The Trouble With Changing Your Mind

Nov 25, 2015
Jose Maria Cuellar flickr.com/photos/cuellar / Creative Commons

Changing our mind on an issue is something we're all free to do. But that doesn't mean it comes without a cost. What would it cost a lifelong liberal to suddenly turn conservative, or a career scientist to suddenly start denying climate change? As we typically associate with others of like mind, chances are the costs could be high.

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Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said he wants an investigation into a federal agency after a Haitian national was accused of killing a Connecticut woman shortly after his release from prison.

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Will state lawmakers have a budget deal in place to be thankful for on Thursday? Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will bring you updates from the state capitol where time ticks away for an agreement on how to fix the state budget. 

Bill de Blasio / Twitter @deBlasioNYC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is siding with his son who wants Yale University to drop the name of a U.S. vice president who defended slavery from a residential hall.

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In a 289 to 137 vote last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that would tighten the vetting process for refugees from Syria and Iraq. The measure passed despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama -- a threat Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan says "baffles" him.

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Lawrence Lessig recently ended his pursuit of running for president as a Democrat. But his mission to take money out of politics and fix corruption is not over. He recently slammed Connecticut Democrats who proposed suspending the state’s Citizens Election Program. He joins us to discuss his experience and struggles in running for president and Connecticut’s campaign finance laws.

Mohamed Azakir / World Bank flickr.com/photos/worldbank / World Bank

Connecticut Representative Joe Courtney has been pressed to defend his vote last week with the Republican majority in the House to strengthen the vetting procedure for Syrian refugees entering the U.S.

State Senator Elaine Morgan (R-Hopkinton), who attracted national criticism for an email in which she condemned Muslims, released a statement Friday defending her concerns about admitting Syrian refugees into the US.

The Re-Emergence of Socialism in America

Nov 18, 2015
Andrew Walsh / Flickr Creative Commons

After decades of being dismissed as a radical movement, socialism in America is back in the spotlight. What's fueling the newfound attention? Some point to Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign, while others say it's an increasing public distaste for the economic inequality our capitalist system has lead to.

Following a meeting of the Group of 20 in Turkey, Russian president Vladimir Putin signaled that his country's isolation from the West may soon be a thing of the past.

Putin said Russia had proposed cooperating with the United States and others in the fight against terrorism, but that the U.S. rebuffed Russia's offer.

"Life indeed moves on, often very quickly, and teaches us lessons," Putin said. "It seems to me that everyone is coming around to the realization that we can wage an effective fight only together."

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State Republicans have long been asking to be "at the table" in budget negotiations. Now, with a massive deficit, they are finally getting what they wished for and they announced their proposed fixes. "We not only fix the problem we’re in now because that’s our statutory obligation, but we make structural changes so this state can sustain itself not for the next month, not the next six months, but for generations to come," said House minority leader Themis Klarides. 

Mark M. Murray / The Springfield Republican

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has relieved Sal Circosta of his seat on the city’s Community Police Hearing Board, which reviews complaints against police officers. Circosta was the mayor’s challenger in this last election.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy is offering a long list of spending items that lawmakers can cut to help balance the state budget.

Lawrence OP / Flickr

According to Yale Philosophy Professor Shelly Kagan, many of today's political issues are actually philosophical ones. Kagan says no one ever asks philosophers to weigh in.

Wouldn't a deeper understanding of the day's news -- including why people think what they think and hold the positions they hold -- be beneficial?

One reason for the lack of philosophical commentary in the media might be the relatively short attention spans many Americans have for absorbing information. Who has time for philosophy? And are political debates real outlets for philosophical argument?

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There was one moment in Tuesday's Republican presidential debate that reminded us of all those other unwieldy, freewheeling and circus-like debates that came before: Rand Paul getting cut off by Carly Fiorina, and then Donald Trump drawing boos for being Trump. For the most part, though, last night’s debate was much more orderly. It was so orderly that rarely did the candidates, who had complained so loudly about previous moderators, get challenged on any of their statements.

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The Connecticut Hospital Association launched a new digital campaign this week decrying Governor Dannel Malloy's proposed cuts to hospitals.


Bridgeport’s business community is absorbing the news that Joe Ganim will soon be back in the mayor’s office. It's a city that’s always needed all hands on deck to stimulate economic development, attract businesses, and boost employment.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Municipal election day has come and gone in Connecticut. This hour, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse checks in on three of the state's big races: Hartford, Bridgeport, and New London. We chat with reporters, hear from Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, and take your comments and observations. Did you vote? If so, what was your experience like at the polls? 

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That Luke Bronin would win the mayoral election wasn’t exactly a surprise. In Hartford, the people who win the Democratic primary often win the November general election. And this night was no different. So the mood at Real Art Ways in Hartford was already celebratory long before Bronin got there.

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Three years ago, Connecticut voters elected the first two Latino senators in the state's history to the General Assembly. 

There are currently 13 Latinos serving in the General Assembly, according to the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission. While this is the most on record, it is still an underrepresentation of the population.

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A former Rhodes scholar who worked in the administrations of both President Barack Obama and Governor Dannel Malloy will be the next mayor of Hartford. 

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It's not a conventional political career path, but then the man who's forging it is hardly known for following conventions.

Rob Simmons, former Second District Representative in the U.S. House, is standing for First Selectman in his home town of Stonington (population 18,000 or so).

Voters head to the polls in more than 50 Massachusetts cities and towns Tuesday to cast ballots for mayor and other local offices.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, seeking reelection to a fourth term, faces a politically inexperienced challenger in Sal Circosta, a former bakery story owner. 

Sarno, who won the September preliminary election with 75 percent of the vote, declined all debate invitations. It made for a sleepy campaign, in the view of Matt Szfranski, editor-in-chief of Western Massachusetts Politics and Insight.

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A little after 9 p.m., Joe Ganim took to the stage at Testo's Restaurant in Bridgeport to declare victory.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

An ex-convict could be elected mayor when voters in Bridgeport head to the polls on Tuesday. The city's former Mayor Joe Ganim spent seven years in a federal prison for corruption. Now he's staging a dramatic comeback. He won the city's Democratic primary against a two-term incumbent last month. 

Speaker John Boehner gave farewell remarks on the House floor Thursday, picking up a box of tissues as he prepared to speak, a nod to his tendency to cry in emotional moments.

Officially announcing his intent to resign as speaker and the representative from Ohio, Boehner said he leaves "with no regrets, no burdens. If anything, I leave the way I started, just a regular guy, humbled by the chance to do a big job."

He spoke for 10 minutes about his life and rise in government, accomplishments in Congress and the role of the body.

The pundit world is still trying to decide which of the 10 Republican candidates for president won the third Republican debate of the 2016 race.

But it didn't take long for there to be consensus on one thing: CNBC was the night's "biggest loser."

During his decades in public office, Bernie Sanders has characterized himself as both a “socialist” and a “Democratic socialist,” terms that don’t necessarily mean the same thing.

Bernie Sanders' presidential run has inspired countless profiles, send-ups and songs about the Vermont senator. This past weekend, the Democratic candidate was lampooned on Saturday Night Live. There’s Bernie Sanders tote bags and Bernie Sanders bar soap.

Now there's even a comic book biography of the senator and presidential hopeful.

A resolution repudiating Connecticut's claim that another aviator beat the Wright brothers as first in flight has cleared a committee in the Ohio Senate.