Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Facebook Polls: Usually Dopey...This One Disturbing


If you are a Facebook user, you can leave your opinion on any number of dopey Facebook polls. Some of those polls include political questions such as, "Would you ever vote for Sarah Palin?" I voted No. Other polls ask questions like, "Should the Pledge of Allegiance still be said in schools?" I voted yes. Still another, "Should Obama be impeached?" My vote was no with an, "Are you serious?" added.

Mindblowingly though, this isn't remotely the most shocking poll to pop up on Facebook. Various news outlets including the Associated Press are reporting that the Secret Service is looking into a Facebook poll created by a Facebook user on whether or not President Barack Obama should be killed. The AP report can be read here.

It's shocking to hear of something like this, and I hope we will at least find out that some knucklehead kid somewhere created this poll as some sort of sick joke and nothing sinister was behind it. Regardless, this is the kind of crap that's out there right now floating among the other turd ideas put forth by a very very very small minority of people. It does seem to be part of a somewhat new and very disturbing pattern. Investigative reporter Ronald Kessler shocked folks when he wrote in a recently published book that Secret Service sources told him that threats on this President are up 400 percent from his predecessor.

It's sick. It's twisted. It's wrong.

I commend Facebook for dumping the poll as quickly as it came to their attention. Most Facebook polls are created using a third-party application. Perhaps more twistedly, the AP seemed disappointed that the gut churning poll's results weren't available, "Because the application was disabled, the responses to the nonscientific polls are not available."

Have people forgotten that President Obama is not only the President of the United States but also a father, a husband, and, most of all, a HUMAN BEING? Most have not, but some clearly have.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Advance Indiana Hatchet Jobs Hogsett

I know that Joe Hogsett is a big boy and has been around the bar long enough in politics to take a few shots, but Advance Indiana blogger Gary Welsh crossed the line in his conjecture as to why Hogsett quit the 2011 race for Mayor.

You can read Welsh's trash here. Feel free to send Mr. Welsh your comments as well. Heck, he might even post a few. In the hatchet job, Welsh downplays the support that Hogsett had, calls him a loser, and rumor-mongers about Hogsett's marital status.

Totally over the line...even for Advance Indiana. In the end, though, it's Gary Welsh that looks stupid. His assessment of Hogsett's campaign clearly shows that he has little idea what goes on in Democratic circles and that should stick to his own little bitter playground.

Mayor's Neighborhood Liaison Carlos May to Run Against André Carson


If you have read this blog long enough, you know I call 'em as I see 'em. There are really good people on both sides of the aisle, and, recently, I found out all around great guy Carlos May is running for the Republican nomination for 7th District Congress.

Before I go any further, you all know where I stand...if you didn't know, see the picture. I will be supporting my Congressman and my friend, André Carson. Back to Carlos, though.

May is currently one of Greg Ballard's Neighborhood Liaisons. He has done an effective job from all accounts, but he raised a few eyebrows (at least mine) about three or four months when he went off on a tangent about unresponsive government at all levels in kind of a passionate rant form at the Decatur Township Civic Council Meeting. My eyebrows went up because it seemed strange coming from the mouth of someone representing the Mayor, and I wondered exactly what he was up to. The mystery is over. He said last night also at a Decatur Township Civic Council meeting that he would be resigning from his position as Mayor's Neighborhood Liaison on December 31, 2009 to concentrate on his run for office.

He would seem to have a long, steep hill to climb to get his own party's nomination first as there are other candidates...but then to tackle Mr. Carson will be a bigger even more steep step without much support from anyone but himself.

Here's his introductory video as well as a vid from his Meet the Candidate Night. I have to admit...as nice of a guy as Carlos is...it's fairly chuckle-worthy. Carlos comes across a little stiff and sounds pretty young. Sorry Carlos, you're a nice guy. You are trying hard! Nice tie, too.



Also, do you recognize anyone in this video...hmmm....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Warren Democrats Cancel Mayoral Forum

From Warren Township Trustee Jeff Bennett...

Jon--

Out of respect for the 2010 races, the Warren Township Democratic Club is cancelling its mayoral candidate forum.

We'll hold such a forum when the time is more appropriate.

The club will meet as scheduled on October 8, and all candidates are still invited to attend.

Let's win in 2010. After that, let's win in 2011!


Jeff Bennett

Indianapolis Times Reports Hogsett is Out


Terry Burns over at the Indianapolis Times Blog reports that Joe Hogsett has decided to bow out of the mayoral race in 2011. Kudos to TB on the scoop!

While it appears his 2011 plans are now decided, I'm not convinced that Joe is done in politics though. He has an upcoming engagement to speak to the Henry County Democrats at their Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner on October 10. Someone not running for something doesn't just usually make those appointments although...if someone could, it would be Joe with his friends all across the state. I can't say for sure, but Joe might maybe perhaps have something on his mind that starts with a G and ends with overnor. Maybe...maybe not. Perhaps it's just wishful thinking although there are several attractive candidates out there with Gubernatorial hopes on the Democratic side. Jonathan Weinzapfel and Roy Dominguez to name two.

Anyway, Hogsett's exit makes Melina Kennedy the clear front runner with filed candidate Brian Williams and others like Kip Tew and Jose Evans still possible and working candidates...though...unfiled. More to come on this once I have a chance to digest the news.

2010 Marion County Ticket Taking Shape Slowly; Sheriff Race Still Up In Air Though


The Democratic ticket for Marion County Offices in 2010 is starting to round into shape.

Let's look at the incumbents first...

Billie Breaux was rumored early on to not be running for a second four-year term as Auditor, but it looks like now that she's in. Breaux has been relatively quiet since taking over the Auditor's Office, but she is back out making the rounds with her daughter, Senator Jean Breaux.

Julie Voorhies is back taking another bite at the apple for the Recorder's Office. She touts her cost cutting and modernizing efforts as well as her work with the Surveyor's Office, headed by her former Office Manager, Debbie Jenkins, as first term accomplishments.

Beth White is looking for an easy ride to another four years as Marion County Clerk. The troubles were well documented in White's first attempt at running a Primary Election in May 2007, but the office has been very efficient and has handled every curveball thrown at them since running as close to perfect elections as is possible. White has gone from that awful beginning to being probably the most effective Marion County Clerk in years.

And now the more complicated races...

Joe O'Connor is currently the only Democratic candidate for Marion County Assessor to replace incumbent Greg Bowes. With 18 years of combined experience in the Marion County Assessor's Office, the Warren Township Assessor's Office, and the Pike Township Assessor's Office, he appears to be ready and well-qualified to move over a chair or two to be the big shot. O'Connor would join a re-elected Breaux and Treasurer Mike Rodman as a Marion County Commissioner.

The Prosecutor's race, as I just blogged on Sunday, started out to be a fight, but it looks like Terry Curry's doing a very nice job now gaining support and stamping his name on the Democratic nomination. David Orentlicher and Greg Bowes remain in the race to get that Demo nod, and I guess it's possible that they could topple Curry. It's really unlikely though with the support Curry has mustered.

That leaves the Marion County Sheriff's Office up in the air. It could be really easy to arrive at a candidate or really hard. We know for sure that Mark Brown currently is the only filed candidate for the office. Brown is a veteran IMPD officer who, according to his campaign stump speech, has "supervised every area of the department" in his years on the force. He says all the right things showing deference to the great job that Sheriff Frank Anderson has done, but he also says that he wants to expand and make some changes because he and Anderson are, "two different people." Kerry Forrestal and John Layton are both the other possible candidates. Forrestal was the heir-apparent to Anderson, but he is still waiting on the Obama Administration to make a U.S. Marshall appointment for which he's the leading candidate. Layton would figure to be the Sheriff's next choice. He's a heck of a guy and a longtime veteran of the Sheriff's Department. If he dives in with the Sheriff's blessing, he would gain, I believe, the instant support of Sheriff Anderson's wide-ranging political machine putting Brown's excellent run thus far in jeopardy.

I guess there's still a little drama out there. Maybe some for Prosecutor, but the Sheriff's race appears to be the one to watch as we enter October. Just four months left until the February Democratic slating convention!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Curry's The Clear Front-runner in Democratic Prosecutorial Pile-up


What a difference a month makes! As we entered September, the Prosectorial Pile-up was definitely a pile-up on the Democratic side, but, like an official sorting out the football pile to see who has the ball, it appears that Terry Curry has emerged as the party favorite to win the Democratic nomination for Prosecutor.

Curry held his campaign kickoff party on Saturday evening at the Northside Knights of Columbus on 71st Street. Over 100 people were at the party which featured two great bands, free food, free booze, and free fun. Spotted in the crowd were several elected officials, candidates, and other notables. Marion County Democratic Party Chairman Ed Treacy made a very visible appearance as well and mingled with the assembled crowd as they ate and grooved to the music.

The host spoke briefly. He spoke about his desire to serve in the office where he formerly worked, but this time as the Prosecutor. Curry promised to bring Democratic values to the office and promised to be, unlike the current occupant, a full-time Prosecutor. He also sent a message to Carl Brizzi or whichever Republican runs. Curry said, "In 402 days, we will elect the first Democratic Prosecutor in Marion County in 16 years."

It's time for some honesty folks. Let's address that, pardon the Republican imagery here, elephant in the room. Curry is slowly choking out the competition. His recent campaign letter inviting folks to last night's shindig listed pretty much all the heavy hitters in Democratic Marion County politics. It seems highly unlikely that Greg Bowes or David Orentlicher will be able to move the dial in their directions without at least some support from these individuals.

It's looking like the very smart Butch Shroyer was right on target by dropping out at the correct moment. When you're running for a countywide office like the Prosecutor, it's very difficult to win without the support of those big names because those big names bring big dollars. Big dollars from unions and other big ticket Democratic donors.

That doesn't mean that the other two in the race don't have their own big name backers nor does it mean that they should fold their tents and go home. Either one would be an excellent Prosecutor, and I could support either candidate. Both Bowes and Orentlicher are credible candidates running credible campaigns. Bowes has credentials as a former Deputy Prosecutor, and David O. was an amazing Indiana State Representative not-to-mention one of the smartest people I know.

Not surprisingly, neither Bowes nor Orentlicher were in attendance last night, and there were some whispers that Bowes held a campaign kickoff picnic earlier in the day. Orentlicher has been up front that he's in this until at least slating and either win or throw his support to the winner of the slating convention vote, but Bowes will likely take the Titanic to the Primary and perhaps bypass slating altogether.

It's very difficult to type these words because I consider both Greg Bowes and David O. friends of mine. For these two (hopefully after they read this blog post) friends, I think it's going to be an uphill battle. The party faithful are rallying around Curry, who is, in my estimation, the BEST and most ELECTABLE candidate for the job.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Indiana's 4th District: Who Challenges the Lettuce Smoker?


Here we are less than a year away from the primary in Indiana's 4th District, and it appears that there are no real frontrunners in the 4th Congressional District for the Democratic nomination. If there are, I have not heard from any of them.

I know that Professor David Sanders has started to make the rounds again. Sanders ran two campaigns in 2004 and 2006 against Rep. Buyer, one of which I volunteered for as his Marion County Coordinator. He even kept talking to me after about 50 of his campaign yard signs ended up in Georgia and never came back (LONG STORY THERE). Anyway, he may or may not be running again. I have not talked to him.

In 2008, Nels Ackerson ran a very good campaign against Buyer. Nels was everywhere with attractive campaign material, yard signs, and some hard-earned campaign cash. It was not an easy run given the size of the district and the political composition of the registered voters. Last I heard, this district was one of the safest for Republicans in the country.

There are others. Rick Cornstuble ran in the primary against Sanders in 2006. His Corn For Congress idea really was a good one. I know that folks like Tom K. Pappas are eyeing a run someday for the race. Heck, if Todd Rokita's re-districting plan goes through, someday I might give it a go against Mr. Use-Nuclear-Weapons-In-Afghanistan...Mr. Anti-Veteran Veterans Affairs Chair...Mr. Refuse-to-Debate-and-Finally-Agree-A-Week-Before-The-Election-Then-Call-My-Opponent-A-Nasty-Person-For-Debating-Me...Mr. I-Smoke-Lettuce-But-Didn't-Inhale...Mr. Leave-Of-Absence...Mr. Take-Money-From-Big-Pharma-Big-Tobacco-Big-Oil...Mr. Buyer-Be-Where...I could go on all day.

The hope is not lost for Democrats in this district. I think Buyer is beatable. Even though he's a "Blue Dog" we all saw what then-Sheriff Brad Ellsworth did to the goofball former Rep. John Hostettler in the so-called "Bloody Eighth" in southwestern Indiana. A popular "Blue Dog" might be able to beat Buyer, but the Fourth District has little in the way of anything close to a big city (Lafayette area and far westside outskirts of Indy are the only exception) where that type of Democrat might be found. Instead, the district runs from Monticello to Mitchell and has more cornstalks than Democrats. It's certainly anything but hospitable to donkey politics.

I guess time will tell who emerges in the Fourth. If you hear anything, let me know.

Friday, September 25, 2009

O'Connor Speaks to Perry Democrats about Assessor's Race


Because Greg Bowes thinks he can be your next Marion County Prosecutor, there is an open seat at the Marion County Assessor's Office. The only Democrat thus far to file to fill that seat is Joe O'Connor. He spoke to the 20 Democrats assembled at the Perry Township Democratic Club meeting last night at the CWA Union Hall.

The current Director of Assessment under Bowes, O'Connor has 18 years of assessing experience beginning in the Pike and Warren Township Assessor's Offices. He joined Bowes' Office in 2007 as the Governor-ordered reassessment of Marion County property was just hitting. He then helped lead the transition from township assessors to one county assessor. He said that the transition is now underway and that the office is catching up on the 22,000 appeals that it inherited from the townships dispensing with 8,000 of those cases. O'Connor said the office hopes to have 80 percent of them done by the end of the year. "We are starting to get on track to get some good things done," said O'Connor of the current state of the office.

O'Connor, a current Pike Township Advisory Board member, said he backs four satellite Marion County Assessors' Offices countywide...one in Beech Grove, another in Warren Township, one in Washington Township, and one somewhere on the Westside (but likely not in the current Westside office due to a number of issues).

It was a light night on the candidate end. Just two other candidates were in the house, and I've covered them here before. Marion County Prosecutor candidate Terry Curry was there as was candidate for Marion County Sheriff Mark Brown. More to come on these races in coming days.

Also in the crowd was the Honorable Larry Ryan, a member of the Center Township Advisory Board. District 22 candidate Christopher Jackson was represented by a surrogate (me).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

13 Investigates Perry Township Fire Merger

I'll let the report do the talking. The link is here.

On a side note, it's good to see Greg Ballard again! Nine days...nothing on Lilly.

Maybe Carson Is Sharper than Coleman Thinks (As If There Were ANY DOUBT?!?!?!????!!!!)


Indiana Barrister, the blog of newlywed WXNT 1430 AM host, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, brought up an interesting point earlier this week in the whole ACORN Congressional de-funding debate. What if André Carson got it right when he voted against de-funding the community organization?

Abdul's post which can be read here says:

"I am no big fan of ACORN and Carson and I have our philosophical differences, but he may be right on this one, even if for the wrong reason. A valid argument can be made that when the House voted to deny ACORN funding it was passing what’s called a “bill of attainder.”

A bill of attainder is legislation that specifically targets a group or individual to be punished without a trial. Such legislation is unconstitutional under Article 1, Sections 9 and 10. The House bill expressly prohibits any federal funds or contract going to ACORN. Thus, the potential for unconstitutionality."


Kudos to the Libertarian-leaning Abdul for having the class to point this out. It was something I glossed over and was unaware of when I criticized Carson's vote, and it was clearly something Ed Coleman failed to understand when he called Carson names over on Gary Welch's Advance Indiana blog:

"Even on the council he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. I wish he would follow in his grandmothers footsteps better and skip more votes."


Kudos to André Carson who, as it turns out Ed, may be the sharpest tool in the shed on this issue.

Shepard Play, Legacy Brings Positive Opportunity to Fight Hate Courtesy of the Westboro Church, Fred Phelps


Everyone's least favorite homophobe Fred Phelps is allegedly bringing his Badyear Blimp circus known as the Westboro Church to North Central High School on Thursday to protest the school's performance of The Laramie Project, a play about Laramie, Wyoming's reaction to the hate crime murder of the openly-gay Matthew Shepard in 1998. The play is about the ingredients of hate that led to the death of Shepard at the hands of some homophobic young men, but it's also about the response of the community after he died.

Given Phelps' anti-gay, hateful views, he has a particular jones for this particular play and apparently feels that protesting for 35 minutes (2:55-3:30 p.m.) outside North Central High School Thursday will further his organization's cause.

You know, I could spew a lot of hate and rhetoric Phelps' way, but I am not going to do that. It would be far too easy to do. I don't like Mr. Phelps or his message. In fact, I feel sorry for him along with the people in his flock. They have chosen to hijack portions of the Christian doctrine for their own purposes. I'm not going to worry too much about Mr. Phelps nor his protest. I think people can make their own inferences about what kind of perverted mind must be inside of a guy that would protest outside the funerals of servicemen killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan all because he hates homosexuals. It's weird, and it's sick.

What I do want to talk about is the positive reaction of the North Central student body to this potentially nasty turn of events. The young people at North Central have set up a "Phelps-a-thon" to protest the protest. They are asking you to act...not with a counter protest...but with your wallets to support the North Central Gay/Straight Alliance and the Indianapolis Youth Group (IYG). Both of these organizations provide a valuable service and an unending amount of resources for young people who are going through so much. For many questioning teens, it's a struggle going on inside that, unless you've been in their shoes, you will never understand. Phelps' hatred doesn't help.

If you want to visit the North Central Phelps-a-thon, go to www.phelps-a-thon.com/northcentral.html. Read all about Phelps and his protests and please think about giving to the NCGSA and the IYG. You can pledge a donation or give through Paypal. I laid down $25, and I challenge you to do the same or more.

These young people need your help and support, but they also need to see that you care. It's the type of hatred espoused by a supposed man-of-the-cloth that helped lead to the death of Matthew Shepard. Please, drown out Fred Phelps' protest with your wallets! Show them what we can do when we come together for the RIGHT reasons.

I understand that North Central High School DOES NOT want counterprotests to Mr. Phelps' protest. Fight the urge to do it, and instead protest by donating or going to see the production. The play runs September 24, 25, and 26 at 7:00 p.m. North Central High School is located at 1801 E. 86th Street.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Democrats Respond to Ballard's Lilly Disappearing Act


A quick Google search reveals nothing new from Mayor Ballard on the impending job cuts at Eli Lilly. It's been eight days since the major Indianapolis job provider announced that it is planning to trim a billion from its expenses and shed thousands of local jobs.

Last week when Lilly announced the cutbacks, I struggled to find the logic in the Mayor's silence on the issue. Nothing yet has, to my knowledge, publicly passed from his mouth to the local media on these job cuts. The only on-the-record anything I can find was a quote by a surrogate in an Indianapolis Star article. His slogan in this case: Greg Ballard...No Leadership. It's a much different Greg Ballard than this campaign ad promoted.



I contacted all the Democratic Mayoral candidates that I could or had contact information for, and I asked them what they thought of Mayor Ballard's leadership on this issue.

My question:
What is your reaction to Mayor Ballard's leadership thus far in the aftermath of Eli Lilly's announcement that thousands of jobs may be lost in the city due to company reorganization?

The Responses:
Councillor Jose Evans
"Thanks Jon. You are correct to note Mayor Ballard's lack of visibility (September 15). However, my primary concern is about the people who will lose their jobs and the impact that will have on their families. I hope they will stay in Indianapolis and continue to work in the life sciences sector. Lilly is a vital part of our community, employing some of the best and brightest minds in the world. We need those workers to stay here, possibly start new companies, and help make tomorrow brighter than it is today."

Brian Williams
"Lilly's business and the dynamic market in which it is operating are reflections of issues beyond the Mayor's control. What is in the Mayor's control is what he does to support community economic development efforts. The community has made significant investments in several economic development programs (life sciences, distribution, technology) which have borne some fruit. However, the long term success of those myriad efforts require continual assessment and investment."

"The city has not seen a comparable investment of Mayoral authority in these community driven economic development efforts that it saw under Mayor Peterson and his predecessors. The city has also not seen the degree of innovation necessary to advance Indianapolis' economic development efforts that are required in a constantly evolving economy."

Kip Tew and Melina Kennedy both politely said that they didn't feel it was appropriate to comment on the issue at this point in the campaign. No other candidates responded.

Had Enough?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bill-O Comes Out of the Closet for the Public Option?!??!?!?!?!?!

Had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't already December 2012 to see if there was some sort of Mayan calendar doomsday approaching, but this piece of information posted on the Daily Kos shocked me so much that I nearly fell out of my skin. Bill O'Reilly coming out FOR the PUBLIC OPTION!

Russell Brown: Lawrence Township Trustee



The Indianapolis Star reports local attorney Russell Brown has been chosen to become the new Lawrence Township Trustee. Brown's appointment by Lawrence Township Precinct Committeemen fills the slot left vacant when Mike Hobbs was forced to resign his office following his legal woes last month.

Brown unsuccessfully ran for Indiana State Senate against James Merritt in 2006. I've met Brown a few times. I think he will do a great job as the new Lawrence Township Trustee, and I wish him the best of luck.

Lawrence Township, I think ya done good!

(Photo from www.clarkquinnlaw.com)

Monday, September 21, 2009

This is All Getting A Little Ridiculous

The czar debate continues on Capitol Hill with Indiana Republicans now diving into the fray and showing their complete and utter ignorance as to the actions of past administrations. Now even Democrats like the always fun Russ Feingold are joining the fray. Ok, now I'd expect Mike Pence to get all goofy, but Feingold? He's actually a fairly smart guy.

There is some really good journalism out there to the contrary of these czarguments. Here are three examples.

This article by Dick Polman from yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer compares the Obama "czars" to those of past administrations.

And some really good reporting on MSNBC.





and the aforementioned DNC ad on Czars


So, it begs the question. Why Obama's czars somehow different from those of past administrations? Hmmm...ponder that one!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Stand With André Carson!



Unlike local radio host and blogger, Abdul, I paid my $30 to attend the Marion County Democrats Reverse Raffle and Chili Supper today, and it was a lot of fun. There was some good chili provided by the Firefighters Local 416. It was so good that it was absolutely delicious. There was also a chance for lots of good networking and face time with fellow Democrats and officials. I won't list them all because there were way way way too many to mention at the peril of leaving someone out. The cool thing of the day for me was that I did come within 30 chances or so out of over 440 to winning the $1,000 grand prize.

About midway through, my Congressman, André Carson, came through the door. He, of course, worked the room and received a rousing welcome. What always strikes me about the Congressman is his down-to-earth nature. Besides the fact that the man actually answers his cell phone and his own text messages, he's been an extremely active Member of Congress. His website lists accomplishment after accomplishment. While we haven't agreed on every vote, I can say that we agree on nearly everything. I especially admire the Congressman for his stance on GLBT issues. He's been as big of a friend to the gay community as his grandmother was.

Yet, this week, Ed Coleman, the only Libertarian officeholder in the entire county has decided to use Gary Welch's Advance Indiana blog to attack the Congressman's intelligence. It's sad and completely ridiculous. Libertarians are usually a little less loose with their lips. I guess Ed reverted back to his Republican ways. Do you think he'll switch parties again to run for Council?

I stand with André Carson, proudly. He is one thing that's right about Congress.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ed Coleman Calls André Carson Dumb



WOW! Over on Gary Welch's Advance Indiana blog, City-County Councillor Ed Coleman reacted to André Carson's vote against cutting off federal funding for ACORN by writing the following comment:

"Ed Coleman said...
Now why would you be shocked? Even on the council he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. I wish he would follow in his grandmothers footsteps better and skip more votes.

9:37 AM EST"


That's some great grammar, Councillor. Apparently, Libertarian officeholders don't know about the invention of the comma or the apostrophe, but I digress. In one fell swoop, Councillor Coleman managed to take a swipe at André and also at the Congresswoman, too. I'm not going to dignify his words with too much analysis, but I find them ridiculous.

This from a guy that wants to sell off the privately-managed city golf courses that bring in revenue. This from a guy that got the backing of the Republican Party then bolted after being elected on its slate. This from a guy that finished fourth in the At-Large City County Council race. This from a guy that is likely done on the Council after his first term.

I can't say that I agree with Carson's vote, honestly. I don't have to agree with every vote. This is one of the few times that I haven't agreed with my Congressman. This vote and all that aside, André Carson has been an effective representative for the 7th Congressional District. He is an extremely responsive and, I think, intelligent voice for his constituents. Federal funding for ACORN has benefitted many who have utilized their services...including some here in this community. I don't know, but that was probably what Carson was voting to recognize.

Methinks Ed Coleman may have thought no one would see or react to his comment. Let's see if it stays up. Enjoy your last year and change on the Council, Mr. Coleman. November 2011 is coming quickly.

Patrick Swayze, 1952-2009

I just realized that I let Patrick Swayze's death go by unrecognized. Patrick was a fun actor who usually played fun roles. His performance in Dirty Dancing made him ultra-famous, but it was Ghost and Too Wong Fu that told us that he could really act. His last project, Beast, got rave reviews. Here's a tribute put together by someone on You Tube to Patrick Swayze. May he rest in peace.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Voter ID Struck Down by Court of Appeals


I'm sure you've heard it by now, Indiana's Voter ID Law, passed when Republicans controlled all of state government, was struck down yesterday in the Indiana Court of Appeals. The 3-0 decision was based upon the way absentee ballots are voted in comparison to voting in person. With absentee ballot voting, no ID is necessary under the law pushed by Secretary of State Todd Rokita. Of course, voting in person requires a state or federally-issued ID.

Of course, no one is dancing in the streets just yet. Dictator Mitch Daniels made it clear that he didn't care too much for the ruling telling the Indianapolis Star that the Court of Appeals Decision was "an act of judicial arrogance" and predicted that the decision would be overturned. MITCH ANGRY! HE WANT LAW BACK! WHAT MITCH WANT MITCH GET! AGAARRRRRHAAAHHHH!

So, I say, because of the Governor's stranglehold on state government at every level (with the exception of the Indiana House), the chance of the Indiana Supreme Court actually upholding the Court of Appeals decision is probably about the same as a duet between Kanye West and Taylor Swift with a spoken intro by Barack Obama anytime soon. Still, it's going to take some time to get the law back on the books...and there is a chance that the Indiana Supreme Court could see it the same way as the Court of Appeals did. After all, it makes perfect sense to me! But, I'm not Randall Sheppard and the Supremes.

In the meantime, thanks to the League of Women Voters for pushing this issue even after the United States Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional back in 2008.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Republican Charlie White Announces Campaign for Secretary of State Citing Rokita's Voter ID Law


WHOOPS! This guy couldn't control the news cycle!

On the same day he came out with an announcement that he was running for Secretary of State citing Todd Rokita's Voter ID Law as an innovation, Republican Fishers Town Councilman Charlie White saw Todd Rokita's Republican-legislature-passed Voter ID Law struck down by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

A quick check of White's website tonight appears to show an update. He now wishes to "defend" the Voter ID Law that has been ruled unconstitutional by the Court of Appeals.

Yeah...about that platform...

White joins potential Democratic candidates Vop Osili, Tom McKenna, and Joe Pearson's brother (can't remember his name) in the race for Secretary of State.

Let's Start Some More Rumors


Ok, again, there are other bloggers out there with radio shows that are really good at shaking some trees and starting some rumors, but I'm just not that good. I'll give it a shot anyway. (Editor's Note: These are just for fun)

My crazy scientist friend tells me that crazed political scientists are working a way to combine the DNA of all the Democratic Indianapolis Mayoral candidates and clone the MOST AWESOMEST CANDIDATE IN HISTORY (echo echo).

Taylor Swift texted me earlier and said that Congressman Joe Wilson was seen at the MTV Video Music Awards yelling "YOU LIE" when Kanye West stole the microphone from her and proclaimed that Beyonce had one of the best videos ever.

Unbelievably, a source from Fox and Friends said that Glenn Beck was struck in the face by a kernel of truth yesterday. The truth kernel quickly fell onto his desk and ran for its life. Of course, Beck killed it with his stare of death.

Arnold Palmer's caddy's former roommate sent me a letter saying that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin injured four other golfers, two turkeys, and a cheese sandwich when she mistook the "heads up" call in baseball for the "fore" call in golf.

A high-ranking city employee said Mayor Greg Ballard actually thought for 10 seconds today about the workers that might potentially be laid off from Lilly and other companies...then he went back to playing minesweeper on his computer.

Sources close to the Washington, D.C. Police Department tell me that Congressmen Steve Buyer and Mike Pence recently were suspected of smoking lettuce in a rental car.

My Lone Star state sources say that near tragedy occurred when George W. Bush realized that he wasn't on vacation from Washington and instead was no longer President. Bush curled up in a fetal position and cried until Laura brought him ice cream and a warm cloth to put on his forehead. After receiving his pacifier, 43 is now resting quietly eating pretzels.

Close friend Bugs Bunny told me that Yosemite Sam is planning to run for Marion County Sheriff. Again, reached for comment, Sam said, "OOOH...THAT RABBIT. THAT RABBIT...WHY I OUGHTA..." Then, he shot the phone six times and hung up.

Rupert Murdoch's special assistant's assistant to that assistant tells me that former WKRP in Cincinnati news anchor Les Nessman has been hired as the latest personality on Fox News. Nessman won't work for money, but he will work for bandages.

On a related note, the same source tells me that former WKRP in Cincinnati sales executive Herb Tarlek was hired by Glenn Beck to sell advertising for his cable talker after losing so many ads due to the flap over his Fox and Friends appearance. Tarlek was seen talking up Greta Van Sustren and was quickly fired.

The police blotter tells me that a former Vice President has been arrested for "releasing the hounds" and pretending to "run a nuclear power plant."

John Boehner's tanning specialist said she overheard a conversation between Eric Cantor and Boehner where they discussed a plan to hire a comedian to do jokes instead of actually responding to future Obama speeches to Congress.

I hear that Texas is planning to secede from the union and name George W. Bush the first new President of Texas. Unfortunately, I am told that the plans fell through because Bush would not come off his demands "to wear a big pointy hat like that Pope dude."

A source in the White House Communications Office tells me that disaster was averted today at the last second when it was discovered that a speech on the "public option" written for Joe Biden to deliver had been typed on a computer with a non-functioning "L" key. It's a good thing because Biden always apparently sticks to the text.

And, the State House bathroom attendant attendant's assistant's former brother-in-law's uncle nephew's sister tells me that Secretary of State Todd Rokita was seen visibly upset after Governor Mitch Daniels denied his request to use the restroom after Daniels granted Richard Mourdock's request earlier in the day. Rokita was heard saying, "It's always Mourdock, Mourdock, Mourdock."

OK...more rumors to feed the mill. Until next time!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Myles Brand Dies


NCAA President Myles Brand passed away today at the age of 67 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Brand, of course, is well-known in Indiana as (depending on your perspective) the former IU President that finally stood up to Bob Knight, or the guy that fired him unfairly.

After holding the top job as President of the University of Oregon, Brand took over the job at Indiana in 1994. It was my sophomore year on campus. He immediately became a different kind of President by teaching classes and holding regular office hours for students. In the late 1990's, he became less popular by taking on the red-sweatered one giving him a "zero tolerance" ultimatum. He fired Knight on September 10, 2000. He stayed on at Indiana for two more years before leaving to take over at the NCAA. Brand's tenure at the NCAA was marked by a beefed-up emphasis on academics. He was recognized as a Pathfinder Award winner earlier this year looking noticably thinner at the awards ceremony.

I never met Brand personally, but I did attend a lecture that he put on after he was installed as IU President. I can remember asking him a question (although I can't remember the content of that question) and him answering my question thoughtfully and completely. All-in-all, President Brand should be saluted for his academics-first approach at the NCAA and his many years as an educator. Brand is survived by his wife, Peg, and a son.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Brand.

Simon Passes


Mall magnate, businessman, and philanthropist Mel Simon has died. The Indianapolis Star reports that the 82-year-old Chairman Emeritus of Simon Property Group passed away after a “short illness.” He is survived by his brother Herb, wife Bren, and several children.

Simon is best known around the world as the co-founder of Simon Property Group which owns and develops malls and shopping centers across the country. The group’s Circle Centre Mall is credited with helping to revitalize Indy’s downtown into the vibrant city center that it is today. Simon is best known locally perhaps because he purchased the Indiana Pacers with his brother in 1983 saving them from the brink of bankruptcy and turning the team into one of the NBA’s best franchises from the mid-1990’s to the mid-2000’s.

Besides his day job, Simon was also a prominent Democrat lending support and giving money to candidates in their various battles for office. According to campaignmoneymoney.com, Simon gave over $57,000 to candidates in the 2008 election cycle. In 2003, he gave nearly $325,000 to candidates.

His philanthropic work is legendary. Mel Simon was a friend to the arts community, higher education, and health care facilities among many other causes.

Here’s to you Mel! May you rest in peace!

President Carter on This Political Climate Towards Obama

The 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, spoke out in no uncertain terms on the relationship of race and the current anger and rancor directed at President Barack Obama. Here is the story from NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.



What do you think of Carter's comments? Is he right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lilly Sheds Jobs...City Waits for Mayor to Lead


One of Indy’s largest employers is cutting thousands of jobs, but where’s the Mayor?

You probably have heard by now that Eli Lilly is going to be reorganizing itself by cutting out billions of dollars in expense and shedding thousands of jobs worldwide and locally. To be fair, one Mayor has been on TV talking about it.

That Mayor is…Bart Peterson, former Mayor of Indianapolis and current Lilly employee! So far, no Greg Ballard--no press release on his website talking about the effect the cutbacks might have on the local economy—no reaction on the television stations—nothing. The only response I could find is a short quote in an Indianapolis Star article by his deputy Chief of Staff, Robert Vane, on how Lilly appears to be reorganizing itself to stay in the community for the long haul.

Yes, Mr. Vane, it’s great that Lilly’s reorganizing to make sure that it maintains jobs and a local presence, but what about those folks that are losing their jobs? Your boss has been pretty silent on that.

Could Mayor Ballard have done this differently? Absolutely. Faced with the elimination of Whirlpool jobs in Evansville, Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel not only got himself out of his office to get a statement on television but a very eloquent statement with a heart:

"Good morning. I wish we were here together under better circumstances.

Our hearts go out today to the hard-working men and women at Whirlpool who are no doubt devastated by today’s news. They are now faced with the prospect of what to do when the Company shuts down the plant… how and where to find a job, and how to support their families. Life doesn’t get any tougher than this.

As a community, we need to make sure that the workers and their families get the help they need. That is why we are announcing the formation of a rapid response team… consisting of the City, the Economic Development Coalition, the Chamber of Commerce, the Central Labor Council, United Way, and workforce development specialists. The team will gather together all of the resources at our disposal to support Whirlpool employees and their families to help them through this difficult transition. In addition, we will be reaching out to Whirlpool, the State and Federal Government to come up with the best plan possible to assist these men and women over the coming months. We have already been in touch with Congressman Ellsworth and Senator Bayh and Lugar’s offices to request their help.

The team will also work to retain Whirlpool’s Product Development Center and its 300 technical jobs. Currently located in Evansville, the facility serves as the North American center for all refrigeration technology within Whirlpool. The Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana will take the lead in crafting a competitive proposal. Additionally, the rapid response team will work to identify reuse opportunities and potential partners for redevelopment of the Whirlpool facility on Highway 41.

Whirlpool has told us there was nothing the City or State could have done to prevent the closing of its Evansville plant. Furthermore, the employees at Whirlpool and their union have made every sacrifice and concession to keep these jobs here in Evansville. This is not their fault.

So…what we need to do now is focus on the future. We will concentrate immediately on taking every step possible to help the men and women of Whirlpool and their families. We will also work to save the 300 jobs at the Product Development Center.

As I have said many times before, Evansville’s strength lies in its people… the way we come together in the face of adversity to support our families, friends and neighbors in need. I am confident that we will see that same kind of spirit come through during the weeks ahead."


In his statement, he soothed the nerves of his city and put the concern squarely on those losing their jobs. He also outlined the skeleton of a plan to figure out what to do next. Peterson did something similar when he learned of impending job losses at the United Maintenance Facility and the collapse of ATA. Both were huge Indy employers at the time.

Mayor Ballard’s concern is seemingly only for Lilly. Reactionary leadership is not what we need in Indianapolis. Had Enough?

Who's Making the Rounds: Decatur Version

At tonight's Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting, Douglas Meagher of the Stonewall Democrats explained that organization's mission: to promote equality...not only for LGBT people, but all people. His talk made me proud to be a member of the Stonewall organization. Stonewall Democrats Board member Zach Adamson was also on hand.

The club also heard from State Representative Greg Porter (an employee of Health and Hospital) about the upcoming Wishard referendum question that will determine if a new hospital gets built. I have previously blogged on that issue, and you can find out more here.

Other candidates and officers in the audience included:
Greg Bowes (Marion County Assessor running for Marion County Prosecutor)
Mark Brown (running for Marion County Sheriff)
Joe Hogsett (considering a run for Mayor of Indianapolis)
Tim Huber (running for Indiana House District 91)
Debbie Jenkins (Marion County Surveyor)
Melina Kennedy (running for Mayor of Indianapolis)
David Orentlicher (running for Marion County Prosecutor)
Representative Greg Porter (Indiana House District 96)
Julie Voorhies (Marion County Recorder running for re-election)

Vacationing Terry Curry (Prosecutor) and the ill Christopher Jackson (City County Council District 22) both were represented by surrogates.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ho Hum R's Shake Out For Senate Race


Lefty Democrats that are upset with the way Evan Bayh is doing his job in the Senate will likely have little alternative but to vote for him again.

A few days ago, Carmel businessman and tea party extraordinaire Richard Behney filed to run against the Senator in 2010. Behney joins conservative State Senator Marlin Stutzman of Howe (whose campaign website says that he wants to end “government intrusion” into the lives of Hoosiers) and Don Bates, a banker from Richmond who quoted Ronald Reagan in his campaign announcement, in the race. Probably no one can gain enough traction to topple Birch’s son in the Democratic primary, so it looks like the Democrats will vote for Evan or vote against their self interests in even more ways than a vote for Bayh will.

While certainly anything is possible, (see Greg Ballard over Bart Peterson in 2007), a win by any of the trio of current Republicans is unlikely. All three appear to be ultra-conservative, and I can’t imagine enough educated Democrats joining that side of the ledger no matter what Evan Bayh does on health care or the myriad of other issues on which he stands to the blue dog side. Potentially the biggest threat for Democrats statewide is a D electorate that’s not switched on by Bayh’s candidacy.

If that happens, that could significantly hamper the prospects of good Democratic candidates for other Congressional, state and local races. That has to be a concern of the Democratic Party in Indiana.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tully's Manual Reporting Hitting Home Run


Matt Tully of the Indianapolis Star is doing some extraordinary and probably award-winning reporting on the realities on the ground at Manual High School in Indianapolis. Manual is, by test scores, struggling with only 39 percent of its students graduating.

His latest report is on how the school lacks any semblance of spirit. How there's no yearbook or musicals. The things that I, being a teacher at Ben Davis, take for granted. Take a look at the reporting because Matt Tully is doing a great job.

On the other hand, while Tully is writing about how students and teachers are trying to make the best of an inner-city education at Manual, we have heard relatively nothing from Governor Daniels or State School Superintendent Tony Bennett about how we are going to solve the issues that Manual and other IPS or Gary or Anderson or South Bend or Evansville or Fort Wayne schools are facing. Instead, many of their reforms target the growing districts like Hamilton Southeastern or Center Grove.

The new funding formula is starting to take its hold, and it's not benefitting the inner city schools. The suburban schools are experiencing upticks in enrollment as are the township schools. That means more money for programs, teachers, books, pencils, etc. It also exacerbates the problem at the growing schools which are busting out at the seams. IPS schools continue to decrease in size. With the school population continuing to fall off, the funding continues to fall off leaving the students who are trapped in those schools with nothing. It's almost as if the inner city schools are being choked off, and that's not fair. The inner city deserves good schools, too.

The reality that Tully writes about in his article underlines the problem. While he doesn't make the political jump, I will. If you want an honest look at what's going on at IPS Manual High School. Read Tully's report.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Making The Rounds: Warren Township Version; Mayoral Candidate Forum Announced


Last night's Warren Township Democratic Club meeting brought out a few but not all of the 2010 or 2011 candidates for office in Marion County.

State Representative John Barnes was the featured speaker, and he gave a nice talk about his experiences in his first legislative session. He talked about the expectations he had built up as a 31-year veteran government and history teacher and how those expectations were different than what actually happened in session. Barnes talked about how difficult it has become to compromise in this current political climate. He also talked about, given his district's electoral history, it is somewhat more difficult for him to simply vote and toe the party line.

To illustrate this point, Barnes brought a graphic representation of his general election win in 2008. The map he showed provided a clear look at what has become a Democratic stronghold in Warren Township, but it also showed the work that needs to still be done in Perry and Franklin Townships for Democrats. Barnes carried only two precincts in those townships.

In the audience were several candidates for the next two election cycles:
Greg Bowes, current Marion County Assessor and candidate for Marion County Prosecutor
Mark Brown, candidate for Marion County Sheriff
Terry Curry, candidate for Marion County Prosecutor
Chris Jackson, candidate for City-County Council, District 22
Joe O'Connor, making his first appearance as candidate for Marion County Assessor
Ricardo Rivera, incumbent Small Claims Court Judge, Warren Township
Paul Tuttle, incumbent Constable, Warren Township
Brian Williams, candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis

Warren club President Steve Nyswanger also announced the club would host a Mayoral Candidate Forum on October 8 at the Benton House, 312 S. Downey Street, at 7:00 p.m. That should be a great first look at the candidates for Mayor on the Democratic side.

9/11


September 11, 2001. We will never forget it because we lived through it. The folks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania won't forget it...they experienced it. The families of the dead and injured as well as the rescue workers won't forget it...they felt it.

For the eighth year, we commemorate the events of September 11, 2001. We think back to where we were when we heard the horrible news for the first time. Some folks saw the horror unfold on their TV screens live.

The sights unfolding were more horrifying than any Hollywood action flick. The dust cloud...buildings falling...Pentagon on fire...crater in the field...jumping people...jagged steel...fire...raining paper...crushed fire apparatus...missing first responders...running masses...fireballs...horror...horror...horror.

Horrifying...and it's all still fresh.

As we think back, it's only been eight years, but in a sense, it's been eight long years. We had a much different country on September 10, 2001. Now, we live in a post-9/11 world. "Post 9/11" has come with its own vocabulary: TSA, Patriot Act, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, Iraq, WMD, and on and on and on.

While we honor those that died in service or in innocence that day, will we ever start thinking about September 11 as just a date on a calendar again? Is that even proper or possible? Talking with the teens today, many can barely remember the day as they were so very young. For those in the younger generation, September 11 has become a blurry memory.

There are no answers to any of these questions as we once again mourn those lost on 9/11.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

President Obama Strikes Back

(AP PHOTO)
"I am not the first President to deal with health care, but I'm determined to be the last."

Barack Obama moved to the center of the health care debate with a common sense approach to fix health care that he delivered to a joint session of Congress.

President Obama looked at times like the parent coming in to wrangle up the kids as he praised Congress for its work thus far and then scolded it for some of the outrageous rhetoric that has emerged from BOTH sides of the aisle. Obama's plan for health care also includes a public option as part of the goal in insuring everyone. Obama argued for a self-sustaining public option...not one that will add burdens to future taxpayers. He was very clear. The President proposed a plan that is deficit neutral. The President said in front of the Congress in the People's House that he would not sign a bill that would raise the deficit. He also said that he would not back down on giving "those without coverage a choice."

While advocating for the public option, he said that it's just a part of his plan. He cautioned against over playing that card for either side of the aisle. Obama is not pushing single-payer universal health care. He's pushing health care reform. There is a difference. The President said that his plan holds the insurance companies accountable and doesn't allow people to go bankrupt when they get sick. He even used something from the McCain/Palin playbook on health care reform.

Obama's speech was interrupted briefly by a SITTING REPRESENTATIVE as the President talked down some of the wingnut rhetoric the right has been vomiting forth on all of us. As President Obama talked about the fact that undocumented immigrants are not covered by his proposal, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) yelled out, "LIE!"

Wilson was immediately met with catcalls from his fellow representatives. Following the President's speech, McCain called for Rep. Wilson to apologize.

Another moment came around 8:46 p.m. as President Obama was about to head into the final stages of his speech when House Minority Whip Eric Cantor was seen playing with his cell phone. Perhaps he was texting, "Need to updt Replican respnse." Because it was completely and utterly off target.

As he closed, President Obama evoked the memory of Ted Kennedy. It was an amazingly beautiful piece of rhetoric that frankly moved me to tears. Beyond the layer of its sheer beauty in construction was something that so astutely summed up what is at stake here...almost a mission statement for a new form of liberalism.

"Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing. Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it most. And more will die as a result. We know these things to be true.

That is why we cannot fail. Because there are too many Americans counting on us to succeed - the ones who suffer silently, and the ones who shared their stories with us at town hall meetings, in emails, and in letters.

I received one of those letters a few days ago. It was from our beloved friend and colleague, Ted Kennedy. He had written it back in May, shortly after he was told that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered upon his death.

In it, he spoke about what a happy time his last months were, thanks to the love and support of family and friends, his wife, Vicki, and his children, who are here tonight . And he expressed confidence that this would be the year that health care reform - "that great unfinished business of our society," he called it - would finally pass. He repeated the truth that health care is decisive for our future prosperity, but he also reminded me that "it concerns more than material things." "What we face," he wrote, "is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country."

I've thought about that phrase quite a bit in recent days - the character of our country. One of the unique and wonderful things about America has always been our self-reliance, our rugged individualism, our fierce defense of freedom and our healthy skepticism of government. And figuring out the appropriate size and role of government has always been a source of rigorous and sometimes angry debate.

For some of Ted Kennedy's critics, his brand of liberalism represented an affront to American liberty. In their mind, his passion for universal health care was nothing more than a passion for big government.

But those of us who knew Teddy and worked with him here - people of both parties - know that what drove him was something more. His friend, Orrin Hatch, knows that. They worked together to provide children with health insurance. His friend John McCain knows that. They worked together on a Patient's Bill of Rights. His friend Chuck Grassley knows that. They worked together to provide health care to children with disabilities.

On issues like these, Ted Kennedy's passion was born not of some rigid ideology, but of his own experience. It was the experience of having two children stricken with cancer. He never forgot the sheer terror and helplessness that any parent feels when a child is badly sick; and he was able to imagine what it must be like for those without insurance; what it would be like to have to say to a wife or a child or an aging parent - there is something that could make you better, but I just can't afford it.

That large-heartedness - that concern and regard for the plight of others - is not a partisan feeling. It is not a Republican or a Democratic feeling. It, too, is part of the American character. Our ability to stand in other people's shoes. A recognition that we are all in this together; that when fortune turns against one of us, others are there to lend a helping hand. A belief that in this country, hard work and responsibility should be rewarded by some measure of security and fair play; and an acknowledgement that sometimes government has to step in to help deliver on that promise.

This has always been the history of our progress. In 1933, when over half of our seniors could not support themselves and millions had seen their savings wiped away, there were those who argued that Social Security would lead to socialism. But the men and women of Congress stood fast, and we are all the better for it. In 1965, when some argued that Medicare represented a government takeover of health care, members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, did not back down. They joined together so that all of us could enter our golden years with some basic peace of mind.

You see, our predecessors understood that government could not, and should not, solve every problem. They understood that there are instances when the gains in security from government action are not worth the added constraints on our freedom. But they also understood that the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too little; that without the leavening hand of wise policy, markets can crash, monopolies can stifle competition, and the vulnerable can be exploited. And they knew that when any government measure, no matter how carefully crafted or beneficial, is subject to scorn; when any efforts to help people in need are attacked as un-American; when facts and reason are thrown overboard and only timidity passes for wisdom, and we can no longer even engage in a civil conversation with each other over the things that truly matter - that at that point we don't merely lose our capacity to solve big challenges. We lose something essential about ourselves.

What was true then remains true today. I understand how difficult this health care debate has been. I know that many in this country are deeply skeptical that government is looking out for them. I understand that the politically safe move would be to kick the can further down the road - to defer reform one more year, or one more election, or one more term.

But that's not what the moment calls for. That's not what we came here to do. We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I still believe we can act even when it's hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility, and gridlock with progress. I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history's test.

Because that is who we are. That is our calling. That is our character. Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America."


President Obama, I'm sorry I doubted you. Lead on!

My Letter to Rep. Joe Wilson on His Outburst


Rep. Wilson,
I was extremely disappointed by your behavior at the Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, September 9, 2009. I found that your outburst was disrespectful not only to President Obama but to the body in which you serve.

I sincerely hope that you will take Senator John McCain's advice and apologize to your constituents, the American people, and President Obama for your immature and petulant actions.

Sincerely,
Jon E. Easter
Indianapolis, IN

You can send Rep. Wilson an e-mail, too. Who knows if he will get it or not, but here's the link.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Turning the Page: School Speech Behind Him, Obama Addresses America on Health Care


President Barack Obama needs a big night tonight as he addresses Congress. It's a chance to hit the reset button and explain his own agenda for health care reform. Likely, it's something that he should have done earlier in the debate, but that's neither here nor there. Today, in a grand tradition set by the 43 men that have gone before him, he goes in front of the representative government of the United States and addresses millions more on television. All major networks (with the exception of Fox who is airing So You Think You Can Dance and Glee instead) are going to broadcast the speech in front of the joint session of Congress to the homes, apartments, workplaces, coffee shops, sports bars, and other places people watch television. It's a tremendous opportunity and bully pulpit for the Leader of the Free World to LEAD the fight.

And, President Obama has to lead. The discussion has gotten away from him, and it's becoming clear that the Obama Administration that made so few mistakes as Obama for America is starting to make them in office. It's a different game running a country. Obama still has the opportunity to redirect the conversation from here. He needs to do it the right way.

President Obama needs to stand before Congress and challenge the Senators and Representatives to do what is right and what is moral when it comes to health care reform. For the first time, this country needs to offer a public health option for all Americans. It's time, and it's also time for President Obama to get his own party in order.

It's time to remind Blue Dog Democrats that they are Democrats. That doesn't mean that we have to be in the same tent on every issue, but that means that those that support this core Democratic value will be helped and given cover. They need to understand that a vote for the public option is not a mistake no matter how the argument has been skewed by the right.

President Obama won a huge victory by delivering an amazingly inspiring talk to America's students in the midst of the paranoia wave of the right. Many of those right wingers claimed the President wanted to indoctrinate the youth of the country into the cult of Obama. Folks, that didn't happen. Now, he needs to capitalize on this moment to redirect the fight on health care.

If he caves on this issue...whether he wins or loses...that hope that went to Washington with him will die a little more. The folks that thought he might be a different kind of politician...a transformational figure...will begin to think that he's just another politician. I expect a lot from him.

I HOPE the President gets the message. Win or lose in 2012, Mr. Obama should be willing to put it all on the line for health care reform because it's truly time. It's also time for the President to work hard and get this done.

President Obama. This is your Presidency. In a way though, it's ours too. After eight long years of President Bush's failures, you were given a convincing victory and a huge majority in Congress. Don't fumble this opportunity. You told us that we were the ones we have been waiting for. Let's stop waiting for the change we need. You have your finger on the button to make this happen. No one on the left will roll you if it doesn't work out. Be aggressive, focused, and clear about what you want. Your voters wanted change. Make it happen, Mr. President! Make it happen or go down swinging! That's all we want.

The Truth About Czars

Rachel Maddow at her best here bringing up the right's short memory on who exactly created the "Czars" Obama is criticized for having in his administration.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Can't Say It Any Better Than This

Bob Ray Sanders of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes this amazing piece on the hubub over President Obama's speech to children. Read the full article here.

"Who can be a more persuasive role model for students to stay in school or commit to serving their country than the person who holds the highest office in the land?

Unfortunately for a growing number of frightened, misguided and hate-filled Americans, this president should not and must not be a role model for their children. Therefore, their young sons and daughters should not be in class — or perhaps even in school — if there’s a remote possibility that the plague-spreading left-wing devil called Obama will speak to them.

They’ve labeled him the Antichrist who is set on desecrating the Constitution, destroying the country and annihilating their children’s futures.

It is theater of the absurd, being played out in exaggerated dramatic fashion on stages large and small — in offices, backrooms, broadcast studios and on the World Wide Web.

I would find it laughable if it were not so tragic, so sinister and so sickening.

People who consider themselves intelligent, patriotic and religious have bought into this pathetic self-serving campaign to oppose Obama at every turn by plotting against any initiative he offers and continuously praying for his failure even if it would mean the downfall of their own country.

While I understand mean-spirited, partisan adults exhibiting such behavior, I can’t comprehend why anyone would want to pass along such disrespectful and vitriolic traits to their children."


Mr. Sanders, thanks for saying what needed to be said.

Prosecutorial Pile-up: Shroyer is out.

I received an amazingly classy and personal letter sent to Greg Bowes, Terry Curry, David Orentlicher, and me dated September 8, 2009 from Lowell "Butch" Shroyer that states he is not seeking the office of Marion County Prosecutor. I will not divulge the rest of the letter to you as it is personal in nature, but I will say that there are few on our side in politics or in public life as classy or as admirable as Butch is.

Prosectorial Pile-Up: The Poll Analysis



(Left to Right: Greg Bowes, Terry Curry, David Orentlicher NOT PICTURED: Lowell Shroyer)

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. I spent it with friends and family.

My poll on the Prosecutor's race closed at midnight, and it shows a number of interesting...albeit...unscientific things.

Before we get down to analysis, I want to say the following things.

First of all, I like all four candidates. I know all four candidates (some better than others), and I enjoy talking with them. I hope we can all be friends after they read my post. These are just my opinions and have nothing to do with them as people or whether I would support them as candidates should they emerge as the Democratic candidate. I would without any reservations.

Secondly, I make no claims that my poll is the be all end all poll. It is simply a very very very unscientific snapshot of what the readers of this blog think. My readers are wide and varied across the political spectrum, so take the results for what they are. I will use them to give a sketch of the race as I see it on 9/8/09. There's still a long long way to go. I do believe, however, that given what I am hearing and seeing as I go around the county, that it represents at least a reasonable facsimile of what's going on in the race right now.

Terry Curry took the early lead, but David Orentlicher mounted a comeback and both show broad support among the readers of my blog after near even results between them.

For Curry, a former candidate for the office and former Deputy Prosecutor, the unscientific poll results show that the early work he has put in is doing good things. Some have seen Curry's lack of name recognition countywide as a negative, but his ever-presence at events across Marion County seems to have closed the name recognition gap and seems to have made him one of the two front runners...at least amongst my blog readers.

David Orentlicher, the lawyer/physician/educator and former State Representative, enjoys a great deal of name recognition, and there is no doubt that the man can raise money. The albatross that seems to follow him around in Democratic circles is the concern that Orentlicher has no experience as a Deputy Prosecutor. He does have unique and varied experiences compared to other candidates, but will David O's experience as a Constitutional Law Professor and State Legislator will assuage these concerns?

While he's done an admirable job as Marion County Assessor, Greg Bowes showed little support in my poll. Why? Well, running for Prosecutor as the perceived tax man never is probably a good idea. In my opinion, Bowes needs to be playing up his passion for the Prosecutor's Office (he says this is the office he wanted to pursue all along) and his experience as a former Deputy Prosecutor. Bowes could be using the job he's done as Assessor to his advantage, but he needs to put it in terms of what he would do to the Prosecutor's Office. His job got infinitely tougher when Mitch Daniels froze assessments and his office had to absorb the duties of all nine township assessors as well. He's done a great job. Stop telling us when our next bills are coming unless you are speaking as Assessor. He needs to make the distinction. Bowes also has been the least committal about whether or not he will stay in the race after slating and support the winner. Orentlicher, Curry, and Shroyer have all pledged to leave the race after slating...Bowes, so far, has not divulged his plans.

That brings us to Lowell "Butch" Shroyer. With trial experience, law enforcement experience, and a very interesting personal story, Shroyer has done a nice job on the club circuit as the first candidate to get out and about saying he was interested in the office. Hurting him now, ironically, is that he's the last candidate to jump into the pool, at least officially. He has not committed to running, so many of his potential supporters may feel like they are hanging out there as the troops begin to coalesce around the other three candidates.

For Orentlicher and Curry, the extremely unscientific poll results should show they are the two that readers of my blog prefer most to be the Democratic candidate for Prosecutor. Bowes should look at the poll and be a little concerned. I think he's getting lost in his own message. Butch needs to decide soon what his plans will be for the campaign. He's falling behind further in the race for money and supporters.

Whatever happens, I say this again, any of the four of these qualified and dynamic candidates can carry the Democratic Party banner proudly forward as Marion County Prosecutor. I have no concerns about any of them being a better and more responsive Prosecutor than Carl Brizzi.

I invite any of the four candidates for Prosecutor to comment on the poll, and I will publish the comments.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Peterson-era Ordinance Shot Down by Court


Mayor Bart Peterson fought for an City-County Council ordinance that restricted the hours and days of operation of adult entertainment businesses in 2003. That ordinance was called into question by a federal court ruling, according to an Indianapolis Star report. It looks like the ordinance could be overturned unless the city can prove that there is some "compelling" reason for it.

The case is not over by a long shot, Mayor Greg Ballard's office will determine how to proceed from here. The Star lists several options about how he can proceed. Wouldn't it be odd if the Democratic-era conservative ordinance isn't picked up and defended by the current Republican mayor? That would be irony, Alanis Morrissette.

I'm sure Ballard's bosses...I mean advisers...are deciding how hard they want to fight this and if taking it all the way up the ladder to the Supreme Court is worth it. I would say that it probably is not worth fighting and spending taxpayer money on. Ultimately, the case is probably something one might think the city could win on at the Supreme Court level, but that is just one option of the many available.

I'm also quite sure the two filed candidates for mayor, Melina Kennedy and Brian Williams will be watching this story carefully. If Ballard's handlers get this one wrong, there could be infinite political point-scoring opportunities for those two and the other unfiled candidates that will be filing to run against the Mayor in the next few months.

POSTING UPDATE
In honor of Labor Day, unless something significant happens, I likely will be taking the next two days off from blogging. The blog will return on Tuesday with a review of the Prosecutor's poll (you can still vote in it!). Looks like it's going to be a barn burner!

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The views expressed on this blog are the views of the individual contributor and are not necessarily the views of any Democratic organization, school district, or neighborhood association.

This blog is not affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, the Indiana Democratic Party, or the Marion County Democratic Party.