It's All Politics
6:25 pm
Sat December 22, 2012

How Boehner's 'Critical Moment' Could Turn Out OK For Him

House Speaker John Boehner holds a press conference at the Capitol on Friday. The night before, he did not have enough backing from his own party to pass his fiscal cliff legislation.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 22, 2012 8:50 pm

"The House has done its part to avert this entire fiscal cliff," House Speaker John Boehner said Saturday in his weekly address.

He cited the measure that passed Thursday, which would reorganize the automatic spending cuts to protect the defense budget and cut deeper elsewhere. He also pointed to legislation that would stop all tax hikes on Jan. 1.

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Politics
1:44 pm
Sat December 22, 2012

Roll Call Profiles Congressman Thomas Massie as Tea Party Wonk

Kentucky Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

The Beltway newspaper Roll Call profiled Kentucky Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie, which shows the Tea Party backed lawmaker has a scientific background that could help in Washington.

Massie defeated Democrat Bill Adkins in the fall election for the seat vacated by retiring Geoff Davis earlier this year, and was sworn in last month.

Observers are already calling Massie the "next Rand Paul," but the former Lewis County Judge Executive has his own biography that includes much more than Tea Party politics. Besides taking courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology under liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, Massie is known as a big of scientist for having 24 technology-related patents.

From Roll Call:

In person, Massie looks younger than his 41 years. He’s an unusual mix of earnestly wonkish scientist and charismatic schmoozer. He laughs easily and tells stories with verve, charm and a slight northern Kentucky twang.

Even discussing fiscal cliff policy, his voice stays even, although his passion about reducing the nation’s debt is clear.

“I think the cuts need to happen,” he said, noting that he supports the GOP position to redistribute the cuts embedded in sequestration. “But if we can’t, they still need to happen.”

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Strange Fruit
11:36 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Strange Fruit: Going Home Gay for the Holidays

Transgender model Connie Fleming
Credit Candy Magazine

It's a story we heard several times during WFPL's Defining Fairness series: a young person leaves his or her rural town for college in a bigger city, meets other LGBTQ folks, and comes out! But for some folks, when the holidays roll around and they head home for Christmas... they have to go back into the closet. 

This week we spoke with Dr. Stephanie Budge from UofL, who recently taught a workshop on coping with the holidays as an LGBTQ person. She says while some families do overtly antagonistic things (like using the wrong pronoun for trans folks, or refusing to let their LGBTQ family member bring a partner to holiday functions), what she hears about the most is simply ignoring. A young person might come out as queer to their family only for the response to be silence, and an unwillingness to acknowledge their identity.

Dr. Budge gave us some coping strategies we can all use during moments of holiday stress and family conflict, how to take full advantage of your chosen family's love when your family of origin doesn't support you, and how to tell when things are so bad or unsafe it might be better to skip going home altogether. 

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U.S.
8:31 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Democrats Slam NRA's Response To School Shooting

Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, speaks in response to the Connecticut school shootings, at a news conference in Washington on Friday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:40 am

The nation's largest gun owners group had said little in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, broke that silence Friday with a call to place armed guards at all of the nation's schools.

The idea was met with immediate criticism from Democrats in Congress.

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Local News
5:25 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

KY School Safety; Hello SoFo; Beshear in 2013; Poet Kiki Petrosino: Today on Byline

Here is the rundown for this edition of Byline:

At the top - School safety funding in Kentucky used to hover around $10 million a year through most of the 2000s.  But in 2009 and since, that funding fell by roughly 60%.  Tom Loftus from the Courier-Journal joins us to discuss the reasons and what might change.

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Education
4:08 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday Disagrees with NRA

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says he disagrees with the National Rifle Association’s aggressive response to the Newtown, Connecticut shootings.

NRA officials made their first formal comments Friday following last week’s school shooting that left 26 dead.

During the no-questions press conference, officials listed movies and video games they believe contribute to school violence. Officials called on a task force to create a model program that would include training and arming guards who could protect school children.

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Local News
4:04 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Daniels Authorizes Pay Hikes for Indiana State Workers

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has approved performance-based pay raises for thousands of state workers.

There will be three tiers of raises: Three percent for those whose job performance meets expectations, five percent for those exceeding expectations and eight percent for workers who are evaluated as ‘outstanding.’

Daniels predicts about ten percent of state employees will get no raise for failing to meet expectations or being in need of improvement.

This Is NPR
3:27 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Campaign Collections: NPR Election Team Finds From The Races

Seasoned and new election journalists from NPR talk about their favorite campaign memorabilia collected along the election trail through the years. Read the story behind each of these items, and what makes them so special, below.
Katie Burk NPR

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 9:08 am

Whether it's their first election cycle with NPR or their tenth, the Washington Desk reporters, producers and staffers have many opportunities to collect memorabilia and unique items from various campaign events while they are traveling across the country reporting on elections. But with all of the buttons, knick-knacks, and posters, how do they decide what to take?

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It's All Politics
1:44 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Boehner's Power Outage Dimming Obama's Options As Well

House Speaker John Boehner speaks at a press conference Friday on Capitol Hill.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:53 pm

The most important measure of power on Capitol Hill can be summed up with a question: "Do you have the votes?"

For House Speaker John Boehner, the answer once again appears to be "no." In a move that's hard to view as anything short of humiliating for the speaker, Boehner had to shelve his own "Plan B" fiscal-cliff-avoidance proposal Thursday evening after it became clear he couldn't get enough fellow Republicans to support it.

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Politics
1:06 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Beshear Still Weighing Medicaid Expansion; Will Make Decision Early Next Year

Steve Beshear
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

Gov. Steve Beshear says he'll make a decision about Medicaid expansion in Kentucky by early next year.

While many states are still deciding on the early elements of the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- Kentucky has only one decision left: whether to opt in to Medicaid expansion.

Under the health care law, the federal government will pay 100 percent of costs for three years if states expand their Medicaid rolls to 138 percent of the poverty line.

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