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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

If the state constitution were a used car, would you want to see the Car Fax? While the constitution has been overhauled several times, no one has really looked under the hood since 1938. There are plenty of people who think it’s time for a tune-up, but three constitutional mechanics have determined that the time has come for a selective re-build.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, the New Roosevelt Institute’s Bill Samuels, and Dr. Gerry Benjamin of SUNY New Paltz comprise the Citizens’ Committee for an Effective Constitution. They want your input! Their mission is to restore “New York State's reputation as the national policy leader by uncovering outdated New York State Constitutional provisions that have contributed to statewide dysfunction”.

A new poll out from Siena College held two pieces of bad news for unions like CSEA. First, that voters overwhelmingly support pension reform for state workers. And second, that voters also support the Governor proposing the aforementioned pension reform. What’s a union president to do?  CSEA President Danny Donohue will share how his union is trying to reframe the issue on today’s show.

No, bananas don’t grow in the backroom of the local Price Chopper. But kids could be forgiven for thinking that. Most of us are more disconnected from our food and the farms that produce that food than we would like to be. But there are reasons for that --- Mara Schechter of Food & Water Watch says a Fair Farm Bill Campaign could bring everyone closer together and fix what ails the country’s farm policy.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: After Another Santorum Surge, Will GOP Ever Rally Around One Candidate?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The triple-header victory by Rick Santorum on Tuesday was a huge rush for the candidate, but also raises much larger questions about the 2012 GOP field.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: CA Shouldn't Wait for SCOTUS To Overturn Prop 8

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The California initiative process is a cop-out. It relieves lawmakers of the responsibility of making the difficult decisions they were sent to Sacramento to make, and it leaves the public holding the bag containing the really tough questions.

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The Takeaway

Rick Santorum Wins Big in Colorado and Minnesota

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Rick Santorum's campaign team is waking up this morning after landing a big hit last night. He won the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses plus the non-binding Missouri primary. You can be sure Santorum will use this latest twist to try and persuade more conservatives to rally around him as the most credible alternative to Mitt Romney. 

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It's A Free Country ®

What the Prop 8 Decision Means

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A U.S. Appeals Court ruled Tuesday that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. But ironically, the decision overturning the ban on gay marriage is so exact that it might not have the wide legal influence marriage equality experts hoped for.

“The way the Ninth Circuit crafted the opinion very carefully using ...

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It's A Free Country ®

Obama SuperPAC Push: What It Might Mean in NYC

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Obama campaign announced this week that it will encourage the president's supporters to give to the SuperPAC backing his reelection effort, and New York donors will be a prime target. A WNYC analysis of disclosure forms shows Romney's SuperPAC raised 44 times more than Obama's in New York last year.

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It's A Free Country ®

Track: Colorado Caucus Returns

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The map on this page shows not only who’s winning in each of the state’s 64 counties, but, using Patchwork Nation, it shows how the candidates are doing in each of Colorado’s eight types of county – from the wealthy Monied Burbs to the rural agricultural Tractor Country counties. It will fill in with data as the results from the caucuses come in.

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It's A Free Country ®

Track: Minnesota Caucus Returns

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The map on this page shows not only who’s winning in each of the state’s 87 counties, but, using Patchwork Nation, it shows how the candidates are doing in each of Minnesota’s eight types of county – from the wealthy Monied Burbs to the rural agricultural Tractor Country counties. It will fill in with data as the results from the caucuses come in.

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WNYC News

California's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, Court Says

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The decision on "Prop 8" by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is now expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

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It's A Free Country ®

Track: Missouri Primary Returns

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The map on this page shows not only who’s winning in each of the state’s 114 counties, but, using Patchwork Nation, it shows how the candidates are doing in each of Missouri’s eight types of county – from the wealthy Monied Burbs to the rural agricultural Tractor Country counties. It will fill in with data as the results from the primary comes in.

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It's A Free Country ®

Explainer: Where the States Stand on Gay Marriage

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

California's Proposition 8, a law banning same-sex marriage in the state, has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals panel. Meanwhile, a bill to allow same-sex marriage in Washington state has passed the State Senate and is on its way to the House.

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It's A Free Country ®

ARMS Act Would Give Undocumented a Military Path to Citizenship

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The ARMS act gives immigrant youth who were brought into the United States illegally as children the chance to change their status by attending college or joining the military under the DREAM Act.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

From “Birthers” who claim that President Obama was not born in the United States to those who believe that the Constitution is in danger of being replaced with Sharia law, conspiratorial beliefs have become increasingly common in our public discourse. Arthur Goldwag explores the ideas and rhetoric that have animated extreme, mostly right-wing movements throughout American history. His new book is The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right.

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The Empire

Comptroller Liu in on the Giants' Super Bowl celebration

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Check out more of WNYC's coverage of the Giants' Super Bowl victory parade here.

Comptroller John Liu takes part in the Giants' Super Bowl parade. (Stephen Nesson / WNYC)

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The Empire

DiNapoli: Gov's budget erodes government oversight -- updated

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Courtesy of the Comptroller's office

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli gave Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed executive budget a mixed review today. DiNapoli applauded the Governor and state legislature for making "progress toward aligning state spending with revenue" but criticized Cuomo for proposing changes that would give him and future governors "greater powers that would reduce long-established checks and balances".

“This year’s Executive Budget proposal continues that trend and substantially reduces out-year deficits," DiNapoli said in a statement. "However, this progress should not be made at the expense of transparency, appropriate checks and balances, and the realistic and necessary safeguarding of public dollars.”

DiNapoli has warned before of the threat the sluggish economy poses to the state's finances. He reiterated his concerns over tax receipts, the potential for a global economic slowdown and the potential for decreased federal funds "that could make achieving the expected level of revenue or savings challenging" in this year's budget.

He also took Cuomo to task for a number of proposals in his executive budget plan:

  • Allow the Executive to move spending authority from one agency to another with minimal oversight, or legislative input, and without regard to the original intent of the funding in the Enacted Budget as approved by the Legislature.
  • Strips the Comptroller's office of its power to review and approve contracts issued by state agencies.
  • Doesn't put a price tag on the implementation of a Tier VI pension plan, which would give state employees the option of enrolling in a 401(k)-type plan.

A request for comment was put into the Governor's office.

Here's a statement from Budget Director Robert Menga, in a somewhat oblique response to DiNapoli's criticism:

We can no longer abide by the Albany status quo that allows for out of control spending and contracting that wastes taxpayer dollars. To avoid cuts in services, local aid or tax increases, the Executive Budget directs State agencies to be more efficient and focuses resources on their core programs and services. The flexibility language will allow for a range of operational measures and will improve functions such as procurement, real estate, and information technology.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

What McCarthy Means for Pro-Romney SuperPAC

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Recap from It's a Free Country.

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Jane Mayer, New Yorker staff writer, discussed the career of Larry McCarthy, one of the most successful negative-ad makers in history, who is now working for the pro-Romney SuperPAC Restore Our Future.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Why No Work Should Equal No Pay for Congress and the President

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

'No Budget, No Pay' proposes that Congress wouldn't get paid if they didn't pass the budget and the 13 appropriations bills on time, by Sept. 30, each year.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

If you're involved in the education reform movement, you've probably heard of Valerie Babb. She is the Director of the Charter Parent Action Network at New York City Charter School Center. City & State named her one of their 40 under 40. She has butted heads with Dr. Hazel Dukes of the New York State Chapter of the NAACP. Now Dr. Babb has her sites on improving the work and image of the education reform movement. She is in Albany today and will be dropping by the Plywood Hut to chat about the issue.

On the Capitol Pressroom last week Senator John DeFrancisco (R – Syracuse) accused the New York Public Interest Research Group of shilling for the Democratic Party since the group was more critical of the Senate's newly redrawn district maps, than it was of the Assembly's. Bill Mahoney of NYPIRG has a few things to say about that.

And we continue the conversation on hydrofracking from two perspectives:

Deborah Rogers is the founder of the Energy Policy Forum (www.energypolicyforum.com).  She's also served on the Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas since 2008. She was appointed in 2011 by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to a task force reviewing placement of air monitors in the Barnett Shale region in light of air quality concerns brought about by the natural gas operations in North Texas. She also joined a regional steering committee for the Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) in 2011 with responsibility for economic questions.

Ken Smith, Cornell Cooperative Extension director for Chenango County, will cover latest developments of natural gas in New York, as well as some of the issues that farmers will face if fracking goes forward.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Takeaway

New Report Uncovers Suspicious Earmarks

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Nationwide confidence in our lawmakers is at an all time low. And this news isn't like to change that. More than 30 members of Congress have used over $ 300 million in earmarks and other spending to fund many public projects close to their own properties. That's the finding of an extensive investigation published in today's Washington Post. The Post also found 16 lawmakers who had sent tax dollars to places where members of their families work or serve on boards.

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