President Obama warned that "the basic American promise is at risk" in last night's State of the Union address. Mr. Obama offered what he called a blueprint for an economy that's built to last. Joining us by phone to get his assessment is U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.
The lead story in today's New York Times is the second donation, by one married couple, to a Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich. Miriam Adelson gave $5 million. Her husband Sheldon had already given he same amount.
Congressman Jim Himes is getting ready for another battle over unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut...while trying to keep open a Social Security office in his district. We talked to him about these issues, but he’s also been weighing in on SOPA and PIPA - the anti-piracy bills that have been dubbed “internet killers” by critics.
Ralph Nader’s not getting into this year’s presidential race...but that doesn’t mean he’s sitting it out.
The consumer advocate and past presidential candidate has talked this year of a “progressive/libertarian” alliance with Ron Paul, another polarizing figure who’s selling outrage as a key commodity in his race for President.
Nader’s outrage against corporate America - and the politicians of both parties that align with them - takes the form of a new book, “Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism.”
Today's show was sort of a political grab bag. We drilled down -- that might be the first time I've ever used that expression -- on the subject of political endorsements, which are flying around fast and furious right now. We'll also alighted briefly on the issue of reapportionment, which is winging its way to the State Supreme Court.
Income inequality stands to be the biggest issue - not just of the next election cycle - but of the next decade. Why? Well, the rich just keep getting richer - a new study released by Connecticut Voices for Children shows that over a four year period, the highest wage earners in the state have seen their income sharply increase - even through a recession - while middle-class workers struggle by, making about the same.
Hartford officials say they will likely miss their February deadline for picking a new person to run the police department. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the current police chief's tenure ends December 31st. Daryl Roberts is leaving after 30 years on the force and more than five years as the city's chief. He announced his retirement in September -- just before Mayor Pedro Segarra released the results of an outside investigation that said the police department had serious management issues.
It's been a good year for Connecticut's Working Families Party. In Hartford, the party won all three of the city council's minority seats and sidelined Republicans. And at the state capitol, it won a major victory with the passage of paid sick leave. But the party is now looking to the future. The Working Families Party tries to match its name -- and advocate for issues that matter to the state's working families. One of those issues was paid sick leave for service workers. Last session, with Democratic support and over the objection of state Republicans, it won that battle. Now... "There have been people in the state legislature who've are coming to us now and are saying, well, that was cool, what do we do next? "
Governor Dannel Malloy has announced a new chief of staff. Mark Ojakian will start the job in January. Ojakian will take the place of Tim Bannon, who Malloy says is leaving as planned after a year on the job. Ojakian was the governor's point person in labor negotiations. "His work negotiating with the state employees union was critical to our plans to reinvent Connecticut state government and even more critical to our budget plans. And while it was a bruising and often frustrating endeavor, in the end, we got what we needed. And in large part we got what we needed because of his superior skills." Malloy says one of those skills proved especially useful. "Well, he's got a lot more patience than I do -- probably is the best way to put it."
In Hartford, the goal of city Democrats was to have a new council president by Thanksgiving. But that time has come and gone and there still is no consensus on who will lead. Most of the time, it doesn't really matter who the president of the Hartford city council is. Except, of course, when it does -- like last year, when Pedro Segarra went from council president to mayor. He was filling the seat left vacant by convicted former Mayor Eddie Perez.
A day after a leading national Democrat endorsed her opponent, Susan Bysiewicz says she's happy to play the role of the Washington outsider in her run for U-S Senate. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Bysiewicz held a conference call to talk about her policy priorities and some political strategy.
In Hartford, Mayor Pedro Segarra ordered an end to the Occupy Hartford encampment just off I-84. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. Segarra says that reports of violence and drug abuse made the site a threat to public safety.
In Hartford, it's been over a year since former Mayor Eddie Perez was convicted on public corruption charges. He was sentenced to three years in jail but is free pending his lengthy appeal. Meanwhile, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the disgraced mayor has just won a payout from the city. Perez had argued through his attorneys that he was owed money for back sick and vacation time. He also made the case that he was officially working as mayor while he defended himself in court.
On Wednesday, lawmakers redrew the district lines for the state house and senate. That means some change for the city of Hartford. House Speaker Chris Donovan said Wednesday that, for the first time in 30 years, Windsor will have a house district in which its residents are the majority. That was the good news. The bad news for Hartford, though, is this. The same number of people will be representing the capital city -- but, in all likelihood, one of those representatives won't be from Hartford anymore. Matt Ritter represents the city's West End. He said the census is to blame.
State lawmakers are meeting this hour to try and finalize boundaries for state legislative districts and federal congressional elections. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, there's a midnight deadline, and the question of how to draw the lines for the US House of Representatives is still unresolved. New district lines for state representatives and senators have apparently been agreed upon. But according to Mark Pazniokas of the Connecticut Mirror, it now appears that the bi-partisan redistricting commission will ask the state Supreme Court for more time to figure out how to draw the state's five congressional districts.
The head of US Citizenship and Immigration Services visited the Hartford Public Library late last week. The library was recently awarded another federal grant for its immigrant outreach program. As WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, Director Alejandro Mayorkas also took time to address new deportation guidelines.
Yesterday’s national “day of action” for Occupy Wall Street was meant to mark the movement’s two-month anniversary...but it also came just after a forceful eviction from the park in lower Manhattan where the protests started.
Last month, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. will withdraw troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. 100,000 troops have already been removed and the latest withdrawal will bring the last 40,000 home. Today, where we live, as we celebrate Veterans Day a conversation about the transition from military life to civilian life for the thousands of Veterans who have and will return from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In September, Hartford's police chief announced he'd be retiring at the end of the year. Now, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, city officials say a new chief won't be selected by the time the old one leaves. Daryl Roberts is retiring after 30 years on the force and more than five years as the city's chief. His contract expires on December 31. Roberts announced his retirement just before Mayor Pedro Segarra released the results of an outside investigation that said the police department had serious management issues.
During the Arborgeddon storm, mayors became unusually important and unusually petulant. To an unprecedented degree, the towns seemed cut loose from their moorings. The state couldn't deliver much help and the utility -- well, why even go there.
Toward the end of the cycle, there were, of all things, elections -- which seemed especially critical, given the new significance of the mayors, and strangely beside the point, given the way people's energies and attentions went elsewhere.
The question is bubbling up right now because Texas governor Rick Perry wants to stop participating in debates. In fact, he told Bill O'Reilly, “These debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates. So, you know, if there was a mistake made, it was probably ever doing" a debate.
In 2008, it was hope and change. Barack Obama promised not just a new kind of president...but a new kind of politics.
But it seems that political transformation will have to wait. Despite his attempts at bi-partisanship, Republicans have repeatedly rebuffed President Obama in his attempts to pass domestic legislation - including his jobs bill. Now, Washington’s more gridlocked than ever.
The state legislature is calling a special session tomorrow. It’s a tale of two bills: Jobs and Jackson Labs.
Governor Malloy has unveiled a jobs plan. It’s focused on small business growth, startup investments for innovative firms, and streamlining the process for business to get things done. These are all ideas that the governor and legislative leaders expect to get some level of bi-partisan support.