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
6:44 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes to Headline Fancy Farm 2013

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

The campaigns of Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes have confirmed both will be attending the 2013 Fancy Farm picnic, Kentucky's premier political event.

The picnic will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two since Grimes announced her intentions to run against McConnell in next year's election.

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Politics
2:39 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Called to Testify in Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Removal Trial

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is among a number of city officials being called to testify in the removal trial of Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, which is scheduled to begin next week.

Earlier this year, the Metro Ethics Commission ruled unanimously that Shanklin violated various ethics rules, including funding an ex-offenders upholstery program benefiting her friends and family.

The panel recommended the councilwoman’s ouster from office, and a Charging Committee of five council members filed a petition to begin removal proceedings.

Before the ethics complaints were filed the Fischer administration shut down that upholstery program in Shanklin's district, citing concerns about the lack  former inmates participating

Shanklin is being represented by attorney Aubrey Williams, who refused to comment for this story on why Fischer is being asked to testify before the Metro Council Court.

But in court documents provided to the council clerk, Williams says the mayor is expected to testify about "various matters relating to any laws, policies and procedures" that caused Fischer to halt the program.

Attorney David Tachau is the prosecutor in the removal trial. He says it’s unclear why Shanklin wants the mayor to be called as a witness other than an attempt to throw irrelevant issues into the case.

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Politics
10:32 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Congressman Brett Guthrie Announces Re-Election, Bypassing Governor's Race

Congressman Brett Guthrie, R-Ky.,

Kentucky Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie announced he is running for re-election next year, but made it clear he is bypassing a bid for governor in 2015.

Guthrie is a Republican from Bowling Green who has represented the district covering parts of western and central Kentucky since January 2009.

"We are fighting in Washington to balance the federal budget, to cut wasteful spending, and to create an environment where small businesses can create good paying jobs," he says. "My work in Congress is all about providing opportunity. I am passionate about improving the economy, cultivating educational opportunity for people of all ages, and getting our nation’s finances under control."

The GOP lawmaker was a top contender for the party's nomination in the 2015 gubernatorial contest. But Guthrie clarified he is not interested in statewide office and will keep his full attention on representing the state in Washington.

"I am not running for any state office in 2015, although I was humbled by the number of people who asked me to run for governor," he says. "I went to Washington solve big problems and to leave a better America behind for the next generation. I’ve spent every day doing that and I feel that my time and energy is best spent on solving the big financial and economic problems we face as a nation."

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Politics
5:28 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Nate Silver Gives Alison Lundergan Grimes One-in-Five Chance in Senate Race

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

Election guru Nate Silver is giving Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes a 20 percent chance of beating Senator Mitch McConnell in next year's election.

The Democrats hold a 54-46 majority in the Senate and are expected to regain the New Jersey seat later this year.

But the early speculation is Republicans will pick up at least three seats in 2014.  It's possible the GOP have enough to gain the majority, but Silver puts control of the Senate as a "toss-up" overall.

In regards to the Bluegrass, he says McConnell's seat could be vulnerable given his noted unpopularity, but the "fundamentals" favor the GOP leader over Grimes.

From FiveThirtyEight:

Kentucky. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, has only break-even approval ratings, and Democrats got one of their better potential recruits in Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state.

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Politics
3:25 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Councilwoman Attica Scott Uses District Twitter Account to Promote Congressional Candidate

District 1 Councilwoman Attica Scott's Twitter page

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott, D-1, promoted a congressional candidate using her official Twitter account, which is in violation of the city’s code of ethics.

In a July 12 message sent from Scott's district Twitter account, she encourages followers to donate to fellow Democrat Elisabeth Jensen of Lexington, who is seeking to run for Congress against Republican Andy Barr next year.

"You can donate to @JensenElis to represent Kentucky 6th District in Congress at elisabethforkentucky.com"

Scott did have a personal Twitter account prior to being elected to the council that she used for campaigning and to express other political views, but that handle has been inactive for several months.

The @CW_AtticaScott is her official handle that lists her district web address and includes the city seal.

In 2010, the council amended the city's code of ethics to make it a violation for Metro officers to use any "government funds, equipment supplies, vehicles, or facilities" to advocate for a person's political candidacy, including their own. It bars officials from using Metro Government resources for the purpose of engaging in activities that "advocate the candidacy of a person for political office."

Thse changes were in reaction to former Republican Councilman Doug Hawkins, who used his official city e-mail to send out campaign materials and was heavily criticized for it.

"You're elected to represent everybody in the district and for you to officially go out there campaigning and soliciting funds as an elected official you are telling everyone to vote for them," says Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, who has a personal Twitter account. "For me to use an official seal or stationary to put my name and tie it to a campaign, really that crosses a line I think."

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Politics
3:00 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

National Democrats Dub Mitch McConnell 'Senator Gridlock' Amid Filibuster Fight

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

National Democrats are calling Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky "Senator Gridlock" as the Senate considers altering its filibuster rules.

For most of this week, McConnell has been in a sometimes heated exchange with Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada over blocking President Obama's executive nominees.

Democrats are threatening to use so-called 'nuclear option' to break the gridlock, and McConnell has said that will make Reid the worst Senate leader in history if they do so.

"They’re not interested in checks and balances. They’re not interested in advice and consent. They’re not even interested in what this would mean down the road when Republicans are the ones making the nominations," McConnell said earlier this week. "They want the power. They want it now. And they don’t care about the consequences.

Since 2007, Senate statistics show McConnell has used the filibuster 413 times as minority leader. That is almost twice as much as when Democrats held the minority from 1995 to 2001. Update: Since 2007, the Senate has invoked cloture, which requires 60 votes, 413 times. This is not the same as McConnell using the filibuster. 

Democratic Senator Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky says McConnell has led an unprecedented tenure of blocking Senate procedures.

"Mitch McConnell should change his name to Senator Gridlock because he’s the walking, talking embodiment of everything that’s wrong with Washington. And he’s the number one reason for record-breaking levels of obstruction and dysfunction," he says. "Senator McConnell has not only made things worse, but he’s actually embraced his role as the number one problem."

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Politics
8:55 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Defends 'Southern Avenger' Aide

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

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is standing by an aide who was criticized for his past affiliation with a neo-Confederate group, saying 39-year-old Jack Hunter is an "incredibly talented" part of his staff.

For most of this week Hunter has been under intense scrutiny for once belong to the League of the South, which advocated for secession.

He also worked as a radio shock jock dubbed the "Southern Avenger," who worse a Confederate flag mask and bemoaned America's growing non-white majority.

Hunter has since said he has renounced most of his views, but several analysts and critics called on Paul to fire the aide in order to maintain credibility as a potential presidential candidate.

In an interview with Huffington Post, however, Paul rejected those suggestions saying he opposed Hunter's past views but that his aide has never treated anyone unfairly.

From The Huffington Post:

"People are calling him a white supremacist," Paul told me in his Senate office. “If I thought he was a white supremacist, he would be fired immediately. If I thought he would treat anybody on the color of their skin different than others, I’d fire him immediately."

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Politics
3:32 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Fort Knox Cuts Could Factor Into Kentucky Congressional Race

Credit Wikimedia Commons

U.S. defense cuts that will slash about half of Ft. Knox’s combat brigades could be a top issue in Kentucky’s Second Congressional District race.

Last month it was reported the base will lose 3,300 troops in the so-called Duke Brigade over the next six years, which public officials worry could result in the loss of 10,000 jobs in the process.

In reaction to the news, Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie, whose district includes Ft. Knox, blamed President Obama's defense plan for the cuts.

In a June 25 e-mail, however, Army officials said the reduction forces reflects funding cuts based on the Budget Control Act, which Guthrie voted for two years ago.

"Congressman Guthrie did vote for the Budget Control Act because he believes we must get our nation’s spending problem under control," says congressional spokeswoman Jennifer Sherman. "He has also voted several times to offset the military cuts and ensure our nation’s men and women in uniform have the tools they need to protect our country."

At the time, many lawmakers supported the Budget Control Act to get beyond an impasse between Democrats and Republican over the debt ceiling. But after the so-called Super Committee failed many of those cuts are coming to fruition.

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Politics
10:16 am
Thu July 11, 2013

McConnell Campaign Raises $2.2 Million in Second Quarter

Flexing its financial muscle the campaign to re-elect Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is reporting it raised $2.2 million in the second quarter.

The numbers haven't been reported with the Federal Election Commission, but campaign manager Jesse Benton confirmed the substantial amount with WFPL.

McConnell has now raised over $15 million in total and has close to $10 million on-hand as he seeks a sixth term in office.

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Politics
6:39 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

City Reaches Contract Deal with Police, Firefighters Union

Louisville Metro Government has reached a five-year deal with the city’s police and fire unions that provides raises while making significant changes to the overtime and health plan systems.

The contracts with the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Firefighters were recently ratified by their membership, and both contracts will be presented to the Metro Council next week for consideration.

Mayor Greg Fischer says the new labor agreement helps the city align projected revenues with rising costs.

"I applaud both sides for taking a fair and affordable approach to these contracts," he says. "Our employees are among the best in class and we are on a constant journey of improvement. These new contracts take a big step toward matching revenue growth with personnel costs."

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