Monday, December 22, 2008

The Blogosphere

Well, as you can see, it's been difficult for me to find time to update my blog at regular intervals, and I appreciate those of you that have had patience with me. I also appreciate those of you that seem to have enjoyed what I've written here these past few months. I will try and be a better resident of the blogosphere in the up and coming months, but I can't guarantee anything. Likely, I will continue to blog here when I have the time (likely more of a summer thing for a teacher) to do so and try to hit the big controversies. Every time I see Phil Hinkle, he admonishes me for not updating as often as I should, so Phil...I'll try to do better in 2009.

I plan to blog on President Bush's victory lap here in the next few days. I watched a ridiculous interview on CSPAN where he talked about the difficulties of his Presidency. There was enough material there to really tick me off, so I'm getting my thoughts together on that. I also kind of missed the shoe-throwing incident.

It's been the end of the semester here at school, so finals had to be graded and grades had to be turned in. Regardless, those are all excuses.

I just want to wish everyone out there in the blogosphere a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season no matter which holiday you celebrate. I celebrate Christmas even though I'm a bit of a questioning Christian these days. Anyway, that's fodder for a whole other blog.

I just try to live my life the best way I can. I care about others and I try to give of time and effort when I can. I guess those are "Christian values." I just hate labels.

Well, enough of this rambling. Again, happy holidays to you and yours. Stay warm and safe!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Hybrid Dilemma

No, it's not a new Bourne movie. Mayor Ballard and the city have found themselves in some hot water over the decision to put some non-pursuit vehicles on the roads as Toyota Hybrids.

First of all, I applaud the move by the city of Indianapolis to save money by going to hybrid cars. Hybrids do save gasoline, and they are more efficient than the gas guzzlers that have been prowling our streets for years. That's not really all this story is about, though.

Indianapolis still has a large stake in the auto/transportation/manufacturing industry. Many of our families have had something to do with the American auto industry. My father, for example, made extra money in the summers in younger days by working at the Allison's Plant on West 10th St. My grandfather was a tool designer for International Harvester until the day he died in 1972. I have a great uncle that worked for Chrysler. I have other friends that work for Chevy.

With that in mind, it was the city's decision to go with a foreign nameplate over an American nameplate at a time that the auto industry that, in many ways, helped to build this city needs any help that it can get. The city passed over the Car of the Year, the Chevy Malibu, in favor of more expensive Toyotas claiming that the car is more fuel efficient and will pay dividends in the future.

That may be a good argument, and, again, I salute the city for going the route of the Hybrid, but it just smells wrong. I know that many Toyotas are put together right here in Indiana, but these are non-union jobs. Our union workers need the help right now. Unions have helped build this country by advocating for strong member economic benefits. It's just sad that our city would choose a foreign nameplate over one that has been as American as apple pie for years.

Makes you wonder what will happen at the ballot box next time...especially if all those General Motors workers and UAW members have long memories.

I looked at cars this past summer, and, after driving Fords, Toyotas, and Chevrolets, I chose the Chevy Malibu. I've been extremely happy with it. Chevy is making good cars now. It's a shame that the current incarnation of Chevrolet and General Motors is saddled with that stigma of the past. Our city had a chance to put its support behind the slumping auto industry, and Mayor Ballard...YOU FAILED!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obama's Team Looks Familiar--So What?

I keep hearing this constant roar of rancour directed at President-Elect Obama from both sides of the aisle attacking him for turning to past administrations of both parties for his cabinet, and I'm thinking...SO WHAT?

SO WHAT that he's selected Clinton appointees for several positions. Wasn't it Clinton that changed Washington in the early 90's and, with the help of the Republican-led House, moved people from welfare to work, closed the poverty gap, gave us a surplus instead of a deficit, and left a cabinet-level terrorism czar in the hands of his successor? WOW! That guy was horrible.

SO WHAT that he's apparently decided to keep Robert Gates on the job. Isn't Gates the anti-Rumsfeld who has suggested draw-downs in troop levels in Iraq? Isn't Gates the one that implicitly backed Obama and not McCain in their plans for Iraq?

SO WHAT that he's naming Hillary Clinton Secretary of State, if you believe those reports. Weren't some of the people that are whining over this selection the same people that were begging for her to be selected Vice President. Arguably, the Secretary of State is a more important policy position than VEEP...unless your name is Cheney.

SO WHAT? SO WHAT! Obama's still at the top of the ticket. It's his boat to drive, and he's captaining the selection of a capable, qualified cabinet. It doesn't look like there are any horse show judges here. SO WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?

The people elected Obama to change Washington. Shouldn't we give him our confidence...especially when nearly nothing is official and he is not even in office yet?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Post-Election Stock UP Stock down

STOCK UP
George W. Bush-That's right. I put STOCK UP for George W. Bush...why? First of all, he trumped and surprised everyone by quickly inviting Obama in to the White House for the transition meeting. Everything out of his mouth in public has been magnanimous and classy. Plus, once he's out of office, his stock can only go up. That is unless a fillibuster-proof Democratic Senate and the huge majority in the house decides to investigate the inner realms of his shadowy administration. Let's assume no bombshells fall, Bush has nothing but time to sit on his ranch...pet Barney...and rehabilitate some semblance of a personal reputation.

Evan Bayh-Senator Bayh managed to walk the tightrope between Hillary Clinton supporter and late-coming Barack Obama supporter. If you listened carefully to his speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Indianapolis, you heard a man that was already bridging the gap between the so-called Democratic divide. Once Obama became the Democratic Party choice, Bayh was one of the first of the Clintonites to abandon the SS Hillary and come aboard the Barack Express. It greatly improved my somewhat cold fish opinion of him in the past.

Howard Dean-That's right...Howard Dean took us to North Carolina...then to Indiana...then to New Mexico...then to Nevada...then to Ohio...then to Florida...then to Washington to take back the White House YAHHHHAAAA!. In the meantime, he rescued his reputation as 2004's Ron Paul and has turned it into a highly successful turn as the Democratic Party Chair. Now, he's back in line to run for President. In fact, many plays of the Obama playbook (see fundraising) were originally in the Dean playbook. The difference...Obama's lack of volatility on the campaign trail.

Indiana Democratic Party-The Indiana Democratic Party morphed itself into the Campaign for Change and delivered Indiana for Obama in spite of so-so leadership. For more...see Stock Down.

Liberalism in America-The old scare tactics didn't work, and Senator Obama (the most liberal Senator in the United States Senate according to John McCain) was elected to the nation's highest office. It's good to be a little left of center again.

Sarah Palin-Yes. Her stock is up. If you measure it from one year ago, no one outside of the Great North knew her. Now, everyone knows the lady is nuts. The scary thing is that now she has four years to turn herself into a candidate. I don't think the winking is over yet. Thanks to John McCain's impulsiveness, Sarah Palin...airhead that she might be...is the front-runner for the 2012 nomination today. Republicans...wake up and smell the Huckabee...he's a much better right wing standard bearer.

The Kennedys, the Nixons, the Goldwaters, and the Eisenhowers-All of these folks backed Obama. The last three are most surprising, but...perhaps they just got tired of seeing what the GOP had become. Looks like we've seen the last throes of the insurgency that took over that party.

Mayor Cory Booker of Newark-The Rhodes Scholar and Yale graduate has become a new force in politics. He was everywhere in the days leading up to the election, and he has made the tour of the talk shows since. With a general lack of controversy and a fine record as Mayor, it makes sense that Mayor of Newark likely isn't the last stop for this (unbelievably if you've seen him) 39-year old rising star.

Governor Mitch Daniels-Surprising margin when you look at where the polls were for the months leading up to the collapse of the economy. Looks like the reverse Obama-effect happened here. People saw Jill Long Thompson as a unknown quantity and Mitch as the sure thing. At the state level, it worked in reverse.

Andre Carson and the Marion County Democratic Party-The party that had lost the Mayor's race one year ago went Episode 5 and STRUCK BACK. Carson and Treasurer Mike Rodman took 60 plus percent of the vote. Surveyor-elect Deb Jenkins, Coroner-elect Frank Lloyd, and Circuit Court Judge-elect Lou Rosenberg all dusted their opposition. Thank God Ed Treacy's back. Hopefully he's here to stay.

Dennie Oxley-The Ox man rarely was mentioned as the Hindenburg of Jill Long Thompson's campaign crashed and burned. He got a lot of experience and can definitely hold a crowd with his oratory. If he can clean up his views on gay marriage, I think he might be a good candidate for Governor in 2012.

The Democratic Primary Process-It went all the way to the end this year. Obama visited Indiana 49 times! That beat McCain by 46. In the end, the divisive primary benefitted the Obama Campaign in the General Election. Many independents knew Obama despite what the Republican line on him was.

stock down
Joe "the Plumber" Lieberman-Okay, I merged two here, but they have something in common. Joe the Plumber masqueraded as an everyman plumber looking to get ahead. The news media found out that he was an unlicensed plumber who owed back taxes and would get a tax cut under Obama's "Spread the Wealth" plan. Joe Lieberman is a former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate that has a liberal record on social issues such as abortion and civil rights but suddenly became the darling of the right as someone that could work across party lines. Now, Joe the Plumber's clock reads 14:59:59, and Joe Lieberman can't get anyone in the Democratic Party to sit with him at lunch in the Senate Commissary. So much for Joe-mentum.

Dick Cheney-At 12:00 on January 20, he becomes Mr. Irrelevant. He can slink off into some undisclosed location, lock the door, and hook up battery cables to his unmentionables. He probably does that for fun.

Rick Davis, Karl Rove, and anyone else involved in Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns-The uniters divided, and now...they're gone! Vanquished! The Republican brand they took on is in shambles and pinning its hopes to the winkin', smilin', Hockey Mom of the Great North. Gotta love those odds.

Indiana Democratic Party-What could be seen as delivering the state for Obama is actually deceptive. While many of these folks did a spectacular job, the fact is that Obama flooded this state with volunteers, attorneys, field offices, paid staffers, money, resources, money, volunteers, commercials...etc. The Indiana Democratic Party managed to turn Barack Obama's victory into...status quo in the U.S. House. A terrible loss in the Governor's race. A one seat pick-up in the Indiana House. Status quo in the Indiana Senate and in the state offices of Superintendent of Public Instruction and Attorney General. What's really scary is that Mitch now controls the State School Superintendent. Sue Ellen Reed was not a "yes Mitch" kind of person, so now he's got his man in there. Basically, the party that partially turned Indiana blue gave us four more years of Mitchie-poo. GRRR. Hopefully, the Indiana House will stand up and not allow Mitch and his friends in the Senate destroy public education.

Jill Long Thompson-I still love you Jill. I voted for you in the primary. I contributed to your campaign, but it was a struggle in the General Election. I could have worked harder for you, but it just didn't seem like your campaign did you justice. I wish you the best! To my friends on her campaign staff, good luck! In the end, Jill gave voters outside her base little reason to stay with the Democratic ticket.

Jim Schellinger-The vanquished JLT opponent in the primary showed himself to be a bit immature, in my view, by not even smiling and waving with JLT on the campaign trail. He did send out a letter apparently to county chairs pledging his support. Still, he did little. The question is...what's next for this guy. Will anyone support him given his aversion to play the game and support JLT?

John Edwards-Watch out for John Edwards, though. His stock is down now, but this is a likable guy that already has apologized publicly for voting for the Iraq War. He can rehab his reputation and be a candidate again for something.

Fox News-The champions of the right will now become the loyal opposition network. Still, it was priceless to see Droopy Dog...er...Brit Hume announce that Ohio went to Obama on Election Night to Karl Rove. That made my evening.

Republican Primary Process-Turns out neat and tidy made it more difficult to grab headlines. While everyone saw endless Hillary vs. Obama coverage and actually got visit after visit from the D's, the R's were left with the leftovers.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Advance Indiana Refuses to Publish My Comments Again

Over at everyone's favorite freak show...known as Advance Indiana or Regress Indiana from what he's advocating...Gary Welch, the blog's owner and author has published a claim so outlandish that it might just qualify for Oddball on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

He's published an entire blog about how Barack Obama's best selling memoir Dreams of My Father was actually ghostwritten. That's a pretty big unsubstantiated claim. He goes on to claim that the ghostwriter was one...BILL AYERS!

In a comment to his, frankly, wack job post, I quoted tennis great John McEnroe. McEnroe was famous for his on-court demeanor. Every once in a while when a ball would land out that he thought was in, he would turn to the umpire and say, "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS."

I thought it truly fit the moment. I then went on and expressed my opinion about his crusade against Obama. Unfortunatley, he didn't agree with my opinion. He didn't post my comment.

His right...it's his popcicle stand. Still...when I leave comments and he doesn't publish them...they're going on here.

BREAKING NEWS-Will your early vote count?

No need to panic yet, but Marion County Democratic Party Chair Ed Treacy reported tonight at a Democratic Ward Chair Meeting that a Republican lawyer/Mitch Daniels appointee to the Indiana Gaming Commission has filed a lawsuit against the Marion County Election Board to have what Treacy estimated to be 70,000 ballots cast in early voting be classified as provisional ballots.

A hearing is scheduled for this morning at 10:00 a.m. (Thursday) in Marion County Circuit Court. Ted Sosin is the sitting judge. Sosin, a Republican, is on the ballot for Marion County Superior Court. Of course, the judges were elected at the primary.

Treacy didn't have much more information, but former Executive Director of the Marion County Democratic Party and current Campaign Manager for Linda Pence, Joel Miller, said that the Help America Vote Act has protections for early balloting.

I asked Treacy if anyone who voted early should be ready to "beat their ballot to the polls" on Election Day, and he indicated we should all cool our jets until the courts take a look at it. Apparently, not only are Democratic attorneys working on the situation, but Barack Obama's attorneys are looking into the case as well.

Details still to come. Stay tuned to your local media for more!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Decatur Township Politics

I live on the southwestside of town. It's a place where the Democratic Party has long been the also-ran. There are tales of a great Democratic past...except no one can really remember when that was. The last Democrat to hold an office here was Danny White on the Township Advisory Board in 2000. Since then, we've come close...but we have been thwarted in our attempts to win office.

Today, we stand on the precipice of an important moment. If Decatur Township can go blue...even just one or two seats on the Decatur Township Advisory Board, it will show a monumental step forward for our fledgling party here in Decatur.

The process hasn't been easy. There were great Democrats involved in the process long before I got here. Many of those folks are still involved today!

In 2004, we missed taking a Township Advisory Board seat by 78 votes. In 2006, Steve Terrell got 47 percent of the vote for Small Claims Court Judge, and Joyce Fitzpatrick got 43 percent of the vote for Decatur Township Assessor.

2008 is a chance to make a huge move forward here. Led by a strong ticket with a strong candidate at the top of it, Decatur Township is hoping that Obama's coattails can carry Democrats into three seats on the Township Advisory Board.

It's so important to have this happen because several family clans have had their hands on the seats of power in the party of power here in Decatur for seemingly eons. It's time for Decatur Township voters to take a stand and make a change in Decatur Township.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am running in Decatur Township Advisory Board in District 3. My main campaign issue has been openness and accountability. The current Advisory Board down in Decatur is full of nice people with good intentions, but the job is too important. Taxpayers and constituents deserve much more here in Decatur.

Basically, I see three major problems with the current board:
1.) Information is not readily available. Do me a favor, go to http://www.decaturfire.org. See if you can tell who is on the Advisory Board. See if you can tell when and where the Township Advisory Board meetings occur. If you get really frisky, call the Trustee's Office and request an opportunity to see something that is available to the public such as board minutes.

2.) An unwillingness to consider anything having to do with consolidation of services. There are currently things the Decatur Fire Department does in conjunction with IFD. Is there anything else that we can do? Can we save the taxpayers money? We aren't talking slashing anyone's budget or losing anyone's fire service. It just makes sense to keep a somewhat open mind about things.

3.) Failure to connect with constituents. Time and time again at a public forum held by the Decatur Township Civic Council. Incumbent Township Advisory Board members kept saying that they weren't aware that constituent services were suffering under their own leadership. That's just being out of touch with the taxpayer. The minutes obtained show that virtually no one attends the meetings. Beyond that, almost every board meeting since 2005 has had one or more Township Advisory Board members missing and not in attendance. They get paid an exhorbitant amount of money to do the job yet a few members clearly can't fit it into their priorities after being elected.

All of these problems...then they go to forums and talk in public about keeping township government because it's the government closest to the people. I say...why keep township government if it isn't accountable to the constituents.

My solutions:
1.) Utilize the website and be hospitable. Post the meeting dates on there with the caveat to always check the Trustee's Office door for updates. Not all meetings are necessary, after all. The voter shouldn't have to, as board member Joe Griffith said, "Work for it," to find information. The board should be WILLING to provide information so that the constituents don't have to work for it! Beyond electronic means, send news releases to the local papers about board activities. Send news advisories about upcoming meeting dates and times and have the meetings in places where people can attend easily. The upstairs meeting room at the Decatur Township Government Center is not accessible, so the meetings occur downstairs in the Trustee's Office. Besides the seats around his conference table, there is a three-seat couch.

2.) Open the can on consolidation and see if we can utilize it. If not, close the can and kick it away. There are case studies locally on this. Washington and Warren have consolidated fire service with IFD. Can we make a difference?

3.) Be good neighbors. You shouldn't have to join the Civic Council the night of a Candidates' Forum! In the interest of full disclosure, some Democratic candidates did that. Township government can be utilized well if it is closest to the people. If it's not, people won't care and the board will live in a vacuum. Sometimes the BOARD has to "work at it" to get the info it needs.

We'll see what happens! We're fired up and ready to go with A FULL SLATE OF TOWNSHIP BOARD CANDIDATES IN DECATUR TOWNSHIP.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Watch the "QUOTATION FINGERS" Senator McCain

As if Joe the Plumber wasn't annoying enough, Senator McCain is now out there and out of touch as ever by using "quotation fingers" a la Dr. Evil of Austin Powers fame. He is using these "quotation fingers" in a way to punctuate Obama's tax cut plan as a "spread the wealth" branch of socialism.

First of all, John McCain wants to "spread the wealth" too, just among different wealthy people. The Obama camp is saying that McCain wants to give the average Fortune 500 CEO a $700,000 tax cut. That wealth then...assuming the "trickle down economics plan" would then be put back into the system as investments that would eventually benefit us all.

"Trickle Down Economics" is "Spreading the Wealth" Senator McCain. Perhaps you would like sharks with freakin' laser beams or perhaps a rotating chair. Perhaps someone should throw you a frickin' bone here. You're the boss...need the info. Maybe you can turn the moon into a "Death Star" and destroy those parts of America that aren't "Real America" as you and your running mate Governor Palin keep talking about.

We could "go on from here" with that. I'm just waiting for one of the TV news shows to bring up a split screen of Dr. Evil and John McCain using the "quotation fingers." Just shows you how "out of touch" Senator McCain is with "reality."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Special Guest: Sarah Palin

Again, fresh off her latest gaffe, Sarah Palin e-mailed me and said she wanted to leave some more thoughts. Here goes:

Greetings all Indianaians,
I'm so pleased that Jeff gave me this blog space to talk about somethin' that's been said on the dusty campaign trial.

You see, I've been goin' around to the best places in America, the places where real Americans live and have bonfires and sing songs. I've been travelin' this great country meeting real people and hearin' there stories.

Well, the other day, a member of the liberal media asked me another gotcha question. It was a third grader, and they asked me what the Vice President does. Well, you might remember that when asked that question in June, I couldn't really answer it. So, I'll be honest, I cheated and I called the current Vice Presidential man Duck Cherney.

Cherney told me that the Vice President IS ACTUALLY THE PRESIDENT but he just can't make it appear that way. He told me that you just can't be sayin' that on the campaign trail. So, he said to tell people that the Vice President's job is complicated.

You see, I don't know what complicated means, so when that liberal third grader who hates America asked me that horrid question through that other liberal media member, I began thinkin' back deep in my brain and doggone it...I couldn't think of anything.

I remember from my beauty queen high school days that the Vice President has something to do with the Senate, and so I said that the Vice President runs the Senate. Turns out, I may have been mistakin'.

It appears that the American government sees America in a different way than we conservatives from Alaska named Palin do. You see, in my world, it's about stopping Putin who rears his ugly head in Alaskan airspace, job creation, and energy independence. It's about sendin' the Palin-McCain ticket to Mars and to Jupiter and even to bringing Pluto back to our solar system after it was stolen by that horrible man Osama bin Laden. You see, I was sellin' what we want to do short. John McCain is a superhero, and he has given me great superpowers to help him in his quest to bring the solar system back together.

So, when I said the Vice President runs the Senate, I was talking about making them work out more. Some of those people need to run more. My husband Todd and I are going to bring out the snowmobile and keep those Senators like Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi in good shape.

Well, again, I'd like to thank Jerry for allowin' me to use his b-log space. I just can't wait to serve America and help the Senate get back into shape in Washington. Well, I have to catch a helicopter and go wolf hunting. Peace up...A town down

Your friend,
Sarah

Monday, October 20, 2008

Win or Lose...Someone Owes Me a Yard Sign!

My neighbors...God love 'em...those pranksters. For at least the seventh time, I had my Barack Obama yard sign vandalized in my yard. I could understand the Obama sign being vandalized more if it were the only sign in my yard. It's not!

I have signs for Debbie Jenkins (Surveyor), Richard Wood (State School Superintendent), Some Easter guy (Township Board), André Carson (7th District Rep.), Mike Rodman (Treasurer), and Jill Long Thompson (Governor). A few weeks ago, all were damaged...but most of the time...it's the Obama sign that's the target.

One time, I actually had my sign stolen. I don't know where that one ended up, so I replaced it. That sign stood unmolested, but I decided to try it again with a new Obama/Biden sign. Wouldn't you know...a week after being placed in my yard...the sign was bent all to heck. None of the other signs were touched in the attack.

A friend of mine had a similar experience in her yard. So, I guess it's official. People are scared of Barack Obama yard signs and all the plastic they represent.

I refuse to be intimidated by these juvenile adults. What they don't know is that everytime my Obama yard sign gets knocked down, I will replace it. It's like a rubber tree. I just hope I catch them in the act someday soon!

Monday, October 13, 2008

This one's for Phil

My friend, and, yes, I do have Republican friends, Phil Hinkle always talks to me about updating this blog more. Well, I tried to do this and keep it up the best I can. But, Phil, since you asked, here you go.

I know that you are busy in your re-election campaign for your seat in House District 92 against probably (apologies to others before) the best challenger you've ever faced. Stephanie DeKemper is doing her best to unseat you, and it's tough for me because I like you both. I met Stephanie a few months ago, and I believe she's bright and is working very very hard to beat you. Will it be enough? I don't know. I see your yard signs everywhere, so I know you have a great number of supporters.

Your family and mine go way back. I went to kindergarten with your daughter, and your kids and I grew up with the same babysitter. Your wife did her best to teach me PE. If you've seen me lately, I apologize to Mrs. Hinkle that I did not learn more. She's a great teacher...in fact one of the best I've had.

Phil, you are a good man. I know you know how politics works, so you know where my allegiance likely lies in that race (I don't live in your district, though). Still, win or lose, I hope that when this race is all over that we can continue our long friendship. I wish you luck on Nov. 4th and beyond.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

McCain is just rude and weird

Okay, so I'm still watching tonight's debate, and I have no idea what the pundits will talk about. I think Senator Obama is doing fine, and I think Senator McCain has scored some points. Still, I think his manner and actions are just odd.

When Senator Obama is talking, McCain is wandering around the stage. He's making faces at the crowd, standing up behind his chair, erratically moving around.

This brings me to the conclusion that...based on demeanor...Barack Obama is the more even keel guy of these two. While taking McCain's shots, Obama has so far with a couple of exceptions sat and watched politely. McCain is acting like a cat on meth!

Weird...just strange.

Here are my picks!

<p><strong>><a href='http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008/pick-your-president/'>2008 Election Contest: Pick Your President</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the 2008 presidential election and enter to win a $500 prize.</p>

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Palin=Cheney (without the experience and with personality)

Tonight's VEEP debate was just flat out scary. We saw Governor Sarah Palin folksy her way through the debate throwing zingers at Joe Biden and regurgitating talking point after talking point. She answered few questions directly, but the one she did answer showed a window into her own mind.

Moderator Gwen Ifill asked the candidates about Dick Cheney's screwball view that the Vice Presidency exists in two realms of government...the legislative and the executive...because of the Constitutional responsibility to be President of the Senate. Again, this is Vice President Cheney's view, and we all know what a spectacular VEEP that Mr. Cheney has been.

But, Sarah Palin told Ifill that she would like to see the Vice President's role expanded! She wants MORE POWER! The Mayor of a town that whose population would fit in Lucas Oil Stadium SEVEN TIMES and the Governor of a state whose population is smaller than the City of Indianapolis now wants MORE POWER to the Vice Presidency where she may ultimately serve.

This just will not stand. Joe Biden missed a huge opportunity to swing a haymaker at Palin here, and it would have had nothing to do with Governor Palin. After the current occupant of the office has consistently overstepped his bounds, Governor Palin should want to RUN from anything he wanted to do. Instead, she chose to directly answer this question with a direct yes.

Up until that point, Palin had done a pretty good job. Biden had been okay, and that's all he had to be. I thought Biden drove home a pretty good point that Bush and McCain are pretty much the same. Still, he could have said that Palin's answer to Ifill's question was disturbing.

Biden played pretty good defense all night, and I thought he scored a few points. Most of all, he did no harm. I'm not sure the same could be said of Governor Palin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

If Sarah Palin wrote for this blog...

My fellow Democracieans or whatever your guys call yourselves...you know what the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom is....lipstick.

That joke never gets old. I am drowning in appreciability that Jon has stooped aside and has allowed little old me...Joe Six Pack...to write on his blog. Until yesterday, I'd never heard of a blog. In fact, I thought it was something you made out of moose dung.

Well, tomorrow I get the chance to debate old Joe Bayh. I think he was a great governor of Indiana, and I think his debatability will be of the most difficultness to be defeatable. People tried to trick me and say he was formerly the Mayor of Delaware, but I set them straight.

All I can say, it's been an educationable experience out here on the campaign trail. I've met lotsa people and talked to lotsa Americans. What can I say? Everything's been as great as when I told Congress "No Thanks" on the Bridge to Nowhere and sold the state's plane on E-Bay.

I've been a little disgustable at times...especially when Charlie from the Chocolate Factory interviewed me. Also, Katie Kurric wasn't very nice when she asked me what I read on a regular basis. Of course, I read stuff. Goodness! There's the Moose Digest and the Wasilla Wailer. I also read that Juneau newspaper to find out what Ju-neau...hahaha. I love that joke. People told me that I need to read Time and the National Review, but I don't waste time with that. Soldier of Fortune was really good this month.

Well, I'm off to take down some wolves from my helicopter to relax b4 my big moment tomorrow against Senator Byed-in...or Bayh...whatever you call it. In fact, I need to look that name up, and I'll get right back to ya.

It's been a pleasure talkin' with ya. I've got some crammin' to do. Goodnight!

Monday, September 29, 2008

$700 Billion Reasons to Love André Carson

Today, André Carson did something perhaps a freshman Congressman shouldn't do. He stood up against his own party's wishes and helped to sink the $700 billion "economic rescue" bill. By doing so, Carson (and five other Indiana colleagues including Visclosky, Hill, Buyer, Pence, and Burton) stood up for taxpayers and home owners in his district.

It just goes to show you how much this current economic crisis has split our country. Carson said in a press release that he wanted more protection for home owners...especially in cities like Indianapolis. He said he understood the need to do something, but he felt this bill wasn't it.

So, Congress goes back to the drawing board. It's a strange day when I agree with Dan Burton, Steve Buyer, or Mike Pence, but I do today. This bill is nothing more than a Wall Street bailout. I'm just antsy about buying all of this debt. I don't think our country can handle it. It's scary!

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I don't think it was this bailout. I thank Congressman Carson for standing up for me and all taxpayers.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Great Debate

I think John McCain just ended any chance he might have had to get any of the minority vote. By making a concious effort to not look at Barack Obama at last night's debate, he may have inadvertently or purposefully have ticked off an entire block of voters.

This is just my opinion, but I thought McCain's actions were completely distasteful and just plain odd. How can you not look at your opponent? It just makes no sense.

Of course, Senator McCain's actions over these past few weeks make no sense. He has said repeatedly that the fundamentals of our economy are strong. He has said he would fire the SEC chair...something for which a President has no authority to do. He has "suspended" his campaign to go to Washington only to stay in New York City for almost an entire day while his campaign went on. When he got to Washington, he didn't speak to Chris Dodd, the Senator negotiating a bailout deal for the economy. The deal fell apart. He said that he hadn't read the three page document outlining the White House's bailout deal after he indicated that he had read it a few days before. His campaign refused at first to let reporters in on Sarah Palin's meetings with world leaders. He left Washington to go to Mississippi without a bailout deal...something he said he wouldn't do. The list goes on.

So, is this the guy we really want as President? A guy that won't recognize an enemy? A guy that during negotiations might not even look or talk to someone. COME ON JOHN!

Show Obama some respect! He might just be your President soon, Senator McCain.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Revisionist History

Many Democrats are running around pushing against the referendum to eliminate elected township assessors by saying that this is a Republican power grab and that it is only now coming to fruition because Democrats hold the majority of the township assessors offices in Marion County. I say they are rewriting history.

About four years ago, someone first put forth this plan for smaller, more efficient government. His plan would consolidate city and county services such as police and fire departments. The plan also was to eliminate township assessors, township trustees, township advisory boards, and township constables and finish Unigov (with the exception of the excluded communities and the airport authority). You might think the author of this plan was a Republican bent on ending Democratic rule...if you said that, you're wrong. This is the Indy Works plan of one Mayor Bart Peterson.

Mayor Peterson took his plan to the State House, and the Republican-dominated legislature along with our Napoleon Mitch Daniels fought him tooth and nail. They dissected the plan and passed parts of it on to local governments to decide but gave the authority to the City-County Council to consolidate the police department. Soon after, IMPD and the Marion County Sheriff's Department were relaunched as IMPD. Township Fire Departments are starting to consolidate led by Washington and Warren Townships.

It was only after the property tax issue festered into a full blown infection and after hearing the advice of a bi-partisan commission led by former Governor Joe Kernan and Chief Justice Randall Sheppard that Mitch Daniels and the Republicans became smaller government reformers and suddenly started pushing a plan...TO ELIMINATE TOWNSHIP GOVERNMENT!

In short, no. THIS WAS NOT A REPUBLICAN POWER GRAB. IT WAS MAYOR BART PETERSON'S INDY WORKS PLAN...and...it makes sense!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Township government is not necessary! It is wasteful, and it adds taxing districts and dollars to your property tax bills! Township government was created in the days where it might take you a half day to hike into town to settle a fence dispute. It's the reason why many states have gotten rid of township government. Mayor Peterson's plan did carve out some leeway for large townships such as Center.

The same people now arguing against the plan are saying that Mitch Daniels wants to consolidate everything under appointed offices. If you read the plan, the Governor wants to consolidate everything under ELECTED COUNTY OFFICIALS. You know where I stand in the Gubernatorial race. I will not vote for Mitch, but I have to give the man credit. He's right on this particular issue.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Gubernatorial Debate

I didn't get to hear or see it all, but what I heard of last night's debate between the three Gubernatorial candidates makes me wonder if Mitch Daniels doesn't have more than just Jill Long Thompson to worry about.

Andy Horning easily gave the best debate performance running circles around the two major party candidates with his down home charm and one liners. Horning has done this before having been the Libertarian candidate for Congress and Governor in the past. He also ran on the Republican ticket for Congress in 2004.

Horning is truly a bright, nice guy that comes across so well on the screen. While Mitch was busy putting lipstick on the pig (and I don't mean Becky Skillman) that is his record and Jill Long Thompson was trying to jab Mitch long enough to get his guard down so she could hit a haymaker, Horning just kind of stood there...smiling...and pointed out the relative hilarity of it all.

If Horning gets some cash, he will siphon some votes away from Mitch. These are the folks that would never vote for a Democrat but that aren't happy about Mitch either. Horning provides them a solid alternative. That means...a vote for Andy is like a vote for Jill...but don't tell them.

Despite the evidence to the contrary, Governor Daniels continues to come across as Polyanna. Perhaps Nero...fiddling while Rome burns around him. If Daniels passes gas, it must smell like roses. If he were a painter, I'd expect floral scenes. Mitch, as Dennie Oxley likes to say, is living on "Fantasy Island," and he's managed to even hypnotize Matt Tully into praising his record as Governor.

Regardless, the best line of the night did belong to Daniels, who after saying Jill Long Thompson wanted to return to past policies that he believes aren't moving the state forward (like his are?) that Andrew Horning would be looking "even further back then that."

Horning, unruffled by the Governor's one-liner, said he did want to go back to the past to get back closer to the Constitution. He shot back a glowing endorsement of the Constitution as, I believe he said, "The greatest thing humans have ever done."

With Horning in tow, this thing could still get interesting. Jill Long Thompson still has yet to go hard negative in her ads. This is something Joe Kernan never really did. Mitch doesn't like to have shots thrown in his way, and I think there's big potential for him to have a meltdown and call Long Thompson a "car bomber" or something like that. I think he already used that line, though.

The Momma Vote Watch

Well, after writing a few weeks ago about how my mom was going to vote for Barack Obama, she's returned to the John McCain column. She said essentially that she just can't trust Obama and that McCain is the known commodity.

She said her mind is still open to what happens at the debates, though.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And now...a public service announcement

Well, in case you didn't hear, NFL player Chris Cooley, a tight end for the Washington Redskins revealed two pages of his playbook and...how do we put this delicately...well...his "little friend?"

There's nothing political here. Just a little humor in this tough economic time.

It was apparently a complete mistake that Cooley did not realize until well after he had posted it. It may say something about him that the mistake was apparently not easy to see. I'll let you fill in the joke from here.

Bottom line...if you're blogging and taking pictures. Don't hold something on your lap when you are unclothed. I promise to uphold this simple rule.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mitch on Education

To watch Mitch Daniels' latest series of ads, you'd think our schools were out of control places where teachers are afraid to discipline students and are full of not necessary non-teaching positions. The situation on the ground is quite different, I think.

Mitch and his Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate, Tony Bennett, and Fuzzy Zoeller's brother, the AG candidate, appear in an ad talking about this crazy discipline free place called a school. I'm in the trenches every day at the state's largest and one of the most schools, and I've never been afraid to break up a fight or discipline a student. Not once.

You see, what Mitch fails to realize is that we have something called a teacher's union. We pay dues to this union to help defend us in the event a parent sues us. Mitch is advocating a state law to "put discipline back in the classroom." He hasn't been clear about what that means. I feel I have all the tools at my disposal to keep my class under control.

The biggest way you keep a class under control is not through discipline. It's through caring, building relationships, and making students realize that you respect them. Now, every once in a while, you need to get in there and remind students that you are in charge. It requires what Dan Fogelberg calls in his song Leader of the Band, "A Thundering Velvet Hand."

His other claim is that 46 percent of positions in public schools are teachers. The rest he doesn't get really specific about. I can't tell you what the ratio is at BD, but if you added up all the administrators, all the custodians, all the bus drivers, all the secretaries, all the paraprofessionals, all the security officials, all the others, too...you probably would be close to a 50-50 split.

Please realize, I'm not being critical here of our administration. They are doing what they can under what cards they have been given. I just want to point out what's actually happening in our schools under Mitch Daniels' leadership. Currently, Ben Davis is short staffed in the custodial and secretarial pool. We are short on lunch servers. We have one maintenance person assigned to four buildings. We have two full time computer technicians responsible for two buildings. We are teaching six classes as teachers. Secretaries are working for multiple administrators. And, yes, we have cut back there too! We have fewer administrators today than we have had in a while. Departments have been combined reducing the number of department chairs. Still, there's a huge budget shortfall coming up. Where do you cut? You can't have one custodian, one lunch lady, one secretary, and one principal for a building of 3,500 kids...that's what our governor seems to want.

Is the MSD of Wayne Township like every district? Probably not, but I think our district has done a tremendous job trying to survive in this hard economic time. Contrary to what Mitch believes, it does take administrators, custodians, secretaries, IT people, security, etc. to run our schools.

Mitch wants to focus on discipline. The Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Richard Wood wants to focus on students. "Student Learning is Job One" is his slogan. Dr. Wood has it right. Mitch, Tony Bennett and the Republicans have it wrong.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11

I love news. I crave it. I watch it. I talk about it. I'm a news junkie, but there's one day a year that I can't bear it.

That day is September 11. It's not that I don't respect what happened that day, but it's because I am someone that can't really handle seeing the footage of that fateful day over and over and over. I still jump when I see the fireball at the World Trade Center, and I've avoided the specials that tell about why the towers fell. I still see the smoking Pentagon and the crater in Shanksville, PA. I don't need old news footage to remind me of the cloud of dust and running crowd both kicked up by the falling towers. I can still see it all in my head.

I didn't see the planes hit live. I was at Ben Davis High School on hall duty. ISTEP testing was taking place. I was grading papers and putting things in my gradebook. The choir secretary walked up and asked me if I had heard what was going on in New York. She said something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center towers.

I thought it must have been a small plane that somehow became lost and off track, but she said that it was a jet liner. I immediately thought that certainly something must have been wrong. Something must have caused the jet liner to get off course and run into the building. Certainly, it must have been pilot error or mechanical problems. Of course, we now know that it was not.

I sat there for a few more minutes. I noticed some commotion down the hall at the bookstore. I walked down the hall, and the bookstore people were crowded around the radio there. I asked if they were getting updates about the accident at the World Trade Center. By that time, the second plane had hit. I knew that this was no accident now.

Briskly, I walked back and gathered my things. I asked to be excused from hall duty and returned to my post. While I enjoy blogging, my job as the General Manager of WBDG at Ben Davis High School pays my bills. I thought that if any day would be the day to activate the Emergency Alert System that this just might be it.

On the way back to the station, I saw our principal, Mr. Dave Marcotte. He was in his first few weeks as principal at Ben Davis, and I just kind of shook my head to him and asked him if he could believe this was happening. He informed me that the Pentagon had been hit and that the White House and Capitol Building had been evacuated. My mind started to wander to other things as I walked to my office in the station. What would happen if they started attacking state capitals? Who was responsible for this?

I made a couple of phone calls on arriving back at the station. The first was to my house to wake up my roommate. He worked late and had been sleeping in. The second was to my parents in California. They had been visiting my cousin and had tickets to fly out that night. Of course, all airline traffic would soon be grounded.

It was about that time that I heard the South Tower of the World Trade Center had collapsed. I remember asking myself if this could be true? A mighty tower like that one had collapsed? Certainly, I thought, it couldn't have all the way collapsed. I pulled out an old TV left from the old TV Studios at Ben Davis.

We were under construction, so my only option was to try to get an over the air signal. The only thing I could find that I could pick up was Fox News Channel. Once I got the TV situated for a clear picture, I was shocked. The Twin Towers were now no longer twins. The smoking North Tower was the only one standing.

I cut normal programming about this time without realizing that one of the last songs to play before I cut normal programming was "Fly Away From Here" by Aerosmith. As I was describing the scene to the listeners by watching it on TV, the North Tower fell. I remember saying with almost a deadpan delivery, "It's falling. The North Tower is falling right now."

Shortly thereafter, I noticed at the bottom of the screen that another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. This, of course, was United Flight 93.

For a while, I'd play a song or two, pull copy off the Associated Press wire, and go on the air. I was the only person in the station because our juniors and seniors would not arrive until after ISTEP testing ended. So, I did that for a while. That was until the AP offered the opportunity to join a telephone update feed. We did that at about 11:00 a.m.

When the kids arrived, I stationed one student in the studio to monitor the phone feed. Then, I set up the TV, and we just watched the story unfold. One student had a grandmother that worked in the Pentagon. Luckily, she wasn't in the crash zone and was fine.

The rest of the day passed in a blur. I just remember the silence in the air. I have lived near the airport almost all my life, and there were no plane sounds…none in the air…nothing. It was eerie. Driving home, I remember seeing people lining up at gas stations.

What I remember most was the uncertainty. Where will we go? What does this mean? Will we ever recover?

I'd have to say that I haven't really recovered from 9/11. It changed me. The image I still see in my brain is the tight shot of the top of the North Tower starting to move downward. I see it like it was yesterday.

In my mind, I sometimes imagine what it must have been like for the passengers of the planes. I sometimes imagine being in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or in that Pennsylvania town watching these jets coming at you. It's still an open wound all these years later on my psyche. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but 9/11 will always seem to me like it happened yesterday.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I'm Back...McCain & Palin Reactions

After throwing up a little in my mouth while listening to Fred Thompson drone on for what seemed like hours, Joe Lieberman drone on for what seemed like more hours, and Rudy Guiliani deride community organizers throughout the land, my expectations for the speeches of John McCain and Sarah Palin were pretty low. I was actually kind of impressed.

Still, the Republicans are good at pointing out that this year's election is about more than just speeches. The speeches of the two at the top of the Republican ticket, in restaurant terms, were long on appetizers and short on main course.

John McCain said some good things. I appreciated his willingness to seemingly take on his own party. We saw flashes of a Maverick that Goose would be happy to see. Still, Goose is dead. And, this Goose could be cooked. McCain needs to get heavy on specifics. I think that his speech laid out a very good start for him. It took a somewhat moderate and adult tone that soared in spots but hit enough of the Republican talking points to make me nervous. No one can deny that McCain has a very strong personal story, but I think he missed his moment by eight years.

Sarah Palin may have her moment in eight years, but her speech, while well delivered, showed she has a long way to go to sit in that big chair of the #2 in the West Wing. Touting her credentials as a small town mayor and a small town governor do nothing for me. Then, she derides Obama's experience as a community organizer. What are her qualifications for the job? Conservative? Mother? Mayor? Governor? I respect her as a mother. I can respect her as a Conservative. I can't respect her credentials as a small town mayor and small state governor. It was hard to watch her speech with a true straight face. That said, she showed that, after she loses this race, she will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. She is eloquent and can deliver a great speech...wait...does that sound familiar?

The fun begins soon. The debates are on tap. Can't wait! Let's get this thing on!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

On Hiatus

The blog is going on hiatus for a few days while its owner attends to some family issues in Florida. We should return soon! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sarah Palin-the Unvetted Trump Card

Sarah Palin is John McCain's trump card, but who knows if he has played it correctly or whether the card is high enough in the deck to trump Obama's ace.

She no doubt has some strong personal positives. She's young. She's a maverick (when it comes to bucking the party establishment). She's conservative (which will play well in the Republican Party). She's apparently tough. She's a mother who is dealing with a full plate right now with five children. She seems to be in a loving relationship with her husband.

All positives aside, she's unvetted, untested, inexperienced, and potentially the worst VEEP pick in the history of VEEP picks. She's potentially John Tyler...an unknown quantity.

In his own way, Tyler ended up being something good for the country when he became President. He was supposed to be just a part of the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too," but the Whigs quickly found out they had issues. When President William Henry Harrison died, the Whigs scrambled to try to install a new President because the Constitution was fairly unclear and ambiguous as to what Tyler's role was to be early on. Those loopholes have, of course, been pretty much closed by subsequent amendments. Still, the Whigs found out that John Tyler was a guy that was more than just "Tyler Too" with his own agenda and thoughts about his Presidency.

"His Accidency" as he was known ended up firing most of his cabinet and being run out of the Whig Party. He was not renominated, and one of our greatest Presidents that no one knows, James K. Polk became the Commander-in-Chief on a rare one term only pledge. Polk worked himself nearly to death as President dying just a few months after leaving office. That's another story.

Still, you get the feeling that John McCain may or may not know what he's gotten this country into...just like Old Tippecanoe. Now, I don't expect Senator McCain is going to be giving an hours long inaugural address without a coat and hat, but, at 72, you could argue that he perhaps should have picked someone that could step into the office on day one if necessary. I don't wish him ill, but you just figure that he should have spent more than one meeting and one phone call to Palin to see if she wanted the job. Maybe he did.

Still, I just don't believe that anyone knows exactly who Sarah Palin is. We haven't met her. We don't know her. She's not a household name. She was Governor of the least populous state in the U.S. One that is probably most unlike any other state in this country.

All of that doesn't mean that she won't make a good Vice President. After all, for most of its existence, the VEEP sits around and waits for something bad to happen. There have been very few Al Gores or Dick Cheneys in history. Heck, Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton when he was Vice President. I don't think Sarah Palin will be challenging anyone to a duel.

Still, she might. She remains the largest question mark in the history of modern politics. Someone with less big time political experience than even Dan Quayle. It's a risky choice that makes Obama and Biden look like the tested ticket. I can't imagine casting a ballot for McCain/Palin. I can't trust McCain's judgment, and I can't even think about Palin a heartbeat away.

She will be once she accepts the nomination Wednesday night. In the unlikely event of a Republicans win, I'll be praying that John McCain's lapse in judgment doesn't cost us all.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Jill Long Thompson's New Ad

Have you seen Jill Long Thompson's new ad?

The ad starts off with Jill talking about the promise of the state and how it's being deferred. Then, the real star of the ad, a mock-up of Mitch Daniels' RV-1 drives through the screen while real Hoosiers talk about problems in the state. The last screen shows RV-1 heading for the hills as someone asks something like "How come that RV never stops where there are problems?"

Is the ad clever? Yes. It may be too clever for its own good. Maybe I've left the reservation and am in the wilderness, but if you replace Jill with Mitch, it could be seen as a Mitch Daniels ad. The Jill Long Thompson campaign seems to be in denial that the Governor is trying to portray himself as a change agent this time around. If you don't see the whole ad (like most people that flip back and forth through commercials) you might think the ad was a spot for Mitch.

I say let's hold Mitch accountable for what he says in his own ads. When he's sitting at the kitchen table thumbing his coffee cup talking about how taxes haven't gone up, let's get that footage...turn it black and white...and tell the truth to the voters. Jill Long Thompson knows how to go negative, and I just don't agree with this ad's tone or the decision to go this route.

I really like Jill Long Thompson, and I really believe she would make a great Governor. We simply don't need this kind of kitschy style. It's serious business, and Jill Long Thompson is a serious candidate. I believe her to be much more effective taking on Mitch Daniels head on. I just feel like we need to challenge him with what he's said and done. How he sat while knowing the inventory tax repeal would put the burden of taxes on the property owners. How he sold off our state's assets one by one. How you actually NEED two jobs to replace the one you lost.

Maybe more of these ads are coming later, but this style of ad...needs to go. If you're going negative, don't go cutesy.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Praise of André Carson

Since March, André Carson has been working in Washington for the 7th Congressional District. He has missed just 10 votes over two days. Those days were the day before and the day of the Primary Election. His performance in Congress chased off the first Republican nominee, Jon Elrod, who is hanging by his fingernails in the Indiana House with Mary Ann Sullivan likely to take the seat in November.

The Republicans were so sure they could beat Carson that they put up an unknown social worker named Gabrielle Campo up against him. Lots of confidence there! On a side note, I did hear that Campo was up for the Vice Presidential nomination on the McCain ticket until he found out she was too young to serve as VEEP (27 years old).

In all seriousness, André Carson has made all of us that voted for David Orentlicher in the original January caucus eat our votes, and, despite that fact, I've had the pleasure to get to know him and watch him grow as a political force of his own. He has done about as good of a job as you could expect a 34-year old new Congressman to do.

Carson has been able to secure federal funds for IMPD, funds for flood relief, funds for prisoner re-entry programs, and has put his name on legislation to help veterans, homeowners, and small business. To say he has been active is an understatement.

You might think the Congressman may have been ignoring his constituency at home. Still, he has found time to get home and make the rounds. He recently brought down the house in front of 80 Democrats at the Decatur Township Democratic Club. He was one of the Grand Marshalls at the Labor Day Parade. He was at Indy Pride in June, and he's been many other places in the district. This all while he has been running for the office from the day he hit the ground.

It's not a secret why I got active in politics. It was because of André's grandmother Julia. When she was first elected, I was one of the people that bought all the bad things I heard about her. That was until I met her. She was holding a conference on predatory lending. After the event, I went up to her having recently been re-drawn into her district and introduced myself as being from Decatur Township.

"I didn't know I had anyone that LOVED me in Decatur Township. I LUUUVVVV YOU!" she said. After that, my roommate and I became known as her "Decatur Boys." When my roommate moved away, I became her "Decatur Boy." Whenever I would see her she would say, "There's my DECATUR BOY!"

I volunteered with her campaign and actually got to represent the campaign at club meetings on the Southside for a while. That was a lot of fun. Seeing the joy on people's faces and the smiles her name would bring to a room really underlined the impact a great Congressperson can have on a community. It's more than about the votes or the money they bring back. It's about having someone you can relate to in the office.

That's the feeling that I get from Congressman Carson who has forgiven me for my early doubts. He calls me "Big East," and I have talked to him several times in person and on the phone. I don't say this to "name drop" or to show off. I say this because I believe that I'm not the only one with this kind of relationship to André. He has his grandmother's touch with people, and he's done this district proud thus far.

After Obama's speech on Thursday, I texted André and I asked him if the speech was as brilliant in person as it was on TV. I got a text back within minutes, "Yes sir." It's that personal touch that you won't get from a Steve Buyer-type that would rather spend his time toeing the Republican Party line and in Washington than working on issues for his constituents.

For this Democrat, it will be a long long time before I vote for ANYONE other than André Carson. I cast my vote his way in the primary, and I will cast my vote for him again in November. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see his numbers continue to grow and grow as he works across the aisle to become the most popular political figure in Indianapolis.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Who?

Bill Maher pointed out a lot last night when talked about John McCain's choice for VEEP.

Maher said that Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, had just a few years ago been Mayor of a town of 7,000 people. Now, the Governor of our least populous state is one heartbeat away from the Presidency or the Republican nomination for President.

You see, after John McCain accepts that nomination, if anything happens to him (and by no means am I wishing anything but the best to him), Sarah Palin becomes the Republican nominee for President. In a country that has elected George W. Bush twice to the Office or President, it just might be crazy enough to elect someone no one outside of the inner workings of the Republican Party knows much about. Thus, this Conservative politician who has been pictured holding a large assault weapon in a very scary pose, could be the most powerful person in the land.

John McCain has just taken the judgment and experience questions off the table. The Republicans are rushing out talking points to say how Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has exactly the same amount of Gubernatorial experience as Palin and that he was a finalist for Obama's VEEP. Obama didn't pick him. Republicans are also talking about her record as a Maverick who bucks her party. Look up her positions on the issues. Hardly a party-bucker there. The R's tell us that we will fall in love with her story...AS SOON AS WE HEAR IT!

That may be true, but John McCain has just shown he doesn't have the judgment to lead. While Obama could have picked Evan Bayh to try to solidify Indiana, Jim Webb or Kaine to shore up Virginia, or Hillary Clinton to easily mollify all factions of the party, he chose one of the most experienced foreign policy voices in the world in Joe Biden. A man that has been described as a moderate in the Senate and that is a good friend of John McCain. Obama picked a running mate that could step in and be the Commander-in-Chief.

Of course, the fight is at the top of the ticket. The Republicans will say that the Democrats have the President-Vice President choices in the wrong order and that it's McCain that has the experience over Obama. That may be true, but I don't think that this is an experience election. Hillary Clinton tried to run on that platform, and it didn't work. Obama will never be able to match McCain's resumé point by point because he's 47, and McCain is 72. But, when trying to compare Obama's 12 years in the Illinois state legislature and his two years in the U.S. Senate to Sarah Palin's experience as the Republicans are trying to do. It doesn't hold any water. NONE.

It's time to hold John McCain's feet in to the fire on this. By the way, this has nothing to do with Palin's gender. If McCain would have picked Bobby Jindal, I'd be saying the same thing. At least Jindal did serve in the U.S. House. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson was mentioned. She would have been a strong choice. I don't like her politics, but she would have been a credible candidate for the top job if something bad happens.

As it stands now, the "hockey mom" from Alaska is the #2 on the Republican ticket, and I can't help but think the internal workings of the Republican Party may now be regretting nominating McCain over Mitt Romney this primary season.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama Throws Down Gauntlet

Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for President, and he accepted that nomination with a piece of speech writing that will be remembered for years to come.

On a day dripping with significance (the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's speech in Washington), Obama managed to talk policy, attack John McCain, look Presidential, fight back against attacks, inspire, and set a positive course for the future all at once.

Of course, I'm partisan. You may be too, that's why you spend time browsing blogs like mine, but this speech felt different. Perhaps it was the setting, but the 84,000 people in Invesco Field at Mile High saw more than just history. Never before has an African-American accepted a Presidential nomination of a major party in our country, but the true point of Obama's speech wasn't to play this up or celebrate it. What I liked is that Obama managed to get in almost everything he's said in public since the 2004 speech he gave at that Democratic National Convention, but he managed to re-invent himself with new rhetoric. Never before had he been so hard on his opponent. Never before has Obama laid out the amazing need for change so eloquently.

Now, it's off to the Republican National Convention. The Democrats have drawn a stark difference between the parties. Obama, like any good debater, anticipated and refuted the attacks that will be lobbed at him. He basically challenged McCain to come back with his best. Obama knows that McCain's best is nowhere near his.

The most poignant moment of the night came when I called my parents. My parents are both in their late 60's, and they have both been experiencing health problems. When I talked to them tonight, my mom, who is a strong Pro-Choice Republican, said she is probably going to vote for Barack Obama. She said he hit all of her issues especially on health care. My dad also leans Republican, and he said that Obama's speech answered a lot of very important questions. Both of them plan to watch John McCain's speech next week, but mom said it likely won't change her mind. Dad's still undecided and will wait for the GOP party.

Somehow, I have a feeling that I wasn't the only 33 year old male having that conversation with his parents tonight. Perhaps it is time for the Republicans to as Obama says, "Own their failure." If my parents are any indication, the Straight Talk Express could be heading for a quick derailment or a heavy dose of ownership.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Joe Biden, Bill Clinton Reactions

GREAT #2
Joe Biden is a real guy, and he delivered a real speech tonight in Denver. The most important contribution to the campaign may have happened after the speech ended.

A "impromptu" appearance by the Democratic Presidential nominee, Barack Obama, allowed Americans across the country to see Obama and the Bidens together might be powerful political staging.

The Bidens are a strong Catholic family with working class roots. Senator Biden spoke lovingly about his children in the speech and also about his mother and his late father. Who couldn't wipe away a tear when they saw Senator Biden's mother's face full of pride as her boy "Joey" accepted the party's nomination for Vice President?

It was as American as the John Mellencamp music they used to intro the Senator. It had emotional impact. Biden looked like he was so honored to be chosen and nominated. You felt it in his voice and saw it on his face. That is American. Only a guy like Joe Biden would be caught up by this because I don't think he is your typical politican. He's a real guy who happens to speak like a real guy, and it gets him in trouble.

Still, it shows the absolute astuteness of the choice by Obama. He knows that he has huge gaps in his resumé when it comes to experience. Why not go out and choose the youngest Senator that has the most experience? Biden's 65, but he's been in Senate since 1972.

The pick took a risk, and it paid off. Biden scored a number of "real guy" points tonight. When Obama came on stage and mingled, it might have pulled back some of the Hillary Clinton voters that still were on the fence. Obama looked like he was one of the family, and he is.

Biden's speech was well-written. His delivery was okay. But, he landed a number of blows tonight on McCain from the perspective of being his friend. Who knows John McCain better in the Senate? I'm going to say almost no one but Joe Biden.

BILL CLINTON'S SPEECH

We also saw an important torch be passed tonight, too.

President Bill Clinton was welcomed back on to the stage with a rousing ovation. He deserves it. Clinton then went on to link himself to Obama and pledged to help him in every way become the President.

The Clintons have sufficiently repaired their "image damage" left over from the contentious primary season, Now, I hope they put some hip service to their lip service. Obama can't win without Hillary's legion of supporters, and Bill Clinton can help him with Democrats and working class Americans. You have to dispatch the Clintons somewhere carefully, but there's no question that their support solidifies Obama's base. That happened the last two nights.

Now, we're on to the main course. Senator Obama's speech at Invesco Field at Mile High tomorrow night. In the offing is the Republican Convention which could get completely overshadowed by the impending arrival sometime early next week of Hurricane Gustav.

The Republicans will have a very high bar to equal just to get a bump in the polls, I think. We'll see what they have in store, but the Democratic National Convention has been a big success, in my opinion. One more night to go!

Hillary Clinton Delivers!

A night after a stirring and emotional speech by Michelle Obama that hit all the right notes and a stirring and emotional appearance by Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton knocked what MSNBC's Keith Olbermann called "A Grand Slam" right out of the Pepsi Center with her excellent speech.

The speech avoided nostalgia and bitterness. It appropriately attacked John McCain as not right for Hillary supporters or longtime Clinton backers. She made it personal, and she went right for the heart.

It was a skillful and impressive moment for the Democrat that may propel her stock forward in the Democratic leadership in the Senate and perhaps even to a cabinet position in the Obama Administration once he is elected in November. Clinton qualifies for many of the positions in the cabinet, and Obama is almost obliged to offer her something.

Without a doubt, it was one of the biggest political moments for Clinton. She appeared unselfish and even Presidential in her praise for the then-presumptive nominee, but she also completely set up the unbelievably high stakes at risk to be decided in November.

There is simply no way that a person that supported everything that Hillary Clinton and the Clintons have fought for all these years can vote for John McCain. It's not fear. It's fact. How can Hillary supporters vote for McCain now? Hillary did an amazing job at drawing out this elephant in the room.

Last night, Hillary Clinton may have locked up the 2012 nomination for President should Obama not win in November. Of course, that's the cart before the horse, and we can all hope that we don't have four more years of President Bush in the form of President McCain.

Bill Clinton is up tonight. Even though Joe Biden is the headliner, everyone will be watching to see what President Clinton decides to talk about. Personally, I think he will knock it out of the park, too. He knows exactly what is at stake. Still, you can't get over the notion that he can undo everything Hillary did last night.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Liberal Lion Delivers

Tonight, Michelle Obama was the headliner of the Democratic Convention speaker lineup, but it was the old Liberal Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy that stole the show.

In a touching show of willpower, Senator Kennedy stood and delivered a strong speech in support of his colleague, Senator Barack Obama. Kennedy looked spectacular and was more than lucent and strong on stage. It's very clear that this man is a fighter who is battling hard against his brain tumor.

I know Teddy is a polarizing figure, but even Republicans have to stand up and applaud this man on this evening. Senator Kennedy still has it, and I believe him when he says he expects to be back in the Senate in January. The Liberal Lion Roars Again!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama-Biden '08

With apologies to John McCain, I have to say, "Friends, I have my dream ticket."

As many of my friends know, the only other person that I have supported in the 2008 Presidential Election is Joe Biden. I was on Biden's bandwagon until Barack Obama became an official candidate for the office. I have always liked Joe Biden's candor and his willingness to level with the American people.

Biden is also a bulldog who will not back down from a challenge. If the Republicans want to go negative, Joe Biden will fight right back. Senator Obama needed someone like Joe Biden who can brawl with the best. Biden's credentials also match John McCain's political credentials nearly line for line.

It's been a bad few days for John McCain. All signs show that, with the Democratic Convention coming, it's about to get worse for him.

January 20, 2001

What a day in American history! January 20, 2001. Inauguration Day! It was a cold, rainy day in Washington, D.C. Perhaps that day would predict the next eight years. It's certainly been a cold, rainy time for America.

January 20, 2001, I argue, is a day that will live in infamy. It's the day that the first Presidential failure of the 21st Century took office. We're at war...and we're still not sure why. The "Compassionate Conservatism" that gave independents hope has dissolved into a pessimistic drivel of division.

And, while I'm tempted to say, "DON'T BLAME ME, I VOTED FOR GORE!" That would be far too easy. Gore, the rest of us and our Congressional representatives too have allowed Pee Wee to have fun in the Playhouse. We laughed while he couldn't say "nuclear." We shook our heads when he asked, "Is our children learning?" All the while, the knife was being plunged deeper towards our nation's heart by a man that makes Dan Quayle look like Plato. Thankfully, the wounds may not be mortal, but we don't know yet.

I thought our government was here to help us when we need it most. Tell that to the residents of the Gulf Coast. The President has turned disaster relief into a farce. He has promoted his own cronies with few qualifications to lead many important agencies such as FEMA.

As time has passed, I'm sorry that Gore didn't make a bigger fight after losing the 5-4 decision in the Supreme Court. I'm sorry that he didn't challenge all the Florida results. Can you imagine how different things might be today?

I can't be certain, but I know that Gore would not have gone to war in Iraq. Sure, 9/11 probably would have happened, but we don't know. There might have been more continuity between the Clinton and Gore Administrations. Perhaps someone might have listened. Instead of a Presidential Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Attack Within The United States" being ignored, I'm sure that Gore would have responded. I can't say for certain, but I think that Gore was more equipped to be in that office.

Sure, he had his negatives. For much of his political career, he was a one issue guy...the environment. But, he was a fine Vice President, and we have seen how much a good Vice President differs from our current one. I'm quite sure that Gore wouldn't have picked someone like Dick Cheney to serve with him. At least he wouldn't have appointed Dick Cheney to the committee to select Dick Cheney as the Vice President.

Anyway, I go back to January 20, 2001. I can remember that day so clearly. I was at a high school basketball game that day. In the parking lot at Center Grove High School, I heard the current President take the Oath of Office, and I just had a bad feeling. At the time, I didn't think anything of it. I felt that Gore had been robbed. I just knew that we had somehow done so wrong. Turns out, that I was right. Now, I feel sicker about everything.

The Presidential Race in 2000 came down to 570 some votes. 570 people that decided not to go to the polls. 570 people that couldn't get a ride to the polling site. 570 people that didn't think there was a better choice. 570 people that didn't think voting was important. 570 people that thought they couldn't make a difference. Granted, it's speculation, but it could have meant everything!

Let's make sure we don't make January 20, 2009 another rainy day for this country. It's time to send the Bush Administration and its heir to the throne John McCain home for good and it's time to elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the highest two executive offices in the land.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bad Days for McCain

John McCain just opened his mouth and inserted both arms, hands, legs, and feet.

In a New Mexico town hall, McCain was nebulous about whether he supported a re-institution of the military draft or not saying, "I agree with everything you just said" to an individual that just suggested re-institution of the draft.

Then, yesterday, McCain did two interviews. In one, he repeated his false claim that the fundamentals of the American economy are strong. In the other, he fumbled around trying to answer how many homes he and wife Cindy own before saying that his staff would have to get back to the interviewer with a total.

It's SEVEN. Seven homes! Tonight, a McCain surrogate on Verdict with Dan Abrams tried to deflect the criticism by saying that many Americans have rental properties and multiple investments to which Abrams said..."REALLY? MANY AMERICANS?"

For a good number of Americans, they are having trouble holding on to one home. They can't pay the mortgage and then homes slip into foreclosure. McCain and his wife Cindy are multi-millionaires. It's going to be hard for the American people to accept that someone doesn't keep track of how many homes he or she owns or even how many homes in which he or she has invested.

Now, McCain has given Obama an easy lob a week before the Convention. Speaker after speaker after speaker at the Democratic soiree in Denver will drive home that McCain is out of touch with Americans and that he can't remember a simple thing like how many homes he and his wife own. If Obama picks Joe Biden as his running mate or even Hillary Clinton, that candidate will barnstorm around the Midwestern areas hit so hard by this downturn in the housing market and hit the same talking points.

I would expect you'll see Obama bump that lead back up as some undecideds come over to his side of the ledger. I also believe that if McCain had any chance of winning working class voters, then that chance just passed him like he was sitting still.

For the record, I own one house. I'm lucky that I can make the payment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Governor Daniels' Campaign song



OK...so not everything fits, but the Governor is fond of "Dancing A Little Sidestep" when it comes to the truth about Indiana's economy.

Condolences to the family of Stephanie Tubbs Jones

The Associated Press is reporting that Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio has passed away after suffering an aneurysm Tuesday night.

Rep. Tubbs Jones was an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration's conduct of the War on Terror and, like the late Julia Carson, voted against authorizing force in Iraq. She also opposed President Bush's tax cuts and served as a strong liberal voice in Congress.

Indy Democrat mourns the loss of this wonderful public servant.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Worst Job: Live Advertising Sign Holder

Tonight, as I turned on to Kentucky Ave. from High School Rd., I saw a lady that probably was at least 65-70 years old dressed in a Domino's Pizza uniform. She was standing on the berm just off the road holding an advertisement for a pizza promotion.

At first, I couldn't believe that she was standing where she was. I began to think if there was some ordinance against that practice. I have not done the research to find out. Certainly, the sign police aren't going to slap a "PROHIBITED SIGN" sticker on a live person...at least you wouldn't think they would.

Then, I got to thinking. I see these signs often. There's a whole group of sign holders now at 82nd and Allisonville, and I can't help but think what a crummy job this must be. Maybe it's not. Maybe these folks actually like doing it. I just can't imagine being this lady that I saw at an advanced age dancing around with a sign in my hand. I can't imagine the person that would drop her off and tell her to do this. Then, I kind of started feeling sad for her. Maybe I shouldn't, but I'm thinking why on Earth would she need THIS job at THIS time of her life...standing out in the hot summer afternoon inhaling exhaust fumes dancing around with a yellow sign in a Domino's uniform.

I see more and more seniors working. As pensions are dried up and lost, these folks depend on social security, but it's not enough to pay the bills. Somewhere, we've lost our way. This generation paved the way for our society today. We stand on their shoulders. In some cultures, the elders are revered for their wisdom, knowledge, and experience. In our culture, we put them in dorky uniforms and have them wave around signs. I couldn't help but feel a little sad tonight.

Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain vs. Mitchell...Don't Shoot the Messenger...

NBC News Washington Correspondent Andrea Mitchell got the John McCain campaign's dander flowing with a comment on Meet the Press that stated some in the Obama camp believe that McCain may have had advance knowledge of questions asked at Pastor Rick Warren's Saturday forum at the pastor's California superchurch.

Mitchell stated that the Obama camp felt that McCain may have cheated by listening in to the questions the Democrat was asked by Pastor Warren to prepare his own responses in advance. The right-wingers at Fox News quote Mitchell like this...“The Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because what they are putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama. He seemed so well-prepared.”

The McCain campaign angrily demanded a meeting with NBC News brass to complain about what they perceive to be an Anti-McCain bias by Mitchell. The letter by campaign manager Rick Davis called Mitchell out repeating what the Repubs consider unsubstantiated partisan claims on the Sunday news program "to undercut John McCain." Mitchell responded that she was not reporting opinion but what she had heard from the Obama campaign. Davis added that his candidate respected the "Cone of Silence" set up in the forum and did not listen in on Obama's time with the Pastor.

To me, it sounds a little like "They doth protest too much" and it makes you wonder if McCain may have left the superhero cone of silence. I could care less. I'm sure the Obama campaign may not be too happy with Mitchell, either. If you look at the full context of Mitchell's comments, it doesn't really look like it's that bad for McCain, anyway. Or, am I just missing something? Tempest in a teapot...make that a cone of silence?

Andrea Mitchell is a well-connected Washington journalist that has covered all sorts of beats for NBC News. I believe her to be one of the best in the biz. In my opinion, this is an argument that the McCain camp won't win. In the end, it makes them come off looking as protesting too much. The McCain campaign overreacted and now they are fodder for blogs like this one and cable news all over.

Maybe it speaks more to Meet the Press' status as well as Mitchell's status, too. In context though, I think the quote praises McCain for his performance...so much so that the Obama camp may be accusing him of shenanigans. If I'm John McCain, I immediately issue a press release saying this, "We did so well; they said we cheated." Unless he really did cheat. I'm sure that we'll never know what happened in that Cone of Silence.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Garfield Park...What a Drain!

I spent Sunday afternoon sitting in Garfield Park under the Pagoda for three hours at a picnic, and I had a lot of fun. Also having lots of fun were the assorted families and others that were enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the park. Many parking areas were full.

I couldn't help but think of Mayor Ballard's comments to the Indianapolis Star earlier this week about how the parks are "just a drain" on the budget. It made me think long and hard about that statement.

Judging by the people playing touch football, volleyball, using the grills, crowding under shelters, laughing, jogging, and a variety of other fun and safe activities in a beautiful place, I would have to say again that parks are a great gift of this city to its people.

If the Mayor is so concerned with the parks not producing revenue, why doesn't he get the council to propose a very nominal fee to enter the bigger parks by carload. Eagle Creek Park isn't free. I'd pay a dollar to use Garfield Park. There are many ways to ensure the parks are maintained and viable green spaces for Indy citizens to use and enjoy.

Still, free city parks may cost the city money, but they aren't "just a drain" on the budget. It's obvious that Mayor Ballard needs to enjoy an afternoon in the park to see that the only things the parks drain out of us is stress and boredom.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Courage...Vision...Results...What a crock!

Chalk it up to the "devil in the details" but I recently realized that Mitch Daniels has been running his Gubernatorial re-election campaign under this slogan "Courage, Vision, Results." It shows his complete disconnect with what is going on here in Indiana as well as just his utter arrogance.

COURAGE
Courage is what our troops show in Iraq. It's what our police officers and firefighters show each day on the job. Courage is someone battling a horrendous disease such as cancer, ALS, Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's. Courage in politics is bucking your party's line in favor of what you believe is right. Courage is not a campaign slogan. It is earned. It's not placed on a yard sign or a bumper sticker. Courage is courage. You know it when you see it and rarely do you ever say you had it yourself. What exactly has Mitch Daniels done these last four years to show true courage?

VISION
I will credit Mitch Daniels here. He had a vision. Unfortunately, it wasn't the right one. Daniels has cost the state billions of potential dollars by selling off our assets one by one. Instead of showing COURAGE to work through our problems, he has just decided that getting rid of things for a short-term financial solution is the best route to recovery. Governor Daniels has also shown the "courage" and "vision" to stop paying the state's obligations so that a surplus could be obtained. Because of his great "vision" on the repeal of the inventory tax, our property taxes went through the roof. His "vision" forced local government entities to eat it and raise taxes across the board. His "vision" killed collective bargaining at the state level on his FIRST DAY IN OFFICE

RESULTS
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. As a result of the Daniels Administration, you now have to get two jobs to replace the good paying one you lost. Daniels has said that $9.00 an hour is a good wage. It is...if you're 17. If you're supporting a family, that job isn't going to help you! The RESULTS of a Daniels Administration...lost jobs, higher taxes, poorer schools, and less state assets.

Perhaps his new slogan should be..."Solve Problems, VOTE ME OUT!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mayor Tells Star Parks "Just a drain"

Star columnist Matt Tully writes that Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard called the parks system in Indianapolis "just a drain" on the budget because the costs are one way and no revenue comes back. I see it differently. I think we have too few parks here in Indianapolis, and I think this place would be a whole lot better with more green space.

Is the parks system inefficient? Maybe. I don't know the ins and outs of the parks budget, but the $1.1 billion Tully cites in his column is probably mostly spent in a couple of places...Eagle Creek Park and Garfield Park. There are tons of Indy Parks around that get little or no money from downtown. One of those parks is here on the Decatur/Wayne Township border, Bel-Aire Park.

The home of the former Bel-Aire Drive-in Movie Theatre, the park will host its annual Gospel Fest/Chili Cook-off/Car Show this weekend, and it's a big draw and a great event. The gates open at 9:00 a.m. with performances going all day on Saturday. The cost is just $5.00 and the park is trying to pay for water fountains (the drinking kind). I urge you to attend. The park is located just south of Kentucky Ave. on Tibbs.

Decatur Township would be a little less fun to live in if it were not for this small piece of green space. If we perhaps invested more in green space instead of other things, perhaps more people would want to live here. If we had a large "Central Park" type place (which we kind of do with the Canal), it could be a civic center and a point of pride for the area.

Instead, we have LOTS of monuments, but we don't have much in the way of green space. I'm not Al Gore, but I understand that planting trees helps control pollution. Concrete, limestone, and marble do not. We should be putting MORE money into our parks rather than reducing money.

I also can't understand the idea of how things can go underfunded or you can remove dollars from someone's budget and try to justify having a surplus. I spend what I earn. I save a little for later. Then again, I'm not a city. I don't have jails to fund or employees to pay. I don't have to provide services for anyone but myself. If you are cutting money out of budgets just to say you have a surplus, that, to me, makes little sense. In a perfect year, the government should break even.

In this case, Mayor Ballard doesn't understand that sometimes you have to spend some money to make money. The problem isn't necessarily that the parks aren't producing revenue. The parks produce a good, beautiful city to live in. I understand that's hard for Republicans to understand. There could also be ways to increase revenues in our parks system. Still, I don't want "Garfield Park presented by Eli Lilly" anytime soon.

It's a line in the sand people. He's cut the arts. The parks are next. It's great to control crime by hiring more police officers, but, Mr. Mayor, if there's nothing to do, your city reverts back to being "Naptown." Please don't cut our parks!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mr. Mayor Visits Hospital; Delivers Bum Budget

Serious as a Heart Attack
Before his budget speech in front of the City-County Council, Mayor Greg Ballard made a visit to Community East Hospital complaining of shortness of breath and chest pains. I, for one, hope that the Mayor's symptoms are not a larger symptom something worse.

I want to congratulate the Mayor on seeking help for what he was feeling on such a big day. Too many times, we men decide that we know our bodies so well. That little twinge in our arm was just because we were mowing the yard last night and must have pulled something. The shortness of breath is a result of putting on a couple of extra pounds. A heart attack will never happen to me. In this case, let Mayor Ballard be your example.

On the night of his first budget speech (of which we can debate the merits later), Mayor Ballard decided to act on what he felt was wrong. I wish the Mayor the best because, Republican or Democrat, heart disease knows no party lines. Mayor Ballard knows that his children and his wife need him, and I want to praise him for making sure everything was o.k. and that he sought treatment. The obituary pages are full of people that did not show such wisdom. I wish Mr. Mayor the best on the health front. He may have the wrong ideas, but I do believe him to be a good, decent man with a beautiful family.

BUDGET NUMBERS DON'T ADD UP
Besides the $5.5 million in cuts of Sheriff Frank Anderson's jail budget, cuts for the courts, the public defender's office, and community corrections, Mayor Ballard's new budget proposal also has cut the budgets of the township assessors and consolidated them under the Marion County Assessor.

Now, I've made no bones about my support for consolidation of township government into county government, but that is a case of counting your chickens before they are even eggs! The township assessors' fates in all but Decatur Township will be decided in November's referendum. There is a chance that they will not be consolidated, so his $3 million in savings there is fishy!

Mayor Ballard also is rolling back money dedicated for the continued storm sewer project. How much longer will it be before our poo is flowing into the White River again? This was a bi-partisan plan to fix our antiquated sewer system that was authored by City-County President Bob Cockrum!

Then, Mayor Ballard's new best friend Tom John comes out with a news release blaming the Peterson Administration for our current budget woes. I would dispute his math here, but, regardless, when Frank Anderson took the oath of office and inherited Jack Cottey's mess at the jail, he went around to all the township clubs and would not hear the criticism of his predecessor. "When I put my hand on the Bible and raised my other hand to take the oath of office," Anderson would say, "The jail's problems became Frank Anderson's problems."

Tom John could learn a lot from Frank Anderson. Regardless of who CAUSED (and blaming it all on Mayor Peterson's Administration is ridiculous) the problems, they are now YOUR MAYOR'S problems. Now, it looks like he's creating problems for the next Indianapolis Mayor who will take office in three and a half years.

I may be young, but I wasn't born yesterday, sir. You don't go from the city/county being broke one year and to a surplus the next without a lot of pencil pushing!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mayor Ballard's Public Safety Plan

First, his answer was to put out 1,000 yard signs to fight crime. Now, Mayor Ballard is trying to get down to business.

In his first budget, Mayor Greg Ballard hopes to create a surplus and end the city's debt. He does it by putting more money into crime fighting and enforcement but does the Republican Party proud by cutting money for the jail, the courts, and the public defender's office.

A little history lesson, under Republican rule, the conditions in the jail only got worse. It got so bad that Republican-appointee, Judge Sarah Evans Barker, put a court order on the Sheriff's Office to ease the overcrowding and improve conditions. The court system only got backed up further. The DNA labs couldn't deal with the flood of evidence, and the public defender's office became a home of attorneys that would work hard for little pay. The problem got so bad that the Marion County Jail was compared to similar facilities in Tijuana, and that wasn't a good thing. Cells were overcrowded. The food got contaminated. The jail was inhumane and overcrowded.

That's when Frank Anderson became the Sheriff. Working with Mayor Bart Peterson, Sheriff Anderson retook control of the jail and complied with Judge Barker's rule to improve conditions at the jail. Some of the moves proved controversial, but the results were clear. The jail became one of the biggest success stories in the United States.

Now, Mayor Ballard pays back Sheriff Anderson for the Sheriff's bi-partisan support= of his plan to pull IMPD back under his office's control with budget cuts.

I thought Public Safety was job one, Mr. Mayor! Don't forget that when you increase your crime fighting, you have to find somewhere to send them. The jail could slip back. You've also created trouble for the court systems, too. When you increase crime fighting, you have to have courts to convict or exonerate the people you arrest. If not, what happens? They sit in jail until they are bailed out or until the courts get to the case.

Public safety is not just about crime fighting, Mr. Mayor. You have to realize that there's a whole other side to it.