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
3:05 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Poll Shows Indiana Senate Race Dead Heat

Less than six weeks before Election Day, Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Richard Mourdock are in a statistical dead heat for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat.

The Howey-DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll puts Donnelly ahead with 40 percent compared to Republican Richard Mourdock’s 38 percent, which is within the 3.5 percent margin of error. The survey of 800 likely voters follows many other polls that have depicted the contest as a neck-and-neck race to replace outgoing Sen. Dick Lugar.

Close to $10 million has been spent in the race thus far, and outside groups, such as the conservative  Super PAC Crossroads GPS, has spent close to $1 million this week opposing Donnelly's candidacy.

But Donnelly campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Shappell says her candidate’s two-point edge shows Hoosier voters are rejecting Mourdock’s approach and the heavy amounts being spent to defeat him.

"This is the same man who said that the highlight of politics to him inflict his opinion on others, who has questioned the constitutionality of Social Security and Medicare," she says. "Joe Donnelly is the true bipartisan, common sense candidate in this race and he has the record to prove it."

Read more
Politics
12:01 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Fischer, U of L Athletic Director Trade Jabs Over NBA Talks

NBA

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich are squabbling over talks of bringing an NBA franchise to the city.

Recently, Fischer met with business leaders and local boosters about the prospect of bringing professional basketball to the KFC Yum Center. The downtown arena has been facing financial troubles, and the parent company of the current arena manager—Anschults Entertainment Group (AEG)—has announced plans to sell the subsidiary.

But as The Courier-Journal's Tom Sullivan reports, Jurich took exception to Fischer holding a meeting about bringing the NBA to Louisville without including the arena's main tenant.

"(Mayor Fischer) is a guy full of signals,” Jurich told the newspaper. "He needs to work a little bit more with transparency. He likes to throw that word (transparency) around, but you need to practice what you preach."

Read more
Politics
10:30 pm
Sat September 22, 2012

Noise and Notes: Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley and Louisville's Hoop Dreams

International Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley
The Chess Drum

International chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley visited Louisville this week for the annual IdeaFestival where he discussed how the game impacts decision-making in business and life.

In 1999, Ashley received worldwide acclaim for being the first African-American to win the coveted grandmaster title, and he doesn't mind the role model status he's attained either.

The Brooklyn-native is an ESPN commentator and Harvard fellow, who has been touring the country for years advocating that the game is a useful tool for character-building, especially for children and teenagers. Ashley sees chess as an intellectual combat that can raise a person's thinking and provide insights into how they do or do not make critical decisions

I talked to Ashley about being a pioneer, what chess can tell us about U.S. politics and the obsession people have with the game.

Read more
Politics
11:05 am
Fri September 21, 2012

Wicker Launches First Ad, Attacks Yarmuth Over National Debt

Republican congressional candidate Brooks Wicker has launched his first ad of the general election campaign, and it attacks Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth over the country's increasing debt under President Obama.

The online ad features Yarmuth at a town hall meeting three years ago at Central High School discussing the president's pending health care overhaul. Yarmuth faced a series of questions from constituents, many of whom opposed the legislation.

It criticizes the congressman for saying he didn't know how the government would pay for the rising cost to entitlement programs on top of the Affordable Care Act.

Check it out:

Read more
Politics
9:02 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Paul Amendments Help Block Veterans Jobs Bill

U.S. Senate

Senate Republicans shelved the Veterans Jobs Corp Act on Wednesday due to amendments introduced by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that sought to strip foreign aid from Middle Eastern countries.

The jobs bill would have added a $1 billion to help create jobs and train returning veterans for the workforce. Last week, Paul proposed changes to the measure to take away U.S. assistance to Pakistan, Egypt and Libya in response to the recent protests and attacks against American consulates and embassies.

The changes would have tripled funding for the jobs bill, according to Paul's office. But the amendments put up a procedural step that required 60 votes to waive objections.

That vote failed 58-40 in the Senate on Wednesday.

From The New York Times:

The bill was opposed, by, among others, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, who said he believed the bill duplicated existing job programs for veterans that are not well run, and Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, who has been seeking amendments on bills that would cut off funding to Egypt and to Pakistan until Pakistan freed Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped the United States find Osama bin Laden.

Read more
Politics
4:21 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

McConnell Praises Suu Kyi’s Leadership

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., continues to praise Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi ahead of her visit to Louisville.

Suu Kyi received the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday for her commitment to democratic reforms in Burma, which is also known as Myanmar. The medal is Congress’ highest honor, and lawmakers including McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. John McCain, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush attended the ceremony.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell says Suu Kyi has been an international symbol of peace and democracy since first being put under house arrest by the Burmese dictatorship in 1991.

"For nearly two decades—two decades—she remained under house arrest in her mothers old home on university avenue on the shores of Inya Lake. Over the years I’ve followed Suu Kyi closely, and I’ve done what I could to advance her cause," he says. 

Read more
Politics
12:56 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Louisville Tea Party to Host Candidate Forum

The Louisville Tea Party will hold a forum featuring several local candidates running for Congress, Metro Council and the Jefferson County school board, but the group’s leader is criticizing Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth for not attending.

The forum is being moderated by 84 WHAS radio host Mandy Connell on Thursday, and is expected to draw more than 100 people.

Candidates running for the Kentucky General Assembly are also invited to the forum, and Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand says the event will question those candidates on issues that other groups and the mainstream media have overlooked.

"We plan on asking the state Representative and state Senate candidates about pension reform, which we have not heard enough about in the media," she says. "With the school board, I haven’t seen anybody asking them about raising our taxes every single year. We plan to ask the school board candidates how they feel about that and how they would deal with budget shortfalls if they’re not in favor of raising our taxes every year."

Read more
Politics
10:07 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Poll: Beshear Has Broad Support

Kentucky Governor's Office

After winning a 20-point re-election last November, Governor Steve Beshear enjoys support from nearly two-thirds of Kentucky voters according to a Bluegrass Poll released Wednesday.

The survey found that 64 percent of likely voters approve of the governor's job performance, which is eight points more than his landslide victory over Republican David Williams in the 2011 gubernatorial race. Beshear remains popular despite the overall acrimony and gridlock in Frankfort that spawned an especially personal General Assembly this year.

The governor's agenda did not advance much during the legislative session either, but voters cite his political moderation among his best attributes.

From The Courier-Journal:

But they said Beshear, who is a year into his second term, has improved his popularity by taking a more centrist approach, distancing himself from President Barack Obama’s most controversial policies — such as coal regulation — and avoiding contentious social issues, such as abortion and religion.

Read more
Politics
1:47 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Committee to Amend Discretionary Funds Policy

The Louisville Metro Council Accountability and Ethics Committee is voting Tuesday on more changes to the policy that governs the distribution of taxpayer dollars to non-profit groups.

A recent audit found that half of the discretionary grants given out by city lawmakers lacked proper documentation to determine if the funds were being spent properly.

Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, is chairman of the accountability committee and a co-sponsor of the proposal along with Council President Jim King, D-10. He says the amendments being proposed give non-profit groups clear guidelines and should help restore public trust.

"The resolution that we’re going to hear today will start us on the path of restoring public confidence in this process, regardless of what individual council people—including myself—think of the overall process we have to be able to restore confidence that public funds are being used appropriately," says Miller.

Read more
Politics
3:44 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Marks One-Year Anniversary

Protestors with Occupy Wall Street are marking their one-year anniversary with demonstrations this week, but critics argue the movement has lost momentum and is in disarray.

The protests started in New York City's financial district in reaction to corporate greed, rising unemployment and the national recession. It drew attention to the country’s income gap and economic inequality by rallying behind the 99 percent of wage earners. Several other Occupy demonstrations sprouted up across the country to address foreclosures and affordable housing and saw varying degrees of success.

But opponents say the movement has died down because the leaderless coalition had no clear platform or strategy.

From L.A. Times:

Yet the movement cannot claim any new policy, law or regulation as its own. Unlike the Tea Party on the political right, there is no cohesive Occupy group promoting candidates in November's national election.

Karl Zoellner is a spokesman for Occupy Louisville. He says the movement is in transition, but has successfully pushed an agenda.

"The name, the brand Occupy is not on the front burner like it once was. But the issues of the 99 percent, which is something that the Occupy Wall Street brought attention to, has in turn become the focus of thousands of social justice organizations across the United States," he says.

Read more

Pages