Politics

WAMC News
9:54 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Mass. Gov. To Deliver Final State Of The Commonwealth Speech

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:01 am

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is preparing to deliver a belated State of the Commonwealth address.

Patrick initially planned to give the speech last week, but had to postpone it under the threat of a winter storm.

Patrick plans to give the speech Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

It will become something of a political warm-up. President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The decision to delay the speech robbed it of some of its suspense.

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Need for housing
3:55 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Malloy Talks About Mental Health Priorities

Gov. Dannel Malloy talks about his mental health priorities for the upcoming legislative session.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy wants to commit more than $7 million to mental health services annually.  The announcement comes as Malloy continues to roll out his agenda for the upcoming legislative session.

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Economic Fairness
3:27 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Report Makes the Case for Federal Minimum Wage Hike

Murphy's report makes the point that productivity has risen far faster than wages.

Senator Chris Murphy is adding his voice to the call for a hike in the federal minimum wage.

Connecticut's minimum wage just went up, but there's increasing pressure from President Obama and the Senate Democrats for the federal minimum to follow suit. 

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Freedom of Information
1:10 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Victim Privacy Task Force Meets to Discuss Final Report

James Smith, president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information.
Credit CT-N

The state's Task Force on Victim Privacy and the Public's Right to Know met on Friday to consider approval of its final report, which passed by a 15-2 vote and now heads to the General Assembly.

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Hartford Insurance Investigation
10:48 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Cloud Campaign Consultant Got Hybrid Insurance Job

Hartford Treasurer Adam Cloud.
Credit City of Hartford

A federal grand jury is looking into the business dealings of Hartford insurance broker Earl O'Garro. And from the beginning, what raised eyebrows was the relationship between O'Garro and city Treasurer Adam Cloud -- O'Garro did business with Cloud's family.

Now, there's another development. A woman who was a paid campaign consultant for Cloud's 2011 campaign also got a job with Hybrid.

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Legislative Session
10:33 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Malloy Announces Proposal for More School Security Funding

Governor Dannel Malloy at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven on Thursday.
Credit Office of Governor Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy announced on Thursday that his budget will include more money to improve school security across the state. Last year, over 600 schools got state funding. 

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WAMC News
9:40 am
Fri January 24, 2014

MGM Pitches Springfield Casino To State Gaming Regulators

MGM Springfield President Bill Hornbuckle presents details of the company's Springfield casino project to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 6:17 pm

The lone applicant for the western Massachusetts casino license pitched the project to state gaming industry regulators today.  The 90-minute public presentation marked the beginning of an evaluation process that is expected to culminate with the awarding of a casino license in the spring.

   MGM  Resorts International CEO James Murran told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that even though all competitors have fallen by the wayside, MGM’s Springfield project is the right choice to be awarded a lucrative casino license.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

A World of Conflict: Ukraine, Net Neutrality, and Local Man Rescued From Nazis

Protesters clash with police in Kiev last fall.
Credit Mstyslav Chernov / Creative Commons

Shortly after protests began in Ukraine, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy flew to Kiev and met with the anti-government demonstrators. 

"The protesters are down there because they’re sick of seeing a government that too often resorts to violence, that has become endemic with corruption and is moving toward Russia instead of towards the European Union," said Murphy. 

We hear more from Murphy about the recent, violent developments in the Kiev protests.

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Eastern Europe
8:32 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Sen. Murphy on Ukraine's "Turn for the Worse"

A line of protesters in Kiev on January 20, 2014.
Credit Mstyslav Chernov / Creative Commons

Protests in Ukraine have turned violent between anti-government demonstrators and the police. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy visited that country last month to meet with both sides.

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Reconstruction of Iraq
8:18 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Iraqi Ambassador to the U.N. to Speak in Stonington

The La Grua Center was founded in Stonington to promote arts and culture programming in the town.
Credit La Grua Center

The Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations will speak in Stonington Thursday evening. Mohammed Alhakim is expected to talk about the challenges to Iraq's reconstruction.

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Demonstrations in Kiev
7:28 am
Thu January 23, 2014

In Ukraine, Protesters Warn They'll Go 'On The Attack'

A protester walks pass burning tires in central Kiev, Ukraine, on Thursday.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 8:24 pm

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has less than 24 hours to agree to hold early elections and lift anti-protest laws or the tens of thousands of demonstrators who have been in the streets of Kiev for days will go "on the attack," a leader of the opposition says.

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White House
5:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Obama Launches Task Force To Combat Sexual Assault

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

One in five women: that's the number of women who have been sexually assaulted in college, according to a new White House report. As NPR's Tamara Keith tells us, today, President Obama formally set up a task force that's charged with protecting students.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: President Obama made it clear that preventing sexual assault is personal for him.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is a priority for me not only as president and commander in chief but as a husband and a father of two extraordinary girls.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed January 22, 2014

No Snow Day for The Wheelhouse

The Wheelhouse airs on Wednesdays, rain, snow or shine.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

If this snowstorm means a snow day, catch up on all the week's political news you may have missed. WNPR's weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will talk about the smoke-filled rooms of one political party and the mud slinging of another. Also, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it won't hear the appeal involving former governor and current radio talk show host John Rowland. It was a decision that didn't even surprise Rowland.

What stories are you catching up on during this snowstorm?

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Middle East
6:40 am
Wed January 22, 2014

What's At Stake In The Syrian Peace Conference

A man runs with a child after an attack Tuesday in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Activists said President Bashar Assad's military carried out an airstrike.
Ammar Abdullah Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 9:34 am

With a major push from the U.S., a new Syrian peace conference opened Wednesday in Switzerland, the first such effort since the middle of 2012. It wasn't easy getting everyone there, and it will be harder still to achieve a breakthrough.

Here are a few key things to know about the conference:

1. What's the goal?

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11:49 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Supreme Court Rejects Former Governor's Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided against review a lower court decision that involves former Governor John Rowland and state unions. "In a statement, Rowland and his former budget director Marc Ryan said this: It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court is not taking this case. It will have a profound impact on Governors, Mayors, Boards of Education and taxpayers all across America." The Connecticut Mirror has more.
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear former Gov. John G. Rowland's appeal regarding a ruling that his administration used layoffs to punish state employee unions in 2003. The case now heads back to U.S. District Court in Hartford, where Rowland will file a motion to dismiss the case, according to a written statement released Monday through his attorney.
Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Unemployment and the Job Search

Congress continues to debate the extension of unemployment benefits.
Credit Senate Democrats / Creative Commons

The debate over unemployment insurance has Congress in a deadlock. Those opposed to extending emergency benefits argue that doing so only promotes an "idle" class of jobless Americans. Those in favor say it's the only safety net the unemployed have in today’s difficult labor market.

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Supreme Court
3:18 am
Tue January 21, 2014

A Union For Home Health Aides Brings New Questions To Supreme Court

One of the questions before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday is whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 12:40 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in an Illinois case that could drive a stake through the heart of public employee unions.

At issue are two questions: whether states may recognize a union to represent health care workers who care for disabled adults in their homes instead of in state institutions; and whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.

To understand why a growing number of states actually want to recognize unions to represent home health care workers, listen to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan:

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:01 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Living in Interpolitical and Interfaith Marriages

Otis Dancy (Democrat), Aprill Shines (Republican).
Chion Wolf WNPR

I spent one night in the company of James Carville and Mary Matalin, in the course of being their onstage moderator at the Bushnell. My lasting impression was that these were two people whose primary loyalty was to each other. To an unusual degree, when there was down time, they wanted to be alone, together, door closed. I don't know how they sort out their extreme political differences, but I think the answer lies somewhere in what I just said.

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White House
3:36 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Wielding A Pen And A Phone, Obama Goes It Alone

President Obama has alluded to his pen and his phone as two tools that help him act without waiting for congressional approval.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 8:04 am

President Obama has a new phrase he's been using a lot lately: "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone."

He's talking about the tools a president can use if Congress isn't giving him what he wants: executive actions and calling people together. It's another avenue the president is using to pursue his economic agenda.

'If Congress Is Deadlocked'

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Surveillance
6:01 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Congress Vows To Step Up To Surveillance Policy Challenge

National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., after President Obama's speech.
Charles Dharapak AP

If there was a consensus emanating from Congress Friday after President Obama's NSA reform speech, it was — not surprisingly — that Congress itself has a major role to play in the ultimate fix.

Whether from strong NSA supporters or agency critics, the reactions sounded similar: Congress intends to do much of the steering in the drive to overhaul the NSA's gathering of certain non-public information, especially consumer phone records, in the nation's counterterrorism efforts.

Even so, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of politics in some of the reaction.

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White House
11:49 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Calls For Limits On NSA's Collection Of Phone Data

President Obama speaks about the National Security Agency and intelligence agencies surveillance techniques during a speech Friday at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:20 pm

(This post was most recently updated at 1:30 p.m. ET.)

Saying that "critics are right to point out that without proper safeguards, this type of program could be used to yield more information about our private lives," President Obama said Friday that he wants the National Security Agency to stop holding on to massive amounts of "metadata" about the phone calls and electronic communications of millions of people around the world.

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Electronic Surveillance
7:47 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Expected To Say NSA Should Not Hold 'Metadata'

Nicolas Armer DPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:51 am

President Obama is expected to announce Friday morning that he is "ordering a transition that will significantly change the handling of what is known as the telephone 'metadata' " that the National Security Agency collects, officials are telling Reuters and NPR.

The wire service, which broke the story, writes that:

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Electronic Surveillance
7:11 am
Fri January 17, 2014

5 Changes To The NSA You Might Hear In Obama's Speech

Protesters in Hanover, Germany, hold placards amid hundreds of demonstrators protesting the surveillance programs of the U.S. National Security Agency in July.
Peter Steffen EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:34 pm

A committee tasked by the White House with reviewing U.S. electronic surveillance has come up with 46 proposed changes to National Security Agency spying practices. Here are arguments for and against five recommendations that President Obama may take up in a speech announcing policy changes Friday:


Limit Access To Bulk Telephone Data

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FCC Regulation
4:14 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Netflix May Take A Hit With End Of Net Neutrality

While the end of net neutrality may mean higher costs for Netflix, the company may be able to pay to ensure that its content stream faster and in higher quality than its competition, or refuse to pay more money for high speed Internet. (Netflix Blog)

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:46 pm

The recent appeals court ruling that overturned a FCC regulation requiring Internet Service Providers to treat all online services equally, known as “net neutrality,” may mean higher costs for Netflix and other online services.

But it also could have an upside for Netflix: the company may be able to pay to ensure that its content streams faster and in higher quality than its competition. Or the company can refuse to pay more money for high speed Internet.

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It's All Politics
3:52 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Lawmakers Roll Out Voting Rights Act Fix

People wait in line outside the Supreme Court in Feb. 2013 to listen to oral arguments in the Shelby County, Ala., v. Holder voting rights case.
Evan Vucci AP

A bipartisan group of lawmakers took the first step Thursday to patch a gaping hole in the 1965 Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court eviscerated a key part of the law that allowed for federal oversight of states with a history of ballot box discrimination.

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Code Switch
2:58 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Justice Department Prepares Broader Ban On Racial Profiling

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia on November 5, 2013
Matt Rourke ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:33 pm

The Justice Department is preparing to unveil new guidelines that ban racial, ethnic and religious profiling in federal investigations, a law enforcement source tells NPR.

The long-considered move by Attorney General Eric Holder could be announced by the end of January. Holder discussed the guidelines in general terms Wednesday in a meeting with New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio; a closed-door conversation that covered strategies for preventing crime "while protecting civil rights and civil liberties," a Justice Department spokesman said.

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Nutmeg History
1:39 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Get To Know Connecticut's Colonial-Era Deputy Governors

Roger Ludlow and Chief Mahackemo are depicted in The Purchase of Norwalk.
Credit Harry Townsend / Works Progress Administration

Before the position of lieutenant governor existed, the Colony of Connecticut had what was then known as the "deputy governor." According to the Connecticut State Library, this position was established in 1639. There were 18 deputy governors, several of whom would alternate off between governor and deputy governor because of one-year term limits.

On a recent episode of Where We Live, we discussed the role of the lieutenant governor and why anyone would want that position. So this got us thinking about some of Connecticut's first #2's when the state was a colony.

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Economic Development
8:56 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Commission on Connecticut's Future Meets

Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the DECD.
Credit CT-N

The Commission on Connecticut's Future met on Thursday morning to revisit economic development topics in the state. At its last meeting, economist Patrick Flaherty presented jobs data and workforce trends. Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development, presented a slideshow called "Focus on Economic Growth."

Minutes of the December meeting are available here.

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Congress
4:17 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

House Republicans Join In Passing $1 Trillion Spending Bill

House Speaker John Boehner and GOP leaders face reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:19 pm

The House on Wednesday passed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill — a compromise that appeared to get past the bitter partisan showdowns that have caused an unpopular federal government shutdown and nearly tipped the U.S. into default.

The 359-67 vote was a sign of considerable support from Republicans, thanks to a bipartisan deal worked out last month laying out spending for the next two years.

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New Watchdog
3:35 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Rapoport to Run Common Cause

Miles Rapoport
Credit Demos.org

Miles Rapoport, former state politician, has been named the new leader of national political watchdog group.

Rapoport will run Common Cause as of March. Common Cause describes itself as a non-partisan, non-profit organization with more than 400,000 across the country. 

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