Politics

Texas
8:33 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Rick Perry's Legal Trouble: The Line Between Influence And Coercion

Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks to the media and supporters after he was booked on August 19 in Austin. Perry is charged with abuse of office and coercing a public official.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Sat August 30, 2014 12:33 pm

The day he was booked, Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave a big smile for his mug shot — which was then printed up on t-shirts to demonstrate just what a farce he thought the indictment was. In a press conference, the scorn dripped from Perry's voice as he took up the sword — defender, not of himself, but of the state's constitution.

"We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country," he said. "It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state's constitution."

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Ukraine/Russia Conflict
2:05 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

White House Says "Continuation," Murphy Says "War"

Sen. Chris Murphy on WNPR's Where We Live in December, 2013.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

As the conflict between Ukraine and Russia continues to escalate, Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Murphy wants to call it what it is: a war.

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Europe
11:43 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Britain Raises Terror Alert Level, But Cites No Specific Threat

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at a news conference in London on Friday after the U.K. raised its terror alert level.
Paul Hackett PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 1:07 pm

British Prime Minister David Cameron is warning that the threat to the U.K. from international terrorism is "greater and deeper" than ever before, as London raised its terror warning level in response to what it said were plans by the Islamic State and other extremist groups to attack the West.

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Rethinking Poverty
8:42 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Rep. Ryan Calls For 'Culture Of Inclusion' To Tackle Poverty

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan speaks during a news conference at the Union League Club of Chicago on Aug. 21.
John Gress Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 8:00 am

Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, used to have a habit of describing the American people in two categories. There were the "makers" — people paying taxes — and the "takers" — people getting government benefits.

Today, the Wisconsin Republican says he was wrong, and that the country needs to overhaul how it thinks about poverty. In his new book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea, he offers ways to redirect federal spending to fighting poverty.

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Assault Weapons
8:14 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Connecticut Law: Failure to Register Weapons a Misdemeanor, Not a Felony

Credit Brian nairB / Creative Commons

Connecticut's new gun control law says gun owners who failed to register their now-banned assault weapons by a January deadline face a misdemeanor charge, not a felony as described by Republican governor candidate Tom Foley in Wednesday night's debate. 

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Ukraine
7:53 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Ukrainian Prime Minister Says Government Will Seek NATO Membership

A pro-Russian rebel walks in a passage at a local market damaged by shelling in Petrovskiy district in the eastern Ukrainian town of Donetsk.
Mstislav Chernov AP

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 1:17 pm

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says his government has sent parliament a bill that allows Ukraine to open a path toward membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

"The main and only goal of Ukraine's foreign policy is to join the European Union," Yatsenyuk said in a statement.

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White House
8:29 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

'We Don't Have A Strategy Yet' On Islamic State, Obama Says

President Obama said Thursday at the White House that the U.S. doesn't yet have a strategy on how to deal with the Islamic State militant group.
Michael Reynolds EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:02 pm

President Obama says the U.S. doesn't "have a strategy yet" on how to deal with Islamic State militants who now control vast swaths of territory across Iraq and Syria, but he added that the militant group was continuing to lose arms and equipment because of targeted U.S. strikes against its members in Iraq.

"I don't want to put the cart before the horse," Obama said at a White House news conference Thursday. "We don't have a strategy yet."

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Ukraine
5:13 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Obama Blames Russia For Violence In Ukraine; Calls Moves 'Incursion'

President Obama said at a White House news conference Thursday that Russia is to blame for the violence in eastern Ukraine.
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 10:26 am

Updated at 4:47 p.m.

President Obama blamed Russia for the violence in Ukraine and said its "incursion" into the former Soviet state will only carry additional costs.

"Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see," Obama said at a White House news conference on Thursday.

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WAMC News
12:30 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Congressional Corner With Chris Murphy

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 10:51 am

  College costs have reached emergency status for many Americans.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that the industry needs a paradigm shift.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

The Future of American Think Tanks

K Street, Washington, D.C.
www.GlynLowe.com Creative Commons

Founded in 1916, the Brookings Institution became America’s first think tank -- an organization that devoted itself to the study of national public policy. Today, Brookings is just one of some 1,800 think tanks operating across the United States. 

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Election 2014
11:56 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Malloy, Foley Spar in First Debate of 2014

Tom Foley, left, and Gov. Dannel Malloy, right, engage in debate moderated by Ray Hackett, opinion page editor of The Norwich Bulletin.
CT-N

The first debate between Connecticut’s two major party candidates for governor produced few surprises, as Tom Foley and Dannel Malloy tackled recurring issues, including gun control and economic development. 

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Utilities
2:56 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Connecticut Utility Rate Increases Discussed at Hearing

Kenneth Bowes of Connecticut Light and Power during the PURA hearing.
Credit CT-N

A fight is brewing over a request by Connecticut's largest utility to raise rates by $232 million to upgrade equipment following destructive storms. The first of three related public hearings took place on Wednesday.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed August 27, 2014

The Wheelhouse: DC Weighs in on CT

We're putting the "W" in NPR as John Dankosky hosts from NPR's headquarters in Washington, DC.
Credit Todd Mundt / Creative Commons

Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan is leaving Connecticut to join John Dankosky in Washington, DC. Actually, Counihan will be the CEO of HealthCare.gov and Dankosky will be back tomorrow.

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Middle East
3:39 am
Wed August 27, 2014

U.S. Officials Try To Gauge Threat From American Fighters In Syria

American Eric Harroun threatened Bashar Assad on Facebook and YouTube. He spent six weeks fighting with a rebel army, a journey that did not end well for him.
ABC News YouTube

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 1:38 pm

The heyday of "war tourism" was probably the 1930s, when a host of intellectuals and artists left the U.S. to bear witness to the Spanish Civil War. Ernest Hemingway wrote about it. George Orwell, just to name another, actually fought in it.

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Health Insurance
9:13 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Head of Access Health CT to Leave for Federal Job

Kevin Counihan announces his departure, alongside Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

With open enrollment for the next round of the Affordable Care Act just three months away, the Department of Health and Human Services has a picked a new CEO for healthcare.gov, and he comes from Connecticut.  

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Middle East
10:29 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Hamas, Israel Reach Long-Term Cease-Fire Deal

Palestinians inspect the damage to the Italian Complex following several late-night Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on Tuesday.
Khalil Hamra AP

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 1:29 pm

(This post was last updated at 12:47 p.m. ET.)

After seven weeks of intense fighting that's killed more than 2,000 people, Hamas and Israel have announced a long-term cease-fire deal.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made the announcement in Ramallah on Tuesday, saying both sides will return to the negotiating table to deal with other demands. Abbas suggested he wanted an outcome that ends the cycle of war in the region.

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Middle East
6:49 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Reports: U.S. Authorizes Surveillance Flights Over Syria

Fighters from the Islamic State during a parade in Raqqa, Syria.
AP

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 3:41 pm

President Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, The Associated Press and The New York Times are reporting this morning, citing unnamed U.S.

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Ukraine
4:11 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Ukraine's President Dissolves Parliament, Calls For New Elections

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko delivers a speech in Kiev on Monday dedicated to his decree to dissolve parliament.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 10:30 am

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced today on the presidential website that he was dissolving parliament and called for fresh elections on Oct. 26.

Poroshenko said the move was in accordance with the country's constitution, noting that Ukraine's coalition government collapsed July 24.

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North Africa
3:46 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Rival Leaders, Rival Governments In Libya As Crisis Deepens

An airplane damaged by shelling at Tripoli International Airport on Saturday. Unidentified warplanes attacked targets in Libya's capital, Tripoli, on Sunday, residents said, hours after forces from the city of Misrata said they had seized the main airport.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 4:05 pm

Libya's political crisis deepened today when the outgoing Parliament picked a new Islamist-backed government, leaving the country with two rival Parliaments and leaders, each with their own armed supporters.

The development comes just days after Islamist militias captured Tripoli's airport after weeks of fighting, and on the same day Libya's neighbors — despite calls for an intervention — urged the factions to sort out their differences three years after the ouster of President Moammar Gadhafi.

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World
10:56 am
Mon August 25, 2014

America's Middle East Scorecard: Many Interventions, Few Successes

An armed man waves his rifle inside the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. Four Americans were killed that night, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. U.S. airstrikes helped topple dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, but Libya has descended into chaos since then.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 3:21 pm

As the U.S. juggles multiple crises in the Middle East, it's a good time to look at the map.

Find Libya. Head east across North Africa through the Middle East and all the way to Pakistan in South Asia. The journey covers eight troubled lands, side by side. In seven, Sunni Islamists are pressing for power in various stages of revolt. The eighth is Iran, where Shiite clerics have long ruled.

The U.S. has opposed Muslim fundamentalists in every one of these cases, but American involvement has not produced any resolutions.

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Election 2014
8:25 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Jonathan Pelto Doesn't Expect to Make Ballot

Jonathan Pelto doesn't expect to make the November ballot.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Since he launched his campaign for governor, Jonathan Pelto was criticized by Democrats for being a "spoiler" to Governor Dannel Malloy this November. Pelto admits, though, that it's "increasingly likely that we will fall short" of the 7,500 signatures needed to make the ballot.

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Use of Force
8:08 am
Sun August 24, 2014

Malloy Calls Hartford Police Officer's Use of Taser "Inappropriate"

Malloy and area police chiefs speak at a forum at Hartford's Faith Congregational Church on Friday.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Police are still investigating an incident from last week in which a police officer used a stun gun on a city teenager. The family has called the use of force unnecessary.   

Members of community gathered to discuss the incident on Friday night, and Governor Dannel Malloy said he thought the use of the Taser was inappropriate. 

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Police Gear
6:24 pm
Sat August 23, 2014

Obama Orders Review Of Transfers Of Military Surplus To Local Police

Police arrest a man as they disperse a protest Wednesday for Michael Brown, who was killed by police Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo.
Charlie Riedel AP

President Obama has ordered a review of federal programs that supply local law enforcement agencies with military weapons and equipment after concerns over how the police handled unrest in Ferguson, Mo., in the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown.

A senior Obama administration official says the president "whether state and local law enforcement are provided with the necessary training and guidance; and whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding."

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Freedom of Information
2:53 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Hartford Stadium Gathering May Have Violated State Public Meeting Laws

Hartford City Hall.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

Officials from the city of Hartford held a meeting Thursday to discuss proposals to build a new baseball stadium. That gathering, however, appears to have violated the state's laws governing public meetings. 

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Rhode Island
1:49 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Smiley Ends Mayoral Campaign and Puts Support Behind Elorza

Smiley, right, offering his endorsement to Elorza at Prospect Park.

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 8:24 am

Brett Smiley ended his Providence mayoral campaign Friday and threw his support behind fellow Democrat Jorge Elorza. The decision basically sets the stage for a head-to-head September 9th primary battle between Elorza and City Council President Michael Solomon, the acknowledged front-runner in the race.

Smiley's announcement came exactly 24 hours after his latest policy proposal, a road-improvement plan touted during a news conference near the Providence train station.

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Ukraine
12:55 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Russian Convoy Crosses Ukraine Border Despite Kiev's Protests

A Russian border guard opens a gate into Ukraine for the first trucks from the Russian town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, on Friday. The convoy had been stalled near the border for more than a week.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 4:59 pm

Update at 5:00 p.m. ET

After being halted at the border for more than a week, a Russian aid convoy is rumbling into eastern Ukraine without permission, prompting Kiev to label the move a "direct invasion" of sovereign territory.

Karoun Demirjian, reporting for NPR from Moscow, says 150 Russian trucks arrived in the rebel-held city of Luhansk on Friday.

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Islamic State
4:44 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Islamic State 'Beyond Anything We've Seen,' Hagel Says

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (left) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey during a Pentagon briefing on Thursday. Hagel said Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria posed a threat "beyond anything we've seen."
Yuri Gripas Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 7:59 pm

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel describes a failed U.S. mission into northern Syria earlier this summer to rescue Americans believed held there — including a journalist who was executed earlier this week — as "flawless" despite not recovering the hostages.

"This was a flawless operation, but the hostages weren't there," Hagel told journalists at a Pentagon briefing with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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Baseball
2:28 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

New Britain Says Rock Cats Have Paid Back Taxes

The New Britain stadium for the Rock Cats.
Credit Doug Kerr / Creative Commons

Josh Solomon, the owner of the minor league New Britain Rock Cats, has paid the city $164,569.26 in back taxes for its baseball stadium, the city said in a press release.

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Vice Presidential Visit
2:20 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Biden, in East Hartford, Says Manufacturing Jobs Are Coming Back

Vice President Joe Biden during a visit to New Hampshire in 2012.
Marc Nozell Creative Commons

Vice President Joe Biden said manufacturing jobs are coming back to the U.S., but workers need the right training to fill those positions. 

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Islamic State
1:17 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

President Obama Says Militants Who Beheaded American Are 'Cowardly'

President Obama said Wednesday that the extremist group that carried out the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley engages in "cowardly acts of violence" and "has no place in the 21st century."
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 1:51 pm

The extremist group that carried out the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley engages in "cowardly acts of violence" and "has no place in the 21st century," President Obama said Wednesday, referring to the videotaped execution carried out by militants with the Islamic State.

Obama also said the group attacks women and minorities, "for no other reason than they practice a different religion."

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