Monday, August 31, 2015

Tully Piece Reveals Depth of Sugar's Interest in Gubernatorial Run

Tom Sugar
Photo from
John Gregg just elbowed out Glenda Ritz and Karen Tallian in the race for Governor. Will he also have to elbow out Tom Sugar, a friend and longtime aide of Evan Bayh's?

The Indianapolis Star had written an article on Sugar possibly running back on August 7.  A couple of days later, the Star’s Matt Tully sat down with Sugar, and it sounds like he might be settling in on a run. Sugar also sat down with WRTV last weekend.

Sugar has been pushing a major plan to end gerrymandering in Indiana and make the playing field more level for voters, but he also clearly has ideas on other parts of state government, too.  He's a senior Vice President for Complete College America, so education must be close to his heart.  

Tully’s piece is here.  The August 7 piece is here.

Why would Sugar consider a run now that John Gregg has just removed the other candidates from the field?  The answer is...why not?  There are some Democrats out there who, for whatever reason, don't like John Gregg as the nominee. If Sugar can shore up enough support, raise enough money, and make a good case, he can certainly challenge Gregg.

What Democrats don't need is just another Evan Bayh clone.  The Indiana Democratic Party has spent the last four or five years trying to find the next Evan Bayh.  We are in the situation that we are because so far we have not found that 

To his credit, Gregg has shored up a lot of support out there. He’s gotten some serious support from labor groups and party insiders. With that said, Gregg’s the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. With the cash he's raised, he's a very serious frontrunner, and that has to figure in to anyone that's running's mind.  

Gregg's become a much stronger candidate in this cycle.  Just last week, he was in all corners of the state continuing to raise money and let people know that he's not just the guy with the two first names and a mustache.  Gregg's already running a general election campaign.

Friday, August 28, 2015

No Post Today

My schedule caught up with me.  I was so tired last night that I came home and fell fast asleep.

That means that I did not get anything up on the blog.  I apologize.  

See you Monday.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ramos vs. Trump; This One Might Stick

Jorge Ramos
Donald Trump may have finally gone a step too far by tossing Jorge Ramos of Univision out of a news conference because he didn’t like his questions.

Granted, Ramos was allowed to return and ask Trump about immigration policy, but tossing Ramos is the equivalent of tossing Lester Holt from NBC out. Ramos is a well-respected and well-known journalist especially in the Latino and Hispanic community.

Can you imagine if during the next Presidential News Conference that Barack Obama tossed Major Garrett of CBS News out because he didn’t like the question he was asked. That’s something that could have happened just last month. Obama had a bit of a standoff with Garrett over the way he asked a question about American hostages being a part of the negotiations for Iran nuclear disarmament. I thought Garrett’s phrasing may have been off, but it was a legitimate question and one a respected journalist like Garrett had every right to ask.
The President was visibly angered by the question, and he let Garrett know that he didn’t like the question, but he answered it. It’s the dance a future President must go through with the news media. The news media can be your best friends when you want them to cover something, but they can also make your time in the White House extremely uncomfortable.  You can’t lose your temper and toss someone from a news conference simply because you disagree with their line of questioning. 

As the LA Times points out, Ramos is certainly not the member of the media to mess with.  Snarky Trumpism send offs like “Go back to Univision,” are neither welcome nor appreciated. Ramos is a serious journalist and has earned that respect.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Last Week Tonight Takes on RFRA, LGBT Rights Fight

John Oliver has carved out a unique place among the comedy show genre with his HBO show.

His show, Last Week Tonight, has placed itself somewhere between the Daily Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and an investigative news show.  The last few weeks, he's really been hitting it out of the park.

Take for example this offering from his latest show.  In it, he takes up the cause for LGBT rights and argues that the federal government should write it into code.  It's really an excellent segment that takes up the cause for LGBT rights and against things like RFRA.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bullets Fly in Indy Leaving Behind Few Answers

Indianapolis had a bad weekend.

Several shootings have left questions that the next Mayor will have to answer, and those answers are just not very clear.

How do you strike a balance between the Second Amendment and the proliferation of legal guns in our city?  What is the first step in solving a crime issue that only seems to be getting worse?  These questions will confound our city leaders.

To me, it's unacceptable to have innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire of violence.  That's what happened in at least one case this weekend.  Some in our city pretend on one hand that the violence is ok because it's just criminals killing criminals.  In the very next sentence, they will say that violence is not ok and that we need to take extreme measures to stop it.

You can't have a city with a wild west mentality, but you also can't have Tombstone where Wyatt Earp takes all the guns.  So, we're stuck in the middle.

Ten Point Coalition leader and local Pastor Charles Harrison believes it's time in Indianapolis to try new policing methods such as stop and frisk.  That makes many concerned about the Fourth Amendment implications as well as the possibility that stop and frisk can be used to profile.  Plus, I just don't know if IMPD has the staff to pull off stop and frisk operations.

That's not the answer, in my opinion.  I still think the answer lies in going to every youth center, school, school function, neighborhood, street corner, park, and anywhere else in the city and spreading the message that solving differences with a firearm just isn't a smart thing.  Once you shoot at someone, those bullets don't come back, and they can devastate lives.

Some don't care about the consequences, and, for them, we need to keep getting them off the streets and hopefully keeping them behind bars.  Maybe it is time to explore reasonably tougher sentencing for gun crimes.

The thing is that we need a crime fighter who is ready to declare war on illegal guns in our streets.  So far, we haven't heard much from Chuck Brewer.  The next Mayor will need to have credibility on this issue, and that's Joe Hogsett.

Monday, August 24, 2015

In Memoriam: Justin Wilson (1978-2015)

Justin Wilson, 1978-2015

IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died on Monday in a hospital in Pennsylvania.  He suffered injuries on Sunday at the Pocono 500 after he was struck by crash debris from another car.

Wilson's loss is particularly hard to take.  A part-time driver in 2015, Wilson was set for a full-time ride again with Andretti Autosport in 2016.  He was really a great race car driver that often took equipment other folks could do little with and brought it home safely and in a far better position than anyone thought possible.

He was known for his height (6'5") and his big smile.  He always seemed to have a positive outlook on life and in racing even though his talents often went unappreciated by owners looking for drivers with deeper pockets.  He was deep on talent, and it was about to pay off with a solid ride for 2016.

Wilson won seven Champ Car/IndyCar races, and he scored one point in Formula One competition.  On August 2, he came home second in the race at Mid Ohio Motorsports Park.  It was just his fifth start of the IndyCar season.  In 2013, for the chronically under funded Dale Coyne Racing Team, Wilson drove home fifth at the Indianapolis 500, his best finish in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

I did not know Justin, but I will always remember him for his class and his excellence.  People that knew him seem to universally have liked him and respected him.  He leaves behind two young daughters, a wife, his parents, and his brother, Stefan, who also is a race car driver.

Whenever a driver passes, I'm always reminded of the words of the great broadcaster Sid Collins who eulogized fallen driver Eddie Sachs who died at the start of the 1964 Indianapolis 500.  Before the race restarted, Collins's over-the-air eulogy included the following passage:

"We are all speeding toward death at the rate of 60 minutes every hour, the only difference is we don’t know how to speed faster and Eddie Sachs did. So since death has a thousand or more doors, Eddie Sachs exits this earth in a race car. Knowing Eddie I assume that’s the way he would have wanted it. Byron said 'who the God’s love die young.'"

Like Eddie Sachs, Justin Wilson was 37.  Godspeed to our racing friend.

Dickerson Joins Hill in Battle for U.S. Senate Democratic Nomination

John Dickerson
Photo from Facebook
If you haven't heard, Baron Hill has picked up an opponent for the Democratic nomination for Senate.

Back on August 15, John Dickerson, the recently retired Executive Director for the Arc of Indiana, threw his hat in the ring promising a bi-partisan approach to Indiana's problems.

I don't know Dickerson, but there are many people in my circles that do.  They seem extremely excited and much more fired up about Dickerson's campaign than the campaign of Hill.

Hill's advantages are some of Dickerson's disadvantages.  Where Hill has an established record, name recognition and supporter base to call on, Dickerson is starting from scratch. That could be an advantage for Dickerson, too.  He doesn't carry the Congressional record nor baggage of Hill.

Again, I was struck by the enthusiasm I saw from my friends on Dickerson's campaign.  One of those friends is news maker herself, Kathy Davis.  The former Lieutenant Governor made headlines when she resigned from Joe Donnelly's campaign as his treasurer over his Planned Parenthood vote.  Davis was present at Dickerson's announcement signaling that she must be ok with his views.

On the GOP side, Congressmen Marlin Stutzman and Todd Young are in the race with former Mitch Daniels staffer and Indiana Republican Party Chair Eric Holcomb.  The Indiana Senate's favorite tweeter, Mike Delph, is also thinking about joining the race.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Lugar, Donnelly Back Iran Nuclear Disarmament Deal

From the politics sure makes strange bedfellows department, Indiana's current and two prominent former U.S. Senators are split on the Obama Administration's deal to disarm a nuclear Iran.

For the deal are former Senator Richard Lugar and the man that took his seat, Senator Joe Donnelly.  Against the deal are former Senator Evan Bayh and the man that took his seat, Senator Dan Coats.  Welcome to Indiana, right?

As far as the specifics of the deal, you can go look them up, but the voice I most trust on the issue, Lugar, says he believes that this deal has the ability to bring stability and peace to the Middle East when it comes to Iran for the next 15 years.  Lugar, like President Obama, believes that if we pull out of the deal it will fall apart.  So far, Great Britain, France, Russia, and other major countries are backing the deal.

There is major division in the Senate, and Lugar responded to that criticism on MSNBC.  He said, "There is extreme partisanship in Washington, but extreme partisanship does not work well in a dangerous world."

Lugar was the longtime Chair or Ranking Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He helped rein in loose nukes throughout the former Soviet Union, and he also famously negotiated a deal to bring an end to Muammar al-Gaddafi's nuclear ambitions in Libya which briefly brought that crazy dictator back to the world stage after years of exile.

In the same MSNBC interview, Lugar argued that without this deal that war with Iran becaomes a very scary possibility and that pulling out of the Iran deal would, as President Obama has said, leave future Presidents with little choice but to go to war with the oil rich country.

All things being equal, I'll go with Lugar and Donnelly on this one.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hogsett Ready to Enlighten Darkest Neighborhoods

Indianapolis has a moratorium on street lights...who knew?

Joe Hogsett wants to end that moratorium and bring some light into some of the toughest neighborhoods across Indianapolis.  Here is his latest ad.

Immediately, supporters on the other side of the aisle attacked Hogsett's plan saying that it's not realistic nor is it affordable.

My point would be that anytime Mayor Greg Ballard wants to do something, he tends to find the funds.

One only needs to look at the World Sports Park for an example.  Supporters swear up and down that the facility is used, but $5 million for a park with rugby, cricket, and gaelic football?  Seriously?  How many street lights would $5 million buy?

I found online that streetlights in the City of Santa Monica cost in the neighborhood of $4,800.  Let's assume $1,500 in labor to install it...just for fun.  That's about 940 streetlights for the cost of the World Sports Park.  I don't stand behind those numbers, but they are what I could find out there.  If anyone has better numbers, let me know.

Regardless of the cost, I think the benefit would be safer neighborhoods and safer people.  That's amazing enough.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Carmel Loses Nerve

Mayor Jim Brainard
Amid a crowd full of riled up citizens, Carmel's city government lost its nerve last night.

A proposal to pass an ordinance protecting LGBTQ citizens from discrimination that had the support of six of seven City Councillors and Carmel’s Mayor was stopped, at least temporarily, by its opponents who say that it would somehow violate their religious freedom. 

The proposal now goes back to committee where it will get its first hearing on Thursday. It’s expected to be watered down now, and who knows if it will keep any bite at all.

You have to give the opponents credit. Neighborhood groups can tell you that nothing scares a politician like a room full of mad individuals, and it appears that the opposition mounted a charge like you wouldn’t believe. According to what I saw on Twitter, many that spoke against the ordinance did so with an appalling hate, intolerance and lack of understanding. Even WIBC’s Tony Katz was there to speak out against the ordinance.

Maybe it was a bad idea in retrospect to ram this through quickly by Mayor Jim Brainard, but I hope that the ordinance now goes through the proper channels and emerges out the other end ready to pass through like a Carmel roundabout. 

Other cities in Indiana have done it, and I know Carmel can too.