, The Guardian reported last night.

East-Texas man Earl Holt, 62, is president of the Missouri-based Council of Conservative Citizens. According to The New York Times, the Southern Poverty Law Center — a leading authority on hate crimes — confirmed that CofCC is a white supremacist group that opposes "race mixing" and condemns black people as an inferior race.

The self-proclaimed "Texas Slumlord" has donated $65,000 to Republican campaign funds while making offensive remarks about black people, The Guardian reported.

In a campaign finance report from The Texas Tribune, Holt is shown providing $1,000 to the Texans for Greg Abbott fund. Holt has also financially backed three GOP presidential candidates, including Rick Santorum, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

After speaking with The Guardian and The New York Times, Cruz said he would return the $8,500 his campaign has received through Holt.

"We just learned this evening that Mr. Holt had contributed to the campaign," a spokesman for the Cruz campaign said in an email to The New York Times June 21. "We will be immediately refunding all those donations."

Greg Abbott will also return his $1,000 donation by donating it to the Salvation Army in Austin, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Presidential candidates Rand Paul and Rick Santorum have not yet responded to Holt's involvement within their campaigns.

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<![CDATA[Perry Calls Charleston Shootings an "Accident"]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 20:08:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rick-perry-012815.jpg

Rick Perry asserted Friday that President Obama succumbed to a "knee jerk" liberal impulse to use the massacre at a black church in Charleston to push a gun-control agenda.

Calling the attack that left nine worshipers dead an "accident," the 2016 GOP presidential candidate and former Texas governor also suggested that misuse of therapeutic drugs to treat mental illness might have been a more significant factor than access to firearms.

Read more from our news partners at The Dallas Morning News.

Perry appeared on Steve Malzberg's Newsmax TV program, which you can watch below.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Clinton and Sanders Top Candidates on Facebook]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 19:00:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Hilary-GettyImages-477234226.jpg

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders lead the pack of presidential candidates in early primary and caucus states — at least in terms of Facebook likes and interactions.

Discussion on the social network in Iowa, the first caucus state, and in South Carolina and New Hampshire -- early primary states -- over the last month has focused mostly on the two Democrats, according to data provided by Facebook.

The data runs from May 13 to June 13, and ends before Donald Trump entered the race. Facebook's data includes all mentions and doesn't discern between negative and positive mentions. 

In all three states, Hillary Clinton dominated interactions, which are composed of likes, shares, posts, and comments about the candidate. For example, 66,000 unique users in Iowa had 289,000 interactions about the former secretary of state.

Clinton came out as the clear frontrunner in South Carolina, and had 104,000 users making 460,000 interactions about her. The next closest candidate in the state was U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who garnered 132,000 interactions from 34,000 users. 

In Iowa and New Hampshire, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) paced closely with Clinton.

In New Hampshire -- a state that abuts Sanders' Vermont -- he enjoyed 123,000 discussions among 23,000 unique users compared with Clinton's 145,000 interactions among 32,000 unique users.

Rounding out the 18 candidates presented in the data were former New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat. Pataki had only had roughly 2,000 interactions across all three states, while O'Malley did slightly better, getting 5,000 interactions in New Hampshire and South Carolina and 3,000 interactions in Iowa.  

Editor's note: This post has been updated to correct the number of users who interacted with Hillary Clinton on Facebook.

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<![CDATA[Lone Star Politics: June 21, 2015]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 15:17:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NEW+013114+lone+star+politics.jpg This week, we dissect what happened in the 84th Legislative Session with State Rep. Chris Turner. We ask him if lawmakers accomplished everything he thinks they needed to and what they missed. Then, Texas Monthly magazine ranks the list of the best and worst state lawmakers and we get an early preview. Find out what North Texas lawmakers made the list.]]> <![CDATA[LSP: Lawmaker Questions Why Texting and Driving Bill Failed]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 15:01:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NEW+013114+lone+star+politics.jpg On this week’s Lone Star Politics, we ask State Rep. Chris Turner about his thoughts on the legislative session. He tells us what he thinks lawmakers accomplished, plus why can’t Austin pass a bill that bans texting and driving. See the entire interview this Sunday at 8:40 a.m. on NBC 5.]]> <![CDATA[Marc Maron Interviews Obama]]> Sat, 20 Jun 2015 09:14:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/presobamamarcmarongetty123456-horz.jpg

President Barack Obama visited with comedian Marc Maron in the garage of his Highland Park  home Friday at the end of a two-day visit to Southern California.

The host of "WTF With Marc Maron" announced in his Thursday podcast that the interview with Obama, who arrived in Los Angeles Thursday for a fundraising stop, will be available Monday. The visit with Maron marks the latest unconventional interview for the president, who discussed the Affordable Care Act with actor Zach Galifianakis on comedy talk show "Between Two Ferns" and also chatted with YouTube personality GloZell.

"We think this is an opportunity to have an extended candid conversation, not necessarily about news of the day items, but I think this is going to be much more about areas of the president's life that don't always get reported in the news," Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, told reporters aboard Air Force One Thursday en route to Los Angeles.

Secret Service personnel have been working with podcast producers to prepare for the president's visit to the historic neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, Maron said. The interview was expected to last about an hour.

"What am I doing in terms of planning? That's a good question," Maron said on Thursday's podcast. "I'm thinking about it. I'm spinning. I haven't done political talk radio in years, no desire to.

"He's an incredibly brilliant and interesting man with a life that I'm going to talk to him about."

Past guests have included comic actors Nick Kroll, Jen Kirkman, and Bob Odenkirk.

Obama will leave Southern California following the interview, bound for the San Francisco area, where he will speak at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The president is expected to return to Southern California on Saturday, spending the night in the Coachella Valley, where he usually plays golf when he visits. Temperatures in the Coachella Valley this weekend are expected to be in the 100s.

Obama spoke at a pair of DNC fundraisers Thursday. In the lone event open to the news media, Obama told supporters he hoped they would leave with the sense that completing "the unfinished business we've got... depends on you."

"If we want the change we believe in, then we're going to have to work harder than ever in our own communities and in our own places of worship and in our own workplaces and reflect those values and ideals and then push this society and ultimately push Congress in the direction of change," Obama told a crowd of approximately 250 at the home of filmmaker Tyler Perry near Beverly Hills.

Obama went on to call for "reforming our criminal justice system in a way that we are not incarcerating nonviolent offenders in ways that renders them incapable of getting a job" after they are released; "immigration reform" that would "bring millions of people out of the shadows"; increased spending on research and making college more affordable.

Tickets for the fundraiser were priced from $2,500 to attend a reception to $33,400, the maximum allowable donation to a national party committee, which included admission to the reception, where Obama spoke, and dinner and a photo with the president. Tickets for the dinner were priced at $20,000 per couple. The price to attend the reception and have a photo taken with Obama was $10,000, according to an invitation obtained by City News Service.

Obama earlier attended another DNC fundraiser -- at the Pacific Palisades home of television producer Chuck Lorre, which was closed to reporters. Approximately 30 supporters paid up to $33,400 to attend, according to the White House.

The visit was Obama's 22nd to Los Angeles and Orange counties as president.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>