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Election 2012

The Brian Lehrer Show

30 Issues: Too Big To Fail

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

30 Issues in 30 Days is our election year series on the important issues facing the country this election year. Today: A look at the current state of the financial sector, including big banks, borrowers and lenders and the housing market. Visit the 30 Issue home page for all the conversations.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Explainer: "Skewed" Polling

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Republicans say that recent polling data favoring Obama is skewed. Jonathan Bernstein, political scientist who writes A Plain Blog About Politics, fact-checks the claim, and explains the tricky nature of party ID in polls.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Just Who Is Chris Christie Campaigning For?

Monday, October 01, 2012

Either Christie is calculating his impact for four years from now rather than four weeks, or he's just a loose cannon.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

30 Issues Data: Visualizing Foreclosure

Monday, October 01, 2012

As part of the Brian Lehrer Show's 30 Issues in 30 Days series, the WNYC Data News team is designing interactive visualizations, tools and graphics to illuminate the data behind the issues. Join the full conversation on the lingering effects of the foreclosure crisis here.

 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

On Voting

Monday, October 01, 2012

Anna Sale, It's a Free Country political reporter, joins us from Colorado to talk about how early voting and voter I.D. laws could affect the presidential race.

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It's A Free Country ®

New York’s Gillibrand Looking to Go National with Women

Monday, October 01, 2012

This November, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is running for her first full six-year term in the Senate. It's been nearly four years since she was tapped to fill Hillary Clinton's seat. She’s still building name recognition in New York, but her ambitions extend way beyond the state’s borders.

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It's A Free Country ®

Watch | First Presidential Debate, Read Live Chat

Monday, October 01, 2012

The first presidential debate happened last night, and we watched (and chatted) it live with Brian Lehrer, Anna Sale, our swing state colleagues and the politically diverse It's A Free Country bloggers. Check out what we talked about here!

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The Brian Lehrer Show

30 Issues: Victims of 2008: The Foreclosed On

Monday, October 01, 2012

30 Issues in 30 Days is our election year series on the important issues facing the country this election year. Today: How to end the ongoing foreclosure crisis and relieve those who have lost their homes. Visit the 30 Issue home page for all the conversations.

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The Takeaway

Don't Mention It: Guantanamo Bay

Monday, October 01, 2012

Miami Herald correspondent Carol Rosenberg explains why Guantanamo is missing this campaign season, and what Americans still need to know about the detention facility. 

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Gabfest Radio

Gabfest Radio: The Queen of Versailles Edition

Saturday, September 29, 2012

On this week’s episode of Gabfest Radio, Political Gabfest panelists discuss Mitt Romney’s challenges in heading into the presidential debates and Culture Gabfest panelists talk about the documentary Queen of Versailles.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Borowitz Report

Friday, September 28, 2012

Andy Borowitz, author of the Borowitz Report on The New Yorker.com, talks about the presidential election so far.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

30 Issues: Borrowing for Infrastructure

Thursday, September 27, 2012

30 Issues in 30 Days is our election year series on the important issues facing the country this election year. Today: The necessity of borrowing to initiate and maintain essential infrastructure projects. Visit the 30 Issue home page for all the conversations.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Moderating a Presidential Debate

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Carole Simpson, former ABC news anchor for World News Tonight, former presidential debate moderator, and author of NewsLady, talks about becoming the first woman and minority moderator of a presidential debate when she questioned George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot in 1992.

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Transportation Nation

This Election Season, Americans Pony Up for Public Transpo

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Operators of Los Angles' new Expo light rail line enjoy the new gig, April 2012. (Photo courtesy of LA Metro Transportation Library and Archive)

(This article by Greg Hanscom originally appeared in Grist.org)

Infrastructure issues may have turned partisan these past four years while bridges crumble, waiting for repair, but transit-advocates have hope: This election may bring in big bucks for buses and subways, direct from voters.

More than a dozen transit-related initiatives will appear on local ballots in November, including a mammoth funding plan in Los Angeles. Elsewhere, a measure in Orange County, N.C., would add a half cent to the sales tax to fund transit. A third measure, in Memphis, Tenn., would increase the cost of a gallon of gas by a penny, raising an estimated $3 to $6 million each year for the Memphis Area Transit Authority.

The big kahuna of proposals is in Los Angeles, where four years ago voters approved Measure R, a sales tax increase that is expected to raise $40 billion over 30 years for transit, highway, and bus projects. Measure J, which will appear on the ballot this year, would extend the transportation tax another 30 years.

The city's transit system is still wanting for cash. Even as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has vocally championed new light rail lines and bike lanes, L.A. County’s Metro has slashed bus service to some of the city’s most down-and-out neighborhoods.

Atlanta faced a similar crossroads, and a similar vote in July that would have raised $8 billion for rail and other transportation projects. It went down in flames.

Atlanta’s transit agency has been cutting bus service due to budget shortfalls. But unlike in L.A., light rail hasn’t fared much better.

However, Atlanta seems to be an exception to the rule. Transit funding is winning wide approval in other cities around the country this year, as in recent years — and will likely see a few more big wins on ballot budget initiatives in November, including in L.A. If all goes as expected, Angelenos will get the world-class transit system that Mayor Villaraigosa dreams about — and sooner than you might think.

“The overwhelming majority of measures are successful,” says Jason Jordan, director of the Center for Transportation Excellence, a D.C.-based nonprofit that tracks transit-related ballot initiatives. “We were expecting to see approval rates decline back in ’08, with the economic downturn. But rates have actually been improving year over year.”

According to the center’s tally, transit is batting almost 90 percent at the ballot box nationally this year. Voters in Baton Rouge, La., approved a property tax measure in April that will more than double the annual budget for the local bus service. In May, residents of Parkersburg, W.Va., voted to extend a property tax that funds the local transit service. And Michiganders renewed a slew of taxes to fund transit in August.

“It used to be that you might go to the ballot in order to raise matching funds for federal dollars,” Jordan says. “Now, places have to make themselves competitive for federal funds by showing they’ve got skin in the game.”

Putting a long-term transit tax in place would allow L.A.’s Metro to borrow the money now and pay it off over the coming decades (there’s a good explanation here), meaning that Angelenos could be living in traintopia in the not too distant future. Under California law, the measure will require a supermajority of at least two-thirds support to pass, but that didn’t stop Measure R from passing in 2008.

So what happened in Atlanta — and could the same forces take down transit initiatives elsewhere? Here it is, mapped:

(Image: Atlanta Business Journal, via Grist)

Pretty clear, right? More than two-thirds of voters in the urban core supported the measure. But the further you went from the city center, the more the opposition won over. By the time you got to the suburbs, people it was a landslide of opposition.

Jordan says that in many ways, Atlanta’s initiative was destined to fail, both because of historic forces at work in the region, (listen to TN's documentary about Race and Mass Transit for the story of Atlanta's transit history) and because the state legislature imposed restrictions on the measure that made it unwieldy. The vote also coincided with the state primaries, in which the most contested races were among Republicans in the exurbs — not people who are inclined to tax themselves for better trains and buses.

For evidence that transit votes don’t always devolve into a simple city-vs.-suburb showdown, Jordan points to St. Louis, where a ballot initiative failed in 2008, but passed on a second attempt, two years later. Here are the maps:

(Images by the Center for Transportation Excellence via Grist)

Looks neat, but to me, the message remains the same: Folks in the ‘burbs don’t care much for  transit initiatives. The difference in the second St. Louis election was that fewer of them turned out to vote — and a strong grassroots campaign succeeded in getting pro-transit folks to support the measure. In campaign parlance, the initiative’s backers got their supporters out “without mobilizing their opponents.”

In L.A., where transit is winning my supermajorities, the story seems to be different. Mayor Villaraigosa has a long way to go in his effort to build a truly functional and just public transportation system for his city, but he has succeeded in creating a plan that a broad swath of society can get behind, one likely to pass the test of election day.

Greg Hanscom is a senior editor at Grist. He tweets about cities, bikes, transportation, policy, and sustainability at @ghanscom.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

U.S. Senate Races Heating Up

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Politico political reporter, Dave Catanese, discusses the contentious U.S. Senate races in states like Massachusetts, Florida, Virginia -- and what they could mean for the balance of power in Congress.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

30 Issues: Tax Cuts vs. Tax Reform

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

30 Issues in 30 Days is our election year series on the important issues facing the country this election year. Today: How individual and corporate taxes — and potential changes to their rates and distribution -- impact the economy. Visit the 30 Issue home page for all the conversations.

 

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It's A Free Country ®

At Clinton Gathering, Obama and Romney Highlight Very Different Priorities

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The president advocated for a renewed focus on the elimination of human trafficking, while Romney called foreign aid to be redesigned and more closely linked with the expansion of free enterprise.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

30 Issues: Is The Debt Really A Crisis?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

30 Issues in 30 Days is our election year series on the important issues facing the country this election year. Today: The actual significance of the national debt and how it might play into the election. Visit the 30 Issue home page for all the conversations.

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The Takeaway

Candy Crowley: The First Woman to Moderate a Presidential Debate in 20 Years

Monday, September 24, 2012

As the host of CNN's State of the Union and the network's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley has made a career of holding politicians accountable. A new challenge awaits her this political season: On Tuesday, October 16, Crowley will moderate the second presidential debate.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Amy Walter on Presidential Poll Watch

Monday, September 24, 2012

Amy Walter, ABC News political director, discusses the latest Presidential polling — which shows a widening Obama lead — and the release of Mitt Romney's most recent tax returns.

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