4:24pm

Wed December 7, 2011
All Politics are Local

Occupy Protesters Occupy McConnell's Office

Occupy protestors, labor groups and unemployed people from across the U-S took their message to Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell this week. Hundreds of demonstrators descended on Capitol Hill asking Republicans to stop blocking bills intended to help who they call the nation’s “neediest citizens,” like extending unemployment benefits and the president’s jobs bill. Ashley Howard, who's an unemployed mother of two, spent Tuesday sitting in McConnell’s personal office with about twenty other protesters.

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4:20pm

Wed December 7, 2011
Lexington/Richmond

No Replacements for 40 Retiring Firefighters

Forty Lexington fire department employees are expected to retire by the end of the year.  That’s double the number which was anticipated just a few months ago.  The news prompted some tense discussion Tuesday at city hall.

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4:11pm

Wed December 7, 2011
All Politics are Local

McConnell Backhands Fellow Republican

During a press conference Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., took jabs at a fellow GOP lawmaker for introducing a bill that raises taxes on wealthy Americans to extend the payroll tax cuts. The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Susan Collins, R-Me., and would put higher taxes on millionaires and oil companies while renewing the two percent cut for workers. Anticipating that her fellow Republicans would continue to argue that any revenue increase would hurt small businesses, Collins highlighted the bill also extends a 2 percent cut to employers on their first $10 million of payroll.

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4:09pm

Wed December 7, 2011
State Capitol

Lawyers Want Suspension of Kentucky's Death Penalty

Government officials in Kentucky are facing mounting pressure to consider a moratorium on the state's death penalty. An American Bar Association report calling for a halt to executions now has the backing of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. 

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4:09pm

Wed December 7, 2011
Middle East

A Brutal Detention, And A Defiant Syrian Activist

This summer, NPR told the story of a young man in Syria who worked a regular job by day and was a protester by night. At the end of that story, the activist made a prediction that was later tweeted to thousands of people: "One day my time is coming. Until the world realizes what's happening in Syria, they will try and get us all."

Many weeks later, his prediction came true.

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4:06pm

Wed December 7, 2011
The Two-Way

As Protests Face Hurdles, Gorbachev Calls For New Elections In Russia

Reuters reports that today protesters in Moscow faced a huge increase in security presence that essentially stopped a mass protest against last weekend's parliamentary elections.

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4:05pm

Wed December 7, 2011
State Capitol

Final Preparations Underway for Inauguration

Inauguration ceremonies for Governor Steve Beshear and Lt. Governor-elect Jerry Abramson are less than a week away and organizers are making final preparations. Bob Stewart, Executive Director of the 2011 Inaugural Committee, says work has shifted from planning to execution. 

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4:01pm

Wed December 7, 2011
Author Interviews

A New Look At The Man Behind U.S. Cold War Policy

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 5:55 pm

For much of the Cold War, George F. Kennan was America's best-known diplomat and a leading Soviet scholar. His reputation was based in large part on the 1947 essay he wrote on containment, the Cold War policy that said the U.S. should neither forcefully confront nor meekly appease the Soviets.

Rather, the U.S. should seek to contain Soviet expansion, power and influence in the belief that the communist system would eventually collapse on its own. The U.S. largely adhered to Kennan's road map until the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991.

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4:01pm

Wed December 7, 2011
Middle East

Islamist Parties At Odds In Egypt's Ongoing Elections

Egyptian soldiers stand in front of campaign posters for candidates from the hard-line Islamist Salafist Al-Nour party, in the coastal city of Alexandria.
AFP/Getty Images

As the Egyptian elections roll on over the course of several more weeks, the incoming parliament looks likely to be dominated by Islamists. But the two leading Islamist blocs have little in common and are doing their best to undermine each other.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists do not get along in Alexandria's working-class slum of Abu Suleiman. Outside one polling station, the tension is thick as campaign workers for each group's political party hand out fliers.

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4:00pm

Wed December 7, 2011
Planet Money

Can Eurozone Countries Actually Follow Their Own Rules This Time?

Protestors in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens in 2010, demonstrating against the EU's Growth and Stability Pact.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

When the euro was set up in the late 1990s, the Stability and Growth Pact clearly spelled out the criteria for membership: Countries could not have huge debts, and they needed to keep deficits small. And there was no question — the rules explicitly excluded a little country named Greece.

"If you asked someone in Europe whether Greece would join the eurozone, the answer would have been you are mad, " says Loukas Tsoukalis with the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.

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