Thursday, April 30, 2009

Senator Bayh Attempts Obama Connection

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Senator Evan Bayh, a man I have supported in the past and praised on this blog, through his campaign touting the accomplishments of the first 100 days of the Obama Administration. While much of the e-mail is indeed touting accomplishments that Bayh helped to make possible, the last line of the e-mail rings hollow.

“There are many miles to go. But in 100 days, President Obama has charted a bold new direction for our country that holds promise for a more prosperous future. I will continue to work with him on behalf of middle-class Hoosier families to restore the American dream,” said Bayh.

There is no mention of Senator Bayh’s defection from the Democratic caucus on the President’s budget package…a measure that passed without Bayh’s support that did, to be honest, spend a lot of money. Some of that money seeks to help President Obama and the Congress move towards health care reforms that just might benefit “middle-class Hoosier families” Bayh talks about in the e-mail.

Senator Bayh is a conservative Democrat who, at times, has found himself to the right of Indiana’s Republican Senator, Richard Lugar. Still, the language of the e-mail sounded like Bayh has moved in lock step with the President’s ambitious agenda. That’s just simply not the case. I doubt that many of the liberal Democrats that got Bayh’s e-mail actually read it without chuckling…maybe some of the conservative D’s, too.

UPDATE
I just got around to clicking the link at the bottom of the e-mail. It says that it goes to www.evanbayh.com. It takes you directly to a donation website for the Senator. This just gets funnier.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flyover Brings Back the Wrong Memories

I am not a direct survivor of 9/11. I didn’t have any family, friends, or acquaintances that perished on one of the flights or in one of the buildings. Still, I can’t watch video from that day and not feel the need to change the channel when it comes on my screen.

It’s hard for me not to put myself in the place of some of those people that died that day. I’m sure that we’ve done it when we’ve been in a tall building or sitting in an airplane seat. Yesterday’s Air Force One flyover of New York City sent residents into a panic and served as a completely out-of-the-blue and completely unnecessary reminder of how scary and terrifying that horrible day back in 2001 was.

Ridiculous, mad, outrageous, scary, frightening, crazy…and that’s just my reaction. President Obama was reported to be “furious” that someone in his administration made the call to allow his airplane to fly low over the City that Never Sleeps. This as traumatized residents reported to be in the thousands panicked and interrupted their lives due to that awful emotion…fear. Yes, those folks feared for their lives yesterday, and it happened because of a lack of communication.

The people in the higher levels of government neglected to tell the people on the streets that a Boeing 747 and two fighter jets were no threat to them. Would it have made any difference as the big blue and white bird floated low over the home of over 8,000,000 people? Many of those people having survived the horrors of losing part of themselves that day. Several more of them still coughing from inhaling the smoke, the soot, the chemicals, and the nastiness of that day in September 2001.

It was just the wrong thing to do, and President Obama needs to be more than just furious. This was the wrong thing to do, and a “Whoops…sorry about that,” is just not enough of an apology.

While we deal with the possible pandemic of the swine flu, an economy in the john, and the very real realization that someone might want to do harm to us someday, was a photo op really necessary in New York City? No. President Obama needs to roll some heads out on this one. I simply cannot support the Administration on this one.

This is akin to the Panic Broadcast of 1938 when Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre On The Air showed that a broadcast of a little play called War of the Worlds could cause so much mess. Thousands panicked across the country believing the martian invasion was, in fact, real.

Viewing the video footage took me back to that day, 9/11/2001. I can only imagine the nightmares a few people must have had last night after being taken right back into that day…by our President’s plane flying low over their heads. Something about that just smells bad.

Former Bush Administration official Bradley Blakeman told Fox News, "This is more than a lapse of judgment. This is complete stupidity in a time of economic crisis, wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars for publicity photos for Air Force One when you could have put that on your PC at home and done the same thing without that cost and disruption."

On a rare occasion, I agree with you 100 percent, sir.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The End of America

In case you didn't see it this weekend, America ended...according to the right.

Yes, when Hugo Chavez walked across the room and extended a hand of conciliation to President Barack Obama and presented him with a book, the country suddenly ceased to exist. At least, that's what the right is saying.

So, what was Obama supposed to do? Drop him with a well placed shoe or karate chop to the temple? Come on. In the video, Obama didn't look too pleased to be approached by the Venezualan dictator. The look and body language seemed to say to me..."Oh boy, here he comes. What do I do? Okay, grab the book and smile. Oh crap. I guess I'd better shake his hand."

No, it was clear that Chavez was trying to say something with his gesture, and it certainly didn't look like he was ready to call him the devil (like he did President Bush) or was ready to follow up on his "ignoramous" catcall either. Nope. It looked like, as Rachel Maddow pointed out earlier tonight on her show, that Chavez was trying to rub off some popularity from Mr. Popular. That's right. Maddow cited a recent poll showing that one Barack Obama is more popular than Chavez...IN VENEZUALA!

It's amazing the tempests in teapots that the Republicans and, by extension, the right are trying to whip up these days. Why wouldn't it be a GOOD THING that perhaps relations are starting to thaw between America and Venezuala? I guess it makes it easier to whip up fear when we hate those that don't agree with us.

At the crux of things, that's really what all this is about. Hugo Chavez is a dictator. There is no question about that. He's not really a great guy, and I don't think that Obama will be inviting him to Camp David or Waikiki anytime soon. There are worse regimes in the world though. And, we have no qualms about trading or dealing bi-laterally with those folks.

So, Obama traded a couple of handshakes and yuck yucks with Chavez. Big flippin' deal. It's just another example of how much more radical the right is becoming day by day. And these folks owned this country for about six years under President Bush. Now, this is the best stuff they can whip up. Wow. How the mighty have fallen!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Teabags and D-Bags

Okay, just an interesting headline for you there, but I personally think the "Taxed Enough Already" parties underscore the ragged nature of the right. The "Drive-by Media" did cover the event, and, unless you watched Fox News, you saw an uneven group of people with many more right-wing concerns than just taxes.

In Indianapolis, the reported 3,000 people that attended the rallies failed to live up to pre-rally forecasts of 8,000. Of course, the weather wasn't perfect. Still, the weather wasn't perfect back in campaign season when thousands packed the American Legion Mall for a Barack Obama campaign stop. I know...I know...apples and oranges, but it underlines the fact that if people are passionate about something, then they will go to it, come heck or high water.

So, I laughed when I saw folks turn the TEA Parties into gun rights parties or right-to-life parties or whatever issue co-opted the TEA Parties. It just made many of those that went out and protested look like D-Bags. I'm not calling the people that word, but it made them look awfully foolish.

The Republican Party used to be better than this. I could agree with some of their core principles. Now, there are no core principles...only wedge issues and religious ridiculousness. It's amazing to think how complete and utter the collapse has been. It's kind of like watching "Destroyed in Seconds" on the Discovery Channel. We've all seen the type of video where the hyper-fast speedboats go flying across the water at unbelievable speed. Then, there's a little bobble and the boat is destroyed in seconds with the pilot flying through the air and landing roughly. Usually, due to advanced safety features, the carnage is limited to broken bones and egos. In this case, the Republican Party is still airborne. They are waiting to splash down on the island. Yet, the injuries have occurred.

Now, people they consider their deepest base are celebrated on Fox News, blogs, and other media for protesting wasteful spending by dumping plenty of good teabags into rivers, streams, whatever is nearby. What hippocrites! Yes, I did call them that name.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Democrats Line Up for Chance to Take on Ballard

Several good Democratic candidates are lining up to challenge Mayor Greg Ballard for his seat in 2011, and these are people with beaucoup connections, lots of fundraising ability, or a fat wallet.

As I proceed around Democratic functions, I see more than a few of these candidates that are not yet candidates. Many other blogs are right on target with some of these folks. Tonight, for example, at the Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting, Joe Hogsett, Melina Kennedy, and Dr. Woodrow Myers were all in attendance. In my opinion, these candidates that are not yet candidates are doing it right. They are attending club meetings, talking to club members, and participating in club functions. I haven't yet seen some of the other candidates on the southwest side of town anyway. You can count that there will be others out there, but these early candidates are taking their cases to the folks that will vote at the slating convention in early 2011, and I truly appreciate it.

Of course, the 1,000,000 pound gorilla in the room still is hanging out there. No one knows the plans of former Mayor Bart Peterson. He has been damaged a bit by the CIB crisis. His silence on the issue means that he is thinking about something, and I don't pretend to know what it is. Perhaps he has his eye on the 2012 gubernatorial race or perhaps it's the 2014 Senate race. Still, it's hard for me to believe that Mayor Peterson is going to sit on the sidelines that long.

Another big hat that's still out of the ring could be Sheriff Frank Anderson. Despite some problems, Anderson has done what he said he would do and has cleaned up the Marion County Jail. He crossed the aisle and dealt with Mayor Ballard on the IMPD issue and ceded control to the Mayor.

Any way you slice it, Mayor Ballard is going to need a tremendous two years in office to save his current job. I just don't think the guy has the vision or is getting the right advice to get it done right now. He came in on a populist message of "Had Enough." He could be going out on the same slogan.

2011 is still two years away, and it's impossible to see what's going to happen yet. The Mayor and the Council should swing back Democratic this time, but Chairman Ed Treacy is going to have to be party boss and diplomat. Democrats are known for turning the firing squad inward. Certainly, as my friend, Chris Worden, says on his blog www.ipopa.blogspot.com, Congressman Carson has a big say in what happens here in Democratic politics. He quickly has become the most powerful officeholder in the city and a big fish in donkey politics.

Still, past history has shown that old wounds heal fast in politics and that contested primaries, while not preferred, make the survivors stronger. The potentially divisive 2008 election year ended with a 107,000 vote win for Barack Obama in Marion County and a huge November win by André Carson. This even after a tough March special election that divided the party and a brutal May primary that pitted seven spectacular Congressional candidates (and a couple of others) against each other and also featured two passionately-supported, history-making candidates candidates. In the end, everyone came together and united to turn Indiana blue for the first time since 1964. Congressman Carson's original challenger decided he'd try to get his Indiana House seat back but lost to Mary Ann Sullivan. Stateside, the D's picked up seats in the Indiana House (specifically big gains in Marion County). Maybe that primary fight was a good thing? It was an amazing feat to come together for a Democratic Party that has various and wide-ranging interests within it.

Enough already
Just a few words about the Minnesota U.S. Senate race. I will address this straight to Norm Coleman. YOU LOST. GIVE IT UP. IT'S OVER. YOU WILL NOT WIN. YOU ARE SCREWING YOUR FORMER CONSTITUENTS.

The time has come for Norm Coleman to step aside, pull an Al Gore and be a statesman. Then again, Norm Coleman doesn't have it within him to do so. All this time, Minnesota and, by extension, America, is being denied a Senator. Al Franken won, Norm. It's time to admit it and move on with your life.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mayor Ballard Gets Duped in Motown

Well, by now, many have heard the news. Mayor Greg Ballard was the victim of a "high tech" pickpocket scheme in Detroit. The good news is that after this scary incident, Indianapolis' mayor is just fine and our city's security is not at risk (according to the Mayor himself). Mayor Ballard returned from the NCAA Final Four missing his personal cell phone and with his wallet after being pickpocketed in Detroit.

It is somewhat alarming that the Mayor of Indianapolis thought he was so safe walking from Ford Field to his hotel IN DETROIT that he needed no security IN DETROIT. I understand saving the tax payer a few dollars, but my goodness, this is nuts! He was IN DETROIT! COME ON MAN! DETROIT! (My apologies to the City of Detroit. This honestly could have happened anywhere.) After his brush with a pickpocket IN DETROIT, apparently hizzoner rushed security to accompany him during the rest of the trip. It was a major potential embarassment for the City of Indianapolis and the Ballard Administration that thankfully, so far, didn't get picked up by the media and thus making more of a national splash. All-in-all, Ballard got some actually nice coverage from it and kind of came across as a "if it happened to me, it could happen to you" figure.

Still, something about all of this seems fishy to me. I can't quite put my finger on this. I still can't reconcile how the Mayor of Indianapolis is allowed by anyone, including himself, to walk around without security in this day and age of crazies. I can't reconcile how the Mayor of Indianapolis would WANT to walk around without security. I guess that just sums up our current mayor. He's, in my opinion, not the sharpest suit in the wardrobe.

We went from a professional mayor to a guy that sometimes appears to not even understand the signficance of his elected office. THIS IS THE MAYOR OF A MAJOR CITY UNGUARDED AT A MAJOR SPORTING EVENT IN ANOTHER MAJOR CITY THAT'S SOMEWHAT KNOWN FOR CRIME. Does this make sense to you? Add this incident to the others and the lack of vision, lack of knowledge of community issues, and general lack of political savvy, and I think people maybe starting to have enough of this Mayor.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Barack Obama's Big Adventure

President Obama has been jetsetting across Europe charming crowds, world leaders, dealing with crises, and answering tough questions. It's been an excellent adventure for our nation's leader.

Thus far, with his trip to Turkey pending, President Obama has performed magnificently in restoring what was lost under the eight years of he who shall not be named. Obama has quickly put the Office of the President back in the rolodex of the rest of the world as an office that is interested in making allies and not losing them.

Under the previous administration, Europe slipped away from us a bit further, not geographically, but the Bush Administration found itself mired in politics. The "shoot first plan later" plan in Iraq was widely pooh-poohed by the rest of the world as the Iraqi War droned on and on. No sense in rehashing the past.

Obama has begun to lay the groundwork to work with our allies again. We are no longer the country that has earned the right to dictate our will. Because of the previous administration's reckless disregard for anything but its own interests, we lost our standing. People stopped listening to us. Therefore, our country's highest leaders adopted the old "with us or against us" policy.

On his first visit abroad, Obama has done an amazing job (to the consternation of conservatives) in saying that the United States and Europe can accomplish a lot more through our similarities and our common interests than through our differences. It wasn't a complete slam dunk, but Obama certainly made progress over there.

No. There was not an immediate genuflection from the Europeans. If I were them, I probably would remain a bit weary of the new guy. He is still new. But, I think that President Obama has made some holes in the isolation wall that President Bush built between our country and Europe.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy seemed to have done a 180 on Obama. Some reports in the past seemed to portray Sarkozy as someone highly skeptical of the new US leader. After meeting with him at the G20 Summit and in private, Sarkozy said, "I trust him. I don't need guarantees. I trust him. I trust his word. And I trust his intelligence."

Many derided Obama for his intelligence during the campaign. Sounds like it is working fine for him now. Certainly working better than that of the last guy.