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5:22 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Mitch McConnell: President Obama is Asking for Too Much in Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said he hopes a deal can be reached to avoid the fiscal cliff,  but so far the talks have not gone well.

McConnell said President Barack Obama is asking for a new stimulus package -- the unlimited ability to raise the debt ceiling and more than $1 trillion in new tax revenues.

(The New York Times recently published a handy graphic outlining where the sides stand.)

And those proposals are not something Republicans want to concede, McConnell said.

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Politics
4:33 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Lugar to Become University Lecturer, Lead Internship Program

U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana will continue wielding influence in Washington after he leaves office, but with a much younger audience.

Lugar is starting an internship program with the University of Indianapolis that will operate out of Washington. He has also agreed to deliver a handful of lectures each year as a distinguished professor at the private university.

The 80 year old Lugar will split his time between Washington and Indianapolis in the new job.

Local News
4:00 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

NAACP Outlines Education Agenda, JCPS Strategic Plan is Local Focus

Credit File photo

The NAACP has announced its greatest education agenda since the federal government ordered desegregation in 1954, the group said this week.

The civil right group is asking local branches to lobby county and state governments to extend school time, improve teacher training and preschool programs and streamline spending to the neediest students.

The initiatives are being supported by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who said in a state the number of students dropping out, especially among minorities, is “devastating entire communities.”

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Politics
3:27 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Fix the Senate Now Blasts Mitch McConnell's Self-Filibuster

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

A coalition of labor and environmental groups are targeting Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's self-filibuster, saying it underscores the need for reforms.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell challenged Senate Democrats to support his proposal to give President Obama the power to raise the U.S. debt limit unilaterally.

Mr. Obama is asking for the power as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. But when Democratic Leader Harry Reid proposed passing the measure by a simple 51-vote majority, McConnell quickly objected.

Instead, he argued, such a controversial decision required a filibuster proof 60 vote majority.

"Mitch McConnell has been the chief opponent of fixing the Senate and reforming the filibuster. And this is a prime example of why the filibuster needs to be fixed," says Melinda Pierce, a spokeswoman for Sierra Club, which is a member of the Fix the Senate Now coalition.

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Local News
3:25 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Strong Stays; Bridge Toll Suits; Ag Outlook; Local Trumpeters in Lincoln Movie: Today on Byline

Here's what is covered in this edition of Byline:

At the top - It was a week of speculation and drama about head University of Louisville football coach, Charlie Strong. We talk with Courier-Journal sports writer C.L. Brown about Coach Strong's decision to turn down the Tennessee football coaching job and stay at U of L.

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Local News
3:08 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Standard & Poor's Revises Outlook on KFC Yum! Center from 'Stable' to 'Negative'

Credit File photo

Standard & Poor's on Friday revised the outlook for the bonds used to build the KFC Yum! Center from "stable" to "negative" -- citing several areas of uncertainty.

In announcing its decision, S&P cites the Louisville Arena Authority's reliance on tax increment financing,  concerns about efforts to stabilize operating costs and questions about the arena's ability to bring new revenue under its new operator, AEG. The rating on the bond remains BBB-.

The tax increment financing has the potential to be volitile, S&P said.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Republican State Senators Name New Committee Chairs

The Republican state Senate has completed it's shake-up, after announcing new committee chairs today. 

With multiple chairmen retiring and others promoted into leadership, the caucus had many roles to fill, including that of chairmen for Education, Judiciary, Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

And in another move, the caucus named State Senator David Givens as c0-chair to the budget committee, with Senator Bob Leeper.

Incoming freshman Senator Whitney Westerfield is the new judiciary chairman. The full list of Republican chairs are below, with * by new chairs.

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Politics
2:17 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

On Expanded Gambling, Beshear Open to Cleaner Amendment

Gov. Steve Beshear
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

Gov. Steve Beshear is considering multiple options in the efforts to get the General Assembly to support expanded gambling legislation.

A constitutional amendment failed earlier this year in the state Senate -- and a major complaint from critics was that the amendment did too much to protect thoroughbred racing tracks over other businesses. The bill banned casinos from being within 60 miles of a race track, unless the casino was at the track.

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Politics
1:30 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Fischer, Tandy Lip-Sync in Trolley Hop Promo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer doesn't mind making silly online videos to promote local initiatives, as my colleague Erica Peterson highlighted earlier.

The folks at First Friday Trolley Hop got the mayor to make a cameo in their ad too, which also features Councilman David Tandy, D-4, and other notables lip syncing Tim McMorris's "Beautiful Day."

Watch:

Environment
1:00 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Ex-Massey CEO Blankenship Gives to Kentucky Democratic Party

Brianhayden1980 Wikimedia Commons

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship made news just last week when he told the Wall Street Journal that he doesn't plan to return to mining, and also doesn't have political aspirations. But as Tom Loftus of the Courier-Journal reports, Blankenship also just contributed $10,000 to the Kentucky Democratic Party.

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