Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Hodge Podge: Mitch's Oops; Swearing-in Details; Delph's Incredible Adventure;

Mitch's OOPS
Governor Mitch Daniels
About two weeks before Greg Ballard was reelected Mayor of Indianapolis, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels stood on a podium with Ballard and Litebox founder Bob Yanagihara and called the businessman "a visionary."  That assessment has been thrown into doubt in recent weeks as details have emerged about the Litebox founder's business dealings in other states.

Today, Governor Mitch Daniels admitted that he jumped too soon.  WRTV reports that the Governor said he has put the endorsement of the Litebox deal on his "list of mistakes" he keeps in his office.

This cannot be good news for Ballard and Develop Indy that continue to try to put lipstick on this pig of a deal and try to make it look like something that might actually get off the ground.  Point of fact, it might.  But still, it just seems incredibly unlikely.

Swearing-in Details
Mayor Greg Ballard
Mayor Greg Ballard will be sworn-in on Sunday.  The ceremony begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Indiana War Memorial.  The Republican City-County Council Caucus will apparently also be sworn in at that time.

The Republicans turned down a request from the majority Democratic Caucus to have a joint swearing-in on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at the IndyFringe Theatre.  Dems say they asked the Republicans before their event was scheduled.  Regardless, on Sunday, the new Council and the Mayor's second term will begin.

The Star reports that Ballard will not give many specifics to his second term in his inaugural speech.  Why would we expect them now?  I honestly still don't think the guy has a plan.  Happy New Year, Mr. Mayor.

Incidentally, Democratic Lawrence Mayor Dean Jessup will be sworn in on Sunday as well at 1:30 p.m. in the City of Lawrence Government Center.  Jessup knocked off Paul Ricketts.  Dennis Buckley will be sworn in as Mayor of Beech Grove.  At press time, I do not have those arrangements.

Delph's Journey
State Senator
Mike Delph
While his fellow legislators get ready for the 2012 short session of the Indiana General Assembly, Mike Delph will be trying to get Rick Santorum through the Iowa Presidential Caucus.

The caucus, which, by the way reportedly will not require photo identification for participation, takes place on Tuesday, January 3.  Delph says he will be back in town for the legislative session on January 4.

Delph is a lightning rod in Indiana with conservatives adoring him and liberals not adoring him...to put it nicely.  I think Delph is a nice guy, but I think his politics are completely crazy.  He probably thinks the same thing about me, I guess.

This is my last post for the calendar year of 2011.  See you next year!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: A Look Back

There are always various segments on news channels and things looking back at the previous year.  I post a few of them here.

First, who we lost from CNN


Yahoo offers up a helping but I could not embed it.  I link it here.

But perhaps the best video on 2011 is from the folks at Google.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In Memoriam: Ben Breedlove, A Kid I Never Met

As I was doing my normal Facebooking today, I came across this story of Ben Breedlove.

According to the Huffington Post, he was an 18-year-old Austin teen with a serious heart condition.  On Christmas, Ben passed away from a heart attack.  The two videos he left behind will chill you, break you down, but make you smile too.

I hope that he's feeling the love and no pain now.  Thanks to him for sharing his brave story.



Non-existent Gun Rights Debate Ignites in Kroger Case

A gun-toting Kroger employee shot, and killed a robber inside a Kroger store on Monday evening.  Now, a gun-rights debate has sprung up with this employee as a hero.

Here are the facts that we know.  A 20-something would-be robber Twenty-six-year-old Jeremy Atkinson allegedly placed a gun or a gun-like object against the head back of an employee of the Kroger store.  This robber, according to reports, forced this female employee into the office area where he was shot in the face by another Kroger employee, 24-year-old Elijah Elliott.  Later, the robbery suspect died at Wishard Hospital St. Vincent Hospital of wounds sustained in the incident.

Support has poured in for the shooter in this case.  I think that support is well-placed.  This was an heroic act.  Elliott was defending his fellow employee, and it appears that he used a gun...wherever it came from...in self defense.  People are jumping to all sorts of conclusions like Kroger will fire him for carrying a gun to work.  We simply don't know that, and we still don't know all the the facts.  Remember Indiana Law allows an employee to carry a gun to work if you lock it away in your vehicle.

Officials say an arrest is unlikely in the case, so it looks like a crime did not occur.  Remember, Kroger is a union shop.  I would think that those union dues that Kroger employees pay (assuming he wasn't management) will come in handy if Kroger decides to fire Elliott.

Right now, this is a guns-rights debate that really isn't a debate at all until something else happens.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Well, it's been a few busy days for the blog, but things will calm down for the next few days...at least here.

I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas!  I hope everyone is able to spend some time with family and friends, and I want to thank all of you for the love you have shown to me by reading this blog over the past year and throughout the past few years.  It's much appreciated, and I will always be grateful.

As for now, enjoy your holiday.  This is one of my favorite songs of the season.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ballard Leaves Wiggle Room for Third Term

Mayor Greg Ballard did a sit down interview with John Stehr of WTHR-13 that was broadcast just a few minutes ago.

Ballard says he plans to step aside at the end of this term unless he can't accomplish everything he wants to accomplish this term.  Stehr pushed him to see if he would try to run for another office because, in Stehr's words, he's a pretty "viable" candidate.  Ballard refused to take the bait.

In the interview, Ballard said that his two main focuses will be transportation and education.  The latter is, of course, something he talked little about on the campaign trail.  Ballard seems to have cheated off the homework of his opponent, Melina Kennedy, and even Libertarian Chris Bowen who talked more about education than the Mayor did during the 2011 election season.

It's an interesting interview.  I would assume WTHR will post it on their website.

Stay Put on Order to Remove White

Former Secretary of State
Charlie White??
Judge Lou Rosenberg has issued a stay on his ruling which would remove Charlie White from office until December 29.

On that date, a hearing, requested by White's attorney, will be conducted, according to WISH-TV.

Experts are saying that this is only the beginning.  They say this case is likely to end up in the Indiana Supreme Court before it's decided.

As a reminder, this is NOT a political issue.  Indiana law requires Vop Osili to be installed as Secretary of State as the second-highest vote getter for the office.  Osili was elected in 2011 to the City-County Council from District 15.

Reactions Get Ugly on Facebook

A Facebook page linked to a man that is apparently the father of Secretary of State Charlie White had a very inflammatory reaction yesterday to the ruling by Marion County Circuit Court Judge Lou Rosenberg that could end up tossing Charlie White from office.

The offending post appears to have been deleted and the page scrubbed, but screenshots began circulating of it, and someone left a comment on my blog last night about it that I did not publish because I could not verify it.

The hateful, inappropriate, and anti-semitic post is gone, but I think it's significant that someone who is apparently White's own father the possible computer hacker doesn't believe his own son Charlie White has any culpability in this.  He or she is saying, "Blame the judge," and he or she doing it in a completely offensive and disrespectful manner...to both Judge Rosenberg and his daughter, Erin, who is now working at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Makes you sick, doesn't it?


UPDATE
Apparently this was left as a response on an IndyStar article.  Having left a response from my Facebook page before on the IndyStar's new comments section, I know that I've had to be logged in to my account to post.  That, of course, doesn't mean that Mr. White's Facebook could not have been hacked or otherwise compromised.

I hope that was the case, in fact.

UPDATE II
The Indianapolis Star reports that Darrell White says his Facebook page was hacked.  The incident was reported to the police in Westfield.  Given that information, I have decided to pull down the picture of the offending post and edit my previous post.  I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Parker Reaction to White Decision

Dan Parker put out this statement after the decision on Charlie White's eligibility to serve as Secretary of State was released.

Congratulations to attorneys Karen Celestino-Horseman and Bill Groth, who led the "team of attorneys" that Parker mentions.


(Still) Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker

We’ve known for more than a year that Vop Osili should be Secretary of State because Republican Charlie White committed vote fraud as a candidate for the office.

We’ve been fighting to hold White accountable for his actions since before the 2010 election.


A Marion County Circuit Court ruled that White was ineligible as a candidate for office in 2010 and ordered the Indiana Recount Commission to certify Vop as the winner of that election and the rightful Secretary of State.

I’m proud that the Indiana Democratic Party tirelessly waged this challenge, but the victory belongs to Hoosiers who’ve been embarrassed for the last year by a disgraced Secretary of State facing criminal charges and civil litigation for multiple counts of vote fraud.

It’s hard to believe Republicans tolerated his behavior for so long, and today’s legal ruling doesn’t mean Charlie White and the GOP won’t continue to fight.

We need to make sure we’re prepared.

Our team of attorneys spent months compiling the documents, interviewing the witnesses and filing the motions that led to this outcome.


As the party leader who initiated and backed this lawsuit from the outset, I offer my personal congratulations to Secretary of State Vop Osili and hope he will be sworn in quickly to restore confidence in this important state government office.

Democratically yours,
Daniel J. Parker
Chair

Rosenberg Rules: White Ineligible for Secretary of State

Marion County Circuit Court
Judge Lou Rosenberg
Charlie White should not have been on the November 2010 ballot.

In a decision handed down earlier today, Marion County Circuit Court Judge Lou Rosenberg found that Charlie White was ineligible to serve as Indiana Secretary of State when he was elected and remanded the case back to the Indiana Recount Commission to certify the second-highest vote getter, Vop Osili, to serve in the office.  White is certain to appeal the decision.

Former Secretary of State
Charlie White??
Either way, questions surrounding White's voter registration were key in the case.  Rosenberg wrote in his decision, "The fact that Mr. White knowingly registered in the wrong precinct is sufficient to render him ineligible for the office of Secretary of State.  Whether or not he believed that his registration complied with the law is irrelevant."

Rosenberg also said that his Court's decision is not implying that White's actions constituted a crime or were fraudulent. "Those questions are for another court at another time," wrote Rosenberg.

You can read the full text of Rosenberg's decision here.

I guess we'll see where this goes from here.  Had White stepped aside before the election in 2010, all of this would have been avoided.  Unfortunately, it looks like he's reached the point of no return.

One thing is true.  If installed in the office, Indiana can have confidence that Vop Osili will be a great Secretary of State.

Delph Picks Santorum

If you are a GOP Primary voter in Indiana, your chances of your vote actually meaning something are slim to none.  The Indiana Primary is in May, and the nomination is typically sewn up tight by then.
Sen. Mike Delph
Former Sen. Rick Santorum

Of course, there's always the chance that there could be a protracted primary season, but that's looking rather unlikely.  Even if Newt Gingrich performs well in the early stages of the primaries, he doesn't have much money or an organization for a long fight into the spring.  Unless he gets a huge influx of cash, this looks like a race between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.  

Anyway, Senator Mike Delph wants you to know that he's supporting Rick Santorum.  

Santorum, of course, is one of the most anti-gay and anti-immigration candidates on the ballot.  It's no wonder why Delph would choose to support him.  So, if Mike Delph's opinion means anything to you...there you go.  Vote for the man named Santorum.  Just don't Google him.

JibJab's Annual Look Back at the Year

JibJab puts together a year in review each year.  This year's version...well...it's ok.  Be aware there's some mild content here.



2010 Version



2009 Version



2008 Version



2007 Version Can Be Seen Here

2006 Version



And the 2005 Version



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Feds Indict Bateman

Indicted Councillor Paul Bateman
Outgoing City-County Councillor Paul Bateman and two others have been indicted by a federal grand jury on eight counts of wire fraud and 10 counts of money laundering, according to the Indianapolis Star.

If convicted, the Star reports that it's conceivable that Bateman could spend the rest of his life behind bars with a total of 260 years in prison if the maximum sentence were given to him.  Also indicted by the feds were Manuel Gonzalez and Michael Russell.

Bateman, a Democrat, is the latest example of a City-County Councillor in trouble with the law.  Lincoln Plowman, a Republican, was convicted earlier this year in a bribery and attempted extortion case and is serving 40 months in prison.

Why do City-County Councillors seem to do this?  Well, I don't think there's an easy answer.  Why do seemingly good people go bad?  It makes no sense to me.  Granted, this is just an indictment, and Bateman will now have his day in court, but the things he's accused of doing are just despicable.

What does make sense is the aggressiveness with which Joe Hogsett is doing his job as U.S. Attorney.  It seems like every few days, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Indianapolis is in the news for something.  Certainly, Barack Obama has to be proud of his appointee.

Monday, December 19, 2011

White To Stand Trial Jan. 30

"Mr. Indictment" Charlie White
Indiana's Embarrassment Secretary of State, Charlie White, will stand trial on seven felony charges on January 30.  A Hamilton Superior Court Judge tossed White's motion out of court that would have dismissed the charges, according to the Indianapolis Star.

As the Star points out, if White is convicted of any of the charges, he will lose his job as Secretary of State under Indiana Law.

Indiana voters knew this date could come, but they elected White anyway.  Under Indiana law, Vop Osili would become Secretary of State as the second-highest vote getter in the race.  Osili has, of course, been elected to the City-County Council in District 15.

That's putting the cart WAY before the horse.  The smartest thing for White to do to ensure his party holds on to the seat is resign now.  He is innocent until proven guilty, but how much time will he have to devote to his Secretary of State job while this trial progresses?  It's a Presidential election year, and Indiana figures to be a player again in this one.

Tendering his resignation is the best course of action for the voters of Indiana as well.  White should resign immediately before his trial begins and allow someone that can focus completely on the job to take the office allowing him to focus completely on his own defense.  Of course, Charlie won't do that.  He's already been asked to resign by Mitch Daniels and other Republican leaders.

Looks like White's content to let this embarrassment to the state play out.  Congratulations Indiana.  He's what you wanted.

Anti-Equality Pastor Tells Flock to Back Gingrich


Gay Divorcee Newt Gingrich

Sometimes, when I'm on vacation, I just get to thinking.

My pace of thinking accelerates when I read the constant stream of info I see on Facebook and Twitter. This one today...well it really got me thinking.

It's about gay marriage and a pastor somehow trying to convince his flock that liberals want to destroy marriage by allowing gays to unite in holy matrimony and then urging his flock to support Newt Gingrich.

That makes no sense.

Marriage is, in my mind, a religious bond between two people. It's not a religious bond between a man and a goat or a woman and a zebra. It's not a religious bond between fourteen people. It's one person and one person. Marriage is between the people and their church. It has no place in government. It has no place in the Constitution. It has no place anywhere but a place of worship.

That's too simple, though. The law has evolved to include definitions of marriage that, frankly, are outdated and outmoded. We need to redefine the legal definition of marriage to include one person and one person. Is it that hard?

Furthermore, no one has done more to destroy the holy bond of marriage in the current Presidential race than Newt Gingrich. The oft-married one has been unfaithful in the past, and he has done the only thing that's out to destroy marriage...divorce.

That's right. DIVORCE. That's what's out to destroy marriage. It's not the men and women in this country that are fighting everyday to be included. They want equal rights with what straight couples have. Why is it so hard to see that this is an equal rights issue under the law and not a mission to destroy the institution of marriage? In fact, I would argue that same sex marriage only STRENGTHENS it.

Same sex marriage is legal in countries like Canada. I have yet to see the locusts attack there. There's been no plagues, and, besides the bird flu scare a few years back in Toronto, life seems to be progressing normally there.

It's time to bring equality to America and bring the legal definition of marriage into the 21st Century.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Parker Retention Shows IDP's Weakness

Titanic Captain Dan Parker
Colin Cowherd calls sports franchises that are in disarray, "dumpster fires." Well, here in Indiana, we Democrats have a major dumpster fire in our own back yard. That's the Indiana Democratic Party.

Details are emerging from the mess that happened yesterday that ended with Dan Parker rescinding his resignation and staying on as Indiana Democratic Party Chair. The mess that emerged has split the party statewide and won't make things any easier for John Gregg to get support in key areas of Democratic strength in Lake and Marion Counties.

What does all of this mean? Well, I think it shows (if you didn't already see it) how weak the Indiana Democratic Party is. There is no longer anyone big enough to settle these disputes. In past years, it was always up to Evan Bayh or the state's highest-ranking party elected official to step in and settle things. There would be some sort of deal made and we would go happily about our way.

There really is no one today at the state level anymore with the kind of clout to do these things. There's no Frank O'Bannon or Evan Bayh or Birch Bayh or even a strong Democratic Indiana House Speaker to solve these issues before it got out of a "dark, smoky room." What chair presided over this collapse? Dan Parker.

Here's the thing, though. Sometimes out of a dumpster fire, the ashes can provide the seeds for a new start. The Indiana Democratic Party could not be in worse shape statewide, and the details are almost depressing...only 13 seats in the Indiana Senate, a near supermajority for Republicans in the Indiana House now and friendly maps for 2012's elections, no statewide officeholders in the executive branch, two-straight demoralizing losses in Gubernatorial elections to a Republican that may be a national player come this summer, and the hits just keep on coming. The only way to go is up.

It's up to the factions to pick up the banner now and demand change. Dan Parker is, as I've said before, someone I like as a person, but he's not the answer. Apparently, John Gregg supports him, and that seems to be enough right now for him to keep his job.

The sad thing is that all of this elects the Republican in 2012 even more easily. John Gregg could be the candidate to stop it, and I'm hoping that he can still do it. A fractured state party doesn't help, and this is too important of an election to hand it to Mike Pence or Jim Wallace. We need a Democrat in the highest levels of state government. Hopefully, we can pull together the pieces and muster a challenge for the GOP.

Parker Releases Thoughts on Chairmanship

Dan Parker is still the Indiana Democratic Party Chair. It's created a great deal of controversy online.

Yesterday, Parker sent out this news release regarding his decision to continue to serve as party chair.

Dear Jon,

This morning, I informed the State Central Committee that I will serve as State Chair for the remainder of my term.

I made this decision after a week of conversations with our party leaders, elected officials and candidates, many of whom asked me to reconsider my initial decision to step down from the post.

As a loyal, lifelong Democrat, I took their input to heart, and I’m honored to continue in your service.

Victory next year depends on party unity. We must remain focused on challenging our Republican opponents and electing candidates who will fight for hard-working Hoosiers and our core values.

The Indiana GOP is fractured, defending new Daniels administration scandals at every turn and engaging in fierce, destructive primary challenges.

Over the past seven years, we’ve built a party structure that’s the envy of other states – with a professional staff, statewide networking, modern outreach and unparalleled voter activation.

And we’ve worked hard to build consensus support for U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly and former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg in their 2012 bids for statewide office.

Those will continue to be our priorities moving forward, and I hope we can count on your support to make sure next year is a successful one.

I look forward to working with you.

Democratically yours,

Daniel J. Parker
Chair

Saturday, December 17, 2011

From the WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!!!???? Department...Parker Rescinds Resignation


This is going to be short and sweet. Only one paragraph will say everything I need to say about Dan Parker's decision to stay on as Party Chair. Sometimes, you need to know when it's your time to go. Dan, this was your time to go and do something else. Looks like you didn't take the hint.

Star Reports Three in Running for State Dem Chair

Three of my good friends are in the running for Indiana State Democratic Party Chair.

Marion County Democratic Party Secretary Sarah Riordan, former Marion County Democratic Party Executive Director Joel Miller, and former Indiana Auditor candidate Sam Locke appear to be the three candidates that are interested in the Indiana Democratic Party Chair-ship.

All three would be excellent choices, so the party will be in good hands any way it goes. That's good news for me as a rank-and-file Democrat.

Tim Jeffers, who had said he had interest in the job, has decided not to pursue the job, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Like Parker, all three of the candidates for the job are very young. When he was named chair in 2004, Parker was the youngest Party Chair in the country. A move to one of these three names would also signal a break from the Evan Bayh-era of Indiana Democratic politics.

This should be an interesting race. The Star also reports that the Indiana Democratic Party Central Committee could pass on all three candidates and keep looking. All three candidates have experience managing a county-level party...Miller and Riordan in the state's largest county and Locke in Floyd County, which neighbors Louisville.

All three will be excellent chairs, and let's hope the State Party decides on one of them today at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ballard Steals Kennedy Idea


Greg Ballard's most-staunch supporters spent most of the last year telling us that Melina Kennedy's focus on education was misplaced because the Mayor of Indianapolis had little to do with education.

Well, it looks like the man at the top of the ticket didn't agree.

Ballard has announced that he's searching for a Deputy Mayor of Education. This would be a third Deputy Mayor. No word where the money would come for this position, and there was no credit to Melina Kennedy. Does this mean that I can call Ballard's Deputy Mayor for Education a czar?

I credit the Mayor for seeing a need. Just wish he'd be more honest about where he got the idea.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dan Parker Reactions; Where To Go From Here


The last couple of days people have asked me for my reactions to Dan Parker's decision to step down as Indiana Democratic Party Chair. My reaction was surprise.

Given the current dearth of any big name Democrats in any big name offices here in Indiana, I didn't know of anyone big enough to push Parker out. I thought he was becoming entrenched. After all, the most powerful Democratic elected official in Indiana is arguably Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry. That means that Parker could have conceivably stayed until he wanted to leave. Perhaps that is what happened here.

I like Dan Parker personally, and I have been critical of him at times on this blog. I want to wish him the best in the future. In the end, it was time for a change given where the Indiana Democratic Party stands in this state right now.

As far as replacements go, seems like the Dems are looking at CSO Architects Executive Tim Jeffers to replace him. Jeffers is a former Chief of Staff of John Gregg and managed Jim Schellinger's failed 2008 Gubernatorial campaign. Reading between the lines, it's easy to think that maybe Gregg, who will head the party's statewide ticket in 2012, may have given Parker a nudge out the door. I haven't heard that personally, but the tea leaves could be read to show that.

Regardless of what happens, the next Indiana Democratic Party Chair has a big job. It's kind of like the job the Colts are going to have over the next few years. How to rebuild to ultimately win elections.

My advice to the new chair: don't ignore your liberal base, and don't pander to the center. Recruit good candidates that are true to their core values. Finally, show people what Democrats stand for and listen to them as well.

Jeffers' resume is impressive, but it seems like we could be looking at more of the same in the leadership of the party as well. Jeffers is a former Evan Bayh staffer...just like Parker.

I guess I have to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Off Daily Schedule



Given my busy schedule this week and the upcoming break, I have decided to suspend the daily posting schedule through January 9.

I will continue to update the blog as news breaks and if there's something I just can't keep my mouth shut about, but the pressure to keep the blog fed and keep the day job fed is just a little too much at this point. So, the day job (that pays the bills for keeping the blog fed) is winning out. After this week, we're into the holiday season full swing, and I plan to get some good R & R.

Thanks for your understanding, and rest assured this is only a temporary suspension of the daily blogging.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rick Perry Ad Now Most Unpopular YouTube Video Ever


Well, there may be one person out there that likes Rick Perry's controversial "Strong" ad, after all.

The homophobic ad that somehow equates the ending of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy by the Obama Administration to the totally bogus idea that kids can't celebrate Christmas or pray in school now has passed Rebecca Black's Friday video in dislikes with over 300,000.

Reached for comment, Black said, "We we we so excited."

Ok...that part is made up. What does it say about the state of our country now that a video attacking the gay community is now the most disliked video on YouTube.

I think it says that, while we have a long way to go, we've come a long way, too.

Incidentally, the picture above shows that someone in Rick Perry's campaign didn't realize that the candidate was wearing the same coat as Ennis Del Mar, Heath Ledger's character, in the movie Brokeback Mountain while someone in the blogosphere did. That movie, as I'm sure most of you remember, was about a gay relationship carried on by two men over a long period of time.

A Snowy Friday Hodge Podge: $300 Million Surplus; Super Bowl Headaches; Sister Won't Back Newt


$300 Million…REALLY?
News came this week that the state had $300 million more than it
thought it had. Just in time for a reelection year! Coincidence?

Regardless, I have been discussing with some of my friends some of the
things that the state could do with that money that’s better than just
returning it to taxpayers. The two that keep coming to the top
include more money for public schools and more money for the victims
of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse. Those two make a heck of a
lot more sense than just sending a rebate check to Hoosiers.

Super Bowl Headaches
JMV, 1070 The Fan’s afternoon drive time host, was wondering what
Indy is going to be like during the Super Bowl for the working folks and people that live downtown that have to move around during the two weeks of hype and
pageantry that is the big game. No question, it’s going to be a
challenge.

It’s also a headache in other ways, too. A friend of mine informed me
that a group he’s involved with had booked a charter bus during Super
Bowl week to attend a long distance function. The bus company just
informed them that the reservation will be canceled now due to demand
for charter buses in the city.

Besides all of this, the city is essentially turning into one big
billboard for the NFL with several downtown buildings going undercover
as advertising space. Also, there will be a number of the normal
parking lots that are being rented out to the NFL as well for space.
Bottom line, if you don’t have a ticket to the game and you don’t want
to be a part of the festivities, you’re going to have headaches,
anyway.

Newt Won’t Have Sister’s Support in 2012
If Republican Newt Gingrich wins the nomination and is the GOP’s
standard-bearer in the run for the White House, his own half-sister
will be supporting his opponent, President Barack Obama.

Candace Gingrich-Jones is a LGBT rights activist that first made
headlines when Gingrich was still Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich-Jones told Reuters that she would be supporting
President Barack Obama in 2012 even if her half-brother wins the
Republican nomination.

Gingrich-Jones said that her brother did not even attend her wedding.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Take the Compromise


Democrats appear to be digging in for a fight over the expanded smoking ban in Marion County eschewing the compromise reached a few days ago in favor of what might be a stricter ban that has exactly zero chance of becoming a city ordinance.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Councillor Joanne Sanders, the outgoing Minority Leader of the Council, doesn't think many Democrats are on board with Council President Ryan Vaughn's compromise that essentially carved out exceptions for existing hookah bars, tobacco shops, cigar bars, and private clubs or fraternal organization that vote to allow smoking. Vaughn allegedly drafted his proposal according to what Mayor Greg Ballard would sign.

If the Dems don't compromise with Vaughn, gridlock will probably ensue, and we will not get anything as citizens. Ballard will not sign a tougher ban, and the Democrats don't have a veto-proof majority on the Council. No ban? That means there will still be more smoke than there needs to be in Marion County.

While the compromise is not what most Democrats want, it's a start and a move in the right direction. I think that the Dems on the Council should reconsider their positions on this compromise.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Open Letter to "Christian" Rick Perry

After watching the most narrow-minded and homophobic political ad I've ever seen, I decided to write an open letter to the candidate that approved it, Rick Perry.



Dear Rick Perry,
Your ad makes me ill. It makes me sad. It makes me scared for the future of our country. If a person with views like yours can be taken seriously as a Presidential candidate...even for five minutes...then I really weep for your wing of the Republican Party.

I am not the most religious person in the world, but I think I understand what true Christianity is, and it's not what you think it is.

True Christianity has nothing to do with your made up "War on Christmas" or the fact that students (and teachers) actually do openly pray in public schools every day, but it has everything to do with your skewed view of religion, faith, and sexuality.

Faith is not religion. Sexuality has nothing to do with either. The fact that gays and lesbians can openly serve in our military is not a liberal attack or an attack from President Obama on anything. It's a sign that our country is moving in the right direction.

I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a Christian too, and I don't ever need to be in the pew on Sunday to know that something is wrong in this country when someone calling themselves a Christian attacks a group of people who have done nothing but wish to serve their country openly.

So, Mr. Perry, I ask that you immediately erase all trace that this ad ever existed, and I ask that you apologize to the gay men and women serving this country proudly in uniform that keep your right to call yourself a Christian despite your narrow and homophobic views safe.

While you're at it, immediately suspend your campaign. Your views will only do more harm to our military and to LGBT Americans.

Thank you,
Jon E. Easter

Pearl Harbor Attacked 70 Years Ago Today


70 years ago today, the war came to us.

The United States territory of Hawaii was attacked by the Empire of Japan at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, and, by the end of the next day, we were fully involved in World War II.

Of course, over the years, there have been conspiracy theories and controversies. Old wounds have scarred over and the United States now finds itself in a close ally relationship with Japan. Even some of the combatants of that horrible day have become friends.

Today, we rightly honor the 2,390 Americans that died that day at Pearl Harbor. We also honor the countless sailors and soldiers that survived that day and fought bravely for the next few years in a true global conflict. Some made it home, and some did not.

Today should also shine a light on a generation that we are losing at a too rapid pace. World War II veterans are aging and passing on. It's estimated that out of the 16,112,566 members of the armed forces during World War II that only 2,079,000 are still living, and we are losing an estimated 850 PER DAY, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. You would figure as these vets age that number will go up. Within six or seven years, we could be seeing a good number of these veterans gone forever.

That's why it's important to honor them while they are here. Thanks to all the World War II vets and all the veterans out there in the world today. We honor your service and sacrifice.

Of course today, we remember Pearl Harbor and those that sacrificed so much that day. We also hope for a world full of peace and love this holiday season.

Romney Scrubbed State Records


The Atlantic Wire reported yesterday that when he was Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney worked hard to erase state records accumulated that might illuminate and provide insight to his time as the Chief Executive of Massachusetts.

Among other charges, Atlantic Wire writer Dashiell Bennett says that members of his staff purchased state hard drives with their own money so they could take them home. Scores of e-mails were deleted from the state's database and forced the state to spend $97,000 of taxpayer dollars to break an office equipment lease so new computers could be installed.

Bennett says Romney didn't break any rules, but it's clear that he definitely has had something to hide. In this time where government should be becoming more transparent, it appears that Romney is no fan of transparency. The article also points out that these records are critical because Romney has no other public office experience except for the time he spent as Governor.

It's no wonder why. Romney thinks no one pays attention to things he has said, but he makes John Kerry's flip flops of 2004 look like a model of stoic consistency.

Thing is, this is a major problem should Romney win the nomination. Obama is putting the ball on the tee to attack this one. More presently, it's a major problem as Romney fights for his political life against the likes of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul who appear to be the latest two Republican geese to lead the "We aren't Mitt" flock. It just gives Republicans one more reason not to like the former Governor.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Davis Announces 7th District Bid; Ajabu Attempting Independent Run


Well, I wish I would have posted it here, but, when I heard Steve Davis was stepping aside as Southport Police Chief, I knew it would probably be to run for Congress in the 7th District.

The former Republican nominee for Marion County Sheriff announced last week that he was stepping aside to run for another political office. At the time, I posted it on my Facebook that I wondered if he would give Congress a go, and it looks like he is, according to Friday’s Indianapolis Star.

Davis ran unsuccessfully for Sheriff in 2006 and lost the Republican nomination to Dennis Fishburn in 2010. Since that time, he’s been a frequent guest on controversial talk show host Stan Solomon’s internet program. Solomon, of course, had to step aside as Marvin Scott’s campaign manager in the 7th District race in 2010 after his many controversial tweets. A simple Google search reveals quite a few appearances by Steve Davis on the program talking on a number of subjects.

Other names being bandied about out there in rumor land include former candidates Carlos May and Marvin Scott (just because he never knows when to quit). Another intriguing rumor is that City-County Councillor Jeff Cardwell is considering a run.

The 7th District might be more competitive than in the past given André Carson’s controversial statements this past spring and the redistricting that moved the district south to include all of Decatur, Franklin, and Perry Townships and less of Pike, Washington and Lawrence Townships.

Also in the race is controversial figure Mmoja Ajabu. Rev. Ajabu wants to get on the ballot as an independent. He surfaced online in a video talking with the founder of a group that has been described as a "white advocacy" organization known as the Hoosier Nation. Some on YouTube describe the group in another way, and, it's hard not to agree with that opinion when looking at the organization's website. Here's the video.



The seat still figures to be safe, but the right Republican might be able to make a dent. As we’ve seen, the Republican voters don’t know exactly how to get behind the right candidate in the 7th. Carson is still the heavy favorite, and he should be. His controversial statements (which I criticized him for here) are a small blemish on a pretty solid record in Congress thus far.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jon Stewart Gets to the Heart of Why Republicans Don't Like Mitt Romney

Two of Mayor's Charter Schools in News for Wrong Reasons


I have always stated that charter schools should not be considered public schools, and that they should have a separate and distinct category. Two stories in the news this past week would seem to buttress my argument.

Most recently, the Fall Creek Academy has decided to cut ties with Mayor Greg Ballard’s Office. According to the Indianapolis Star, the GEO Foundation that manages Fall Creek Academy has been dissatisfied with Ballard’s decision to shutter Fountain Square Academy, another school it manages. Thus, they are looking to Ball State to grant a charter for a new Fountain Square school as well as pick up the charter on the Fall Creek Academy. If Ball State fails to pick up the charter, Fall Creek Academy might close as well.

Also last week, we learned that the Stonegate Early College High School would be shuttering because it ran out of money. This put 180 students’ education into limbo for next semester. Traditional public schools close, too. Of course some local districts have made the decision to close schools within their districts, but it should be against the law for any school to close mid-year. That, as a friend of mine says, “Just don’t make no sense.”

Can you imagine Franklin Central High School, mid-year, with less than one month's notice saying, “We’re out of money, so we quit.” NO! People would be outraged and rightly so. On top of this, this is yet another charter issued by the Mayor's Office. You'd think he'd be watching what's going on over there.

Regardless, Mayor Ballard wants to create more charter schools in his name in the city. That’s fine, but these two examples show a dissatisfaction with the Mayor’s Office in how he’s administrating his charter schools, and, in another case, how enrollment may just not be out there for charter schools right now (as well as funding). The money is only finite, and we’ve seen that the Republicans in the Indiana House aren’t going to open the purse strings much to match education.

That doesn't even begin to address this charge by Indianapolis Public Schools reported over at the Hoosier Ed Blog that charters are simply sending students that they can't handle back to IPS.

Charter schools should be considered charter schools. They are different animals than traditional public schools, and we shouldn’t keep blurring the lines.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Did You Hear?


It's finally official.

MADONNA IS PERFORMING AT THE SUPER BOWL!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!

Ok, that concludes this Madonna fan moment. Yes, Madonna is performing live at this year's Super Bowl. I believe this is the first time she has performed in Indianapolis.

What might we expect? Well, I found this tidbit from a concert of hers in 2008 in Buenos Aries. Madonna NEVER does the same thing twice, and you can bet she will try to outdo herself.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kermit THEEEE Frog Weighs in on Pizza as a Vegetable

I don't have much for today. Got home late after a basketball game. So, I offer up this video with one of my favorite childhood icons, Kermit THEEEEE Frog.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just When You Thought Bipartisanship Was Dead...


Yesterday on this blog, I wondered out loud if the fight over redistricting would kill a spirit of bipartisanship that Democrats said they were wishing to usher in with this next City-County Council term.

The Indianapolis Star weighed in today and urged the GOP and Mayor Greg Ballard to stop the rush to redistrict and instead do something more bipartisan. It remains to be seen if this will happen or not.

Today, however, there were some encouraging signs of a more palatable bipartisan agreement on the smoking ban. Put forth by Council President Ryan Vaughn, it's not a comprehensive ban, but the Star reports that a workable compromise has been reached. One of the co-sponsors of a potential more comprehensive smoking ban proposal, Angela Mansfield, told the Star she will support the compromise.

The new version of the proposal would, according to the Star, ban smoking in all public places in Marion County grandfathering in hookah and cigar bars (provided they were in operation by January 1 and other places such as private clubs, fraternal organizations or veterans halls if their membership voted to allow smoking by majority vote).

So, perhaps the reports of bipartisanship's death are greatly exaggerated. Then again, this is something that, post election, both parties wanted.

We'll see in the next few days how this progresses from here and ultimately how the Council will vote. Will Republicans follow their President? Will Democrats cross over? I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It's an incredibly interesting time to be a politics watcher in Indianapolis.