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Local News Politics

Medal of Honor Recipient Dakota Meyer Sues Defense Contractor

Medal of Honor recipient and Kentuckian Dakota Meyer is back in the news. He’s suing defense contractor BAE Systems. Meyer worked for BAE, but took issue with the company’s plans to sell thermal sniper scopes to Pakistan.

Meyer says BAE responded to his concerns by ridiculing him. He left BAE in May for another firm, but says his BAE supervisor told his new employer that Meyer was mentally unstable and had a drinking problem.

“BAE disputes Sergeant Meyer’s claims, but they’re not disputing them in specific,” said Wall Street Journal reporter Julian Barnes on today’s Here and Now. “They said they’ll wait for a court filing to do that.”

When I spoke with Meyer earlier this year, he said he had worked for a defense contractor but wasn’t treated well. He declined to discuss the matter further. 

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Here and Now

Gingrich Leads Poll, Tea Party on Romney, Ear X-Tacy Closure on NPR, Future Classics: Today on Here and Now

Some highlights from today’s show.

1:06pm Because of his long career in politics, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he’s ready for the scrutiny that comes with being at the top in the polls.  The GOP candidates head into another debate tonight where Gingrich is expected to come under attack because of his newfound frontrunner status.  Mitt Romney unveils his first TV ad in New Hampshire, where President Obama pushes for an extension of his payroll tax cut.

1:11pm Newt Gingrich is the 6th candidate to rise to the top of the polls, as the GOP continues to search for an alternative to Mitt Romney, who’s still considered by analysts the most likely to win the nomination.  Mark Meckler, co-founder of one of the largest Tea Party groups, Tea Party Patriots, told the LA Times that if Romney becomes the GOP nominee, “it would cause a drop-off of enthusiasm.”  So how likely are Tea Party activists to turn to a 3rd party candidate in the general election?  And what does the Tea Party want to hear in tonight’s debate?

1:20pm Forty-eight years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. We revisit a conversation Robin Young had with her neighbor, Priscilla McMillan. A community activist and scholar, McMillan was a speech writer for Kennedy in the 1950s. Then in 1959 as a reporter in Moscow, she spoke to a young defector, Lee Harvey Oswald. After Kennedy’s assassination, McMillan’s desire to find out more about why he was killed led her to befriend Oswald’s widow Marina, and write the book “Marina and Lee.”

1:34pm As part of the month-long series, “Hard Times: A Journey Across America,” NPR’s Debbie Elliott covered John Timmons and the closing of Ear X-Tacy.  We’ll hear the feature.
WFPL News coverage of Ear X-Tacy

1:40pm 50 Years From Now, What Will Be ‘The Classics’? We remember the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, I Love Lucy, the Wonder Years and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger from decades past. What – if anything – will go down in history from our era?

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Here and Now Local News

Child Poverty in Kentucky, David Kessler on the American Appetite for Sugar: Today’s Here and Now

Here’s what we’re planning today on Here and Now:

1:06pm: Speaking to a supporter in Iowa this week, President Obama said he would announce “a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs and to control our deficit.” White House officials say that announcement will come in September. There is a strong debate within the White House over the specifics and the approach — with some aides arguing for a more combative stance on economic issues; others, like senior political advisor David Plouffe making the case for a pragmatic strategy to appeal to independent voters.
Guest: Binyamin Appelbaum, Washington Correspondent for the New York Times.

1:12pm: From caramel sauce for apple slices in a child’s fast food meal to whipped cream on top of a cup of coffee — Americans are surrounded by super-sweet, high-in-calorie-‘extras’. David Kessler is the former head of the FDA and has written about how the American palate craves sweet things. He’s the author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.

1:40pm: The latest Kids Count report shows that child poverty is growing in Kentucky and across the US. But there’s some good news, too. We’ll talk about the report, and we’ll get a local perspective on the Kentucky numbers.
Guests: Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO, Annie E Casey Foundation; Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

2011 Kids Count Data Book

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Here and Now Local News

Wednesday Here and Now

Here’s what we have planned for today at 1pm: Senate Democrats are proposing an end to tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies as a way to help bring down the deficit. It’s not going to help gas prices, but it will bring in about $21 billion over ten years. Republicans oppose it.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will soon allow the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. A majority of the denomination’s regional governing bodies has agreed to lift the requirement that unmarried clergy remain celibate. We’ll spend a few minutes with Cynthia Bolbach, the Moderator of the 219th General Assembly.

The Berea City Council held a public forum last night to consider amending a local ordinance that would extend civil rights protections to residents based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Only Louisville, Lexington and Covington have those laws on the books in Kentucky. We’ll find out what happened.

And we’ll speak with National Book Award finalist Gail Mazur. Her latest collection of poems, Figures In A Landscape, was written as her husband, the artist Michael Mazur, was dying.

Here and Now starts at 1pm.

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Here and Now Local News

Thursday Here and Now: Oaks and Derby, Bullying, and Time to Cut Pakistan Loose?

Here’s some of what we’re getting ready for today’s show:
What Does Bin Laden’s Death Mean For The Afghan War & US Military? Defense analyst and author Tom Ricks says because Osama Bin Laden was found hiding in plain sight in Pakistan “the jig is up” and the U.S. should curtail relations with Pakistan. We’ll explore the consequences of that with him.

Three high school students are expected to accept plea arrangements today in a Massachusetts courtroom in the case of Phoebe Prince. We’ll look at what’s going on in state capitols around the country to stop bullying.

We’ll also look ahead to Oaks and Derby. And a memoir of homesteaders who wanted to get away from it all, but couldn’t leave their family problems behind.

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Here and Now Local News

Here and Now Thursday: Judy Green’s Ethics Hearing, Southern Storms, Veracity in Creative Nonfiction

Here’s what we have planned for today at 1pm: A hearing into allegations surrounding Metro Councilwoman Judy Green is underway at this hour at Metro Hall. WFPL’s Political Editor Phillip M. Bailey is there covering the hearing live on our Twitter feed @wfplnews and he’ll speak with us live to bring us up to speed.

The death toll is still climbing as search and recovery efforts continue in five southern states after a series of tornadoes swept through yesterday. More than 120 people were killed in Alabama alone. We’ll get the latest from the scene, and some perspective on these storms.

And as news surfaces today of more inaccuracies in Greg Mortenson’s book “Three Cups of Tea,” we’ll talk to a Kentucky author about the sometimes complicated relationship between storytelling and truthtelling.

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Here and Now Local News

Here and Now Wednesday: Rain and Floods, the Obama Birth Certificate, West Louisville Neighborhoods

Here’s what we have planned for today at 1pm: The White House has released the long form version of President Obama’s birth certificate, showing that Barack Hussein Obama II was born at 7:24 pm on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital, within the city limits of Honolulu. Speaking today, the President said he hopes this will settle the issue for most Americans, adding that we do not have time for “this kind of silliness.” We speak with Rick Klein, senior Washington editor for ABC World News, and host of the ABC News political webcast “Top Line.”

MSD Executive Director Bud Schardein gives us an update on the city’s continuing battle with the rising Ohio River, and we’ll ask him how prepared the city is for a really big flood.

The Louisville Metropolitan Housing Coalition is hosting a summit tomorrow to talk about two problems plaguing the city: falling housing values, and the lack of affordable housing. It’s a problem citywide, but it’s most stark in West Louisville, where census data shows housing in parts of the California and Portland neighborhoods is 27% vacant. We’ll discuss the problem and look for solutions.

And here’s a sure sign of spring in the eastern US – spring leeks, also known as ramps.  They grow wild and foodies love them — love them so much they are in danger of being over harvested. Chef Kathy Gunst visits a place in northern New England that is bursting with ramps.

WFPL News Here and Now begins at 1pm.

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Here and Now Local News

Today on Here and Now: Floods, Google… No Connection Implied

Coming up at 1pm: The Midwest is bracing for several more days of torrential rain after powerful storms hammered Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee and of course Kentucky yesterday. The Ohio River crest in Louisville is expected sometime tomorrow, and more heavy rain is on the way tonight and tomorrow. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers might use explosives to breach a levee in Southeastern Missouri to reduce pressure on the Mississippi River, but that would flood 130,000 acres of farmland. The levees have breached in two places in Poplar Grove, Mo., and we’ll talk with that town’s mayor.

Also this hour, Steven Levy says Google’s best years might be ahead of it. The Senior Editor of Wired magazine has written “In the Plex” about the rise of Google – he’s speaking at the library tonight – and he’ll be speaking with us starting at 1:35pm.

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Here and Now Local News

WFPL News: Today on Here and Now

Here’s what we have planned for Here and Now at 1pm: it’s turned out to be a pretty nice day, but there’s more rain on the way and the water is rising, flooding the riverfront and jeopardizing Waterfront Wednesday and some Derby events. MSD held a news conference a couple hours ago. We’ll get an update.

With the final week of the Indiana General Assembly, the possibility of a 6% tuition increase at the University of Louisville, and a hearing into the allegations surrounding councilwoman Judy Green… we thought we should get a look ahead from our news team, so we’ll chat with Political Editor Phillip M. Bailey and News Director Gabe Bullard.

Also this hour, we’ll remember the work of photographer Chris Hondros, who was killed in Libya last week. And we’ll talk to a linguist from Yale who is taking a census of American dialects. The result is a map of how English varies with geography, ethnicity and across time.

Tuesday sneak peek: Author Steven Levy will be in Louisville tomorrow to talk about his new book “In the Plex.” He’ll drop by for an extended interview on Tuesday.