Friday, December 31, 2010

Goldsmith Messing Up New York Now

The Indianapolis Times' Constable Terry Burns reports that New York is finding out that former Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith, a key adviser to Greg Ballard, isn't all he's cracked up to be.

Goldsmith has been a Deputy Mayor in New York under Michael Bloomberg for a few months now in charge of operations. Looks like he may be on his way back to the classroom soon if things don't improve.

So Long to Ya 2010!

The good folks at Jib Jab have made their annual stab at the previous year. I must say, they outdid themselves with the 2009 video, so it's hard to compare it...still this is pretty funny...even if it pokes a little fun at Barack Obama and Joe Biden. (Note puppet Obama's reaction anytime that puppet Joe says something gaffe worthy in the video.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tucker Carlson Calls for Execution of Michael Vick

Whenever someone starts out a statement with, "I'm a ____________, but," that means listen to what is about to come because it will likely contradict what was just said.

Fox News Analyst Tucker Carlson, subbing for Sean Hannity, said this:

What is also remarkable is that not one of these people on the panel took Carlson to task on it.

I believe that the death penalty is overused in this country. I do believe that there is need for the death penalty in EXTREME cases. The Timothy McVeigh's of the world are really the individuals that should be getting the death penalty.

Convicted in federal court, Michael Vick served 21 months in prison, and he has sense proven to me that he was affected by his term there. There has been no indication that he's anything but sorry for what he did, and he has surrounded himself with people like Tony Dungy to help advise him back to a good path. Vick, essentially, has done everything right and has even managed to change the discussion back from Michael Vick: the felon to Michael Vick: the football player.

No one with any compassion feels that what Vick did was right, and I'm willing to accept that he got off easily for hurting animals, but I simply can't believe what Tucker Carlson said after prefacing his comments with "I'm a Christian."

Tucker, I am no religious expert, but I don't believe that Christians believe that people should be killed instead of giving them a second chance. Later on you say you believe in forgiveness. Yeah...right. In fact, I think what has happened in the Vick case is "more Christian" than what happens many times in our criminal justice system.

Carlson is a far right conservative. He supports gun rights and has been described as an "avid hunter" by some news outlets. It's not okay for Vick to have killed dogs, but it's not okay, in my view, for Carlson to kill deer or birds or other animals for sport. It makes me angry to walk into a restaurant to see a deer head on the wall. Should those people be executed, too, Tucker?

The bigger question, I think, is how Plaxico Burress, a former wide receiver for the New York Giants, can shoot himself in the leg at a nightclub and get two years in prison while Michael Vick can kill dogs and only get two years in prison. Carlson brings up good points in that regard. Certainly, though, he can't SERIOUSLY believe that Vick should have been executed for his crimes in this case. The crimes were heinous, but they were not capital.

Carlson has always been a blowhard, in my view. In 2004, Jon Stewart went on Crossfire and pretty much lit Carlson, co-host Paul Begala, and the rest of cable news afire with a stinging criticism. It sounds like Carlson (who has sense worked for MSNBC and now Fox) didn't learn anything. Here's the entire appearance.

Carlson's comments don't contribute to the conversation. The First Amendment says he has the right to say them, but this just sounds like a conversation you have with your crazy co-worker than you do with a rational human being.

The only thing that should be executed in this case is Tucker Carlson's employment with Fox News. Unfortunately, he will be celebrated by good old Rupert.

I Hate to be Tough, Ed, but SHUT UP!

In a comment that Joe Biden would have even been embarrassed by, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania turned a rather pedestrian and smart decision by the National Football League to postpone a football game into a national discussion on how this country has changed for, what he believes, the worse.

Let's take a look at the facts. The forecast for Sunday night was for 6-12 inches of snow to fall in Philadelphia and for blizzard conditions. The Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, had declared a snow emergency. That means, essentially, STAY HOME. Winter driving experts will tell you that the safest thing to do IN A BLIZZARD is to STAY HOME. The safest thing to do IN A BLIZZARD where a SNOW EMERGENCY has been declared is not to have 68,582 people show up for a football game, it is to STAY HOME. So, the NFL had a decision to make. Put people in potential danger and essentially violate a city mayor's decree or postpone a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field that, frankly, means nothing in the entire scheme and fabric of society. They postponed the game to last night, and I believe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell chose wisely. Rendell does not.

Rendell went all "old school" in his criticism of the league. He used his bully pulpit to try to turn this into discussion about the U.S. becoming a "nation of wusses." We should all be insulted by these words,

The word wuss has a very perjorative connotation, and it's not accurate in this case. It's a slang term, and it really has no purpose coming from the mouth of a Governor, in my view.

What's really sad is how Rendell misses the point. NFL players would play this game in the parking lot of a truck stop that has been covered with ice and with large razor blades in either end zone. The players don't care. It's their job. This is about safety OF THE FANS.

Blizzard is a scary word, and there's really no justifiable reason for me to see for the NFL to have played that game on Sunday...especially given the declaration by the Mayor. Certainly, the safest place for the residents of Philly to be on the night of that blizzard was not at Lincoln Financial Field.

The job of the Governor is not to be a cheerleader. It's not to talk about Vince Lombardi spinning in his grave or how this decision to postpone a football game somehow shows we aren't tough anymore. One of the jobs of a Governor, I think, is to keep his or her people safe and promote safety. What Rendell did in his comments seems to go directly against that.

Rendell can keep flapping his gums, and it's his right. He's done it his entire career, and it's probably why he's never been considered a serious Presidential candidate despite his one-time popularity. Now, on this matter, he just needs to zip it, serve out his term, and enjoy his front row seat at Eagles games which, according to NBC, was filled with snow when he arrived at the stadium courtesy of the Eagles. Al Michaels reported that "a senior executive" with the organization was enraged by the Governor's comments.

The NFL's decision didn't prove anything but that we are becoming a more SENSIBLE nation, and I don't know when sensibility became a sign of weakness.

Oh...the Onion

The Onion has a different sense of reality sometimes, but this one is so true...if you watch YouTube videos, anyway.

Snowy Conditions Proving Hazardous For Nation's Idiots

Nightly News Celebrates Notable Lives Lost in 2010

NBC Nightly News broadcast this tribute to a variety of memorable people that passed this year. It's a beautiful piece.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nation Running for Mayor of Terre Haute

Longtime Democratic insider and Indianapolis Motor Speedway executive Fred Nation announced his intention to run for Mayor of Terre Haute a couple of weeks ago. He will compete for the Democratic nod to likely take on Mayor Hatch Duke Bennett, a Republican.

Prior to joining the staff at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Nation had been a longtime and well-known press secretary for Birch and Evan Bayh. That's two very powerful Indiana families to be associated with over the years. The Hulman-George family is synonymous with the event that brings in thousands of fans each year to the state, the Indianapolis 500, and few families have had the kind of impact that the Bayh family has had in this state for decades.

Should he win the nomination, Nation would likely face independent John Cunningham and Republican Duke Bennett in November. Bennett, of course, was initially found in violation of the Hatch Act because part of his salary was paid for by federal funds. His candidacy was ruled invalid by the Indiana Court of Appeals, and the Court said he should leave office. Eventually, the Supreme Court of Indiana overturned that ruling, and Bennett stayed in office. Cunningham is a previous candidate for the office as well.

This could be a very interesting showdown as the Democrats try to retake and office that the party held for nearly 40 years before Bennett won in 2007 by just 110 votes over then-incumbent Kevin Burke.

One would think that Nation brings a certain star power to the race. His political Rolodex is full of everyone who is anyone in Democratic politics, so he should be able to raise some cash. It looks like the GOP may be in trouble in Terre Haute.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Odd Coincidences...

Well, 44 and 43 have something in common. They both nearly had unwanted visitors over the holidays.

On Wednesday night, a man showing off his Plymouth Barracuda muscle car to a friend lost control of the car when his accelerator stuck, and he ended up on George W. Bush's lawn in Dallas. While the Bushes were home, they were not injured, and it's not believed that the motorist wanted or even intended to hurt the former President or First Lady.

Then, on Christmas Eve, another motorist crashed through an outer roadblock at President Barack Obama's vacation compound near Honolulu. The President was on the links at the time and was not harmed. Again, it's thought that the motorist, who was trying to run from Honolulu Police at the time was not intending to harm the Obamas.

Still, it's just odd.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! I hope you are able to spend it today with those you love.

And, as always, while I have a moment, thanks so much for your readership and support of this blog. I never meant for this thing to take off like it has, so I am truly humbled when someone says that they enjoy what I do here.

Thanks again for everything! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, Everyone!

And, now, in memory of both my grandmothers, I give you their favorite Christmas tune, Silver Bells as sung by Johnny Mathis. Twila Easter and Violet Miller, this one's for you two.

Friday, December 24, 2010

T'was the Night Before Christmas

With Robin Williams.

or...John Cleese's version (make sure you listen to the whole thing).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Parker: Sticking Around?

Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker sure doesn't sound like a guy that's ready to step down from his job as has been speculated around the blogosphere.

Last week, he boldly announced that Fort Wayne would host the Democratic State Convention in 2012. Now, he sounds like he's planning for the future.

Here is a recent e-mail he sent party supporters:

I wanted to send a quick note to wish you a happy holidays and thank you for the work you have done in the last year. During that time, Democrats have had some monumental legislative accomplishments to be extremely proud of, including the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, tax cuts for middle class Americans, and enacting legislation that ensures unemployed Americans have the security they deserve.

Here in Indiana, Democrats have been crucial in protecting our state’s education system from drastic budget cuts and holding Governor Daniels accountable for the lack of private sector job growth in our state.

While the results of November’s election were not as positive as our legislative successes, we should use this holiday season to reflect on what we achieved and start preparing for the next election. As we turn our eyes toward the future, there are several signs that point to our Party being well placed to achieve gains in municipal elections across Indiana and build a strong foundation for our federal candidates in 2012.

This is where your financial support makes our future success a possibility.

There is no question we have more work to do – both for Indiana families and for our nation. But what's clear from the efforts of Democrats across the state in the last year is that we remain committed to growing and strengthening our party – and that your work is crucial to making a lasting difference.

Your passion and resolve is what carried us through tough times in the past. It's this same sense of determination that will carry us through future fights and more historic improvements for Hoosiers and our communities – in the New Year and beyond. Please enjoy your time with family, friends and neighbors during this holiday season.

Happy Holidays!

Daniel J. Parker

Parker has been the Indiana Democratic Party Chair since 2004. With his close association over the years with Evan Bayh, it had been speculated that Parker may choose to step away, too. However, with no statewide elections on the ballot in 2011 and no real titular leader of the party (like Bayh had been), it may be that Parker's going to stick around for a while.

Abdul, whose political rumor mill reading is sometimes a few fries short of a Happy Meal, reports that the open GOP Chair position battle is getting interesting with factions from Governor Daniels and other Republicans battling behind the scenes to replace Murray Clark.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Buttigieg Launches Exploratory Run for Mayor of South Bend

Capitalizing on his excellent campaign for State Treasurer, Pete Buttigieg has decided to explore a run for Mayor of South Bend.

Mayor Steve Luecke announced recently that he will not seek another term, so, according to Buttigieg's statement, there will be an open seat Democratic Primary for the first time in 22 years. It's a quick turnaround for a man who just ran a statewide campaign. Even though he did not win that seat, Buttigieg definitely made some in-roads, some friends, and some good contacts. I think the experience he gained will make him a tough foe for anyone in his native city.

Here is the e-mail Buttigieg sent supporters:

Dear Friends,
As 2010 winds down, I want to take a moment to say thank you once again for all of your support and friendship throughout the Indiana treasurer's race. You helped build a great campaign which beat expectations in a very difficult year, and I can't thank you enough for all you did.

Speaking with many of you individually since Election Day, you urged me to remain involved, and I promised that I would find a way to make myself useful as our communities continue to struggle with the kinds of issues we raised in the campaign.
Now, sooner than I expected, I want to let you know about a new opportunity to make a difference. Here in my hometown of South Bend, the mayor has announced that he will not seek re-election. This means that in less than six months, South Bend will hold its first open-seat Democratic primary for mayor in 22 years.

At the urging of a number of friends, supporters, and leaders in this community, I have opened an exploratory committee to run for mayor.

While running two back-to-back campaigns is not a decision to take lightly, I cannot ignore this opportunity to make a difference. I was fortunate enough to have a great upbringing here, but our community struggles with the same kinds of issues I highlighted in the campaign for Treasurer. Without economic growth and more good-paying jobs, we risk falling into a cycle of decline in our neighborhoods, streets, schools, and economy.

As our community chooses new leadership, I believe I have something unique to offer. My business experience, my background in economics, and, yes, my youth, will enable me to provide a fresh start for South Bend.

With such a short period between now and the election, early support from new and old friends will be critical to our success. Please consider making a contribution to Pete for South Bend by clicking here (link deleted).

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season, and I hope to have your support again in this new and exciting pursuit.

Pete Buttigieg

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This Date in History (1970)

Hat tip to WTHR's John Stehr.

I imagine the conversation went something like this:

"Well hello Elvis, how are you?"

"Just fine Mr. President. I want to discuss..."

Then the tape goes blank for about 18 and a half minutes or so.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Skillman Out!

Channel 8's Jim Shella is reporting that Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman is not going to run for Governor in 2012 citing "minor health issues" that showed up in her end of the year physical.

I sincerely wish the Lieutenant Governor well. She seems like a very nice person, but, with due respect to her judgement, this comes as a big surprise and makes me think the health issues must be more than just "minor" or that those health issues might just be the "Mike Pence Flu."

After talking to people that have worked at the Statehouse, it's clear that Skillman had 2012 on her calendar as a year to run for Governor. She apparently had a long list of accomplishments posted outside her office, according to my sources, and, as late as a few days ago was saying that no matter who got into the race that she was going to think about running for the office, one way or another.

Reading the tea leaves, this tells me that Mike Pence is about ready to jump into the Republican race for Governor in 2012. That should make Democrats shiver. Pence is Mitch Daniels with a religious right agenda. He is just to the left of nutjob on the political scale.

With a very good media presence, charisma, and the ability to "speak Hoosier", Pence will be a tough opponent in 2012 if he decides to run for Governor. There's still a chance that he could run for President. A barrier to that had been that Mitch Daniels might run for President, but that now appears to be something that's getting more and more unlikely.

If Pence decides to go the presidential route, it opens up the sweepstakes on both sides. Several Democrats are positioning for a gubernatorial run after Evan Bayh's somewhat surprising plug pull on his potential candidacy last week. It's about to get interesting.

Back to the Lieutenant Governor, if what she says in her statement is truly correct, I want to wish her the best as she resolves those health issues.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DADT Done, Now Let's Get 9/11 Responders Their Coverage!

Watch this piece of great activist journalism. Way to go, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
9/11 First Responders React to the Senate Filibuster
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

Congress Slays Don't Ask, Don't Tell

With the stroke of a pen by Barack Obama sometime tomorrow, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will be finished in a bi-partisan chorus of progress.

Eight Republicans crossed over the aisle to join with 57 Democrats to provide a 65-31 victory for DADT opponents. Senator Evan Bayh was presiding when the votes were counted, and he made the historic announcement.

As many celebrate this victory, please don't take it as a personal win. This is not a victory for liberals or a victory for President Obama. This was a win for America, the Constitution, and, most of all, our fighting men and women in uniform or those that want to join them in uniform.

John McCain still didn't get it yesterday. He said, on the floor of the Senate that there would be "high fiving" in the "liberal bastions" of society and that the Sunday morning talk shows would be filled with pundits talking about how great this was that "never served" in the military.

What's sad is that John McCain has served his country. He gave his blood, the full use of his arms, and years of his life to this country as he was a POW. John McCain, no doubt, served with gay people. How could someone who served in battle and who gave so much for his country deny that to others knowing, firsthand, the sacrifices he made?

It was McCain that kept moving the goalposts. At first, he said that he would support a DADT repeal when the military leaders told him it was appropriate. He did not.

He said he would support DADT's repeal when a military-commissioned study said it was appropriate. He did not.

In this victory for our soldiers, John McCain was exposed as a pure partisan hack. His convictions that he used to seem to hold to as a moderate "maverick" are long, long gone. Make no mistake, McCain has become what he used to rail against.

But, enough about him. Yesterday, a major barrier fell. After the bill is signed, 60 days will have to pass, but, while the rain continues, the storm has passed. Congress finally did its duty.

Good riddance to DADT.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Humor: The Making of a Christmas Classic

I love this Christmas song, but I never knew the story behind the song. As you can see, Dr. Elmo is still rocking away.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kyle Walker Elected GOP Chair With Daunting Rebuilding Task Ahead

As most of you know, Kyle Walker, the Campaign Manager for the failed Mark Massa campaign, has been elected to replace Tom John as Marion County GOP Chair. Walker is young and already has been involved in politics for a while. He's going to need that youthful enthusiasm and maybe some Alka Seltzer if he plans to be successful as Chair.

The task up and coming for Walker is daunting. He inherits a party structure that has failed to win a major Marion County office for three years and two election cycles and has lost many in embarrassing fashion. After going for George W. Bush in 2000's Presidential Election, Marion County has yet to be red since, and Barack Obama blew away John McCain in Marion County in 2008. Even in the toughest of years for Democrats, D's carried every ballot spot in county-wide races on Election Day 2010, and Andre Carson dusted the unslated Marvin Scott with 59 percent of the vote. It's going to take some effort by Walker, and I'm sure he will try to turn those results around, but he's now the GOP Chair of a county that is increasingly blue by the day.

As many of you know, it hasn't always been this way.

For over 30 years, Republicans ran Marion County or, at least, were well-represented in high-level offices. At one point, there were just FIVE Democrats on the City-County Council.

Today, the City-County Building lives up strongly to its blue windows with Democrats in control of almost every elected Marion County office (until Mitch Daniels decides he wants to consolidate them).

Only two big fish are left to fry for the Marion County Democratic Party, and those are fish that were once in the boat but were allowed to get away. It’s just the Mayor’s Office and the City-County Council that are left in GOP hands, and, unfortunately for Walker, all the MCDP's chips will be placed on those races this year.

There are no school board races, federal, or state races to distract voters. It’s all about the Mayor and City-County Council this time.

It’s going to be a delicate line that Walker walks. In 2007, Mike O’Connor tried to run Mayor Bart Peterson’s campaign as well as the Marion County Democratic Party. It didn’t work. I would advise Walker not to make the same mistakes. You can’t do both jobs effectively.

Instead, I think Walker’s job is to somehow rebuild the Marion County Republican Party. Maybe the bigger question for Walker is, “What will the Marion County Republican Party be rebuilt into?” It’s clear that the days of the GOP running things are over for now. Will it be guerilla warfare from here on out trying to poach an office or two here or there along the way?

It’s going to take a tremendous effort just to hold the Mayor’s Office and the Council this time, so I guess that’s where Republicans begin. What the Chair's role is in that is largely up to Walker.

Holiday Posting Schedule

With the holidays up and coming, I plan to take some time off from daily blogging and enjoy the holiday.

Unless there is breaking news that I feel needs comment, I do not plan to post anything of a political nature from Monday, December 20-Sunday, December 26. I will not be posting daily during this time, either.

For the week of Monday, December 27-Sunday, January 2, I will also be a similar schedule. While the content will be more traditionally the kind of content you expect here, I don't plan to hold myself to a daily update schedule.

The daily updates (except for Sundays...which I suspended earlier this year) along with the normal content and feature will be back on January 3, 2011.

I hope everyone will understand this need for a "blog vacation" of sorts as the holiday crunch sets in. I love this time of year, and I plan to experience it without the pressure of daily updates here.

As always, thanks so much for your support of this blog.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Part of Local Blogosphere Playing Out Like Jerry Springer Episode

When I read a few local blogs on the other side of the aisle, I sometimes look for Steve Wilkos, Jerry Springer's old security guy, to jump in and start separating people.


Yeah, it's a mess over there. None of the three big dogs on the local right wing of the blogosphere seem to like each other (well, two of them don't like Abdul, it seems). Those bloggers are Gary Welsh, Paul Ogden, and Abdul Hakim-Shabazz.

Abdul fired the latest round in the constant battle between the bloggers. Abdul criticized Ogden and Welsh for speaking out against the Republican establishment and then refusing to run for Marion County GOP Chair themselves.

Ogden responded in kind.

Welsh recently took Abdul to task over his fake job search. Welsh is also known for making fun of (and sometimes misinterpreting) Abdul's ratings.

Anyway, this spectacle is more interesting by the post. I don't always agree with Pat Andrews (Had Enough Indy) or with Terry Burns (Indianapolis Times) or with Chris Worden (iPOPA) or Thomas Cook (Blue Indiana) or even with more moderate voices like Matt Stone (Indy Student), but we don't take it battle royale style like the right does. We might send each other an e-mail or two behind the scenes, but we usually keep our spats out of the public spotlight, and they never get personal.

Seems like much of the disagreement comes from perspective. It's clear that Ogden and Welsh have more of a renegade view of the party while Abdul tendes to toe the GOP line a bit more stepping out of the lines very rarely. Well, it should be fun to see how this latest round plays out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When Good People Make Bad Decisions

I never like seeing people I know in the headlines for something negative. Unfortunately, I did again, yesterday.

Don Stinson isn't a good friend of mine, but I do consider him to be an acquaintance, and I think that he has done some good things in Decatur Township since becoming the superintendent of schools here 10 years ago. It was a contentious time when he came in, and he saw the district through that time period. He has done some innovative things such as creating a charter school through a traditional public school district and adopting small learning communities at the high school.

That said, it's fair to say that he's attracted a fair bit of controversy as well. The way the township has spent its money has been in the crosshairs of local blogger Pat Andrews over at the Had Enough Indy blog. The district has had to cut teachers while many administrators took large benefit and retirement packages. I'm not here to discuss that at this time. It's Pat's area.

On Sunday morning, I'm sure that many of you have heard that Stinson was picked up on suspicion of drunk driving. He becomes another high-ranking administrator to be caught making bad decisions while telling the children in his district to make good ones, and he freely acknowledges that.

To his credit, Stinson has been out in front of the story. He hasn't ducked the questions or the media on this. He's taken responsibility for his actions, and there's something to be admired in that.

Stinson may or may not have a drinking problem. He says he needs to find out, and it's unfortunate that he chose to bring such a personal struggle to the public eye by a bad choice. What I do know is that whether you like him or not, Don Stinson is a good man, and he doesn't need me to defend him.

In a time where public education is being scrutinized, these are not really the kind of stories that are needed, but, I think that even Tony Bennett knows that good people make bad decisions. Whatever happens, I wish Don Stinson the best.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Coleman Toes Libertarian Line

I must credit Ed Coleman for sticking to his Libertarian leanings, but his latest proposal makes little sense.

Acting on last month’s tempest in a teapot (and yes, I wrote about it here), Coleman is introducing a proposal into the City-County Council to have the Transportation Security Administration screeners replaced with private contractors at the Indianapolis International Airport’s Weir Cook Terminal.

Going back to last month, there was a mass of complaints about the TSA’s new scanners that had been set up in airports. The scanners show your unmentionables in the name of security. If you refuse the scanners, then you get a nice patdown that is also…well…some would say invasive.

There was a talk of mass protests during the Thanksgiving travel period. None materialized, and Americans pretty much went about their business. The story disappeared buried in the daily humdrum of tax cuts, Wikileaks, and other stories.

Coleman has dug it out of the trash and is suggesting the TSA be replaced at IIA. It’s something that neither Republicans nor Democrat seem willing to support according to the Indianapolis Star. Coleman’s proposal seems like it is DOA.

And, frankly, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Even a private security firm will be contracted by the TSA and the TSA will be footing the bill, according to the Star. The Airport Authority has the final say in the matter, and it doesn’t sound like they are budging. Regardless who is providing security at the airport, you still are going to have to go through security at the airport.

I realize the concerns people have with airport security are real. There have been some pretty harrowing stories from people with prostheses, colostomy bags, catheters, and other assistive devices. On the whole though, given the number of people that fly and the number of airports in the U.S., I would say those stories are thankfully few and far between.

The TSA is far from perfect, and I do think we might have gone overboard with security a bit. But, if you fly, it’s the game you have to play. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If you have problems with airport security, then don’t fly. Drive.

As far as Coleman’s proposal, it really solves nothing, but it does toe the Libertarian Party line. Coleman is representing those interests, and he’s likely going down swinging. For that, he should be commended.

Monday, December 13, 2010

In Soviet Russia...Prime Minister Sings For YOU!

If there is a more odd piece of viral video on the web today, I haven't seen it. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia put his pipes to work for charity in St. Petersburg this past weekend. Just watch the video. Fats Domino is in hiding.

Evan Bayh Takes Millions, Goes Home

No one in the State of Indiana is more politically astute than Evan Bayh.

Bayh has spent his entire career carefully positioning himself as a centrist moderate with Republican and Democratic views. He has equally po'd staunch conservatives and raving liberals. That includes this blogger, and I've been critical of him for a long time.

In taking his name out of the running for a third term as Indiana's Junior Senator, Bayh probably saw the writing on the wall. Rather than running a race that he might have won, he decided to step aside. On the way out, he bashed many on both sides of the aisle for being too partisan and not getting things done in the name of the people.

Many, including this blogger, took the smoke signals and rumors that others had been told to stand down runs for Governor of Indiana in 2012 to mean that Bayh was more than interested in running for Governor. Well, this weekend, Bayh took the high road again and has decided to pull the plug on a run at the state's highest executive office.

When Bayh pulled out of the Senate race, he left Democrats with little time to pick a candidate. Instead, party insiders settled on Congressman Brad Ellsworth. It was a decision I didn't like at first, but, after meeting the Congressman on several occasions, I warmed up to. This decision seems similar and different at the same time.

Bayh, by pulling out of the Gubernatorial race, seems to be leaving the field open for a big GOP name to sweep in from Washington and put his stamp right on the early prognostications. That man is Mike Pence. Of course, Congressman Pence can't decide what the hell he wants to run for, and his legislative record looks pretty thin despite all those years in Congress. He's a good talker, though, and he can speak Hoosier. He's a darling of the far right, and Indiana seems to have snapped back to that this past election giving Republicans huge majorities in the House and Senate.

For teachers, union leaders, and others, Bayh seemed like a hope in the distance. That his millions could somehow buy back the office for Democrats. The most liberal of my friends hated the idea of a Bayh run, and I, frankly, would have had to warm up to it. I would have, though. I'm a forgiving person, and I can see what being a Democrat in a statewide Indiana race means. It requires more moderation. Anyway, Bayh's withdrawal from the race now puts that same feeling I had back in my gut from February. I'm mad as heck.

The only reason I can think of that Bayh isn't running is that he doesn't think he can win, and that has to scare Hoosier Democrats. If a guy like Evan Bayh doesn't think he can win, then the statewide landscape for D's is very bad.

Yes, there is a bench. Yes, it is a winnable office. Maybe Bayh feels that he needs to spend some time with Susan and his boys. I can respect that, but I just get the feeling that there's more to it. Then again, more people know Evan better than I do.

For now, it appears that Bayh's once bright star has dimmed a bit. At one point, he seemed to be a shoo-in for a try at a major national executive office, but, out of the limelight, will he be able to keep up his profile? What happens for him in 2016? I guess we'll know when we get there.

One thing is for sure. After eight years of Emperor Daniels, Indiana can't afford four years of Mike Pence or anyone else from the GOP.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

He's Not Running

Senator Evan Bayh is pulling out of the Gubernatorial race for 2012. That's the word in the Indianapolis Star. Bayh had said he would make a decision around New Year's as to his future, and he's done it early.

While no doubt, the liberals in the Democratic Party will be dancing down Washington Street, moderates and others who actually care about winning the Governor's Office back out of the damaging hands of the GOP should be concerned.

More reaction to this tomorrow on Indy Democrat.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Humor: It's All Getting to Obama

In a week where the President got pushback from conservatives and liberals on a variety of issues, it appears things have gotten to least from this fake video. Well, we think it's fake. is.

Still, it's darn funny.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Anderson Refuses to Close Door on Mayoral Run

Frank Anderson, the outgoing Marion County Sheriff, refused to close the door on a run for Indianapolis Mayor, according to an Indianapolis Star article by Vic Ryckaert.

Anderson had been originally speculated to be a potential candidate for the office, but he decided to run for Indiana State Senate against Republican Jim Merritt. Anderson lost that race and has been winding down his term as Sheriff.

Ryckaert reports that Anderson said he’s undecided on a run for Mayor of Indianapolis. As far as his plans after he leaves office, Anderson told Ryckaert, "That's up to God," he said. "I'm just proud that the people have the confidence in me to be a public servant."

He added, “"I'm not going to sit down here and do nothing. There's so many things that need to be solved, resolved and worked out."

If he enters the race, that would make a run at the office suddenly a lot tougher for Melina Kennedy. Kennedy has been running for well over a year and has already elbowed out big names like Kathy Davis, Kip Tew, and Joe Hogsett who had decided to run or were at least considering a run. Indianapolis businessman Brian Williams also left the race after a strong start and immediately endorsed Kennedy. City-County Councillor Jose Evans and former City-County Councillor Ron Gibson both remain in the race.

Anderson’s rolodex is full of who’s who’s in Marion County politics, and it would take him no time at all to raise the funds necessary for a run. In October, Anderson had nearly $78,000 cash on hand in his Senate campaign account. Kennedy, at last report, had over $220,000.

Expect a decision soon. Anderson likely would want to get in the slating pool. Slating is in early February.

I had a chance to speak with one of Sheriff Anderson's advisors, and I am told that the Sheriff has NO intention of running for Mayor of Indianapolis. I'm told that the assertion that he is interested is not correct, and that they don't understand what the Star was trying to do by implying that he was even considering a run.

Frank Anderson will not be a candidate for Mayor.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tully's Credibility Takes Hit with Ballard Piece

(Editor's Note and Update: Egg on my face. I guess I didn't see that Tully was writing another piece on why Ballard won't be re-elected tomorrow.)

The Indianapolis Star’s Matt Tully is a fine writer, and I find myself in agreement with him often. His latest glowing review of Mayor Ballard’s first term in office and how it has earned him a second term, however, is nearly laughable.

Tully’s piece, which ran Tuesday in the Star, is effusive in praise for the Mayor who Tully credits for many things. He credits Ballard for concentrating on the little things in city government such as potholes, sidewalks and upgrading the Mayor’s Action Center. He praises Ballard’s work in putting together a “strong team” of advisors and deputies. Tully calls Ballard “apolitical” and praises him for his work against “rigid partisanship” and claims that Dems have just missed the boat in underestimating Ballard.

There’s no underestimation at work. Greg Ballard is the weakest Indianapolis Mayor in the Unigov era. With visionaries like Richard Lugar, Bill Hudnut, Steve Goldsmith, and Bart Peterson (whether you liked them or not), Ballard had a tough act to follow. As I’ve stated in previous posts, Ballard did essentially nothing noteworthy besides taking control of public safety in his first two years. Since then, he’s adopted the “sell off assets for a quick buck” scheme, and he’s already looking for more. Ballard has been unresponsive to his constituents on these controversial moves.

Ballard’s so-called “strong team” has been a who’s who of previous Republican administrations, Republican politics, controversy, or a local law firm or two. Bloggers like Paul Ogden and Gary Welsh have hit the Mayor time and time again on the background of his advisors and where they came to him from. It also seems like Ballard has a direct line to the ear of City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn who, unlike Bob Cockrum, has become the Ballard Administration’s puppet on the Council.

Tully also praises the Mayor for “being there” in relation to his activities in the community. That’s, frankly, ridiculous. The job of the Mayor of Indianapolis is to get out and about to parades, community events, and summer barbeques. Suggesting that Ballard has done more than previous mayors in this realm is silly, and it’s even funnier to think that’s a reason why he should be re-elected.

As far as Ballard’s political leanings, if Tully truly believes that Ballard is apolitical, he needs to turn in his credentials as a political commentator. One needs look no further than Ballard’s refusal to meet with Democratic City-County Councillors over critical issues facing the council. I’ve heard multiple Democrats on the City-County Council tell me and tell others that the Mayor and his office seems to forget to return calls, e-mails, and other correspondence on key issues often responding only at the last minute.

Besides placing lipstick on the pig and spraying air-freshener in the sty, the piece stays away from the seedier side of the Ballard record. There’s no discussion of the current controversies between IMPD and the community or Ballard’s questionable and dubious business deals with Citizens Energy and ACS.

There’s also no discussion of the current political landscape in Marion County or how Ballard has lost many of his early grassroots supporters. Those folks now see Ballard as anything but the conservative new face they thought they were getting.

Tully thinks Ballard will get re-elected and with the campaign cash he’s raised, it’s certainly possible. Still, I just can’t believe it’s going to be as easy as Tully wants to believe it will be.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

John Lennon, 1940-1980

No words on this one...I'll let Elton John say them.

Democrats Get More Possible At Large Candidates

In the race for the Democratic nominations for At-Large City-County Council, Zach Adamson, John Barth, Annette Johnson, and Councillor Joanne Sanders seem to have a good head start on the competition, but two other Democrats seem ready to join the fray.

Former Decatur Township School Board member, neighborhood activist, and local blogger Pat Andrews is trying to decide whether to make an At-Large run for Council or a run for the District 22 seat. In preparation for her run, she recently resigned her positions on the board of the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations and as Land Use Chair of the Decatur Township Civic Council. With a great deal of expertise and contacts at her disposal, I think she's a solid candidate. And, in the interest of full disclosure, like Zach Adamson, she is a close personal friend.

Also at least exploring a run is former IPS School Board member and current educator, Leroy Robinson. Robinson announced at a recent township club meeting that he was considering running. He has a strong community background and, according to Democratic sources, has a very solid resume.

As far as the four candidates that are out and about already, Barth recently released, via his website, a position paper on strong neighborhoods. Johnson continues to schedule fundraisers and meet-and-greets. She recently sent a letter to Ward Chairs re-announcing her campaign and stating her qualifications for the job. Adamson is also doing the meet-and-greet thing while Joanne Sanders works hard on the Council to try to stave off what has become a very non-responsive (to its constituents) Republican majority.

With Sanders almost assuredly guaranteed a slated seat, it will be interesting to see what candidates decide to proceed through the slating process or what candidates decide to try to buck the Marion County Democratic Party and detour around that process. There are also candidates that may file after slating and before the Primary Election deadline that no one saw coming.

This figures to be a very expensive and long Primary Election season given the prospect of Democrats re-taking the Council and the Mayor's Office.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In Memoriam: Elizabeth Edwards, 1949-2010

Just a day after we learned that her cancer had reached terminal status, news comes that Elizabeth Edwards passed away this morning at her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She was just 61 years old.

Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, and, eventually, she knew that the cancer would take her life. She lived bravely with the disease for six years and showed nothing but class and dignity in the face of some of the most horrible personal trauma one can experience as her marriage to former Senator, Vice Presidential and Presidential candidate John Edwards came apart in front of everyone through, frankly, no fault of her own.

Edwards is survived by her estranged husband and her children, Cate, Emma Clare, and Jack.

Julian Assange=Small Potatoes, U.S.

Yesterday, we found out that Julian Assange was a punk, and we didn't need any Wikileaks to tell us that. He's a punk...allegedly a sex offender, but he's not a terrorist, Mitch McConnell, and he doesn't need to be executed, Mike Huckabee.

The diplomatic cables that Assange has released through his website Wikileaks have amounted to little more than high school gossip. If the United States had not blown a gasket over this stuff, it likely would have faded into the ether. I mean, is there really anything that bad in the leaks thus far only kind of maybe throwing back the curtain to see that countries talk about each other and maybe don't trust each other that much?

Embarrassing...yes, but is Julian Assange really a terrorist? Absolutely not. As non-groundbreaking as what he's releasing is, Assange is a journalist. The media outlets that published his leaks should be treated as such under the First Amendment.

Assange is claiming that if he's arrested that he's just a button click away from more stunning revelations. Ohhhhhkay. I say arrest the fool for the charges he's facing in Sweden and be done with it.

Certainly the U.S. knows what's in those cables. If we don't, then we probably have serious intelligence problems anyway. If you're so concerned about him releasing the hounds, then release the hounds on your own. Something tells me though, as a friend of mine pointed out, that if anything were that groundbreaking that Assange would be in Djibouti with maybe some CIA dude named Biff using his nose for a badminton birdie.

You do have to admit, though, that Assange does have some sort of James Bond villain quality to him. I mean, he looks that part.

Oh well, wonder what we'll find out this time? That our banks are bad for their customers. That BP is bad. That Barack Obama thinks that Hugo Chavez has bad breath, and that Hillary Clinton won't sit at Kim Jong-Il's lunch table at recess. I guess I could be wrong, but that's what I think of what Wikileaks has released so far. The bad thing is that someone will likely pay for these leaks for a long, long, long time.

I'm of the mind that there will be a push for "Internet security" that will result in maybe a Patriot Act II. I'm sure that this blog post is being scrutinized at the FBI and the CIA right now. What's that helicopter sound outside??? Oh dear!

The black helicopters didn't get me yet, but the Brits have arrested Assange. I guess we'll wait for that next round of leaks now?

Monday, December 6, 2010

RIP "Dandy" Don Meredith, 1938-2010

If you are a sportscaster at heart, which, many of you may not know this, I am, you know the history of Monday Night Football.

That history involves "Dandy" Don Meredith and Howard Cosell. Their back-and-forths on MNF were oftentimes more entertaining than the games. He was also famous for singing "Turn Out the Lights" before the end of the games in his awful singing voice as well as some very interesting lines.

Meredith was also a key in the early franchise history of the Dallas Cowboys. He was tough, tenacious and hard-nosed. "Dandy" Don retired from football and entered the broadcast booth.

He died yesterday of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 72. Here's to you "Dandy" Don. Make sure you "Turn Out The Lights" before you go!

All Systems Go for Re-election Bid

After weeks of non-committalness (is that even a word?), it looks like Greg Ballard is ready to go for a run at re-election in 2011. The Indianapolis Star reported on Friday that Ballard is likely going to run and that he believes that his record is good enough to give him that second term.


If I'm Melina Kennedy or Jose Evans or Ron Gibson or even Yosemite Sam, I say, "If that's all ya got, Greg, then we're all good."

Ballard spent much of the first two years of his term doing nothing but living off the fumes of Mayor Bart Peterson's Administration. There were people that were saying, "Where's the agenda?"

Somewhere in the last two years, the Mayor has decided that he is going to hang his hat on selling off the assets of the city in order to make a quick buck to appear that he has a record for re-election. It's right out of the old Steve Goldsmith playbook. Goldsmith, now Deputy Mayor of New York City, was a smart politician. He knew when to step out of the Mayor's Office after he had lost the hearts and minds of the city. The result was Sue Anne Gilroy's failed run for Mayor and the election of Bart Peterson.

Peterson might be running for a fourth term had he been able to read the tea leaves that were thrown in front of him. Rather than taking the "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore" stance on property taxes, he misread the political landscape and pushed through an unpopular 0.65 percent income tax increase to dedicate to public safety. Ballard ran against that increase, but he has still yet to return that money to us. It was the first of many disappointments for Ballard's most ardent supporters.

Now, the residents of Marion County and the City of Indianapolis have watched Ballard not only sell off our assets, but they have watched the Mayor make mistakes in the realm of public safety by hiring a Public Safety Director that has pushed reform but lost the hearts and minds of his officers. Ballard has found money for multi-millionaire sports teams but cannot find money to keep libraries open. He has called our city parks a drain on the budget, and he has nearly killed funding for the arts.

Granted, it's been a tough four years to be Mayor of Indianapolis. The fact that the lights are still on and that the city is still afloat is a credit to the working spirit of the city. I acknowledge that Indianapolis is better off than many cities of similar size and bigger size in the Midwest. I'm not sure Ballard can take all the credit for that, but he could take some. Still, you get the feeling that things could be a lot better here. There is much right there under the surface that could blow up right in the face of the next mayor or Ballard.

Ballard's had his four years and would apparently like four more, but he's lost a tremendous amount of support from his original grassroots backers. He needs to somehow get them back if he wants to stay in office another four years, and he's become a different person than they supported since he's been in office. I think they are gone for good. Many of Ballard's supporters were Libertarians or had at least a Libertarian streak.

The Libertarian Party released this statement this weekend. Here is part of the release:

The Libertarian Party of Marion County (LPMC) is surprised to hear that Mayor Ballard will be making a campaign announcement on Saturday, since all signs point to the suggestion that he will be a candidate for Mayor again in 2011. As per his campaign promise back in 2007, then-candidate Greg Ballard informed the public that he would not run for re-election if he did not cut the budget by at least 10% by the third year (not including public safety). A quick comparison of the 2008 budget with the just-passed 2011 budget finds no such budget cut.

"I am very surprised that Ballard decided against honoring his campaign promise not to run again if he wasn't able to cut the budget by 10%," stated Timothy Maguire, LPMC Chairman, "especially since the budget cuts necessary would have been so easy to make. Even without the benefit of a full time team of lawyers and accountants, we were able to find at least $65 million that could have been cut off the top of the 2011 budget."

So, not only are the Democrats on Ballard's case, the Libertarians are now bringing up the fact that Ballard is not the same Ballard that ran for Mayor in 2007.

For all of these factors, I think Ballard will go down in defeat in November of 2011 to the Democrats and will fade into obscurity. Unfortunately, his bad business deals over the last two years have saddled the next umpteen Mayors with some challenges.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Very Reasonable View on Wikileaks

I love video blogging. I even dabbled in it myself for a while before, well, I kind of got sidetracked. Anyway, Dan Brown is a video blogger that I have featured on this blog before, and he currently is doing a big project called Dan 3.0 where he has given some measure of control of his life over to his YouTube subscribers.

Anyway, this video below harkens back to his previous video blogging (that's why he calls it Dan 2.0) and tackles the topic of Wikileaks. I think he gives a very reasoned response and a good description of what Wikileaks is.

However you feel about Wikileaks and Julian Assange, if you believe in whistleblowing and media freedom, you have to at least some level recognize the right of Wikileaks to do what they are doing. I guess I kind of find myself in the boat here with Dan Brown and Ron Paul on this one.

Personally, I found this round of Wikileaks leaks rather uninspiring, and I think Julian Assange is a punk. Some military man is going to jail because we now know that Vladimir Putin mails it in and works from home a lot. I mean, it was mostly just high school gossip about other countries. Whoop dee doo. That should have been our government's reaction to this. Instead, they go overboard and give Assange more publicity than perhaps he needed. Anyway, to Dan Brown...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Humor: Sarah Palin Gaffes Her Way into Hearts, Minds of Conservatives

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was in town the other day signing books. She has been everywhere lately from the best seller list to her reality show on TLC.

People on the far right seem crazy for Palin. It might be useful to remember the true Sarah Palin. She is an unprepared, inexperienced, and, at times, verbally challenged candidate that has been elected Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska and Governor of our smallest state (by population).

Enjoy this retrospective from Talking Points Memo. This should be required viewing for anyone considering Sarah Palin a true and actual viable candidate. My thought is that it won't change their view. They feel sorry for her. It's clear.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Political Stunt Rokita To Sleep in Office

Indiana Secretary of State and soon-to-be Congressman Todd Rokita announced that he will be abandoning his search for an apartment in the Washington, D.C. area. He says that he will instead sleep in his office and commute back and forth between his Northwestside Indianapolis home and the nation’s capital.

Rokita also went out of his way to say that this was not some sort of political stunt.

That means that this is some sort of political stunt. If it's not, why even draw attention to it?

Forgive me for not taking Rokita at his word. This is the same man that used millions of taxpayer dollars to tag his name on a bunch of “public service announcements” for everything from voter education to securities. So, excuse me for not taking him at his word about political stunts.

Enjoy the couch, Todd.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Marion County GOP Finally To Change Horses

Tom John is leaving the Chairmanship of the Marion County Republican Party, and the feeling that I get from many Republicans is that he won’t be missed. In leaving, John went for the old 'hard to spend time with my family and balance this job' excuse.

John was elected Chair in 2007 and capitalized on the anti-incumbency angst in watching the Marion County GOP recapture the Mayor’s Office and the City-County Council, but he couldn’t carry that over any further. Just a few years later, the Marion County GOP appears poised to return the Mayor’s Office and the Council to the Democrats and, besides a few township wins here and there, John has done little to push forward the GOP attack.

In fact, under John’s watch, Democrats have captured an office they had been trying to capture for 16 years, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. John even had the deep pockets of a, let’s face it, pretty big-name Governor named Mitch Daniels behind a good candidate in Mark Massa, and he couldn’t close the deal for his party in a year where Republicans claimed historic success in statewide races.

John also brazenly sent shade the way of Marion County Democratic Party Chair Ed Treacy when the veteran Chair reclaimed the spot following Mike O’Connor’s tenure. He said that Treacy had been "exhumed" from the political graveyard. At the time, it brought a few chuckles, but you cannot deny that Treacy’s return has been marked with wins for the Democratic Party. For the most part, Treacy has beaten John time and time and time again. It's not even close.

Treacy now has his sights set on reclaiming the Mayor’s Office and the City-County Council as he puts together a team to do that. Granted, he is doing it in an undisputedly blue county but, as Treacy has said, herding Democrats is like “herding cats.” Unlike Treacy, John’s control has been weak. His successor will find a Marion County GOP that controls the Mayor’s Office and Council but little else.

John should be commended for simply being Chair when Greg Ballard stoked the fire of the 2007 property tax angst and anti-incumbent wave into office, but his term since then has been unremarkable. He has been outmaneuvered and outdone by Democrats in Marion County who have solidified their majority in the county offices and made the climb for an incumbent Mayor uphill even though he has significant cash.

It will be up to the next GOP Chair to pick up the pieces and try to salvage what’s left of the once-proud and dominant Marion County Republican Party.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Governor, Mayor Relationship-Challenged?

I tell you, when Republican sources open up, they open up.

I’ve been informed that there may be a rift forming between Marion County and state Republicans, and it all has to do with the Marion County Prosecutor’s race.

My source tells me that Governor Mitch Daniels is not happy with Mayor Greg Ballard’s efforts to get Mark Massa elected Marion County Prosecutor. Ballard, according to my source, “did next to nothing” to elect Massa.

Of course, acting with his own PAC money, the efforts of the Governor were rewarded with a big, fat loss as Terry Curry outdistanced Massa by a little over 8,500 votes.

What does this mean? Well, if Mayor Ballard wants anything added to the state agenda, it’s probably going to have to be something the Governor wants as well. It also means that the Governor could possibly put some things on his agenda that Mayor Ballard’s Administration and handlers may not want.

Whether you believe this tidbit or not, the thought of it is interesting. Does Ballard have ANY support left?