Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Supreme Court Could Decide Today on White's Replacement

City-County Councillor
Vop Osili
Today, the Indiana Supreme Court will take up the question: Who will replace Charlie White as Secretary of State?

The key will be if the Court finds that, as Marion County Circuit Court Lou Rosenberg did, White was ineligible to be a candidate on the ballot when he was elected.  If so, Indiana Code at the time of the election said that Democratic City-County Councillor Vop Osili should be installed as the new Secretary of State.  Osili finished with the second-most votes to White in the 2010 election.  Libertarian Mike Wherry finished third.  In November 2011, Osili was elected to the Indianapolis Marion County City-County Council.

Governor Mitch Daniels
If the Court finds that White was a legitimate candidate that was tossed from office after being convicted of a felony, then Governor Mitch Daniels will get to choose who will get the chance to fill out White's term.

White's criminal problems are a separate matter than this civil case, but I'm sure that the legal team for the Indiana Democratic Party will try to bring them in to the case.  Legal experts who post on my Facebook page differ on this idea, and, I am not an attorney, so I will defer to them.
Acting Secretary of State
Jerold Bonnett

I can tell you this without any reservation.  Vop Osili is a man of integrity, and he will be a great Secretary of State if he is allowed to serve.  Daniels could appoint current Acting Secretary of State, Jerold Bonnett, to the job, full-time.

The bummer will be for District 15 that will have yet another Councillor if Osili is installed as SOS.  Patrice Abduallah was forced to resign, ironically, over residency problems.  His replacement, Andre' Carson, was elected to Congress in March 2008.  Doris Minton-McNeill took over the seat after Carson resigned to go to Congress.  Osili wanted to bring stability to the district.  When duty calls, you go.  If Osili is to become Secretary of State, he will need everyone's support.

The sad thing is that we could have avoided this embarrassment altogether if the people that voted for Charlie White had only paid attention to what was known when he was elected.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mitt Romney Wins Michigan, Arizona; Leads in Wyoming

The Republican establishment struck back tonight over Rick Santorum with a strong set of Mitt Romney victories in Arizona and Michigan.  Romney also leads in Wyoming.

The Empire is back except Mitt isn't nearly as cool as Darth Vader.

And the race goes on to Super Tuesday!

Davis Tweets on Education

Steve Davis tweeted the following today:

"Public school;s have absolute separation of church and faith.  How's that working out?  We should bring God and the ten commandments back"

What does this say about Steve Davis and his ideas?

First of all, the (former) Chief (of Southport Police Department) has no idea what goes on in schools today.  He also has no idea what the role of faith is in our schools and that it's very much alive today within our hallways and classrooms.  Schools daily hold a state-law-mandated "Moment of Silence" that was a not-so-subtle attempt by Indiana Republicans to replace the school's daily prayer.  Schools across Indiana also have clubs like Fellowship of Christian Athletes and other student-led organizations that provide students of faith with outlets within our school walls.

Secondly, how would we bring God back?  Where did he go?  Did he go down the street for a cup of sugar?

Thirdly, how will bringing back the "ten commandments" (not capitalized) teach anyone anything meaningful when it comes to what our students need to learn by the standards set forth by Indiana's curriculum?

They won't.  It's political posturing on Rick Perry's level, and that's not good.

Mourdock Doesn't Measure Up to Lugar

Senator Richard Lugar
Richard G. Lugar has been a loyal Republican for years.  Let's get that out of the way.  He's not a liberal.  He's not almost a Democrat.  For the majority of his 35 years on the job, he's been a loyal Republican vote for Presidents Reagan, H.W. Bush, and W. Bush.  He hasn't left the Republican Party.  The Republican Party has left him.

Lugar's old school--a brilliant man with a gift for policy who doesn't feel comfortable playing politics with wedge issues.  Unfortunately, new school politics has found his own party turning on him at the grassroots level, and Lugar will be banking on those old school Republicans to come back out and push him back into office again.

Fox 59 reported that the Republican committees in Henry and Delaware Counties had straw polls over the weekend, and Lugar lost 61-8 to Richard Mourdock, a man that will never fill Lugar's shoes intellectually or as a statesman.  Lugar is a Hoosier icon.  Mourdock is the flavor of the election season pushed by anger of the Tea Party.

The Republican Party is abandoning Lugar, and I don't know how he will fix it.  If he cannot turn out his reliable base, he's done.

Part-Time Treasurer Richard Mourdock
Richard Mourdock is the new Republican Party.  He's Indiana's version of Rick Santorum, politically.  Mourdock, as Lugar has points out, is an 11-time candidate for public office who rarely shows up for work as Treasurer.  Mourdock filed lawsuits on behalf of the state in order to try to bankrupt Chrysler, a company now well on its way to recovery.

For Lugar, it would be a sad way for a good man to go out.  Lugar's the kind of man that can give an eloquent 20-minute speech off the top of his head.  Lugar is the kind of man that will stand in a room of constituents and shake hands, take pictures, and sign autographs until he's the last man in the room.  I know because I've seen him do it.

Richard Lugar is still an effective Senator even though he's pushing 80.  It doesn't mean I'd vote for him in November, but I certainly would never give someone like Mourdock the nod over him.  If this is an "anybody but" race, pass Lugar through and beat him in November by voting for Joe Donnelly, but don't give someone like Richard Mourdock the honor.  He's always looking for his next opportunity.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kiss Sheds Light on Significance of Ending DADT

Sometimes a picture doesn't need a caption.
Photo from Facebook
For years, gay men and women have proudly served in the military, but they've done it quietly for most of that time.

"Don't Ask; Don't Tell" was the mantra of the 1990's military.  You could be gay and serve in the military as long as no one knew.  If anyone found out you were gay, you were discharged.  Plain and simple.  Gay soldiers and their partners continued to hide their relationships for fear of the loss of a career in the military and all the benefits that went with it.

Today, that has been removed.  President Barack Obama and Congress acted.  Bipartisanship won over, and the antiquated policy that kept gay people out of the military or serving in silence was gone.  That paved the way for pictures like the one you see here.

It's from a Facebook page dedicated to gay Marines.  Brandon Morgan, a United States Marine, came home, and his partner, Dalan, was there to greet him.  It is a simple photo, but it's power is great.  Two masculine men embracing and kissing in love.  In the background, there is a child and a baby stroller as another Marine is reunited with his family all under the American flag.  It's beautiful, and, just five months ago, it was impossible.

We have really come a long way these last three plus years, and I don't want to see the progress stop.

Santorum Doesn't Believe in Absolute Church/State Separation

Culture Vulture
Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week that he does not believe in an absolute separation of church and state.

He made the comments in reference to a discussion about John F. Kennedy's famous speech to a group of Baptist ministers in 1960 that came at a time when people were concerned that a Catholic like Kennedy would allow the Vatican to control policy in the United States.

Kennedy's excellent speech mollified many concerns and helped to carry him to a victory in the 1960 race over Richard Nixon.

Santorum told Stephanopoulos that he read the speech and "nearly threw up."  Santorum goes on to selectively quote the Constitution and the First Amendment on the free exercise of religion.  That's absolutely incorrect.  The Constitution does not simply permit the free exercise of religion.  Let's look at the whole thing, though, shall we?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

This provides the basis of the idea of the separation of church and state and to leave out the first part of the Amendment is cherry picking.  It is protecting the people from the Congress making a law saying, for example, that Catholicism will be the law of the land and that no one can have any other religion.  Santorum either has no concept of what the Constitution says, or, more likely, doesn't care.

Listen to Kennedy's words for yourself.  This is the kind of radical thinking that makes Rick Santorum "nearly throw up."

I respect Rick Santorum for being a good father and for not running from his personal convictions, but I believe now more strongly than ever that he's not fit to sit in the Oval Office.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Steve Davis Tweets Obama, Carson Insults

Obama Hater, Candidate for
Congress, Steve Davis
Candidate for 7th District Congress, Steve Davis, has been ramping up his tweet attacks on President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, the Obama Administration and lumping in Andre Carson, too.  That's not all.  There are attacks on Muslims trumpeting the arrival of Sharia Law.  Haven't we seen this playbook before?

Take a sampling here.  His Twitter...@chief4congress

Some of his tweets have a very familiar cadence--kind of like Stan Solomon's tweets, the controversial campaign manager that was forced to resign from Marvin Scott's campaign after controversial tweets.  Solomon has had Davis on his internet program frequently.

Regardless of who is tweeting the tweets, Davis seems to be going negative early on in this one before even winning the Primary nod.  One at a time, Steve.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wallace Out

Jim Wallace addresses a
Republican group.
(From his Facebook Page)
Republican Gubernatorial hopeful Jim Wallace was tossed from the ballot today after a review by the Indiana Election Commission.  The Commission voted 3-1 to exclude Wallace from the ballot after he was challenged over the signatures he provided to gain ballot access.

Mary Beth Schneider of the Indianapolis Star reports that Wallace hopes to appeal the decision and get himself back on the May Primary ballot.  If he is unsuccessful, Mike Pence will be unopposed in May.

For now, the General Election can now begin with Pence on the Republican side and John Gregg as the sole Democrat seeking the nomination.  Libertarians are expected to nominate Rupert Boneham, the TV celebrity, to carry their standard into the 2012 race.  Libertarians select a candidate next month and do not participate in the primary.

Specialty Plates Targeted By General Assembly

Indiana lawmakers are considering doing away with several specialty license plates.

Some Indiana General Assembly members apparently feel like there are too many plates.  A bill making its way though the General Assembly would do away with any plate that sells less than 1,000 plates.  That would exempt plates that represent educational institutions.

In 2012, a plate was approved for the Indiana Youth Group, an organization that provides services for Indiana's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning community.  There's no question in my mind that the IYG has saved lives by helping young people who are struggling with their sexuality to understand that there's a life out there no matter if you are a little different.

Of course, once the plate was approved, right-wing groups like Advance America objected saying that IYG was little more than an organization that recruited young people to become gay.  It's a laughable idea, and it's completely off base and untrue.

Guess what?  The plates approved in 2012 would be wiped out by the bill before they even get a chance to sell 1,000 plates.  That would include...wait for it...the IYG plate.

To be fair, other plates would also be discontinued.  It would cut a large stream of fundraising for the non-profit groups out of their budgets.

Maybe I'm just a conspiracy theorist on this one, but I think this was a pretty clear strike right at the IYG plate. The Indianapolis Star pushed the issue a bit, but I would like to see the IYG get a chance to promote and market its plate to consumers.  If it doesn't make the grade, pull it then.  Don't pull the plug over politics.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

White Gets One Year

Former Secretary of State
Charlie White
Charlie White was sentenced today to one year for each of his six felony convictions to be served concurrently in home detention.  The former Secretary of State's six felonies stick.

I know local blogger Paul Ogden has tried to defend White at every chance, but it was White that brought this mess on to himself and it was the Indiana Republican Party that nominated him.

The case will now go to the Indiana Supreme Court to decide if Vop Osili will become Secretary of State or if Governor Daniels will be able to decide who will replace White.  The law that was in effect when White was elected was that Osili should become SOS if White was not eligible to appear on the ballot.  The case will be heard Wednesday.

GOP Overreach May Cause Snapback

The Indiana House and Indiana Senate are so completely Republican now that just about anything seems to be possible if the Republicans want it so.

Earlier this week, a letter came to light from Representative Bob Morris of Fort Wayne that attacked the Girl Scouts of America by painting them as a liberal organization and an arm of Planned Parenthood.  A bill allowing  so-called Creation Science to be taught in Indiana passed through the Senate.  A bill that would set performance standards for the National Anthem performances at public institutions and fines for not living up to those standards was proposed.  A bill doing away with all cosmetology licensing was considered.  Indiana became the 23rd Right to Work state, and all of that doesn't even count the 2011 session.

With Morris' letter to his fellow Republicans in the public eye now, you can certainly make no mistake about the culture war reaching the cornfields and backroads of the Hoosier State.  It's here, and the Republicans have brought it here.  The Democrats are powerless to stop it.  We live in an Indiana that has become a playground for national wedge issues, and I fear that we only have scratched the surface.

Make no mistake.  There are Democrats and other people out here...even Republicans...who believe that the Indiana GOP has gone way too far.  Eventually, the snap back will begin.  Republicans will continue to overreach and the Democrats will be ready to retake the Indiana House and Senate.

Democrats and supporters of a more moderate agenda must draw the line and say that it goes no further.  The tide turns in 2012.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Morris' Letter Now National News

Bob Morris' attack on the Girl Scouts has gone national now in a big way.  Congratulations, Bob're a celebrity.  Enjoy your 15 minutes.

From Jimmy Kimmel:

Who's In, Who's Out; Official Filings with SOS for May Primary

With the May Primary under three months away, who will Democrats be voting for in statewide and federal offices when the polls open?

John R. Gregg
PRESIDENT-Barack Obama
GOVERNOR-John R. Gregg
U.S. SENATE-Joe Donnelly
District 1-Peter J. Visclosky
District 2-Dan Morrison, Brendan Mullen
District 3-Kevin R. Boyd, Stephen G. Hope, John Kuhnle, John Forrest Roberson, Tommy A. Schrader, David Sowards
District 4-Lester Terry Moore, Tara E. Nelson
District 5-Tony Long, Scott Reske
District 6-Dan Bolling, Bradley T. Bookout, Jim Crone, Susan Hall Heitzman, George T. Holland
District 7-Andre' D. Carson, Bob "Citizen" Kern, Pierre Quincy Pullins, Woodrow Wilcox
District 8-Thomas Barnett, William Bryk, Dave Crooks
District 9-Jonathan George, John Griffin Miller, John W. Tilford, Robert Winningham, Shelli Yoder

Now, for the Republicans:

Richard G. Lugar
PRESIDENT-Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Patricia Inez Sandifer, Rick Santorum*
U.S. SENATE-Richard G. Lugar, Richard F. Mourdock
GOVERNOR-Mike Pence, Jim Wallace*
District 1-Joel Phelps, David Wenger
District 2-Greg Andrews, Jackie Walorski
District 3-Marlin A. Stutzman
District 4-Todd Rokita
District 5-Jason Anderson, Susan Brooks, John R. (Jack) Lugar, John McGoff, David McIntosh, Matthew Mount, William "Bill" Salin, Wayne Seybold
District 6-Don Bates, Jr., Bill Frazier, Travis Hankins, John Hatter, Luke Messer, Joe Sizemore, Allen K. Smith, II, Joseph S. Van Wye, Sr.
District 7-Steven Davis, Anthony W. (Tony) Duncan, Wayne E. Harmon, Carlos A. May, JD Miniear, Catherine (Cat) Ping, Lawrence (Larry) B. Shouse
District 8-Larry D. Buschon, Kristi Risk
District 9-Todd Young

*-Facing ballot challenge

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rep. Morris Takes on Girl Scouts

Rep. Bob D. Morris
(R-Fort Wayne)
Rep. Bob D. Morris, a Republican from Fort Wayne, Indiana, penned a letter to his colleagues explaining why he would not be supporting a House Resolution supporting the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America.  His letter, which you have to read to believe, has gone viral and blown up in this culture war we suddenly find ourselves in and it has once again brought shame to the Indiana General Assembly.

Once confronted by local media including WRTV's Chris Proffitt, Morris refused to back off his claims inviting people to do their own research to see if what he put in the letter "intended for his colleagues" was true.

Morris, first elected in 2010, wrote in his letter to his colleagues that he believed the Girl Scouts had "entered a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood" based upon his own web research.  He cites what he calls, "abundant evidence" that Planned Parenthood has an agenda that includes "sexualizing young girls through the Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood."

I've done some internet research of my own, and many of Morris' claims are refuted.  Is there some connection between the Scouts and Planned Parenthood?  Yes, there is evidence to support that, but, for Morris to describe the group as an arm of Planned Parenthood is just not supported.

Thus, I'm left with my only response...

Lugar Ignores Residency Issue At Own Peril

Senator Richard G. Lugar
For the last 35 years, no one has questioned Richard Lugar's credentials as a Hoosier.  Well, times, they are a changin'.  Lugar is now having to answer questions about why he has no Indiana residence and whether or not he meets the qualifications to run for the office of U.S. Senate at all.

Bloggers Paul Ogden and Gary Welsh, both Republicans, have been on this case longer than I have, and I did pen a blog post last month on this issue.  I don't think I had a full grasp of this situation though.  I didn't know what we now know.

What we know is that Richard Lugar is registered to vote at a house he does not live in.  We also know that a nearly-30-year-old advisory opinion by then-Attorney General Linley Pearson (now Circuit Court Judge in Clinton County) supports Lugar's situation.  Pearson's opinion states, essentially, that a politician does not lose his residency by going to Washington to serve Hoosiers.  Richard Lugar hasn't owned a home in Indiana since 1977.  He does, however, own property here in Indiana, and he pays property taxes on a large Decatur Township tree farm that is about three minutes from my home.  I was once told by a friend familiar with the situation that Lugar is the largest property tax payer in Decatur Township.  

All of that aside, Lugar clearly does not live in the precinct where he has voted from for the last 35 years.  That is something that former Secretary of State Charlie White has picked up on.  White, of course, filed a sour grapes complaint with the Marion County Prosecutor against Evan Bayh a few months ago stating that the former Senator is guilty of voter fraud.  In a Fox News interview, White put his arm around Richard Lugar and also Governor Mitch Daniels (who is registered to vote at the Governor's Mansion but lives on Geist Reservoir) in an attempt to drag them down with him.  All three of those cases would seem to differ from White's case with some significance.  White won't take responsibility for his own actions, and he wants to project his issues on others.  HEY LOOK OVER HERE...HE'S DOING IT TOO.  Instead of saying, yep, I did it, and I'm sorry.

On Lugar's case, the U.S. Constitution is somewhat nebulous on the issue.  It states only three qualifications for a U.S. Senator.  First, a person must be 30 years old.  Second, a person must have been a citizen of the United States for nine years.  Finally, a person must be an "inhabitant of the state for which he shall be chosen" at the time of election.  It, however, makes no mention or gives no guidance on how to determine who or who is not an inhabitant.  Under the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, it seems to me, that would be up to the individual states to decide.

Now, I'm not a constitutional expert nor am I an expert on qualifications to run for office, but, if the state considers Lugar an inhabitant, isn't he qualified to run for the office?

That gets us back to the political argument.  Richard Lugar keeps telling everyone that his residency will not effect his campaign, and I disagree.  If the perception among voters is that you live in Virginia and represent Indiana from there, then that is damaging.  It's also something Lugar cannot deny because he does, in fact, live in Virginia.  Expect Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly to continue to bash the Senator on this issue.

It also doesn't clean up another issue.  What about Lugar's wife Char who continues to be registered to vote at the Indiana residence she doesn't live in?  Does that make her more culpable or subject to potential legal problems than the Senator?  I suppose that's a far different blog post, but it's something the Tea Party has brought up against the Lugars.

It's easy to say that it's time to clean up Indiana's election law.  The tricky thing is that if Indiana tries to make a law addressing the Lugar issue, it could go to court and be overturned as unconstitutional.  The Constitution, for example, never states that someone must live in the Congressional District that they represent.  Past attempts by states to clean up this situation have been overturned by the courts.

All-in-all, this is one big mess.  I would advise Senator Lugar, if he's lucky enough to win another term in office, to buy a nice small home here in Indiana and use it when he comes back to town.  He can afford it, and that way it will take this issue off the table.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Myron Hockman New Judge in Decatur Township

Decatur Township Small Claims
Judge Myron Hockman
Indianapolis Attorney Myron Hockman was selected by a caucus of Decatur Township Republicans as the Decatur Township Small Claims Court Judge.  Hockman replaces the late Hon. William Fisher.

Fisher passed away last month after suffering a heart attack at the young age of 48.

Happy Presidents' Day 2012

May Schedules Kickoff Event for Campaign to Unseat Carson

Carlos May
Carlos May, who was the slated Republican candidate for 7th District Congress in 2010, will kickoff his 2012 campaign on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at Tavern on the South.  May has lots of company in the race on the Republican side.

Andre Carson
Unlike other Republican candidates, May is a more moderate fit for the 7th District and could give Congressman Andre Carson a bit better campaign than other further right candidates.  Steve Davis, Tony Duncan, Wayne Harmon, JD Minear, Cat Ping, and Larry Shouse are the Republicans in the race for the nomination.

The two-timed failed candidate for Marion County Sheriff, Davis, figures to have the support of many of the people who pushed Scott hard in 2010.  That includes the always-controversial Stan Solomon, who has Davis as a frequent guest on his low-quality internet talk show.

Carson has some competition of his own.  Perennial candidates Bob Kern and Pierre Quincy Pullins are giving it another run.  Kern must have decided against challenging Joe Donnelly for the Democratic nod for U.S. Senate.  Woodrow Wilcox rounds out the group of four Democrats running.  Carson is, of course, the hands down favorite to win the nomination.

Will May get nominated?  If the Republicans are smart, he will.  If he does, it will be good to have a campaign based on the issues instead of one based on the things Marvin Scott took the campaign to in 2010.  In the end, Carson is expected to retain his seat in the reconfigured 7th, no matter the opponent.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In Memoriam: Whitney Houston (1963-2012)

Today in New Jersey, Whitney Houston will be laid to rest after 48 years on this Earth.  It's much too soon for us to be talking about her death, but I don't think many of us were surprised when we got the news last weekend.

This past week has been all about controversy about flags at half staff and whether or not an addict can save themselves from their addictions.  For me, Whitney's death was a little like Michael Jackson's.  A part of my childhood died.

I can remember waking up to the sounds of Whitney Houston on my clock radio, and she was telling me that she believed that I, as an 11-year-old boy, was the future of society.  I didn't know other artists had done "The Greatest Love of All" before her, but that's really the first song of Whitney's that connected with me.  It spoke to me and showed to me that how being your own person can lead you to find your strength in learning to love yourself.  It was a positive message in a sea of negative ones...even then...for a young person like me.

Today, we'd probably consider a song like that hokey or cheesy.  For me, I will always remember those summer mornings in 1986 with Whitney telling me to believe in myself.  I just wish she could have followed her own advice.

Whitney, you will be missed.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Hodge Podge: Latest on Litebox; Goldsmith Innocent; Ballot Challenges; Curry Party Ahead

Litebox Sponsors Strong Man Competition
Note the Litebox logo on bottom row, fifth from the left

Litebox, the company that's supposed to be providing over 1,000 jobs to Indianapolis, that continues to renovate office space downtown on Washington Street and that still apparently plans to open a plant here in Indy in the near future, continues to raise a few eyebrows with some interesting conduct.  If you follow the company on Facebook, you'll know what I mean.

Last weekend, on Litebox's official Facebook page, a picture album popped up highlighting the company's sponsorship of a World's Strong Man competition in Abu Dhabi.

I'm not really criticizing Yanagihara or his company for this latest move, I just think it's somewhat bizarre.  You would think that a company with as many question marks about its job commitments and ability to follow through on them would be a little less loose with its cash.  Then again, I just work here.

Goldsmith Found Innocent in Domestic Assault Case
Steve Goldsmith

Former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith was accused of domestic battery against his wife last year, but a judge in Washington, D.C. has found him innocent.  The court documents were sealed, and, according to the Indianapolis Star, the Goldsmiths are not commenting any further on the story.

The 65-year-old former Mayor and Marion County Prosecutor was a Deputy mayor of new York when police were called to his Washington home by his wife, Margaret.  Goldsmith spent two days in jail and resigned as Deputy Mayor following the controversy.  His time in NYC had not gone well at all anyway.  He was widely criticized for the city's botched response to a huge snowstorm last winner.

Ballot Challenges Ahead

Looks like problems may be ahead for Republican candidate for Governor, Jim Wallace and culture vulture Rick Santorum.

Mitch Roob, one of Mitch Daniels' most prominent political administration members, has challenged Wallace's placement on the ballot as the Hamilton County businessman was 14 signatures short of the 500 needed in the 7th Congressional District, according to the Associated Press.

Culture vulture Rick Santorum's being challenged by another Republican after he missed the mark by eight signatures in the 7th.

Public hearings are scheduled for next Friday.

Curry Neighborhood Party Coming

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry will hold his first annual Neighborhood Block Party on Saturday, March 3, at ee Indianapolis City Market.  The event starts at 6:00 p.m.  There will be entertainment, food, drink, and fun.  Tickets are $75.00.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fox Sports Columnist Creates Controversy Via Twitter

Fox Sports Columnist
Jason Whitlock
Jeremy Lin continues to set the NBA on fire.  The young New York Knicks point guard has become an overnight sensation by setting NBA records for scoring in his first few games and taking his unlikely underdog story to Tim Tebow-like heights.  It's really a story the sports world has not seen in ages.  It's something that can make us all smile.

Some of us just seem to have taken it to another level.  Jason Whitlock, a sports columnist for Fox Sports (and a Warren Central graduate), tweeted a racial stereotype about Lin following the sensation's excellent performance against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.  If you want to know what he tweeted, look here, I'm not going to publish it.  After the uproar over his tweet began to get loud, Whitlock released what seemed to be a somewhat strange sorry via Fox Sports.

Jeremy Lin
NBA Point Guard
Listen, I'm not going to beat him up any more than he has been, but it's somewhat ironic that Whitlock, who has made his reputation somewhat on social commentary when it comes to race and sports, would get in trouble over tweeting a racial stereotype.  His actual Twitter background says, "I speak truth to POWER.  BLACK people think I'm a sellout.  WHITE people think I'm a racist.  I think I'm too honest.  My perspective is for people unafraid to think and willing to challenge their own biases."

He is a great writer, and he clearly believes that discussing race in an open and honest manner is his function as a column writer in the sports world.  Whitlock penned this extremely provocative column today that further dives into depth on this "Lin-sanity" that we've seen develop over this last week and a half or so and why it's such a great story for Asian-Americans.

However you feel about Whitlock or what Fox should or should not have done to him, he becomes one of the latest people that would probably write, in all caps, WATCH WHAT YOU TWEET.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Republicans Refuse to Buck Mayor

At Monday's City-County Council Meeting, the Republican Caucus in the City-County Council voted almost in lockstep against overriding Mayor Greg Ballard's veto of the smoking ban.  It was the latest head-scratcher in the no brainer that should be a comprehensive smoking ban in Marion County.

Sixteen Democrats held serve, but the three Republicans that crossed the aisle to vote for the ordinance refused to cross back and vote to override the Mayor's veto.  The result?  Status quo, and, unless the Indiana General Assembly does something, there won't be a smoking ban here in Indianapolis for yet another year.  I know the detractors are jumping up and down in victory, but this is going to happen in this city.  It's going to happen soon either by the state's doing or by council action (which Zach Adamson is hoping to help get going again).

The really significant thing is the lack of a willingness for fellow Republicans to override Republican Mayor Greg Ballard's veto.  Makes me wonder how deeply these R's held their beliefs on this issue.  It tells me that the three Republicans that initially voted for the ordinance maybe knew the Mayor was going to veto it anyway if the proposal passed and decided to make a show vote.

That happens in politics on both sides of the aisle.  I just hate that it's playing with something like this...a public health issue.

If I were the Democrats on the Council, I would bring up this issue at every opportunity and highlight why Indianapolis' bars and other locations that would have been affected by the ordinance aren't smoke free.  Just keep on the pressure.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fuentes Has Interesting First Day on Job

Marion County Treasurer
Claudia Fuentes
New Marion County Treasurer Claudia Fuentes found out the hard way what can happen on the first day of work as the boss at a new job.

Apparently, the Treasurer's Office had been placed on "lockdown" until the new Treasurer arrived.  Running a few minutes late, Fuentes arrived to find that her entire staff had been locked out of the office and was waiting for her to arrive.

"They thought I had locked them out, but that could not be further from the truth," Fuentes told the Decatur Township Democratic Club on Monday night. She said it was not the first impression that she had wanted to make.

After getting things settled, Fuentes said her first day was busy but went smoothly handling media interviews and other responsibilities on her first day as the new Marion County Treasurer.

Fuentes will be on the May primary ballot as the incumbent Treasurer and the slated Democratic candidate.

Happy Valentine's Day

It's February 14th!  Do you know where your sweetheart is?

Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ballard Puffs Away Third Term Chance With Veto Pen?

Captain Veto
Mayor Greg Ballard
Last week, Mayor Greg Ballard vetoed the comprehensive smoking ban passed by a bi-partisan and nearly veto-proof margin of 19-9 a few weeks ago by the City-County Council.  Ballard used the excuse of private clubs being forced under the ordinance to exclude children if they allowed smoking in their establishments.

Because Mr. Mayor was not willing to compromise, the smoking ban is back to square one, and Indianapolis continues to be left behind other major cities in this country that have taken public health seriously.

This means that Mayor Ballard certainly has no interest in running for reelection and a third term in 2015.  No one wants to be on the wrong side of health for our children, and Ballard certainly came down on that side with this veto.  This will be used against him if he runs again.

You see, this is a no-brainer issue.  Even as others on the other side of the aisle assail against it by citing the number of complaints lodged downtown and such, this makes too much sense to not do someday, and I think it's only a matter of time before it happens.  Ballard is just prolonging the inevitable.  Like gay marriage or other issues that divide us, soon we will see smoking banned in just about every public place.  It's going to happen, and it should happen.

I respect the wishes of local business owners who wish to set their own smoking policies, but I just think that science and public health outweigh their concerns.  I know that I won't be popular in those circles for saying that, but I just believe that for our city to move forward and join other cities in the nation that we have to take steps like this seriously.

Hopefully, the Democrats and the Republicans can find a 20th vote and send a message to the Mayor about public health here in Indianapolis.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fuentes Sworn-in As Treasurer

Marion County Treasurer
Claudia Fuentes
Claudia Fuentes won the votes of the majority of Precinct Committeepersons in a special caucus at yesterday's Marion County Slating Convention and was sworn in as Marion County Treasurer replacing Mike Rodman, who retired from office last month.

The Democrat becomes the first Latina to hold executive public office in Marion County, according to the Indianapolis Star.  Fuentes will also run for her own term in the 2012 election.  We shall see if the other candidates for the office drop out of the race.  Tuesday is the deadline to remove oneself from the ballot.

Fuentes had been Marion County Auditor Billie Breaux's Deputy Auditor.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Hodge Podge: Obama Campaign Opens Office; Dems Slate; Delph Says No

Obama Opens Indy Office
The Obama/Biden camp opened a field office in Indianapolis on Thursday.  President Obama certainly is going to play in every state that he can to force Republicans to spend money and resources in that state as well.  It's going to be nearly impossible for any candidate not named Romney to match Obama's campaign take.

Some people have floated astronomical numbers for fundraising totals for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign.  I think it's possible you'll see him raise a billion, but that seems amazingly unbelievable.  I guess we shall see.  After all, the job doesn't pay a billion, and he will have plenty to spend on his campaign along with the other advantages of incumbency.

His chances of winning Indiana again are slim, but I didn't think he'd win Indiana back in 2008, either.

Dems to Slate
The Marion County Democratic Party will have its slating convention on day after the deadline to file for candidacy (noon today).  I've heard rumors that this is due to the availability of the Indiana Convention Center after the Super Bowl, but I don't know the reason for certain.  It's strange timing.

Highlights of the slating are expected to be who gets the job of Marion County Treasurer.  Mike Rodman resigned just a couple of weeks ago.  Claudia Fuentes and Mark Price are said to be vying for the job.  Tom Creassor is still filed for the office, but he's not running for slating or the open job.

Four Democrats are running for the open seat in District 100 as John Day is set to retire.  Dan Forestal, Sally Johnson, Jon Katz, and Zach Mullholland are vying for the party slating nod.

On another note, I was surprised to see that Greg Bowes filed to run for Marion County Superior Court Judge.  Bowes failed in his bid to beat Terry Curry for the Democratic nomination for Prosecutor challenging the slate back then.  John Chavis is the only non-incumbent that is going for a slating spot.

Delph Votes No
Sen. Mike Delph
Mike Delph says he will not seek the 5th District Congressional seat.  Given his close relationship with the watermelon shooter Congressman Dan Burton, many thought Delph may throw his hat in the ring after Burton announced his retirement.  Delph said in a press release that he wishes to stay close to his family and remain in the Indiana Senate.

You kind of have to respect Delph's decision.  I know that he's probably a bit ambitious, but there's a time and a place for everything.  His daughters are young, and you have to respect a guy that chooses family over ambition.

David McIntosh, Jack Lugar, Susan Brooks, and Dr. John McGoff are all vying to replace Burton as the 5th District Congressperson.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Santorum Continues Improbable Run

You know what?  I'm done trying to figure out Republicans.
The Comeback Kid
Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum's good Tuesday momentarily tripped up Mitt Romney's momentum once again in the race for the Republican nomination, but Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich failed to break on through to get a victory.

I don't know how he did it, but Rick Santorum somehow has people on the Republican side that think he will make a good President.  I don't understand how anyone, let alone someone with a brain, can objectively look at the candidates and decide that Rick Santorum is the one that best represents their views.

I guess it says something about Republicans in Minnesota, Missouri, and Nevada.

It's gut check time for Newt Gingrich.  He has to make a comeback soon or he will be relegated to the back rung of candidates again.

Romney needs to turn up the pressure cooker and start a whisper campaign targeting Santorum, Paul, and Gingrich saying that their continued participation in the process makes it less likely that he will beat Barack Obama in November.  It's already very unlikely, but every time another Republican attacks Romney, it should only give Obama ideas for the General Election.

Ah...the advantages of incumbency.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Carl Brizzi's Tactics May Have Cost White His Freedom

Carl Brizzi
Now that the Super Bowl mania is out of town, it's time to go back and catch up on the news that happened while you were zipping down the zip line.

As I'm sure many of you are aware, former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White is awaiting sentencing on the six felony counts that he was found guilty of in his voter fraud trial.  White could have those counts reduced from Class D felonies to misdemeanors which could clear the way for him to retake his job or run for another elective office.

What was really odd about the case wasn't necessarily that White lost, but it was how he lost.  His lawyer Carl Brizzi mounted little defense and called no witnesses to support his case.  It is a decision Brizzi has defended by saying that on the most serious charge, a Class C felony for fraud, White was found to be not guilty by the jury.  Now, the jury is talking, and, from what they are saying, it looks like Brizzi may have botched this one.

Charlie White
WRTV-6 reporter Derrik Thomas spoke with Greg Weidman, the foreman of the jury that convicted White, and he said the jury was shocked when the defense called no witnesses.  Weidman said the jury would have liked to have heard from White's ex-wife or even his current one.  He said the jury might have acquitted White had someone been called to his defense.  The entire story can be found here.

It's a really odd and strange tactic from someone that was Marion County's lawyer for eight years.  He mounted no defense, and White may go to the slammer for it.  I know one thing: if I ever get in trouble, Carl Brizzi won't be my lawyer.

Listen, I'm no lawyer, but I hope Charlie White didn't pay for Brizzi's services.  People wondered why White chose Brizzi to defend him in the first place, and he's now apparently going to pay in some way for what now seems to be an extremely poor choice.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Prop 8 Ruled Unconstitutional

California's discriminatory Proposition 8 has been ruled unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Prop 8 outlawed gay marriage in California after it had been passed.  Federal Appeals Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled the same way nearly two years ago in initially overturning the Proposition which was enacted by popular vote.

Opponents say that Prop 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  Proponents say that the will of the people of California was to ban gay marriage in the state.

Now that the Ninth Circuit Court has ruled, this is sure to go to the U.S. Supreme Court for a final decision.  If it survives the test there, any attempts by states to outlaw and ban gay marriage in the United States would likely go by the wayside due to precedent.

The Supreme Court could also decline to hear the case and let the Ninth Circuit's 2-1 decision to stand.  

It's another victory for marriage equality!  It's time.

White Eligibility Case Moves to Supremes

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz reports on Facebook that the Indiana Supreme Court will hear the civil case on whether or not Charlie White was ever eligible to run for Secretary of State in 2010.

Oral arguments will take place on February 29.

If White is found ineligible, City-County Councillor Vop Osili will become Indiana Secretary of State under Indiana Law.

The Indiana Recount Commission found that White was eligible to run back in June despite his voter registration irregularities.  Marion County Circuit Court Judge Lou Rosenberg decided that this was an incorrect decision on appeal and returned it to the Commission, but the Supreme Court was petitioned to hear the case.

Back on February 4, White was found guilty on six of seven felony charges removing him from office pending sentencing.  The criminal case and the civil case are unrelated in that sense.

It wasn't all rosy for the D's.  The Supreme Court denied the Indiana Democratic Party's request to install Osili to the Secretary of State's office now.

What a mess.

Super Bowl Winners and Losers

The Mannings-
Peyton was the story for two weeks leading up to the game, and it's now clear that his career is likely to continue somewhere other than Indianapolis while the Colts move on with Andrew Luck.  When the game actually started, Eli was the guy that vanquished Brady again with yet another fourth quarter heroic comeback.

Tom Coughlin-
The 65-year-old coach probably punched his ticket to Canton, Ohio, with his second Super Bowl victory.  Coughlin is a great coach, and he excelled by pushing his players to toe the line while the other NFL football coach in New York City blustered and yapped but hasn't backed it up on the big stage.  Coughlin's not cuddly and as interesting as other coaches, but he's a winner in big situations.  I hope he gives it another shot next year.

The entire city showed beautifully on national TV, and the national and international press seemed to really enjoy its time here.  Indianapolis did not fumble its big moment on one of the world's biggest stages.  The Indianapolis Super Bowl Committee should be not only applauded, but they should plan the next one, too.  Now, we wait to see what the final economic impact was for the city.  Don't be surprised if this Super Bowl doesn't pay off right away.

Mayor Greg Ballard-
Credit where credit is due, here.  Mayor Ballard may have benefited in many ways from things that previous Indianapolis Mayors have put in place, but he gets a lot of credit for putting the right people in place to pull this off.  With the exception of the fumble over the smoking ban, which, to be fair, he hasn't vetoed yet, Mayor Ballard carried the ball very well for Indianapolis.

Public Safety Agencies in Indianapolis-
They kept Indy safe with about a million visitors downtown over the last week in the mile square.  Excellent work by Frank Straub and his entire staff as well as IMPD, IFD, and all the other agencies.

Georgia Street-
Well, it didn't need a new name after all to be the heart of our city's Super Bowl entertainment effort.  Georgia Street is still the best name for this Indianapolis showcase.

There was enough "haterade" flowing by the detractors out there.  It was good to see Madonna put them in their place.  She gave an energetic performance that was visually stunning.  Looks like Madonna's cone bra has a little life left in it, still.  Her new single is already growing on me.  She also proved that "Like a Prayer" still rocks.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady-
It's a hero or goat world in the NFL.  Bill Belichick becomes the goat in this one.  He pretty much threw the game in order to win it.  Now, the likelihood of Lawrence Tynes missing a short field goal is almost zilch, but we saw just over two weeks ago that even "automatic" field goals aren't sure things.  Just ask Billy Cundiff and the Baltimore Ravens.  Belichick's gamble almost worked, too.  Rob Gronkowski had a chance at the football in the end zone when the Giants' defense failed to knock the Tom Brady "Hail Mary" pass down.  Nonetheless, it didn't work out and the Pats lose.  Tom Brady didn't have his best game, either.  This is another recent playoff gaffe for him against an average defensive secondary.  He didn't get much help from his receivers, but he didn't get it done.

Jim Irsay-
When Bill Polian was behind the controls, Jim Irsay was the happy-go-lucky owner tweeting his way into the hearts of his fan base.  These last two weeks, he has wisely seized control of his franchise, but he's been way too loud.  What made him a fan favorite has now drawn him into comparisons with NFL owners like Jerry Jones.  Sometimes, silence is golden.

Indiana General Assembly Republicans-
While the world watched, the Indiana General Assembly jammed through the right to work bill.  The Indiana Senate actually pushed through a "teaching creationism science" bill.  Indiana's Republican-led General Assembly made Indiana look really bad.

Charlie White-
Carl Brizzi's odd tactics helped make Charlie White a convicted felon.  Hopefully, for White, the six felony charges he was convicted on by a jury of his peers will be reduced to misdemeanors at sentencing.  Hopefully, for Indiana, White will be permanently removed from office.  The Indiana Republican Party should be ashamed of itself that it put up a candidate that clearly was not qualified for office and then backed him without question.  That was embarrassing, but don't say we didn't tell you so.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Clint Eastwood's Pro-Detroit Chrysler Ad

Chrysler knocked it out of the park with this ad last night.  Of course, you can never go wrong with Clint Eastwood as your spokesperson.  Excellent and subtly political spot.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Indy Star Time Lapses Super Bowl Activities

This is super sweet.

Charlie White Loses Case, Office

Former Secretary of State Charlie White
Charlie White was found guilty on six of seven felony charges and has, at least temporarily, lost his job as Indiana's Secretary of State.  Governor Mitch Daniels temporarily has appointed Jerry Bonnet as Interim Secretary of State pending sentencing.

So, Indiana's temporarily former Secretary of State was found guilty of six Class D felonies.  All of these could be reduced to misdemeanors which might allow him to reclaim his job.

Attorney Carl Brizzi put up no defense to the Prosecution's charges.  White was acquitted of the only class C felony he was accused of in the seven charges.

The six class D charges he was found guilty on by a jury of his peers include:

Submitting a false voter registration

Perjury (Times Two)

Voting in another precinct than the one residing in

Procuring, casting or tabulating a false ballot


City-County Councillor
Vop Osili
While White will face sentencing that could give him prison time or reduce the charges to misdemeanors, the civil case moves on to see if Vop Osili will be installed as Secretary of State.  White was clearly never eligible to be a candidate in the first place, so Osili would seem to have an even better case now.

Daniels said that if one of the felony charges sticks; he will make an appointment of a permanent Secretary of State to replace White...of course that also depends on the civil trial that could make Osili the SOS.

I think it would be a joke if White returns to the job in any capacity.  While some have called this a witch hunt against White, it's clear that he brought this on all himself.  It was, at minimum, his own inattentiveness to election law that put himself in this position.  Not really the guy you want as Indiana's Chief Election Officer.

This is a sad day for Indiana when one of our elected officials is convicted of felonies...and while the Super Bowl is in town, too.  More of a reason for our state to be a political laughingstock.  We have the Republicans and Charlie White to thank for this.

As my friend Zach Adamson posted on Facebook this morning, the Republicans now have a case of voter fraud to cite...and they're responsible.

Obama/Al Green Remix

So how good was the President's singing...hear it in context.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Super Bowl Weekend Off

Well, the numbers show that you're doing other things right now than reading a political blog, so how about a few days off.

See you on Tuesday...though...I do have a blog post scheduled in for Saturday.  Unless something breaks, that will be it until Super Bowl Weekend is over.


RTW is Done Deal

Indiana is now the 23rd Right to Work state.

As Vi Simpson implored protesters to do, show them your displeasure at the ballot box in May and November.  It will be interesting to see if the Lunch Pail Republicans come up with some Primary competition for the Republicans that voted for Right to Work.

Sad day for Indiana.

Mitt Strikes Back

Mitt Romney easily won the Florida Primary putting aside, for the moment, the most recent attack on his path to the Republican nomination.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

Newt Gingrich came home in a distant second place, but he has held Romney under 50 percent, it appears.  Rick Santorum came home third, and Ron Paul finished fourth.

Now, the questions begin about who's in and who's out as the Republicans continue to battle.  As we head to February, the battle shifts from the East Coast (with the exception of the Maine week-long caucus from Feb. 4-11) to the West and Midwest.

Nevada is on Feb. 4, and Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri come up on on Feb. 11.  Santorum and Paul are both campaigning in the West where they are expected to do well in the caucus formats in Nevada and Colorado.  Romney will certainly have the money to continue, and, as Newt is likely to continue through at least Super Tuesday.

Still lots of twists and turns are left!