Noise & Notes

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
7:03 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Senator Rand Paul Calls for New GOP at CPAC

Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said the GOP has "grown stale and moss covered" and needs to embrace libertarianism.

"The new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sphere. If we're going to have a Republican Party that can win, liberty needs to be the backbone of the GOP," he said.

For many conservatives, Paul's nearly 13-hour filibuster of CIA director John Brennan in protest of President Obama's drone policies puts him at the head of the line for presidential contenders in 2016.

The high-profiled speech gave Paul a chance to court the so-called "Facebook generation" on privacy matters, and explain why he favors limits on presidential power.

Paul's remarks also gave him a chance to rebuke GOP rival and fellow Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who right before Paul's speech said the party didn't need new ideas.

Watch the full speech:

Politics
4:04 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Lexington Reporter Pulled from Democratic Club Meeting After Call from Mitch McConnell's Office

Democratic sources are alleging Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s office pressured the Lexington Herald-Leader to stop a reporter from addressing a political club, but the newspaper's editor denies any such demands were made.

Journalist John Cheves was invited to speak before the Louisville Metropolitan Democratic Club this week to talk about an investigative series he wrote on Kentucky's senior Senator in 2006.

The event caught the attention of McConnell’s office after being promoted by Progress Kentucky, a liberal super PAC that was denounced by Democrats and Republicans over racially insensitive Tweets about the senator's wife.

A source tells WFPL McConnell’s office questioned the newspaper's "journalistic integrity" and requested Cheves not appear.

Herald-Leader editor Peter Baniak says a McConnell spokesman did ask about the event, but no political pressure was applied.

"I gather they had seen something on social media mentioning the meeting and they just asked the simple question of whether it was accurate that John was the speaker. They didn’t make any demands of any kind," he says. "It was from that point the editors at the Herald-Leader did not know this meeting had been scheduled."

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Politics
9:55 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Ryan Budget Plan is the Enemy of Growth

Speaking at the House Budget Committee this week, Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth said government should be a partner with business and the Republican-crafted 2014 budget will hurt economic growth.

Among the highlights GOP lawmakers have touted are $6.4 trillion in deficit cuts and reducing the corporate tax by 10 percent.

But Yarmuth told his congressional colleagues on Wednesday the GOP proposal is an "enemy" to growth, adding cuts to education, infrastructure and child-care programs are not what business leaders in Louisville are asking for.

"They want Washington's help, not its avoidance," he says. "I think the Ryan-Republican budget is a dismal failure. All of the things that are businesses are crying out for the Ryan budget would emphasize or in fact dramatically reduce."

Watch:

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Politics
7:34 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Mitch McConnell Congratulates Pope Francis

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is praising the selection of Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio to head the Catholic Church as the new pope.

From McConnell's office:

"Catholics across Kentucky and the entire U.S. celebrate the election of Pope Francis I, and I join Americans of all faiths to congratulate him on becoming the spiritual leader of the world’s more than one billion Catholics.

As a voice of clarity and force on the great moral challenges of our time, the Pope plays a uniquely constructive role in world affairs, and as a herald of the Christian message of charity and reconciliation he calls all of us to a greater recognition of the inherent dignity of all men and women.

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Politics
2:38 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Democrats Trying to ‘Sabotage’ Ashley Judd Are Making a Mistake

Actress Ashley Judd
Credit Salon

Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth is defending actress Ashley Judd against fellow Democrats who he says will regret trying to "sabotage" the Hollywood star's candidacy against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

For weeks, state Democratic consultants and donors have voiced caution, arguing Judd is too liberal to win in Kentucky and could cost the party seats in the General Assembly. And national Democratic groups are reportedly having second thoughts about Judd running in 2014 as well.

Yarmuth says those naysayers have often been wrong and haven’t presented a viable candidate of their own to take on the GOP leader, adding many should accept Judd is running.

"I absolutely think that some of the Democrats who are trying to sabotage an Ashley Judd campaign are making a very big mistake. There is no alternative to Ashley Judd right now. She is widely popular in Kentucky. She has generated an unprecedented excitement in the media both locally and across the country," he says. "And I think a lot of these people are going to be very embarrassed and have to eat a lot of crow when they have to support her—and they will aggressively support her—in the general election."

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Politics
9:55 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Mitch McConnell's Wife Slams Progress Kentucky in First TV Ad

Credit YouTube.com

In the first TV ad of the 2014 Kentucky Senate race, Republican Mitch McConnell's wife jabs a liberal super PAC for attacking her ethnicity.

As WFPL reported last month, Progress Kentucky sent out a number of messages via Twitter attacking former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.

The national backlash forced the group to eventually apologize, and in the 30-second spot Chao says that represents the overall tone of the campaign.

"You've seen the ads attacking my husband.  As Mitch McConnell's wife, I have come to expect them," Chao says in the ad.  "Now, far left special interests are also attacking my ethnicity, even attacking Mitch's patriotism because he's married to me. That's how low some people will stoop."

Watch:

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Politics
7:06 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Congressmen John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie Offer Differing Viewpoints on New Ryan Budget Plan

Congress John Yarmuth, D-Ky., calls the new Ryan budget plan 'cruel.'
Credit U.S. Congress

Led by former Republican vice presidential nominee and Congressman Paul Ryan, the House GOP unveiled its 2014 budget proposal this week

Dubbed 'Path to Prosperity' the spending plan cuts $6.4 trillion from the deficit over the next ten years, slashes corporate taxes by 10 percent and simplifies the tax code by turning seven individual tax brackets into two.

Conservatives also highlight provisions such as authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, an overhaul of Medicare for retirees and another attempt to fully repeal President Obama's health care law.

But liberal critics are slamming the budget for various reasons, including the fact that it cuts domestic services but not defense.

From The Washington Post:

He cuts deep into spending on health care for the poor and some combination of education, infrastructure, research, public-safety, and low-income programs. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts, but the military is spared, as is Social Security.

There’s a vague individual tax reform plan that leaves only two tax brackets — 10 percent and 25 percent — and will require either huge, deficit-busting tax cuts or increasing taxes on poor and middle-class households, as well as a vague corporate tax reform plan that lowers the rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.

(SNIP)

Ryan’s budget is intended to do nothing less than fundamentally transform the relationship between Americans and their government.

Democratic Congressman Yarmuth is more blunt. He says the proposal is cruel and only plays to extreme elements in the GOP.

"It’s one that was repudiated by Mitt Romney last year during the presidential campaign and is one that’s become a liability for Republicans who embraced it. So I’m really hard pressed to understand why Congressman Ryan would double down on what was obviously something that was rejected decisively during the 2012 election," he says.

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Politics
3:59 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Team Mitch Launching First TV Ad This Week

Senator Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will be running his first TV ad for re-election in Kentucky this week.

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton confirmed with WFPL it will be a "positive buy" costing six figures and will begin airing Thursday.

Thus far, the GOP leader has been pummeled by attack ads from liberal groups on gun regulations and birth control.

"Every out-of-state liberal group with an axe to grind is desperate to tear Mitch down at all costs, but we're going to make sure we communicate our positive message to every voter in the commonwealth," says Benton.

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Politics
3:16 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Groups Plan Rally Urging Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to Veto ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

Over four-dozen groups are planning a rally to pressure Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to block the so-called 'religious freedom' bill.

The measure would allow citizens to ignore laws and regulations based on their religious faith, and it passed both chambers of the General Assembly by an overwhelming margin. Supporters argue the law simply reaffirms the rights for people of faith that have been stripped by the courts.

Those against HB 279 contend lawmakers failed to closely examine the measure or debate its consequences, which they say could threaten civil rights protections for racial minorities, women and LGBT residents.

"It is a moment of political courage for the governor," says Louisville Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman. "But I think it’s also a moment to send this legislation back to the House to re-address the concerns that it didn’t address the first time when it hastily passed this measure. Up to a day before the bill was called to the House floor it was losing co-sponsors as people were learning more and more about the unintended consequences."

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Politics
2:00 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Outgoing Young Republicans Chair: Backing Mitch McConnell Caused Loss to Tea Party Activist

Louisville Young Republicans
Credit http://louisvilleyr.org/

The outgoing chair of the Louisville Young Republicans says he lost his seat to a Tea Party activist due to publicly supporting Senator Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign.

James Young had served as the group's leader since last year, but lost re-election to Louisville Tea Party Vice President Andrew Schachtner this week.

The chair position was the only contested seat in the group's elections Monday.

Young says he didn't begin to receiving threats of opposition until he began defending McConnell on this station.

"I'm very confident my appearance fueled some ideas in the minds of people looking for opportunities," he says. "There was an instance where I was specifically told through other individuals that ‘hey there are some people very upset within Tea Party organization that view you using your position to support Senator McConnell' and influencing others to do so."

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