Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rep. Turner Should Apologize or Resign


You know, I've been watching politics for a long time. I've been watching them since before I even knew what I was watching. What I've learned is that I can have friends on the other side of the aisle that I disagree with vehemently but those disagreements can be honest and reasonable.

There are members of the Indiana House that are like this. Phil Hinkle and I disagree on almost everything (except school vouchers), but I've known Rep. Hinkle since before I was born because my mother was an "Avon Lady" many years ago that would visit his home and try to sell products for that company. Sometimes, I shake my head at the things he comes up with, but we just disagree. He's on one side, and I am on the other.

If Rep. Eric Turner (from HJR-6 sponsorship fame) were my friend prior to seeing this piece of video below, then he certainly would no longer be my friend after seeing it.



We can disagree on the idea of choice. I know that it's a loaded issue with compelling arguments on both sides of the issue. I bet that if we sat down and had a rational conversation face-to-face that we could see these different aspects. We could agree to disagree in areas and actually find common ground in others.

It's clear that Turner does not believe in a woman's right to choose, but I think to trivialize what many women go through as he did above stoops to lower to a new level of politics. Bravo to Representative Linda Lawson for her emotional rebuttal to Turner's ridiculous statement that he clearly knew was controversial before he said it (you could tell he was trying to mitigate the damage before it came out of his mouth).

Pure and simple, to make the claim that Turner did, that a woman might fake rape or incest to get an abortion, indicates a perversion of politics that has no place in a body such as the Indiana General Assembly. I call on House Speaker Brian Bosma to demand that Representative Turner apologize to Hoosier women or resign his seat.

This kind of foolishness to make a political point should not be welcome on either side of the aisle in the House of the Hoosier people.

Potential Problems for Mourdock?


Richard, we (may) have a problem.

Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock may be violating a state law preventing him from raising campaign funds while the Indiana General Assembly is in session. Politico ran this article which stated that Mourdoch has been raising cash to the tune of $125,000 so far.

Unfortunately for Mourdock, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law in 2010 prohibiting state elected officials from raising funds during a long General Assembly legislative session, and bloggers in his own party are raising the questions about it.

Here is the part of the Indiana Code in question with the concerning section in bold.

IC 3-9-2-12
Prohibition on contributions to legislative and state candidates during long session of general assembly; prohibited period; exceptions
Sec. 12. (a) This section does not apply to:
(1) a member of the general assembly; or
(2) a candidate's committee of a member of the general assembly;
with respect to an office other than a legislative office or a state office to which the member seeks election.
(b) As used in this section, "affected person" refers to any of the following:
(1) An individual who holds a legislative office.
(2) A candidate for a legislative office.
(3) An individual who holds a state office.
(4) A candidate for a state office.

(c) As used in this section, "prohibited period" means the period:
(1) beginning on the day in January in each odd-numbered year the general assembly reconvenes under IC 2-2.1-1-2; and
(2) through the day the general assembly adjourns sine die in an odd-numbered year under IC 2-2.1-1-2.
(d) During the prohibited period, an affected person, an affected person's candidate's committee, and a legislative caucus committee may not do any of the following:
(1) Solicit campaign contributions.
(2) Accept campaign contributions.
(3) Conduct other fundraising activities. This subdivision does not prohibit an affected person from participating in party


Interesting. The law would seem to be pretty clear, and Mourdock would seem to be in violation. Then again, I'm not a lawyer. As you know, Senator Richard Lugar raised some eyebrows earlier this month when it came to light that the address he has used for his Indiana voter registration doesn't have a Richard G. Lugar living there anymore. That story disappeared quickly, but it's still clanging around the blogosphere.

Washington Street Politics, a local blog coming from a right-side-of-the-aisle perspective, broke this story here. I guess questions will be answered soon by Mourdock, but this could certainly be a big story if the Tea Party darling is forced to shell out some cash if it's found that he violated the law.

UPDATE:
Washington Street Politics has an update. The FEC may supercede the Indiana law. Still, it doesn't change the fact that Mourdock might be blatantly violating the Indiana statute.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Joe Donnelly Looking at Senate Seat in 2012


Whatever the carnage is on the Republican side, it looks like the Democrats have a potential 2012 candidate for U.S. Senate, and that's Congressman Joe Donnelly.

Donnelly, one of the bluest of the Blue Dog Democrats, spoke in front of the Hamilton County Democrats' Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner on Monday night, and the Indianapolis Star reports that Donnelly dropped hints at his next political race in an interview before the event.

"I feel my experience is best served in the Senate," Donnelly told Indianapolis Star reporter, Robert Annis. As far as his future rounds go, Donnelly is booked at similar events across Central Indiana.

If he is truly thinking Senate over Governor, then that leaves essentially a three-horse race for the Democrats right now with another intriguing person on the outside. Senator Vi Simpson and former House Speaker John Gregg are reported to be seriously considering a run. Former Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez was running, but his plans are unclear now. Last night, I heard for the first time that former Lieutenant Governor Kathy Davis may be considering joining the race as well.

Ballard STILL Won't Talk About Job Commitments


Mayor Greg Ballard totally blew it when WRTV's Kara Kenney questioned him about the number of job commitments the city has announced versus the number of jobs that it has delivered. Because of his ineptness, what would have been a campaign issue has become a very large campaign issue.

If you've forgotten, Ballard came off as completely out of touch with reality when Kenney approached him and asked him reasonable questions about the issue. He blamed the accounting of job numbers on the previous administrations in the city saying something about the "paradigm we inherited."

Now, after Kenney asked him for an interview on the topic, his office said the Mayor doesn't have time to talk to her. The problem is that if he just would have said that his schedule didn't permit an interview the first time that I would not be writing about this on my blog vacation. Because of his ridiculous behavior in the interview, it's become a huge vulnerability, and there's no putting the toothpaste back in the tube any time soon.

Ballard created this mess, and now, Ballard just threw gas on the fire. By dodging Kenney a second time after his horrible first swing at the pitch, he has cemented what many critics have known all along. He has no answers, and he has no intention of giving them to anybody.

For a Mayor who was elected partially by attacking Mayor Bart Peterson for having blank pages in his budget, this kind of non-transparency doesn't look good or jive with what Candidate Ballard pushed. Oh well, just another broken campaign promise.

Carson Goes One-on-One, Literally

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Over!


This always happens when I try to take time away from the blog.

The Democrats were back at work today in the Indiana House today ending the much ballyhooed walkout to stop the destructive work of the Republican caucus on Hoosiers.

Now begins the heavy lifting to catch up before the targeted end-of-April finish to the session. Redistricting and the budget are sure to dominate what goes on from here, but there will also be opportunities for Republicans to bring up other things as well. SB590 will also be contentious as well as some of the other Senate Bills on education that are waiting for action.

Here we go...should be fun.

Ok...now back to blog vacation.

Dems Race Heating Up for Governor


Well, it appears that the Democrats must have been reading the press lately about no one getting into the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor.

Congressman Joe Donnelly is headlining the Hamilton County Jefferson-Jackson Dinner tonight. While it's a straight shot down U.S. 31 from the 2nd Congressional District, it's a long way from home for a humble Congressman.

A "Draft Vi Simpson" Facebook page has popped up and has quickly gathered over 175 likes. The Indiana Senate Minority Leader has toyed with runs for Governor before, and she seems to be thinking about it again.

Former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg's website now has several people that have signed the petition there, and I hear that he's really kicking into high gear in his decision process about running for Governor. He will visit the Decatur Township Democratic Club in May.

The only potential candidate that seems to be stuck in neutral is Roy Dominguez. There has not been much movement out of the former Lake County Sheriff. I suppose we will see in the coming months what his plan might be. Dominguez did a lot of work last year, but he backed way off when it was thought that Evan Bayh might jump in the race.

Who will officially announce first? If I were in Vegas, I'd throw some cash on Gregg, but we shall see.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In Memoriam: Geraldine Ferraro Passes at 75


News is just breaking, but several news agencies are reporting that former Congresswoman and Vice Presidential candidate, Geraldine Ferraro, has passed at the age of 75 from blood cancer.

Ferraro made history when she was tapped by Walter Mondale to be his Vice Presidential candidate in 1984. She was the first female and first Italian-American to accept a nomination for one of the two major parties. That was only part of the story though. As a District Attorney, Ferraro headed up a Special Victims Unit that stand up for those effected by violent crime. She was tough, outspoken, and fair. In Congress, she fought for women. She fought for equal pay, equal rights, and advocated for women and people of all ages and races.

Today, her life ended, but her legacy lives on. Geraldine Ferraro, gone today at 75.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Delph Speaks to Indy Star Editorial Board on SB 590

Senator Mike Delph sat down with the Indianapolis Star's Editorial Board about his bill on immigration issues, Senate Bill 590. Here are his responses to four questions from the Star's journalists.

My takeaway...Delph sounds in touch with his core constituents but seems to have no concern about anyone else. Anyone who seems to disagree with him is a demagogue and a member of the elite.







Blogger Vacation: March 26-April 3


I'm putting the blog on "emergency only" status for a much-needed Spring Break starting today. This means that I will not be updating the blog on a daily basis beginning tomorrow and continuing through April 3. The Monday-Saturday cycle of daily updates will return on April 4.

I don't plan on straying too far away, so if the muse hits me during this time, I will be updating. In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful song by the Lindsey Buckingham.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ballard Walks Away From Reporter Questioning Job Numbers


WRTV Channel 6 may not be in first place in the local news race, but they do some good work.

Watchdog reporter Kara Kenney went to work and pored over the city's job creation commitments vs. the actual number of jobs created. She found some interesting numbers that didn't add up. So, she decided to confront the Mayor with her numbers.

You can watch the encounter here, but, in short, Ballard blamed the Peterson Administration for his numbers not adding up saying the phrase, "It's the paradigm we inherited," several times. He even said it when Kenney asked a different question about whether the city is taking credit for the state's work in job creation.

Kenney reported that some of the names of companies were left out as confidential and that some of the purported 72 companies providing jobs that some did not promise any new positions.

In an election year, these kinds of interviews are potentially disastrous for the Mayor. He's not at his best when challenged, and it's clear that this is likely the reason he has no interest in debating Kennedy or others at this point.

In the video, Ballard came across as evasive and condescending. He even admitted to Kenney before walking away that he had no other answer than, "It's the paradigm we inherited." He also provided a ready-made ad for Melina Kennedy's campaign. Poor job by the Mayor's handlers who should have saved him from the impromptu interview and clearly should have prepared him for the possibility that someone might question him on this.

If I were Ballard, I would have referred Kenney to someone in the office telling her that I didn't have the numbers in front of me. It would have come off better than, "It's the paradigm we inherited."

Unfortunately, few people watch WRTV.

UPDATE:
Kara Kenney took the time to respond to my blog post.

"The indychannel.com is the most popular news website in the market! We get more hits than anyone else."

I was unaware of this. Thanks to Ms. Kenney for setting me straight. I also did some research on their newscasts, and it looks like WRTV is growing its audience well and, as this article from IBJ says, is "becoming competitive."

I guess we will see where they fall out in February.

Johnson County Deputy Prosecutor Resigns Following Questions Over Walker E-mail


A former Johnson County Deputy Prosecutor is facing questions over a wild suggestion in an e-mail to Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Carlos Lam apparently sent an e-mail (pictured to the side) to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker this past weekend telling him to stay strong and suggesting the Governor discredit the unions protesting his anti-worker views by faking a physical attack, reports say. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism on its website wisconsinwatch.org published an update that included the following statement from Johnson County's Prosecutor, Bradley Cooper.

"Over the weekend, on his own time and on his own personal computer, one of my deputy prosecutors sent an e-mail to Governor Walker of Wisconsin that contained a foolish suggestion. He originally denied sending the e-mail claiming that his hotmail account had been hacked into. Early this morning, the deputy contacted me from his home, admitted to me that he did send the e-mail to Governor Walker and tendered his resignation, which I have accepted."


This is another embarrassing incident for a Republican officeholder involving the situation at the Wisconsin Statehouse.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller had to fire a Deputy Attorney General after the staffer suggested using live ammo on protesters in Wisconsin on Twitter last month.

UPDATE:
Interesting note pointed out by a commenter. Look at the date on the e-mail. Looks like the Johnson County Prosecutor's timeline may be incorrect.

2012 Approaching Quickly for Gubernatorial Candidates


Well, the pool is beautiful. It's all glistening and pretty there in the sunlight, but the water must be cold. No one is jumping in. That's the way the Governor's race looks so far in Indiana as the 2012 election season slowly approaches. I think it's likely to stay that way for a little while longer until things shake out in the Statehouse, as well.

Right now, northside businessman Jim Wallace, a Republican, is the only announced candidate. Wallace announced in early February that he would run, and his resume is quite impressive. Indiana's 6th District Representative, Mike Pence, is the frontrunner on the Republican side even though he has yet to announce a run. Pence closed the door on running for President, so I believe he is 99.9 percent likely to throw his hat in the ring. There are a few other Republican names, but I don't think they can beat Pence. If for some reason Pence doesn't run, look for some of those names to come out of the woodwork to challenge Wallace.

The Democratic side of the ledger has been more difficult to figure out.

Several big names have taken themselves out of the running. Ex-Senator and Governor Evan Bayh decided not to run and has since taken up residence as another Fox News political contributor. Former 8th District Representative Brad Ellsworth pulled out of the race, and said he would not run for any office in 2012. Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel removed his name from the hat citing family concerns.

That leaves several continuing to consider runs. Indiana Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson of Bloomington is rumored to be interested in the job. Former House Speaker John Gregg has been taking preliminary steps towards a potential campaign for Governor, and there is a movement to draft him to run from grassroots supporters (full disclosure, I signed the online petition). Former Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez still has his Indiana Roy campaign site up and was sending out Christmas cards to statewide supporters this past December (I know because I got one). Representative Joe Donnelly of Indiana's 2nd Congressional District also has also been rumored to be interested in a run. Donnelly's district figures to be a potential target for Republicans in the upcoming redistricting fight.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Will Daniels' Potential Run Be Tainted By White, Durham?


Mitch Daniels stood idly by while Charlie White was elected to the Secretary of State's Office. He knew what we all knew; that Charlie White was under investigation for voter fraud. Instead of demanding that he step aside and the GOP put up another candidate, he supported White, and Charlie White was ushered into office under a cloud of controversy. Now, Daniels has called for White to resign or step down until his case is decided. White won't do it, and Daniels has now no authority to make him.

Mitch Daniels continues to hold on to campaign cash that was donated to him by Tim Durham. Durham was indicted by a federal grand jury last week for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme and allegedly bilking investors out of millions. Again, the court system will over from here. The feds will have to prove their case. That doesn't solve a big problem for Daniels if Durham is convicted. Unlike other politicians who hold money potentially tainted by Durham, Daniels isn't planning to return the cash if Durham is convicted saying that it's already been spent.

These are two potential land mines in the conservative hero's potential run for the nation's highest office. If one or both of these gentlemen are convicted, that could end any possible run by Daniels given his deep association with both men.

If the Democrats (or other potential Republican candidates) don't make an issue out of either of these cases right now and gives Daniels a free run at the Republican nomination for President, then it's their own fault. Daniels needs to be knocked down a few pegs before he has a chance to define himself nationally in preparation for a run for higher office. He's good at that! Remember, it was Daniels that had a chance to define himself in the 2004 Gubernatorial Election, and the fact that he authored a budget that ended the Clinton budget surplus kind of faded into the ether. He's a great campaigner. He turned himself from a Washington outsider into the aw shucks guy that travels in RV1 and eats fried Twinkies at the fair.

Hoosiers bought it in 2004, and I have a feeling that Daniels can turn on the charm at the national level, too, even though many overlook this aspect of his personality.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In Praise of...MIKE DELPH???? Nope, I Haven't Lost It


It has always been my policy to give credit where I feel that credit is due, regardless of political party.

Well, it doesn’t happen too much on this blog, but I have to hand it to Senator Mike Delph on this one. Unlike many Republican officeholders that continue to hold on to Tim Durham’s campaign donations, Delph has decided to take the high road and return the money donated by Durham, reports the Indianapolis Star. He also criticized those in his own party that aren’t returning the cash donated by Durham saying in a letter obtained by the Associated Press that he is “embarrassed” by their actions.

The Star reports that Governor Mitch Daniels took nearly $200,000 in donations from Durham. That money should be returned as well, but the Governor keeps saying there’s nothing to return and that the money has already been spent. Like that matters! If I steal $50 from someone and then go spend it, I’m still on the hook for it. Granted, it’s not the same situation, but Daniels owes the investors that Durham allegedly bilked out of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme some return on their money.

The Indiana Democratic Party has gotten in on the act releasing this scathing news release.

Last week, a federal grand jury indicted embattled Republican financier Tim Durham on 12 felony counts related to an alleged Ponzi scheme that defrauded hundreds of innocent victims.

Durham allegedly spent their money on a fleet of cars, lavish homes and his playboy lifestyle. He also donated more than $800,000 largely to Republican political candidates and campaigns, including hundreds of thousands to Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Indiana GOP.

We’ve repeatedly called on those recipients to give the tainted cash back to the victims. Slowly but surely, some Republicans are answering the call for justice.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller has isolated Durham’s donations and will return the money if Durham is convicted. Today, State Sen. Mike Delph announced he will send back the cash – and said he’s embarrassed and troubled by fellow Republicans who aren’t doing the same.

But what about Mitch Daniels, a governor with presidential ambitions who took almost a quarter-million dollars from a man who may be Indiana’s very own Bernie Madoff?

He’s repeatedly said he won’t give the money back because it’s already been spent.

Really?

So if your friend goes out, robs a bank and hands you a bag of cash, it’s okay to go buy a new pair of Italian loafers?

As more Republicans shove Durham’s dirty money back across the table, the GOP is going to have to choose between standing with a guy who allegedly ripped off innocent people or standing up for what’s right.

Call the Indiana Republican Party today – 1-800-466-1087 – and tell them you want Tim Durham’s dirty money returned to the honest, hard-working people it belongs to.


I am sure that like Daniels, Delph certainly spent the $10,000 that the Star says Durham donated his campaign back in 2006, but he’s doing the right thing and issuing a return of the donation five years after it was given. This cleans his hands of the situation.

When the Durham story first broke, Tim Motsinger, a Republican candidate for Marion County Sheriff, immediately suspended his campaign and returned all the money donated to him by Durham. Attorney General Greg Zoeller is holding aside campaign cash from Durham, and others are considering the same. Not Daniels.

So, I find myself in the odd position of praising Mike Delph. Don’t get used to it, though.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kennedy Attacks Ballard for 'Transient' Comment


Melina Kennedy's campaign released its sharpest attack on Mayor Greg Ballard yet after his comments on service workers in relation to a comprehensive smoking ban in Indianapolis. Kennedy's statement:

"Earlier this week, it was reported that Mayor Ballard continues to oppose a comprehensive smoking ban in Indianapolis. This was not a surprise.

I was, however, shocked to hear the Mayor describe those waitresses, cooks, bartenders and others in the service industry as “transient” workers.

As someone who learned the values of hard work and commitment working as a hostess and waiting tables in my family’s restaurant, I know exactly what it’s like to be on your feet all day, serve your customers and depend on tips.

So, here’s a tip for Mayor Ballard:

Don’t ever dismiss Indianapolis’ waiters, waitresses and service-industry workers as “transient employees” or anything else. Many of these individuals spend years, if not an entire career in the service industry, propelling the Indianapolis economy forward. These men and women are vital to our economy and their hard work is something a Mayor should respect, not shrug off.

Mayor Ballard owes them an apology. And, even more importantly, he owes them respect for helping drive our economy forward. Call Mayor Ballard at (317) 327-3601 and tell him he owes these hard-working men and women an apology.

Sincerely,
Melina Kennedy"


Well stated. I don't think it requires much more input from me. Kennedy was a waitress for a time, and she knows the job and how hard it can be. Not only that, but I think she understands the people that do that job. Mayor Ballard clearly doesn't.

Let's forget for the moment that Candidate Ballard was on the record in support of a comprehensive ordinance banning smoking back in 2007. Instead, let's examine what Mayor Ballard is saying here along with what other opponents of a comprehensive smoking ban are saying.

Regardless of how long you work somewhere, it should be noted that the effects of smoking and secondhand smoke are well-documented. While there are cases of lung cancer that just develop, your chances of getting this horrible form of cancer are significantly greater when you are in an environment that permits smoking.

I have lived with smokers. My father smoked for the first 11 years of my life until he had a heart attack and quit cold turkey in 1986. Later, I lived with a smoker for six years until we broke up and went our separate ways. I can also remember the times that I've been to a bar or a smoking establishment, and, while a quick shower can remove the stench, it takes longer to clean that crap out of my lungs. In short, I can't do it anymore, and I avoid places where there are smokers and smoking.

That kind of decision that I make simply is not a reality for many. A service worker must go where the money is, and sometimes that requires them to work in a bar or a restaurant or another establishment that permits smoking. It's very true, as my cigar-puffing radio host/blogger friend Abdul always points out, that they could work elsewhere, but is that really the point?

We just learned that Indianapolis is one of the few major cities in the country to not have a comprehensive smoking ban. Are you trying to tell me, as many of the lobbyists for the bars and restaurants will, that people will stop going because they can't smoke? Listen, smokers are going to smoke. The cost of cigarettes is ridiculous. If they are going to pay that amount of money, then they're going to find a way to do it.

This is a great public health concern that Mayor Ballard is shrugging off. Why should it matter how long someone is exposed to these risks that secondhand smoke bring to the table? If I work at a bar for six months or 15 years, does that really matter? I'm still inhaling that carcinogen cocktail.

Kennedy is right to criticize the Mayor for his position on this, and she is also right to call him out on his disrespect for the service workers in this city.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ballard Cheers for Charter Schools


Mayor Greg Ballard today put out a Facebook update which praised the basketball Indianapolis Metropolitan Pumas for being the "First charter school ever to go to the finals." He's wrong. Indy Met is the second charter school to go to the Class A State Finals. The first was last year's Class A Champ, Bowman Academy.

Did I mention Indy Met was actually chartered by Bart Peterson?

Let me join the Mayor in congratulating the Pumas on making it to the finals. I, in no way, mean to diminish the work and effort that these young people put in to reach this level. The Pumas don't have a home gym, and I realize that. Please don't misunderstand me when I say this.

The thing is that at no point, to my knowledge, has Mayor Ballard ever congratulated a traditional public school for making a title game in this manner on Facebook since I've been a follower. Also, the Mayor should know that when the graduation rates for the class of 2010 were calculated, the rate for African-Americans at Indy Met was 56.5 percent. By contrast, Pike High School had a graduation rate of 89.5 percent. Ben Davis was at 86.3 percent. Speedway, which has a much smaller cohort group, had a 100 percent graduation rate.

The only charters, in fact, to come close to those numbers were Tindley and Herron, and neither were close to what Speedway or Pike have done, and only Herron rivaled (but not surpassed) Ben Davis. Met was at the bottom of the heap. Nonetheless, Ballard gave Indy Met a full seven year stamp of approval.

Maybe Mayor Ballard is starting a new trend. Next time a public school team from Marion County is involved in a contest like this, I expect to see him tout the accomplishment from his official Mayor Ballard Facebook account.

And...good luck to the Pumas!

Saturday Humor II: New GOP Frontrunner?

The Onion files this report on a new wave in the GOP.


Man Becomes GOP Frontrunner After Showing No Interest In Government

Jon Stewart Argues for Teachers As Only He Can

Friday, March 18, 2011

Republicans Embarrassing Selves with Gaffe-o-Matic Campaign for President


Yesterday, I chronicled potential GOP candidate Donald Trump's embracing of the birther mentality. Well, he's not the only one that might be running for President that, well, seems to have a problem with the facts.

Rick Santorum, the staunch right winger that served as a Senator from Pennsylvania, is also thinking about a Presidential run. Clearly, though, he needs to start thinking about his American History.

As reported by Talking Points Memo, Santorum, speaking to the Catholic Citizenship group, said that John F. Kennedy was a radical for advocating for a complete separation between church and state in a 1960 speech. Santorum left out the important context.

Kennedy, a Catholic, was giving that speech to an assembled group of Protestants who had concerns about Kennedy’s devout Catholicism. Yeah, that radical, JFK, who said such radical things as, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country."

His gaffe would be bad enough, but Santorum added a comment about Thomas Jefferson in order to bolster his own case. “Jefferson is spinning in his grave,” said Santorum.

Really, Rick?

I think Thomas Jefferson would have not only agreed with Kennedy, but he probably would have jumped up and applauded him had he been at that 1960 speech. Jefferson, as a friend of mine put it, “coined the phrase” separation of church and state in a letter. Unlike Santorum and Kennedy, Jefferson had no real formal religion. He was a Deist who did not attend church services regularly, but he considered religion a very personal matter. As he wrote:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.


Trump's whopper and Santorum misrepresenting Jefferson are just the latest gaffes by a Republican thinking about running for President.

Michele Bachmann was quoted as saying that the Revolutionary War started in Concord, New Hampshire instead of Concord, Massachusetts last week. She's now getting mocked royally in New Hampshire. Mike Huckabee claimed that Barack Obama’s world view is different because he grew up in Kenya then tried to claim he misspoke. And, let’s not even start on Sarah Palin.

The sad thing is that there are many on the right that gobble up this rhetoric and don’t wait for the retraction or correction from the candidate. The mis and dis-information becomes a part of the political lexicon and suddenly starts being sent around on chain e-mails and other crazy forms of communication.

If you don’t believe me, go to snopes.com and type in Barack Obama. There are hundreds of threads on him there regarding everything from his citizenship to his religion to his family life. It’s entered the public domain and people believe it must be true because Uncle Cletus or Grandma Wilma sent it to you.

The right needs to do a better job vetting its candidates if it wants to be taken seriously. Is it possible that folks like Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels are staying out of the fray for fear of being tainted by those in it? How do you get into a discussion of the issues when the candidates can't even get the basic facts of American History correct?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Donald Trump=A Little Bit Birther


Gary Welsh over at Advance Indiana continues to beat the birther drum locally. Today, he posted the video gem below from birtherland where Donald Trump addresses the question of President Obama's birth.

While I'm tempted to make this clip the comeback of Saturday Humor this week, I must say that Trump is sorely mistaken when he says that no one remembers Obama until he is older. Is Trump saying that the man didn't exist until adulthood?

What a ridiculous statement for such a smart guy, and Donald Trump is a smart guy, just ask him. Trump allegedly will spend a lot of money to get himself elected, but he won't even make it out of the primary. As much as I like Trump as a character, freak shows with potentially big ugly skeletons in their closet never win. That's what I believe Trump to be.

Barack Obama has certainly been the most investigated President of all time, and no one has yet to make any charges stick on him when it comes to his background. That's why the birther mentality is laughed at by the mainstream. It also shows why you're out of it Mr. Trump.

Enjoy building your next casino...when it comes to the Presidential race..."YOU'RE FIRED."



Here's a video about Obama's career as a high school basketball player. Guess the coach must be making it all up.

Dems Still in Illinois, Thank Goodness


Well, here we sit. It's St. Patrick's Day, and it's almost been a month since the Democrats left the Indiana House Chamber and fled to Illinois. This stopped business in the Indiana General Assembly and stopped the uncompromising wheels of change at the state level.

All Brian Bosma has been able to do so far is shrug his shoulders and threaten fines. He said they wouldn't negotiate, but they have been negotiating. In the meantime, as a friend of mine said, "They seem like they ain't comin' back until they are good and ready." Thank goodness.

Yesterday, I received a call from a market research firm that asked me to do a survey based upon Indiana politics. I gladly accepted, and I proudly told the surveyor that I totally support the actions of the Democratic caucus, and I continue to support them.

As one of my friends in the legislature pointed out to me before the walkout, the Republicans weren't consulting with the Dems on anything. And, as my friend, who is a Democrat, said, this wasn't the case when they held the keys at the legislature. I will take him at his word. The Republicans are just as responsible for this walkout as the Democrats are.

Elections do have consequences. There is no question about it, but the minority has remedies if the majority becomes power drunk. That's the reason why the Democrats left the state, and that's why these legislators continue to be out of state working for us.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all the Democrats in Illinois. Thank you for what you are doing.

Happy St. Patrick's Day


Enjoy this fine day! Looks like the weather is going to cooperate! So, may the luck of the Irish be with you all today! Wear your green...you don't want to get pinched.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Developing Story: Durham Indicted


Tim Durham has been indicted by the feds. I'm sure many of you know this.

As you know, Durham's been under investigation for a long time now, and the indictment just came down today. It's just an indictment to this point. He will most certainly have his day in court. He was picked up today by the FBI in Los Angeles.

Kennedy Wants to Crack Down on Illegal Guns


Democratic candidate for Mayor, Melina Kennedy, announced on Monday that she wants to try to tackle the problem of illegal guns in Indianapolis. Her campaign put out a news release on her plan.

Kennedy Unveils First Part of Public Safety Plan - Combating Illegal Guns

INDIANAPOLIS – (March 14, 2011) Today, Melina Kennedy, Democratic candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis, also a small business owner and former deputy mayor for economic development, unveiled her first plan to improve public safety in Indianapolis – combating illegal guns.

“The use of illegal guns is undermining our community, and is destroying too many families,” said Kennedy. “As Mayor, I will take the action necessary to make our streets and neighborhoods safer, and that includes taking head-on the issue of getting illegal guns off our streets. This is my commitment and the residents of Indianapolis can expect that I will follow through on that promise if I am elected Mayor.”

Kennedy noted that she is specifically going after those who possess guns illegally, and respects the rights of those who lawfully carry a weapon. "I respect the second amendment and am focusing my target on those criminals who have no business having a gun. As far as I'm concerned, any step we can take to keep a gun out of the hands of a criminal is a step closer to seeing the city of safety and opportunity that I envision."

Kennedy also expressed concern that Indianapolis has not joined the bi-partisan national Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns alliance, an alliance that four Indiana mayors have already joined. The national bi-partisan coalition is comprised of more than 500 mayors across the nation and advocates for measures that Kennedy supports such as closing a current loophole in the law that provides criminals with easy access to firearms.

“Illegal guns threaten the very future of our city, which is why on day one of my administration I will sign an executive order to join Indianapolis in the national Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns coalition. Fighting crime takes leadership, and I will not shirk from that duty,” Kennedy continued. "I was disappointed to learn that Indianapolis had not joined in what over 500 other mayors across the nation have had the courage to do to combat this serious issue."

Specifically, Kennedy laid out the following five points that she will focus on to combat illegal guns and to improve public safety in Indianapolis:

Kennedy 5 Point Plan to Combat Illegal Guns:

1. Support efforts to ensure that the individuals prohibited from purchasing firearms are entered into the background check system so that gun dealers have current and accurate information prior to sales;

2. Advocate to close a current loophole in the law that permits sales at gun shows without background checks, thereby providing criminals - even with a known criminal background - with easy access to firearms;

3. Work with public safety partners (local, state and federal government and community) to educate youth and parents on gun violence and promote gun violence prevention;

4. Encourage local gun buyback programs led by the mayors office in conjunction with all public safety partners, as well as community and faith organizations;

5. Advocate for punishment to the maximum extent of the law of criminals who possess, use, and traffic in illegal guns.


I don't know. Seems pretty reasonable to me. Why isn't Mayor Ballard signing on to this, too?

Mayor Ballard's friends on the right seem to be focusing in on Kennedy's mention of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition. The website of that organization actually lists five Indiana Mayors that have signed on to the group. They include Mayor Fred Armstrong of Columbus, Mayor Rudy Clay of Gary, Mayor Thomas Henry of Fort Wayne, Mayor Richard Hickman of Angola, and Mayor Stephen Leucke of South Bend.

I guess I'm dense, but I just don't see the problem or the issue.

I do see the problem of illegal weapons being used in crimes in Indianapolis. Seems to me that Kennedy has put forth the beginnings of a plan to not only get illegal guns off the streets of the city but to advocate for the issue as well by joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Evan Bayh Running for President?


Ok, now that I have your attention...

I think Evan Bayh must be running for President in 2012. After all, he just joined up with the preeminent media home for Presidential candidates, Fox News.

Fox News is the current or former home of such potential 2012 candidates as Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and John Bolton. So, it would only make sense that Bayh would join up as the next Republ...whoops...sorry...my mistake.

I keeed...I keeeeeeed!

I'll be easy on Evan here. There's no evidence that Bayh is running for President as a Republican or a Democrat, and I don't believe he will enter the race. It just makes for fun blog copy.

I'm sure Fox News offered him a big check, and now, he can be as centrist as he wants to be. Still, I would find it hard, as a Democrat, to work for the same organization that signs the checks of Glenn Beck. Apparently, that's not a problem for the man that formerly held the title Junior Senator from Indiana.

Enjoy your work at Fox, Mr. Bayh. You have once again found a way to drive a bigger wedge into your relationship with liberals in your home state. Congratulations!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Are We Prepared?


Still pictures tell a story that sometimes moving ones cannot, and the still pictures from the aftermath of Friday's earthquake and tsunami in Japan tell a horrifying story that hasn't been approached in that country since the devastation in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The pictures are shockingly similar. Everything destroyed. Everything bombed out. Everything gone. And now, a humanitarian crisis has taken hold.

It remains to be seen how this story will end. It's ongoing as you read this and I write it. Remember, this was a country that was supremely prepared for this sort of incident. While Japan's building codes quite clearly passed the test, all the preparations that the Japanese people have made seem to have clearly saved a lot of lives as the death toll continues to still climb.

Are we prepared for a quake of this magnitude here in Indianapolis? It could happen.

An earthquake along the New Madrid Seismic Zone changed the course of the Mississippi River just about 200 years ago, and while that's many miles away, our geography does not make it a good situation for earthquakes. A 2008 FEMA report said that a 7.7 magnitude earthquake or greater has the potential to be economically devastating with "widespread and catastrophic damage" for the entire area. There's also the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone which gave us the 5.2 earthquake in April of 2008. The potential is there.

So, while there's no tsunami threat here in Indiana, there is a definite threat for a major quake sometime. We are not ready for it, either. Our building codes aren't where they need to be, and that goes for almost all the Midwest. Can you imagine?

I really hope that's as far as we get here...imagining.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan Quake Reminds Us We Exist At Earth's Pleasure


Yesterday morning, I awoke to the news that Japan had been hit by an earthquake and a tsunami, but the magnitude didn't really hit me until I saw the video.

Usually, I spend Saturdays on this blog on something humorous. That's not going to happen this Saturday because there's nothing funny about a disaster.

As I sat watching the video of the decimation, I was struck by the notion that there's no terrorist like Mother Nature. You can take that however you wish.

The truth of the matter is that Japan was, as we've heard several times over the last few hours, "the most prepared country on the face of the Earth" for earthquakes and tsunamis, but we still see the tremendous devastation and loss of life.

It's not over, either. Now, we hear that Japan's nuclear power supply may be in danger of meltdown. That could be a disaster of a whole other magnitude.

This was all because Mother Earth hiccuped. She had a slip of the plates and all hell broke loose.

We spend so much time worrying about what people can do to us and to our country, but we don't pay any attention to the force of nature. Mother Nature doesn't care about countries or borders. She doesn't care about politicians or even humans. Mother Nature doesn't care how rich or how poor a country is. One of the richest countries in the world was just hit by a megaquake just a little bit over a year after one of the poorest countries in the world was laid low by another quake.

Mother Nature cares about Mother Nature. And, she has a way of making you stand, mouth agape, equally, at her beauty and her ability to create tragedy.

These multi-million dollar megabuster summer movies that destroy the world every summer movie season seem trite and predictable sometimes. Yesterday, though, as I watched the video of that tsunami devour the countryside, I was struck by how it looked just like the movies.

It's why I don't believe man will ever end this planet. Mother Nature will. Someday, she'll decide that she's had enough of us, and we'll be cast aside like fleas in a flea bath. Humans will someday become just a memory, and the next inhabitants of this planet will find us fossilized in the Earth.

So, while Japan tries to rebuild and the rest of the world tries to help them, stop for a moment and thank Mother Nature for allowing us to be here on this Earth for just another day.

After I do that, I will send nothing but my best thoughts to the people of Japan. If there is a population of people that can overcome this, it is them. Japan's economy is robust, and they will be even more prepared next time an earthquake hits. Japan's resilient, and I see them coming back even stronger.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Historic Photo Whether You Like 'Em or Not


Senator Richard Lugar posted this historic picture on his web page. It's all the Mayors of Indianapolis in the Unigov era. All five mayors spoke tonight in a joint event at the University of Indianapolis.

From left to right: Lugar, William Hudnut, Stephen Goldsmith, Bart Peterson, and Greg Ballard

I think that a sixth person will join the gang in January of 2012. Melina Kennedy will make a fine addition.

Bravo to Obamas for Taking on Bullying, Head On

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are taking a stand against bullying in our schools and elsewhere.

This is a critical issue because we are losing young people at an alarming rate due to bullying. I salute the President and the First Lady for making this an issue of national importance. Here at the state level...well...our General Assembly is struggling with this one. An anti-bullying bill was defeated in the Senate after an intense effort by the far right. Here is a blog post by the wonderful Sheila Kennedy on that bill.

Back to the national level, here is a video from the White House talking about the issue in the White House's Conference on Bullying Prevention. It's worth a watch. I also follow it with President Obama's video and contribution to the "It Gets Better Project".



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Voucher Opposition Makes Strange Bedfellows


It's getting serious in the Indiana General Assembly as the battle lines begin to be drawn over a controversial bill which would provide "scholarships" to families that make up to 250 percent of the level that qualifies you for free and reduced school lunch to attend private or public schools that charge tuition. The cash for those "scholarships" would come out of the pocket of traditional public schools. This is House Bill 1003, and this bill has broad bi-partisan opposition.

Whether or not that is enough to kill that bill remains to be seen.

WISH-TV's Jim Shella reported today that Republican Brent Steele, a Senate member from Bedford, wrote a very passionate letter to his colleagues. In the letter, he indicates that he does not want tax money to go to fringe religious groups along the line of the Westboro Baptist Church in order to educate children.

House District 92 Representative Phil Hinkle is also opposed to vouchers. I confirmed this with him on Friday in a casual conversation. Hinkle has long been in the corner of public schools on the voucher debate.

Also in the corner of public schools is the lone Democrat to vote for the charter school bill earlier this year, Mary Ann Sullivan. Sullivan confirmed to me in an e-mail a few weeks ago that she is strongly against vouchers.

Of course, all is on hold right now in the House. Democrats remain holed up in Urbana, Illinois. So far, neither side seems to be budging, and, as long as Democrats stay in Illinois, no action can be taken on HB 1003. That's one of the many things at stake right now and why Dems continue to stay away.

You can bet that House Speaker Brian Bosma, Governor Mitch Daniels, and State School Superintendent Tony Bennett continue to use the time to arm twist and try to change votes. The resulting battle on HB 1003 should be very interesting.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lugar Getting In Hot Water Over Voter Registration


Indiana's senior Senator, Richard G. Lugar, is in trouble, and it doesn't have anything to do with Richard Mourdock.

Apparently, according to fellow blogger Paul Ogden, Lugar has apparently been using an address where he has not resided for years for his voter registration address. Of course, this is all in the spotlight because of the indictment of Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White. What's very strange is that Lugar owns a Decatur Township farm which could have easily been used as an address for voting purposes.

Ogden's original post and subsequent post comparing Lugar's situation to the White situation are both well worth your time and reading.

What a sloppy mess the Senator has gotten himself into. The local media has picked up on the story. Lugar's camp, as Ogden points out, is pleading its case on odd ground, as well.

This will be a story to watch!

Ballard AFSCME Endorsement Raises Questions



Mayor Greg Ballard's campaign Facebooked that he had been endorsed by "all four" city AFSCME unions. Here's the post:

BallardforIndy: Proud to be endorsed by all 4 city AFSCME unions. This is the first time a candidate for Mayor was endorsed by all four.


That seems misleading. In fact, back in November of 2009, Melina Kennedy received the endorsement of the Local 1887 (Indy Parks). Here's a portion of the pertinent news release:

ENDORSEMENT: AFSCME Local 1887 (Indy Parks) Endorses Melina Kennedy

November 20, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2009

Indianapolis--Today, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1887 Indy Parks endorsed former Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Melina Kennedy's exploratory committee for mayor of Indianapolis. AFSCME Local 1887 President Shane Brinkman discussed the union’s unanimous endorsement and released the following statement:

“AFSCME Local 1887 Indy Parks has voted unanimously to endorse Melina Kennedy for the office of Mayor of Indianapolis. Melina Kennedy has been a friend of this union for over ten years, and everyday has worked hard for all the citizens of Indianapolis. We cannot think of any person to whom we would rather entrust the future of the parks in our community than Melina Kennedy. We look forward to working with [her] before and after the election.”

Kennedy thanked Brinkman and Local 1887. "AFSCME Local 1887 and its members display their profound commitment to this city everyday, and I am proud to accept their support," Kennedy added.


It's, in my opinion, a strange endorsement for the city unions to have tagged Ballard, and I hear, behind the scenes, that some local AFSCME members were not all that reassured by the Ballard Administration's unclear positions on right to work. I also hear that there's concern amongst some members that the Mayor's Chief of Staff, Chris Cotterill, may have drafted Governor Mitch Daniels' early executive order to end collective bargaining rights for state employees. Cotterill drafted many of Daniels early executive orders (see the fifth paragraph in that article).

I guess I Mayor Ballard should be ready for some snappy right to work and collective bargaining answers because he's going to be asked! Does this put him at odds with the Republicans at the Statehouse? If I were an AFSCME member, I would ask why hasn't the Mayor been at the protests?

UPDATE:
I've been told the Local 1887 Indy Parks merged into one of the other unions. It still doesn't change the other questions about Mayor Ballard's positions on right to work.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ballard Supporters Take Issue with Women's Group Endorsement of Kennedy


The ghost-writing folks at Washington Street Politics decided to continue to use their blog as a forum to bash Melina Kennedy. It's one thing to bash policy and politics, but it's starting to get ridiculous.

They used yesterday's bash Melina moment to criticize her for being endorsed by Emily's List. The condescending tone in the post is what I find rather interesting. So that I don't misquote them, here's the full post.

Melina Kennedy was endorsed by Emily’s List today. Click here to read the full release.

We weren’t very surprised especially considering a line from the press release saying, “EMILY’s List’s Political Opportunity Program (POP) helps pro-choice Democratic women.”

Congratulations, Melina. You are the only woman in the race and, thus, their only choice.

You’re number one!


Well, the folks at WSP took the one line of the entire release out of context. Here it is from Emily's List.

EMILY's List, the nation's largest resource for women in politics today announced its endorsement of Melina Kennedy for Indianapolis Mayor.

"Melina Kennedy's dedication and service to the people of Indianapolis makes us proud to endorse her campaign," said EMILY's List Political Director Jonathan Parker. "As a small business owner, mother, and long-time Indiana resident, she understands the unique challenges facing the people of Indianapolis today. She has proven herself to be a fierce advocate for the community, and her work as the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development resulted in thousands of jobs, workforce development opportunities and growth for Indianapolis businesses."

Kennedy received an undergraduate degree, a J.D., and an M.S. in Environmental Science from Indiana University. She went on to work as a clerk for Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan and practiced environmental law as an attorney at the law firm of Johnson Smith. Her talent and work ethic caught the eye of former Mayor Bart Peterson, who recruited Kennedy to work on his mayoral campaign and then named her Deputy Mayor for Economic Development within his administration.

Kennedy's experience in bringing employment opportunities to Indianapolis will benefit the city and aide her as she tackles her number one issue: jobs. She has outlined a three-fold plan to once again kick-start Indianapolis's economy. First, work with local colleges and universities to drive innovation. Second, get rid of the bureaucratic red tape, and third, make small businesses a priority.

EMILY's List’s Political Opportunity Program (POP) helps pro-choice Democratic women run and win for state and local office. Since the program started in 2001, POP has helped elect hundreds of women across the country.

In the 2009-2010 cycle, EMILY's List raised more than $38.5 million to support its mission of recruiting and supporting women candidates, helping them build strong campaigns, and mobilizing women voters to turn out and vote. With a community of more than 600,000 members across the country, EMILY's List is one of the largest political action committees in the nation. Since its founding in 1985, EMILY's List has worked to elect 84 pro-choice Democratic women to the U.S. House, 16 to the U.S. Senate, nine governors, and hundreds of women to the state legislatures, state constitutional offices, and other key local offices. In the 2009-2010 cycle, EMILY's List had the largest number of members and donors in our 25 year history.


I'm guessing that these Ballard groupies are quick to criticize in this case because the thought of women mobilizing scares them. I predict that Kennedy will get support from not only women, but she will get support from a variety of demographic groups.

Critics point out that Ballard's Administration has had a problem with appointing women to high-level positions in the past, so one has to question why women would vote for him anyway. I can't imagine how supporters raising the gender issue helps the Mayor.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Charlie White Fallout May Further Taint Ballard Reelection Hopes


It's still early, but Mayor Greg Ballard has to have a healthy concern for keeping his job at this point when it comes to November's election for Mayor of Indianapolis. With all the political craziness right now, the voters first opportunity to toss an incumbent will be November 2011. That's not good news for a Republican Mayor of Indianapolis.

For the past few weeks, Democrats, mostly, have piled in on a daily basis to the Statehouse to protest the actions of a power-drunk Republican majority. Democrats have also now been proven correct on the issues raised about Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White prior to the election after he was indicted on seven felony counts including voter fraud, Thursday.

And, as Terry Burns recounted over at the Indianapolis Times, Ballard was a co-host of a major fundraiser for White AFTER THE CONCERNS ABOUT HIS CANDIDACY WERE RAISED! Paul Ogden is also on the story from a more political wonk angle, as well.

With major Republicans that were backers of Ballard privately telling me that if Melina Kennedy keeps the ball in the fairway that she should be fine, you would think that news headlines that we see coming from the Statehouse would concern the Mayor.

Another concern has to be that Ballard's early adopters seem to be deserting him as well. Gary Welsh over at Advance Indiana wrote a scathing piece that I think includes many of the concerns that the anti-establishment supporters of Ballard in 2007 now feel about him. Welsh makes sense about once or twice a month, so this was his day.

Ogden, who makes much more sense than Welsh most days, also had a similar experience as Welsh with the Ballard re-election bid. I haven't gotten my "statement" yet...wonder why? OH YEAH! I voted for Bart.

Ballard backers are out touting Brian Howey's early rating of the race as Leans Ballard. That's probably what you would expect at this point in the game. Ballard has been more visible (after all, he's the Mayor) and his name recognition has to be higher. Kennedy will work very hard, and, with the push of the Marion County Democratic Party, Congressman Andre Carson, and others, I think she will begin to turn the race her way this summer after the primary. After all, in 2007, no one knew what Republican would be running at this point against strong, rich incumbent Bart Peterson. While Kennedy has two primary challengers, they cannot match her bank account or her support from Democrats.

Ballard needs this story to go away before it can be used against him in the General Election. As it looks right now, Charlie White's going to stay in office, and that will only increase the likelihood of this becoming a media circus. Even the nationals have picked up on the story.

Any connection to Charlie White hurts Greg Ballard at this point. He needs to come out and explain why he hosted that fundraiser for the embattled SOS.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wise Policy or Stunt? Ballard's Plan to Crackdown on Parents for Kids' Actions Raises Questions

Mayor Greg Ballard is getting national attention for his plan to hold parents accountable for the actions of their children. His comments to Fox and Friends make me wonder about the proposal or if this is an election year stunt.

Listen to Mayor Ballard's take...



After listening to this, a couple of red flags go up. The reporter from Fox asks a couple of good questions, and the Mayor obliges with some weak answers. Ballard said, "We aren't going to use this routinely."

That begs the question, when is the city going to use this? If you don't use it routinely on all young people and all parents, then it opens you up for calls of controversy when you do decided to utilize it. That could even extend to the decision to use it during certain times or events.

Secondly, the Fox reporter asks the Mayor what happens if parents can't pay. The Mayor essentially deflects the question. It's a good question to ask. Do we then take that next step and jail parents if they can't pay the fine? What happens, Mr. Mayor?

All-in-all, this smacks to me of an initiative that cannot truly be enforced if it's not enforced uniformly and fairly and I just don't see how IMPD is going to have the manpower to do it.

It's a good idea on paper, but, in practice, I think it's a political stunt.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Many Chapters Left in White Mess...


As I stated yesterday, I think that indicted Secretary of State Charlie White should resign his office immediately, and it's not just because he's lost all credibility as the state's top election official. I think he should do it for the sake of his own defense.

Being Secretary of State is not an easy job. The office encompasses quite a wide range of responsibilities. It seems to me that White would want to put as much time as possible into his defense.

White should, at the very least, step aside until the case is done. I know that Governor Daniels has advocated this course of action, and I agree with that. Todd Rokita, the man who essentially refused to give this case the time of day when he was Secretary of State and a member of the Indiana Recount Commission, now says that he believes, like Daniels, that White should move aside temporarily until the case is decided.

We all know that Charlie White won't resign or step aside. He's going to drag the entire office into this with him. As I understand it, this is what happens now.

White's in real trouble here if he's convicted. One of the charges he was indicted on was a Class C Felony. If he is found guilty of that charge, then he has a felony conviction, and he will be forced from office and will not be able to ever run for another state office again. Governor Daniels will then appoint his replacement.

If it is successfully proven that White was not a legally registered voter when he filed his paperwork to run, then he would not have been eligible to run for the office and would have been in violation of Indiana Code there. WIBC reported that Vop Osili COULD then be installed as Secretary of State as the second-leading vote getter in the race. The Indiana Democratic Party responded in this way:

The only requirement for White to be a candidate for Secretary of State was his status as a registered voter in Indiana. Due to his fraudulent voter registration, which he included on his candidate filing form, (Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan) Parker said White was ineligible to appear on the ballot.

Accordingly, Parker said, the Indiana Recount Commission erred in dismissing a challenge to White’s certification as the elected Secretary of State. That case is still pending in Marion County Circuit Court.

Parker said that whether White resigns or is removed from office following a conviction, under Indiana law a court should decide his replacement. Parker said Indiana law is clear that the candidate who earned the second-highest number of votes should be appointed.

I don't know what's going to happen, but it's clear that Charlie White cares nothing for Indiana or Hoosiers. If he had any class or dignity, he would have resigned after he was indicted.

Yesterday, though, we learned a lot about Charlie White, and it had nothing to do with the charges that he was indicted on. Clinging to power by your fingernails is just not very becoming.

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