Politics

Political news from WNPR

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Mayor-elect Luke Bronin says he's going to take a pass on the traditional inaugural ball, and he'll just take the oath of office in the early morning hours of 2016.

Saying America's military must draw from "the broadest possible pool of talent," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday that women in the U.S. military — including the Army and Marines — can now serve in combat posts.

The formal process to open combat jobs to women began in January of 2013; in finishing that process, Carter acknowledged that in recent years, U.S. women have fought — and sometimes given their lives — in combat posts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As yet another mass shooting claimed the lives of 14 people Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif., a familiar refrain echoed from the lips of politicians: Pray.

But for many fed up with the now seemingly routine shootings and the resulting inaction from each over how to stop another tragedy, pleas to God weren't enough anymore.

Speaking one day after at least 14 people died in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., President Obama said the investigation into the attack is now in the hands of the FBI — and warned that it may take some time to find answers.

Obama began his remarks from the Oval Office by noting that at this stage in the investigation, the two shooters' motivations are not known.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears to be reversing course and says he now "welcomes" a Justice Department investigation in "systemic issues embedded" in the city's police department.

The mayor's office Thursday morning released a statement seeking to "clarify" Emanuel's comments Wednesday, in which he suggested a federal civil rights pattern-and-practice investigation "in my view, would be misguided."

CAFNR / Creative Commons flickr.com/photos/cafnr/14643509606/

A Hearst Media investigation has found that in the past two years, the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation, located just a few miles away from Sandy Hook Elementary School, outspent the National Rifle Association on lobbying to prevent expanded background checks and protect immunity for gun manufacturers.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

On Monday, the first police officer went to trial for the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Just a few days earlier, video was released of a white police officer in Chicago shooting a black man 16 times.

This hour, we talk about race and racism with three people including Hartford resident Gareth Weston, a black man whose own daughter thought he looked like a "bad guy" when wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. 

Chris Christie may be running from behind in a crowded Republican presidential field, but he’s running hard. Tuesday was his 50th day of campaigning in New Hampshire. He’s made more visits to the state than any other candidate.

Now Christie is hoping a key endorsement this week, as well as his experience as governor of New Jersey, will help energize his New Hampshire campaign.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Former Bridgeport mayor and convicted felon Joe Ganim is once again mayor of Bridgeport. 

The British Parliament has begun a daylong debate over whether to grant the government authority to conduct airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.

The U.K. is already conducting strikes against ISIS in Iraq.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Lawmakers are gearing up for a special session later this month as leaders continue to discuss a new budget agreement. The whole process is plagued by uncertainty though. How much is the budget shortfall? What corporations will have a presence in the state? Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will have its own budget talk.

Puerto Rico has managed to make a payment due today on its bond debt, but officials are warning that the commonwealth's fiscal position remains tenuous.

As a result, the government will have to pay for essential government services by using money budgeted for upcoming debt payments, said Melba Acosta Febo, president of the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, in a statement. She added:

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Pentagon has announced it will send additional Special Operations forces to Iraq and Syria to help defeat the so-called Islamic State. The news shouldn't be a surprise according to Connecticut's U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, but he said it is concerning.

Amid growing criticism, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has dismissed police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

After announcing that he was appointing a task force to look at police accountability, Emanuel said that "public trust" in the city's police force has been "shaken" and "eroded" and so he had asked McCarthy to resign.

Seeking to calm growing criticism about his administration's handling of police misconduct cases, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed a new "police accountability task force."

In a press release, the mayor's office said the task force "will review the system of accountability, training and oversight that is currently in place for Chicago's police officers."

Chris Christie was giving thanks this weekend for one of the biggest prizes in Granite State politics: the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

It's a notable get for the New Jersey governor, who has struggled to catch fire both nationally and in the early states. Christie had a good performance in this month's GOP debate despite dropping down to the undercard faceoff. He has gotten some momentum after that performance and has been playing up his national security experience in the aftermath of this month's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.

The Obama administration has announced some changes to the visa waiver program, which allows travelers from some 38 countries including France, Belgium and other European countries, to come to the U.S. without a visa.

The White House announced several steps, including attempting better tracking of past travel, fines for airlines that don't verify passport data, assisting other countries on the screening of refugees and with border security.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Joe Ganim is to be sworn in as mayor of Bridgeport this week. On the eve of the transition, the outgoing mayor made a re-appointment that drew a strong reaction from the Ganim camp.

strugglevideomedia / youtube.com

Opponents and supporters of plans to accept Syrian refugees into the United States held dueling but peaceful rallies in Hartford.

Saying his country will not apologize for downing a Russian warplane, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu struck a defiant note after meeting with his NATO allies.

The Associated Press reports that Davutoglu said his country was simply defending its airspace last week when two of its F-16s fired at a Russian Sukhoi SU-24.

Edit note: Since this story was first published, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was found guilty of taking nearly $4 million in bribes and kickbacks. We have updated the story to reflect this change.

Las Vegas has The Mob Museum. Washington, D.C., has the International Spy Museum. And if a concerned citizen has his way, there will be a Museum of Political Corruption in Albany, N.Y.

It has become de rigueur to write about the woes of Thanksgiving-table political arguments. If you are unlucky enough to actually experience these, you may have noticed that the fights at the Thanksgiving table have grown more heated in recent years. That would make sense — after all, we keep hearing that Capitol Hill is growing more polarized (and, relatedly, paralyzed).

After meeting with his national security team, President Obama made a public statement that there is no specific, credible threat against the U.S. at this time, urging Americans to go about their Thanksgiving activities as usual.

Obama acknowledged that the deadly attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 struck a deep chord with many Americans.

"Given the shocking images, I know Americans have been asking each other whether it's safe here — whether it's safe to fly or gather," the president said, a fear he called understandable.

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.

John Phelan / Creative Commons

Connecticut's legislative leaders said they're considering a possible special legislative session during the second week of December to address Connecticut's budget shortfall.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

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.

Ruocaled / Creative Commons

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. 

One of two crew members survived the shooting down of a Russian warplane by Turkey on Tuesday, Russian officials say, and was rescued by a Syrian commando unit in an operation that ended early Wednesday.

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.

Dominic Chavez / World Bank

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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