Phillip M. Bailey

Political Editor

Phillip M. Bailey became WFPL's political editor in 2011, covering city, state and regional campaigns and elected officials. He also covers Metro Government, including the mayor's office and Metro Council. Before coming to WFPL, Phillip worked for three years as a staff writer at LEO Weekly and was a fellow at the Academy of Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Pages

Politics
1:34 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Mitch McConnell Praises Jim DeMint's 'Uncompromising Service'

Sens. Jim DeMint and Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

Reacting to the sudden resignation of Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., announced Thursday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is praising his sometime GOP rival, who is leaving in January to lead a conservative think tank.

From McConnell's office:

"I thank Senator DeMint for his uncompromising service to South Carolina and our country in the United States Senate. Jim helped provide a powerful voice for conservative ideals in a town where those principles are too often hidden beneath business as usual. 

There is no question in my mind that he raised the profile of important issues like spending and debt and helped galvanize the American people against a big government agenda. I am confident that he will continue to advocate for conservative principles in the next chapter of his service to the American people."

Read more
Politics
4:28 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Kentucky Social Justice Groups Join White House to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

A delegation of activists representing several social justice groups in Kentucky visited the White House on Wednesday for a meeting on how to avoid the fiscal cliff.

The discussion was hosted by President Obama’s director of public engagement, and was organized to build support for his plan that includes raising taxes on the wealthy. Leaders from the Louisville NAACP, Fairness Campaign and Planned Parenthood of Kentucky attended the session, along with a delegation from Tennessee.

ACLU of Kentucky Executive Director Michael Aldridge also attended the meeting. He says going over the fiscal cliff will not only hurt the economy, but would set back civil liberties issues as well.

"When Congress is preoccupied with having to tend these budgetary concerns they’re not taking up a lot of civil liberties issues that we would like them to be focusing on such as immigration reform, which the Obama administration has stressed they’re going to be taking up in the second term," he says. "They’re not going to be able to move forward until they get their fiscal house in order."

Read more
Politics
1:28 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Rand Paul to Visit Israel

Credit U.S. Senate

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., will travel to Israel next month to meet with leaders in the Middle East on all sides of the ongoing conflict.

The trip will be privately funded and marks Paul’s first visit to the region, where he will be joined by  evangelical and Republican leaders on a tour of cultural and historical sites.

The delegation has requested meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah.

Jewish Community of Louisville spokesman Matt Goldberg says the trip will give Paul a chance to understand the unique challenges Israel faces and possibly change his views.

"We're hopeful that after Sen. Paul sees Israel and what kind of small country it is, and how it’s surrounded by its enemies," says Goldberg. "And we’re hopeful that Sen. Paul will come to see that and revisit his position on foreign aid to Israel."

Read more
Politics
3:48 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Jefferson County Clerk's spokesman: Audit a 'Bit Mean-Spirited, and Possibly Politically Motivated'

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw is citing a letter from the county attorney that found no wrongdoing by her office in the wake of a scolding state audit two months ago.

Earlier this year, State Auditor Adam Edelen's office released a report that found poor record-keeping of charitable funds for groups such as the WHAS Crusade for Children and Metro United Way. It also cited other questionable practices that were against state law, such as Holsclaw paying out $99,200 in Christmas bonuses to employees last year and as well as shortchanging the Crusade by $1,300.

But an Oct. 31 letter from the Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell says his office found no need for action and defended the clerk’s activities. 

(Read O'Connell's letter and Edelen's response.)

Holsclaw has personally hired public relations professional Larry Bisig as her spokesman. He says the clerk has been a model of good government and was cleared of any wrongdoing and suggested that Edelen’s report is motivated by politics.

"In some ways I have to indicate the audit seems a bit mean-spirited, and possibly politically motivated in some areas," Bisig said.

"This is not political warfare. The governor’s race doesn’t start for 36 months. And I certainly hope that’s not the intention of the auditor."

Read more
Politics
8:10 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Massie Receives Committee Assignments

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

Kentucky Fourth District Congressman-elect Thomas Massie has been assigned to the powerful House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

The committee is led by fellow Republican Congressman John Mica of Florida, and has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation. It also has oversees infrastructure such as clean water, the transport of natural resources by pipeline, flood damage reduction and disaster preparedness and response.

Read more
Politics
5:18 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

John McCain Frustrated by Rand Paul's Use of Filibuster on Defense Bill

Sens. Rand Paul and John McCain
Credit U.S. Senate

Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az., warned that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., delaying a vote on the defense bill could be used as an example of the need for filibuster reform.

Paul has been pushing to force an amendment vote on the controversial National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens who are judged to be involved in terrorism. He says it's important to protect those individuals constitutional rights and has jousted with fellow Republican over the rights of "crazy bastards" on the floor.

But McCain—who was using support for the measure as a sign of bipartisan cooperation in the Senate—has had enough with Paul's tactics.

From Roll Call:

On the floor, McCain said that the “Senator from Kentucky” gave notice that he would object to any unanimous consent requests or votes, a stance that would prevent the Senate from adopting the manager’s package and any other miscellaneous amendments. McCain later confirmed to CQ Roll Call that he was referring to Paul when he spoke.

Read more
Politics
4:17 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

City Lawmakers Skeptical of Violence Task Force Position

Credit Creative Commons

Louisville Metro Council members of both parties are questioning Mayor Greg Fischer for creating a new director for violence prevention in the wake of a West End shooting spree.

A 37-member task force group was formed after three people were fatally shot  in the Parkland neighborhood in May. Among the group’s dozens of recommendations was hiring a full-time coordinator to work on violence prevention and implement efforts in city government.

But Democratic and Republican lawmakers are unsure about the cost and argue the position is redundant because Metro Government already has a chief of police and director of public safety.

Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, says Fischer was right to respond to the rash of homicides, but that his office hasn’t communicated what the new director is expected to do or what experience they should have.

"Is this the answer? Just to hire somebody? I mean throwing money to someone who has knowledge of the community and can mediate—I mean my gosh," he says. "The whole job description sounds like it was written by somebody who just wanted to use adjectives, but not any concrete experience."

Read more
Politics
11:46 am
Mon December 3, 2012

State Lawmaker Defends John Yarmuth from Mitch McConnell Biographer

Newly elected state Senator Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, lashes out a Senate Republican Mitch McConnell in a Courier-Journal editorial, saying the GOP leader is only interested in attaining more power.

McGarvey was defending Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth from McConnell biographer John David Dyche, who penned a stinging article comparing to a "yapping toy poodle" among other things. The Dyche article was in response to Yarmuth's cheerleading for a challenge to McConnell in 2014.

What's interesting about McGarvey's piece is that it acknowledges the origins of the Yarmuth-McConnell divide. Both men were once moderate Republican staffers who worked for former U.S. Senator Marlow Cook at the same time.

McGarvey says since then Yarmuth has become more liberal but taken principled stands while McConnell is only interested in accumulating more power.

From The C-J:

Unlike Yarmuth, and their former boss, McConnell’s career has not been forged in ideological fidelity, civil discourse or bipartisan cooperation.

Read more
Politics
8:00 am
Mon December 3, 2012

King Disagrees With Fischer's Higher Tax Suggestion for Housing Trust Fund

Metro Councilman Jim King
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Council President Jim King says it isn’t practical to raise taxes for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, despite Mayor Greg Fischer’s suggestion.

The council set up the trust fund to give grants and loans for affordable housing activities, such as new construction, home rehabilitation, payment assistance and emergency repair. But the fund has struggled to find an adequate revenue stream since it was first formed in 2008.

After months of saying that residents had no appetite for higher taxes, Fischer told The Courier-Journal his administration supports a one percent increase of the insurance premium tax to pay for the trust fund if council members agreed.

But King says raising taxes of any kind would be a burdensome to residents and small businesses in a tough economy.

"I would have to say that I didn’t expect (Fischer's) comment because I wasn’t aware he was interested in adding anything to that tax. But I don’t think that the council as a whole is in a position to support that right now," he says.

Read more
Politics
10:44 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

Noise and Notes: Betty Bayé (Still) Speaks!

Journalist Betty Baye

For over 30 years, Betty Winston Bayé wrote an op-ed column in the Louisville Courier-Journal until a round of layoffs last year ended her stint.

"I think what really hurt was I never really got a chance to say goodbye to my readers," she says.

But Bayé is still writing, and putting her views on the table—whether people agree or disagree—in radio and television.

Besides becoming a motivational speaker, she was recently inducted into the National Association of Black Journalist’s Hall of Fame and has plenty to share about African-Americans in media.

Bayé stopped by to talk about leaving C-J, the state of journalism and why it's important to teach the Civil Rights era as living American history.

Read more

Pages