Noise & Notes

On air Saturdays at 10pm.

On Noise & Notes, WFPL's Phillip M. Bailey doesn't just discuss the issues, he dissects them. From city government to national politics, Phillip has covered it all. 

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Politics
5:30 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Senator Rand Paul: President Obama Failed to Make Case Against Syria

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
Credit U.S. Senate

Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., says President Obama has failed to make a compelling case for the U.S. to launch a military strike against Syria.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 to give the president authority to do just that, with three Republican senators joining Democrats to support the resolution.

Paul voted against the resolution along with four Republicans and Democrats Tom Udall of New Mexico and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

The resolution is now headed to the full Senate for a vote next week.

Paul says he isn't convinced a limited bombing of Syria will detour its government from using chemical weapons again, and he warns it could escalate violence in the region.

From Paul's office:

"We are told there is no military solution in Syria, yet we are embarking on a military solution. The president has failed to demonstrate a compelling American national interest in the Syrian civil war.

To be sure, there is a tragedy of a horrific nature in Syria, but I am unconvinced that a limited Syrian bombing campaign will achieve its intended goals. I frankly think that bombing Syria increases the likelihood of additional gas attacks, may increase attacks on Israel and turkey, may increase civilian deaths, may increase instability in the Middle East and may draw Russia and Iran further into this civil war.

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Politics
5:01 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Report: One in Six Kentucky Households Cannot Afford Healthy Food

Credit File photo

One in six Kentucky households report having serious problems affording nutritious food, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The report released on Wednesday also reveals basic hunger needs in the state have increased over the past decade even as lawmakers in Washington are proposing to dump millions of food stamp recipients.

Of the approximately 285,000 Kentucky households experiencing food insecurity, about 113,000 had at least one or more members living in the home forced to reduce their food intake. The agriculture department's report shows 15.6 percent lack adequate food choices, a five percent increase since 2003.

Many argue government help such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program combat those hunger issues. But food stamps face a possible $40 billion worth of cuts in Congress, which could eliminate benefits for up to 6 million Americans.

Jason Bailey is director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. He says the cuts are coming at a time when many families are still struggling economically.

"It’s not like they’re also proposing to create 4 to 6 million jobs that these folks can get to provide enough income for them to pay for their food needs. It’s an incredibly cruel and counter-productive proposal at a time when unemployment is still high," he says.

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Politics
5:12 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Unconvinced by Obama Administration's Argument to Attack Syria

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

The Obama administration's case to take military action against Syria after its government allegedly used chemical weapons against civilians has yet to convince Kentucky's lone Democratic congressman to support intervention.

Speaking on a WFPL News special, Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says the country's international reputation is not enough to launch a strike.

President Obama is seeking congressional authorization before launching strikes against Balshar al-Assad's regime, which is engaged in a two-year long civil war with rebel forces.

The Obama administration is making its case to lawmakers beginning with a presentation before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week.

Over 100 lawmakers attended a confidential briefing with national security experts on Sunday.

Yarmuth was among those lawmakers, and while he believes in the evidence presented by the administration showing the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians, the congressman isn’t convinced the U.S. should get involved.

"The general public probably considers national security interest any direct threat to the United States homeland, embassies, troops or property. The administration has a much vaguer I would say definition of national security interest, and they’re talking about the security of our allies and certain esoteric interests that I don’t think most Americans would agree is our national security interest," says Yarmuth.

Yarmuth says he is also concerned because the U.S. is acting alone without many allies who are willing to join the fight against Syria.

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Politics
1:19 pm
Sun September 1, 2013

Rand Paul Calls U.S. Involvement in Syria a 'Mistake,' Questions John Kerry's Assertions

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

Saying it's a mistake for the U.S. to get involved in the Syrian civil war, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., challenged Secretary of State John Kerry's assertion that a military air strike is necessary.

Paul made the comments during his first ever appearance on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday morning.

Speaking to host David Gregory, Paul reversed a famous quote by Kerry when as a war veteran and anti-war activists he asked lawmakers in 1971 who should be the last solider to die in Vietnam.

"He's famous for saying, 'How can you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?'' Paul said. "I would ask John Kerry: How can you ask a man to be the first one to die for a mistake?'"

Watch:

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Politics
4:40 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers React to President Obama Seeking Military Action Against Syria

President Barack Obama is seeking congressional approval for air strikes against Syria
Credit White House

Most Kentucky federal lawmakers are praising President Obama's decision to seek congressional authorization before taking military action against Syria, which the administration says has used chemical weapons against civilians and rebel forces.

Obama says the administration has intelligence that the Syrian regime claimed the lives of 1,429 people with chemical attacks, and that a limited and tailored air strike is necessary.

Speaking from the Rose Garden, Obama said he reached out to leaders in Congress including Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, who had requested a conference call with the White House to brief senators on Saturday.

From McConnell's office:

"Today the President advised me that he will seek an authorization for the use of force from the Congress prior to initiating any combat operations against Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons. The President’s role as commander-in-chief is always strengthened when he enjoys the expressed support of the Congress."

Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., who is often a supporter of the president's agenda, urged the Obama administration to outline its case for bombing Syria, and advised they seek approval from lawmakers.

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Politics
4:17 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

House Speaker Stumbo Appoints Investigative Panel to Examine Harassment Claims Against John Arnold

Credit File photo

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has appointed a panel of five legislators who will investigate allegations of sexual harassment against state Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis, which could result in the embattled lawmaker's removal from office.

The speaker said on Thursday that the accusations against Arnold made by two longtime female staffers has become a distraction in the House, and needs to be resolved.

The committee will be made up of three Democrats and two Republicans, including two women. It will submit a final report to the 100-member House during the legislative session in January.

The investigative committee:

  • Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington
  • Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond
  • Rep. Jeff Donohue, D-Louisville
  • Rep. Julie Adams, R-Louisville
  • Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington

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Politics
1:56 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Reaching Out to Women Voters, Mitch McConnell Says Democrats Dividing Kentuckians Along Gender Lines

Republican Senator Mitch Mconnell's campaign launches 'Women for Team Mitch'
Credit Phillip M. Bailey

Joined by dozens of women from across Kentucky, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign launched "Women for Team Mitch" to reach female voters and blunt Democratic criticisms.

And McConnell says that regardless of gender, Kentuckians should think about his potential to shape the agenda in Washington if he becomes majority leader next fall.

Those in attendance shared their personal and at times emotional stories about how the senator helped them with business, family and other problems.

Democrats were quick to point out that on the issues McConnell voted against re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act and opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

McConnell says those type of attacks show national Democrats and would-be challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes want to divide Kentuckians along gender lines.

"What you’re going to see by my opponent obviously is the Barack Obama playbook to try to divide people with gender-based attacks. We’ve seen that all too often and some of it has started already. I expect you’ll see more of it over the coming campaign," he says.

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Politics
5:43 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

State Lawmakers Point Out Speaker Stumbo's 'Evolving' Position on John Arnold Scandal

Greg Stumbo
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky lawmakers from both parties are questioning the timing of Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo's decision to begin a process that may lead to the possible censure or removal Rep. John Arnold over sexual harassment allegations.

And Republicans argue Stumbo's decision contradicts earlier statements from the speaker's office that lawmakers shouldn't interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Earlier this week, Stumbo said he disagreed with a call by Republican Senate President Robert Stivers for General Assembly leaders to discuss the Legislative Research Commission's ongoing probe in a closed-door session.

When Stivers called for a Sept. 4 meeting between Senate and House leaders, he said it was to learn more about the status of an LRC probe being led by attorney Cheryl Lewis, who was hired by Stumbo's office.

But the speaker balked at that request Wednesday evening.

And on Thursday afternoon, Stumbo announced the petition and an appointment of a special committee to look into the allegations, which could potentially remove Arnold from office.

"This position is inconsistent but that has been his course of conduct over the last 10 days," says Stivers. "While I applaud the speaker for seeking proportional punishment for the alleged acts, that does not resolve the problem of the legislature’s exposure to threatened litigation and money judgments. It also does not resolve the most significant problem which is how to address the culture that has been exposed by the actions of Rep. Arnold."

(Past coverage of the Arnold ethics case from WFPL and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.)

Part of this week's dueling statements between Stivers and Stumbo is a bit of political gamesmanship and difference in opinion on how to handle the scandal, which surprised lawmakers in the midst of the special legislative session.

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Politics
3:35 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Stumbo Calls for Investigation of Rep. John Arnold, Could Lead to Censure or Expulsion

Greg Stumbo
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has filed a petition that would allow the House to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct against Democratic Representative John Arnold, D-Sturgis.

State lawmakers could then vote to censure or expel the Western Kentucky lawmaker.

In addition to the petition, the House Committee on Committees is sending Arnold a letter saying that he will be suspended as chairman of the Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance and Public Protection.

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Politics
10:00 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Louisville Tea Party President Endorses Matt Bevin Over Mitch McConnell

Matt Bevin
Credit foxnews.com

Saying she is proud to have been attacked by Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign, Louisville Tea Party President Wendy Caswell is endorsing Republican Matt Bevin in Kentucky's U.S. Senate primary race.

The nod from Caswell is a key pickup for the Bevin campaign that comes weeks after two prominent tea party activists in Louisville backed McConnell in next year's GOP primary.

In a Courier-Journal op-ed, Caswell says McConnell is more concerned with increasing his own political power than conservative principles.

"Sen. Mitch McConnell represents the old guard in Washington D.C. that cares more about holding on to power than defending the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual freedom. Those are the principles that Matt Bevin believes in. I know he believes in those fundamental conservative ideals because he has embodied them in his life's experiences," she says.

The endorsement from Caswell was likely helped by a web video attacking the activist.

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