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
10:30 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

Noise and Notes: Tavis Smiley on Poverty, Newsroom Diversity and President Obama

Public radio and television talk-show host Tavis Smiley will be in Kentucky this month as the keynote speaker at a forum on poverty and the shrinking middle-class.

Smiley is known to most as a journalist and political commentator, but most recently he’s taken on the title of advocate for the poor.

In “The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto”, a new book co-authored with Cornel West, he argues that poverty is the new American norm and that neither political party is paying much attention. The statistics are daunting, as a radio documentary conducted by NPR earlier this year showed just that.

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Politics
5:59 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Yarmuth Endorses Yoder for Congress

Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth endorsed fellow Democrat Shelli Yoder on Friday in Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District race.

Yoder is facing Republican incumbent Todd Young in the fall campaign and has challenged him to a dozen debates across the district. The two campaigns have squabbled over the schedule of those forums in recent weeks.

Yarmuth says he looks forward to having Yoder as a partner in Congress, adding that she is a practical thinker.

"Shelli shares my commitment to making health care more affordable and insurance companies more accountable, protecting Medicare for this generation of seniors and the next, creating an economy that works for everyone, and standing up for our veterans," Yarmuth said in a news release.

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Politics
4:00 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Kramer Introduces Pledge Against Texting While Driving

Louisville Metro Councilman Kevin Kramer, R-11, is hoping to raise awareness about the continued problem of distracted driving.

Kramer has introduced a resolution to support AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign. The non-binding measure is aimed at curbing texting while driving, particularly among teenagers. Last year, a state law banning texting while driving took effect but state police have said the law is difficult to enforce.

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Politics
3:16 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Paul Concerned About Romney’s Electoral Map

U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is worried that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will not have enough Electoral College votes to beat President Obama this fall.

National polls show the race is a statistical tie in a popular vote with a slim margin of undecided voters, but the winner of the White House is the candidate who captures 270 electoral votes. A review of most interactive maps show Mr. Obama edging out Romney in November by winning key swing states.

Paul says there are a handful of states that are evenly divided and Romney will have to win most of them, adding the GOP will have to examine its electoral map strategy in future races.

"It’s tougher and tougher for Republicans because we don’t compete very well in the west coast (and) we don’t compete very well New England. Once you give up all those votes then you got to win pretty much the rest of the country," he says. "And that’s one of the messages I’ve had to the national Republican Party. You know what? Those areas where you’re not competing maybe a libertarian Republican would do better in California or New York state."

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Politics
3:33 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Coats Decries U.S. Reaching $16 Trillion Debt Mark

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-In., joined a chorus of GOP lawmakers who are highlighting that the gross national debt reached $16 trillion on Tuesday.

Several Republican lawmakers have underscored that the debt hit the historic mark as the Democratic National Convention kicks off its re-election pitch for President Barack Obama.

Coast says the trillions in debt is no reason to celebrate and will burden each citizen, adding the the fiscal crisis is also a national security issues.

From Coat's office:

"Today, the United States national debt exceeded $16 trillion for the first time.

Although a historic moment for our nation, this is no occasion to celebrate. Instead, this sobering milestone is an indictment of Washington’s failure to address the most pressing challenge facing our country.

Our federal government’s unsustainable debt is not just a fiscal crisis; it’s a national security crisis as well. Overwhelming red ink jeopardizes the security of our country and makes us more vulnerable to the foreign countries providing the borrowed money used to subsidize our excessive spending. We must stop the bleeding.

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Politics
3:20 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Yarmuth Announces Federal Funding for Youth Drug Prevention Groups

Third District Congressman John Yarmuth has help secure $375,000 in federal funds to fight youth substance abuse.

The $375,000 in federal funding will be divided up among three different community groups that work to prevent drug abuse among teenagers and young adults in Louisville. The funding is part of a larger $76.7 million investment in the Drug-Free Communities Program, which was established in 1997 to help mobilize local individuals and organizations to prevent youth substance abuse.

Tomy Baker Molloy is coordinator for the Seventh Street Corridor PAL Coalition, which will get $125,000 of the grant. She says the funding is a needed investment that will help turn young people away from harm.

"It’s vital for our organization. We work in the Park Hill, Algonquin and Old Louisville neighborhoods where youth are typically disenfranchised and not so engaged," she says.

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Politics
2:55 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

Kentucky Democrats Prepare for National Convention

Several Kentucky delegates are headed to Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention this week.

The delegation will include Governor Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who are all backing President Obama’s re-election bid this year. But Sixth District Congressman Ben Chandler is skipping the convention to campaign in central Kentucky instead.

Critics also point out that 42 percent of Kentucky Democrats voted “uncommitted” over the president in the May primary and are not all supportive of Mr. Obama’s agenda.

Third District Congressman John Yarmuth is among the delegation. He says he is concerned about a split among the delegates, but remains optimistic that their vote will be unanimous.

"I and others will spend part of the convention trying to argue with those uncertain delegates that unanimous support for the president is important because we’ve got down ballot races across Kentucky. We’ve got many state House races that promise to be competitive and we need to be unified in the fall campaign," he says.

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Politics
9:55 am
Mon September 3, 2012

Tax Fairness Group Targets McConnell

Bend the Arc

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is being targeted by a progressive group urging lawmakers to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for those earning more than $250,000 annually.

The ‘If I Were a Rich Man Tour’ is a national effort that will make a stop in Louisville on Monday to pressure the GOP leader to back President Obama’s proposal to end the tax breaks for wealthier Americans. Under Mr. Obama's plan, all Americans would keep their current tax rates for the first quarter of a million dollars they earn.

But Republicans have opposed the idea, arguing that it will be a tax increase on job creators and further slow the economic recovery.

Tera Greene is a group volunteer with the tour. She says McConnell is being focused on because he is one of the wealthiest lawmakers to oppose the proposal.

"We’re asking why they continue to vote to line their own pockets instead of defending the best interest of their constituents," he says.

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Politics
4:52 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Fischer Endorses Jones for Jefferson County School Board

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer entered the education debate and publicly endorsed former Humana Inc. Chairman David Jones Jr. for Jefferson County school board on Thursday.

The businessman is running for the District 2 seat, which covers the Highlands and Crescent Hill neighborhoods. He is facing Elizabeth Berfield, Phil Haming and George Tolhurst. 

During a panel discussion at the Leadership Louisville Luncheon, Fischer said there are gaps in public education that need to be addressed, and that residents should follow Jones’s lead and take those challenges on.

"Our goal is to be the best large public school district in the country, period," he says. "And you’re seeing that with this school board race that we have right now. Unprecedented amount of people are running. You’re seeing a great community leader like David Jones step up to say, ‘I want to make a difference in this as well.'"

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Politics
4:09 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Fischer Unveils Vision Louisville Project, Talks NBA With Sacramento Mayor

Speaking at the Leadership Louisville Luncheon along with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson on Thursday, Mayor Greg Fischer announced a plan to create a 25-year vision for the city. And the two local leaders also had a friendly joust over keeping and obtaining an NBA team for their respective cities

Vision Louisville will be a year-long project that seeks to define the future of the city.

The project is a collaborative effort between citizens and Metro Government, and will include an internationally renowned architectural and planning firm located in Oslo, Norway. The Oslo-based company Space Group will lead the project, and engage residents about their dreams and visions for the city through a series of public workshops, online meetings and forums.

Fischer says the new initiative isn’t about his vision for the city, but a community-wide discussion and effort to craft what Louisville should look like in 2040.

"I’m not going to present what our city is going to look like 25 years from now. I’m going to start a process and a discussion, because it’s not that important what I think it’s going to look about. What’s important is what we think it’s going to look about, and it’s going to take a little time for us to figure that out," he says.

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