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People post political comments on Facebook for 'self-affirmation,' study says

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Growing tired of the endless Bernie memes or Trump posts on your Facebook feed?

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A set of studies have found the reason why your social media connections feel the need to post their views.

The Huffington Post reports that a Harvard study found that sharing personal beliefs or feelings on social media works as a release for people because it rewards them for letting something out rather than keeping it in. “Expressing beliefs that are important to you functions as a self-affirmation,” psychology professor Joshua Hart of Union College told The Huffington Post. “It reminds you of the values that are central to your identity, and this gives you a psychological boost.”

A study by the Pew Research Center found that the people posting their opinions on social media are “less likely to share their opinions in face-to-face settings” because people are more likely to feel safer giving out their retorts when behind a computer screen rather than in person. “They’re expressing themselves in a forum where they’re likely to get a reaction, whether it’s the one they want or not,” Hart told The Huffington Post.

Hart said most people who post are also looking for the approval of others and “become more confident in their beliefs” when more people like, retweet or comment on the post. The Huffington Post said that there is not very much difference between Republicans, Democrats and independents regarding the number of posts with the leading posts on your own feed most likely factoring in based on your location.

Read more at The Huffington Post.

Selma to Montgomery: John Lewis live-tweets his memories

Civil rights icon John Lewis took to Twitter Monday to remember the historic Selma to Montgomery marches.

March 7 marked the 51st anniversary of the marches, which the congressman remembers as the “highest point” in the civil rights movement.

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In an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution ahead of the 50th anniversary of Selma, Lewis recalled filling his backpack that day with an apple, an orange, two books, a toothbrush and toothpaste. It was preparation for a cell, not a fractured skull.

Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, tweeted a series of photos and personal memories from the march.

“I was hit in the head by a State Trooper. I thought I saw death. I thought I was going to die,” Lewis tweeted with the hashtag #Selma51.

<iframe src="//storify.com/ajc/rep-john-lewis-remembers-selma/embed?border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/ajc/rep-john-lewis-remembers-selma.js?border=false"></script>[View the story "Rep. John Lewis remembers Selma" on Storify]

Super Tuesday highlights

A look at who won and who lost on Super Tuesday. Staff video by Anthony Shoemaker.

Super Tuesday highlights: Who won, who lost?

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each won seven states on Super Tuesday, expanding their delegate leads in the race for president.

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On the Republican side Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was able to hold his home state and take Oklahoma. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio scored his first win of the election in Minnesota.

On the Democratic side, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won his home state of Vermont, but also scored wins in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich scored no wins on Super Tuesday. He had second place finishes in Vermont and Massachusetts, but came in last in six states, behind Ben Carson.

Here are the highlights of Super Tuesday:

  • Donald Trump won Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia, Vermont and Georgia.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won Texas and Oklahoma.
  • Hillary Clinton won Massachusetts, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia’s Democratic primaries.
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won Colorado, Minnesota, Vermont and Oklahoma. He won Vermont with more than 85 percent of the vote.
  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio won Minnesota.

Both Trump and Clinton sounded like they were moving on to the general election after their Tuesday wins.

“It’s clear tonight that the stakes in this election have never been higher and the rhetoric we’re hearing on the other side has never been lower,” Clinton said.

Trump, too, had his eye on a general election match-up with the former secretary of state, casting her as part of a political establishment that has failed Americans.

“She’s been there for so long,” Trump said from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. “If she hasn’t straightened it out by now, she’s not going to straighten it out in the next four years.”

John Kasich, who came up winless Tuesday, thanked supporters early in the night at a Super Tuesday rally in Mississippi.

Kasich has been trying to build off his surprising second place finish in the New Hampshire primary last month.

He has yet to win any states. His speech Tuesday was full of family remembrances and tributes to his supporters but very little discussion of the night’s results.

Rubio, speaking at a Super Tuesday rally at his hometown in Miami, criticized Trump.

Rubio said that over the last five days he has begun “to unmask the true nature” of Trump, whom he called a “con artist.”

He said his recent attacks on Trump have given his campaign momentum and said that Trump did not represent the legacy of the “party of Reagan.”

Here’s how each state played out Tuesday night:

—-

ALABAMA

Democrats: Hillary Clinton won big in Alabama. She defeated Sanders 79-18 percent. 53 delegates (35 district, 18 statewide)

Republicans: Donald Trump was announced the winner in Alabama as soon as the polls closed. He won 43 percent of the vote. Ted Cruz was a distant second at 21 and Rubio right behind him at 18. John Kasich came in last with just 4 percent. 50 delegates (21 district, 29 statewide).

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ALASKA

Democrats: No election for Democrats tuesday

Republicans: Ted Cruz defeated Donald Trump, 36-33 percent in Alaska. The race was called at nearly 4 a.m. ET. 28 delegates.

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AMERICAN SAMOA

Democrats: It’s a win for Hillary Clinton in American Samoa.

The South Pacific island chain held its caucus Tuesday.

Clinton won 73 percent of 223 votes cast to earn four of the six delegates at stake. Bernie Sanders picked up two delegates.

American Samoa is one of five U.S. territories that cast votes in primaries and caucuses to decide the Democratic presidential nominee, even though those residents aren’t eligible to vote in the November general election.

The island chain has a population of 54,000 and is about a six hour flight from Hawaii

Republicans: No race

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ARKANSAS

Democrats: She used to be the first lady of this state, so she was announced the winner here as soon as the polls closed. She won 66 percent of the vote to just 30 percent for Sanders. 32 delegates (21 district, 11 statewide)

Republicans: Trump won a close race here defeating Cruz, 33-30 percent. Rubio was at 25. Carson at 6 and Kasich at just 4 percent. 40 delegates (12 district, 28 statewide)

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COLORADO

Democrats: Bernie Sanders scored a big win in this swing state Tuesday night. It looks like he will get more than 55 percent of the vote here against Clinton. 66 delegates (43 district, 23 statewide)

Republicans: No election for Republicans today.

—-

GEORGIA

Democrats: Hillary Clinton won Georgia early, as soon as the polls were closed. It looks like she will win more than 70 percent of the vote here. She won every county in the state except for Echols County on the Florida border. (67 district, 35 statewide)

Republicans: The race was called for Donald Trump as soon as the polls closed. The billionaire is set to get the bulk of the 76 delegates up for grabs in Georgia, the second-biggest trove of the sweep of states that are holding primaries or caucuses on Tuesday. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are in a close contest for second. Kasich is in last behind Ben Carson. Rubio managed to win the four counties in the Atlanta metro area. 76 delegates (42 district, 34 statewide)

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MASSACHUSETTS

Democrats: It went late into the night, but Clinton was able to declare victory in Massachusetss around 11:15 p.m. Looks like she will have just over 50 percent of the vote. 91 delegates (59 district, 32 statewide)

Republicans: Donald Trump won easily in Massachusetts taking nearly 50 percent of the vote and winning every county in the state. Rubio and Kasich are in a close fight for second. 42 delegates

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MINNESOTA

Democrats: Sanders scored a big win here defeating Clinton 60-40 percent. He won every district in the state. 77 delegates (50 district, 27 statewide)

Republicans: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio won his first state of the entire election here defeating Ted Cruz, 37-29 percent. Minnesota also handed Trump his first third place defeat of the entire election. John Kasich came in last with just 6 percent of the vote. 38 delegates (24 district, 14 statewide)

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OKLAHOMA

Democrats: Sanders won every county in Oklahoma but two and scored a big win here defeating Clinton, 52-42 percent. 38 delegates (25 district, 13 statewide)

Republicans: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was able to win his neighboring state. He beat Trump there 34-28 percent. Rubio came in third with 26 percent. Kasich was last, behind Ben Carson with just 4 percent. 43 delegates (15 district, 28 statewide)

—-

TENNESSEE

Democrats: Clinton was called the winner in Tennessee early, as soon as the polls closed. She has nearly 66 percent of the vote here. 67 delegates (44 district, 23 statewide)

Republicans: Trump was called the winner early in Tennessee and won every county except for Williamson, near Nashville. That one went to Rubio. But Cruz came in second here. 58 delegates (27 district, 31 statewide)

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TEXAS

Democrats: Hillary Clinton won Texas big Tuesday taking at least 65 percent of the vote. 222 delegates (145 district, 77 statewide)

Republicans: The crown jewel of the night and Ted Cruz was able to hold his home state. Cruz won 44 percent of the vote. Trump was a distant second at 27 percent. Kasich came in fourth, behind Rubio. 155 delegates (108 district, 47 statewide)

—-

VERMONT

Democrats: Bernie Sanders won his home state as soon as the polls closed. He received more than 85 percent of the vote there.

Sanders, celebrating his victory pledged to “win many hundreds of delegates” on Super Tuesday.

After thanking the raucous crowd, which periodically chanted his name, he touted how far his campaign had come in the last 10 months.

And he vowed to “take our fight” to the 35 states that would have not yet voted by night’s end.

He pledged to enact judicial reform, fix the nation’s “broken” campaign finance system and he, once again, pledged a “political revolution” and said that he and his supporters would stand up to “billionaire class” that dominates the nation’s political system. 16 delegates.

Republicans: John Kasich almost scored his first win of the election here, but ended up losing to Trump, 33-30 percent. The race remained too close to call for most of the night, but gave Trump his seventh Super Tuesday win. 16 delegates

—-

VIRGINIA

Democrats: Hillary Clinton was announced the winner in Virginia as soon as the polls closed. She defeated Sanders, 64 percent to 35 percent. 95 delegates (62 district, 33 statewide)

Republicans: Donald Trump was declared the winner around 9 p.m. with Marco Rubio a close second. Trump defeated Rubio, 35-32 percent. Cruz was third with 17 percent and Kasich was fourth with 9 percent. 49 delegates.

Kasich: Debates are 'the dumbest thing going'

Ohio Gov. John Kasich went on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week and said the current presidential debates were “the dumbest thing going.”

“It’s sort of like tell your entire life story in 30 seconds,” Kasich said of the debates. “Harry Truman couldn’t get elected this way. The thing I love are the town halls.” (Scroll down for video.)

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It shows. Kasich is regarded by many to have had his best performance yet during Thursday night's CNN Republican town hall.

During that event, Kasich described what it was like to lose his parents suddenly as an adult, and the dark place he found himself. He credited his faith with getting him through it.

That is why a moment he had earlier in the day with a Georgia college student was particularly poignant. 

At a town hall event in South Carolina, 21-year-old Brett Smith told Kasich that he had recently experienced a series of harships, including the suicide of a friend and the divorce of his parents.

Smith told Kasich, “I would really appreciate one of those hugs you’ve been talking about.”

Kasich told CNN's town hall audience on Thursday that he has heard stories like Smith's all across the country.  

>>If you're on mobile, click here to watch video of Kasich and Colbert.

Why students don't have to stand for Pledge of Allegiance in Florida

Compiled from Associated Press and Florida News Service reports.

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Students excused from having to daily recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Florida public schools would no longer have to stand and hold their hands over their heart either, under a bill that is headed to the House floor.

The House Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill (HB 1403) that would change how students are notified of their right to skip the daily pledge and what the excused student must do during the pledge.

Current law requires schools to conspicuously post a notice, telling students they don’t have to recite the pledge if a parent asks in writing for a student to be excused. The law also requires excused students to still stand and hold their hands over their hearts while the pledge is recited.

The bill would allow the notice to instead be placed in a student handbook, and excused students would no longer be required to stand or hold their hands over their hearts.

The bill was filed after a parent of a child at a Panhandle school told the school district it was not following notice requirements. A Senate companion bill has not yet been heard in the first of its three required committees.

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.”

>> Read more trending stories

“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.”

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