Monday, August 31, 2009

Prosecutorial Pile-Up: Blog Poll Goes Live

Good Monday to you all, feel free to participate in the new poll in the sidebar.

If you had a vote in the slating convention, which candidate would you support for Marion County Prosecutor?

Greg Bowes
Terry Curry
David Orentlicher
Lowell "Butch" Shroyer

It should be noted that Bowes, Curry, and Orentlicher are all filed. Shroyer is still unfiled but is making the circuit.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Remembering Ted Kennedy

IDEA Convention was a (REDACTED) Time!

Editor's Note: To protect the integrity of the many elected officials and candidates at the annual IDEA Convention in French Lick, I had to submit my blog post on my visit to the same people that edit CIA documents released to the public. Anyway, my account of my day follows. I hope that the truth shines through.

11:30 AM-Arrived at IDEA Convention at the French Lick Springs Resort with (REDACTED) candidate for (REDACTED).

11:45 AM-Saw first "Meet Pete" sticker after seeing "Meet Pete" signs. Wondered who Pete was. (REDACTED) and I then mingled with (REDACTED), candidate for Indianapolis Mayor, who was looking dapper in his (REDACTED) and (REDACTED). Also mingled with (REDACTED), candidate for Secretary of State, who ridiculed us for wearing ties.

11:50 AM-Enter Windsor Ballroom for Luncheon with Ed Schultz of MSNBC. Found a nice table and sat with (REDACTED) and (REDACTED) from Decatur County. Soon, we were joined by Mayor (REDACTED), possible candidate for Governor, and two people from his staff. Made some small talk with Mayor (REDACTED), who of course hailed from the great southwestern Indiana city of (REDACTED).

12:00 PM-State Chair Dan Parker welcomed the crowd. Salad, lunch, and dessert were served. Shortly thereafter, Ed Schultz was brought to the stage to a rousing welcome. It was a great 30 minute speech that went right after the Republicans and Democrats on the wrong side of the health care debate. Sitting not 10 feet away was Blue Dog Democrat Congressman (REDACTED) from the so called "Bloody (REDACTED)" who got an earful from Schultz from the podium.

2:00 PM-Wandered around until we found the VAN training organized by OFA.

4:30 PM-Finished an informative VAN training session and left for the first reception of the night, the Eighth District reception.

4:45 PM-Mingled with good friends from Warren Township (REDACTED) and (REDACTED). Also, (REDACTED) from (REDACTED)'s campaign for Indiana Secretary of (REDACTED) stopped by and began to chat.

5:00 PM-Eighth District reception kicks off with a bang. Good food! First free booze of the night. I did not partake. Enjoy free food with Sheriff (REDACTED)from Lake County who is actively running for Governor. Sheriff (REDACTED) explains that he believes Governor is the position where he can make the most impact on people's lives and that he is out trying to help get folks elected in the 2010 and 2011 elections, too. He invites (REDACTED) and I to his (REDACTED) later that night. Chairman (REDACTED) orders us to take off our ties. Who are we to argue with the State Party Chair?

5:45 PM-Strike up a conversation with Congressman (REDACTED) who was standing alone and needing someone to talk to. (REDACTED) offers him a speaking engagement at the University of (REDACTED) in Indianapolis. Congressman (REDACTED) tells him okay as long as he doesn't mind that he's one of those "crazy blue dogs." Continue to talk to the Congressman and find out that I was probably unfair to him a bit in a previous blog post. He seems to be willing to support a public option, but he admits concerns over how to pay for it. Refreshing to have 15 minutes with a Congressman that is not your own. I admitted that we disagreed, but we agreed that the party is big enough for the both of us. He invites us to his (REDACTED) later tonight in his (REDACTED) (REDACTED).

6:00 PM-Finally "Met Pete." Pete (REDACTED) who is running for State Treasurer. First time I have met Pete. Not the last time tonight. (OK...on appeal got Pete's last name through. Pete Buttigieg is running for the office).

6:30 PM-More mingling with (REDACTED) (REDACTED), (REDACTED), and (REDACTED).

7:00 PM-Private dinner with (REDACTED), possible candidate for Indianapolis Mayor. Surprisingly, (REDACTED), a possible candidate for Indianapolis Mayor, is also there. This perhaps ends the speculation that (REDACTED) may run.

7:05 PM-Tear into my first and only glass of (REDACTED). Delish.

7:15 PM-Small dinner group joined by (REDACTED), candidate for Secretary of State, and his wife.

7:15-9:05 PM-Enjoy dinner and conversation with friends and fellow Democrats. (REDACTED) picks up the bill.

9:15 PM-Arrive at hospitality room for (REDACTED). Quiz Marion County Democratic Party Chair (REDACTED) on GOP Chair Tom John's "clowns comment," and (REDACTED) says, "Well, if we have the clowns, REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED...and you can quote me on that!" I laughed until I (REDACTED).

9:40 PM-Go upstairs to Sheriff(REDACTED)'s hospitality suite. We are presented with some gifts by the Sheriff himself. Sheriff is busy, so we leave.

10:00 PM-Go to Latino/Hispanic Caucus hospitality suite. Talk to (REDACTED), (REDACTED), and (REDACTED). Also notice that (REDACTED) is (REDACTED).

10:15 PM-Go up a floor to Congressman (REDACTED)'s roof party that we had been invited to earlier. Find the Congressman mellowing out with his staff on the roof of the resort. Again, spend another 10 minutes talking to Congressman (REDACTED) while watching the stars and feeling a breeze. Come to the conclusion that although he's wrong on some issues, Congressman (REDACTED) is a really cool guy.

10:45 PM-Go to the IDAAC Hospitality suite. Mingle with (REDACTED) and (REDACTED). Meet Pete again before leaving.

11:15 PM-Walk to the car and head for home.

All in all, the IDEA Convention was an enjoyable time. The strangest moment came though when (REDACTED) was seen walking around with a (REDACTED) (REDACTED) (REDACTED). I didn't know it was humanly possible.

I'm definitely in for the long haul next year at IDEA! What happens in (REDACTED), stays in (REDACTED).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mayoral Marathon: Comedian Tom John Won't Be Laughing in 2011

Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John shot off his rather large mouth and clearly showed how out of touch or crazy he is.

John, whose butt was beaten bright red by Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy's candidates in the 2008 General Election (after John said Treacy had been exhumed from "the political graveyard"), had the great wisdom and foresight to term a former Deputy Mayor, a former Indiana Democratic Party Chair, a former Secretary of State, a current City-County Councillor, a former State Health Commissioner, a local venture capitalist and businessman, and a State Representative "a bunch of clowns." That is what John thinks of the current crop of Democrats running or considering a run at Indianapolis Mayor. His comments appeared in an article by Bill Ruthhart of the Indianapolis Star. Also notable in the article is the mention of another name in the Mayoral Marathon that I had not heard much, Greg Porter, a veteran State Representative.

Democrats are laughing at John right now because his comments are so funny. Calling our candidates clowns while putting "lipstick on the pig" of the Ballard administration is rather interesting. Ballard has broken promise after promise and alienated his "Had Enough" voters of 2007. That's kind of funny to me if my city weren't in the middle of this mess.

What will it mean when one of the "bunch of clowns" beats your man Ballard, Tom (which it should be noted no one in the party establishment really supported wholesale at first)? Who will be laughing then?

Shameful...just shameful; only Carson gets it...

Indiana made a big splash in 2006 by totally changing its political stripes.

Voters returned Julia Carson and Pete Visclosky to Congress and added Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth. After a brief flirt with Mike Sodrel, the Indiana's Ninth District returned Baron Hill to the House of Representatives. This changed the balance of Indiana's nine seat Congressional delegation from just two D's and seven R's to five D's and four R's.

In 2007, Julia Carson lost her battle with cancer. After a Special Election, her grandson, André Carson, was sent to Congress. He maintained his seat after prevailing in a brutal primary battle. He scared away his Republican challenger Jon Elrod for the General Election leaving the 27-year old social worker Gabrielle Campo to battle him in November. The results were not pretty as he pulled in 65 percent of the vote.

Today, the youngest and newest member of the Indiana delegation to Congress is the only Indiana federal legislator to stand up for Democratic values on health care.

It doesn't surprise me one bit that four of Indiana's U.S. House members are not supporting a public option in the health care reform...they are Republicans. Senator Lugar's position is disappointing, but it's certainly not unexpected. What is surprising is that four Democrats in the House and Senator Evan Bayh (allegedly a Democrat) are all not (at least publically) supporting a public option in the health care debate at this point.

That brings us back to André Carson. Carson is the only true liberal voice in Indiana's delegation and is now on the record publicly supporting the public option. I could not be prouder of my friend and my Congressman for taking this strong stance, and, somewhat unfortunately, bucking his own Indiana colleagues' positions in the debate.

The rest of the Indiana delegation needs to look long and hard at themselves in the mirror and evaluate why they are Democrats. They need to evaluate why they decided to pursue public life. If they did it to truly help people, then they need to look at the same information as Congressman Carson and decide to support a public option in health care.

It's shameful that Indiana Democrats in Congress don't seem to know what it means to be Democrats. Instead, they would rather play defense at election time and preserve their own rears in the name of staying in power or running for the next office. Congressman Carson...thanks for putting your neck out there for real reform in this health care debate. BRAVO!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mayoral Marathon: Melina Kennedy Files for Mayor

Brian Williams has company in the race for Indianapolis Mayor. As expected, Melina Kennedy is filed her exploratory committee today for a run at Indianapolis Mayor. If elected in the primary and the general election in 2011, she would be the first female Mayor of Indianapolis.

Kennedy, an attorney by trade, has extensive experience in city government serving as a Deputy Mayor under Bart Peterson. She also ran unsuccessfully for Marion County Prosecutor against Carl Brizzi in 2006. Her campaign came up short (51.7 percent to 48.3 percent) after being outspent mightily by the incumbent.

While some criticized Melina for her lack of experience during the Prosecutor’s race, Mayor is well within her wheelhouse. She will also admit that the experience of running against Prosecutor Brizzi toughened her up as well. She has impeccable credentials and experience to be a great Mayor of Indianapolis and has a loyal following of people inside the party and people who worked with her on many projects downtown in the Mayor’s Office.

When I spoke with her face-to-face a few months ago as she was first considering a run, I was impressed with her knowledge of local issues pertaining to my area. Melina already had a great familiarity with the unique issues of my neck of the woods and provided me with proposed solutions if she were to be elected.

Kennedy also has, along with unfiled candidate Joe Hogsett, made the most visits to the various township club events even going as far as to concentrate some effort on areas where Mayor Peterson was decimated in 2007. The joke is that Melina and Joe should carpool.

Melina’s exit from the probable candidates list to join Williams in the race leaves Hogsett, Jose Evans, Kip Tew, and potentially a few others exploring runs. The question for all of them has to be…can I beat Melina or Brian in a run at slating? What will I do if I lose at slating? Can I run a campaign outside the slating agreement and still maintain good relationships with the party for the future? Are there other offices local or statewide that I might be better for?

The jigsaw puzzle in the Mayoral Marathon remains jumbled, but a couple of pieces are at least in place on the D side. Greg Ballard should be concerned.

Kennedy and Kerry

I know this is now my third post on Ted Kennedy here in the last few days, but it's such a blow to Democrats and the Democratic Party that I think it warrants another post for analysis sake.

As I blogged yesterday, Ted Kennedy's death leaves a huge hole at the head of his own family. He was only one of two elected Kennedys (unless you count Arnold Schwarzenneger).

It also leaves a huge hole at the head of his own party. Ted Kennedy was in many ways, the leader of the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate. He was the most visible. He was the most well-known. At times, he was the loudest, and he had the biggest target on his back for the right wingers. Sure, it wasn't official. Harry Reid is the Majority Leader, and Kennedy served under several of those. It was often Kennedy, however, that was often snapping people back in line to the core values present in our party. He was also the Democrats chief dealmaker and negotiator and, while strongly partisan, was also a bi-partisan voice that got things done. He was the mighty pulse of the Democratic Party. The well-deserved "Liberal Lion of the Senate." We need a replacement.

To that end, I deliver my nominee for the mantle of "Liberal Lion of the Senate" successor. That nomination goes to the now senior Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kerry.

It's amazing how things work out. I read a recent article in Time magazine about Kerry and how he had been looking to his colleague from Massachusetts to give him advice on how to reset his role in the Senate.

It looks like he's actually in the best position to take on the role of the Liberal Lion. Perhaps he lacks a little of that Kennedy charisma but Kerry has the experience and the political capital to do the job. He also has the liberal chops to stand up and be counted. Sure, he needs to bury the "I voted for it before I voted against it" rhetoric, but he can certainly do that.

Beyond Kerry's Kennedy-like qualities and ability to be liberal but yet reach across the aisle, Kerry has been a big target of the right. His behind also bears the grill marks of being roasted by the Karl Rove/Dick Cheney/George Bush machine in 2004.

I just can't imagine anyone on our side of the aisle with the kind of experience, moxy, and know how to fill the unofficial Kennedy role other than Kerry. Kerry's not a perfect choice, but I think he can do it.

No one can fill the shoes of the liberal icon, Ted Kennedy. That much is clear. He is the "Liberal Lion Emeritus" of the Senate.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kennedy Family Left Without Leader

Ted Kennedy's death has ripped a hole in the political landscape. That's essentially what Chris Matthews said on Hardball. He's right. It's also ripped a hole in the heirarchy of one of this country's most enduring political families.

Right now, just one Kennedy serves in public office. That would be Ted Kennedy's son, Patrick. He represents Rhode Island in the United States House. Patrick Kennedy has been a part of several controversies of a personal nature since his election to the House, but he does remain the only elected Kennedy.

Of course, one of the most vocal members of the Kennedy family looks and sounds like his father. That would be Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. He is an environmental activist who also did an expose investigation into the 2004 irregularities in the Presidential election in Ohio. Kennedy toyed with the idea of pursuing for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat if Clinton won the Presidency. He later endorsed Barack Obama and said he had no interest.

Another Kennedy nearly took that seat as well. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, daughter of John F. Kennedy, took a look at the vacant New York Senate seat but eventually bowed out gracefully.

Other Kennedys have been involved in various causes and in other ways politically. Eunice Kennedy Shriver's daughter, Maria, is the First Lady of California. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Kennedy by marriage to Maria, is the Governor of California. There are others.

There is only one Kennedy of JFK, RFK, and TMK's generation left. That's Jean Kennedy, a former Ambassador to Ireland, who is 82 years old. Given that her mother lived to be more than 100 years old, Jean could still leave a long full life a living reminder of the generation that produced a President, two Senators, a war hero, the founder of the Special Olympics, and an Ambassador to Ireland. How about that for a generation!

The new generation of Kennedys will no doubt find their leader and will continue to trumpet the cause for the torch to continue to be passed down to other generations.

H1N1 and Budget Cuts

As I was driving home from work last night, my car radio was tuned to WIBC. One item on the hourly newscast was about the latest swine flu case to hit a local school. The report mentioned that the school has been completely cleaned but will stay open.

Budget woes have caused schools to cut corners in various areas to avoid cuts to classroom personnel. One area: custodial help. Schools are being forced to reduce their custodial help and even reduce or propose reducing cleaning portions of school buildings on a daily basis.

Some schools across the country have also seen the school nurse and the school clinic go by the wayside or have staffed those offices with folks less qualified than nurses are.

All of this adds up to what would seem to be trouble when it comes to preventing H1N1 flu virus infections.

With apologies to Terrell Owens and his popcorn quote from a couple of years ago, "Better getcha flu shots."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edward M. Kennedy, 1932-2009

Edward Kennedy passed away overnight. It’s a sad day for all Americans.

No matter how you may feel about Kennedy and the mistakes he made in his personal life, you have to respect him for his accomplishments in 47 years as a United States Senator. Kennedy was a constant voice on one side or the other of every major piece of legislation to pass through the Senate.

In his years, he weaved his way through personal triumph, unbelievable personal tragedy, and sometimes seemingly endless self-inflicted controversy to become one of the greatest senators to ever live and work in Washington. As I listened to the many tributes this morning on the cable networks, I heard again and again that Kennedy may have vehemently disagreed with you and your politics, but that ended when the final gavel of the day fell.

In his final two years, Kennedy helped to bring about a great and historic moment. He helped to elect the first African-American President of the United States as one of the earliest major endorsers of Barack Obama. He was even there and well enough to see him inaugurated but suffered a setback in the form of a seizure shortly after President Obama was sworn in. Even after his cancer began to take over and force him to curtail his work schedule, he stayed involved as a constant advocate of health care reform. It turned out to be his last battle, and it's not yet clear if he will have contributed to a victory or a loss. You couldn't ignore him, though. Never.

Senator Kennedy took many years to grow up, but we all do. His life may serve as the greatest example of the old saying, “It’s not how you start the race; it’s how you finish.”

His life of service finished last night when cancer took him away from us. The “Lion of the Senate” has passed, and the torch again passes to a new generation.

Panhandling In Indy II

The "new and improved" anti-panhandling ordinance passed easily through the City-County Council's Public Safety Committee on Monday night, 5-1. The ordinance is a beefed-up version of the ordinance that failed to gather enough votes to pass on Aug. 10.

I know that I'm probably leaving out some critical details here and maybe a one-to-one connection is inappropriate, but I seem to remember the Republican caucus having all sorts of problems with the then-Democratically-led council bringing back the police merger ordinance and the human rights ordinance after those two pieces of legislation failed to pass the first time. Both passed on a second run through the Council. I bet that the anti-panhandling ordinance will pass through this time as well.

The proposal is now beefed up to include a ban against almost all forms of panhandling and advertising (including, the way I read it, live sign holders, passive panhandlers, and church or school event advertisers) within, according to the Indianapolis Star, 50 feet of a stoplight or a stop sign in the public right of way. Exisiting anti-panhandling ordinances prohibiting aggressive panhandling would be superceded by the new ordinance which is overbroad and potentially unconstitutional. I will leave the latter argument to my Libertarian friends.

My opinions on the ordinance are very well known if you read this blog. I do not support it. I support portions of it, but I would be compelled to vote against it on the basis that it ignores current ordinances that are on the books. The new ordinance uses a machete and not a scalpel. It's overbroad, and it's unfair to some.

Pushing these folks back 50 feet does not cure the problem at the busiest intersections in town. Think about it. 50 feet is not that much. The average vehicle is about 16 feet long. Pickups can be a little longer, and compacts are probably a little smaller. Figure it out for yourself.

In a city with so many other problems right now, why is this an issue?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Let's Start Some Rumors works for other local bloggers out there. I'm not particularly good at starting rumors or anything, but I can certainly give it a try.

I heard from a local Republican source that Mayor Greg Ballard has been convinced to resign from the Mayor's Office and is planning to move to Alaska to run for Governor of Wyoming.

Using a little-known clause in the terms of use contract, Sarah Palin was banned from Twitter for tweeting her stupid crap quotient for 2009 and 2010 combined.

This blogger was visited by his death panel this weekend.

Among the candidates building support for a run for Indiana Governor on the Democratic side: Roy Dominguez, Jonathan Weinzapfel, Baron Hill, and a confused Rod Blagojevich.

While on Fox News earlier, Mike Pence had trouble deciding today what to campaign for...President, Congress, or Governor?

Upset with rising day care costs, Senator Luke Kenley halted all lego deliveries until the day care operators reduce their rates.

My local media sources tell me that, shockingly, Prosecutor Carl Brizzi actually passed up an opportunity to be on camera or the radio on Monday afternoon.

The little birdies in my head tell me that Local radio show host Greg Garrison is considering a run for Marion County Prosecutor. He will run as a Libertarian, and his campaign bus will be called the "Crazy Talk Express." He was seen at Ward's Apparel in Mooresville stocking up on denim and cowboy boots for the campaign. Garrison also recently won a contest for the best Rush Limbaugh impersonator to dress like Don Imus.

Apparently not all Democrats in Marion County are running for Mayor, At-Large Council, or Prosecutor.

NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams and Indianapolis Mayoral Candidate Brian Williams plan to swap seats for a day if Williams is elected Mayor.

Democratic sources tell me Looney Tunes great Yosemite Sam is considering a run for Marion County Sheriff. Reached for comment, Sam said, "Sufferin' succotash, I'm not running for that office you thievin' varmit." He then shot the phone several times. Stay tuned there.

Republican sources tell me that Richard Mourdock plans to sue the Obama Administration for choosing Martha's Vineyard over Indiana Beach as a summer campaign spot. "I'm personally opposed to Massachusetts," said Mourdock.

The Indianapolis Star plans more cutbacks and is about to announce that it will soon publish its home delivery version as a front and back 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper copied at Kinkos. Half of the back page will be ads and sudoku.

Republican campaign consultants tell me that Mitch Daniels is learning how to walk on stilts in order to appear taller for his 2012 run for President.

My sources in the TOS office tell me that the company that was awarded the Major Moves contract is now writing small amounts on really big checks in an effort to fool Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

Earlier this week, the direct line between Greg Zoeller's Office and Governor Daniels' Office quit working and my State House sources tell me that the Attorney General had to think on his own for a few seconds. There was severe panic for that moment before the connection was restored.

Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman was slightly injured smiling this week.

Upset at the Governor's insistence on running his office, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has asked if he can at least move into the unused Governor's Mansion on Meridian St.

Bennett also announced that anyone that has ever learned anything can now become a teacher under new licensing rules. He also announced that anyone that has ever led anything is now able to become a Superintendent or Principal. Bennett also announced a plan for 366 days of school where students will attend 26 hours per day.

Libertarian City-County Council member Ed Coleman celebrated his continued tenure as the Libertarian Party leader in the City-County Council. He, of course, was elected by a unanimous vote of all Libertarians serving on the Council.

Democratic sources tell me that Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy is trying to talk Marion County Clerk Beth White into running for President in 2012.

Publishing sources close to People Magazine tell me that City-County Council President Bob Cockrum is a finalist for the "Sexiest Man Alive" competition.

My Lafayette sleuths tell me that Congressman Steve Buyer was recently seen in his district...if that wasn't shocking enough...he was smoking lettuce.

I received a chain e-mail from the White House telling me that Mayor Greg Ballard is working on a new book entitled "How To Make A Budget Surplus Without Paying Your Bills with forewards by Luke Kenley and Mitch Daniels."

Disheartened by the nearly 200 people at Brett Voorhies' campaign kickoff, a confused Bob Behning dropped out of the Indiana House 92 race briefly before realizing that he actually represents Indiana House District 91.

Well, that's enough for now. I swear that all of these rumors are as true as everything that comes out of Glenn Beck's mouth. Wait a minute...LIES...ALL LIES I TELL YOU! (Blogger crying hysterically).

All in fun friends...all in fun!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kenley Plays "Do This or the Bunny Gets It" with IU and Purdue

On South Park, Ms. Crabtree, the crazy, stressed out, school bus driver, gets results from her students by threatening harm to a cute rabbit if they are not quiet or do not do what she tells them to do.

The Indiana Senate's version of Ms. Crabtree, Luke Kenley is holding IU’s and Purdue’s proposed construction projects up by the ears until they reduce tuition. Kenley’s plan to potentially hold up construction funds from the state budget is described in yesterday’s Indianapolis Star, and it underlines the disconnect state legislators like Kenley (mostly in the GOP) have with the reality of providing quality public education and how that relates to the funding of that education by the state.

Indiana sits on a $1 billion surplus while starving out public education. One of the ways that higher education institutions remedy budget shortfalls is tuition increases. Kenley feels like the folks at IU and Purdue went to far in raising their tuition so much in the tough economy.

Both IU and Purdue are relatively good buys when it comes to education. I got a lot for my money (and I’m still paying for it) at Indiana. If I could go back and do my four years all over again at IU, I probably would do it again today. It was an enjoyable time, and I feel like every penny was well spent.

College is expensive; there is no doubt, but there are a number of grants, scholarships, assistance programs, and loans out there to help any student that wishes to go and qualifies to go to attend the college they want. Enrollment equals money in the higher education world, so I'm sure that IU and Purdue don't want to price folks out of higher education. I'm sure the folks in Bloomington and West Lafayette weren't just sitting around one day and hatched this plan. There is an apparent need.

IU and Purdue are experiencing the same problem Indiana’s public school districts are, a shrinking bottom line in the form of state funding. Indiana and Purdue, as well as other state-run universities such as Indiana State and Ball State are given the ability to raise and lower tuition. IU raised it 4.6 percent and Purdue went up five percent. Hardly a huge jump when the national average runs at about a 4.4 percent increase. The bad news is that it's not getting any better anytime soon given the state's position financially.

In the balance, according to the Star, is nearly $53 million in construction work. $53 million in construction jobs for potentially skilled union workers in the various construction fields. Some of the projects would seem to benefit the state directly not only in reducing unemployment but in other ways. Purdue specifically wants to utilize over $23 million to build an alternative fuel research lab, according to the Star.

In the end, former Republican legislator Teresa Lubbers may hold the key as a major negotiator and mediator between the Noblesville Republican, Kenley, and the university interests. Even Governor Daniels, who defends Kenley's actions, told the Star that universities are facing difficult times financially. Stay tuned!

Until then, "Ms. Crabtree" Kenley will keep driving the bus and threatening the cute bunny until the universities comply. "SIT DOWN KIDS!"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Brett Voorhies' Huge Turnout May Spell Trouble for Phil Hinkle

Phil Hinkle may have his toughest election run yet if the opening salvo from his likely 2010 opponent is any indication.

Brett Voorhies, the SON of CICLC President Bob Voorhies (Abdul that's for you) and stepson of Marion County Recorder Julie Voorhies, is stepping out on his own and running for House District 92's seat in the General Assembly. That seat is of course currently held by Hinkle, who is a regular reader of this blog. Voorhies officially kicked off his campaign today in front of an estimated 150 supporters in Speedway's Leonard Park.

Before I go on here, I have some personal business to attend put out there. I believe that I told this story before. I do consider Phil Hinkle one of my friends as his family and my family have known each other for years. Hinkle's wife, Barb, was a teacher of mine at Fulton Junior High School and their children and I had the same babysitter for a couple of years until my grandmother quit working and started watching me. While I have a history with the Hinkles, I do not agree with him on many issues when it comes to politics. Of course, if you are in politics long enough, you occasionally find yourself on the opposite side from some of your best friends. I know Phil realizes this as this is not his first rodeo.

The large kickoff cookout audience included a wide variety of officeholders and candidates but most importantly consituents and supporters. It was a turnout that even seemed to surprise the candidate himself who said so in his brief remarks. He never mentioned Hinkle by name, but he criticized the loss of jobs in the district said he would work to bring them back. He also talked about his longtime union membership as a United Steelworker and how working people have been affected by the sluggish economy.

If Hinkle thought Stephanie DeKemper gave him a tough run in 2008 (and DeKemper may still yet run again), the first shot across his bow from a potential Voorhies campaign would seem to say that he will have an even tougher job keeping his seat in the House in 2010.

IU Does the Right Thing

It took a Democrat to do the right thing at IU.

As reported by the Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz, Indiana's Athletic Director, Fred Glass, a former staffer for Bart Peterson, has extended an olive branch to the volatile, controversial, but great Indiana University basketball coach, Bob Knight, with the school now honoring the besweatered one with a berth in the IU Athletic Hall of Fame.

I thought Bob Knight deserved to be fired, but he had deserved to be removed for many years. It was kind of an anti-climactic end for the great coach. The sordid details of the coach's dismissal have been played out in everything from media to books to movies.

Kravitz reports that Knight has been informed of his Hall of Fame nomination in a personally written letter by Glass. Kravitz also reports that Knight's friend Bob Hammel, a former sportswriter in Bloomington, is also reaching out on behalf of Glass and the university.

Will Knight accept the offer? I don't care. I just think this was something IU had to do. Kravitz points out that now the ball is squarely in Bob Knight's court now.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Jon Stewart Slices & Dices Argument of "Death Panel" Originator

If you're not prepared, do not go on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. If you have sensitive ears, please be aware!
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Intro - Pull the Plug
Daily Show
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Political HumorHealthcare Protests

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Betsy McCaughey Pt. 1
Daily Show
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Political HumorHealthcare Protests
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
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Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Betsy McCaughey has, according to some reports, resigned her post after this appearance.

Real or Unreal

Let's play Real or UNReal

1.) Bigfoot...pretty sure unreal
2.) The mole on Gorbachev's head...I think that's real...but creepy.
3.) The pre-2004 general election raising of the terror threat level by Tom Ridge...real but for unreal reasons (way to fear-monger Bushies)
4.) Indiana's $1 billion budget surplus...real-ly not real.
5.) Any numbers that show Indianapolis has a budget surplus...see #5
6.) Unicorns...Not real, but they look cool
7.) Mitch Daniels' "Hoosier Accent"...strangely comes and goes...Did anyone actually see him eat the chocolate covered bacon at the fair?
8.) WMD in Iraq...NOT real.
9.) Sarah Palin's chance of getting out of a wet paper bag...surprisingly real, she can shoot a gun.
10.) Any benefits from Major Moves...The $4 Billion question!

Another thing up for ability to incorporate humor and insightful, biting political commentary into a single blog post...hmmm...the jury's out on that one.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Washington Township Hears from Wishard

At last night's Washington Township Democratic Club meeting, Health and Hospital President and CEO Matthew Gutwein and Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and Medical Director of Wishard Health Services, laid out a comprehensive case for supporting the construction of a brand spanking new Wishard in the referendum on November 3.

Let's get this out of the way. Last year, this would not even be up for a referendum, but it is this year because, as one elected official has said, "(State Senator)Luke Kenley said so." Don't blame Wishard. It's not their fault. I'm sure they'd just like to take the federal money with the money they have and build the new hospiatl, but they can't. They have to follow the law, and they will. The referendum cannot wait either. There is just a limited amount of time to get the funds necessary to build the hospital.

The referendum proposal, that has earned the support of the Marion County GOP, the Marion County Democratic Party, the Indianapolis Star, the Indianapolis Business Journal with other endorsements to come, has run into protests from those "Had Enough" voters in Marion County that feel taxed to death. The focus of the "Had Enough" movement in 2007, Greg Ballard, as well as Democrats like Andre Carson are supporting the passage of this proposal at the referendum.

Certainly, I can understand where people would feel taxed out. We have two stadiums sitting downtown that we are struggling to afford to keep functioning. Property tax reform has been on everyone's mind since the Republican-controlled General Assembly (at the time) removed the inventory tax and left nothing to replace it thus placing the full burden of local government funding (from schools to fire departments) on the property taxpayers. Heck, my taxes have been so hard to figure out, I don't even know if my mortgage company is sure what is going on. I'm certainly not, and I know the Treasurer and the Assessor well! Sometimes I wonder if they know what's coming at them!

Back to the referendum at hand. Doing nothing is not an option. If we fail to deal with these very real issues at the current Wishard Hospital, then we will be dealing with a city that has no Wishard Hospital. I don't like to fear monger, but I believe Gutwein when he says it. Parts of the current Wishard are nearing 100 years old. Dr. Harris went through a presentation showing the history of Wishard. One of the early buildings in the complex was an open ward building that was constructed in 1914. It's still being used, albeit in a different form, to serve patients today. Operating rooms can't support necessary equipment because the rooms are just not big enough, and the patient beds are overflowing at 15 percent OVER what is generally termed as "full". The infrastructure...the pipes...the stuff you don't see is just falling apart. It just can't be fixed.

The hospital is struggling and straining to keep up with an ever-increasing patient load where only 6 percent of those patients, according to Gutwein, have commercial insurance. Having had close personal friends that have had Wishard provide services to them, I can tell you that Wishard saves lives. Closing the hospital down, which is a VERY REAL POSSIBILITY if nothing is done, would be a disaster for those folks that need the Wishard services the most.

There is a chance that sometime you might need Wishard's services. The sometimes-maligned hospital is the home of one of the nation's best level one trauma units. It is the home of a state-of-the-art burn unit. It is also the home of Indiana's only psychiatric emergency room. The hospital also serves public safety by providing care to those incarcerated folks with special units designed to keep the public safe from the jailed who are receiving services.

Wishard has the money. Gutwein says they have done the research and that it's possible that the $754 million price tag will actually fall. He says the time to build is now despite the economic nastiness. The project, if approved, would provide what Gutwein says is "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds" of jobs. It would be one of the largest construction projects in the state and along the lines of a Lucas Oil Stadium construction.

Yes, there are those that would say that the current Wishard could be renovated or that Wishard can be moved to a facility like the old St. Francis Hospital in Beech Grove. Another proposal would have Wishard torn down piece-by-piece and rebuilt on its current site. That proposal, according to Gutwein, tips the scales as the most expensive project on the docket.

When the referendum passes and the new hospital is built, the old Wishard would be abandoned and would be the concern of IUPUI, according to Gutwein. The spot where the new Wishard would be built is just east of the current Roudebush VA Medical Center. The old Larue Carter Hospital and the old Board of Health Building now sit on the property. Gutwein said there just aren't 60 acres of land in Indianapolis like this real estate...which is just west of the current Wishard Hospital. The current land is owned by IU, and the land Wishard is on now would be swapped with the university to get access to that land. Gutwein said that keeping the hospital adjacent to the IUPUI campus allows the Indiana University School of Medicine to continue its partnerships with Wishard. He says IU proposes that the old Wishard land could be used for new research facilities.

If you don't believe me, go to Wishard's website about the project. The URL is I left out a lot. If you get a chance to see this presentation, it will open your eyes. We need a new Wishard Hospital from the ground up. The old one will not continue to sustain the high level of care that the patients and clients deserve. This project is funded, it's "shovel ready", and, most importantly, according to Gutwein, it won't raise your taxes.

It needs your support! Get educated and then join me in voting YES on the Wishard referendum. Wishard makes this community better, and we don't want to be like other big cities that have closed the only place that some people have to get necessary treatment. In 2013, I hope that will be a new Wishard Hospital.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What's the Deal?

I know I have been on national politics for a few posts, but there's been a heck of a lot more going on nationally than locally recently.

Several news outlets have been reporting that protesters have been showing up outside President Obama events with guns strapped to their hips. A dozen protesters in Phoenix showed up packing. One even showed up with a semi-automatic gun on his person. The adjacent photo was taken outside the Phoenix event by the Associated Press.

With all this in mind, let's look back just a few years ago at what happened to protesters outside President George W. Bush events.

A group of people, peacefully protesting by sitting on the sidewalk near the UN, were taken into custody. What about these folks arrested at a Bush rally for wearing Anti-Bush shirts. The Washington Post even did an article on the subject in 2004. The Post article states,

"Critics also have raised questions about the role of the Secret Service, which has cordoned off broad areas around campaign events in the name of security and has, according to some complainants, played a role in arresting or removing law-abiding protesters."

The Bush era Secret Service and presidential security detail seemed to go out of its way to put down opposition and protests. The Obama era Secret Service and presidential security detail allows loaded weapons outside Obama speeches and events. This, folks, is scary to me amid a cacophony of claims that the Secret Service is cutting corners since being placed under the Department of Homeland Security. I generally support the right to bear arms, but I cannot support these folks who are blatantly flaunting their guns around a sitting U.S. President and potentially creating unsafe and intimidating situations for others around them.

I am concerned, very concerned.

Wal-Mart Pulls Ads from Glenn Beck Program

Wal-Mart has now told Glenn Beck to "Get off my phone!" as the fallout from his late July appearance on Fox and Friends continues. It was on that episode of the Fox "News" program that Beck called President Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred of white people."

Wal-Mart, the big box store that specializes in low-paying and low-benefit jobs while selling cheap products and putting smaller companies out of business has now decided that Beck's comments were enough. The Media Matters report on the press release from is here for your reading pleasure.

Now that makes 20 companies that have pulled ads from Beck's show. The newest are, according to the release, Allergan (maker of Restatis), Ally Bank, Best Buy, Broadview Security, CVS, Re-Bath, Travelocity, and Wal-Mart. Previously pulling ad money were ConAgra, GEICO,, Men’s Wearhouse, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, RadioShack, Roche, SC Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Sargento, and State Farm Insurance.

Glenn Beck's show is now officially hemmoraging advertisers.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Change Gets Beaten by Shouts

Please, friends, don't misunderstand me. It pains me to write this post. Pains me dearly. It must be said, though. Even if it hurts.

President Barack Obama is unfortunately withering under the pressure of the Republican minority in Congress and the organized protests against health care. It's another disturbing sign of the President and the sad realities of Washington colliding head on. If he keeps this up, his re-election slogan might be "Change You Think You Might Be Able To Believe In."

President Obama has now apparently decided that the public option is expendable when it comes to health care reform. Add this to some of his balks on social issue reform, his takeback on the closing of Guantanamo Bay, and the U.S. continuing to defend and implement many Bush Administration policies, and it's starting to look like we got less than we thought we were getting.

Obama will probably be praised for being a statesmen and the right will celebrate a victory over the public option. Democrats will spin it in just the same way they have spun the President's other controversial policy decisions and try to salvage some face for the President over this mess, but there is no face this round. He flat out lost this round of the political game in a round that shouldn't have been a game at all.

President Obama is now feeling the same grittle marks on his behind that President Clinton felt after his health care reform initiative was gutted back in 1994. Granted, it hasn't all been the President's fault. As Republicans point out, the President didn't need one of their party's votes to pass health care reform. Instead, his own party deserted him. Democrats and some "Democrats In Name Only" left the coalition or believed the crazy right wing protests and organized "mis" and "dis" information campaigns.

Instead of being taken down by a reasoned discussion of the merits of this policy, the President has been defeated by Sarah Palin's crazy tweets, rumors of death panels, an overall lack of education on the reform effort's merits, and more shouting than on Wall Street on a major trading day. It's a sad, sorry, and depressing state of affairs.

Instead of real health care reform, we are going to get a watered down version of it, a withered apple off the tree with a few edible parts. Congratulations to the right for finally defeating the President. Looks like you win this round. I hope you all sleep better knowing that you helped make life a little more miserable for Americans desperately needing real reform.

Let me make this clear...I still support President Obama. I support him without question, and I know that the discussion on health care, social issues, and much more would have never gotten this far with John McCain and Sarah Palin in the White House. It's just incredibly frustrating for me to see this climate for change and the means to make it just get swept away by a bit of political theatre from the right wingers.

Makes me feel like Washington is the place where hope goes to die. Mr. President, I'm with you. Your supporters are with you. You tried on this issue, but I wish you would have just tried harder.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

11-Year Old Damon Weaver Interviews President Obama

President Barack Obama took time to sit down with an 11-year old student journalist named David Weaver. Here is the interview.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

If We Want Civility, We Have to Be Civil

MSNBC's Hardball substitute host Lawrence O'Donnell looked more like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly or worse in his badgering interview of a member of Congress, Rep. John Culberson, on Friday. As a journalist, I'm embarassed by this display. It's exactly everything that's wrong about cable news. PERIOD.

I get and I agree with O'Donnell's premise, but he went way way overboard to get there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Right Wing Plays Patriotism Card

"I'm sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we're Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration."
--Hillary Clinton

The year was 2003, and the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney/Karl Rove hit machine was in full force. It seemed like anyone that had anything critical to say about the Bush Administration's policy in Iraq was deemed unpatriotic and anti-American. Opposition voices were put under illegal surveillance. Venom like this zinger below was spilled from DINO (Democrat In Name Only) Zell Miller at the podium of the Republican Convention in 2004.

"While young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief."

In short, it was a very different time. HIT FAST FORWARD TO 2009...

Some conservatives are now using Hillary's quote as a rallying point to try to point out what they consider a double standard where no double standard exists. These conservatives are now saying the same thing is happening to their protestors against the Obama Administration's health care plan. That's silly and does not pass the smell test.

These folks are getting their chance to stand up and yell, scream, pester, mislead, miseducate, and threaten anyone that will listen in order to get attention for their cause. Instead of pushback calling their love of country into question, they are getting pushback on many other fronts. People aren't calling them unpatriotic. People are calling them uninformed. There's a distinct difference.

Unlike some Democrats, I truly believe that there are some people that are uncertain out there. Most polls show Americans are fairly evenly divided on the health care issue. Polls are starting to show that the hardball tactics of the right seem to be working, too. USA Today reported that Americans are becoming more sympathetic to the conservative claims. The right has gone back into that playbook of throwing up a wedge issue as a straw man and shaking up the fear of their people. Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann both called out Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin for being for "end of life counseling" and living wills before the Republican talking points changed the name of those programs to "death panels." It's then the fear that Obama wants to kill grandma or grandpa that take over. And, as Olbermann so astutely pointed out earlier this week on Countdown, if that were true both he and I would be there at the rallies...mad as hell, too. But, it's not true.

You know, I'm not going to even bring up the patriotism argument. These folks do care about their country. I will give them that much. Still, if being patriotic means to spread lies, misunderstandings, and half truths while hanging Congressmen in effigy, calling in death threats, or giving your President "a joker makeover," I wonder what kind of patriotism that is. It sure doesn't bring a tear to my eye and a warm feeling to my heart. In fact, it makes me feel pretty cold about this place.

One way or another, I don't think the same thing that triggered this Clinton quote in 2003 is taking place. If the quote don't fit, you must acquit.

Advertisers Tell Beck...GET OFF MY PHONE, You Little Pinhead!

Glenn Beck may have gone too far this time. Advertisers are dropping sponsorship of his show after he stepped on his tongue and couldn't get what he said back. The story is here.

On the Fox and Friends program back on July 28, Beck said that President Barack Obama was a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people." It only took the sponsors a couple weeks and a few letters from angry viewers.

Beck isn't the first talk show host to lose sponsors after saying something deemed controversial. Bill Maher drew the ire of people on both sides of the aisle when he said the following on 9/17/01.

"We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."

In the interest of full disclosure, I like Bill Maher, but I don't like Glenn Beck. I don't know if Bill ultimately deserved to be fired from Politically Incorrect on ABC for saying what he said, but I do defend his right to say it. He chose to say it, and he paid for it with his job as advertisers and affiliates choked off the profits of the show. He never fully apologized for the comments, and, to this day, seems to stand by his comments.

Glenn Beck's crazy comments have consequences, but he had the right to make them...even if they are untrue. It was his choice, and he will pay. I'm sure Fox won't fire him but maybe they should. The difference between Maher and Beck is that when fellow tin-foil hatter Brian Kilmeade challenged Beck's racist comment, he immediately backed off the comments. The damage had been done though. Maher did not back down from his very controversial comments made about those hijackers while the wounds of the nation were still extremely fresh.

Moral of the story is...once you say something, it's out there. It's gone. It's on tape. You can't get it back. Glenn Beck's advertisers did the right thing for their bottom line. Will Fox?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sounds Like White's Running

Marion County Clerk Beth White said at least three times at Tuesday night's United Wayne Township Democratic Club meeting that she is running for re-election and no other office (as another blogger thought she might be) in 2010.

I'm taking her at her word. She said at the meeting, "I am looking forward to another four years in this job if I am re-elected. It's the best job in the world."

Why wouldn't White be re-elected? After scores of countywide problems in the May 2007 primary, White stood up, took the blame, took the responsibility, and fixed the problems. The 2007 General Election went well with a few problems (the results left something to be desired). In 2008, she administrated a seemingly-unprecedented three high-profile elections beginning with the 7th District Special Election in March, the nationally-watched Primary in May, and the historic November General Election. All three elections went off without much in the way of problems. Due to the new General Assembly legislation on referendums, she has been charged with now running a referendum this November, which, save two townships and Beech Grove, will have just one question on the ballot about the proposal to build a new Wishard Hospital.

The Marion County Clerk's Office is always a beehive of activity. Not only does the Clerk run elections in Marion County, the office is responsible for everything from granting marriage licenses to collecting child support. It's a big job, and White's done a fine job and is more than worthy of re-election. She has even won over some of her most staunch critics from her time as Deputy Mayor under Bart Peterson. On top of all of this, White has gotten married and had a child in the last four years.

So, it appears that White runs on...for Clerk...not Prosecutor.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Carson to Wade Potentially Into Town Hall Shark Tank

Brett Voorhies, a candidate for Indiana House District 92 in 2010, announced at the United Wayne Township Democratic Club Meeting last night that Congressman Andre Carson will hold a town hall meeting in the district sometime in the next few weeks. Carson has a fundraiser aimed at young professionals next week and was at the Peace Rally on Monday night.

Time will tell if the Congressman will get friendly crowds or those wild, crazy, and misinformed crowds that have been plaguing other members of Congress in both houses. No details received yet, but I will publish anything I find out.

After speaking with the Congressman's Office today, they reported that the Congressman and his staff is still determining when a town hall might occur. Keep watching!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921-2009)

If you haven't heard, Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away this morning. Shriver was, of course, the younger sister of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. She was also the sister of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy. In total, there were nine children of Joseph and Rose Kennedy. With Eunice's passing, just two, Jean Kennedy Smith and Senator Kennedy remain.

Eunice was famous for her work with the Special Olympics (as a founder) and other charity groups such as Best Buddies. Her son, Anthony Shriver wrote this e-mail to those who have given money to the Best Buddies organization.

Dear Best Buddies Family,

It is with a somber heart that I write to share with you that my beloved Mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, passed away today Tuesday, August 11.

She now has entered God's magnificent embrace in the same manner that she lived: at peace, surrounded by those who loved her.

Accordingly, my Mother's efforts on behalf of individuals with intellectual disabilities – particularly her work with Special Olympics – inspired me to similarly devote my life to this shared mission. Through her unwavering faith in their abilities, she helped me – and countless others – to appreciate the fact that everyone is capable of something exceptional; especially with the support and encouragement of friends and family. Through her exemplary endeavors, I learned that this support network is one of the most valuable assets anyone can and should have, regardless of one's abilities or disabilities.

My Mother's lifelong commitment to people with intellectual disabilities also taught me that there is no greater joy than the satisfaction of contributing one's time and energy to the enhancement of another person's life. The act of giving is the most rewarding manner by which to conduct each of our lives. Indeed, I know that my Mother continuously experienced such joy throughout her life.

With my Mother's passing, the Best Buddies family has lost one of its most magnanimous supporters and advocates. I know that like me, many of you will miss her smile, her words of encouragement, and simply her wonderful presence. Yet, I am comforted that her indelible spirit will always be with us, guiding us in our efforts to complete her vision for persons with intellectual disabilities ... for she knew that her fight for equality was far from completed.

On her behalf, and as we convey our last farewell, my family and I express our profound gratitude for your shared commitment to that collective dream. We would be honored if you would take some time to learn more about her life, share your own remembrances about her, and read those of others at I hope that you will not only read and perhaps contribute to the site, but also share it with your friends and family.

In lieu of flowers, and your sentiments indeed are forever appreciated, please consider making a donation in my Mother's name to an organization dedicated to the individuals she so lovingly devoted her life to, such as either Best Buddies ( or Special Olympics (, in order to help ensure that her inspiring legacy will live on in our mission of friendship.


Anthony K. Shriver
Founder and Chairman
Best Buddies International

Eunice Kennedy Shriver married Sargent Shriver (Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1972) in 1953, and they had five children including journalist and California First Lady, Maria Shriver.

The beautiful portrait of Eunice Kennedy by David Lenz was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution. It was the first photo the organization ever commissioned where the subject was not served as U.S. President or First Lady. Lenz is the father of a son with Down Syndrome. It is entitled Rare Halo Display.

Heaven has gained another angel. Eunice Kennedy Shriver will be missed.

Democrats Have a Candidate for Marion County Sheriff

While former front runner for the Democratic nomination for Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forrestal is waiting in limbo for a potential U.S. Marshall appointment from President Barack Obama, 21-year IMPD veteran, Sgt. Mark Brown, has filed his campaign committee and is running for the job that currently Frank Anderson holds.

Brown has a campaign website that is still in its beginning stages, but it does appear he's a serious candidate for the job with management qualifications and several awards listed on his page of accomplishments.

Time will tell what Forrestal will do if he doesn't get the appointment from the President. A Google search shows that has been registered, apparently in 2008. The site is still listed as under construction.

The Sheriff's job remains important, but it's nowhere near the high-profile position it was back in 2007 when the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the Indianapolis Police Department were consolidated and placed under the control of Frank Anderson. Mayor Ballard successfully negotiated back control of IMPD from Sheriff Anderson in early 2008 and got that through the Republican-controlled City-County Council.

I think the state legislature also took steps to reduce the salary of the sheriffs statewide when it was reported by the Indianapolis Star that the Marion County Sheriff was pretty much the highest-paid public official in the state. Prior to the legislature's rework of the law, the Marion County Sheriff was able to keep a portion of the money collected on overdue taxes. Reportedly, that hiked Sheriff Anderson's salary from a healthy $100K to a jaw dropping $368K. Anderson rightly pointed out that he was just doing what he was able to do under the law. That bombshell hit during the 2006 race, and it still didn't prevent the very-popular Anderson from winning re-election. I may be wrong, but I believe the legislature's new rework of the law goes into effect with the swearing in of the next Marion County Sheriff.

In case you didn't know, Anderson cannot run again due to term limits.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Who is Making the Rounds?

Sighted in the audience tonight at the Decatur Township Democratic Club Meeting (attended by nearly 60 folks to see Ann DeLaney)...

Indiana Secretary Of State Candidate-Vop Osili
Indiana State Rep. District 25 Incumbent-Rep. Jeb Bardon
Indiana State Rep. District 91 Candidate-Tim Huber
Marion County Sheriff Candidate-Mark Brown
Prosecutorial Candidates-Greg Bowes, Terry Curry, and Lowell "Butch" Shroyer
Mayoral Candidates-Joe Hogsett (represented by someone), Melina Kennedy, Kip Tew
City-County Council District 22 Candidate-Chris Jackson

Also in the audience were Superior Court Judges Steve Eicholtz, Jose Salinas, and Heather Welch. Wayne Township Board member Anna Peay was also there.

Star Suffers from Selective Memory in CIB Editorial

The Indianapolis Star seemed to place the blame for the CIB mess at the doorstep of Mayor Bart Peterson this morning, but this is clearly selective truth telling.

Yes, Peterson was Mayor of Indianapolis when the deal to build Lucas Oil Stadium and the new convention center expansion was struck, but it was ultimately not his plan that was adopted to build it and fund it. The plan that was struck gave control of building the convention center and stadium to the State of Indiana. The state owns the stadium and the convention center. The management entity for both the convention center and the stadium is the Capital Improvement Board.

It's also important to remember that it was Governor Daniels' plan that ended up blowing up in the face of Mayor Ballard and that it was Mayor Ballard that did little or nothing other than be inconsistent in his plan to fund the management of these two buildings and Conseco Fieldhouse. This is the same man who said back in 2007 in this campaign ad with now Councillor Kent Smith that he could govern without asking for "more of your money."

Now, you can't tell me, as the Star attempts to, that only folks coming in from out of state or out of the city are paying the new hotel tax up for consideration at tonight's City-County Council meeting. "Staycations" have become very popular, and Indianapolis' hotel tax will be among the highest in the nation when this is all over if the bill passes. That will cause issues when negotiating for big time conventions and trade shows, too. The Star seems to think that the world will explode if this tax is not raised.

It's Mitch's popcicle stand, and his popcicles are melting. Like so many other things though, Mitch insists that local governments and schools bear the brunt so that his billion dollar surplus stays untouched. If Mayor Ballard had some guts, he'd stand up to his Governor and tell the truth instead of being forced to break campaign promise after campaign promise.

If I'm wrong on this, somebody correct me!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Carl Brizzi Encourages Steroid Use While Filling In For Garrison

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi answered a caller's question by saying he was "all for" steroid use in professional sports if it made his experience as a fan more entertaining. He was subbing on Friday morning for WIBC's Greg Garrison.

Maybe Carl Brizzi should type the words "steroids illegal" into Google because a Department of Justice website pops up in the search results. That website says,
"Federal law placed anabolic steroids in Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as of February 27, 1991. The possession or sale of anabolic steroids without a valid prescription is illegal. Simple possession of illicitly obtained anabolic steroids carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a minimum $1,000 fine if this is an individual’s first drug offense. The maximum penalty for trafficking is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if this is the individual’s first felony drug offense. If this is the second felony drug offense, the maximum period of imprisonment and the maximum fine both double. While the above listed penalties are for federal offenses, individual states have also implemented fines and penalties for illegal use of anabolic steroids"

Garrison's show runs from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. Isn't that a time you might think the Prosecutor would be in the office? I wanted to link to the Garrison website as well so that you could hear the comments for yourself, but, the audio from yesterday's show isn't archived yet.

I'm Not Saying...I'm Just Saying: Libertarians and Democrats Differ on Family Fun

Ok, let me preface this by saying that I'm not judging this at all. I just found this extremely interesting and worthy of note if you somehow thought Libertarians and Democrats were even close to the same (which I'm sure you, a smart reader of this blog, did not.)

On August 23, the Marion County Democratic Party in association with its clubs is presenting a Unity Picnic at Garfield Park. There will be a DJ, family-friendly games, fun, food, and an enjoyable time.

Eight days earlier on August 15, the Libertarian Party of Indiana presents a Family Barbeque and Target Shooting Fundraiser at a farm in Bloomington, IN.

I love my Libertarian friends. I'm not saying...I'm just saying.

Friday, August 7, 2009

World War I Vets Nearly Extinct

And then there were officially three.

According to AFP and Wikipedia, just three men of the millions of personnel to be veterans of the War to End All Wars or World War I still survive. This after the recent death of 111-year old Briton Harry Patch. Just the week before, another World War I veteran, 113-year old Henry Allingham passed away.

According to the AFP, 108-year old American Frank Buckles and 108-year old Brit Claude Choules are two remaining vets of what many consider to be the terrible first modern war. Wikipedia adds Canadian John Henry Foster Babcock, 109, as a veteran of the conflict citing CBC News as its source. These three men constitute what's left of the tens of millions that fought in the war. The Wikipedia article also lists two other men as vets of the era. One is an unverified British vet of the war, 106 year old Douglas Edward Terrey, and the other, Jozéf Kowalski, is a Polish World War I-era vet.

The number of veterans of the first World War have dropped off significantly in the last 10 years. Wikipedia tracks the number of deaths of World War I vets by year. In 1999, 782 World War I vets died and that number grew smaller each year with just 17 passing last year. Five have died this year, according to the online encyclopedia. Leaving just a handful of verified or unverified vets.

A great uncle of mine, Fred Easter, was a World War I veteran. According to my grandmother, he was gassed by the Germans and suffered tremendous nervous system damage and psychological problems after the attack. It was a truly horrid all wars are...and the death of these brave veterans one-by-one gives us pause and a moment to remember them for their sacrifices to the world and to their countries.

Even the survivors of the war were greatly effected by what happened in front of them, and it no doubt shaped their lives from the moment the war ended. I salute the living and dead World War I veterans and all those veterans of wars living and dead before and after the "War to End All Wars" took place.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

From the "You Got What You Voted For" Department

The good folks over at the former "Bart Lies" blog shilled hard for Greg Ballard. These folks carried the water for Ballard long before even the Republican Party seemed to embrace him. They bought his "no new taxes" line of bull. Now, a quick perusal of the blog reveals just how much they got what they voted for...have a look...if you dare. Mayor Ballard might want to look away. Looks like he's their target now. When do they change the URL?

History Made: Sotomayor Easily Confirmed

57 Democrats, 9 Republicans, and 2 Independents voted to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, once sworn in, will become the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice and just the third female to serve on our country's highest court.

31 Republicans including John McCain and Kay Bailey Hutchison voted against the nomination of Sotomayor. Ted Kennedy, still being treated for cancer, was unable to be present to vote although Robert Byrd did make it to the floor to cast his vote.

I applaud the nine Republicans that crossed party lines in this bitter debate to support the qualified and extremely dynamic Sotomayor. They are...

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
Senator Kit Bond of Missouri (retiring)
Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire (retiring)
Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana
Senator Mel Martinez of Florida (retiring)
Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine
and Senator George Voinovich of Ohio (retiring)

Snowe and Collins are rather progressive Republicans. Gregg is from New England and retiring as well. Bond, Martinez, and Voinovich are retiring at the end of their terms. That means that the only Republicans taking chances in voting for Sotomayor include Lindsey Graham, Richard Lugar, and Lamar Alexander. Alexander and Graham both will be up for re-election in 2014. Lugar is up in 2012. That means that not one single Republican that is up for re-election in 2010 from a non-progressive area voted for Sotomayor. It also means that since his election is in three years and not six that Lugar took the biggest risk.

President Obama gets 68 votes for his first Supreme Court nominee. That's more than George W. Bush got for Samuel Alito and less than he got for John Roberts.