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
7:06 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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Politics
8:59 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Filibuster Reveals Close But 'Shrewd' Relationship Between Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell

Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul at a Tea Party rally in Kentucky
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

Senator Rand Paul’s nearly 13-hour talking filibuster reveals a telling wrinkle about the so-called symbiotic relationship with fellow Kentuckian and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

According to the National Journal, a week and a half before the speech Paul approached McConnell's campaign manager Jesse Benton—who is also Paul's nephew—about blocking the nomination of CIA director John Brennan.

The Republican leader had considered such a move beforehand, according to sources. But McConnell was glad to help "win over" other GOP senators to the idea on Paul's behalf in another attempt to show their solidarity.

"There were multiple discussions at senior staff levels about Senator Paul's plans to hold the Brennan nomination, and Sen. McConnell had agreed to hold, at the least, Mr. Brennan's confirmation to a 60 vote threshold," says Benton.

It was a masterful coordination that put the Obama administration's drone policy in the national spotlight, and put Senate Democrats on their heels.

But what Team Mitch was apparently unaware of was Paul's intention to actually perform a "talking" filibuster rather a "cloture." The reaction amongst McConnell surrogates has been a mix of admiration ("he's savvy") and apprehension ("it was shrewd").

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Politics
1:10 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Noise and Notes: Gerald Blaine on 'The Kennedy Detail'

Former Secret Service Agent Gerald Blaine
Credit Joe Durso

Former U.S. Secret Service Agent Gerald Blaine has spent his life thinking about security.

In his book "The Kennedy Detail" co-authored with journalist Lisa McCubbin, Blaine chronicles his time protecting former President John F. Kennedy up until the assassination in Dallas.

It also looks at how the shooting was traumatic for Blaine's fellow agents and how each dealt with the president's death differently.

The book has been the subject of 2011 documentary and is set to be a feature film to be filmed in New Orleans.

Producers talked about why the project is in many ways—like the book—a rebuttal to Oliver Stone's infamous 'JFK'.

Watch:

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Politics
4:35 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Calls for Senator Mitch McConnell to End Brinksmanship on Sequestration

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth is calling on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to end the brinksmanship, and work with President Obama and Democrats to end the automatic spending cuts.

In Kentucky, the so-called sequestration is expected to have the biggest impact on nutrition and education programs as well as enforcing environmental regulations.

For example, a White House study estimates the cuts will take about 1,100 children off of Head Start in Kentucky. The state is also set to lose $2.1 million for water and air quality protections.

Beyond those cuts, opponents argue the sequester could drag down the economic recovery and hurt job growth.

Yarmuth criticized McConnell for calling the proposed cuts "modest" and says the GOP leader needs to take responsibility  or his role in the failed negotiations.

"I don’t think that the people of Kentucky or the country appreciate what the sequester is going to do for them. I would hope Sen. McConnell would reconsider and provide some leadership here instead of playing politics once again," Yarmuth said during a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee.

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Politics
11:53 am
Fri March 8, 2013

NRSC Slams Ashley Judd's Residency, Questions Kentucky Roots

Republicans Attack Judd's residency
Credit NRSC

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is mocking actress Ashley Judd's lack of residency in Kentucky as she considers a bid against Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

In the faux fundraising e-mail, the NRSC asks potential donors to help Judd find a place to live in the Bluegrass state.

"Ashley Judd needs your help. Despite the fact that she lives in Tennessee, Judd desperately wants to run for Senate in neighboring Kentucky," the e-mail reads. "I know what you're thinking: how can a person who has said 'Tennessee is home,' that San Francisco is 'my American city home' and that she 'winters in Scotland' run for Senate in Kentucky?"

Judd being a Tennessee resident and delegate at the 2012 Democratic National Convention has been a consistent point of attack for Republicans . Last month, Karl Rove's super PAC American Crossroads released an ad that pummeled her with that point, among other things.

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Politics
4:40 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Kentucky College Republicans Defend Harlem Shake Video for Team Mitch

Kentucky Federation of College Republicans

A group of Kentucky college Republicans are calling out a Tea Party leader who criticized their Harlem Shake video for Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign.

The Kentucky Federation of College Republicans approached Team Mitch with the idea, and recorded their version of the meme outside of Churchill Downs in Louisville.

But United Kentucky Tea Party spokesman John Kemper said Thursday it shows the McConnell campaign is ignoring important issues.

"Mitch wants to look cool, rather than lead, come on Mitch, probably yet another (campaign manager Jesse) Benton idea. These guys are out of touch with Kentuckians," he said via Facebook.

In a statement, college Republican chairman Rhett Ramsey says Kemper is only interested in tearing down McConnell and fellow GOP officeholders, and they will no longer support his "aspirations" in politics.

From KFCR:

Instead of encouraging college students and young voters to promote activism, Mr. Kemper made a swipe at our attempt for fun, civic engagement. It seems like Mr. Kemper is too busy attacking Leader McConnell and fellow republican office holders at every turn, instead of praising youth involvement and acknowledging our efforts in party building.

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Politics
1:19 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Opposing Obama's CIA Nomination, Mitch McConnell Says Rand Paul Deserves Answer on Drones

Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell at a Tea Party rally in Kentucky
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is praising his Kentucky colleague Rand Paul’s nearly 13-hour filibuster, and is now opposing President Obama's nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency.

Paul held up the confirmation of John Brennan for CIA director using an old-school filibuster. He continually asked for the administration to promise they will not use armed unmanned aircrafts to kill American citizens on U.S. soil.

In a letter sent Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder told Paul the administration had "no intention" to use drones on suspected terrorists in the U.S., but could do so in "extraordinary circumstances."

As the filibuster gained national attention and bipartisan support, McConnell and a number of GOP senators joined Paul's effort last night.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell says the White House has a responsibility to answer Paul’s questions  before the nomination goes forward.

"The United States military no more has the right to kill a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil who is not a combatant with an armed unmanned aerial vehicle than it does with an M-16. The technology is beside the point. It simply doesn’t have that right and the administration should simply answer the question," he says.

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