We're walking out on the minefield of tort reform today, and the reason we're doing it is that film-maker Susan Saladoff is in town.
Her documentary "Hot Coffee" does a great job of exploring a meme that was everywhere in the 1990s -- a woman burned herself while opening a cup of coffee between her legs while driving and had won millions in a lawsuit against McDonalds.
I can say with some small amount of pride that in my capacity as a talk show host on a mostly conservative station back in those days, I knew the facts of the case and told them to my audience.
Connecticut has signed on with 21 other states in supporting Montana's campaign finance laws. That state is being accused of circumventing the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision.
The Citizens United decision removed the federal ban on corporate campaign spending. Montana law requires a corporation to register a political action committee and make independent expenditures from a voluntary, segregated fund. In the case ATM v. Bullock, advocates of Citizens United say this is a clear violation of the Supreme Court ruling.
In Bridgeport, Democrats have endorsed Ernest Newton for the state Senate seat he was forced to give up after being convicted of corruption charges. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Governor Dannel Malloy refused to endorse anyone in the race -- including the man who recently left prison. Newton spent 17 years in the legislature before serving a five-year term after pleading guilty in 2005 to accepting a $5,000 bribe, using campaign contributions for personal expenses and failing to report the improper income on his federal tax return.
This time, it's a radio town hall meeting. We're asking you to call us and tell what issues you'd like to hear the presidential candidates address. They're busy taking shots at each other. The nasty, SuperPAC attack ads have started airing. But with Europe in turmoil, two expensive wars being waged, and millions out of work, it would seem we're all hungry for real discussion on issues that matter.
Maybe we all live in the United States of Cranbrook.
By that, I mean that we're all faced with choices, all the time, about how much we're going to stand up for the people getting the short end of the stick - whether they're poor, of color, gay or elderly.
If that's true, then last week's hero was, for me, Joe Biden.
Join Rich Hanley and Faith for a fresh edition of Politics, Burgers and Beer. We'll look at why this promises to be the most expensive presidential race in history, and whether the issues that matter most to voters will be discussed as much as they should.
With everything else going on at the Capitol, it’s good someone is paying attention to the budget.
That someone is The Connecticut Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf. Our budgetary Obi Wan Kenobi stops by to give us an update on the fiscal health of the state - along with news on the “hot button” issues like minimum wage and Sunday liquor sales.
It's Primary Day in Connecticut. So everybody's excited about ... actually ... nobody is excited. Connecticut Republicans do seem energized by last night's Ann Romney speech at the party's Prescott Bush Dinner, and we're using the second half of today's political doubleheader to look at the state of the party and the party in the state.
There are many versions of the so-called "Proust questionnaire," which is meant to tease out a portrait of a person based on hopes, dreads, likes and dislikes.
I just filled out one on the website of Vanity Fair, a publication which has put many hundreds of famous people through its own version of the Proust questionnaire. The site crudely analyzed my answers and suggested the people I most resembled were Dustin Hoffman and James Brown -- but the former much more than the latter.
Joe Lieberman has joined a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators with a plan to revamp the United States Postal Service.
The independent senator from Connecticut says contrary to what some of his colleagues may believe, the U.S. Postal service still provides a vital service, and is worth saving. "563 million pieces of mail are delivered everyday by the postal service," said Lieberman. "A lot of packages including vitally important packages containing for instance, prescription drugs are delivered by the postal service so we've got to keep it alive."
This month, the federal government awarded the state $1.46 million dollars from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and the VA. The grants are known as HUD VASH and they're used to help veterans avoid homelessness.
The housing voucher program has existed for four years. Since then more than 400 vouchers were allocated to housing authorities across the state to help chronically homeless veterans, including women veterans with children.
March 23, 2012-An analysis of Department of Defense records shows that hundreds of veterans have been wrongfully discharged since 2008. The Vietnam Veterans of America allege that service members were incorrectly diagnosed with “personality disorder.”
There's a big change coming this summer. Most 17-year-olds charged with crimes will go from being treated like adults to being treated in the juvenile justice system. It was called the "raise the age" effort, and the major effects were this: in 2010, 16-year-olds were taken out of the justice system designed for adults. As of this summer, the same thing will happen for 17-year-olds.
Baseball season puts us in mind of those great baseball names -- Van Lingle Mungo, Prince Fielder, Napoleon Lajoie, Nestor Chylack, Rabbit Maranville and Lancelot Phelps.
Actually ... Lancelot Phelps wasn't a baseball player. He was the first person elected to Congress from Connecticut's Fifth District. And since that time, the frequently redistricted Fifth has elected Connecticut's only African-American member of Congress - Gary Franks - and a fellow named John Rowland.
The Connecticut chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They want DHS to release records about an enormous, though little understood immigration enforcement program.
Cody Wofsy says there’s not a lot known about the Criminal Alien Program, known as CAP.
Thousands of troops are home from Iraq - and soon from Afghanistan - to a country that, in many ways, barely noticed they were gone. These wars have been fought at such a distance from a public that was told to “go shopping” to support a war effort, that we don’t have the impact of similar returns from Vietnam or World War 2.
Roman Baca entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 2000 and was eventually deployed to Iraq. He returned to Connecticut and struggled to adjust to civilian life. He finally found purpose in his life...in dance. Baca started the Exit 12 Dance Company and is the artistic director there. He’s getting ready to embark on a trip back to Iraq later this month where he will teach dance to local children there.
A 2004 law requires a certain percentage of federal contracting dollars to go to small businesses owned by service disabled veterans. But a recent inspector's report from the Department of Defense finds that in 2010, more than two dozen contracts were awarded to companies that weren't eligible.
One theory is that Supreme Court justices are supposed to be seen and not heard. Or, put another way, read ... but neither seen nor heard.
They're supposed to be inscrutable. That's just a theory. Antonin Scalia has never had much use for it. He gives speeches. He grants interviews. He even, last year, met with the Tea Party caucus within the United State congress -- one twig on the judicial branch telling some leaves on the legislative branch, what he thinks about the way they do their jobs.
The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that state prison officials can restrain and force-feed inmates to protect them from life-threatening dehydration and malnutrition. Meanwhile, as WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the inmate who filed suit against the Department of Correction for force-feeding him is on a hunger strike once again.
Governor Dannel Malloy and other governors signed a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta voicing their concern with the DOD's proposed budget, specifically disproportionate cuts facing Air National Guard units. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports on how the budget will impact Connecticut's force.
Major General Thad Martin of the Connecticut National Guard anticipates there will be no reduction of the 1144 Guardsmen and women who serve with Bradley's 103rd Airlift Wing. The Defense Department releases firm numbers on Tuesday.
The General Assembly's Veterans Committee is considering a bill that could strengthen programs to keep veterans out of jail. Veterans who have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars face a variety of challenges when they return home including physical and mental health issues.
Connecticut is a strange political state. We’ve been home to (and given comfort to) mavericks and outsiders of all kinds (long before John McCain and Sarah Palin changed the way we think of mavericks). Jerry Brown was our idea of a Democratic presidential candidate in 1992. And Joe Lieberman has somehow gently landed his career on the tarmac after being reviled by both major parties.
Are there rules and mores that apply here that don’t apply elsewhere? Is our reputation for valuing party-jumping mavericks really deserved? And is it evaporating here in 2012?