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
5:30 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Senator Dan Coats Receives Committee Assignments for 113th Congress

Calling for lawmakers to rise above partisan politics, U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., announced Thursday he has been selected to serve on a number of key Senate committees in the 113th Congress.

Now the Hoosier state's senior senator, Coats will serve on the Appropriations, Select Intelligence, Commerce, Science, and Transportation panels, as well as the Joint Economic Committee.

"These important committee assignments will allow me the opportunity to continue the fight to rein in out-of-control government spending and strengthen our economic and national security," Coats said in a news release. "At a time when the greatest challenge facing our nation is excessive spending, I look forward to working on efforts to restore our fiscal health through my new role as the ranking Republican member of the Joint Economic Committee."

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Politics
3:59 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Democrat Joe Donnelly Hopes to Forge 'New Middle' in Senate

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-In.,

Incoming U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-In., is hoping to launch a new coalition of moderate lawmakers in the 113th Congress.

Donnelly is among a number of new senators sworn-in Thursday, and he steps into the seat previously held by longtime Sen. Dick Lugar.

During the 2012 campaign, the former congressman ran as a centrist and on bringing "Hoosier common sense" to an unpopular Congress.

Donnelly says he wants to work with lawmakers from both parties to find solutions because of Indiana's history of bipartisan cooperation.

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Politics
9:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Kentucky Tea Party Leaders Upset With Mitch McConnell's Fiscal Cliff Deal

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

Kentucky Tea Party leaders are voicing frustration with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell over his role in forging a bill that averted the fiscal cliff, and are encouraging a primary challenge in his re-election bid.

In the final days of negotiations, McConnell worked closely with Vice President Joe Biden to fashion an agreement that passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support. The Biden-McConnell bill extended the Bush-era tax cuts permanently for individuals making less than $400,000, but it delayed government spending cuts for another two months. 

Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand says rank and file members  were already displeased with McConnell’s record on fiscal issues, and are furious over the latest development.

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Politics
11:58 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Yarmuth Hopes for New Coalition in 113th Congress

Congressman John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is hopeful that new lawmakers being sworn in this week create a new coalition to pass meaningful legislation.

Public records show the outgoing 112th Congress was the least active in modern history with just 219 bills passed. And the latest poll numbers put their approval rating at a dismal 12 percent.

The members of 113th Congress take office Thursday, and although Republicans still control the House with a lesser majority and Democrats picked up seats in the Senate, political observers are eager to see if cooperation is possible.

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Politics
1:54 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Mayor Greg Fischer: City to Create 'Uniform Policy' Concerning Dismas Workers

Mayor Fischer speaking Monday with WFPL's Phillip M. Bailey.
Credit Gabe Bullard/WFPL

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says the city is working to correct problems with using inmates from Dismas Charities’ halfway houses.

Earlier this month, an internal audit showed there was no written contract for using ex-convicts for volunteer in various city departments. The report said the lack of a signed agreement puts the city at risk, and also found that inmates were not consistently signing in at their work assignments and aren't being properly monitored by supervisors.

Fischer says the partnership with Dismas is a worthy cause that helps rehabilitate inmates, and a corrective action plan is in the works.

"Remember, these folks are in halfway houses and they’re re-integrating into society as well. So that’s part of the issue. But from my perspective what we need is a uniform policy from the city and that’s what you’ll be seeing," he says.

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Noise and Notes: LEO Weekly's Winners and Losers

Noise and Notes: Looserville

At the end of every year LEO Weekly publishes a controversial edition that it dubs 'Loserville', which is a list of individuals and stories that the staff scorns.

It includes a who's who of Democratic and Republican elected officials, various organizations and topics, and this year was no different when it targeted Papa John's founder John Schnatter on the 2012 cover.

The staff argues that the penance is a sign that their issue is trying to make locals do better, but the very next week LEO comes out with an issue that highlights the good work of organizers, local business owners and journalists.

Among those represented on that list were the Rev. Pat Delahanty, who is leading a charge to abolition the death penalty in Kentucky.

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Politics
10:28 pm
Sat December 22, 2012

Noise and Notes: Ed White's Drum Beat

Ed White, director River City Drum Corps
Credit Photo by Ron Burgis of Glory Days

Noise and Notes: Ed White's Drum Beat

For more than 20 years, Louisville artist Ed White has led River City Drum Corps to teach children and young adults about the arts.

The program centers on African drumming and also helps at-risk with leadership skills. Participants are also challenged to find materials in their own neighborhoods to make their “pipe drums” for their first performance.

White was recently recognized for his work by the California-based United States Artists, and awarded a hefty $50,000 grant.

But while hundreds of young people have come through his doors to learn music and life lessons, White still faces budget cuts in his native-Louisville.

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Politics
1:44 pm
Sat December 22, 2012

Roll Call Profiles Congressman Thomas Massie as Tea Party Wonk

Kentucky Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

The Beltway newspaper Roll Call profiled Kentucky Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie, which shows the Tea Party backed lawmaker has a scientific background that could help in Washington.

Massie defeated Democrat Bill Adkins in the fall election for the seat vacated by retiring Geoff Davis earlier this year, and was sworn in last month.

Observers are already calling Massie the "next Rand Paul," but the former Lewis County Judge Executive has his own biography that includes much more than Tea Party politics. Besides taking courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology under liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, Massie is known as a big of scientist for having 24 technology-related patents.

From Roll Call:

In person, Massie looks younger than his 41 years. He’s an unusual mix of earnestly wonkish scientist and charismatic schmoozer. He laughs easily and tells stories with verve, charm and a slight northern Kentucky twang.

Even discussing fiscal cliff policy, his voice stays even, although his passion about reducing the nation’s debt is clear.

“I think the cuts need to happen,” he said, noting that he supports the GOP position to redistribute the cuts embedded in sequestration. “But if we can’t, they still need to happen.”

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Politics
11:05 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Mitch McConnell's Campaign Poll Shows Higher Approval, Lead Over Ashley Judd

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

The campaign to re-elect Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell leaked an internal poll showing him with a far better approval rating than the Public Policy Polling survey released earlier this month.

Earlier this month, PPP showed Kentucky's senior Senator is the most unpopular Senator in the country with a dismal 37 percent approval rating and a 55 percent disapproval.

But McConnell's re-election campaign has him at 51 percent approval and only 40 percent disapproving.

What's interesting is that both the PPP and McConnell numbers show the GOP leader ahead of Democratic activist and actress Ashley Judd—the most popular choice for Kentucky Democrats—by just a four-point margin.

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Politics
9:30 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Councilwoman Attica Scott Announces “Bringing Down the House” Campaign

Councilwoman Attica Scott
Credit Louisville Metro Council

In a new effort to tackle the city's housing crisis, Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott, D-1, is announcing a campaign to demolish the worst vacant and abandoned properties in her district.

Scott joined worked crews from the city's Inspection, Permits and Licenses Department on Thursday morning to launch "Bringing Down the House," which is aimed at razing properties that are not habitable and have become serious neighborhood eyesores.

The effort will cost a little over $1 million, according to Scott. It is being funded with $60,000 in council appropriations, around $420,000 in federal HUD money and $500,000 from a settlement secured by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway's office.

Scott is vice chair of the council's vacant properties committee. She says the demolition process takes a long time, but that the new campaign is worth the cost.

"I wish that we could demolish more of the houses that have been abandoned and vacant, and have just destroyed neighborhoods in our district," says Scott. "These are houses that are far beyond rehabilitation, they're house that neighbors have been crying out to city government for years to demolish. They're a public health nuisance and a public safety issue for neighborhoods."

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